By Lex Kang ’21
[Editor’s note: The Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra performs its fall concert on Saturday, October 28, 8 pm, in Spaulding Auditorium.]
Hanlin Wang, ’21, is one of the handful of talented young musicians that joined the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, commonly referred to as the DSO, as a freshman this fall term. Arts Ambassadors got to hear about his musical history and his personal involvement with the DSO and the arts on campus.
When and how did you start music? What made you interested in music?
I started playing the violin when I was five or six years old. I was too young to really make this decision on my own, it was just a skill that my parents thought would be nice to have. When I started playing, it just kind of stuck with me. I enjoyed it pretty early on, so I just kept going with it. In elementary school I started playing in a youth orchestra, and I stayed with it, all the way through high school. Coming to college I wanted to continue that because it’s a really good creative outlet.
At first you weren’t that interested in the instrument, it was kind of bestowed upon you, but you grew to like it. What made you like it? What about the violin is so great?
First of all, it sounds really nice, and I think at first when I was just playing by myself I didn’t have as much motivation, but once I joined a group of musicians where people were collaborating and making music together, it definitely became more interesting. As I grew older, I also began to branch out into exploring different ways of making music, not just playing classical pieces that the teacher assigns you. I tried making covers on my own where I would wear headphones and play along with the song and record separate tracks and mix them together. Later I performed with a string quartet, and that was nice because everyone else in the quartet was my classmates and we could really bond.
What inspired you to join the DSO?
I was involved in a youth orchestra for all my high school years and I thought it was a very meaningful experience for me. I knew Dartmouth had a symphony orchestra before I applied and I really had my eye on it. I wanted to be a part of it, since it was a way of finding a community at a pretty large school; finding people who share a passion for music.
What do you love the most about the DSO?
I think DSO is a really relaxed environment. It requires commitment, you have to go to rehearsals and sectionals, but everyone knows each other because it’s not a huge orchestra, it’s probably around 50 people, and the conductor, Mr. Ciabatti, is really inspiring and energetic. He’s strict when needed, but he’s always really nice and approachable. The people in DSO make you feel welcome, and it’s a really tight knit group.
What’s your favorite part in a regular practice for DSO?
This term we’re playing two pieces; one is a huge symphony, over an hour long, by Mahler, and the next piece is a flute concerto with a guest soloist. I really enjoy the symphony – it’s challenging to play, but it’s a really grand symphonic piece, and all of the different sections of the orchestra have to show their individual sounds. We’re actually hiring a lot of additional musicians because the orchestration of this piece calls for a huge symphony, but we only have 50 people, so we’re hiring additional brass players, like horns, to really blast the sound to the audience.
What’s your personal goal and group goal for DSO this year?
I would just say to keep on being involved in DSO throughout my year. I plan on staying with it all four years, but I know that some terms I might be taking off because of the D Plan, so to just be present when I can be a part of this musical group. For the group, it’s a really welcoming, social group, so I want it to stay that way. To maintain the community.
What do you most look forward to for the DSO?
I’m looking forward to our first performance on October 28th.