On February 28, a group of students and faculty put on “Starry Nights at Staller Center,” a concert featuring renowned musicians, including Metallica’s Kevin Cobb and the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera’s Pedro Diaz.
Named for its generally well-known participants, the event is held once a semester on the Staller Center Recital Hall stage.
The series allows both students and faculty to “play to both highlight their abilities, and to show the collaborative spirit which is the core philosophy of the department,” said Michael Hershkowitz, director of Concerts at Stony Brook.
Music professor Colin Carr, is the artistic director for the production and even participates in the performances as a cellist. The students, So Young Bae, Alexandria Le, and Susanna Mendlow, as well as the faculty do not attend otherwise typical multiple rehearsal sessions for this type of event.
“Because of the difficulty of trying to schedule rehearsals around the busy teaching and performance schedules of each of the players, the actual preparation time is extremely condensed, and usually consists of a few hours of rehearsals together before the concert,” said Hershkowitz.
The players rehearse individually and the preparation for such an event can take “weeks or months” before the actual performance. The limited amount of joint preparation, however, has less effect because the musician’s individual practice allows a “perfect understanding of their individual parts.”
The recital consisted of four pieces, the first being Lalliet’s “Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano.” The piece allows each instrument to play the role that it is best suited for: the piano lightheartedly playing and mediating while the bassoon and oboe engage in a harmonious conversation.
The second piece, Blacher’s “Divertimento for Trumpet, Trombone and Piano,” consisted of jazz-influence harmonies and melancholy ballads from both the trumpet and trombone.
The audience responded more favorably to the third piece, Martinu’s “Revue de Cuisine,” a lively movement that is jazz-inspired and contained a march-like tempo. It strongly resembled the Charleston, and engaged the audience.
The final piece, Schubert’s “Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello, in B-Flat” was performed with melodic beauty and rhythmic inventiveness. It was energetic and served as a great contrast to the modern pieces that came before it.
Overall, the technical ability on display was high, as both students and faculty flawlessly executed each movement with grace and precision. While the students were anxious about performing before the public, they are able to “learn to manage their anxiety, “ said Hershkowitz.