As Jacobs School of Music students complete their semester’s last performances, some reflect on what they did strongly and what they look forward to next semester.
Freshman Bailey Bennett, a double bass performance student, said the group he worked with most this semester was the University Orchestra.
The main piece Bennett’s orchestra worked on was composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. Bennett said he liked how Mendelssohn told a story in the composition.
“The piece that he wrote was inspired by the calm seas and then the raging waters, and it does a great job of painting that,” Bennett said.
Bennett said he performed his first Beethoven symphony this semester, the composer’s seventh. A bonus for him was working with retired IU conductor David Effron, who he said returned for this performance.
“As a freshman I’d never really seen him before, so it was my first time seeing him and working with him,” Bennett said. “It was a great experience because of his orchestral knowledge.”
He said something to look forward to next semester is a bass concerto competition, where students will play Giovanni Bottesini’s second bass concerto. The technical range of bass playing exhibited by Bottesini’s music is something to look forward to, Bennett said.
“It will be fantastic, and that’s not just because I’m a bass player,” Bennett said.
Bennett said the music school features a range of orchestras and ensembles, open to music and non-music majors alike.
“It’s still a great balance overall,” Bennett said. “Each orchestra has their strengths and weaknesses.”
Miguel Menendez, a sophomore pursuing a double major in music composition and tuba performance, said what he looks forward to the most next semester are performances by the New Music Ensemble, a group dedicated to performing contemporary music in a classical setting.
Menendez worked with the group this past semester, along with the school’s concert band, symphonic band and various orchestras. He said the New Music Ensemble is comprised of mostly doctoral students and never features more than 25 musicians.
“It’s a really spunky group,” Menendez said. “We put on some crazy shows, it’s not your typical Mozart and not your typical Beethoven.”
He said much of the music the group plays is new enough for people unfamiliar with classical music to become attracted it. Out of the music school’s ensembles, he said the New Music Ensemble is the cream of the crop.
Menendez said the ensemble performs on traditional instruments, but composers try to change the instruments’ sound with varying techniques. He said this includes putting nails in pianos and incorporating mutes into compositions.
“If you’re looking for a really avant-garde experience, if you’re looking for something that might challenge your musical tastes a bit and if you’re looking for something new, something fresh that you’ve never heard, this is the place to go,” Menendez said.
He said the music school features diverse performances to appeal to any music listener’s tastes. The Philharmonic Orchestra is another group to keep an eye on if one is interested in classical music performed professionally, Menendez said.
Menendez said if students are interested in next semester’s performances, the music school’s event website is a good place to start. If the site does not feature an event, music listeners can find physical promotions, Menendez said.
“Just pop in Jacobs and you’ll see fliers and postings of things that you’ll wanna check out,” Menendez said.
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