The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra: A Student Musician’s Perspective

Written by Sarah Brunner

The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra is the longest continually operating professional orchestra of its kind. The Wharton Center’s 2013-2014 season is honored to host the performance on Friday, November 8 at 8 pm

I am a student at Michigan State University, an intern at the Wharton Center and a musician that performs at local restaurants and bars. East Lansing is primarily a college town – a melting pot of young culture, interest and music taste. Whether I am studying in a coffee shop, overhearing the music in the car next to me at a stop light, or simply hanging around my friends, I have found that music in my generation has veered its way towards an electronic nature, including “bass drops” and “trap music” style sounds. Live music has evolved considerably, and is constantly changing. Some of the first public concerts in history were classical groups, and now there are festivals dedicated to electronic music alone. While I enjoy the fresh and futuristic ideas of music in my generation, I often listen to classical music as well. I appreciate the expressive sounds of violins and cellos, two of the fourteen instruments featured in the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.

Why should my fellow students be interested in this show?

For one, the conductor. Neeme Järvi has been the director of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra since 2010 and has a rich background in music. He was born in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and has decades of conducting experience. A good portion of Michigan State students are from Detroit, and Järvi represents the city with pride. He directed the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) from 1990-2005. He is now Music Director Emeritus for DSO and continues to conduct worldwide. In interviews, he has been described as charming and expressive. His performances are often considered “spontaneous” and Järvi is known to change his interpretation in the moment of the performance.

Many students at Michigan State are interested in radio and broadcasting. People hear the radio every day at work, in restaurants and in the car. For those who express interest in live radio, music or concerts, they may be surprised to know that the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra has ties with some of the world’s first live concert broadcasts. In 1926, Tallinn Radio took the risk of allowing the orchestra to perform live on the air. This risk proved to be a successful foundation – the orchestra developed into one of the greatest orchestras in the world as a result.

Unfortunately, many students get caught up in one music genre and fail to appreciate the art and authenticity that is classical music. Live classical music is emotional, moving and fulfilling. Seeing the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra live is an opportunity that students should want to take advantage of. It will expose them to international music, unlike any sounds on the Top 40 radio. The pieces are artistic and tell stories – allowing the students to interpret for themselves. The Cobb Great Hall at the Wharton Center will emphasize the beauty of the sound, as well. On November 8th, the performance features Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 and Veljo Tormis’ Overture No. 2.

For the students that decide to experience the show for only $15, it will be well worth the price.

For More Information on the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

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Sarah Brunner is a Junior Advertising major at Michigan State University. She enjoys her involvement at the Wharton Center as a Marketing intern and Special Events Coordinator of Wharton Center Student Marketing Organization. Music, reading, people and art are her passions. In her free time, she plays acoustic guitar for restaurants, coffee shops and arts and music festivals in East Lansing and Northern Michigan.

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Posted in At Wharton Center, Events, Performing Arts

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