Moving, awe-inspiring performance by Geneseo Symphony Orchestra

Eager attendees gathered to listen to the beautiful music played by the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra during their first concert of the year. Wadsworth Auditorium buzzed with anticipation on Sunday Oct. 15 as the audience waited to see the musical masterpieces that were in store for them.

The concert was conducted by chair of the department of music, director of choral activities and professor of music Gerard Floriano. Although he was filling in for this concert, it was apparent that he had an extensive musical background by how expressive and precise his actions were.

The concert began no differently than any professional performance, as concertmaster sophomore Steven Yee led the ensemble in tuning their instruments. When Floriano finally emerged, the crowd waited patiently for the first note to be played.

Aaron Copland’s “An Outdoor Overture” was the first of the two pieces played. Copland composed the piece in 1938 to expose young performers to contemporary American music, according to the concert program. 

The piece was lively with a quality that almost reflected being out in the elements. Each note plucked was like footsteps. The lovely trumpets and high-pitched woodwinds floated over the fluid sounds of the strings. Every stroke of the bows were in perfect synchronization as the performers moved with the music and their conductor.

Following the audience’s thunderous applause as the piece came to a close, Floriano proceeded to conduct “Symphony no. 9 in E minor,” also known as “From the New World,” by Antonín Dvořák, without a score. Floriano’s expansive knowledge of the piece helped engage the audience as he began directing.

The first movement, “Adagio,” was fast-paced. Its harsher sound awakened the audience, preparing the crowd for the other three spectacular movements. It was the perfect opening of the symphony.

The second movement, “Largo,” lived up to its title. The long, flowing phrases of the movement echoed through the auditorium. The movement evoked calmness, a different emotion than its precursor. The peacefulness overcame the performers and the audience, pleasing to everyone who was listening.

The third movement, “Scherzo: Molto vivace,” picked up the pace again. Its stunning and beautiful melody passed seamlessly through each section of the orchestra. The harmonies provided an amazing backdrop for the wondrous piece.

Although the previous three movements were amazing in their own regard, it was the fourth movement that took people’s breaths away. Once again, the tempo picked up, which livened up the audience. The changing dynamics of the section stood out the most, as they were clean and concise. 

“I think it was Dvorák’s ‘Symphony no. 9 movement four’ because I have played it before. It’s just the best movement,” pre-biology major freshman Elizabeth Kim said referencing the unique shift in the tempo.

As the final movement continued, there was a stint in the crowd as the anticipation for the final note grew. For some audience members, such as pre-biology major freshman Eliza Merges, the final chords signified all the hard work and dedication each musician put into the performance.

“I liked the ending chords of each movement. They were really wholesome and perfectly in tune,” Merges said. “It was like a feel-good moment because you know the musicians worked hard. It’s like they breathed a sigh of relief when they played that last note and the audience was captivated.”

Throughout the concert, the orchestra played with a bewitching vigor. Each player moved as one and each section sounded like one perfectly in tune instrument.