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From the Galaxy to the Forest: Bach Society Orchestra’s 2024 Season Finale

Bach Society Orchestra performed their season finale concert on April 19.
Bach Society Orchestra performed their season finale concert on April 19. By Courtesy of Olivia S. Lin
By Nicole M. Hernandez Abud, Crimson Staff Writer

The walls of Paine Hall reverberated with the music of the Bach Society Orchestra for the last time this semester on the evening of April 19. Putting together a playful and innovative season finale concert, Harvard’s largest student-run orchestra made sure to give the crowd a taste of their creativity, skill, and commitment to music.

Following a brief welcome to the audience, Production Manager Laurel J. Barnett ’25 started the night by recognizing the orchestra’s graduating seniors, for whom the concert was the last performance with the group.

Music director Lucas H. Amory ’24 then took the stage to conduct the first piece of the program, “Life of a Galaxy” — the winning composition of the 2024 BachSoc Composition Competition, and an original piece by Kieran Y. Chung ’27. Before the performance, Amory shared some words regarding his own experience as a senior, thanking those who encouraged him to become a conductor and the members of the orchestra who accompanied him throughout the journey.

After his speech, the concert hall went quiet in anticipation of “Life of a Galaxy” — the first notes created a combination of nostalgia and an ominous, lurking feeling. With tones of wind instruments in the background supported by the rhythmic beat of the strings, the music developed into cheerful, inspiring hope that alluded to the birth and childhood of the galaxy.

“I started with the four notes that show up in the middle,” Chung said when commenting on the process of composing his piece. “I just wanted to use seven and four. That interval does not get used enough. And it just went from there.”

The piece continued getting stronger before transitioning to a soft, quiet flute interlude that filled the room with mysticism, followed by a mesmerizing violin duet. As the piece reached the end, the audience burst into applause.

The crowd hushed again as newly elected Music Director Enoch Li ’26 and Camden M. Archambeau ’23, who narrated the next piece, walked onto the stage. The performance of “Peter and the Wolf” — a symphonic tale for children by the composer Sergei Prokofiev — brought a buoyant mood to the night. Each instrument was used to represent a character in the fable — the playful flute for the bird, the potent horns for the wolf, a skillful string quartet for Peter, a slippery clarinet for the cat — and, together with Archambeau’s voice and changes in tone, made the story enjoyable and easy to follow.

“Symphony No. 5 in C Minor,” one of the most well-known compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven, was a fitting close to the night and to the 2024 season of the orchestra. Ranging from the classic Beethoven to the contemporary student compositions, the Bach Society Orchestra made sure to show the versatility of their music and the talent of its members. As such, they parted with a well-rounded performance and a promising anticipation for the next season.

—Staff writer Nicole M. Hernández Abud can be reached at

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