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As the semester is coming to a close end, the College of Visual and Performing Arts is putting on multiple ends of the year showcases. One performance was presented to the student body on Tuesday, April 19, in Covington with the Radford University Guitar Ensemble. Throughout the night, different students come on to perform as well as conduct others.
The night began with a graduate student duo that performed Concerto for Violins composed by Georg Teleman. The two performers were Will Krysiek and Andrew Weed. It was wonderful to hear how the Violin Concerto translated in with the guitar. There were four concertos played, and they flowed beautifully.
Concertos are never generally long and multiple are combined to perform a unique sound. The piece started out small and slow and gradually built to a crescendo and then ended on a soft note. The piece showed a lot of skill and the performers did a great job.
After the duo, Will Krysiek conducted a full ensemble, which consisted of 16 guitarists. They performed El Baile de Luis Alonso composed by Geronimo Gimenez. The piece started off very soft with only three guitarists playing, and it gradually built as more players joined. One aspect that stood out to me the most in this piece was how there were different sections that certain guitarists played and even though it sounded strange in the beginning, it eventually came together and sounded beautiful.
After the piece had been finished, the other graduate student Andrew Weed came on stage to conduct the ensemble. This time, they performed Toccata composed by Leo Brouwer, and it was my favorite piece shown all night. It started very fast and upbeat and only grew from there. The piece displayed such emotion and raw power that it was astounding to watch the ensemble perform. Both graduate students, Will, and Andrew did a phenomenal job performing as well as conducting.
After a brief intermission, the Radford University Honors Undergraduate Guitar Quartet, consisting of Daniel Burton, Nico Drennan, Grant Lawton and Charles Wood, came on stage. They performed Pacific Coast Highway composed by Andrew York. It was evident that this piece was more of a modern song with it being loud and kind of scattered; an organized mess. The piece itself was a bit hard to follow; however, it was delightfully performed.
Once again, the entire ensemble played the final piece of the night, but this time, an actual faculty conductor came on stage to conduct. The group performed Cuban Landscape with Rain composed by Leo Brouwer. The piece started off quietly with only two guitarists playing and then gradually the entire ensemble joined in. Halfway through the piece, players began to break off in a canon sort of fashion, and the music gradually grew louder. The ending of the piece was a little strange to me when the performers began to, almost violently, pluck at their guitar strings which caused a very strange sound to occur which was not particularly pleasant sounding. One guitarist even possibly broke a string on his guitar. However, the music began to quiet down to only four people playing a soft almost angelic sounding piece. The performers began to fade out, and the room gradually grew silent.
All of the conductors and performers were enjoyable to watch, and listen to as well. Congratulations to all those who performed on a fantastic night.
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