String Ensemble explores ‘Baroque to Jazz’

The Rowan String Ensemble performing songs from the 18th to the 20th century in Pfleeger Concert Hall. The March 11 performance marked the second time the ensemble collaborated with the Lab Band. -Staff photo/David Cohen

The Rowan String Ensemble performing songs from the 18th to the 20th century in Pfleeger Concert Hall. The March 11 performance marked the second time the ensemble collaborated with the Lab Band. -Staff photo/David Cohen

 

The Rowan String Ensemble played an eclectic set for its latest performance, once again collaborating with the Lab Band.

The March 11 event, which was held in Pfleeger Concert Hall, was titled “From Baroque to Jazz,” and featured songs from the 18th century through the 20th century. It was organized by cello professor George Atanasiu, who also directed the first half of the show.

“The idea was to show the evolution in music,” Atanasiu said.

It started off with the baroque compositions “Concerto for Four Violins in D Major” by Telemann, “Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor” by Vivaldi and “Chaconne for String Orchestra” by Pachelbel.

After Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor,” violinists Oriana Moreno and Sara Smith were presented with flowers by fellow musicians Tim Aucello and Jose Carrero.

“Traditionally in classical music when there’s a soloist, they’ll receive flowers at the end of their performance,” said Aucello, a trumpet player in the lab band.

The ensemble then moved on to the more modern compositions “Polka Pizzicato” by Strauss and “Jazz Pizzicato” by Anderson.

The first portion of the performance contained a great deal of violin soloing. Noel Munoz said this is typical of Atanasiu’s shows.

“He likes to give us a chance to solo,” Munoz said.

After “Jazz Pizzicato,” the String Ensemble teamed up with the university’s Lab Band and played more jazz numbers.

“It’s our turn to have the Lab Band joining us,” Atanasiu said as he welcomed professor Denis DiBlasio out to the stage to direct.

DiBlasio recently invited the String Ensemble to join the Lab Band in a jazz festival performance. The collaboration was a success so Atanasiu invited the Lab Band to join the String Ensemble’s performance.

The reunited groups played “Someday My Prince Will Come” by Morey, “Impressions” by Coltrane, “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock and “Secret Love” by Fain.

It was Munoz’s first time playing jazz, and he said it was a healthy change for all the musicians accustomed to playing classical music.

“It keeps us on our toes rhythmically,” Munoz said.

Ron Chattopadhyay, who plays baritone saxophone in the Lab Band, said he enjoyed the performance.

“I was very comfortable with the way I played and our overall presence on stage,” Chattopadhyay said.

There were around 100 people in attendance that seemed to enjoy the performance as well, judging by the applause during and after the show.

“It was nice to see the collaboration between the two groups,” said audience member Bruce Hooper. I wasn’t expecting to hear the jazz tonight, I thought it was just going to be the strings, so it was an added bonus.” 

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