Sex, intrigue, love, violence—the essence of mankind laid bare on stage

(Edmonton) When a 70-member student orchestra takes the stage at the Winspear Centre for the Arts Jan. 24, they will put on a show for Edmonton like none other, says the conductor to the university's inaugural Making Music: A Gala Fundraiser. Petar Dundjerski, University of Alberta music professor, says the concert will connect the dots between humanity and classical music.

"Sex, intrigue, violence, love, betrayal and loyalty remain very much relevant in today's world, whether they are woven through the fabric of business or everyday existence. We see these themes in the news or on television shows," Dundjerski said, "and many times we're told that composers addressed those themes centuries ago and that they are still relevant, yet somehow the music never connects with people. What we want to do is make the themes relevant through this concert." 

Take for example, The Marriage of Figaro, a five-minute comedic opera by Mozart, which the orchestra will perform. During that short time, Dundjerski says, Mozart found a way to dramatize the plot of the opera. 


He says there are obvious demands to see those themes addressed over and again. "And they're being delivered with various degrees of quality and sophistication," said Dundjerski. "It is logical to say that those themes or issues have existed throughout humanity, so when [the composers featured in the program] addressed these issues they did so with great depth and incisiveness."

Deep in the consciousness of an increasing number of people is the conviction that classical music has little relevance in their lives, says Dundjerski, a view the concert will help correct. He says the students who make up the orchestra have worked extremely hard at ensuring that the audience connects with the music.

"[As a society], we're becoming more and more alienated, through worries about our economical existence, for example, while becoming colder and colder towards each other and ourselves. Once people tap into this music they will all be taken to a place where they're not alone anymore. And that's the biggest contribution that we can offer today.

"We believe there's a message to be given to the people of Edmonton. When they come to the concert and submit themselves completely to the experience, they will realize that they're not alone, at least for the duration of the concert, because each audience member will be connected to a fellow audience member."