Orchestra welcomes interim conductor

Valeria Olivares, Reporter

Bohuslav Rattay was introduced into his first semester as interim conductor for the UTEP Symphony Orchestra Tuesday, Feb. 26, during a concert at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Rattay stepped in for the spring semester as Lowell Graham, the orchestra’s previous conductor, recently suffered a shoulder injury. The orchestra will present three concerts under Rattay before transitioning back to Graham next semester.

Rattay, who is also the music director of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, described working with the students as a slower process due to their lack of experience. Although he treats them as he treats other professionals, he understands that he is not working with musicians who have been playing for many years.

“I don’t treat them any different,” Rattay said. “It’s only the process that is a little delayed because of the inexperience.”

Rattay is not the only newcomer.  Jesus Rodriguez, a senior computer information systems major, plays the violin for the orchestra for the first time this semester.

“Working with Mr. Rattay has been incredible,” Rodriguez said. “His level of professionalism inspires all of us to continue to grow as musicians and as an ensemble. I think it’s definitely been something that’ll last with us for the rest of our careers.”

Although Rodriguez is currently taking six courses and graduates in May, he makes time for music.

“I’m extremely busy,” Rodriguez said. “But just being part of the orchestra is definitely something I wanted to do before I graduated.  I’ve always had passion for music.”

Like Rodriguez, Preston Griffith has a passion for the music that they perform. Griffith, who is learning how to be an orchestra director, is a violinist and the concertmaster of the UTEP Symphony Orchestra. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music education.

“I went into this career because I grew up playing music,” Griffith said. “My mom’s an orchestra director and I learned from, basically, a toddler how to play violin and I kept on playing and got better and better. I thought that there’s nothing else I want to do. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. I don’t think I could do anything and be as happy.”

Christopher Terrazas, a music education major who plays the trombone, spoke highly of Rattay as the new conductor.

“He is very expressive in this conducting and I really love the energy that he brings to the group,” Terrazas said. “(Rattay) expresses a lot of passion in his conducting and everything he does. He’s very patient with all of his students and shows a lot of care and respect for everyone.”