UTSA presents a night among the stars


On Oct. 21, UTSA Department of Music hosted a performance of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” by the UTSA Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Dowdy.

Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” is a seven movement piece, representing all the planets of the solar system minus Earth and Pluto. Originally written for piano and organ only, the orchestral version is the most well-known. During the last movement “Neptune, the Mystic”, the UTSA Women’s Choir, conducted by Gary Mabry, made an appearance giving the night a chilling, yet mystic and dramatic finale.

“This was a huge chance for the students to play such a mammoth piece of work,” Eugene Dowdy, Associate Professor in the Department of Music and conductor for the night, said. “It requires a huge full orchestra, and we don’t normally do it, so it was exciting for the students.”

At the 19th anniversary public performance of the piece, guest speaker, Dr. Eric Schlegel, spoke about the developing knowledge about the planets and showed a presentation on the planets, from early sketches to recent images and videos from NASA satellites. The show played simultaneously as the orchestra performed each movement, in order to show how the piece of music relates to the planets themselves.

Eric M Schlegel, Ph. D, is the Vaughan Family professor of physics and astrophysicist at UTSA.

“A cool thing was the opportunity to hear a well-known astrophysics like Dr. Schlegel talked about the connections of the pictures to the music” says Dowdy.

The night ended with a completely filled full-house, parents and students alike, giving the orchestra a well-deserved standing ovation.

“All I can say is how proud I am to be at UTSA and have an orchestra playing professional level music and it keeps getting better and better every single year” says Dowdy.

For upcoming UTSA Orchestra events as well as other music events visit the UTSA Department of Music website: http://music.dev.utsa.edu/index.php.