How Do You
Get to Carnegie Hall?
For the Smith College Orchestra, the answer
to that question is twofold: hard work and a 100-year anniversary celebration.
The Smith College Orchestra, directed by Jonathan Hirsh, will celebrate its 100th
anniversary with a debut concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall on May
11. The 60-member ensemble will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the
performance, joined by the Smith College Glee Club and the University of Michigan's
Men's Glee Club. Beethoven's Ninth, a monumental undertaking, was
first performed by the orchestra in 2000. The group will also perform the piece
at Smith's John M. Greene Hall on May 9.
The idea to perform at Carnegie stemmed from Hirsh's desire to follow up
the Smith concert of Beethoven's largest work with another performance
in a New York venue, partly to give students another opportunity to play the
piece. "We spend so much time preparing for a concert, and then it is over
so quickly," Hirsch remarks. As he explains, Carnegie Hall is one of the
few houses in New York with a large enough stage to accommodate the 250 performers
needed for the piece. "Since we had to rent a large auditorium, Carnegie
Hall would obviously be anyone's first choice. We called them and asked
about availability, waited about six months and got a date."
It was June 17, 1904, when the Smith College Symphony Orchestra debuted during
the Commencement Week, performing Mozart's The Magic Flute among other
works. Since then, thousands of musicians have performed in the group as it has
evolved, raising its prominence in the past five years. Last year, the orchestra
traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to perform, and each year the ensemble is invited
to Regis College to perform at the American Choral Directors Association's
Collegiate Choral Festival.
For information about the Carnegie Hall concert, consult www.smith.edu/orchestra.
Tickets are available through Smith until March 11. After that date, tickets
will be available only through the Carnegie Hall box office.