Conservatory showcases woodwind prowess for Music at Noon
Music at Noon featured a talented trio of classical musicians. | Tim Seeberger/THE CHIMES
Biola’s Music Conservatory hosted their weekly Music at Noon concert on Wednesday, April 26, featuring a woodwind trio consisting of Joshua Ranz, Benjamin Smolen and Ted Sugata. Ranz holds the position of the utility/bass clarinet with the Pacific Symphony and is also the principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Benjamin Smolen holds the position of principal flute player in the Pacific Symphony, and has won many competitions with a number of different orchestras such as the Princeton University Orchestra and the Pacific Orchestra. He has also been featured on many movie soundtracks such as “Monsters University” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Ted Sugata is currently the second oboist for the Pacific Symphony and performs regularly with the Los Angeles Opera, Santa Barbara Symphony, Long Beach Symphony and San Diego Symphony.
The first segment of the concert featured Joshua Ranz playing the bass clarinet. His performance was extremely impressive, as he often captured the sound of an entire orchestra on his own. The soothing sound of the clarinet and the peaceful melodies allowed audience members to close their eyes and listen. Ranz drew the audience in with his evident passion for his music. With each song, he swerved back and forth, exhibiting joy and pleasure in the music in the music he performed. It made for a captivating performance and a privilege to watch.
Shortly after Ranz bowed and left the stage, Benjamin Smolen entered with his handmade, custom-crafted Haynes 14-karat gold flute. Smolen’s performance was much shorter than Ranz’s, but it was just as mesmerizing. The piece he performed had a fast tempo and his quick fingers easily raced up and down his flute. It was very lively and a joy to listen to. It was clear Smolen really enjoyed what he played. His passion and enthusiasm influenced the audience’s reception of it as they began to cheer during his bow.
A calming atmosphere
Next up was the duo of Joshua Ranz on the clarinet and Ted Sugata on the oboe. Their piece had a much calmer and more soothing melody than Smolen’s. It created a very peaceful and calming atmosphere in the music hall. The two performers never missed a beat and performed notably well together.
The finale was easily the best part of the concert. It featured the woodwind trio performing together. Each performer got their time in the spotlight for this piece. Sugata’s oboe and Ranz’s clarinet blended together smoothly to allow Smolen to spend some time as the frontman. Sugata eventually stole the show by showcasing his phenomenal oboe skills. The trio performed incredibly well together, leaving the audience disappointed the concert was over.