Duke Symphony Orchestra; Harry Davidson, Music Director and Conductor Orchestra violinists

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Article in the Duke student newspaper, The Chronicle, interviewing soloist Jenny Li, February 28, 2013:
"I think that in college, if you decide to continue with music, it means you're really passionate about it. I can tell a lot of people truly love music and enjoy playing. Sometimes I'll practice late at night and there are always a lot of others practicing as well. That commitment to music is really encouraging."
Read the full article, "Recess Interviews: Jenny Li," at The Chronicle

Review of concert on December 5, 2012:
"Student musicians bring the intensity of first discovery, and the longer than standard professional rehearsal time can offset technical inexperience. This was true more often than not for music director Harry Davidson's challenging final program of the fall season for the Duke Symphony Orchestra."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Article in the Duke student newspaper, The Chronicle, about the student soloists for the 2012-2013 concert season, September 4, 2012:
"'Students should come to Symphony Orchestra concerts because I think it would change their minds about classical music,' Pearson said. 'Many college students write it off as boring, but if they took the time to engage with classical music, they would discover that it can be happy, passionate, enraged, quirky and many other emotions that I can't put into words.'"
Read the full article, "Duke Symphony Orchestra to highlight student musicians," at The Chronicle

Article in the Durham Herald-Sun newspaper about the orchestra's annual pops concert, August 30, 2012:
"It's become a tradition with a bigger audience every year, said Harry Davidson, who is the Duke Symphony Orchestra conductor, music director and university professor of the practice of music. This week about 150 people - mostly undergraduate students, though the orchestra is open to the entire Duke community - auditioned for the 75- to 100-member orchestra. Because there are no performance majors at Duke, the orchestra members are those bound for careers in medicine, engineering and public policy but want to continue their prior music experience at a high level, Davidson said."
Read the full article, "Duke Symphony Orchestra's first week frenzy," at the Durham Herald-Sun.

Review of concert on October 5, 2011:
"The overall impression was very favorable, and the substantial crowd rewarded all the players - soloists and orchestra alike - with heartfelt applause."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Review of concert on March 16, 2011:
"Hearing 'Les Preludés' again performed with such enthusiasm and honesty made it feel like a personal reconnection with an old friend. It was an outstanding musical experience."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Review of concert on December 8, 2010:
"Duke Symphony Orchestra Music Director Harry Davidson can always be counted on for enterprising programs, and his selection of an all-Samuel Barber menu was no exception."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Review of concert on April 21, 2010:
"Schumann sometimes gets a bad rap for murky writing but the key is orchestral balance, and Davidson and his musicians had the measure of this often exuberant work. At the end there was another big uproar in the form of a standing ovation, on this occasion richly deserved."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Review of opera on March 18, 2010:
"Dedicated opera lovers anticipate the Duke Symphony Orchestra and music director Harry Davidson's annual presentation of an opera, in semi-staged concert form, in Baldwin Auditorium on Duke University's East Campus. The conductor never fails to assemble a cast of solid singer-actors and that was the case again. His choice, Così Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91), received a lively and stylish performance which balanced individual vocal achievement with the vivid give-and-take of ensemble interplay."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Review of concert on December 2, 2009:
"The very well-known Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1808) by Beethoven was given a dynamic and vital interpretation by Davidson and his large orchestra."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

Featured in the Raleigh Downtowner Magazine "Bach on a Budget":
"The programming is interesting and innovative. For instance: Earlier this fall we attended an all-Mendelssohn concert in honor of the bicentenary of the composer's birth, and it included a guest artist performing a reconstructed Mendelssohn piano concerto never before heard in the Triangle."
Read the full article at the Raleigh Downtowner Magazine.

Review of concert on September 30, 2009:
"...two outstanding soloists, in two splendid concertos, augmented by two festive overtures, all played by a large orchestra (90+ musicians) led by a conductor whose skills in the training and development departments equal his artistic acumen."
Read the full review at the Classical Voice of North Carolina.

About the Orchestra

Written by Riva Das (President '07-'08), updated by Lee Hong (President '09-'10)

Baldwin Auditorium (photo by Shelley Rusincovitch)
Baldwin Auditorium
(photo by Shelley Rusincovitch)
The Duke Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has consistently recruited over 100 members each year, composed of musicians from the Duke student body (primarily undergraduates) and the surrounding university community. Under the direction of conductor Harry Davidson, the DSO seeks to create a dynamic and enlivening environment for concertgoers and performers alike.
2007-08 Orchestra Committee
2007-08 Orchestra Committee
Members of the orchestra committee, a small group of elected students, endeavor to build and foster a greater sense of community among members of the orchestra and their peers who share a passion for music. The orchestra committee seeks to diversify Duke's musical community through the organization and publicizing of performances open to the public, as well as hosting orchestra-related social activities.

Violists during rehearsal (photo by Shelley Rusincovitch)
Violists during rehearsal
(photo by Shelley Rusincovitch)
The orchestra's repertoire ranges from the seventeenth to the twentieth century and includes both well-known masterpieces and rarely-heard works. The DSO rehearses twice a week and hosts four regular season concerts in Baldwin Auditorium annually, averaging over 800 audience attendees at each concert. In addition, the orchestra can be seen performing at other university events, such as for the Parents' and Family Weekend Concert in Duke Chapel. The DSO features the student winner of the DSO Concerto Competition every spring and also performs a semi-staged opera biannually.

Orchestra cellists (photo by Anna Wu)
Orchestra cellists (photo by Anna Wu)
For the past four years, the Duke Symphony has started its concert season with a special student-run pops concert held on East Campus Quad, which has evolved to become a Labor Day weekend tradition in Durham. This lighthearted event is performed after only one extensive Saturday rehearsal. As the DSO's first event of the year, the pops concert provides an intimate setting for introducing new members to the orchestra. All arrangements are coordinated by the DSO committee. By holding the event on East Campus, it also serves as a way for the symphony to welcome first-year students to East Campus life.

Orchestra musicians in Beaufort (photo by Shelley Rusincovitch)
Orchestra musicians in Beaufort
Each spring, the Duke Symphony Orchestra travels to Beaufort, South Carolina to perform a benefit concert for Beaufort Memorial Hospital's Keyserling Cancer Center. Over the past six years, the orchestra has raised more than $110,000 for this Duke-affiliated medical center.

Duke Symphony Orchestra; Duke University Department of Music; 105 Mary Duke Biddle Music Building; Box 90665; Durham, NC 27708; (919) 660-3300 Contact Us