It goes without saying that student/faculty orchestras that are a part of a university music school are self-limited in ways that are understandable, but often frustrating. Student musicians vary greatly in natural ability, previous training, expertise, and musical maturity. They spend time in a program, then move on–the very definition of natural personnel turnover. Clearly, if a student orchestra succeeds year after year, and improves in performance quality year after year given those factors, then it is music faculty support and the leadership of the orchestra’s music director that are the significant reasons.
The University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra under James Fellenbaum now seems to be in that category of orchestras that defy the obvious labels. Their fall season opens with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and continues in October with a bold program that includes Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis. In this week’s Metro Pulse, I give a brief preview of what concertgoers might expect from that orchestra this fall.
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