(With apologies to Frederick Delius and in the full understanding that his “Paradise Garden” was actually a seedy country pub.)Read More →
Terry Wolkowicz once again gives us an in-depth article about the importance of music in the life of young children. This time she writes about story telling, and discusses in detail the concept of linking prosody in text and music, which shows that music and language have a shared neural perception system and have strong similarities in syntax processing. In other words, pairing music and reading together makes a much larger impact on young children. She describes in detail the New Bedford Symphony’s educational program, Symphony Tales, where a book is read unaccompanied, and then a specially-composed piece is played that would imitate the prosodic elements in the text. It’s an amazing program, put together by a very local orchestra, that deserves attention from all orchestras.
Ann DrinanRead More →
Michael Korn, an accomplished violinist, is also the music director of two community orchestras in the greater Boston suburbs, the Waltham Symphony and the Sharon Community Chamber Orchestra. This article explores the issue of repertoire selection as a strategy to stimulate steady orchestra membership and audience growth in the community orchestra. “Because community orchestras rely heavily on volunteer musicians, the choice of repertoire becomes an important tool, not only for developing audience but also for attracting and retaining present and potential orchestra members.” Michael includes extensive repertoire lists from both orchestras.
Ann DrinanRead More →
Violinist Gerald Elias, formerly with the Boston Symphony and the Utah Symphony, has written a delightful yet informative piece about the reality of “performance practice.” Just what did Beethoven’s premiere of his Fifth Symphony sound like? And what was the concert experience like for those who attended? Jerry discusses in depth some of the misperceptions, as he sees them, of those musician who purport to offer “historically informed” performances, from the use of vibrato to the concept that there is only one “correct” template for authentic performance practice. Ultimately, he poses the question, “Do you want to experience what the audience heard at the premiere of Beethoven’s Fifth, or do you want to experience what they felt?”
This article was originally published at ReichelRecommends.com.
Ann Drinan, Senior Editor
In this article, Michael Manley offers some compelling thoughts about the future of orchestral programming. He challenges us to break down the barriers of “art music,” “commercial music,” and “pops” and to be more open to including a wider variety of music on orchestral concerts. I think you will enjoy his writing style and his ideas for the future!Read More →
I met Dr. Lisa Wong at the airport in Dallas, returning from the 2012 League of American Orchestras conference. At the check-in counter, I discovered that she was flying to Boston on the same plane, so I asked her which orchestra she was with. When I learned that she played with the Longwood Symphony, I mentioned that I had heard that someone in her orchestra had written a book about it, and could she put me in touch with the author. She unzipped her suitcase and pulled out a copy of her book, “Scales to Scalpels.” And it turns out that she lives quite close to my mother – she and her husband, Lynn Chang, dropped me off, saving me a late-night trolley ride. What an interesting set of coincidences!
Lisa’s book is a fascinating account of the formation and work of the Longwood Symphony, her own passage through music and medicine, and lots of information about the powerful healing aspects of music. She discusses her trips to Venezuela with her daughter as part of her experiences with El Sistema, and gives us lots of information about how the ear works and how the brain processes information and music.
But most importantly, she tells us stories that inspire: about Ruth, who was awakened from a catatonic state by a therapist’s turning on the local classical music station; about the children at the burn center who were so inspired by the famous violinist who himself had survived a terrible fire as a child; about the medical musicians, all with relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s, who were amazed at the reaction to their playing for a group of Alzheimer’s patients. Lisa’s book will truly reinforce your perceptions of the power of music to heal.
Lisa came to Hartford recently to give a presentation at the Medical Society of Hartford about her book and to talk about the many connections between music and medicine. She played a few movements from the Third Bach Suite on her viola during her presentation. The doctors in attendance were rapt, both to listen to her music and to hear her words. I’ve adapted passages from her book, her remarks in Hartford, and our subsequent conversation into an interview about the Longwood Symphony.Read More →
Carter Brey, principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic, interviewed his colleague Evangeline (Van) Benedetti, who retired from the orchestra in 2011 after 44 years in the cello section. She was the second woman to receive a tenured position in the orchestra.
This article first appeared in the March 2012 issue of Allegro, the magazine of the New York City musicians’ union (AFM Local 802). It is reprinted with permission. For more information, see http://www.Local802afm.org]www.Local802afm.org.Read More →
I’ve performed with Jeffrey Biegel many times over the years, and was chatting with him backstage when he played the Lowell Liebermann 3rd Piano Concerto with us a few years ago. We got to talking about his concept of putting together consortiums of orchestras to commission new works for piano and orchestra. I found it a fascinating concept.
Jeffrey was in town again recently, playing Beethoven’s 5th concerto, so I invited him to lunch to find out about his latest consortium project with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
If any orchestras out there would like to join the consortium to support Ellen Zwilich in writing Shadows for piano and orchestra, and participate in the year of the premiere, contact Jeffrey Biegel at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit his website at www.jeffreybiegel.com.
April 13: Orchestra of the Swan in England has signed on for the European premiere.Read More →
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra recently spent 2 days filming a scene for Robert DeNiro’s new movie, Everybody’s Fine, at Woolsey Hall in New Haven on June 3 & 4. They needed a few extra players, so I commenced my film career by pretending to be a violist. (Hey, I do that in real life!) Here’s the story, with photos taken by NHSO Executive Director Natalie Forbes.Read More →
Recently (March 2008) there was an article on Orchestra-L about the London Symphony having to play a concert of Mahler 7th in Dijon using borrowed instruments because their truck was held up due to a strike. My first thought was, “Where was Jeen Fedelich?” Jeen is legendary in the orchestra tour business; she’s been handling impossible problems for nearly 30 years. She currently works for Classical Movements, a tour operator based in Alexandria, VA. I emailed her immediately, but she said she had not been traveling with London when their disaster happened. I hope you’ll enjoy my interview with her about her demanding job that’s so important to traveling orchestras!Read More →
The New York Philharmonic’s recent concert in North Korea received enormous publicity from international press. The world was extremely excited about it, and the concert itself was a wonderful success, perhaps opening a door as ping-pong did in China in the 1970s. Only time will tell.
Polyphonic has been very interested in publishing personal reflections from a NY Philharmonic musician who participated in this tour, and we are delighted that Charles Rex, violinist with the NY Philharmonic, has agreed to permit us to publish this essay he wrote about his trip.
Charles is a unique observer of the NY Philharmonic’s trip to Pyongyang because he was part of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic trip to China during the Nixon era. He truly has participated in two epochal symphonies as they serve as ambassadors for peace and the US.Read More →
What orchestral musician doesn’t like to play chamber music? It can provide a healthy change from the orchestra, but what if chamber music opportunities in your area are few and far between, or are devoted to programming repertoire that doesn’t really turn you on. Nashville Symphony violinist, Zeneba Bowers and a group of her friends wanted a chamber music creative outlet, so they did what entrepreneurial people do. They started their own ensemble. Zeneba’s article takes us through the group’s evolution. As you read, ALIAS: An New Kind of Ensemble you’ll not only learn about them and their successful group, but you’ll also pick up some tips along the way should you want to do something similar.Read More →
How can you create a novel concert experience that truly engages the audience in unique ways without “dumbing down” the material or resorting to techno-parlor tricks? Paul Haas, music director of the New York Youth Symphony, has accomplished this with his REWIND concert, a most unusual concert indeed.
In an interview with Yvonne Caruthers, cellist with the National Symphony, Paul explains how he took a very fresh perspective on the relationships amongst differing repertoire, added unusual spatial positioning and lighting, and presented the concert in a great venue. Read on for a fascinating look at a very successful non-traditional concert concept.Read More →