November 6, 2009

The Insightful Intern: The Magnificence of Kodak Hall and Its Performers

I started my internship at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the beginning of September. As a senior Communications/Journalism major at St. John Fisher College, I wanted to try something new and something different. Considering my limited, if not non-existent, classical music knowledge, interning for the RPO certainly fell under those two requirements.

In the ten or so weeks that I’ve been at the RPO, I’ve gotten a chance to be a part of so much. About two weeks ago, I walked into Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre for the very first time to see Vadim Gluzman rehearse. Aside from being blown away by the soloist, I remember standing in the aisle of the theatre and looking up for the first time at the breathtaking grand chandelier. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words; honestly, neither a picture nor a thousand words could describe the beauty and the magnificence of Kodak Hall.

This week, I had a chance to see Haochen Zhang, Gold Medalist of the prestigious Van Cliburn competition, rehearse in the great Kodak Hall and I was mesmerized. As soon as Zhang would stop playing in the rehearsal, I saw him look around the theatre in the same admiration that I had only a week or so before. I was reminded of the fact that he’s just 19 years old, juggling not just a touring schedule, but also homework and other things typical of a teenager.

When Zhang plays though, he’s not a typical 19-year-old guy. He’s an experienced, confident, mature musician. His fingers sweep across the keys in a melodic and captivating blur, and you’re lost not only in the gracefulness of his playing, but also in the rich and powerful tones of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, resonating through the hall.

As if being the youngest person to ever win the Van Cliburn Competition doesn’t distinguish him enough as a great musician, he is also the first Chinese recipient. Interestingly enough, the piece that Zhang will be performing tomorrow night—Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1—is the same piece that Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn Jr. himself played in 1958 to win the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition.

Don’t worry though; you can still get your tickets for the performance tomorrow night. Just click here.

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