After a wonderful concert at Jordan Hall two weeks ago, the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra is continuing to rehearse but in a very different manner. At the end of every semester, the orchestra rehearses two extra weeks to give Film Scoring and Composition students the opportunity to come in and conduct their original pieces live. Last week we had the privilege of having six very talented Film-scoring majors who were chosen individually by the Film Scoring faculty, come in to conduct their pieces. One of the biggest complaints that composers have is that they are unable to have their pieces played by live players very often. There’s only so much satisfaction and learning a person can do hearing their music played with MIDI instruments. It’s extremely beneficial to hear exactly what the notes on the page sound like with real, live players. So this was exciting for both the players and the composers! The orchestra loves playing new music by their peers; it is really inspiring to hear what your friends are writing while the composers had such a good time working with the orchestra and hearing their music come to life!

Each composer had approximately 25-30 minutes with the orchestra. In most cases we ran through the entire piece at first and then worked on the sections that needed the most work. Another great asset we had to offer the composers was the advice of our incredible conductor Francisco Noya. He was able to critique the conducting of the composers to help them to get the best possible sound out of the orchestra while also helping to run the rehearsal efficiently.

Here’s a note from one of the composers who describes his experience!

“ So, my name is Jared Fry. I was the second guy to come up and conduct on Thursday night. This was my first time in front of an orchestra as well as hearing my music play back to me at that scale. I loved it. Francisco Noya is amazing. He really carried me through the rehearsal, bringing parts out of my music and sharing with me how I could make the music better. I really appreciated his input and enthusiasm. The start of the my rehearsal with the BCSO was a bit rocky. I was trying to get over the nerves of being up there. As I got more comfortable and everyone was becoming familiar with the music there were some real wonderful moments. I left that night with more excitement and enthusiasm for composing, conducting, and live music than what I came with. I wish there were more opportunities like this, I’d do every week if I could. “

A note from another composer Xiaoxi Wan

“What I really wanted to get out of this experience was hearing how the instruments will really sound in relations to each other, and how players will really react, and I got that. When Louisa (the piccolo player) told me that this F# was too high for the piccolo to play softly, that was exactly the kind of thing I needed to hear and learn from…Overall, this opportunity was a crash course in orchestration in ways that no amount of reading or passive listening can ever teach, so in that regards I really appreciated and enjoyed the experience.”

The experience was great for everyone. This upcoming week we will be having composers from the Composition department come in to have their pieces read and we’re all very excited to play the great music that they are writing.