#SoCaltech: Allen Robert Gross


“This final concert is going to be very near and dear to my heart but also something that really shows off the orchestra. The Haydn is special. It’s his last symphony [Symphony No. 104], and he probably knew it was going to be his last symphony. He was 64, old for that era, and he was commissioned to write this set of symphonies in 1796 in London. For me, Haydn makes the world whole. There is this great human optimism that pervades Haydn throughout. And I thought, ‘OK, this is a good piece to end my career at Caltech with.’ It’s a piece with a great sense of harmony in it. In the slow movement, Haydn seems to deliberately lose his way. He veers off into very strange harmonic territory. And it stops, and it tries to get back on track, and it does get back on track. So, it's very subtly poignant. And, of course, Wagner is very close to my heart as well. The excerpts from Die Meistersinger are very beautiful and very touching, and The Flying Dutchman has always been a great favorite of mine.”

Allen Robert Gross is director of the Caltech Orchestra. In honor of his retirement after 36 years, the orchestra will present a free concert (no tickets required) on May 25 at 8 p.m. and 26 at 3:30 p.m. in Ramo Auditorium. For further information: https://www.caltech.edu/campus-life-events/master-calendar/caltech-orchestra-9 

#SoCaltech is an occasional series celebrating the diverse individuals who give Caltech its spirit of excellence, ambition, and ingenuity. Know someone we should profile? Send nominations to magazine@caltech.edu.