Symphony offers historic and compelling music

Leia Ostermann

People can be moved by the tangible and visible aspect of music they see performed in a concert. The Sacramento State Symphony Orchestra, performing at 8 p.m. at Capistrano Hall this Saturday, wants to show students and the community the beauty of this classical genre of music.

Classical music is not something consistently listened to by American families, Leo Eylar, symphony director and music professor at Sac State, said 3 percent of the population listens to classical music.

“We would like people to become aware of the value of classical music and the great composers, but we also want them to be entertained,” Eylar said.

The performance will feature works by classic composers; Wagner, Sibelius, Dvorak, Berlioz and a specially arranged piece by Gershwin.

The Gershwin piece was scored and arranged for the orchestra by Vijay Chalasani, senior music major.

Chalasani arranged this work as a contest for a class last semester. This semester, he has the opportunity to see his arrangement realized and conduct it himself.

“Arranging is kind of like a creative writing assignment. There is no wrong or right answer. The only way you know you are doing a good job is if it is convincing,” Chalasani said. “I wanted to create something that gives a message and encourages interesting thoughts and a personal touch.”

The performers, though nervous for their first concert this semester, are also excited to share their love for the classical genre, Pablo Reyes, senior music major said.

Reyes said this concert is not just for music majors but for everyone.

“Our excitement and energy gets channeled through our orchestra and I think the audience can recognize that, whether or not they know music,” Reyes said.

Eylar’s students spoke of his passion and his talent with fondness, saying that it helped to inspire them as well.

“Leo is just a tangible guy and music is an exciting thing,” Chalasani said. “Because of that, Leo makes people better just by being around him. Without him the quality of the orchestra would be a lot less.”

Chalasani is not the only student to assist conducting for this concert. Graduate student Pavel Kravchuk is helping Eylar conduct. This is Kravchuk’s first public performance with the 65-member orchestra.

The orchestra was formed by audition only, involving mostly Sac State students, but also members from the community and community college students who wanted to devote their time to music.

“The point of this concert is not to have any long symphony pieces. It’s the exploration of short -length, popular favorites,” Eylar said. “Six relatively short pieces that are among the favorites of audiences the world over. This makes this concert fun for everyone.”

Classical music, even though it can be forgotten, is historical. The repertoire of the classical music in this concert is not only historical in the sense that the pieces were composed by great composers, but they were also composed at crucial times in history.

“The music is timeless. This is the kind of stuff that moved history forward and people enjoyed it just as much then as they do now,” Reyes said. “To some extent, this music is history.”

Leia Ostermann can be reached [email protected]