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Orchestra to launch Ireland tour

The Brown University Orchestra will visit Dublin, Limerick and Wexford over break

The Brown University Orchestra will perform in cities across  Ireland next week in its first international tour since 2007. The orchestra has already sold over 1,000 tickets for concerts in Dublin, Limerick and Wexford.

Senior Lecturer in Music and Conductor Paul Phillips said he became inspired to tour Ireland after he was invited to guest conduct the Irish National Orchestra in 2010.

“I just fell in love with the country and the people and thought that it was a wonderful place,” Phillips said.

After a 2006-7 trip to China over the winter break, the orchestra attempted to tour other countries but was prevented by recent geopolitical and financial crises. During the recession, Phillips said he had not thought it appropriate to ask members to contribute money toward a tour. The orchestra also considered travelling to Greece and Mexico but was discouraged by ongoing turmoil in the two countries, Phillips added.

Since its last international tour, the orchestra has continuously worked to raise the $285,000 necessary to fund a trip to Ireland. The University covered about a third of the cost while former president Ruth Simmons also made a contribution from her President’s fund, Phillips said. The Creative Arts Council, Rhode Island School of Design, contributors to the orchestra’s Music and Instrument Fund and numerous other university departments and organizations also donated money. The orchestra collaborated with Music Celebrations International, a music tour scheduling company, to arrange the schedule and venues for the tour.

“I’m so excited to go to Ireland because we’ve been trying to go on tour for so long,” said violinist and Concertmaster Brooke Camarda ’13. “Normally, we would play in Sayles Hall which isn’t the best venue. So, it’ll be exciting to play in such big space. Also, playing in front of such a large audience, even the applause will be different.”

In Ireland, Brown University Orchestra will perform, “An American Celebration of Music in Ireland” featuring iconic American classics such as “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story” and “An American in Paris.” The Orchestra will also perform a piece entitled “Global Warming” by American composer Michael Abels.

“It’s a piece about cultures coming together,” Phillips said. “Following the election of Nelson Mandela, it was also one of the first pieces played by a black composer by the National Symphony of South Africa.”

The musicians also plan to visit famous sights throughout Ireland, Phillips said. Before playing in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, the Orchestra will explore the city and visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College, the country’s oldest university.

“It’s a pretty big group, and I’ve been involved since freshman year, but there are still people that I can get to know,” said flautist Natasha Bluth ’15. “I think it’s going to be a really great bonding experience for us.”

Pianist Anthony Bui ’13 is excited to perform internationally and considers this tour “an experience of a lifetime,” especially since he won’t be as involved in music after he graduates, Bui wrote in an email to the Herald. As a soloist, Bui had to learn challenging pieces in a short period of time, he wrote.

“But, it’s been well worth it. I am most excited about experiencing a new culture with some of my closest friends,” Bui wrote. “I could not be more excited.”



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