UTEP symphony orchestra performs its first concert


Annabella Mireles

UTEP’s Symphony Orchestra performs their first performance at the Fox Fine Arts Center Sept. 27.

Eduardo Flores, Contributor

The UTEP Department of Music held its first symphony orchestra concert of the 2022-2023 season Sept. 27 at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall.  

The concert opened under the direction of Alicia Lieu with “Polovstian Dances” by Alexander Borodin, which was originally written for his opera, “Prince Igor.”  

According to the program itinerary, “The concert version is taken from the scene of exotic dances with chorus, usually omitted for concert performances.” The instrumentation includes a piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, bells, cymbals, glockenspiel, snare drum, suspended cymbals, tambourine, triangle), harp and strings. The duration of the performance was 12 minutes. 

Lieu has been awarded grants for her compositions, including her opera in progress, “Unwrapping Fortune.” She has also produced original events such as “Dance-It-Yourself Nutcracker,” where audience members dance alongside a full orchestra, and “The 48-hour Musical,” where a full-length musical is written and performed within 48 hours. 

Following the piece, Violinist Leonardo Lozano performed “Zigeunerweisen,” a nine minute composition by Pablo de Sarasate. 

“Zigeunerweisen” is translated as “Gyspy Airs,” which was first written for violin and piano, and premiered in 1878 in Leipzig, Germany.  

“Zigeunerweisen,” or “Gyspy Airs,” is written as a single movement with four distinct sections. The first is a moderate tempo beginning with an imposing theme played by the entire orchestra that settles into a very slow tempo which gets slightly faster in the next section marked “Un poco più lento,” ending with a very fast and showy section marked “Allegro molto vivace.” The last section requires a great deal of skill by the violinist as it utilizes techniques such as spiccato, aflying bow technique, in long runs along with double stops, artificial harmonics and left-hand pizzicato. 

The instruments used in this work include solo violin, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, triangle and strings. 

Leonardo Lozano is a violinist pursuing a degree in music education who has been actively involved in music since childhood and is now in his fourth year at UTEP studying with Stephen Nordstrom, Ph.D.  

According to the UTEP Department of Music program notes, “Leonardo has always been passionate about classical music, first learning the guitar in 7th grade and then continuing with violin studies in 8th grade at Parkland Middle School with his orchestra teacher.”  

After intermission, “Symphony No. 2” by Howard Hanson was performed in its three movements with a duration of 29 minutes instead of the traditional four movements. The first movement includes a slow and chromatic theme that quickly transitions into a fast and rhythmic pace.  

The second movement is slow and expressive, sprinkled with rhythmic bursts of energy. The third movement is fast with twittering woodwinds and strings, while the fourth movement is fast with twittering woodwinds. 

The instrumentation includes a piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, con-trabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, cymbals, harp and strings.  

Eduardo A. Flores is a contributor and can be reached at [email protected]; @eduardo_aa_flores on Instagram; @floreseduardo on Twitter.