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Dr Raul Munguia, professor at music, performs at the Eight Seasons at the Bicknell on Friday, Jun. 22.

Eight Seasons blow away the audience on Bicknell Stage

The Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall received a taste of music both classical and contemporary during the Eight Seasons concert, hosted by the PSU department of music. 

Directed by Raul Munguía, professor of violin and director of orchestra, the concert featured the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi back-to-back with the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla. 

“One of my colleagues said I could feel the sweat coming off the performers,” Munguía said. 

The comment came from the unique staging of the concert, as the audience was situated in chairs on stage rather than in the concert hall proper. This design choice simulated the music of the renaissance and baroque eras. 

“It’s a collaboration, it requires a lot of practice,” Munguía said. 

The concert utilized talent from across the Midwest, from Kansas City to Arkansas. The closest addition to this patchwork ensemble is Bryan Amor, senior in music performance and Parsons native. 

“When I got the music, I thought someone would be playing with me, and when I got here I found out it was just me,” Amor said. “You really have to have your part ready to go. We only have three rehearsals to get all the tempo changes together and interact musically with one another.” 

Amor, in addition to playing with the Pittsburg Chamber Players, also plays violin in the Southeast Kansas Symphony and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra out of Bentonville.  

“I am in awe,” said Denissa Rivas, professor of theory and flute.“Vivaldi, of course, is well-known. We know it whether we like it or not. This experience is just so different.”  

To Rivas, the unique placement of performer to audience seating mirrored the chamber music itself. 

“It’s just a conversation between friends,” she said. “It’s live and so close. There’s so much energy that the musicians emit and you’re part of that.” 

Rivas said she also found the juxtaposition of Vivaldi and Piazzolla exceptionally interesting. 

“Of course, I am a little biased because of my Latin heritage,” she said. “You grow up with this kind of music and the tango by Piazzolla is so reminiscent of many things. But it’s mixed with harmonies of the United States.” 

The Eight Seasons concert pushed the boundaries of the usual traditional concert experience, allowing the audience to experience a different type of concert. For instrumentalists involved in the concert, as well as those seated in the audience, it is a rewarding opportunity. 

“When you expect a smaller audience, it’s a win-win,” Rivas said. “You get the closeness of chamber music, but you also get the acoustic of the hall. You also understand what the performer sees and feels, looking at the chairs in the auditorium.”   

Rivas said, in regards to the Pittsburg Chamber Music Festival, that music concerts like the Eight Seasons put Pittsburg on the musical map. 

 

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