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October 01, 1992 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-01

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The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. October 1, 1992 Page 1

your back
at the
it's almost three a.m. Saturday
night, and all is well in Gothan
City. The Wolvies made mince-
meat of an overrated Houston team,
there's a new Nine Inch Nails ep,
(which is so good I actually paid
for it) and the party on Liberty and
Fourth is a definite beat happening.
Yer boy on the turntables is spin-
ning all the dope new joints (that
new Mary J. Blige twelve-inch
bumps!) and everyone seems to be

.Samuel Wong and the Ann Arbor Symphony enter




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chilled and enjoying the ride. Dig
it, a night in Ann Arbor with no
scandal! (Well, maybe just a
So like any other hops-saturated
student, my taste buds are jonesing
for that almighty late night sodium
fix, with a healthy dose of choles-
terol and starch on the side. The
only logical conclusion: Make a
run for the border!
If you've ever spent any time at
A's humble Taco Bell on East U.
at night, you're well aware of its
often dubious (if not down right
hostile) atmosphere. When one
throws together way too many keg-
powered undergrads, a few
streetpeople, and 59-cent bean
burritos, you're best bet is to duck.
Hopping out of the grunge-o-
matic across the street from the
border, it's quite obvious that
there's more than your average
amount of tension going down out
front. Big mob scene, some guys
yelling at each other. Of course, in
the blue corner, wearing Cross
Colour jeans and Xcaps, are "The
Homeboys." In the other corner,
wearing Gap oxfords and Sperry
topsiders, are "The Fratboys."God,
I'm so sick of this shit ...
More yelling, a flying backkick,
and a couple of vicious headshots
later, and Fratboy is down. And not
moving. Hey look, just in time, the
Five-O! (aka "The Man," "Johnny
Law," Ann Arbor's finest.) Mr. and
Mrs. Police have The Homeboys
lined up against the car, frisked,
handcuffed, and in the car.
Strangely enough, no one's thought
to help Fratboy on the ground who's
still not moving.
The now-huge throng of
gawkers (which has not-so-subtly
divided into white folks over here,
black folks over there) just pas-
sively watch the whole spectacle as
if it was a new episode of "Cops."
People just step over Fratboy to
cross the border and plunk down
some chump change for a bag o'
tacos. Finally, a kind soul decides
that maybe Fratboy needs some
I can't help but wonder where
all of this anger comes from. It
doesn't seem to bother anyone here
that you can't even get a lousy
burrito without getting your ass
kicked, or thrown in the back of a
cop car. It sure bothers the hell out
of me. And I'm sure that even if the
Fratboys didn' thave a problem with
African-Americans before, they
sure do now. And vice-versa.Ihave
no idea who started it or what hap-

T he Ann Arbor Symphony Or
chestra and Dr. Samuel
Wong might just be a musi
cal match made in heaven.
The AASO enjoyed a bril-
liant period of growth with its former con-
ductor, Maestro Carl St. Clair. His succes-
sor, Dr. Wong is also currently the Assistant
Conductor of the New York Philharmonic
and thus has profited from working with the
likes of Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur. Both
Wong and the AASO are on the upswing,
and will try to maintain their momentum
approaching opening night of a new season
this Saturday night.
It is in anticipation of their (and his)
unveiling to Ann Arbor concertgoers that
Dr. Wong expressed his readiness to mark a
new era for the AASO. "I am very excited
and happy to have this opportunity. Judging
from last night's rehearsal, I think that we'll
be ready to make music on Saturday."
In fact, Wong, in his appraisal of the
orchestra, had nothing but high praise for
the musicianship of its members. "They're
really a very responsive group that plays at
a high level and is also extremely dedi-
cated," he said. "I find that the group has a
wonderful chemistry that is great to be a part
Indeed, the "chemistry" that Wong re-
ferred to has always been one of the
ensemble's fundamental assets. The
group's three constituents,
which range from "artists
who freelance in Detroit A

