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Yale Undergraduate Chamber Orchestra presents one-night-only live performance ‘All-American’

Yale Undergraduate Chamber Orchestra places on an bold program that includes American composers after latest changes to YUCO’s operation

Hannah Kotler

1:23 a.m., Nov 15, 2022

Contributing Reporter



Courtesy of Ben Beckman

To rejoice the upcoming vacation season, Yale’s Undergraduate Chamber Orchestra will carry out a one-night live performance known as “All-American” within the Saybrook Underbrook.

“All-American” — scheduled for 8 pm Nov. 15 — would be the second of roughly 11 concert events YUCO has deliberate for this 12 months. This season, the ensemble put collectively deeply researched packages grouped geographically. “All-American” includes a repertoire of American classical composers.

“We do not have the sensation that we have now to determine how one can greatest play with each other every time we strategy a brand new program as a result of the ensemble is totally different,” Kameron Duncan ’24, YUCO’s pianist stated. “Consistency offers us the flexibility to progress from program to program. We actually need to be intentional about constructing coherent and comprehensible packages in addition to attention-grabbing and enjoyable to play items.”

Ben Beckman ’24, creative director and conductor of the ensemble, defined that he wished to compile packages that make sense as a substitute of packages that function randomly chosen classical items that would not have an underlying theme.

In keeping with Beckman, the all-American theme was chosen with the time of 12 months in thoughts.

“Thanksgiving traditionally has been a really American vacation,” Beckman stated. “To do an American program earlier than Thanksgiving would make lots of sense. All of those items had been written in America and take care of the themes of American identification, both questioning it or coping with it in a method or one other.”

In earlier years, YUCO introduced two to a few tasks yearly, and its musicians shifted from a challenge to challenge foundation. This 12 months, now underneath the management of Beckman, all YUCO members take part in rehearsals for 2 and a half hours each Tuesday, whatever the efficiency schedule. This modification enhanced the social side of YUCO.

“We have been in a position to play much more music,” Beckman stated. “Simply because everybody is aware of one another, everybody is aware of how everybody else performs. The ensemble feeling throughout the group is basically tight. That has allowed us to program a way more intense season.”

Annie Citron ’25, emphasizes the collaborative side that’s distinctive to a chamber ensemble and that it has made rehearsals extra productive, saying that it’s a “cool social area” that has “actually added to the manufacturing of music.”

The live performance will open with Jesse Montgomery’s “Starburst,” “a enjoyable and related” opener that corresponds to the star-spangled American flag.

“I discover that it’s a good piece to kind of virtually lose your self in,” stated Duncan. “There’s lots of ahead momentum, depth. It is very driving rhythmically, and that makes it enjoyable and thrilling as a performer.”

Following that will probably be Charles Ives’ programmatic piece, “The Unanswered Query,” that includes strings, 4 woodwinds, solo trumpet and two conductors. The piece, although well-known within the music world, is never programmed, based on Beckman.

In keeping with Beckman, there will probably be a narrative represented within the efficiency, in the end questioning what it means to be American.

The trumpet is asking this query of the universe or God, and the winds are like deities responding or not responding or not responding to the trumpet,” he stated. “They simply get increasingly more exasperated, because the trumpet simply retains asking, and there’s no reply.”

This system’s third piece is Ulysses Kay’s “Suite from ‘The Quiet One,” a three-movement work particularly for chamber orchestra that samples excerpts from Kay’s movie rating of Sidney Meyer’s eponymous documentary movie. Kay’s music comes out of the American Romantic custom, and is regarded by each Beckman and Citron as “phenomenal.”

“Kay’s not as well-known as a result of he did not obtain publicity; he is a Black composer within the Nineteen Forties and 50s.” stated Citron, who performs French horn in Kay’s piece. “However you already know, it is simply pretty much as good as Copeland.”

Beckman additionally emphasised the significance of programming a various season.

“It is essential that the ensemble doesn’t have a program of all lifeless white males, which might simply not be consultant of artwork making and what we needs to be doing as an ensemble within the twenty first century,” he stated.

The live performance will conclude with Aaron Copland’s staple chamber orchestra repertoire, “Appalachian Spring Suite.”

“Appalachian Spring” was initially composed for Martha Graham’s Ballet Firm and tells the story of a wedding within the rural Appalachians.

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