The Ohio State Symphony Orchestra presents the first performances of the academic year

The Ohio State Symphony Orchestra is rehearsing for their upcoming concerts, led by graduate student Samantha Burgess. Credit: Josie Penderghast | Journalist Lantern

As live music returns to concert halls around Columbus, the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra is joining the ranks with its own live performances.

The Ohio State Symphony Orchestra will hold its first performances of the academic year this week, starting with a performance at the Wesley Glen Retirement Community on Tuesday and following with another show at the Hughes Hall Auditorium on Wednesday. Performances are expected to last around 70 minutes with an intermission, said Samantha Burgess, a master’s student in music theory and conducting.

The set includes a variety of classics, including works by Mendelssohn, Bellini, Ginastera, Mozart and Verhey. The orchestra has been practicing its set since the start of the school year.

Orchestra director Miriam Burns said the musicians were delighted to share their sound with a live audience, especially given the sentimental value Wesley Glen audiences have for him personally.

“Wesley Glen’s performance will be outdoors at the center [where] my mother, Louise Burns, previously resided, ”said Burns.

During performances, regardless of location, conductors change songs respectively, giving students the chance to take on the role of conductor. Burgess has stated that she will conduct the orchestra’s Mozart performance after six years of conducting practice.

“We’re all so excited to have an audience and hope people don’t take these live performances for granted,” said Burgess.

Although the orchestra was allowed to rehearse in person together last year, they were unable to perform in front of a live audience, and the performances depended solely on virtual live broadcasts, Burgess said.

Moving forward, Burgess said she hopes the rest of the season is as fun as their first set was.

“We have such a great repertoire planned for this year,” she said. “It’s like we are making up for lost time.

In-person crowds last year were limited to family members of the musicians, Burgess said. However, she said she felt lucky that the orchestra was able to perform together during the pandemic.

In addition to not being able to accommodate a live audience last year, the musicians had to change their position on stage, with the conductor on the left edge of the stage and the musicians spread across the space, said Burgess. This ensured that the wind instruments were more separate and did not disrupt proper social distancing.

Although the stage setup has returned to normal, precautions are still in place. Burgess said all string musicians must wear a mask when performing, and even the flute soloist wears a special mask that allows her to perform while wearing a face covering.

Although he had to get used to the changes in performance standards after the pandemic, Burgess said the group was excited to be back.

“We can’t wait to feel the energy of a live audience again,” she said.

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