For its opening concert of the 2015–16 season, the Yale Philharmonia will perform old and new works alike, as it combines iconic works of Russian music with a contemporary piece from South America.
This Friday at Woolsey Hall, the Philharmonia will perform under the guidance of renowned Uruguayan conductor Jose Serebrier, presenting pieces by Russian composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Modest Mussorgsky, as well as a piece by Serebrier himself titled “Symphony No. 2: Partita.” Serebrier said that performing his symphonic piece has high sentimental value because it was his first recorded work and earned him his first orchestral conducting job.
“Normally I don’t include works of mine in my concerts because there is so much music by other composers that I like to promote, but this concert is a very special occasion” Serebrier said.
Serebrier added that his symphony was written when he was the same age as the students he will be conducting on Friday, which adds to the piece’s personal value.
The concert will begin with a performance of Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise,” a piece Serebrier has conducted twice before — once for the first Rostropovich International Festival in 2007 and once as a recording for Warner Classics. Serebrier said the ensemble will also perform Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” noting that while the piece has been orchestrated in radically different fashions by French composer Maurice Ravel and British conductor Leopold Stokowski, the Philharmonia will perform Ravel’s version.
“There have been over 50 different orchestrations of this fascinating, magical work, and the Ravel version remains the most performed” Serebrier said.
The first rehearsal for the concert took place on Monday. According to Ron Cohen Mann MUS ’16, an oboist in the Yale Philharmonia, the orchestra worked with Serebrier mainly on fine details and ensembles. He explained that while the ensemble had been rehearsing for the concert on its own before Monday, it only began working with Serebrier this week.
Serebrier said that his conducting style is inspired by the ever-changing audiences he performs to around the world, adding that his favorite pieces are whichever ones he is conducting at a given moment.
Thomas Duffy, professor of music and director of University Bands, explained that all School of Music instrumentalists are required to perform in the Philharmonia. To expose the group to a variety of musical styles and to meet its high performance standards, Duffy noted, it is necessary to have the group perform with conductors from within and outside of Yale.
The next Yale Philharmonia concert will take place on Oct. 16.