FSU’s College of Music presents the University Philharmonia with Young Artists Concerto Competition winner

FSU College of Music Director and Conductor Alexander Jiménez leads the University Philharmonia. (College of Music)
FSU College of Music Director and Conductor Alexander Jiménez leads the University Philharmonia. (College of Music)

The Florida State University College of Music presents the University Philharmonia, featuring student soloist and Young Artist’s competition winner, harpist Isabelle Scott.

The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Opperman Music Hall. 

“The College of Music is home to two full symphony orchestras that feature talented students as ensemble members and, via a vigorous competition, as soloists,” said Gregory Jones, associate dean for outreach and engagement in the College of Music. “The college hosts a doctoral level concerto competition for an opportunity to perform with the University Symphony, and we also provide the Young Artists Competition for master’s and undergraduate level students for a performance with the University Philharmonia.” 

The performance includes Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8; Gabriel Pierné’s “‘Concertstück’ for Harp and Orchestra,” featuring harpist Isabelle Scott, the 2023-2024 FSU Young Artists Concerto Competition winner; and FSU Professor of Contemporary Media Brian Gaber’s “Three American Voices.” 

Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 highlights influences from the Czech folk music from his home. The four-movement symphony was written as a celebration of his 1891 induction into the Prague Academy of Performing Arts by Emperor Franz Josef.  


“Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 is perhaps his sunniest symphony,” said Alexander Jimenez, professor of conducting, director of orchestral activities and string area coordinator at the College of Music. “It is also the one that shows the most influence from Czech folk music (in his day, ‘Bohemian’). The audience will enjoy the first movement’s high energy, the second’s beautiful lyricism, the third’s passionate waltz, and the tremendous joy of the final movement.” 

“It’s so well written — it practically plays itself,” said Noah Hays, a student cellist in the University Philharmonia. 

Gabriel Pierné’s “‘Concertstück’ for Harp and Orchestra” premiered in 1903 and was commissioned by the Allied Harp Company as a business promotion. Scott was inspired to learn the piece when her teacher Noël Wan, assistant professor of harp and entrepreneurship for the College of Music, entered the United States International Harp Competition with it and won first place. 

“The harp shows off a huge variety of techniques — I think it’s very crowd-pleasing,” Scott said. “I’m so grateful to my teacher, my pianist and the judges for giving me this chance to perform a piece that is really special to me.” 

The 15-minute composition explores four themes with elegant writing for the solo harp and the orchestra.   

“I hope the audience has the chance to see a unique instrument that isn’t usually given center stage — to see the colors and the tones and the whole picture it can paint,” Scott said. “I think the unique thing about a concerto is the fact it’s a soloist and a whole orchestra accompanying it.” 

Although the harp is a regular member of the orchestra and often appears with bands and chamber ensembles, it is rare to hear it featured as a solo instrument with a full orchestra, as in the concert on Thursday evening. 

“Pierné was trained at the Paris Conservatoire during what some call the Golden Age of Harp,” said Will Whitehead, assistant conductor and music education doctoral candidate at FSU. “Many of the characteristic sounds and techniques we associate with harp playing today emerged from the conservatoire, and Pierné was right in the middle of it all.” 

The University Philharmonia will present Gaber’s “Three American Voices,” which was written to “shed light on three individuals who contributed greatly to American culture” and is a three-movement work that paints a musical portrait of Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes and Satchell Paige. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit tickets.music.fsu.edu.