Skip to main content

Upcoming Concert: Bernstein!

I have loved the music of Leonard Bernstein since I was a little girl.  The songs and scores to West Side Story and Candide are in my blood, along with Trouble in Tahiti, the Mass, and just about everything else the man wrote.  The melodies are just so achingly gorgeous, with just the right amount of darkness in the harmonies underlying them, and the dances are impossible to ignore.  Joyful, energetic, ecstatic, tragic, transformative. 

We’re playing suites from Candide and West Side Story tomorrow night, accompanied by vocalists and dancers from IUSB.  For me a huge highlight is performing the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story with actual dancers.  It chokes me up a little to see these beautiful young people able to show such energetic, beautiful, characterful drama with their highly trained bodies, and it’s a thrill to have something so visual and physical on the stage where we normally perform in polite rows to a quietly attentive audience. 

Our concert is Friday night this week, to avoid conflicts with Notre Dame Football, because that is what we do here in South Bend, so if you are coming don’t forget to come on FRIDAY!  Details HERE

Comments

  1. Thanks for reminding us about the Bernstein concert. It was THRILLING!! We especially relished maestro Tsung Yeh’s witty and amusing commentary. The dancers, most of them students, performed enviably with original choreography, quite different from the musical.
    Bernstein’s music exerts a special attraction on many people that is difficult to explain.
    And btw, for those interested in his academic work, Bernstein delivered 6 lectures at Harvard in 1973 entitled “the Unanswered Question”. (They can be viewed on the internet under that name) His exposition of the subjects is inimitable characterized by such thoroughness and clarity that renders the points he makes unforgettable.
    Thanks again Jennet
    Dimitri

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O'Neal video everyone's sharing this week - it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it. 
Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.

Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato - his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.


What a LIBERATING concept!


When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me - it's when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.


I seek and strive for this Zone all the time - it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long…

Warming Up - Long Tones

I must not talk enough about warmups. I say this because recently, in my last lesson ever with a student leaving for college, I was mentioning something about my warmup regimen and his jaw dropped. Apparently long tones and intervals and scales with varied articulations are not part of his daily routine, nor had it ever occurred to him to use his band's warmup period to improve his playing. And I'm not telling this story on him, but on myself. Obviously I need to address the warm up period because it is fully half of the playing I do, and sometimes more.

Much of practicing is focused on learning a specific piece - either something you are performing at a specific time in the future, or an etude for your lesson, or the piece you're playing in band or orchestra. You are working on the specific problems or techniques that that piece requires. Of course you are working in as efficient a way as possible, and at the end of your practice period you can play the passage or pi…