The premiere of the new Cal Poly Pomona Philharmonic is a show more than 15 years in the making.
When Janine Riveire, interim chair of the music department, arrived on campus in 2000, it was with the idea that she would bring back the orchestra that existed in the 90s. She started directing the string ensemble in 2008, and it has slowly grown throughout the years.
Recently it grew enough that she was able to add wind instruments, so this quarter the department launched the Philharmonic. There are about 35 students in the orchestra, with half of them being non-music majors.
“We know that there are lots of people on campus who are not in the music department that play instruments, and it’s just been a question of getting the word out,” she says.
“We could have called it a symphony orchestra, but we’re not going to play just symphonies. Cal Poly Pomona musicians play all kinds of music, so philharmonic, meaning loving music, is the better word for us.”
Because of being located so close to Los Angeles and their debut happening a few days after the Oscars telecast, their first concert is titled “Music from the Movies.” The concert will include pieces from Amadeus, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Titanic and Star Wars.
That same evening, the Cal Poly Pomona Wind Ensemble kicks off their tour.
“Part of the music department’s mission is to make it possible for people to continue being music makers,” Riveire says. “It’s part of a healthy life.”
Music has been part of her own life since she was in sixth grade, when she started playing the bass.
“My parents didn’t think it would last long, but 40-some-odd years later I’m still playing,” she says. “It gives me joy.”
The Cal Poly Pomona Philharmonic’s premiere performance is Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall. Tickets are available online and at the box office an hour prior to the show.