Moscow State Symphony Orchestra brings audience to their feet

After the lengthy show, the audience bounded to their feet with the third and final standing ovation of the night, offering the musicians a well deserved farewell. (Nick Hampton/The Daily Campus)

Unphased by eight hours worth of jet lag, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra took the stage of the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night and did nothing but impress.

The orchestra featured abridged versions of “Tristan and Isolde,” “WWV 90: Overture” by German composer Richard Wagner, “Cello Concerto in A minor, Op.129” by German composer Robert Schumann and “Symphony No.2 in D minor, Op.43” by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

World-renowned cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan joined the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra onstage. At the age of 22, Hakhnazaryan won the gold medal at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition. After performing with world-renowned orchestras across the globe, including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the Utah Symphony, Hakhnazaryan has established himself as one of the finest cellists of his generation.

Material science and engineering graduate student Sriram Vijayan was impressed by Hakhnazaryan’s performance.

“The cellist was extremely good,” Vijayan said.

Even when he was not playing, he still managed to strike the audience. “He was great… especially when he would, like, finish it off and then hold the stick for, like, 10 seconds,” Vijayan said jokingly.

In the discussion prior to the concert, they analyzed the pieces performed and the composers who wrote them, giving context to perhaps illuminate something as difficult to describe as the emotionality and symbolism within a sheet of music.

The knowledgeable speaker noted the complexity of certain chords and notes that accumulated to represent the composers and the important people in their lives. They also spoke of the significant themes running through the works, such as the power of true love to persevere through declining mental health and the shared space between Finnish nationalism and a brother’s grief.

Whether or not the listeners followed along to their academic analysis did not matter, only that they grasped a sense for the immensity of the masterpieces that would be attempted later that night.

Despite the high expectations set by the orchestra’s prestige and the pre-concert talk, much like Hakhnazaryan, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra did not disappoint.

“It was a brilliant performance. Everything was great from start to finish,” Vijayan said.

Hannah Leonard, material science and engineering graduate student, echoed Vijayan’s enthusiasm. “They’re phenomenal,” Leonard said.

After the lengthy show, the audience bounded to their feet with the third and final standing ovation of the night, offering the musicians a well deserved farewell.


Alexis Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexis.taylor@uconn.edu.