Sac State’s Symphony Orchestra brings Dvorak’s work to life

The ensemble performed a symphony for a full crowd


Raymond Purscell

The Sac State symphony orchestra prepares for their performance in Capistrano Hall on Oct. 13, 2022. The first piece performed was Overture No. 1 in E minor, Op. 23 by Louise Farrenc.

Raymond Purscell

The lights dimmed as the symphony orchestra rose from their seats. Their conductor walked in right on cue and once he took center stage, they were seated. Without any introduction, Greg Brucker, graduate student conductor, took up his baton and they were off. 

The concert on Thursday night was the first performance of the Sacramento State Symphony Orchestra this semester. Two musical pieces were played within the concert’s hour-long runtime. 

The first was Overture No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 23 by Louise Farrenc, conducted by graduate student conductor Greg Brucker. The second was Symphony No. 6 in D Major, Op. 60 by Antonin Dvorak, conducted by Ryan Murray.

“The first one they put on really stuck to me,” said Tonallo Colon, a junior photography major.

Violins led the overture as the rest of the ensemble laid the foundation. The soprano strings danced their melody over the top of the supporting horns and low strings. They played their 16th note motif with intensity, creating an upbeat atmosphere for this piece.

Brucker matched this energy through his expressive directions.

“It’s only week seven of the semester so to put on a full symphony like that is a major undertaking and I feel the students did a great job,” conductor Ryan Murray said.

The second piece was a full symphony written by Antonin Dvorak in 1880, featuring four movements and lasting about half an hour. This piece is Dvorak painting the beauty he saw in the countryside through Czech folk music influences. 

Graduate student Ryan Datar poses outside of his locker after his performance with the Sac State symphony orchestra on Oct. 13, 2022. Ryan played both the horn and the violin for this performance.
(Raymond Purscell )

“Today felt pretty good, everyone was pretty on it today,” horn performance graduate Ryan Datar said. “They’ve been working pretty hard though, especially after it took a bit for things to settle in this year, but I think everyone kind of figured it out.”

Ryan is the principal horn player for the symphony orchestra. He played the violin and the horn during Thursday’s performance, switching to the horn after the first piece.

“I really enjoyed it. I love hearing all their music,” junior civil engineering major Adam Mohammed said. “The pieces they played were really provocative. It was just a nice experience overall.”

The venue was mostly full. Students, visiting family, friends and local music lovers packed the seats in Capistrano Hall.

The symphony orchestra will perform once more this fall semester. Their next performance is scheduled for Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

“Knowing the amount of work that I’ve put in, so far, is coming to some sort of fruition is satisfying,” said Martin Uytingco, a senior and the principal bassoon player for the orchestra.