Brannon Cho

Cellist Brannon Cho took the stage with the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra on Monday, Nov. 25 in the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center. 

For the second performance in the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra’s season they had a program that took a turn from what a typical GSO program features.

The first half was filled with three unique and fun pieces which happens to be the most difficult and renowned pieces on the cello.

Beginning with ‘Overture to Die Fledermaus’ by Johann Strauss Jr. then moving into ‘Three Dances from The Bartered Bride’ by Bedrich Semtana and ending with ‘A Festive Overture, Op. 96’ by Dmitri Shostakovich the three pieces were energetic, light and fun and had the audience engaged with the music the whole time.

“I thought they were very good,” Rémy Delplanche, a senior at GU said. “I especially liked the first one: the ‘Die Fledermaus.’ I always like the trumpets but I’m biased because I’m a trumpet player.”

The music director of the orchestra and professor of music at GU, Kevin Hekmatpanah said this was a change from what they normally do on the first half of a concert and was very happy with their delivery of the pieces.

“The first three I thought went really well,” Hekmatpanah said. “They are fun pieces and they’re not so hard as the Prokofiev but they’re difficult to put together and they’re difficult to get the right tone. I was very proud of the orchestra to get the right sense of it.”

Then the star of the evening, 24-year-old cellist, Brannon Cho took the stage to play ‘Symphonie Concertante for Cello and Orchestra Op. 125’ by Sergei Prokofiev.

Cho is known for playing this piece by Prokofiev successfully at such a young age and Hekmatpanah had asked him to play it with the GSO for this concert.

For students like Delplanche seeing someone of such a young age performing in the same space as other incredibly well known soloists is inspiring and really cool.

“I liked the energy and how expressive he was. It was very well done,” Delplanche said.

Cho and the GSO’s performance were met with a standing ovation at the end – a sign of hard work paid off and one incredible performance.

“It came off fantastically,” Hekmatpanah said. “I mean you have to have a soloist of that caliber but the orchestra pulled it together, they got in the zone and they delivered. They were in form and they sounded fantastic. With every rehearsal from Saturday to Sunday it got better and from Sunday to today it got better and then tonight it was the best.”

Riley Utley is a news editor. Follow her on Twitter: @rileyutley.

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