By Rafaela Prifti/
The United Nations International School presented A Festival of Orchestras last Sunday. The music event united the talents of young musicians performing at Carnegie Hall, the renowned concert venue. Underscoring the importance of music education, the afternoon program displayed the maturity of students performing an artistically demanding and highly entertaining selection. The Festival participants included UNIS String Ensemble, Tutorial House Jazz Band and Senior Wind Ensemble; The Collegiate Orchestra; The Rudolph Steiner School Orchestra and Wind Ensemble; The Brearley Middle and Upper School Orchestra; The Packer Collegiate Strings Orchestra.
In her opening note, the hostess of the program, Kim Bruno, said “Over the last eighteen years, A Festival of Orchestras has become the subject of immense pride, a labor of love, a validation of the principle that music is not a luxury, it is a necessity. The signature concert has united our educational communities to work together to provide rigorous and challenging training programs through music education…” One by one the groups of student musicians manifested their skillful interpretations of classic composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, or Baroque-era artists like George Frideric Handel, and award-winning American composers such as Michael Sweeney, Robert Longfield. Part of the selections were wind ensemble performances of The Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest – the original score by Hans Zimmer, the German-born composer, who has written music for 150 films. To the delight of an engaged audience, Rudolph Steiner School Orchestra paid tribute to Rock icons, with an arrangement by Larry Moore of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon ‘The Best of Queen’.
Ending the program was the performance by UNIS Senior Wind Ensemble under the direction of John Lambert, Conductor. In introducing the selection, hostess Ms. Bruno, pointed out that two selections were original works. The first one “a masterful and sensitive composition by Tom Davoren, titled Belonging, she said, “is a personal reflection based on Davoren’s immigration experience to the United States – a musical documentation of the trials and tribulations of being accepted and belonging into a new community and new world.” The Ensemble’s second selection, Bogota, a composition by UNIS Jazz Conductor Michael Faye, was created by him especially for the Festival, earning the honor of ‘a world premiere’ performance. The guest euphonium soloist was Lina Tabak, a 2015 UNIS Graduate. The lineup concluded with Procession of the Nobles by Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov, a magnificent movement which is part of the Wind Ensemble’s repertory.
Sitting in the audience, the faculty, staff, family members and friends cheered all the bands of student musicians that showcased their dedication to music, performing precision and talents. It was an exceptionally proud moment for UNIS senior students like Rea Kondi, lead trombonist, who were participating for the second time at the Festival of Orchestras at Carnegie Hall. Being rewarded with the experience of a lifetime in the UNIS Wind Ensemble performance of same event, in her freshman year in January 2017, she was excited to be back as part of the series. The thrill of working with master conductor John Lambert alongside performers of other selected schools is a milestone, a proud presentation and validation of hard work. It also represents a celebratory moment beyond the high-school years. Certainly, family and friends will cherish the Festival’s memory and will long rejoice over this notable event.