Orchestra ready to play out the season

Ready to play out the rest of the school year, the Sonoma State University Symphonic Orchestra is putting on their last show of the semester titled “Season Finale: Late Idyll” on April 27 at 7:30 in Weill Hall.

Organized by Director of Orchestral Studies Alexander Kahn, the ensemble will perform two extensive pieces, Saint-Saens’ “Concerto No. 1 for Cello in A Minor” and Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2 in D Major,” both containing several movements each. “Concerto No. 1 for Cello in A Minor” will delight the program after Brynn Dally’s victory in last year’s concerto competition, where she performed the piece with just piano accompaniment. Now having won the competition, Dally’s piece will played with the assistance of the full orchestra. Both the Saint-Saens and Brahms pieces stem from the romantic period and respectfully pay tribute to the styles that came before them.

Ryan Contreras tunes his French Horn in rehearsal for the Symphonic Orchestra concert on Saturday, April 27. (STAR // Brandon Sparks)

Ryan Contreras tunes his French Horn in rehearsal for the Symphonic Orchestra concert on Saturday, April 27. (STAR // Brandon Sparks)

“‘Concerto No. 1 for Cello in A Minor’ is really an amazing work, with intricate lines, fast passages and huge amounts of energy coming from both the soloist and ensemble,” said Kaylee Schneider, sophomore flutist and Music Education major.

Sonoma State Symphonic Orchestra is putting together their second performance of the semester conducted by Kahn. Having created the Symphonic Orchestra in his very first year in the department, this is the fourth year that Kahn has been with Sonoma State, and he already has such a deep rooted connection with his students and members of the Music department.

Kahn has provided unique experiences to students through masterclasses, guest performance artists, and performance opportunities. No matter the ability level someone possess, Kahn offers ways for the student to advance to a higher level.

 “I owe many of my most formative undergrad experiences to him. He is somebody I truly respect and admire,” said senior violinist and Music Education major Caleb Forschen. “Dr. Kahn’s students know that he is invested in their growth as a musician and as a person.”

This is the first year that Kahn will be saying goodbye to graduating seniors he has had as students since freshman year. Kahn has impacted many through Freshman Learning Communities and orchestral teachings. 

Seniors aren’t the only students who are deeply impacted by the sincerity of Kahn’s instruction.

“Dr. Kahn pushes me to be a better musician and person,” said junior trombone player and Music Education major John Mayer. “He has had lots of influences on me. Mostly, he made me really want to work on my ear training and really work on my intonation.” 

During Schneider’s first year at Sonoma State, Kahn took time to focus his teachings on bringing awareness to how musicians can sustain instrument related injuries, which is an example of how his minor influences create a bigger impact over the years.

“Kahn’s definitely pushed me to my limits in orchestra,” said Schneider. “His expectations and how he runs the class is how the orchestra sounds as good as it does.”

The Symphonic Orchestra consists of a mix of Sonoma State students and community members. Members from the community are welcomed to join any ensemble at Sonoma State. Auditions for a spot in the orchestra, are held the first week of every semester and is open to all students regardless of major.

The orchestra contains four sections of instruments, wind, brass, string and percussion.

Extensive amounts of preparation have been put into this performance. 

 One thing not only guests but also students can look forward to is being able to utilize Weill Hall. The uniquely crafted building is certain to showcase the complexity of the two pieces and delight audience and performer alike.

“This is a very difficult set and our orchestra has put in a lot of time trying to make it sound as good as possible,” said Mayer. “If nothing else come to hear how amazing some of your peers are. Brynn will blow your mind.”

Tickets are $8 for general admission and free for Sonoma State students. Students can use the code “SSUStudent” to claim their two free tickets, and faculty and staff can use the code “SSUFacStaff” for discounted tickets.


Arts & Entertainment Editor Alison Snider contributed to this article.