There is a new face on the podium for the Trinity University Symphony Orchestra. Atlanta native Ben Carlisle is taking over for Kenneth Greene as orchestra director.
Carlisle graduated from Sewanee with a Bachelor of Arts in music and then continued on in Sewaneeâ€™s graduate music program.
After completing the program, Carlisle took a job at Grinnell College in Iowa.
When a position at Trinity opened up, Carlisle jumped at the opportunity, moving his wife, who now works in the English department, and their three-week-old son to San Antonio.
â€œOne of the things that separates Trinityâ€™s orchestra from others is the circumstance of geography. Being in a city such as San Antonio with its own symphony, weâ€™re not at all bound to deliver entertainment to a town audience,â€ Carlisle said. â€œThe orchestra exists for the orchestra; we can play music we want to play.â€
Trinityâ€™s orchestra is small and flexible, Carlisle said, so he will be able to â€œfocus primarily on the exact core of the orchestra repertory.â€
The orchestra will be tackling Schubertâ€™s â€œUnfinished Symphonyâ€, Mussorgskyâ€™s â€œNight on Ball Mountainâ€ and Arturo MÃ¡rquezâ€™s â€œDanzÃ³n No. 2â€.
â€œThese are big pieces and they are challenging,â€ Carlisle said. â€œStudents canâ€™t believe weâ€™re getting to play these works.â€
Carlisle has other plans for the orchestra besides building their repertoire, such as making the orchestra build more camaraderie and become more accessible.
â€œI think I want to work on making this ensemble more open to members â€“ to more than just music students,â€ Carlisle said. â€œI donâ€™t want to make it less rigorous, but everyone who plays an instrument is welcome.â€
Although the orchestra is a course that can be taken for credit, Carlisle does not want the orchestra to be limited to education.
â€œI donâ€™t want it to feel like a class,â€ he said. â€œWe want to have fun too.â€