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February 25, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-25

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 25, 2005

FRIDAY Focus

I
I

PETER
SCHOTTENFELS /Daily
Music Prof.
Michael Haith-
cock conducts
the Symphony
Band at their
concert at Hill
Auditorium
on Feb. 11.

THE UNIVERSITY'S SYMPHONY BAND PLAYS CARNEGIE

By Sarah Peterson
Daily Arts Writer

west. The view to the east is Brooklyn, and the view to the south is the Statue

"This is sort of like our Rose Bowl," exclaimed Michael Haithcock, conductor
of the University Symphony Band, to describe how his band views their per-
formance at Carnegie Hall which takes place tonight. The invitation to play at
the College Band Directors National Association convention in New York City
reaffirms the Symphony Band's status as one of the country's best college wind
ensembles.
Every year the CBDNA convention includes a festival of concerts that high-
light the different ensembles from around the country. This year, the competition
to play Carnegie Hall was fierce. Only five groups were chosen to perform: wind
ensembles from New England Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, the
University of Southern California and the University
of Texas - along with the University's Symphony
Band. Despite this competition, Haithcock said he
knew deep down that his group deserved a place
along with groups from these top schools. After
he submitted the live concert recordings that were
required, a panel of professional musicians chose
the University Symphony Band as one of the top five
ensembles, and they were on their way to Carnegie
Hall.
Haithcock's next challenge was deciding what
pieces to play at such a prestigious concert. He
addressed this question in a letter to Symphony Band's
members at the beginning of the fall semester: "The
repertoire selected will demonstrate your wonderful
talents, showcase members of our outstanding com-
position faculty, illustrate how the School of Music
and (the University's) band program are interfacing
with musical organizations beyond our campus and
feature one of the most acclaimed recent graduates."
Drawing on its traditional repertoire, Symphony Band will play Percy
Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy and Chester by William Schumann. To high-
light the University's involvement in the contemporary music world, they'll also
perform a number of pieces from different School of Music professors: Bright
Sheng's LA'I (Love Song) for Orchestra without Strings, Susan Botti's Cos-
mosis and Michael Daugherty's Brooklyn Bridge. Because University professors
composed these pieces, this concert is truly a University affair - even though
it's happening in New York. "One of the greatest things about this concert is that
every piece is very different," Haithcock said. Besides showcasing stars of the
School of Music's composition faculty, "(The program) shows the virtuosity of
the band and what a wonderful collection of students we have here."
About a Composer
Sheng's LA'I (Love Song) begins tonight's pro-
gram. The piece was co-commissioned by the
Symphony Band and the Philharmonics Orchester
of Dortmund, Germany; the Carnegie Hall perfor-
mance will be its U.S. premiere.
Sheng was born in Shanghai, China in 1955.
His musical career began when he started studying
piano at the age of four. In 1982, Sheng moved to
New York to attend Queens College, then City Uni-

of Liberty. The view to the west is Wall Street, where the (World Trade Center)
towers used to be. The view to the north is the Empire State Building, the Chrys-
ler Building - sort of the old New York. I really love the Brooklyn Bridge, and I
love to walk across it, and every time I go to New York I try to do that."
Brooklyn Bridge features a solo clarinet and wind band. "What's exciting
about the clarinet is that it is really a crossover instrument. It's used in jazz and
it's used in classical music," Daugherty commented. "So, for some reason, when
I thought of the Brooklyn Bridge, I thought of the clarinet. It seems to be an
instrument that comes to mind when you think of all of the immigrants that have
lived in New York and crossed that bridge."
Michael Wayne, 2003 University graduate and clarinetist, was asked to play
the solo to showcase a successful alum at the CBDNA convention performance.
"What I was told was that they wanted someone who was affiliated with the
University who was young and up-and-coming. So, my name came up and they
called me, and I was happy to do it," Wayne said.
Because the concert tonight at Carnegie Hall will be the
official premiere of Brooklyn Bridge, developing the piece
and playing it involves a more complex learning process.
"You're creating (a premiere piece like this) for the first
time," Wayne said. "The performance we did last Friday
was the first time that anyone, including the composer, had
even heard the whole piece through. Compared to most
pieces, where I go buy a recording and listen to it, I have to
be a true artist and come up with my own ideas for it."
Wayne is currently a member of the Kansas City Orchestra,
a position he earned right after graduation. He also spends his
summers playing with an orchestra in Switzerland. When it
comes to upcoming performance, Wayne said: "I've been (to
Carnegie Hall) many times to see orchestras and soloists play,
but I've never played there before, so it's a huge opportunity to
play in one of the best and most famous halls in the world. It's
probably the highlight of my career so far."
Students Take on NYC
While it's exciting for composers to see and hear their
own pieces being performed for the first time, the musicians
are even more ecstatic about the Carnegie Hall experience.
It's not every day that University students get the chance to
play at a concert hall ike Carnegie Hall - for many students
this marks a landmark in their musical careers."The chance
to play at Carnegie Hall is something that every musician
dreams about, and to get to do it with a school group and
to play these great pieces is a real treat," School of Music
graduate student bassoonist Derek Bannasch said.
Oboist and School of Music junior Jessica Schmeck
echoed Bannasch, adding, "I'm really excited. I've been
looking forward to it all year. It's cool because (the program)
is a nice mix between contemporary and classical."
But excitement comes with a price School of Music grad-
uate student Rachel Parker, who plays horn, said that the practicing has been
extensive and that she's had to work hard to get ready for the upcoming concert-
Parker explained, "It's a big deal, so we take it very seriously. We did a concert
just a few weeks ago here at Hill (Auditorium), and then we recorded everything
that we're playing. Carnegie is the last thing we're doing, so it feels like we'v

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4

PETER SCHOTTENFELS /Daily
Music freshman Charissa Barger
plays the harp during the Hill
Auditorium performance.

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