January 23, 2023

MSM Orchestral Performance Program students and faculty perform together on February 1

On February 1, a special performance is taking place at MSM: Orchestral Performance (OP) Program students and faculty members will perform together in an orchestral concert conducted by Head of the OP Program David Chan.

VIDEO PREVIEW of the OP concert

MSM Dean of Instrumental Studies and Orchestral Performance JT Kane tells us about this very special evening.

Tell us about the OP concert on February 1 and why it’s special.

JT Kane: The concert on February 1 is the first of the 2022–23 academic year performed by the MSM Orchestral Performance Program students. David Chan, the recently appointed Head of the Orchestral Performance Program and longtime MET Orchestra concertmaster, will be conducting Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Revueltas’ Sensemayá, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The orchestra will include MSM OP students, faculty, and other invited MSM students from the Classical department. The learning experience the students have playing alongside faculty – the growth that is visible during rehearsals – is remarkable.

[ The OP faculty playing alongside the students are:

  • Sheryl Staples, Principal Associate Concertmaster, New York Philharmonic
  • Lisa Kim, Associate Principal Second Violin Group, New York Philharmonic
  • Shmuel Katz, Associate Principal Viola, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
  • Alan Stepansky, Associate Principal Cello, New York Philharmonic (retired)
  • Orin O’Brien, Double Bass, New York Philharmonic (retired)
  • Robert Langevin, Principal Flute, New York Philharmonic
  • Pascual Martínez-Forteza, Acting Associate Principal Clarinet, New York Philharmonic
  • Michelle Baker, Second Horn, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (retired) ]

David Chan, Head of MSM's Orchestral Performance Program and Concertmaster of the MET Orchestra, will conduct the Feb 1 concert

Can you tell us about the OP Program at MSM? Why is it so valuable?

JT Kane: The MSM Orchestral Performance Program is the only degree-granting graduate program in the world that incorporates a curriculum specifically designed to give these highly advanced musicians the tools needed to not only win an audition but also become the best citizens in all aspects of an orchestral musician. Students are trained to participate fully in performance aspects such as master classes, mock auditions, repertoire readings as well as non-musical aspects of life in the modern orchestra such as orchestra governance, artistic planning, community engagement, and audience development.

Can you give us some examples of where MSM graduates of the OP Program are now?

JT Kane: MSM graduates of the OP Program have won auditions with orchestras worldwide, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New World Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Monterrey Symphony Orchestra in Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the KZN Philharmonic.

What’s coming up for the OP Program?

JT Kane: The upcoming OP schedule is packed full of events. We have repertoire readings with Carlos Miguel Prieto (Music Director of the North Carolina Symphony) and Gemma New (Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony), master classes with guest artists from visiting orchestras, faculty panel discussions, mock auditions, and so much more!

Why should people come to hear the concert on Feb 1?

JT Kane: The programming for this concert was done specifically to showcase these talented young musicians as well as to highlight the faculty playing alongside them. The audience will go on a journey of storytelling from Debussy’s symphonic poem Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which tells the story of how a faun – a half-man, half-goat – awakes in the mist of forest nymphs, to the tone poem Sensemayá by the Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. This is piece inspired by the Cuban writer Nicolás Guillén’s poem Sensemayá: canto para matar una culebra, which depicts an Afro-Caribbean ritual representing the killing of a snake. And finally finishing with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade which was inspired by the tales of The Arabian Nights.

The music in all three of these pieces is truly some of the most gorgeous and engaging music around. From the flute solo in the opening of the Debussy, to the tuba solo in Sensemayá, and the beautiful violin and harp solos in Scheherazade, the audience is in for a treat not soon forgotten.

Tell us about MSM’s OP faculty.

JT Kane: The OP faculty are all current or former members of New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and many more. They have such a breadth of knowledge – from Baroque to Contemporary music – and are always working with the OP students. Whether it be during orchestra rehearsals, in a chamber music setting, or in their private lessons.

MSM and the OP Program are so fortunate to have some of the best musicians in the world working with the most talented young musicians on the brink of their careers.

Read an interview with OP Program faculty member and violist Shmuel Katz (BM ’98, MM ’00):

MSM OP Program concert on Feb 1:

MSM Orchestral Performance Program:

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