Viola performance by faculty member is accompanied by the UTSA orchestra

On Oct. 22, both the UTSA Orchestra and the UTSA chamber orchestra provided a free performance to faculty, students and the San Antonio community.

UTSA’s finest musicians, under the direction of Dr. Eugene Dowdy, took the stage at the Recital Hall in search of a stellar performance.

The chamber orchestra began the concert with G.F. Handel’s famous Baroque piece “Concerto Grosso, Op.6 No. 8.”

 Anchored by solos from Angelica Guerra, violin; Mary Catherina Sughrue; violin and Katy Boyd, cello, the delicate string chords created a sensual aura that set the tone for the night.

 Following the Chamber Orchestra’s performance, the 70 member UTSA Orchestra played two pieces, the first being “Suite for Viola and Orchestra,” composed by Ernest Bloch in 1919. The orchestra was accompanied by highly admired faculty member, Allyson Dawkins.

 Dawkins is the principal violist for the San Antonio Symphony and has garnered praise for her musical accomplishments. “Suite for Viola and Orchestra” was an uplifting, spiritual composition.

 The vibrant string section in the piece helped to highlight Dawkins’ powerful performance on lead viola without diluting the rest of the ensemble. While the horns and percussions were minimized, they still retain a distinct identity in the piece.

 After a brief intermission, the UTSA orchestra returned to the stage for their last performance of the night, “Symphony No.9, Op. 95, E minor,” more commonly known as the “New World Symphony.” Brainchild of the renowned Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, “New World Symphony” is one of the most celebrated compositions of the 20th century.

 It is a bold, dramatic piece of music. Horns, strings and percussions all contribute to the concert’s swift and expansive sound.  The transitions from different sections in the composition are seamless and natural, which helps the piece come alive.

 Senior violist Matty Bernard felt this performance was one of the orchestra’s best.
 “We actually did a lot better than I expected. In relation to the pieces that we have performed throughout my years at UTSA, these were specifically demanding, and they require a lot of precise technique and listening across the orchestras.

“I thought we did a real good job with that. Of course, we had a few miscues, but that is going to happen at every concert and nobody is going to be perfect. Overall, I’m just glad that we went right through it and had a great time performing,” Bernard said.

Information on the UTSA music department and upcoming performances can be found at