Faculty from UH Mānoa’s music department are featured in the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra’s traditional Beethoven 9th concert this weekend. The program, led by maestra JoAnn Falletta, includes Strauss’s Death & Transfiguration, Op. 21 (Tod und Verklärung) from 1889. The soloists are UH Mānoa faculty Rachel Schutz, soprano, and Jeremy Wong (MM, ’14), bass. Alongside them are Charlene Chi, mezzo-soprano, and Kip Wilborn, tenor. UH Mānoa violin instructor Ignace Jang leads as concertmaster.
For Wong, the performance is his debut with the HSO. “It’s such a great and powerful experience to sing and collaborate with so many wonderful people and musicians,” said Wong. “From Maestra Falletta to my fellow soloists as well as the great orchestra and choir; I’m so happy to have played a role in bringing awesome music to life.” For Schutz, this week’s performances are a return to the stage at Blaisdell Concert Hall. She last sang the Beethoven in 2014 alongside faculty member Dr. Maya Hoover, mezzo-soprano. Schutz, no stranger to the stage, has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra.
Faculty across the Music Department often find themselves equally active in the academy and on the concert stage. The performance faculty at UH Mānoa’s Music Department are members of the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Hawaiian Band, Chamber Music Hawai‘i, Early Music Hawai‘i, and church and community organizations around O‘ahu. This HSO performance begins with “Concert Conversations” led, in this case, by Maestra Falletta and UH faculty member Ignace Jang. Known around campus as Iggy, Concertmaster Jang brings decades of solo and orchestral experience to the studio when he works with UH Mānoa violin students.
The young musicians who study with teachers like Jang, Schutz, and Wong benefit from the chance to learn from skilled pedagogues who are also seasoned performers. “These experiences play a crucial role in shaping us as teachers. It helps us to bring the passion that we feel on stage to our students at UH,” said Wong.