School of Music students found new orchestra

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Photo by Ken Yanagisawa .

Students from the Yale School of Music have formed a new chamber orchestra.

The Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, which consists of approximately 25 members, will make its debut this Friday at St. Mary’s Church. Louis Lohraseb MUS ’16, who pioneered the group, said he first though about founding the orchestra after noticing that orchestral chamber works — particularly pieces from the classical and baroque period — were severely underperformed at Yale.

He said he created the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra to perform these works and to offer Yale students more performance opportunities. Though other chamber groups on campus, such as the Cantata Profana have been playing smaller eclectic works, the new group will provide an opportunity for Yale musicians to perform small orchestral chamber works from this underrepresented period, he explained.

The largest piece on Friday’s program, Austrian composer Joseph Haydn’s 85th Symphony, requires twenty-five players, whereas most symphony orchestras contain almost one hundred members, Lohraseb explained. He added that larger orchestras such as the Yale Philharmonia cannot perform many classical period pieces because those works do not require many players. The limited orchestration would likely exclude many orchestra members.

Several School of Music students interviewed commented that while all musicians have studied Haydn, Mozart and Bach, few perform their chamber works because most conservatory orchestras play music for larger groups.

“Having such a small orchestra makes everyone an integral part of the ensemble,” Lohraseb noted, adding that pieces such as Mozart’s 29th Symphony were selected for their bravura. The works feature virtuosic passages that allow musicians to show off their skills, he said.

Other classical works that the orchestra will perform are Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 5, which Lohraseb explained was chosen for its ability to highlight the harpsichord as a powerful solo instrument, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola, which he believes shows Mozart at his best.

Concertmaster Mélanie Clapiès MUS ’14 said that because the orchestra is not a mandatory ensemble, all members are participating of their own volition. She added that she appreciates everyone’s excitement for and commitment to the new project.

Caitlin Pequignot ’14, who also plays violin in the Yale Symphony Orchestra, emphasized the amount of energy she thinks has emanated from rehearsals, adding that she has enjoyed working with such a wide range of talented musicians. Lohraseb noted that he hopes the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra will continue with more chamber orchestra concerts next year and potentially branch out into other cities.

The ensemble has been rehearsing at the New Haven Lawn Club.

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