knownst to many, besides being heralded as
one of the finest young conductors on the
music scene today, he also holds a medical
degree from Harvard. What specifically
"sidetracked" him into what he feels now is
his true calling? "Working with the New
York Philharmonic really just redirected
my energies and made me realize what
direction I wanted my life to take," he said.
"I left medicine and devoted my life to
music on the basic premise that symphonic
music is vital and alive.
"I don't think of it as a frill or as pure
entertainment. It contains within it all the
beauty, the sublime, the exhilaration and the
pain of life. This makes it personally sus-
taining and very essential. I simply could
not do without it."
Whew! If that's any indication of what to
expect in the future from the AASO and
Wong, some people had better rest up be-
fore Saturday's opening which includes two
favorites, the flairish Tchaikovsky Violin
Concerto and the soul-rending Fifth Sym-
phony of Beethoven. The soloist, 19-year-
old Corey Cerovsek, is, like the conductor,
a man of many abilities. Besides playing
virtuoso violin and piano, Corey also holds
a Ph.D. in mathematics. Not surprisingly,
"Corey plays a great Tchaik" to boot, Wong
said. Don'tbe surprised if they can probably
both balance a checkbook in their heads as
well. Makes a guy want to take a
self-improvement course,

Beethoven. I used to listen avidly to old
recordings by Bruno Walter and Toscanini,
so it's been circulating in my blood for a
while. I feel a strong identification with the
While the rendition will move in the
"general direction of the Germanic tradi-
tion," don't expect a going-through-the-
motions retread. A great deal of knowledge
and maturity inform Wong's take on the
piece, as with any other. "I try to look within
the score and let the composer come through.
It's like a historian going toaprimary source.
It's all there if you look closely enough," he
While all of this sounds sensible enough,
Wong chooses to go a step further. He
explained, "Studying genres other than the
symphony can inform and enhance your
understanding of symphonic music. Even if
the performance is strictly symphonic, it is
important to consider the sonatas and string
quartets of a composer as a source ofauthor-
ity. Anything less would be like studying a
writer by reading only his novels, while
neglecting his short stories or poems." As-
piring conductors who can't seem to gradu-
ate beyond the living room, take heed.

Wong has some very some very specific
musical goals that he seeks to accomplish
with the orchestra. "The AASO has a warm,
dark sound that befits a big sweeping or-
chestra.I also want to bring about rhythmic
excitement and long, lush phrasing," he
said. "My attention will also be fixed on
orchestral color and blending and expand-
ing toward an adventuresome repertoire."
Wong said his other interest is "to bring
American composers to the forefront. I es-
pecially would like to give a voice to the U-
M music faculty." With Saturday night's
program, Wong accomplishes one of these
goals even before raising the baton. Slated
in addition to the aforementioned is Stephen
Paulus' Concertante. The Atlanta Symphony
premiered the work in 1989 with favorable
results. The twelve minute work is, accord-
ing to Wong, "viscerally very exciting and
rhythmic with contrasting sections of great
serenity and tranquility which are rudely
interrupted by the clangor of the brass and
percussion. In addition, it is a piece that
requires great virtuosity on the part of the
orchestra members. It really is a good show-
piece for the orchestra."
Wong is confident that there is more than
enough room on programs for what he called
"chestnuts," and modernmusic. He delights
in the fact that "Ann Arbor is a very aca-
demic and enlightened community that will
be responsive to a mixture of new and old."
As for the prospect of performing in an
old, renovated theater, Wong waxes sur-
prisingly complimentary. "It (the Michigan
Theater) is quite a good hall. Although it
tends towards the dry side, it'snot bone-dry,
as opposed to a hall that reverberates and
may smudge," he said. "The orchestra, with
a good blend, should be able to take advan-
tage of the subtle clarity which is the strength
of the hall. I know that it has a stigma
because it's a theater, but the bad rep that it
has is undeserved. I have played in Avery
Fisher and Carnegie Hall, at good halls with
bad names and bad halls with good names.
That doesn't matter. It's a good hall with a
good ambiance."Truly a man after the hearts
of Ann Arborites everywhere.

1992493 ~~aso
Corey Cerovsek, Violin
Paulus: Concertante
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
William Doppmann, Piano
Rossini: Semiramide overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3
Sibelius: Symphony No. 1
Erling Blondal Bengtsson, Cello
Dvorak: Cello Concerto
Dzubay: Snake Alley
Ravel: Ma Mere L'Oye
Ravel: La Valse
Alexander Toradze, Piano
Stravinsky: Symphonies of Winds
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
Martina Arroyo, Soprano
Mozart: Symphony No. 1
Falla: 7 Popular Spanish Songs
Mozart: Arias
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter"
Afl~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~. .~net r t h ihgr

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