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Not Just Fiddling Around

November 30, 2007

Fran Simon

The sounds of strings, winds and brass will fill Dixon Hall as the Tulane University Orchestra plays a free concert on Sunday (Dec. 2). Presented by the Newcomb Department of Music, the concert takes place at 6 p.m.

Maxim Samarov

Maxim Samarov, new director of the Tulane University Orchestra, will debut with the orchestra at its fall semester concert on Sunday (Dec. 2). (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Under the leadership of new director Maxim Samarov, the orchestra will play selections from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the overture to Rossini’s Semiramide and Suite No. 1 of the opera Carmen by Bizet.

Making his Tulane debut at the concert, Samarov says he chose these musical works because they are accessible to an audience yet challenging for the students in the orchestra.

“I want the audience to have a musical experience that moves them,” says Samarov, who joined the music department faculty this semester. “I’ve selected a program that’s exciting for the players, the audience and me.”

Most of the nearly 50 members of the orchestra play their instruments for enjoyment, Samarov says. The students receive class credit for participation. The majority of the orchestra members are not music majors. Only a few of players are exclusively music majors, and several are double majors in music and another major.

Each of the players auditioned to participate in the orchestra. Samarov would like to see the orchestra double in size under his directorship.

On his wish list is more brass, particularly trombone players. Samarov also would like to have more strings for the spring semester.

This semester, the full orchestra has been rehearsing each Sunday, along with meeting for sectional rehearsals and individual coaching during the week. Members of the music department’s applied music faculty, all players with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, provide additional section rehearsals and coaching sessions.

113007_orchestra2Samarov was born in Moscow, the son of two professional musicians. He began training as a cellist at the age of 5 — early but not uncommon in Russia.

After earning a degree in orchestral conducting from Michigan State University, Samarov taught at Luther College in Iowa and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. His work with various orchestras has been praised for combining East European passion and intensity with North American ensemble culture and attention to detail.

At Tulane, Samarov teaches string instrumental performance, chamber music and conducting.

For more information about the orchestra program and concerts, contact Diane Banfell or call 504-862-3214.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000