NYU Symphony Soars Like No Other
April 11, 2017
NYU Symphony’s April 3 performance was a crowning summation of their efforts thus far this semester. With no need for introduction, conductor Adam Glasser bowed and graciously ushered in the first piece, “Beautifully Falling Apart” by Alex Symcox. Immediately, the violins glistened over the peace with delicate aplomb, in contrast with the ominous cellos. The student-composed piece contained memorable tension and drive that maintained momentum throughout. Glasser’s conducting was attentive and commanding, and the symphony glowed under his watch.
After the first composition, the symphony partnered with the Composition and Animation programs to showcase the winners of the 2017 NYU Steinhardt Film Scoring Competition with a wonderful multimedia experience. The second piece, “Goodnight Boon,” directed by Jeremy Jensen and scored by Oren Lok, was a playful romp that accompanied a whimsical cartoon. The following piece, “Moon,” directed by Dan Costales and composed by Ko-Wei Chen, was somber and eerie and told the story of a mysterious female spirit who visits an old man. As the two characters danced on the screen, the score soared through the theater with perfect timing. During the show, the compositions and animations ranged from mischievous to melancholy and pulled at all the right emotional strings at all the right times.
“Ocean Song,” directed by Erica Liu and composed by Pru Montin, was a particularly memorable piece. NYU’s symphony handled the drifting arrangement deftly, and warm horns enveloped the piece as shimmering percussion created a sense of exploration. The charming animation, telling the story of a fisherman befriending a whale, was geometric and filled with a cool, muted color palette.
After the student-made pieces, the symphony capped the night off with Leonard Bernstein’s legendary Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story.” The piece began with dramatic stabs from the string and horn sections, and the symphony kept pace with the wild swings in emotion, as lively whistles and snaps were interlaced throughout the score. Glasser was brimming with excitement as he led the group through the piece, and his infectious energy clearly wore off on others around him, as smiles filled the venue. Playing with a professional sense of confidence and bravado, the sections handed off the lead melody to one another to create lively and well timed sound dynamics. At times, the different instruments seemed to riff back and forth with one another.
The symphony’s efforts showed in every way possible. Every section of the group performed expertly at all moments of the night and played to the highest caliber. The night was a spectacle for both the eye and ear, and each piece delighted with emotional leaps and bounds that only such a talented group could perform. Topping it all off, the performance was free and open to the public. A price that low for a level of talent so high is almost criminal.
Email Connor Gatesman at [email protected]