The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Reflection on the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine coming to Bucknell

On Feb. 23, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine performed at the Sigmund and Claire Weis Center for the Performing Arts. With the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine’s rich history and adept expertise, it truly felt like a dream to hear the pensive melodies and piercing harmonies of an international orchestra right here in central Pennsylvania. Attending the performance with a few of our friends, we decided to dress up for the performance to fully enjoy this unique experience as college students. Also, as we are neither musically inclined listeners nor are we experts on any sort of classical music, we would like to preface that this is not a review, but rather, the thoughts and reflections of two college students after listening to a symphony orchestra. 

Whether you’re like Georgie or Esther, meaning that you enjoy listening to classical music and composers like Tchaikovsky while doing homework, or when you open up your music streaming app of choice, classical music is far from your first choice (in fact, Georgie was the one who brought this event up to our friend group and I initially thought to myself “no” because classical music reminds me of attending my older brother’s violin lessons and performances; many of which I fought hard to stay awake in as a kid –Esther), this performance was a must-see. 

Here are a few of our thoughts and reflections:

  1. Symphony: individuality with synchronized unity 

As mentioned above, it was such a rare opportunity to see professionals who have dedicated countless hours to perfecting their craft. We were amazed by the hard-earned synchronicity of the violinists, the movements of the bow and the positioning of their fingers, This showcased the uniqueness and distinction of every violinist. Their individual story and journey—from the moment they picked up a violin to traveling the world playing concerts—can be seen through the little details, like in their earnest and passionate expressions and the slight differences in the angling of the bow. A symphony orchestra usually requires fifty to eighty instruments, meaning that the engulfing music doesn’t come from individuality, but unity. Everyone in the orchestra is unique, but in coming together and unifying their voices, creates that layered and multi-faceted sound. 

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      2. Fantastic hair and double encores 

We realize this is an interesting detail to note, but not only was the pianist, Volodymyr Vynnytsky, extremely passionate and talented, he had really great hair. From afar, it’s difficult for the audience to see the distinct expressions of each individual, but everyone could see the pianist’s long, silver-colored hair and it was just a detail we couldn’t forget. Another fun and unique detail was the double encore; after all the scheduled pieces, we all stood up to clap, then the orchestra played a Christmas song as we stood up for another standing ovation and they played one more song before the official end of the performance. 

     3. Movements 

Having never experienced a performance by a symphony orchestra, I (Esther) was surprised by the idea of pieces in movements. I saw online that the orchestra would be playing three compositions, and I had initially thought out of my naivety: this won’t be too long, right? However, each composition has lengthy movements, giving the listener many layers of tempo and mood in one piece of music. 

On the third movement of the first piece, it reminded me (Georgie) of the Italian song, “Time to say goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman while the second or third movement felt like the soundtrack of the end of a movie; I’m not sure how exactly to describe it, except that it felt like future-orientated nostalgia with a hopeful tone. All music evokes emotions, but there’s something about the full and round sound of a symphony orchestra that makes us feel deeply. 

All in all, while our thoughts and feelings may not be one of expertise, we’re grateful to the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and all those at the Weis Center who took part in organizing the performance to provide college students with such a unique experience. 

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Esther Zhao, Arts & Culture Co-Editor

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