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The Philharmonic’s Annual Evening of Concertos

In March, the BYU Philharmonic held one of its most anticipated annual concerts—the Evening of Concertos. After spending months preparing their concertos, nine carefully selected soloists performed with the Philharmonic.

EveningOfConcertos_BYUPhoto
Photo by Image courtesy of BYU Photo (2019)

Before the students get on stage, they must advance through two rounds of auditions. In the first round, students play in their studios, with others of the same instrument. Then, two or three students from each studio are selected to audition against students from other studios in the second round. A group of professors from different areas judge the auditions and pick between five and nine soloists on various instruments, depending on the length of their pieces.

On March 1, each student performed with the Philharmonic, a 100-piece orchestra. Dr. Nathan Haines, director of the Philharmonic, says, “I often tell winners who make it to the final round that nothing can compare to the rush of performing a concerto with a full orchestra behind you.”

“Nothing can compare to the rush of performing a concerto with a full orchestra behind you.”
Dr. Nathan Haines

EveningOfConcertos_BYUPhoto
Photo by Image courtesy of BYU Photo (2019)

The program included the following performances:

Isaac Romer (timpani), Mjölnir Mvt 1 Fire by Garner
Emma Hogge (tuba), Tuba Concerto Mvt 3 by Gregson
Michaela Cheek (viola), Viola Concerto Mvt 1 by Bartók
Emma Johnson (bassoon), Concerto in F Major Mvt 1 by Weber
McKenzie Mulberry (voice), “Da schlägt die Abschiedsstunde” by Mozart
Simon Cheek (clarinet), Concerto for Clarinet Mvt 3 by Tomasi
Caroline Jorden (violin), Tzigane by Ravel
Amberlee Abbott (piano), Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor Mvt 1 by MacDowell
Tanner Jorden (piano), Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major Mvt 1 by Prokofiev

Among these finalists, there were two married couples: Simon (clarinet) and Michaela Cheek (viola), along with Tanner (piano) and Caroline Jorden (violin). These couples, although competing in the same event, were in completely different instrument families. Simon Cheek says, “It never really felt like we were up against each other.”

EveningOfConcertos_SimonCheek
Photo by Image courtesy of Simon Cheek

Despite the stakes of the competition, all the musicians involved created a culture of love and support. Dr. Haines says, “The orchestra gives an extra cheer when [one of its members walks] on stage.” Both the soloists and the orchestra not only supported each other but also performed beautifully.

“[Music] is literally in everything.”
Michaela Cheek

“Music is the space between words where the Spirit can attach meaning and inspiration,” says Dr. Haines. Many musicians feel that music is deeply emotional and inspiring, conveying things that words just simply cannot. Michaela Cheek says, “[Music] is literally in everything. . . . Music is just included in the grand scheme of things where everything is just connected back to God.”

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