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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC philharmonic orchestra debuts student composition

Music and emotion collided in the Performing Arts Center on March 6 during the DVC Philharmonic Orchestra’s latest performance.

Conductor Owen Lee introduced a composition by DVC sophomore and clarinet player Chris Knight, saying, “It’s very rare for a student’s work to be performed by an orchestra.”

Like the title suggests, “The Thin Line” contains conflicting elements of light and dark, making for a dramatic piece.

“Try to envision going back and forth between love and hate, and you’ll understand ‘The Thin Line,'” Knight said in his introduction.

The piece opened with a piano melody, which according to the program, was “taken from one of Knight’s short rock/pop piano pieces that he wrote for himself in hopes of expanding and transforming into other realms of music.”

The darker parts of this impressive composition were chaotic and intense, while the lighter ones were quieter and sweeter. The piece closed with a harp, suggesting love triumphs over hate.

After Knight’s piece ended, the rest of the night was devoted to performances of work by two lesser-known late Romantic composers, Max Bruch and Cesar Franck.

Bruch’s Kol Nidrei featured a solo cello performance by Kaavya Valivetti, the recent winner of DVC’s Philharmonic String Award and a sophomore at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont.

Kol Nidrei, much like “The Thin Line,” was a stellar display of positive and negative emotions. Kol Nidrei was much more somber in tone and maintained that mood even as the tempo and volume increased. It was bleak, but also optimistic, perfectly representing the mixed moods we experience in life.

Franck’s Symphony in D Minor (the only one he ever wrote), was performed in three movements, which seemed to capture all of the moods of the previous two pieces: The first movement featured strings played at an allegretto tempo and a melody repeated in the brass section; the second was much slower and featured the plucking of strings and harp, making for an Arabic sound; and the third movement was a much more energetic retelling of the first.

A successful orchestra cannot exist without successful musicianship, and this is where the DVC Philharmonic truly delivered. The wide scope of musicians, young and old, put everything into making these mood-driven pieces sound as dramatic, beautiful and emotional as they possibly could.

Attending a Philharmonic Orchestra performance is a great way to experience familiar music in a new light and even be able to hear similar-sounding new music, as in the case of Knight.

Classical music often gets labeled as “mellow,” but it can be every bit as intense as the heaviest of rock songs.
The Philharmonic Orchestra performs again May 1 at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley and May 15 at the Performing Arts Center.


Contact Nick Sestanovich at [email protected]

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Nick Sestanovich, Staff member
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DVC philharmonic orchestra debuts student composition