International Maestro Konarev conducts Millersville’s Orchestra

The Orchestra presented concert "Classical Hits" (Dan Zalewski/Snapper)
The Orchestra presented concert "Classical Hits." (Dan Zalewski/Snapper)

Dan Zalewksi
Staff Writer

When conductor Dr. Vera Volchansky took the stage this past Friday night, she made the most interesting of announcements. Volchansky offered the stage to two guest musicians, guest conductor Maksim Konarev and operatic tenor Alok Kumar, and said that she will be a part of the musical performance on the violin that evening.

The Orchestra presented concert "Classical Hits" (Dan Zalewski/Snapper)
The Orchestra presented concert “Classical Hits.” (Dan Zalewski/Snapper)

The performance started with the String Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy that illustrated beauty through delicate sonorities and contrasting emotions. Light, colorful tones that acted as a baseline for the composition were interrupted by energetic repetitive rhythmic motif. The next three pieces welcomed the aforementioned guest vocalist Alok Kumar who performed a series of shorter Italian pieces, “E lucevan le stele”, “Tu Ca nun chiagne”, and the well-known “La Donna e Mobile”. Kumar’s lyrical vocal quality in combination with the ability of the orchestra to accompany in a mature and flexible manner has resulted in a performance that had stunned the audience. Konarev then led the orchestra in Beethoven’s great Symphony No. 5. His dynamic vision and artistic interpretation of this masterpiece took the orchestra and audience on a musical journey that had left everyone breathless.

Maestro Konarev was absolutely delighted to work with the MU Orchestra. “I very much enjoy working with young ensembles,” Konarev said, “they have a lot of energy and a love for music.” He commends the orchestra director Dr. Volchansky for cultivating such a fine group of young musicians and preparing them to be flexible and artistically expressive in collaborations with guest artists. The University’s president, Dr. John Anderson, was in attendance and commended Maestro Konarev for leading such a high-emotional and truly enjoyable performance.

Dr. Volchansky was proud of the orchestra musicians. She said this was the orchestra’s second time working with guest conductor Mr. Konarev, and both times the collaboration has been extremely productive and resulted in inspiring, emotional and high level performances. The students were open to new ideas suggested by Maestro Konarev. During the two weeks of rehearsals the student musicians and the conductor have musically bonded to produce a believable and impressively solid musical result. Dr. Volchansky is happy to be able to provide her students with this opportunity to perform with such a recognized conductor and a profound musician. She is also excited to have the orchestra perform alongside Alok Kumar, who, with his performance, had fired up both, the orchestra musicians and the audience.

Maestro Konarev thanked Anderson, the Music Department administration and Dr. Volchansky for the opportunity to work with the young and vibrant ensemble. He also commended the students on a fantastic evening of music and sent his best wishes to the guest tenor Alok Kumar, who by that time was on his way to a gala concert in Boston.