60 students attended Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” performed by the Pacific Symphony at Segerstrom Hall. Many students reported that this was their first classical music concert. Two weeks earlier, musicologist Susan Key visited UCI and delivered an informative lecture on the structure and background of Dvorak’s ninth symphony. Her lecture greatly enhanced students’ understanding and appreciation of the music they heard.
April Elizabeth Blanco, English
This was the first symphony I've ever attended and it was awe-inspiring! From the moment the conductor exploded into movement like Chinese fireworks going off, I knew I would love it. I'm used to having a visual combined with my auditory experience, and so without one I attempted closing my eyes to keep my thoughts grounded in the music, but I soon realized I was missing out on a huge part of the performance. Opening my eyes, I became entranced by not only the music but the movements of the conductor and musicians. It felt as if through his will alone, the conductor controlled the flow of the music. He became a physical expression of the music and the focal point of the orchestra. After realizing this, I had to question why the conductor is always placed with his back towards the audience and not the other way around. While I'm still interested in the answer to this, I don't think I'd have it any other way. With his back facing us, his physical expression of the music seems pure and unadulterated; he isn't performing for us, he's directing the performance. And, while the musicians at times seem to lose themselves in the music, the conductor can't because he must always be in tune to every moment.
Surprisingly, the slowest and softest moments appeared the hardest to control, and became my favorite parts, especially the "Going Home" parts. Listening to the symphony was like watching a million movies all at once. Music has not only the incredible ability to elicit emotions but to store memories, and so, at any given point, I was struck by a multitude of memories from movies I've watched to books I've read to my own life events. That was one of the most strangely beautiful feelings I've ever experienced and I can't wait to do it again!
Alyssa Wallace, Social Sciences
This is the event that I have been looking forward to since I signed up for this class. I had the honor of attending both the lecture and the actual symphony. The lecture was incredibly interesting and informative. I am really glad I went because it provided a great backstory and allowed me to fully understand what I was listening too. The symphony itself was great as well and really opened my eyes to a whole genre of music that I hadn't really given any thought to before.