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IU Summer Music Festival: An Orchestral Preview By Four Students

As the Indiana University Summer Music Festival ramps up, we take a sneak peak at the Festival Orchestra concerts through the eyes of four student musicians.

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    Sarah Huebsch measures a tube of cane in the beginning stages of making an oboe reed.

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    Photo: WFIU

    If the oboe is a soprano, then the English horn is a tenor, as Sarah Huebsch describes.

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    Photo: WFIU

    Sarah Kidd reads through her score of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony no. 1.

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    Photo: WFIU

    Sarah Kidd is a Bloomington, Indiana native and studies conducting at The Juilliard School of Music.

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    Sarah Paradis is studying trombone at Indiana University.

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    Sarah Paradis practicing her trombone outside her home in Bloomington, Indiana.

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    Dani Meier says the bass is a quiet instrument and the sound of the bass section is often swallowed up by the low brass.

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    Dani Meier stretches to reach some very high notes on her bass.

Event Information

Festival Orchestra

The Festival Orchestra presents three concerts this summer, conducted by Xian Zhang, Lawrence Renes, and Giancarlo Guerrero.

Musical Arts Center

July 1, July 22, and August 5 at 8:00pm

$15 general / $8 student / Festival Pass

2010 IU Summer Music Festival website

Orchestral concerts part of the IU Summer Music Festival

Sarah Huebsch, oboe and English horn

I believe that the oboe is made for three purposes: sex, death, and shepherds.

In Three Cornered Hat by Manuel de Falla in the second movement, it starts out with this big, rambunctious horn solo. As usual, in the English horn part, there are a few interesting things going on, but no one knows who you are until after that horn solo. Nothing is going on except for you.

I know a lot of players, including myself, will make a different reed for this solo than any other English horn part. It requires you to play really loud in a really low register on this instrument that doesn’t project that well.

Sarah Paradis, trombone

Wagner, Mahler, Strauss – those are huge composers for brass. To play or to watch, it’s going to be really exciting as a brass player.

The Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin by Richard Wagner… There are definitely some tricky licks in there; forceful, loud, but also very quick. So, getting the notes to speak in the low register can be tough.

In Richard Strauss’s tone poems, the brass play lots of huge chords and it’s really exciting, and then for about 15 minutes we have to sit out and listen to solos so that the strings can be heard, and the oboe solos and the flute solos can come through.

Dani Meier, double bass

Bass is a soft instrument, for as big as it is. But, if you have the right bass section for that right moment when they are actually highlighted, you may not know what they’re playing or you don’t hear them, but you can feel them.

Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss is absolutely wonderful. It requires a combination of endurance and agility around the instrument, which is very typical of Strauss – a lot of arpeggios and chromatics. But it’s all so gratifying when you put it together, even though you can’t hear yourself because the low brass is covering you up!

Sarah Kidd, conductor

Conductors have the best repertoire – and, just making music with people. Being able to look into someone’s eyes and shape a phrase together, that just seems like magic.

Xian Zhang will be conducting Symphony no. 2 by Jean Sibelius with the Festival Orchestra, and I can tell you, it’s fantastic. Her interpretation of the piece is absolutely beautiful.

Of course, I’ve conducted Symphony no. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven. There are some tricky things in there, especially at the beginning of the last movement. The way it begins, there is a fermata on the first measure, and then the first violin section has these entrances after rests. In silence, the conductor is really important because the orchestra can’t listen for context. They have to watch to know when to place the notes, how to place the notes.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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