Detroit Symphony Trio kicks off Rhea Miller series


The Detroit Symphony Trio launched the first installment of the Rhea Miller concert series of the 2018-2019 season on Friday, Sept. 7.

Comprised of violinist Sheryl Sul Hwangbo, cellist David LeDoux and flutist and pianist Jeffery Zook, the trio formed in 2015 after the Detroit Symphony Orchestra started performing symphonic and chamber music in hospitals, schools and other local businesses throughout the communities surrounding Detroit.

The group now travels across Michigan to bring both classical and modern music to equally eclectic audiences.

The concert included composers ranging from the 18th century all the way to 1980s. It began with François Devienne’s “Trio in G Minor, op. 66, no. 2,” a lively piece of music that featured challenging scales from the violin and flute.

The trio then moved on to Edgar F. Girtain IV’s “Trio for Flute, Violin and Cello,” written in 1988. After this jump to a more modern experience, the trio backed up to play a tragic piece based on a Russian folk song by the composer Alexander Borodin. “Mosquito Blues” by Maria Millar, “Oblivion” and “Primavera Portena” by Astor Piazzolla and “London Trio no. 3 in G Major” by Franz Joseph Haydn ended the evening.

Psychology junior Mary Carter loved the inclusion of modern composers in a traditionally classic atmosphere.

“I especially liked the second piece and ‘Mosquito Blues,’” Carter said. “The violinist was also really amazing.”

Education senior Josie Born enjoyed the concert as well.

“I liked ‘Mosquito Blues’ because it sounded exactly like a mosquito,” Born said. “The runs the cello did were really cool.”

Beyond playing a varied program that connected with the audience, Townes Osborn Miller, flute instructor, and Norman Wika, director of bands, organized a flute day and master class with Jeffery Zook to further help SVSU students enter the world of professional musicianship.

Zook studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Michigan, and Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and has played in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 1992.

Kevin Simons, the director of choirs and associate professor of music, recognized the unique opportunity of having a professional flutist on campus.

“One of our classes for music education majors is woodwind methods, which runs this semester,” Simons said. “We thought it would be a perfect time to have a group that featured a terrific flute player.”

Born, who plays the flute and attended the master class, said it was “great to listen to other flutists that are well-known and learn from them.”

Zook praised the flutists in the master class, saying that they were “eager to learn, and able to change for the better.”

Three other concerts such as this will take place in the Rhea Miller series throughout the rest of the 2018-2019 academic year, where people from all over the U.S. and the world come to perform for both students and the local community.

“This is a great opportunity for our students, faculty and community to get to hear world-class players in a world-class facility,” Simons said. “This is part of our mission, to be a hub for the musical arts in our community.”