When we think of hardest orchestral pieces to play, names like Mahler, Strauss, Iver, Bruckner and Wagner come to mind. Of Wagner, what comes to mind is, of course, his “Der Ring des Nibelungen” or the Ring of Nibelung. Famous for the excerpt that we call the “Ride of the Valkyries,” which appeared in the soundtrack for the iconic movie “Apocalypse Now,” this grueling 15 hour piece has been the cause of much strife and struggle for the Amherst Symphony Orchestra for the past two months.

“I’ve just finished filming my work on the next ‘Hunger Games,’” Jeffrey Wright, class of ’87, casually said. Starring in big name films is nothing new for Wright, who’s played roles in dozens of high budget commercial films. Indeed, this Emmy, Golden Globe, and AFI Award-winning actor — appearing on big screens worldwide — is an exceptional member of Amherst College’s already impressive list of alumni.

Growing Up in D.C.