Musicians honored at symphony performance.Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard
Two orchestra chairs sat empty when the music began Thursday night at the Eugene Symphony's sold-out Hult Center concert with Sir James Galway Sir James Galway (born December 8, 1939) is a Northern Ireland–born virtuoso flute player from Belfast, He is often called "The Man With the Golden Flute". Following in the footsteps of Jean-Pierre Rampal, he became one of the first flute players to establish an international .
The empty seats in the strings section were in memory of Kjersten Oquist, the orchestra's principal violist, and Angela Svendsen, the principal second violinist.
The two women were killed Sunday night Sunday Night, later named Michelob Presents Night Music, was an NBC late-night television show which aired for two seasons between 1988 and 1990 as a showcase for jazz and eclectic musical artists. on Interstate 5 near Albany when their car was struck by a wrong-way driver as they headed home from a rehearsal.
The concert, featuring flute superstar Galway and his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, was expected to be one of the high points of the symphony season. Instead it was nearly canceled as a result of the musicians' deaths until musicians, the symphony staff and board members decided that the show should go on.
In a change from tradition, the audience walked into the Silva Concert Hall and found the stage empty of musicians. At at few minutes past 8 p.m., orchestra members silently walked in, one by one, each carrying a white rose, to take their places.
Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero laid his rose on Oquist's chair and concertmaster con·cert·mas·ter
The first violinist in a symphony orchestra. Kathryn Lucktenberg laid her rose on Svendsen's.
"The Eugene Symphony The Eugene Symphony is an American orchestra based in Eugene, Oregon. Its home venue is the Silva Concert Hall at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
Approximately 22,000 people attend Eugene Symphony's classical and pops concert performances each year. lost two of its members in a tragic accident early this week," Guerrero said, noting the orchestra had considered canceling the evening's performance. "But we overwhelmingly wanted the opportunity to honor Angela and Kjersten the best way we know how - with music."
The orchestra then played a stately and familiar short piece, Variation No. 9 from Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations Variations on an Original Theme for orchestra, Op. 36 ("Enigma"), commonly referred to as the "Enigma" Variations, is a set of a theme and its fourteen variations written for orchestra by Edward Elgar in 1898–99. , as a tribute to the two musicians.
When the music stopped, more than 2,500 people shared an extended moment of silence so profound it seemed wrenched from some remote place.
"Our grief is nothing compared to the families of Kjersten and Angela," Symphony Board President Mary Ann Hanson said. "Their light is shining through this sadness and loss."
Two floral arrangements framed the stage, and a program insert described the two musicians and their careers. The white roses brought on by the musicians lay scattered around their seats during the performance.
Galway concluded the evening with a rendition of the Irish tune "Danny Boy," saying the music was like a prayer and asking the audience to "pray for our lost friends and their families."
Principal oboist Kelli Gronli was injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
3. in the crash; she did not perform Thursday.
Earlier in the evening Guerrero announced the program for the symphony's 2007-08 season at a reception.
The new season will include performances of Tchaikovsky's fifth symphony, Gershwin's American in Paris, Copland's Appalachian Spring Appalachian Spring is a ballet score by Aaron Copland that premiered in October 1944, and achieved widespread popularity as an orchestral suite. The ballet, scored for a thirteen-member chamber orchestra, was created at the request of choreographer and dancer Martha Graham , Beethoven's sixth symphony and Orff's Carmina Burana carmina burana: see Goliardic songs. . Among guest soloists next season will be violin virtuoso Joshua Bell