The BYU Philharmonic Orchestra received overwhelmingly positive reviews in Fanfare magazine for their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. Fanfare is a national, bi-monthly publication that reviews contemporary recordings of classical music.
The quality of music from the BYU Philharmonic was not only compared to the work of other collegiate level orchestras, but also to professional orchestras in the United States and in Europe. As the university’s flagship orchestra, the School of Music faculty and students are appreciative of and excited for these kinds of reviews. Robert Markow, a writer for Fanfare, praised the orchestra on several levels in the November/December issue.
"After learning it was the flagship orchestra at Brigham Young University’s School of Music in Provo, Utah, I was prepared to dismiss it as no more than a vanity exercise," wrote Markow, who reviewed the BYU Philharmonic’s recording of Mahler Symphony No. 3. "That would have been a grave mistake… What a revelation!"
Kory Katseanes, director of the School of Music, conducts the BYU Philharmonic orchestra. He said he is grateful for the praise, but he feels that credit needs to be given to the members of the orchestra.
"These gratifying reviews are a reflection of their hard work and their capacity," Katseanes said. "When we get praise as glowing as this, I think of these students and how grateful I am that they rose to this level."
Reviewers also shined the spotlight on a few individual students. Spencer Park, one of the orchestra’s principal horn players, and Ali Atkinson, a trumpet player, were both singled out by reviewers. The reviewer said that Park has "a glorious sound, perfect intonation, clean articulation," and that "he could easily step into a first-horn position in any major orchestra tomorrow."
"I’m really happy that the BYU School of Music is being recognized nationally as a top-notch music school," Park said. "With the help of these reviews, hopefully we can get more national attention, which I think we deserve."
Atkinson said that this recording of the Mahler symphony is a testimony to the talent and hard work the members of the orchestra put into their musical efforts.
"We all expect so much of each other," Atkinson said. "We keep each other accountable to high expectations, because where we’re headed is incredible."
The BYU Philharmonic’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, is available for purchase at the BYU Music Store.