Indiana State University Newsroom

A trio of horn players will represent Indiana State at Mahlerfest

April 23, 2012

Two Indiana State University music students and their professor will be among 100 instrumentalists and a full chorus performing at Colorado Mahlerfest May 12-21, celebrating the life and music of composer Gustav Mahler.

Horn professor Brian Kilp, along with students Nathaniel Rainey and Yurie Uto will play a part in the orchestra performing Mahler's Symphony No. 2 - otherwise known as "Resurrection Symphony."

The MahlerFest orchestra's musicians come together from across the United States and other countries, mostly on a volunteer basis, for a week of intense music-making, drawn by their passion for Mahler's music. Each year, the festival features two orchestral performances of one of Mahler's major symphonic works. Maestro Olson, director of opera and orchestras at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, returns each year to lead the festival.

"Mahler's fifth symphony is one of my all-time favorite symphonies, so I have been interested in his music for a long time. I found it fascinating that a large group of musicians gets together every year to play Mahler's music." Rainey, a senior music education major from Petersburg, said.

The experience, according to Kilp, is an important hands-on learning opportunity.

"For music students rehearsing and performing are what we do, so the ideal "experiential learning" is to perform," Kilp said. "They will have the chance to play great music with an experienced conductor and a great orchestra."

Kilp nominated Rainey and Uto to participate in the festival, based on their performances in student ensembles.

"They have performed a wide variety of music in different settings and work well together," Kilp said. "Both have consistently worked to the best of their abilities this school year and they have helped my entire studio to raise their performance standard."

Participation in the festival, funded by the School of Music, Center for Student Research and Creativity and the Center for Community Engagement, is a first for Indiana State.

"This is the first time for me and for our students to participate in Mahlerfest," Kilp said. "It's quite an honor for all three of us."

"I am honored to be selected as a member," said Uto, a sophomore music business major. "I am looking forward to knowing what part I will play in a section of 10 horns."

Rainey views the opportunity as one that will benefit him as both a performer and a future educator.

"As a music educator, it is very important to gain performance experience with high-quality performer," Rainey said. "My ability to perform well is just as important as my abilities to teach. I hope to learn something about performance or Mahler that I can share with my future students."

Kilp and his students will participate in four rehearsals and two concerts. The performers will be able to obtain a CD of the performances to mark the occasion.

"There will be lectures and a recital for us to attend as well," added Uto.

But there's work to be done before they arrive in Boulder for the festival.

"I had very little experience with the piece," Rainey said. "I had heard a couple of recordings of the symphony, but I had never heard a live performance. Now, I am studying the piece by listening to various recordings as well as practicing my individual part in the symphony."

Uto also admitted she needs to learn the piece.

"I have listened to No.2, but it was long time ago," she said. "I borrowed a CD from Dr. Kilp, and I'm listening to it. We will study the scores before we go, and Dr. Kilp will coach us on the parts as well."

While both students are looking forward to doing a little sightseeing during the week they are in Colorado, Uto, who is from Japan, is looking forward to seeing more of the United States.

"I have not seen much of the USA, and I heard that Colorado is a very beautiful place," she said.

PHOTO: Nathaniel Rainey (left) and Yurie Uto (right) are preparing for their roles in the orchestra at Mahlerfest, an international festival celebrating the music of composer Gustav Mahler. Not pictured is professor Brian Kilp. Photo by Tony Campbell/ISU Photo Services

Contact: Brian Kilp, Indiana State University School of Music,  

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or