Dr. Yi Li Lin will bring Beethoven's spirit to life on March 19 as the Hudson Symphony Orchestra makes its maiden voyage. And right out of the gate, it's a worldwide effort, with proceeds from the performance going for tsunami relief, with "An Afternoon of Peace and Joy."
"I was watching TV about the tsunami and I felt bad," said Lin. "I wanted to do something about it. As a musician, the best thing I can think of to do is music."
The next day, Byron Singleton, a teacher at the Hoboken School of Music where Lin is director, suggested doing a fundraiser, confident that he could find other musicians and teachers to donate their time.
"It was like the answer to my prayers," Lin said.
Lin viewed this synchronicity of thought as a sign and proceeded to make plans.
Visitors will be treated to Ode to Joy, from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, and the world premier of Eric Ewazen's Clarinet Concerto for String Orchestra. Ewazen himself will be a featured soloist at the show.
"The last movement of Beethoven's Ninth is Ode To Joy," said Lin. "It's basically about brotherhood, and that's why it ties into the tsunami benefit concert. Because it's a tragedy, we want music that will help lift up the human spirit."
Aaron Copeland is an American composer from the earlier part of the century, and Eric Ewazen is Lin's professor from Julliard.
"I asked him to write a piece to dedicate to the tsunami victims," Lin said. And Clarinet Concerto for String Orchestra was born.
Clarinetist Igor Begelman, in an internationally awarding performer. He's in his fifth season as a Piatigorsky Foundation, and winner of the 2000 Houston Avery Fisher Grant.
Other soloists, for Ode to Joy, include soprano Heather Petruzelli, alto Tracy Kaufman, Tenor and organizer Byron Singer, and world renowned opera star Abraham Lind Oquendo. Lind Oquendo is known as a pioneer in the world of opera, becoming a star at a time when darker-skinned Hispanic singers were not welcome in the field. He will also appear on an upcoming episode of Across the Hudson.
One of a kind in the county
The Hudson County Orchestra is Hudson County's first orchestral ensemble since two previous attempts, Hoboken Chamber Orchestra and Elysian Symphony, stopped playing more than 10 years ago.
Lin first became aware of Hudson County, and its lack of orchestral music in October of 2003. A graduate of Julliard, Lin's choice of instrument is clarinet which she performed and taught for years. She also plays piano. Opening up her own school had been a goal of hers, and she saw Hudson County as a fertile ground.
"I always wanted to have my own school because I know I could set up the environment that would allow students to be nurtured the best," Lin said. "I was in the position to do it and I finally got the courage."
As Lin built up the school, located at 720 Monroe St., she became aware of an interest in restarting a symphony orchestra. About 50 people will perform in the benefit, all volunteering their time.
Tickets are $25. The performances are March 19 at 8 p.m. in the Hoboken High School Auditorium; April 3 at 2:30 p.m. in the Bayonne Public Library; and May 15 at 3 p.m. at the NJCU Margaret Williams Theater in Jersey City. All proceeds will go to tsunami relief.