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Students play central role in Boston Symphony Orchestra concert series

Aislinn Kane

When you start to research German composer Hermann Schroeder, you’re far more likely to find information on another musical Schroeder: the piano player created by Charles M. Schultz for the “Peanuts” comic strip.

That’s what sophomore music industry major Aislinn Kane discovered when she began conducting research on Schroeder — the real man, not the cartoon character — for an introductory lecture in preparation for a performance by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Northeastern’s Fenway Center.

The BSO’s free Chamber Music Series relocated this year to the Fenway Center, where the acoustics are the envy of professional musicians who perform a block away at Symphony Hall.

“It was a lot of research, and the issue with this composer is that there’s hardly any information out there about him,” Kane said. She prepared for her pre-performance lecture by poring over countless records, such as obituaries and concert programs, and working with a faculty mentor in Northeastern’s music department in the College of Arts, Media and Design.

Kane’s introduction to Schroeder’s Trio in E minor for violin, viola, and cello was praised by the audience and commended by BSO viola player Robert Barnes, who broke tradition by speaking prior to the performance.

“All I knew about Schroeder was that he wrote this string trip — I had the three parts, but didn’t even have the score for it,” Barnes confessed. “So I’ve learned a lot from this today.”

Students like Kane and junior music industry major Danielle Clougher, who also gave a pre-performance lecture, play a key role in the Fenway Center series, which had previously been held in a small room at Symphony Hall. The new space makes the series more accessible to all patrons and gives Northeastern students, who compete for the chance to deliver the pre-performance lecture and record each concert for archival purposes, an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a professional performance.

“One of the great joys of having these concerts here is that we can involve students in so many different ways,” concert coordinator Arthur Rishi told Northeastern students and members of the community during a discussion prior to the performance.

The next BSO concert at the Fenway Center, featuring a string quartet performing compositions by Mozart and Mendelssohn, will be held Friday, Feb. 24 at 1:30 p.m. Free tickets can be picked up at the venue or reserved in advance through www.tickets.neu.edu.