Ensemble Spotlight: Bernstein Orchestra

On December 18 and 20 our four student ensembles will present two Winter Concerts, showcasing highlights from our musical learning this year. This week Resident Artist Levi Comstock gives us a sneak peak at what Bernstein Orchestra has in store.


“The musicians of the Bernstein Orchestra are building two very different worlds of sound. In Canyon Sunset, by John Caponegro, we are painting with smooth bow strokes, blending major and minor harmonies, and responding to nuances in tempo to create a feeling of open sky and the cooling of a desert evening. We are learning to place ourselves into this scene together, and to make it come alive by breathing and moving together with the music.


Bernstein preview

Hiawatha,  by Soon Hee Newboold, is an earthy dance honoring the Mohawk Chief who united the Iroquois Confederacy in the 16th Century to protect Native American lands.  It opens with a heavy, bear-like rhythm in the low strings and a dark, powerful melody in the violins. The middle section opens into a soaring, eagle melody, which swells into a relentless reprise of the opening theme. This piece has challenged us to create a range of sound qualities with our bows and to quickly shift moods and emotions.”