BYU-Idaho's Music Department will have its first Symphony Orchestra concert of the semester next week.
“Most of the students will be music majors and so,” said Dr. Robert Tueller, the orchestra’s director. “It’s part of their education to perform essentially the master works.”
Noelle Singleton is the concert master for the orchestra. She said the students have worked hard on the pieces and they have many talented musicians this semester. Singleton is a music education major with an emphasis in classical music. This is her second semester as concert master.
The concert master wears several hats within professional orchestras like interfacing with the conductor and musicians, tuning the strings, and planning sectionals. She also leads the first violin section and gives feedback to all of the string sections.
“The assignment is based solely on auditions at the beginning of the semester. It is usually an upperclassman, but you don’t have to be a performance major or senior to be concert master. More than anything, it’s based on how well you did in your audition,” Singleton said.
This is her last semester at BYU-Idaho. She will begin her student teaching this fall in Ogden, Utah.
Singleton, like all the other students in the orchestra, has spent the first several weeks of this semester meticulously practicing her music. Tueller said as they get closer to their performance, they work on more than just the details of the music, but the larger sections. But they do more than just practice.
“I’m also really interested in them getting to know the music via recordings. It’s important that they have it in their ear and not just reading it on a page. They have to make up for a little bit of lost time with a lot of listening and that’s part of their preparation,” Tueller said.
The repertoire for this concert will include Benjamin Britten’s “Sinfonietta,” Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Joseph Hayden’s “103rd Symphony.”
“I’m under some restraints with Covid protocols so, the symphony’s a little smaller than it normally would be. So, my choices have to reflect that and that’s one of the reasons I chose the Benjamin Britten ‘Sinfonietta’ because it’s written for a smaller orchestra,” he said.
Each piece has deep contextual meaning for the composers and for the students studying their works. For example, Britten was 18 when he wrote his piece and gained wide attention.
“That piece is really fun because it’s very thinly textured, but it’s layered a lot from the different instruments so it’s a 20th century piece with a lot of late romantic influence,” Singleton said.
The Wagner piece is much more emotional. Tueller described it as a symphonic poem.
“It’s meant to invoke this kind of exotic, 19th century kind of sound. Wagner was a dramatic composer of opera so there’s elements of that within the music,” he said.
Finally, the Hayden piece will round out the evening. Singleton said the piece is nicknamed “The Drumroll Symphony because it starts with a drumroll. Its actual name is the “103rd Symphony,” which means Hayden wrote more than 100 symphonies in his life.
“The majority of his career was spent working for nobility in Vienna where he was required to perform these symphonies week after week for entertainment for his patron. Well, by the end of his life, he was no longer working for his patron, but he was famous all over Europe because he was so good. So, he took his later symphonies to London and had them performed there and this is one of them. Where he received a lot of critical acclaim for it, and it really established him as one of the greatest composers of that time period,” Tueller said.
The BYU-Idaho Symphony Orchestra will perform Thursday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. Their performance will be live streamed from the BYU-Idaho live events page.