Symphony heard on campus

By Megan Bodenschatz, Arts & Life Editor

Under the direction of Christopher Wilkins, the Akron Symphony Orchestra had their opening night on Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at EJ Thomas Hall.

Before the performance, every instrument section was tuned to the oboe because oboes are not able to be tuned using any other method. They cannot be tuned without ruining the instrument after it has been made. After every instrument was properly tuned, the conductor came out, bowed to the crowd’s applause and started the performance.8639598283_f7947de34b_o

They opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which has never seemed so beautiful.  Orchestral versions of our nation’s anthem are not heard too often. Usually there is some pop star standing in the middle of a basketball court or on the pitcher’s mound singing their own interpretation of the song. It was nice to listen to such a raw and simplistic version of the anthem.

Once everyone settled back into their seats, the orchestra launched into Ron Nelson’s “Savannah River Holiday,” an orchestral overture. Before the intermission, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 25” in C major was played. The orchestra was accompanied by Levi Hammer, assistant conductor, on the piano. This piece is comprised of three movements: allegro maestoso, andante and allegretto.

After a short intermission, Johannes Brahms’ “Symphony No. 1” in C minor was played. The four movements in this piece are allegro, andante sostenuto, un poco allegretto e grazioso and adagio.

All of the synchronized movements of the violin section were mesmerizing. Every violinist was in tune with one another and the fluid motion of their bows always caught your eye. In addition to their playing being in sync, their body movements also moved together. You could see their bodies moving along with the music they were playing as if they were a part of the song and their violins were just an extension of their bodies.

As if the violins were not beautiful enough, pianist Hammer put the audience into a trance-like state with his exquisite playing. For those lucky enough to see his hands on the piano, you would find yourself absolutely transfixed by his finger work. His fingers flowed over the keys effortlessly at rapid speeds, making it seem like playing Mozart was easy. After every solo, Hammer would jerk back from the piano in what seemed like a fist pump and then continue to move his body to the music from the rest of the orchestra.


Orchestral performances can get long, but everyone should experience at least one in their lifetime. It is a great cultural experience that really helps you appreciate classical music and the musicians that have the talent and discipline to play it.

Photos courtesy of the Akron Symphony Orchestra