DALLAS, TEXAS – SMU’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michelle Merrill (MM ‘12), played their second concert of the school year last Friday. The well-attended performance at Caruth Auditorium was also live-streamed and is available for viewing on YouTube.
The evening opened with a perennial audience favorite – Gioachino Rossini’s “Overture to William Tell” – which contains the gleeful, lively theme used in The Lone Ranger. Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Suite (Op. 54) followed, a colorful and picturesque set of four short pieces inspired by the composer’s Norwegian roots.
Following the intermission, the MSO delighted the audience with the Symphony No. 5 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of the most celebrated works of the late-romantic era.
The somber e-minor mood, intertwined with painfully beautiful melodies and a glorious finale, surely made it a memorable end to an evening of great music.
MSO violinist Faith Fang describes Tchaikovsky as the “definition of triumph,” referring to the concert’s title, “Of Fate and Triumph.”
“You can see the highs and lows,” Fang explains.
Fang adds that in addition to the music, it felt like a triumph seeing all their hard work come to fruition.
Percussionist Melody Tang explains that in the weeks leading up to the concert, the orchestra practiced for three hours a day, four days a week.
Ellie Hood, a junior at SMU, attended the concert and was in awe over the performance.
“I don’t think people realize how talented these students are,” Hood said.
Concert attendee Daniel Song was also impressed by the lively atmosphere the concert created.
“Not only are these very talented musicians, but they’re also invested in what they do, and you can see their energy and appreciation for their craft,” Song said. “[The] atmosphere [was] electric. Everyone in the audience started to feel it.”
For some students like Song, attending the concert brought inspiration for their personal musical endeavors; for others like Michelle Xu, it was a fantastic, new experience.
“It was my first time attending an SMU orchestra concert,” Xu said. “The atmosphere was just astonishing.”
The SMU community won’t have to wait too long for their next chance to hear the MSO perform live, as their third concert of the year, titled “From Darkness to Light”, will take place on the 11th and 13th of November. The concert will include Max Bruch’s first Violin Concerto (featuring SMU professor Alexander Sitkovetsky as the soloist), and Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
“I’m really excited to see the MSO continue to grow and improve. This is a big year of change; I’m just really excited to see how it’s going to continue to develop under Michelle’s leadership, and because we’ve got so many cool performances coming up,” Fang said.