the curtain goes up, it’s electric.
Music helps us convey thoughts and
feelings that we can’t express with
words. The orchestra is an elaborate
machine...each individual working
together to create one voice.”
Assistant Professor, music
Luis Millán brought the UM symphony orchestra back from a trip
to the Seattle area last fall, something felt different. “It felt
like a landmark to bring this group out there,” Millán says.
“People from the big city sometimes think Montanans don’t
know anything about classical music.” But Millán, and the
65 musicians who make up the University’s symphony, turned heads
in the Emerald City and at nearby universities with their talent and ability.
group is mostly Montana kids,” he says. “It comes with being
the flagship arts school in the state.” Those 65 musicians meet
with Millán to rehearse three times each week for credit, just
like any other college course. The difference, he says, is that no one
plays hooky from this class, because a symphony without a first violin
player isn’t a symphony. “When one is missing, everyone suffers.”
director of the UM symphony, Millán’s job is part teacher,
part motivational speaker and part public relations specialist. One of
his duties is to choose the music that the symphony plays throughout the
year. “These aren’t seasoned professionals,” he says.
“I have to challenge them but still make sure we sound good.”
after hours of rehearsal and countless lessons taught to budding musicians
on their varying instruments, it is Millán’s turn to play.
Only his instrument is them. “They’re the ones making the
sound, reading lines,” he says. “I’m the one helping
to give it artistic shape.”