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From Student Audience Member to College Concert Conductor

October 10, 2014

Students attending the Orchestra’s Free College Concert on Tuesday, October 14, might find themselves chatting with a fellow student who might one day be playing with the ensemble—or conducting it.

That’s the story of Lio Kuokman, the Orchestra’s assistant conductor, who leads the concert. Lio, who graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2009 with diplomas in harpsichord and conducting, assiduously attended the Free College Concerts while a student there.

Assistant Conductor Lio Kuokman leads a free lunchtime concert last summer at the Comcast Center. Photo by Neal Santos

Lio, a native of Macao, China, said, “I was studying in Philadelphia and I would always go to the College Night concerts with my friends from school.”

You don’t have to be a music student to enjoy the Free College Concert, which begins at 8 PM. The concert and the night’s activities are fun for all students, from those studying archeology and zoology, and all majors in between.

“They always have a fun and exciting program for the College Night concerts. Plus you get to meet some new friends. And there is food!” Lio said.

So, what can the 2,000 students at the event expect? Take a good photo at the pre-concert activities, which begin at 7 PM, tag and post it on social media, and you can win a signed Orchestra CD. You might find yourself mingling with a local university mascot, or being serenaded by the Temple University Marching Band.

After the concert, as Lio pointed out, there is free food and non-alcoholic drinks. And TruVibe, whose music blends neo soul, jazz, and urban R&B, will perform.

Students enjoy the post-concert entertainment at the Free College Concert. Photo by Pete Checchia

Students also have the opportunity to join the popular eZseatU membership program at the concert. Presented by PNC Arts Alive, eZseatU allows students to pay a one-time fee of $25 and attend an unlimited number of concerts throughout the season.

LiveNote™, the Orchestra’s interactive concert guide for mobile devices, will be enabled. The application allows audiences to access information about the works they are hearing with real-time musical, emotional, and historical highlights.

During the concert, the world-renowned Orchestra performs Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Excerpts from Daugherty’s Reflections on the Mississippi for tuba and orchestra, Higdon’s blue cathedral, and Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks. The Daugherty piece showcases the Orchestra’s principal tuba, Carol Jantsch.

Applause is in order after an exciting Free College Concert. Photo by Pete Checchia

Lio, whose flourishing career includes winning the top prize in June at the Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition in Paris, promises an exciting concert. And he has been to enough of them to know what an exciting College Concert sounds like.

For more information on the College Concert, or to reserve a ticket, click here: www.philorch.org/free-college-concert#/