Music: Symphony starts semester with acclaimed cellist

From the Rocky Mountain Collegian 09.23.2010

by Anna Baldwin
The Rocky Mountain Collegian

One of the largest student string sections to ever perform at CSU will take the stage Thursday and Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

For the first performance this semester, The University Symphony Orchestra will be accompanied by artist-in-residence and CSU teacher Barbara Thiem on cello.

The symphony will play three pieces in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts under the direction of Director of Orchestras Wes Kenney.

The first piece is Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2.”

“It’s very exciting music. Nothing is hidden, so everything has to be played spot on by the musicians,” Kenney said. “There are great changes in emotions in the piece, and the ending of the symphony is very exciting and crowd thrilling.”

Kenney said the rehearsals leading up to the performance have been a “great experience,” as the symphony is a challenge for even professional musicians.

Next on the program is Elgar’s “Concerto for Cello” written during WWI and featuring Thiem.
“It is highly charged and very strenuous for the musicians,” said Thiem.

“It is a piece that is very much a dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra,” Kenney added.

Thiem began playing cello at age 11 and has since become an internationally acclaimed cellist with an active schedule of performing in both Europe and the U.S.

She holds degrees from Cologne, Germany and Indiana University, where she was awarded the coveted Performer’s Certificate. Thiem has also recorded for many radio stations and produced several CDs.

Thiem says that she has enjoyed working with the students this year as they took on these challenging pieces.
The evenings will conclude with a tribute to the American composer Samuel Barber on the occasion of his 100th anniversary.

The Barber piece features strings as they get to show of their sound with exciting rhythmic challenges, Kenney said.

“This is a large orchestra for this stage,” said senior music performance major, Bryce Boynton, who will play the double bass during the performance. “The power that comes from it will take you to a place that will tug at your heart and emotions.”

Staff writer Anna Baldwin can be reached at