This week I talked to Alice Wang ’16, the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra‘s fearless manager and violinist, as she and the DSO prepared for their Saturday, February 27th concert. She shared her thoughts about music, Donald Trump and her love of third movements. Read below for more!
Is classical music relevant in today’s society?
Yes, in the same way that crossword puzzles and American football are relevant. For some people, it’s so irrelevant that it practically doesn’t exist. And then for others, it’s a necessity rather than a luxury.
When was the last time you got goosebumps from music, and what were you playing?
The last time goosebumps happened while listening was to the third movement of Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto. Goosebumps while playing was the third movement of the Brahms Horn Trio. And I don’t even typically take well to third movements.
Donald Trump has said that playing in orchestras encourages groupthink and that we should build a wall to restrict its transmission. What is your response to such criticisms?
Groupthink is mad difficult. Building walls is less so.
What is the best acoustical space on campus? What is the best acoustical space in the world?
Faulkner Recital Hall, in the bowels of the Hop. Nothing else comes close. In the world? Give me a few decades of traveling and I’ll get back to you.
DSO has a lot of fun together. One may say that good group chemistry can translate into a more beautiful and coherent orchestral sound. Has there been any instance of an orchestra (professional or otherwise) that did not get along well?
Well DSO’s extraordinary group chemistry doesn’t happen spontaneously or consistently. We do get along just famously. But every year we have to integrate around 20 new members, so the first rehearsal every fall is special in that regard. Musicians (even amateur ones) are such characters that I would actually be surprised if there has ever been an orchestra (professional or otherwise) comprised of utterly harmonious personnel.