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Philharmonic Orchestra performance to feature Jacobs' viola concerto competition winner


Mary Eunkyung Chang performs a viola concerto with the IU Philharmonic Orchestra during a rehearsal Feb. 10 at the Musical Arts Center. The Philharmonic Orchestra will perform 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Musical Arts Center. Joy Burton

The Jacobs School of Music will present its Philharmonic Orchestra in concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Musical Arts Center. 

The Philharmonic Orchestra is the most advanced orchestra of six at IU, and it is comprised of 70-75 members, conductor Thomas Wilkins said. The orchestra performs each semester. This performance will include three pieces by Beethoven, Penderecki and Respighi.

“It sort of gives you a nice little three-course meal of three different time periods of music,” concertmaster and violinist Dylan Naroff said. Naroff is an undergraduate student in Jacobs studying violin performance.

Mary Eunkyung Chang, a violist, will perform a viola solo in the Penderecki piece, “Concerto for viola and orchestra” from 1983. Chang is a postgraduate student in Jacobs pursuing a performance degree. She was awarded the solo after she won Jacobs’ Penderecki Viola Concerto Competition.

Jacobs creates concerto competitions for certain string instruments. For the 2019-2020 season, the viola concerto competition required participating violists to play the Penderecki piece.

Chang said audience members might not be familiar with the Penderecki piece, but she hopes the audience enjoys it and the viola sound.

“It’s not necessarily satisfying to the ear sometimes,” Naroff said of the piece. “It can be quite harsh sometimes.”

Naroff also said the piece is typically not memorized for performance because the music is so difficult. It is more of a modern piece.

“It’s a terrific challenge for them,” Wilkins said of the piece. “They’re certainly rising to the occasion.”

The other two pieces in the concert are Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” and Beethoven’s “Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b.”

“It’s terrific music,” Wilkins said. “It’s just a potpourri of color and excitement.”

The concert requires no tickets and everyone can attend for free.

“I just want to impact one person,” Naroff said of the audience. “As long as we impact a few people, that’s enough.”

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