This year's new Peabody Concert Orchestra performed its first concert last Friday night. Although these new students have been involved in the orchestra for only a month, the ensemble managed to put on a polished performance.
The concert began with the "Promenade Overture," a more modern piece by American composer John Corigliano, which was originally commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was an excellent choice to exhibit the individual virtuosity of the new Peabody students. Interesting and pleasant, the piece allowed the talented wind and brass players to shine through.
The brass and percussion sections were the only ones on the stage at the start of the concert. As the music began, each section entered the stage while playing their instruments. If the audience wasn't a fan of the modern styled musical choice, at least there was something visually interesting to hold their attention.
The ensemble then performed Chopin's second piano concerto, featuring the Harrison L. Winter Piano Competition winner, Hee Youn Choue.
Choue is currently an artist diploma candidate at Peabody. She played the concerto with style as expected from someone with such an impressive performance background; she's won many other competitions in Korea and the United States, including winning the Young Artist Concert sponsored by the Keum Ho Cultural Foundation and taking second place in the Yale Gordon Piano Competition.
The accompaniment was solid, but Choue stole the spotlight from the orchestra with her performance.The soloist's technique was impressive, and she played Chopin's concerto correctly - with Romantic expression.
Although the music for the rest of the orchestra was not as complex, the musicians didn't treat it as such. Although their parts weren't terribly exciting, the piece as a whole certainly won the crowd over. The final piece of the evening was a theme and variations by Sir Edward Elgar.
The theme was called "Enigma," but once they had played a few variations, it was clear that there was no confusion; they knew the piece inside and out.
Each variation on the theme's melody had its own unique personality, ranging from technical and flashy to slow and elegiac. The culmination of the piece ended with strength and verve.
From the moment the orchestra "ran" onto the stage, it was clear that they were all talented students who had worked hard to perfect the pieces for this concert. Even with all the transitions of a new year, they still performed well for such a new ensemble.
Additionally the Peabody Concert Orchestra adds a bit more personality to the classical music experience, making it more approachable. If this concert is any indication of what is to come, it is clear that the new Peabody Concert Orchestra will have a successful season.