The UF Symphony Orchestra led by maestro Raymond Chobaz welcomed two special guest artists for its Oct. 9, 2014 performance. German pianist Andreas Klein joined the orchestra for Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano and Orchestra in the first half of the program, while filmmaker and actress Amy Redford took to the stage in the second half of the program providing the narration of The Story of Cinderella, which featured music from the ballet, Cinderella, by Sergei Prokofiev and text by Dr. Chobaz. Guest artists from Dance Alive National Ballet also joined the 104-piece orchestra for The Story of Cinderella.
“I have never been as proud of my students in the orchestra as I was at this particularly difficult concert,” said Dr. Chobaz. “Klein and Redford have both been so inspiring to work with. I am sure that our students will cherish this experience for a long time.”
During the week leading up to the performance, the artists shared their experiences with students at the School of Music and the School of Theatre + Dance. On Tuesday, Klein, a Juilliard graduate who has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, hosted a master class with students from the piano studios of Professors Hee Jung Kang, Kevin Orr and Kevin Sharpe.
“Our students benefit tremendously from an artist of Andreas Klein’s caliber, one of many international guests we have in the School of Music throughout the year,” said Orr.
Yingying Wang, a graduate student at UF who earned her bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, was one of three students to perform in the master class.
“Andreas Klein's masterful tonal color and his tendency to explore the authentic characters of the piece and composer definitely inspired me,” said Wang of the experience. “He understands the true character of Beethoven's music. I learned that notes are the reflection of the composer's intention and, more importantly, he encouraged me to create a narrative tonal story with contrasting mood and color, and to use a variety of touching methods on the keyboard.”
Wang says master classes, such as the one with Klein, offer a valuable addition to solo practice. “In master classes, we all gain inspiration,” she said.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Amy Redford, daughter of Academy Award-winning film director and actor Robert Redford, who has appeared in films as diverse as Sunshine Cleaning and Maid in Manhattan and has produced and directed several movies, visited Professor Kevin Marshall’s undergraduate and graduate classes at the School of Theatre + Dance. The Q&A format of the classes allowed students to learn about Redford’s experience as an actress and filmmaker. Topics covered included the importance of taking care of one’s body, internships and the ins and outs of working with casting agencies.
“Amy Redford offered insight about not only being the child of an actor, but also her experience as an actor herself,” said Ernest Briggs, a first-year MFA candidate in acting. “She also offered amazing advice on how to create a good artistic community and how to be happy in the arts.”