Orchestra to Travel to China
The Oberlin Orchestra is attempting a grandiose tour through six cities in China, performing ten concerts in nine days. The key word here is “intensity.”
The students are more than excited.
“It’s going to be an amazing tour with lots of great music,” said trumpeteer junior Avi Bialo. “The rehearsals sound great, although they were hard and exhausting.”
Bialo believes that the tour to China will give him a taste of what touring with a professional orchestra feels like. He feels that he will be better prepared after this trip to succeed in his professional life.
Oboist senior Jessica Pearlman toured Japan a couple of years ago and expects that China will surprise her.
“I love to travel and I love to do music, so the fact that I’m able to do both at once fascinates me.” said Pearlman.
She feels that the trip will be almost brutally hard, considering that the orchestra will travel across half the world and be forced to adapt quickly to different cities, different halls and a different program for almost every concert.
“But I will learn so many things; touring in another country, such as China, will teach me more about music and music-making than being in school,” Pearlman said.
For concertmaster John Freivogel, this will be the first time he has participated in something like this. “The experience...will be a test both physically and mentally,” he said.
The orchestra will arrive on the night of Dec. 24 and two concerts will be given the very next day.
“The program of music is fun, but the mental and physical challenge will be very real. If any of us are lucky enough to make a living performing, the experience from this China tour will be invaluable,” said Freivogel.
Harpist sophomore Meredith Clark thinks that the trip will be filled with the unexpected.
“But nonetheless, the experience will be great!” she enthused. This will be her first orchestral tour.
“The Oberlin Orchestra is absolutely professionally built, although we’re students,” Clark said.
“I’m interested in how different the pieces will sound in each performance, how exactly the conditions will change the way we hear and perform music.”
Flautist sophomore Martha Long looks forward to getting on the plane. “It will be awesome — new country, great orchestra, I’ll be playing with friends — this kind of experience is priceless!” said Long. “Some of the concerts will be broadcasted, so a great responsibility lies on our shoulders — we present not only the Oberlin Conservatory, but the American education system, our whole culture.”
She, too, is a newcomer to a hectic tour schedule. Long says that she has never prepared programs that will be repeated more than once.
“This is my first big step in the life of a professional musician!” said Long.
Conductor Bridget-Michaele Reischl will guide the Oberlin Orchestra through its grandiose tour de force.
“The rehearsals were intense, since we had six of them to prepare a program and a half. The students are working really hard,” Reischl said. “The trip to China will be a great change for them. It will be fun and they’re really excited; the contrast in [Chinese] culture in comparison to the American will be quite enthralling for them. It’s very different and yet very much the same at once.”
She thinks that it will be challenging for the members of the orchestra to learn how non-Western people hear Western music. “This won’t change them only as musicians, it will change them as people,” she said.
As well as the well-known orchestral excerpts from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Bizet’s Carmen, Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 5 and others, the program will include Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, featuring soloist Thomas Rosenkranz, OC ’99.
“I know it will be very intense and I prepared for it,” he said.
Rosenkranz loves the idea of performing with the Oberlin Orchestra, since this will be his first time with the ensemble.
“There’s so much enthusiasm and energy in the air and I’m excited to start touring,” said Rosenkranz. “The students will learn a lot about the foreign audience and how they react. It will be interesting in so many ways.”
“The tour, considering its hard program, is a remarkable event for the undergraduate students of the Oberlin Conservatory,” said Conservatory Dean David Stull. “They will learn how to cope with the changes in foreign environment and how to give the best from them, no matter what.”
Stull believes that this experience will be one of a kind for everyone participating in the orchestra.
“Sometimes the challenges will press really hard on the students, but
they won’t allow themselves to fall apart. They are extraordinarily
determined, they have great skills and they are ready to face this new
experience that awaits them,” said Reischl.