University orchestra performs in Italy

MUSIC AND MEMORIES--When the University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra traveled to Arezzo, Italy, in May, the 30 students who participated had a chance to experience music from a historical vantage point.

T he University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra made its third appearance abroad with a 10-day sojourn in Italy in May. Thirty River Campus students presented four public concerts and held workshops with local students at a conservatory in Arezzo in Tuscany. David Harman, professor of music and director of orchestral activities in the College Music Program, conducts the orchestra, which he founded in 1993.

"It was a great experience for all," Harman said about the trip. "We got to perform music in spaces similar to those it was composed for. Being in places like Florence and Venice makes real some of the things you talk about in music history. You feel it."

While in Italy, Harman said the students formed strong bonds with the families whose homes they stayed in and connected to concert-goers. "The audiences were very warm and receptive, and very appreciative," he said.

During the school year, the orchestra, which numbers 45 musicians of diverse academic backgrounds, presents free concerts in Strong Auditorium as well as outreach programs in the Rochester community.

This year the ensemble also released its first studio recording, a compact disc with a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major along with a composition by Eastman School graduate Jeremy Gill. Produced by Harman and Gill, the CD was recorded at ESM's Recording Arts & Services studios and is the first such project by a River Campus orchestra.

For information on auditions for URCO and the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, see the "In Brief" section.

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