Music crafted from a variety of string instruments filled Pfleeger Hall this past Sunday, as the Rowan String Ensemble gave their final performance of the year.
George Atanasiu, the director and conductor of the ensemble, began playing the violin when he was 3 years old. Since then, he picked up many other string instruments and became interested in conducting while in college.
In addition to directing and conducting at Rowan, Atanasiu also conducts all over the world, including Asia, South America and Europe. His music preference is string, as he appreciates the sound of string music more than any other combination of instruments.
“I enjoy very much the quality of the sound and the possibility to exploit it to the maximum and have a range of color, a range of expression,” Atanasiu said. “An orchestra is bigger, it’s wider and it may be more powerful, but I enjoy the purity of the string.”
Atanasiu has been the director of the Rowan String Ensemble for 20 years. The ensemble began with members of the community, but has since transformed into a group made up of students who are music majors as well as non-music majors.
Noel Munoz, a senior music performance major, enjoys this aspect of the ensemble and feels it allows everyone involved to learn from each other.
“With the non-music majors, it’s a chance for them to play with people who play on a normal basis and learn different techniques,” he said.
The concert opened with a string quartet. They played “Allegro ma non troppo” by Antonin Dvorak. After the song, the rest of the string ensemble and Atanasiu came onstage and performed the rest of the concert. They performed songs by Handel, Gluck, Mendelssohn and Suk.
Sophomore math education major Allison Gilbert also enjoys the opportunity to be part of the string ensemble despite not being a music major. She appreciates the opportunity the group gives her to continue playing violin in college.
“The most challenging aspect is practicing on our own then coming together during rehearsals and putting it all together,” Gilbert said. “The most rewarding aspect is putting on the concert near the end of the semester and seeing all our hard work pay off.”
The audience consisted of parents, community members and Rowan students. Carlos Cardona, a 22-year-old from Galloway, enjoyed the concert.
“It made you feel a lot of emotions,” he said.
Kaitlyn Gaffney, a sophomore English and writing arts major, believed those in the string ensemble put on a good show, the songs showing off each of their talents.
“I thought the concert was lovely,” Gaffney. “I was blown away by the talent in the ensemble and left the concert feeling refreshed and inspired. Truly a work of art.”
Atanasiu has seen a lot of growth in the Rowan String Ensemble since he’s been the director.
“Right now we did great progress in those 20 years since I’ve been doing it here. The level has increased,” Atanasiu said. “The students perform better and helping them to be part soloists also give them another perspective, another opportunity to show themselves and to develop as musicians.”
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