KSU Orchestra celebrates winners Sunday

By kelly maile | Staff Writer Published:

The Kent State University Hugh A. Glauser School of Music's Orchestra will continue its 2012-13 season with a performance highlighting the undergraduate and graduate concerto winners at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the University Auditorium at Cartwright Hall.

Graduate concerto contest winner José Herrera will perform "Concerto No. 1 for Cello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 33" by Camille Saint- Saëns.

Herrera began playing the cello at the age of 17. Herrera said when he picked up the cello for the first time, he fell in love with it.

"It mostly started because my dad plays the guitar and I always had a lot of fun with it," Herrera said. "I took a few guitar lessons at my school in Mexico and there just happened to be cello lessons. The way I was introduced to the cello was random, but as soon as I got to know it, it was my favorite thing in the world."

Before attending Kent State, Herrera studied at Conservatoriode las Rosas in Mexico. He said the concerto competition was an extremely rare experience.

"The concerto competition was very motivating," Herrera said. "I decided to submit my application for the concert and just practiced as much as I could. Just to be there and to be judged by renowned musicians here in Ohio was quite an experience and everything turned out really well."

Herrera described Saint-Saëns' "Concerto No. 1" as romantic.

"I enjoy romantic music the most because it is so sentimentally charged," Herrera said. "It's three movements that are all linked together. Basically, it's fast, slow and fast. You start very energetically and very passionately, then in the middle section it has nice and tender dance-like motions that are a like a music box and the last moment is very fast and shows my capabilities as a soloist."

"Concerto No. 1" was one of the first major pieces Herrera ever learned.

"I played it when I was in school in Mexico, then I played it again here with my teacher and after that I played it for the concerto competition," he said. "After that, I really knew that piece very well, which I think helped me a lot to perform it and be confident about it."

Herrera said it is exhilarating to play as a soloist.

"It's absolutely different when you're playing as a soloist," Herrera said. "All eyes are on you. You're the most important. When you're playing with the orchestra as an orchestra member, if you miss a note it's probably not going to be that much of a disaster, but if you miss a note as a soloist everyone will notice. It's a challenge that is pretty exciting and motivating."

Undergraduate winner, senior music performance major and violinist Yang Zeng, is also a concerto competition winner. He will perform "Concerto for Violin sand Orchestra in A minor, Op. 53" by Antonin Dvořák.

Liza Grossman, the music director for the KSU orchestra, recalls the day of the competition.

"There was a fine representation of musicians who auditioned," Grossman said. "The panel of judges were not Kent faculty, so it was really about how the musician played at that point. Everyone was wonderful except there was something extremely special about what José and Yang both brought to the competition. There was a level of musicianship that they each had not only as players, but with the pieces of music they were performing."

Grossman said the orchestra will also perform "The Planets," an orchestral suite by Gustav Holst.

"It's a staple in orchestral repertoire that is really respected and loved by concert goers and professionals," Grossman said. "It's a huge piece that I think students need to have the opportunity to perform because it's such a grand work."

Tickets for the performance are $10 for adults, $5 for students with valid ID and free for all full-time Kent Campus undergraduate students. Tickets are available weekdays from 12 to 5 p.m. at the performing arts box office located in the Music and Speech Building at 1325 Theatre Drive. The Cartwright Hall box office will be open one hour before the performance for walkup sales.

For more information, call 330-672-2787 or visit www.kent.edu/music.

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