Orchestra concert emphasizes long-term student dedication

The Geneseo Symphony Orchestra is sure to delight in its last concert at 3 p.m. Sunday May 5 in Wadsworth Auditorium.

The concert, a “final bang” of sorts, will feature composer Edward Elgar’s recognizable “Pomp and Circumstance”, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor.

Eighteen talented musicians are saying farewell in this concert.

“This is really a pre-grad celebration,” professor of music James Walker said. “We have perhaps the finest group of graduating seniors in years.”

Walker will be conducting the Rachmaninoff piece, with senior Louis Lohraseb tackling its dramatic piano solo.

“The Rachmaninoff is bar-none the number one most-played concerto in the music world,” Lohraseb said.

And no wonder. With varied, exciting tempos, the piece shifts dramatically, being at times sultry, smooth, punctuated, dark, eruptive and tumultuous.

“The Rachmaninoff is one of the most difficult pieces in the [greater] concerto repertoire … it’s a real challenge,” President Christopher Dahl, an avid attendee of orchestral concerts on campus, said.

Lohraseb’s passion for the music is clearly evident in the energy of his performance, and the student and faculty orchestra is fully equipped to handle the piece. Their precise rhythmic timing makes the music enjoyable and enticing.

Dahl emphasized the impeccable involvement and dedication of the orchestra.

“I don’t know another undergraduate program - that’s not a conservatory - with this level of student participation,” he said. “Ever since I came here in 1994, I have been impressed with the quality of the music program, the level of performances, the size of our ensembles and the talent of our students.”

Several seniors, first violinist Hannah Garfield among them, will be playing “Pomp and Circumstance” for what is sure to be a tearful concert.

As a send-off to his place in the Yale University philharmonia assistant conductorship next fall, Lohraseb will conduct the Mozart, which, according to Dahl, “is the last in a series of four. It’s one of the most important and finest of Mozart’s symphonies.”

Make no mistake - this is not a concert that could put you to sleep. With the vivacity of the orchestra and the obvious explosiveness of the pieces themselves, the concert will certainly stun.

“This is, I think, one of the most exciting concerts in recent years at Geneseo,” Dahl said.

Walker called it “something really quite extraordinary.”