CSO brings Music and Beauty to Lane Community


Conducted by Riccardo Muti, musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed in the Lane auditorium on Nov.15. (Photo courtesy of Todd Rosenberg.)

By Daniela Ciesielski, Reporter

  For one night, music students swapped their normal spots on stage for seats in the auditorium, and listened as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave a memorable performance conducted by CSO music director Riccardo Muti.

  The free CSO concert was held Nov. 15 at 7:30 in the Lane auditorium. Among the pieces played were Schubert’s (Unfinished) Symphony No. 8 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2.

  The event was a special occasion; it gave the Lane community an opportunity to engage in a concert that brought “true music, beauty and love,” according to Muti, in his closing speech. The audience listened to the echo of music and watched as Muti passionately communicated with the musicians on stage. The orchestra was met with a standing ovation.

  Muti believes in strengthening the bond between the CSO and the community. In a written message, he said he finds that, “music and culture provide opportunities to communicate when words are insufficient.”

  Furthermore, Muti, who teaches young musicians in addition to conducting and composing, expressed in his speech the responsibility students have to bring beauty and honesty to the world.

  “The music you heard tonight is a message of love and beauty, and remember, only beauty with a capital B can save the world,” he said. “From your behavior and your attitude and your honesty, will be the honesty of this entire world.”

  Students couldn’t have been happier about the performance, and concluded that it truly was a gift.

  “I think it’s super cool to see people who have dedicated their life to music and who do this on a professional level. It gives us something to aspire to,” Lucy Hermann, Div.  050, said.

  “I agree,” Jake Nitzsche, Div. 953, said. “I think it’s really cool that we get to see kind of the pinnacle of music and ensembles that we can directly relate to and draw similarities and differences to, it’s very cool.”

  The conductor stayed after the performance for a quick meet and greet, near the main office, to chat with students and teachers. Students in the back of the gathering stood on their tiptoes to get a glance at the world famous conductor and eagerly listened to what he had to say. He took his time speaking and joking around with the group, even insisting that the students come visit the CSO during one of their rehearsals.

  In addition to the free community concert, students had the opportunity to learn from CSO’s best musicians through the ensemble and master classes arranged Nov. 10 and 13, respectively.

  The Nov. 10 ensemble performance was held in the auditorium during 7th and 8th period for Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta Orchestra. The ensemble consisted of five musicians who played a variety of pieces, including Romantic period pieces, tango and jazz.

  Students were given the chance to interact and ask the musicians questions throughout the session such as, “What inspired you to play music?” and “What can make my learning an instrument easier?”

  The musicians’ stories were comparable to most music students at Lane. Some of the musicians talked about how they took their first steps towards music by joining their school band or picking up an instrument at an early age.

 Nov.13 brought an interactive and special experience for students as well; they were able to participate in a master class with the CSO musicians.

  Orchestra teacher Mrs.Morales explained that the master class was similar to a recital atmosphere but would serve as a mini lesson for the students performing and for the students watching. The concertmaster would spend about 5-10 minutes with each performer and help to improve their playing. The students in the audience who were not performing would be able to learn by watching those who performed.

  Yuan-Quing Yu and John Yeh, CSO’s assistant concertmasters, spent 7th and 8th period instructing both orchestra and band students. Yu spent the class with the Symphony and Sinfonietta Orchestra in the orchestra room, while Yeh taught Symphonic Band in the band room.

  Approximately 15 students from the Symphonic Band and 7 students from the Sinfonietta Orchestra performed solo pieces in front of the concertmaster and their peers.

  Mia Williams, Div. 973, who plays violin in the Sinfonietta Orchestra, performed a piece titled “Lalo Symphonie Espagnole.” At first Williams was nervous to perform in front of Yu, but ended up appreciating the critique and advice she received.

  “I think master classes are a good way to get another person’s opinion, especially when they are well-renowned, like she [Yu] was,” Williams said. “As a violin student, a lot of the times you only get comments from your violin teacher or orchestra teacher, so to hear a professional’s perspective was really helpful.”

  Yu, who said she loves working with students, said the master class was an important opportunity for students who appreciate music but might not have the accessibility to these types of learning experiences.

  “The ones who want to be musicians, that’s something else — they will find other opportunities,” she said. “They will go to symphonies, go to see great performances. But for the ones who loves music but are not necessarily going into music, I think that is even more important to make that accessible and something to look forward to, and to know that you can improve whether you’re doing it for a living or not.”