The University of Rochester's Chamber Orchestra will make its third appearance abroad with a 10-day sojourn in Italy beginning Monday, May 17. Thirty students will perform four public concerts and hold workshops with local students at a conservatory in Arezzo in Tuscany. The orchestra will be conducted by David Harman, professor of music and director of orchestral activities in the College Music Program at the River Campus.
The Chamber Orchestra, comprised of students from the River Campus, will perform an extensive repertoire, including Mascagni's "Intermezzo" from Cavalleria Rusticana and Corelli's "Concerto Grosso" for strings. The program also features classical symphonies by Haydn and J. C. Bach as well as music by American composers Charles Ives and Aaron Copeland.
"We're trying to present a variety of musical styles, with an ear toward having music that's lots of fun to play as well as entertaining to listen to," Harman explained.
This is the Chamber Orchestra's third foreign tour. The group toured Jamaica in 1996 and the Cayman Islands in 1997.
"The trip to Europe will be an opportunity for student players to experience a different cultural context than on previous tours," said Harman, who founded the group in 1993. "It gives us a chance to focus on a slightly different kind of music, too. Part of what we're doing is, of course, pure fun. But there is an educational component as well, because it really helps one to understand the context of the music if you've got a chance to actually be in the place where it was written."
The orchestra raised money for its trip in a variety of ways. The group presents an annual formal Viennese Ball of waltzes and polkas for students on campus. The musicians also have received fundraising support from Bausch & Lomb Inc., Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and the Office of the Dean of the College.
During the school year, the orchestra, which numbers 45 musicians of diverse academic backgrounds, performs four free concerts in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus as well as outreach programs in the Rochester community.
This year the group also released its first studio recording, a compact disc with performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major as well as a composition by Eastman School of Music graduate Jeremy Gill titled Yet the Star and Lilac Hold Me. Produced by Harman and Gill, the CD was recorded in March at the Eastman School of Music's Recording Arts studios. The recording is the first such project by an orchestra on the River Campus and is available at the University of Rochester Bookstore on the River Campus for $7.99.