Michael Barenboin and the West Eastern Divan Ensemble: A two-hour
performance that sounds like you’re coming home.
Written by Jackie Dominguez De Paz
quote by Ryunosuke Satoro that says, “Individually, we are one drop. Together,
we are an ocean”. I believe this quote perfectly describes The Western Divan
Ensemble orchestra led by Michael Barenboin. There is no doubt that every
player within the orchestra is unbelievably talented, however when they come together,
it sounds like what I would imagine the gates of heaven opening to sound like.
Johnathan Swensen is a Danish-American classical cellist. He is an emerging performer in the classical world and this performance was a testament to that. The first thing that I would like to point out about this performance was that it was in a “salon style.” When I saw it described as such on the website, I was honestly a little confused as to what that means. I’ve been inside Foellinger Great Hall, but I’ve never heard of a performance that was in this salon style. Unfortunately, I had a discounted balcony seat but salon style puts the audience on stage with the performer. The entire stage is filled with chairs, leaving a small section for the performance. There are also refreshments such as wine and coffee offered. I found this super interesting but it made sense to me knowing a bit about the classical music world. It felt like a very “high class” or elitist event but I don’t mean to say that in a bad way. I love classical music, and I loved this concert.
The heavenly strings that pulled my
heart so perfectly and unexpectedly.
Written by Jackie Dominguez De Paz
a world where everyone is in a hurry, it feels like one never gets the time to
close their eyes, stop for a while and think. To think about everything that life
has thrown at us but we have never taken the time to fully understand. A one
hour cello performance by Jonathan Swensen allowed me to reflect on my thoughts
that have been suppressed for so long.
As I took my seat in the Foellinger Great Hall, the nice lady next to me asked, “Are you a student here?” I answered “Yes,” to which she replied, “You must be the only one not at Kam’s right now.” I found her comment extremely funny so I was already in the best mood when the performance began. I’ve never seen a live orchestra perform, only in cartoons if I’m being honest here, so I didn’t know what to expect. The conductor gave a speech before they started. He was a joyful and lively man contrary to the serious and mean conductors I had seen on television. He put a smile on all of our faces.
As shown in the title, this show called Campus and University Band featured a band consists of undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Illinois, which means this band represents all the students and it made me feel warm to watch them perform.
To be honest, there were not a lot of people there to watch the performance tonight, and I was surprised to find out the hall wasn’t close to full at all. After thinking through the possible reason, I suppose that students might be busy on a Sunday night, especially during the final week. Otherwise, people would love to watch a show like the University Band.
The show turned out to be a success, and it was lovely to see a lot of students here to support their friends on the stage. One thing I noticed was that all the music played are written not long ago, which are all from the 20th and the 21th century. Although people might prefer to listen to music from a long time ago, but it was a pleasure to taste some modern music.
I wasn’t abe to stay for the whole show and had to leave during halftime because of a meeting. However, I enjoyed the show so much that I felt pitty the moment I left the entrance. The University band did a great job of showing that students can never be ignored and could be comparable to some of the greatest people in the world. And, I’m so proud of those students who provide us a great show tonight.
Jazz has always been something that I’m interested in and Chris Botti has already amazed me last time. Last week I was lucky enough to watch another show presented by Wynton Marsalis and his band, which gave me a whole new experience with Jazz music.
The show featured both ensemble playing and solo showcase. The combination of the two factors was something I had never seen during a Jazz performance. At that night, the band usually start with group playing, and musicians would go by different order to show us a solo part of several instruments. After a part was finished, Wynton Marsalis would introduce the musicians who just played solo to us to let the audience get familiar with each of them. This kind of performance really let us interact with everyone specifically in the band instead of listening to a whole group of people without knowing them in detail.
The show was completely different from the show by Chris Botti. Wynton Marsalis gave us a show that was more of a traditional Jazz performance with everyone dressed officially and present us with all kinds of things that were originally included in Jazz. Chris Botti’s show was more of a modern Jazz performance on the other hand. All of them dressed causally and I found them to be a city band in a society that fits the world today. Also, their instruments are more modern and I even saw electric guitar during the show.
The show didn’t have a specifically one moment that stood out to me, but the show itself had already surprised me with the valuable experience. I haven’t watched a traditional band performance in years and I nearly forgot how they performed. Wynton Marsalis reminded me of all the shows I had seen before when I was young and I was just missing a lot of things during the show.
Wynton Marsalis has crafted music for over thirty years not only alone but with his diverse ensemble. Bringing together some of the best jazz soloists together to form a group that really develops and hones their compositions to bring together something that really allows the audience to listen and appreciate what they have mastered. In this 2 hour performance, accompanied by a 20 minute intermission in between, we were presented with various compositions, both original and pieces added with a unique flavor, that really showed why Wynton Marsalis and his ensemble have achieved as much as they have.
Wynton Marsalis is a trumpeter and director whose skills left the Foellinger Great Hall in awe. Leading the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is not an easy work, but Marsalis created a synergic experience in which every member shone whenever a solo performance made everyone applaud. The structure of the melodies played were perfect for building up either a strong joint piece or a striking solo. The mastery of the artists got a well-deserved double standing ovation at the end.
The 50th Anniversary Krannert Center Performing Arts Celebration was done with tranquil and serene music. This event was led by Wilson Poffenberger, a student from the school of music who was selected based on his skills during recital auditions. I don’t think I have ever seen a performance where at the center of it was a saxophone player.