Student Orchestra is Spotlight Ready

By Sam Desatoff

The Fresno State Symphony Orchestra will present the “Spotlight on Our Students” concert Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall at the Fresno State Music Building.

“The Spotlight on Our Students concert is the annual concert…[that] features top students from the department of music in the roles of soloists, conductors and composers,” said Dr. Thomas Loewenheim, a cello professor and director of the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra.

This year’s show will feature student Aimee Dockum on the cello as a soloist. The winner of the 2013-2014 Fresno State Concerto Competition, Dockum will perform the first movement of Édouard Lalo’s “Cello Concerto” with the orchestra.

Also featured will be student composer Joseph Bohigian, whose composition “Rise” will make its premiere Saturday.

“Joseph was selected by the composition faculty to write a piece for the orchestra,” said Loewenheim. “Joseph’s composition is, simply put, a gem.”

Bohigian hopes the concert will raise awareness, not only of the music department, but to keep the classical genre rising in its importance to music.

“I hope that audience members will realize the great range of talent we have here in the Fresno State music department,” Bohigian said. “In regards to my piece, specifically, I hope they will recognize the importance of new music [and] keeping classical music thriving.”

Maxwell Krongaus, a graduate conducting student, will conduct the piece.

“[Joseph’s] collaboration with Maxwell has created a special partnership between a composer and conductor,” Loewenheim said. “This helped elevate the quality of the performance of the piece, bringing out the best in it.”

The concert will be an important experience for many of the student performers, as it provides them an opportunity to work in a professional environment.

“This annual concert is a favorite for many students,” Bohigian said. “It gives the music students a chance to showcase their talents in a meaningful way and gives us a great deal of professional experience writing for and playing with an orchestra.”

For Bohigian, the concert is an important opportunity for his development as a composer.

“The concert is especially important for composition majors,” he said. “It gives us a rare chance to write for a symphony orchestra. That’s not something that happens at every school, and it’s a major step in a composer’s growth. I’m glad I got that opportunity.”

As for his future, Bohigian does not see his career as a composer ending any time soon.

“Right now, I’m looking into graduate schools for composition,” he said. “The goal is basically to be a composer, whatever form that may take. Whatever I end up doing, I know that I’ll still be writing and playing music.”