Mission College Symphony Takes Listeners on Musical Journey
By Carolyn Schuk

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There is probably no better place to hear symphonic music in the South Bay than the Santa Clara Mission Church, at the center of the Santa Clara University campus. The acoustically rich space is an outstanding place for getting reacquainted with familiar works, and hearing them in new ways.

The church was certainly the perfect place for Mission College Symphony’s "Voyage to Budapest, Vienna & Prague" concert on March 22, in which conductor Joseph Ordaz took listeners on a musical trip on the Danube, through Central Europe.

The concert opened with Franz Doppler’s (1821-1883) Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, Op.26, featuring flute soloist Gala Yaroshevsky - an enticing and exotic introduction to the journey ahead, beckoning like a gypsy tune heard in the distance. Yaroshevsky, a renowned flutist from Uzbekistan, is the conductor of the Avant Flute Choir of the San Jose Youth Orchestra, and is renowned for her Orange Flute Studio.

That was followed by Franz Joseph Haydn’s (1732-1809) Cello Concerto No. 1 in C, composed for Hayden’s patron Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy of Vienna. The cello solo was masterfully played by cellist Robin Snyder, a favorite with Bay Area orchestras, who has toured and performed with artists as diverse as Andrea Boccelli and Kelly Clarkson.

The first half concluded with Bohemian composer Bedrich Smetana’s (1824-1884) eternally popular tone poem “The Moldau,” played with special verve by the orchestra.

The second half featured Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756-1791) Symphony No. 38 in D major, K.504, which was called the "Prague Symphony” because it was first performed in that city. Written in 1786, the work shows Mozart’s symphonic style at its peak, and covers a remarkable emotional spectrum - making it a perfect conclusion to the evening’s musical journey.

The next opportunity to hear Mission College Symphony will be at the city’s free Concerts in the Park series, on Wednesday, June 25, 6:30 p.m., at the Central Park Pavilion.

In the fall, Mission College Symphony’s Future Stars concert on Nov. 2 will feature cellist Irene Jeong, winner of the orchestra’s Young Artist Competition, as well as the Mission Dance Company’s choreography for Georges Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2.

Next April the orchestra will perform an all-German concert, featuring its director Joseph Ordaz as piano soloist in Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Both concerts will be in the Mission College main building, Center Space at 3000 Mission College Blvd. For information, visit www.missioncollegesymphony.org.