Here’s something we already know: Yalies are pretty lucky. But I’m not talking about the amazing academic opportunities or the unparalleled resources. I’m referring to the wide range of world-class performances and concerts we can attend on any given day. The Yale Philharmonia is one of those gems.
Friday night, the orchestra, made up largely of students from the School of Music, lead by professor Shinik Hahm, demonstrated their fantastic versatility and energy. What was most encouraging, and this is indicative of their concerts all year round, is the choice of repertoire. Enthusiasts of both new and old music were indulged with the Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Titan,’ excerpts from Berg’s Wozzeck and a newly composed piece by the School of Music’s Andy Akiho, Concerto for Steel Pans and Orchestra. The retrogressive programme injected new life and meaning into the old. Somehow, by listening Akiho’s fresh take on traditional timbres, it informed the way one approached the — now century-old — Mahler. Of course, the quality of the performance didn’t hurt the Philharmonia. Both soloists, Akiho and Baty, commanded the stage, recreating the theater of musical performance. However, I believe the magic largely rested in the commitment to an original look and the juxtaposition of different sound worlds. Classical music is always striving to find the fresh and to revitalize the old with new vigour and the Yale Philharmonia is decidedly making steps towards that ideal.
Correction: January 24, 2011
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this post misstated the date of the concert. It was Friday, not Saturday.