Brooklyn, NY — Scores of the roughly two hundred student musicians enrolled in the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music entertained an enthusiastic audience of students, alumni, faculty, and staff that nearly filled the auditorium at Whitman Hall on Thursday, April 26, for the First Annual President’s Concert.
The hour-long concert featured a cross section of musical styles, from jazz to opera and from classical to modern. It was hosted by President Christoph M. Kimmich and featured the actor and BC alumnus Dominic Chianese, Class of ’62, as master of ceremonies.
Besides his introductions of the featured performances of music and song, Chianese, who is best known for his portrayal of Uncle Junior on the popular HBO crime-family miniseries The Sopranos, played guitar, sang, and recited a poem, which was written by current BC student Matthew Maggio.
“This First Annual President’s Concert,” Dr. Kimmich told the audience, “is being presented to recognize and celebrate the work of the Conservatory of Music and to see and hear its faculty and students.”
The world of music, he noted, “is full of Brooklyn College graduates from Hollywood to Munich.”
A total of seventy musicians took part in the afternoon entertainment. It was launched with the world premiere of a fanfare piece titled Onyx performed by the Brooklyn College Brass Ensemble under the direction of Professor Douglas Hedwig, who also composed the piece.
The Brooklyn College Conservatory Orchestra under the direction of Associate Professor George Rothman, featuring student musician Angelo Rondello on the piano, next gave a rousing performance of the third movement of Camille Saint-Saens’ Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, featuring a “rip-roaring” tarantella.
This was followed by a rendition of John Tavener’s The Village Wedding, sung by the Conservatory Chamber Choir under the direction of Assistant Professor Jonathan Babcock, and the first movement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto Number 2, performed by the Conservatory Baroque Ensemble.
The Brooklyn College Opera Theater, under the direction of Professor Richard Barrett, next performed selections from Glory Denied, a new opera by former Brooklyn College music instructor Tom Cipullo that tells the tragic story of Colonel Jim Thompson, the Vietnam-era’s longest held American prisoner of war. The opera will have its world premiere on May 5th at Whitman Hall in the first of two performances by BC Opera Theater. That was followed by Melanie’s Dance, an original composition by Assistant Professor Michael Washington, played by the Conservatory Jazz Ensemble.
The final presentation was a selection from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide titled Make Our Garden Grow sung by the twenty members of the Brooklyn College Opera Theater Chorus.
At the conclusion of the concert, music department chair Dr. Bruce MacIntyre thanked the audience for attending and congratulated all those who performed. He said that the performance had been taped by students from the Television and Radio department, under Professor Stuart MacLelland, for showing on CUNY TV.