The Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra is an extraordinary group of music lovers of all ages, coming together to study and perform great music. My impression of the group comes from years of experience observing them, both from within and without, as they form a common consciousness.
The group is a most interesting hybrid. The primary mission is educational. The Lehigh Orchestra is a student ensemble first and foremost. The students experience the repertoire, not unlike a music appreciation class (especially since only 3-4 music majors perform in the ensemble at any one time – the rest major in other disciplines, and simply take music very seriously!). The class entails far more work than the nominal one-credit students receive each semester. It also functions as a University Club, complete with officers, activities, and fun. Several Lehigh students only join the orchestra as members of a club since their credit hours have reached the maximum.

In addition to the student body, the orchestra could not exist without other help. First, several community members augment various sections such as Strings, Brass, etc. These members are vital for the forces to be adequate in each section. They also provide an important “glue” of continuity – some of them have been members of the orchestra for the past ten years. Without them, the sound of the ensemble would change far more drastically every year, when we lose about a quarter of our students who graduate, and gain about the same number of freshmen. Some community members come from other colleges, we even welcome some serious high school students! Everyone seems bound by their loyalty to the music they perform, and the emerging loyalty to the ensemble itself.

We are also fortunate to have in the orchestra several members of the LU faculty and staff. The faculty often come from other disciplines, such as English, Economics, Engineering and Chemistry. We also have some Music Department Faculty performing side by side with their students. This provides a unique hands-on training that is vital for a student’s experience. In addition, we sometimes hire additional players from the pool of professionals in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. These forces augment what we already have, and also provide students with an incredible learning experience performing side by side with top professionals, learning the most important skills in musicianship in a direct way.

Therefore, it is difficult to simply designate the group as a student group, although the primary mission is still an educational one, since the group functions first and foremost as a class.

It has been an honor to help steer this group for the past several years. The ensemble is now conscious of its own character, of the mission it has to the larger community, and of the intense discipline the love of music requires in order to bring the music itself alive to an audience. Our service function is therefore extremely serious. The orchestra has been made aware of the high degree of service it provides to the larger community through performances that touch the audience through meaningful sounds.

The group thrives well when it is unified both in purpose and in sound. In this sense, my biggest drive has been to instill a passion for unity, for inclusion, and for the relentless pursuit of a common goal. We hope you, the audience will enjoy the fruits of these labors; you are just as important in closing the circuit for our educational function, helping us study the music through bringing it alive for you.

Eugene Albulescu

Concert tickets available at www.zoellnerartscenter.org

People @ LU Phil:

Orchestra manager: Linda Ganus

2019 - 2020 Student officers:

President - Luke Kim

External VP - Catherine Ngai

Internal VP - Victoria Raso

Treasurer - Daniel Yu

Librarian - Adyn Gallagher

Social Coordinator - Emmaline Yang

Alumni Representative - Laura Davison