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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Orchestra strums fresh chord with new leadership, ideas

A past orchestra concert at Cartwright Hall

The Kent State Orchestra has been a part of the college’s music program since 1968, and although some traditions are embedded in their roots, the orchestra is modernizing and trying different things this year.       

Under new supervision, the orchestra is exploring new collaborations and compositions to evolve and advance its program.   

Performance graduate student Emma Grace Homoky explained the group’s recent activites. 

“A lot of times when you’re in an orchestra, you [often] only play European music,” she said. “But this performance cycle we are playing pieces written by American composers and it’s been really fun to try something different.” 

The orchestra is composed of about 50 musicians from all different majors throughout the college. 

Interim director of orchestras Jacob Schnitzer explained the goals of the orchestra. 

“We play old music, new music and everything in between,” he said. “The orchestra is really intent on exploring music as a continuing phenomenon.” 

This semester, the orchestra is planning concerts with other university music groups as well as the greater community. In the spring, the orchestra is putting on a concert with a local Cleveland synagogue. 

Homoky described the experience of playing these concerts. 

“We get to do these concerts with the Kent State choirs once a semester,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to have so many people, who are so passionate, be in one place and make music together.” 

Schnitzer elaborated further on the collaboration between the orchestra and other musicians.

“I really believe collaboration is the path to growth for us,” he said. “If we are an insular organization, just playing music for us, there’s no way to build. The more we can connect to the community, the arts and our audience the better our program will be.” 

The orchestra also wants to create a bridge between themselves and the rest of the students on campus. 

On Nov. 17 at 2:30 p.m., the orchestra will present the “Afternoon with The Orchestra” concert. The orchestra will be playing two pieces for the concert: selected movements from William Grant Still’s “Symphony No. 4.” as well as John Williams’ ”Raiders March,” which most famously scored Stephen Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones” film series.

“It’s a great opportunity for students who are already out and about to swing by and come listen to a short concert,” Schnitzer said.

The Kent State Orchestra uses classical music to envelop their audience into many different themes with the pieces they choose to perform. 

Homoky detailed the importance of this music to culture as a whole.

“When you really listen to classical music, and you begin to think more about it and understand it, it’s this endless medium,” she said. “Topics of beauty, history, culture and traditions all [wrapped] into one sound, and you can find this amazing whole new world, just by listening.”      

Abigail Kinney is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].

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