Orchestra Concert Features Classical Guitarist


Natalie Li & Jacob Ngai, Staff Writer

Orchestra students performed with professional guitarist Steve Lin at their concert on February 23. Together, they played the featured piece “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joaquin Rodrigo.

A classical guitarist, Lin has performed around the world in places such as Taiwan, the Philippines, Mexico, and Italy. He obtained his Masters of Music from Yale and Bachelor’s Degree from the New England Conservatory. He is currently a guitar professor at San Jose State and occasionally performs at public schools in the Bay Area.

Orchestra director Harvey Benstein discovered Lin online, listened to some of his work, and contacted him to see if he knew the concierto. Benstein said, “For the students to have musical experience with a professional artist is terrific.” Junior Valerie Chiou said, “Working with professional musicians is a great opportunity to know what it’s like to accompany someone who’s got a job in the music field.”

Members of the orchestra were impressed with Lin. Junior Hae-lin Kim said, “since he is the soloist for the concerto, he plays the entire time and works together with the orchestra. He is really cooperative even though we [the orchestra] and him only practiced together several times.” Elliot Kim said, “[Lin] puts a lot of emotion into his playing and is very knowledgeable about the things he does. Plus he’s a nice guy.”

The orchestra did encounter some trouble finding time to rehearse. The windplayers and Lin were only able to practice two times due to scheduling conflicts. Benstein said, “It was a challenge to find time for the orchestra and Lin to practice together, but it was a wonderful concert, everyone did their personal best, and brought the music to life.”

Playing at the concert was nostalgic for Lin. He said, “it reminds me of my high school memories because I first became musically active and had my first performances in high school.” Classical guitar is not well known to the public, yet holds a universal range. “With a guitar, you can play almost any type of music. It’s generic and easy to switch music styles from jazz to classical to pop.”

Composed by Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939, the “Concierto de Aranjuez” is a special piece for Lin. “Since it was by a Spanish composer, the music combines Spanish flamenco with all forms of Spanish music. It really is a musical representation of Spain’s nationalism,” said Lin.

Kyle Chan, Chiou, Kim, and Kim opened the concert with “Six Dances for String Quartet: Rumba,” by Michael McLean. The rest of the orchestra continued with an overture to the “Marriage of Figaro.” After the Mozart piece, Lin joined the group to play the “Concierto de Aranjuez.” The concert ended with “From Holberg’s Time: Suite in Olden Style, Op 40” by Edvard Grieg.

Chiou said, “Steve Lin is a super chill and mellow person. He worked with us really well which made the rehearsals run smoothly. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him long enough to know anything else other than the fact that he’s got ‘Linsanity.'”