Orchestras and Wind Ensembles perform in annual Winter Concert

Lauren Kim and Morgan Smith

With composer Eric Ewazen watching on in the audience, students performed in the UD Winter Wind Ensemble and Orchestra Concert directed by Music Teachers Michael Bomwell and Nathan Hetherington in Gross Theatre on Thursday.

Both the wind ensemble and sinfonietta played pieces by Ewazen, a composer at The Julliard School, said Cynthia Kaiser (12). One of the reasons a Ewazen piece was chosen was because of his planned visit to the school, Kaiser said.

“This is a special circumstance, as we have a guest composer visiting, so I had to choose a piece of his that we could perform and prepare for the concert this month. I did some research into his works, and ultimately chose a piece that I was familiar with,” Bomwell said.

The wind ensemble played Ewazen’s “A Hymn for The Lost and The Living” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” said Lorenzo Hess (12).

A “Hymn for the Lost and the Living” is dedicated to the victims of 9/11, an event to which Ewazen has a personal connection to, said Kaiser.

“He recalled when his trumpet playing friend, who was also a volunteer firefighter, began playing ‘Taps’ in the rubble,” she said.

Kaiser found it beautiful to hear the meaningful relationship behind the piece, she said.

“For sinfonietta, I feel like it’s a really special moment because this is one of the few times we’ve gotten to work with a living composer which as you can imagine is rare in the classical music world,” Adrian Rogers (12) said. Ewazen was incredibly friendly which made working with him a special experience, Rodgers said.

The orchestra played a Star Wars suite composed by John Williams, said Mandy Liu (10). Specifically, they played the Princess Leia theme, throne room theme, and end credits theme.

“At least for the senior class, Star Wars has always been something that we’ve really wanted to work on,” Rogers said. 

The Star Wars suite proved to be quite difficult, but rehearsing for it was very fun, Rogers said. “It might be one of the hardest things we’ve ever played in orchestra. It requires a lot of skills we’ve learned through the years…it’s like a big culmination of everything we’ve been working toward as orchestra students,” he said.

Another difficulty faced was the allotted time slot. “I think it was really challenging to see how much we could prepare in a short amount of time,” said Kaiser.

“I’m really excited for the students to have this experience of a composer residency, as it’s an opportunity that they won’t have very often as ensemble players,” said Mr. Bomwell.