Powered by alumni funding, UT's School of Music Symphony Orchestra performed a free show in the James R. Cox Auditorium on Sunday, helping to develop the potential of music students as artists and provide visitors with well-performed classical music.
For the first performance of the 2012-2013 season, conductor James Fellenbaum chose a few interesting yet pleasing pieces for the orchestra to perform from the Romantic era of classical music, a period when an artistic movement spread across Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The performance began with Johann Strauss Jr.'s "Die Fledermaus Overture," an upbeat song with a catchy tune which had many in the audience bobbing their heads and tapping their toes, including Lisandra Lorenzo, undecided freshman and classical music apprentice.
"My favorite part was when the music would be very calm and slow, and (then) get loud really fast as more instruments would join in," Lorenzo said.
The show continued with Robert Schumann's "Konzertstuck." Fellenbaum dedicated this specific piece to Calvin Smith, a UT music teacher whose death shocked students and fellow staff.
Featuring four experienced horn players, their presence added an extra emphasis to the music. Standing before the audience on stage center, the four horn players played with obvious passion and appreciation for the music which showed in the performance; the music was alive throughout the auditorium and lifted the tense mood. Without the horns though, the performance would likely have been dull.
The last piece was Jean Sibelius's Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43. This piece was by far the highlight of the whole performance; the music itself was straight out of a fairy tale, and it gave the auditorium a dream-like state where thoughts were free to wander and life free to ponder. Almost as if Cinderella were about to walk on stage any minute, this piece truly awakened the crowd and was the perfect ending for the first performance of the season.
For Kathryn York, graduate student in cello performance, this performance was her first as part of the UT School of Music's Orchestra. York said she enjoyed her first experience, and specifically that she enjoyed the last part of Sibelius' symphony.
"I think it came together all really well," she said. "I liked the fourth movement of the symphony (by Sibelius), it's beautiful, it's lyrical and it's fun to play."
The orchestra provided the audience with the perfect soundtrack for a Sunday afternoon. The music was light, airy and sweet, just like the concert itself; only an hour and a half long in a comfortable auditorium, and completely free of charge.
Lorenzo appreciated the emotions of the conductor and nonexistent price tag of the concert and, in the end, thought the concert was a little long but enjoyed herself nonetheless.
"I loved it being on a Sunday afternoon because you can just sit back and relax and listen to soothing music before returning to classes and stress," Lorenzo said. "My first experience was interesting, but I definitely enjoyed myself."