The Stony Brook University music department is a globally known place that keeps on growing.
Among its huge variety in different types of music learned and performed are the strings – including two different orchestras – which students are able to play in. The two major ensembles at SBU are the Stony Brook University Orchestra and the Stony Brook University Symphony Orchestra.
David Lawton is the managing director of the SBUSO and elaborated on what the differences are between these two huge ensembles that perform.
“The level of this particular orchestra is high,” he said. “People from all over the world come to play here.”
Compared to the SBU Orchestra, directed by Susan Deaver, the SBUSO is an orchestra made up of graduate and doctoral students who have to take the company as a required course. This semester, there are three undergraduate students who made the cut to play. However the SBU Orchestra is made up mostly of undergraduate music majors, minors, non- majors who simply have a love of music, a few graduate students and about seven high school students from neighboring school districts on Long Island.
Lawton also noted that one of the main differences between the two ensembles are that the SBU Orchestra meets every Tuesday night for three-hour-long practices while the SBUSO meets for only a few rehearsals the week of a recital.
Mo Mansukhani, a senior cello player with the SBU Orchestra, said that he also played with the SBUSO in the past. He said that by playing with both orchestras, he was able to fully take advantage of his time as a music major at SBU.
“Participation in both orchestras gives me the opportunity to work with musicians with world class talent levels and play with some of the finest musical works that the world has ever seen,” he said.
He also added that the SBUSO rehearsals are on a heavier deadline compared to the SBU Orchestra’s.
“There is a lot of rehearsal time in a very short period of time,” he said.
The rehearsals come during the weeks of the different recitals the SBUSO host. The first show of the semester was held on Oct. 2 in Staller and was conducted by a guest conductor, a professor at Juilliard and Columbia, Jeffrey Milarsky. A second recital was held on Nov. 7 and carried a packed out audience.
However students who missed out on the first two recitals of the semester can attend the several upcoming ones, including next semester’s, Dec. 5, Feb. 20, April 2 and the SBUSO’s music accompanying the Stony Brook Opera’s rendition of ‘La Boheme’ on Sat. April 30.