Kent State Orchestra performs Masterful Celebrations

Sara Petersen

Third performance of series takes place Friday

VIEW photos of the Kent State Orchestra.

Graduate student Suham Bello made the grand piano she was playing tremble and shake as her fingers danced across the keys in a rehearsal Wednesday.

Bello is one of the two students performing with the Kent State Orchestra Friday night. She will be performing Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and soprano Susan Fletcher will sing an aria from Mozart’s opera, “Idomeneo.”

Bello and Fletcher both won an annual student concerto competition in their respective programs and are being highlighted tonight in Carol A. Cartwright Hall. Being a winner of the competition brings new opportunities to the students, such as performing alongside a large ensemble.

“(In) a soloist career, this is one of the gigs,” Bello said. “Being a soloist and playing with a big ensemble is very important for my career.”

Director of orchestras Christopher James Lees said the concert tonight, “Masterful Celebrations,” features composers Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Josef Haydn, as well as the soloists.

“It’s to pay homage to those two composers, but also to our student concerto competition winners who are also masterful and for whom we are celebrating,” Lees said.

Participating in the orchestra is a requirement of graduate music students, but it is open to anyone in the university and contains undergraduate students as well as students without a music major.

Meghan Fernandes, junior zoology and pre-veterinary science major, is a cellist in the orchestra. Through meeting and talking to other students she was told to check out the orchestra.

“I love music. I’ve played since I was four,” Fernandes said. “It’s something I’ve always done.”

Fernandes said being in the orchestra is a great stress reliever and a good exercise for the mind.

“It wakes up your brain, and it gets you to think in different ways,” she said.

Lees, 26, is one of three new faculty members in the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. He replaced Frank Wiley, who conducted the orchestra for about 14 years and is currently a theory composition professor.

Lees has great confidence in the student soloists and orchestra members performing, and is looking forward to the concert tonight.

“Music is so great. It requires a lot of youthful energy, which we have here in abundance at Kent State,” Lees said. “If there was ever a time for someone at Kent State to hear the orchestra for the first time and to become aware (of) the kinds of talent that we have at this school … they should be at the concert because they will just be blown away.”

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for Kent State students, $5 for students and $10 for general admission.

Contact performing arts reporter Sara Petersen at [email protected].