On Friday evening, principal conductor Peter Oundjian will lead the Yale School of Music Philharmonia in the final performance of the 2018-19 concert season.
The program will include 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms’ first symphony, 19th and 20th century German composer Carl Reinecke’s Flute Concerto in D major and 21st century American composer Joan Tower’s “Made in America.” The concerto will feature Woolsey Hall concerto competition winner Jungah Yoon MUS ’19 as flute soloist.
“The energy on stage is intoxicating,” said Oundjian. “[Brahms’ First Symphony] is among the most beautiful and exciting listening experiences imaginable. Especially in the warm and lively acoustics of Woolsey, this piece really comes to life.”
Brahms began drafting the outline of his first symphony in 1862 and finished the work in the summer of 1876. The approximately 45-minute symphony, which took about 14 years to compose, is widely recognized as one of the greatest symphonies of the century.
“This work is long — but I love how each movement has it’s very distinct character,” said double bassist Ying-Yin Chia MUS ’20. “The intense first movement is succeeded by the tenderness of the second movement, followed by a graceful dance in the third movement and ending with a majestic and monumental last movement.”
At at the midpoint of the program, the Philharmonia will accompany Yoon on the Reinecke, a composition for solo flute and orchestra and Reinecke’s final concerto composition before his death. The 20-minute concerto comprises three movements.
“Reinecke is not very popular composer,” said Yoon. Yet, she added that this piece is “so important” because it is the only flute concerto from the romantic era. Yoon considers the Reinecke to be “very different” from other works composed during the period.
“For me, Reinecke is really meaningful because I feel strongly involved in this piece — I don’t know why,” said Yoon. “It’s very passionate and the second movement is really heart wrenching … it’s really, really beautiful,” she added.
The first full rehearsal with Yoon and the Philharmonia took place on Tuesday. While Yoon only has three total rehearsals with the orchestra, she considers Oundjian to be a great help during the process of putting together the solo and orchestral components of the piece.
Oundjian referred to Yoon as “a brilliant flutist and an absolutely natural collaborator.”
“I think [Oundjian is] very flexible about the pieces,” she said. “He gives [the orchestra] positive energy because he always told us stories about the pieces.”
For many musicians, visualizing a story helps them perform a given piece with more personal emotion. For Yoon, the concerto’s first movement symbolizes her time at Yale — her first time studying abroad. She described the movement as evoking feelings similar to those she felt when she first arrived in New Haven.
“I was so excited and happy, I think that matches the first movement,” she said.
For Yoon, the second movement represents the “hard times” at the School of Music and the third stands for “everything” she has experienced during her two years of study.
Yoon hopes that audience members “feel something” when she performs and noted that the concert will be “a good chance to listen to Reinecke and Brahms” side by side, as Brahms is a major influence on Reinecke’s work. Yoon will return to Yale next fall to pursue a master of musical arts degree.
The concert will conclude with “Made in America,” which premiered in New York in 2005. The single movement composition has a duration of about 13 minutes and builds its main theme on the popular patriotic tune “America the Beautiful.” Towers’ piece has received critical acclaim from music critics at publications including The New York Times.
“It’s an extremely well crafted and dramatic piece which shows off the virtuosity of our Yale musicians,” said Oundjian.
Friday’s concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall. Student tickets are free.
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