Na Hyun Kim
Short Paper II – Music Review
It has become accepted wisdom that building a huge group of symphony orchestra with
different small chamber groups to play the piece in union is a very difficult task.
It is even
harder for a huge orchestra to play post-Wagner pieces because the effect of symbolism and
chromatic sophistication of that time preferred a dissonant and spontaneous nature of melodic
But as the David Milnes, a conductor and a director of the Department of Music in
University of California Berkeley, led a thrilling and poetic concert with the University
Symphony at Hertz Concert Hall on Friday night, its performance made clear that the size of the
symphony cannot be a barrier to an orchestral greatness.
This select training ensemble of top-tier players, mostly in their 20s and some older,
showed a great soloistic talent from among orchestra’s ranks.
Since founding University
Symphony Orchestra in 1923, the conductor David Milnes had shown great commitment to
‘symphonic and contemporary music’ (Department of Music).
Players of sixteen different
chamber groups (Violin I, II, Viola, Cello, Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet,
Trombone, Tuba, Harp, Keyboard, and Timpani/Percussion) seemed to come from diverse
backgrounds but they were all on the stage together and performed in accord with same
The most revealing performance, after intermission, was of Dmitri Shostakovich’s