Orchestra concert expected to have a student pianist for the first time


Alyssa Clark

Senior Lydia Mun plays “French Suite” in G major by Bach in the orchestra room.

Madison Gomez, Reporter

Without worry and with more emotion, senior Lydia Mun plays piano and flows with music by feeling the sound. She is brought into a more controlled environment when playing with the SHS Advanced Orchestra for the first semester. She says it was awkward at first adjusting to the orchestral sound, but it showed her that there was more ways to play her instrument.

“I love hearing string instruments,” Mun said. “It was one of my dreams to (play) for an orchestra.”

For the fall concert on Sept. 14, the Advanced Orchestra will be playing two out of three pieces that will be accompanied by piano. Although orchestra teacher Thomas Wright has experience conducting with a pianist, this will be his first time having a student pianist play with the SHS Orchestra. According to Wright, the sound and overall performance of the orchestra changes when the piano comes into play, and Mun is able to bring that out with her skill set.

Mun walked into the orchestra room one iPass class last year and started playing piano. Wright could tell Mun had the talent 2017 SHS graduate Angela Dong had suggested. He approached her and asked if she wanted to play in the orchestra  

“At the moment she’s a special case,” Wright said. “But, if I become aware of other piano students of her level that want to play in orchestra, I’d definitely be open to it.”

Mun has been playing piano for the past 10 years and her lessons have been through a private teacher. She was not able to participate in ISSMA, a state solo and ensemble contest for orchestra and band, since one of the requirements was being in a school ensemble. Wright gave Mun the possibility to participate this year, and is very excited to see how she does with this new experience.

Mun is bringing a unique experience to the advanced orchestra, according to Wright, because students are allowed to play pieces they wouldn’t have been able to before without a pianist. In one of the pieces, ‘Contrapunctus 1: Art of the Fugue’ by Johann Sebastian Bach, Mun is doubling the orchestra parts, meaning playing what the orchestra is already playing, which provides the overall sound with an exactness that the orchestra lacks by itself.

Overall, the orchestra can be a little out of tune in their usual repertoire because there has not been a piano piece backing them up. A clash of notes appear if they don’t work on going along with the piano now, so Mun taking the advanced orchestra class with them benefits the group as a whole because they have time to go over each piece each class period.

Wright says he is excited to have the orchestra play the other piece, ‘Carnival of the Animals’ by Camille Saint-Saëns, where the piano part is independent.

Like any performance, there will be mistakes made on each part, but Wright says Mun is an exceptional player, so he feels confident in the orchestra playing each piece. Mun is nervous for ‘Contrapunctus 1,’ though, because they have not played that one together as often she says.

“I don’t know if people can tell, but I get really embarrassed if I make a mistake and I get really shy,” Mun said. “I always hope no one notices, but I have a feeling there’s at least somebody.”