Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Gala Season Opener delights, award-winning pianist excites

Monday, October 16, 2017

Southeast’s symphony performed a Gala Season Opening concert in the River Campus’ Bedell Performance Hall accompanied by award-winning pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi.

The concert started at 7:30 p.m. and consisted of Mozart’s “Symphony No. 40 in G Minor,” “Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number Three in C Minor” in the first act and Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major” in the second act with a 10-minute intermission.

According to conductor Sara Edgerton, one of the pieces was special to the performers.

“Mozart’s piece had a special meaning to some of us in the orchestra,” she said. “We performed this piece in a festival in Italy. This just holds so many great memories in our hearts.”

Southeast professor and concertmaster Sophia Han leads the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra in a piece during the Gala Symphony opening concert in Bedell Hall on Oct. 10.
Photo by Josh Dodge

The symphony orchestra contained violins, violas, cellos, string basses, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, trumpets, French horns, trombones and percussion. Pompa-Baldi accompanied on piano.

In “Symphony No. 40” by Beethoven, Pompa-Baldi accompanied the orchestra and masterfully played solos throughout the piece with the symphony accompanying him in solo areas.

Pompa-Baldi is originally from Foggia, Italy, and was a top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France.

After his solo performance during Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 40”, Pompa-Baldi performed a solo that was composed in France.

Pompa-Baldi said he liked the enthusiasm and energy that came from working with Southeast’s orchestra.

“I think my favorite part was the process of rehearsing and getting the piece ready, and then it was quite wonderful to be on stage with them and to feel the energy,” he said.

Performer and music faculty member Nick Kenney discussed what it was like to work with Pompa-Baldi.

“Working with such a talent was honestly so great,” he said. “It’s always great to learn from people who have been so established throughout their life.”

Southeast freshman Abbey Vogel was in the audience and had nothing but good things to say about this concert.

“I really enjoyed the concert because some of the pieces that I have heard from the symphony sampler like Dvorak’s piece,” she said. “I was able to hear the entire symphony as a whole that included all of the movements as well as the full movement from the one that was at the sampler.”

Nicholas Smentkowski performs the stand up bass during the Gala Symphony Season Opening Concert at Bedell Hall on Oct. 10.
Photo by Josh Dodge

At the end of the show, Pompa-Baldi and Southeast’s orchestra both received a standing ovation from the audience.

Pompa-Baldi said the most valuable part about being a pianist for him is bringing people together through music.

“My favorite part about performing is definitely the adrenaline and actually the fact that you’re building something as you perform and establishing that line of communication between so many people.”