The OSU Symphony Orchestra concert will feature ten – count them! — soloists | Arts and Theater


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the number of featured student soloists.

Ten student soloists will be featured at the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 30 at the LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis.

Bandleader Marlan Carlson said regular musicians were delighted to be able to play live music with their friends again.

“Music is a social art, and they had to go without it for a year and a half,” Carlson said. “They’ve just been so happy to be back this fall term.”

The ten soloists will play with a full orchestra, of which they are also members, made up of around 75 students and 25 teachers and professionals.

“Having the chance to perform a solo in front of an orchestra is a pretty rare opportunity at any college or music school,” Carlson said.

The inspiration for this program comes from when Carlson was a student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He said his favorite event of the year was when a full orchestra featured soloists, and he wanted to create the same kind of enthusiastic and energetic event during his career as a conductor.

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Less than half of the soloists are actually music majors; most are engineering or science majors, which Carlson says is part of the philosophy of OSU’s music department, to welcome, promote, and foster the enthusiasm of students not majoring in music.

“Students don’t just learn the inner workings of their profession; they learn to be good citizens,” he said. “Music schools that exclude these students do a disservice to our musical culture in the United States”

About 60 musicians auditioned for the Symphony Society for the program’s featured spots, and most of the ten selected soloists are undergraduate students. Carlson said the company showed no favoritism or seniority when deciding what would be featured.

It’s about who can “deliver the goods any night,” he said.

The soloists are Stephanie Brannan, oboe; Elijah Durbin, clarinet (duet); Jordan Garrett, clarinet (duet); Michael Eclevia, voice; Abrianna Gomez, marimba; Andrea Pauls, cello; Jackson Stiver, trombone; Lisandro Valdez, clarinet; Matthew Zheng, violin; and André Zhu, piano.

They all perform pieces by famous composers, including Mozart, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. The soloists have been working on their pieces with Carlson for three to six months, although they are only allowed a few last-minute rehearsals with the full orchestra.

“We have to put these things together on a very short notice,” he said. “It’s a test of readiness and ingenuity.”

Guests will be required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, along with valid ID, to attend the performance. Tickets are $30 at the door and $26 online, where they are available for purchase at

The symphony orchestra will give a winter concert on March 3 and a spring concert on May 24.

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be reached at 541-812-6076 or Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.

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