Hillman Series showcases talent

The Hillman Visiting Artist series kicked off Sept. 27 at Hughes Hall. The Carpe Diem String Quartet took to the stage alongside world-class bandoneon player Raul Jaurena, who specializes in the genre of tango.

The quartet and Jaurena played a rendition of works by Antonio Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla with a tango influence.

The performance also included UMHB Assistant Professor Michelle Schumann who was the featured pianist of the recital. Schumann has been playing with Carpe Diem for five to six years and enjoyed seeing how the audience reacted to the upbeat presence they had on stage.

“The Carpe Diem String quartet is very energetic when they perform. Classical music often gets an unfair reputation of being boring, so it’s really great when we can see world-class players up on stage who are super energetic. This quartet really brings a different kind of vibe to classical music,” she said.

In 2007, Jaurena won a Latin Grammy for his album titled I Love Tango. Schumann got the chance to meet and work with him a few years ago prior to performing with him at the Hillman Series.

“What I love about him as a player is that he plays with such overt expression. When he plays, you feel that he is telling you a story, and you’re completely sucked into the world that he is creating on his instrument. The sounds that he creates on the bandoneon are really beautiful, and listening to him can transport you to all of these amazing places,” she said.

Sophomore finance major Kristina Liu is a fan of classical music. The concert was her first time hearing Jaurena and the Quartet perform together.

“I thought it was fantastic. I liked the line-up. I like how they alternated the classical Four Seasons with the tango Four Seasons. I thought it was a really good way to arrange the program. I was very curious about the bandoneon player because I never experienced that before,” she said.

Many students who may not be familiar with the classical music left Hughes Hall that night with a brand new outlook on the genre.

Junior nursing major Chelsea Kosar, who attended the concert out of curiosity, said, “I actually had a good time tonight. I was surprised at how much fun I ended up having. Classical music isn’t something that I would normally listen to, but I found myself really getting into it as time went on.”

Schumann was pleased with the outcome of the concert.

She said, “If students are experiencing a concert like this for the first time, I’m hoping that whatever expectation they have for a “classical” concert, that those expectations are kind of shattered in a positive way.”

Schumann wants students to continue to explore different types of music.

“I want students to be able to experience classical music that is vibrant and riveting and hopefully (it’s) something they will want to pursue more in terms to attending concerts.”

Schumann hopes attendees have a greater appreciation for classical music.

“I’m excited for students to come because these players are the finest in their field. I think it’s a really great opportunity for our students to be exposed to these super world-class musicians.”

Assistant Professor of music James Whitis will be the next featured artist in the Hillman Series. He is scheduled to perform Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Hughes Hall.

Author: April Littleton

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