Lab Orchestra to Present First Concert
When Oswego's new Conductor's Lab Orchestra presents its first concert at 7:30 p.m. April 27 in the Campus Center Auditorium, it will be theprelude to a dream for its founder and first conductor, Wojciech Milewski '11.
Milewski, who double-majored in music performance and global and international studies while minoring in French, was all set to go to graduate school for international relations, when his capstone experience in conducting helped him realize that his real dream was to be a conductor. With the support of his parents and encouragement of his professors, he decided to stay on at Oswego and gain the important experience at the podium he would need to be accepted into a graduate program in orchestral conducting.
He credits the personal attention and encouragement he received from professors in Oswego's music department, especially his adviser and conducting teacher Juan LaManna and piano teacher Rob Auler, with helping him realize his dreams. "There is so much personalized attention from the professors here -- a big mentor-student relationship," Milewski says.
He was the musical director for the musical "Grease" on campus, and enjoyed private lessons with LaManna and former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra conductor Daniel Hege.
The Lab Orchestra was created in December 2011, and is comprised of 23 undergraduate musicians, many of whom are not music majors and most of whom were personally recruited by Milewski.
The orchestra's first program will include the Magic Flute Overture by Mozart, Beethoven's Symphony #1, Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony #8 and Smetana's "Ma Vlast - The Moldau."
"These are some of the most debated works in the musical repertoire," said Milewski, who founded the Conductor's Lab Orchestra to give budding conductors like himself experience working with an ensemble. He said he chose the pieces to give concert-goers a "musical tour through the ages," from Mozart's Classical work through Smetana and the birth of nationalistic music.
"This group is highly talented, motivated," said Milewski. "They are an amazing group to work with, and I am excited for them to play for the Oswego campus." He is proud of the musicians, who are all undergraduates, and calls them "highly ambitious musicians, who want to be challenged" in their choice of repertoire for the upcoming concert.
While the idea to begin the orchestra was to help him realize his own dream, Milewski is happy that it is having a broader benefit. "I want to leave Oswego with a lasting legacy," he says. "I am proud to say that I can do that."
In addition to being the founder and conductor, Milewski serves as the ensemble's librarian and promoter.
He hopes to attend graduate school in the fall, and from there launch a career in conducting.
A dual Polish-American citizen, Milewski is poised to take his art to a global stage. He is fluent in Polish, English and French and is learning Russian, Italian and German.
"While conducting I can promote arts throughout the world," he says.
His parents moved from Poland after the Iron Curtain fell, to give young Wojciech a chance at a better life. He returned with his mother and spent his fourth-grade year there to experience the culture, and the family makes frequent trips to their hometown outside of Warsaw to visit family.
"They wanted to have a better life, and to give me a chance to be successful through a good education," he says. He feels he got that education at Oswego thanks to the support of faculty and varied experiences available to him.
— Michele Reed
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