Winter concert offers students a break before finals

By Rogelio Alvarez

The East Los Angeles College Symphony Orchestra will host the Winter Concert tomorrow at the Performing Arts Center.

The concert offers a break for students stressed over finishing last-minute assignments and studying for final examinations next week.

The concert admission is free. Faculty and residents from the surrounding communities are also encouraged to attend the concert.

The symphony orchestra is made up of about 40 students from the Applied Music Program taking the Music 721 orchestra performance class taught by Professor Samvel Chilingarian on Thursday evenings.

Samvel Chilingarian is also the conductor for the orchestra.

The Winter Concert program includes classical pieces from composers Antonin Dvorak and Camille Saint-Saens and more notable composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Igor Stravinsky and Johann Strauss Sr.

People unfamiliar with classical songs from the program can preview the songs on YouTube.

The “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss Sr. is one of the notable pieces that will be performed.

“It’s a traditional march that the audiences enjoy and participate in. They clap with the march that we play. That’s one thing that’s different (this year). Last time we did “Winter Wonderland.” For the Winter Concerts, we try to program something that’s a treat for the audience,” Chilingarian said.

Students from the symphony orchestra have been practicing since the beginning of the semester, working hard to perfect their instruments. The concert offers students an opportunity to showcase their talents and receive feedback from the Music Department Faculty.

“Every time we have a concert, we get together the next week and we hear the concert, see the concert and talk about some of the positives, negatives and what we should program for the next concert,” Chilingarian said.

The symphony orchestra contains strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion and the piano. This semester, however, the orchestra does not have any flute players.

ELAC student and pianist Michael Cooper is excited to perform on Thursday. Cooper has been contributing to the orchestra for two years. One of the musical pieces he will be playing is Bach’s “Piano Concerto No.1,” accompanied by an ensemble of string-section players.

“A concerto is generally a work that is something of a conversation between a soloist and an ensemble. Most typically, it’s one player and an orchestra so that one player’s part is considered equal to the orchestra part,” Cooper said.

The concert will be the first time Cooper plays a concerto alongside an orchestra.

“Hopefully I play more concertos in the future,” Cooper said.

According to Cooper, the concert will have surprises that will amuse the audience. Although he did not want to reveal the surprise, he did mention that “one of the pieces will begin with a bang.”

“They’re all energetic and interesting pieces. They all create really contrasting moods. Anyone can relate to this music,” Cooper said.

The Winter concert will begin at 8 p.m. Admission is free. For more information or questions regarding the event, contact Samvel Chilingarian at


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