Photo by Cheyna Mulligan

Queens College orchestra performs works of Copland, Barber and Ellington

3 mins read
Photo by Cheyna Mulligan
Photo by Cheyna Mulligan

Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music boasted the works of composers Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Duke Ellington on Sept. 21 and Sept. 23 at the LeFrak Concert Hall.

Starting the night off was Copland’s “El Salón Mexico,” which stylistically depicts an imaginary dance hall located in Mexico City. The piece took over four years to complete and was finally composed in 1936.

The subtitle of the song, “A Popular Type Dance Hall in Mexico City,” is a sentiment toward its origins, which stem from the flavor and culture of Mexico.

The next piece, Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” first premiered in the later decade of 1948. The composition, influenced by one of James Agee’s prose poems, tells the story of Agee’s hometown Knoxville, Tennessee and the challenges of his childhood and transition into adulthood.

Following the two performances and intermission, Duke Ellington’s jazz composition “Harlem” took center stage. First premiered in 1955 in Carnegie Hall, the piece is one of Ellington’s most well-known jazz pieces.

The QC orchestra, cast, artists and production team made this a substantial experience for everyone and the audience grew exponentially as the night went on.

Brittany Nieves, a junior early childhood education major, was one of these students deeply moved by the performances.

“It was such an uplifting experience. I was extremely impressed with the talent and dedication of the students. This was my first time attending an orchestra. I definitely know I’m going to make it to the upcoming ones,” Nieves said.

Ron Simonyan, a senior accounting major, was also captivated by the performances and energy of the crowd.

“Everyone in the audience seemed so concentrated on the music. It was beautifully done,” Simonyan said.

Katherin Bolanos, a senior media studies major, felt an emotional connection between herself and the music.

“I am a huge music fan. I never really listened to a lot of classical music, but I think I might start to now. I felt so relaxed and at ease, it was a very therapeutic experience,” Bolanos said.

The Aaron Copland School of Music is offering three upcoming shows, which are all worthy of a sold-out audience. The next concerts will be held over the course of the semester. The second concert will be held on Oct. 26 at 12:15 P.M. and Oct. 28 at 7:30 P.M. and the third concert will be held on Nov. 16 at 12:15 P.M. and November 17 at 7:30 P.M. in the LeFrak Concert Hall. The final concert of the semester will be on December 10 at 7:30 P.M. in the Colden Auditorium.

Cheyna Mulligan

Cheyna Mulligan is a junior majoring in Media Studies. Email her at cheyna[at]

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