Sunday is the Last Day You Can See Scientifically-Driven, Artistically-Inclined, Overachieving Caltech Musicians Perform “Transformations”

Published on Nov 10, 2022


About 75 musicians, among whom are “scientifically driven, artistically inclined overachieving” Caltech students, members of faculty, staff and alumni will come together to perform “Transformations” which will include Mahler’s 1st Symphony, Honegger‘s Pastorale D’été, and Coleman’s Seven O’clock Shout.

“Our music in this program relates to seasons and the passage of time. So we have a piece called Pastorale d’été, which is French for summer, so it has to do with the summer time. The main work on the program, the Mahler Symphony starts out, it depicts his intentions to depict nature, and it starts out very still and very calm and it moves through spring as the way it goes. And the Coleman is kind of a little bit of both because it was written to celebrate essential workers during Covid,” Director of Performing and Visual Arts and Conductor of “Transformations” Glenn Price, said. 

Price, in his seventh year at Caltech and also the conductor of the Wind Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, said they put thought into the design of their programs. 

“This particular concert with the Symphony Orchestra has a general theme, which has been given transformations, which is a way of linking the three works that make up the program, all of which have to do with the general concept of transformations,” Price said about the theme of the concert. 

The Caltech Orchestra will hold this concert on Saturday and Sunday, November 12-13 at Ramo Auditorium on the Caltech campus. 

Price said the opening piece would be “Seven O’Clock Shout,” a celebratory work honoring essential workers composed by Valerie Coleman.

Coleman’s “Seven O’Clock Shout” was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2020 and written to honor frontline workers battling COVID.

“The Coleman is an interesting piece,” said Price. “It was quite timely and related to what was going on in the world with Covid.”

“Most symphony orchestras struggle to not play only old well-known works. So chewing something that’s by a living composer, in this case, an American composer, recognizes that we’re going to have some diversity here in a world that’s traditionally been European white males,” said Price. 

“Valerie Coleman is a young African-American female composer who’s making her own mark. And so we’re really happy to be representing a little bit of diversity in the program as well,” added Price. 

Price said the orchestra will perform a “very gentle piece” by Swiss French composer Arthur Honegger called “Pastorale d’été.

They will also perform Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1.”

“It starts out very still and very calm and it moves through spring as the way it goes,” said Price referring to the third piece. 

Price said Caltech Orchestra is a “very special” group and over the years it has touched the community through its music. 

Price said Caltech Orchestra’s music is “not just selected to entertain, but for its artistic depth.” 

“I kind of liken it to a journey and experience that goes beyond words or pictures,” he added. 

“They’re extremely talented. Their main motivation is having a deep desire for artistic expression and somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow that seems to manifest itself in the way they approach the music,” Price further said. 

Over the years, Caltech Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Allen Robert Gross, has performed symphonies by Mahler, Brahms, and Beethoven, as well as contemporary compositions.

It has collaborated with several artists including Martin Chalifour, Danielle Belen, Steven Vanhauwaert, Samuel Fischer, and Lawrence Sonderling.

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