By Chris Zuver, A&E Editor

On November 8, students and other locals gathered in the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center to hear the sounds of the debut concert of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Symphony Orchestra. The concert was free and attended by many.

The Orchestra, led by conductor Darwin Aquino performed an overture by Giuseppe Verdi, a violin concerto by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and led by Arianna String Quartet violinist Julia Sakharova, a symphony by Antonín Dvořák, and the piece Virginia’s Real Reel by UMSL’s own Director, School of Fine and Performing Arts and Professor of Music Dr. Barbara Harbach.

Conductor Aquino is a well-recognized Dominican conductor and composer. Seen internationally as one of the top rising Latin American artists in both symphony and opera. Aquino’s career went to new heights after winning the Premio Soberano award as Successful Dominican Artist Abroad. For the 2017-2018 season, he has been appointed as Music Director for Winter Opera St. Louis, as well as other positions both nationally and abroad.

Julia Sakharova, violinist of the Arianna String Quartet, is known internationally as a concert artist. She has a reputation for her performances as a soloist, in orchestra, and as a chamber musician. Critics describe her as projecting “incredible temperament, very fine sensitivity, and remarkable colors.”

Dr. Harbach, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Music here at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis has a long list of pieces to her name, including; symphonies, operas, string orchestra, musicals, works for chamber ensembles, film scores, modern ballet, pieces for organ, harpsichord and piano; choral anthems; and numerous arrangements for brass and organ of various Baroque works.

In the coming few weeks, there will be numerous musical performances coming to campus. For more information, you can visit the Touhill or their online website at