Tag Archives: ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

My Dad and I had fun at the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concert this past weekend. Thanks to my Peace Corps friend, Dorothy – who also happens to serve on the Sustaining Board with ProMusica, we were treated to a pair of complimentary tickets to last Saturday’s performance at the Southern Theatre.

Here’s what was on the program.

AUERBACH Eterniday (Homage to W.A .Mozart) for Bass Drum, Celesta, and Strings

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1

Under the direction of Maestro David Danzmayr – who is a fun and animated conductor to watch – the program started with an introduction to Ms. Lera Auerbach herself who was both the composer of the first piece and the soloist for the Mozart Piano concerto.

Eterniday

I don’t know of much music that’s been composed by women, so it was cool to hear her music. She seemed quite likable. I’m almost sorry I didn’t like her music at all. Auerbach and Maestro Danzmayr took a few minutes to discuss the first piece with the audience, called Eterniday, which was written as an homage to Mozart.

There was nothing in it – even after the explanation of the piece itself – that made me think of Mozart. It was a bunch of hard, dissonent, glissando-filled music that – according to a friend of mine who was also there on Saturday – just sounded angry. She couldn’t figure out how it was an homage to Mozart either.

That said, the concertmaster, Katherin McLin, was absolutely incredible and did an amazing job with the many solos throughout the piece. The principal double bass, cello and viola did some impressive playing, too, but the violin! Wow! I swear that piece had her playing the absolute full range of the instrument.

One interesting tidbit about this piece is that it was written twice. Auerbach had written it and was traveling when an electrical fire started in her music studio burning down everything from the piano to her newly-written manuscript. I don’t care if you like something or not. That’s just the worst thing that could happen to a composer. Imagine how much music has been lost throughout history because of fires or floods or other such disasters. It’s just heartbreaking.

Speaking of Mozart

The Mozart piece was nice – Piano Concerto #20. The soloist (also the composer of the 1st piece) had a rather heavy touch on the keys – like I do when I play that same piece, though quite honestly, I only play the second movement. The heavy touch is one thing I don’t really like about my own playing! I don’t know – maybe I’m pickier on this piece even knowing that she still played it better than I ever could, but it just didn’t seem like her performance was polished. It was as if playing the piano solo were an afterthought, a side gig to the performing of her own music that was played that same evening.

As for the cadenzas – bleck. I absolutely did not care for them. We were playing Mozart now – she already had a chance to show her 21st century tastes. They don’t belong in 18th century music.

We were in a concert hall, not an SCA event, so they didn’t fit. I did not like them one bit. It’s as if we were listening to this lovely 18th century music and then BAM! We were yanked right out of it for no reason. When I go to a concert to hear a piano concerto by Mozart, I expect to hear a piano concerto by Mozart. I know that traditionally, pianists can create their own cadenzas, but this was billed as Mozart, not Mozart with a twist of Boulez or Lindberg.

She did say that she added that cadenza, which had originally been written for another pianist, to be more introspective and meditative so she could give it a 21st century perspective.

My line of thinking is this: Please save the 21st century perspective for 21st century music.

Maybe I’m a purist – I like original Hershey’s chocolate and I think our National Anthem should be sung as written, but I also love classical era music. So – don’t mess with Mozart!

Which leads me to the Beethoven

This was the absolute best piece of the evening – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1! ProMusica musicians – you outdid yourselves. OMG – WOW!

Obviously his earliest symphony as it’s Symphony No 1, it wasn’t as obviously recognizable as Beethoven. It was kind of Beethoven before he was Beethoven. You could definitely pick out parts here and there that were reminiscent, as it were, of his later works, but this was music of a man perhaps still figuring out his own style and it was just gorgeous.

This symphony was the greatest part of the entire concert and Maestro Danzmayr had to have been having so much fun. He was bouncing around and dancing the whole time – totally getting into it. His enjoyment was infectious. I would love to have seen his face while he conducted! For my part, THIS piece deserved the standing ovation it received from a very enthusiastic audience!

WELL DONE ProMusica! Thank you for an evening of great music!

Classical Music All Day, Every Day

Our local classical music station here in Columbus, Ohio, Classical 101 (WOSA 101.1), is currently holding its spring fund drive to raise money for operations and the programming it provides to the listeners here and all over.

Classical 101 is public radio. It survives only thanks to the financial support of its listeners. Our local symphony survives the same way – 70% of its operations are financed by donations. Classical 101 however, doesn’t have that 30% funded by ticket sales. For some reason, they don’t sell tickets to the public to watch the on-air personalities, or hosts, while they’re actually on air! :-) That means, it’s up to us to keep them in business. It’s up to us to keep the music on our radios.

Sure we can’t buy tickets to see them on the job, (perhaps they like it that way?!) but we here in Columbus still have plenty of opportunities to see them live and in person, though I’ve only seen three of the four so far. These are fun people and they’re super smart. They know so very much about classical music. I learn a ton while listening!

* Jennifer Hambrick – shown below at a Westerville Symphony concert last summer, but who also writes the reviews for the CSO concerts for the Columbus Dispatch

Jennifer Hambrick

Jennifer Hambrick speaking before a Westerville Symphony Orchestra concert.

* Christopher Purdy – who always talks to us at his pre-concert chats before Columbus Symphony Orchestra concerts and who I will see again a week from Saturday for Mozart’s Requiem with the CSO

Christopher Purdy

Christopher Purdy at a pre-concert chat with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

* Boyce Lancaster who talks to us after ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concerts and – who I will see again this Saturday at the Southern Theatre after I see their concert with Beethoven Symphony No 1 and a Mozart Piano Concerto (No 20).

Boyce Lancaster

David Danzmayr – Philippe Quint – Boyce Lancaster after a ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concert

These chats before and after concerts last about a half hour or so – give or take – and all members of the audience who attend are most welcome to ask questions or just sit back and enjoy. Inevitably, humor is added in as well. Heck – even my (then 10-year old) nephew commented that he really enjoyed it and got a lot out of one of Mr. Purdy’s pre-concert chats! It’s always just enough to teach us something about the composer and the music so we all have a better appreciation of what we’re about to hear.

That’s what Classical 101 does for us. They play classical music all day every day – that’s their tag line. The actual live times though are, I think, during the week / during the day – from 6am through the Symphony at 7 with John Rittmeyer. They play an opera every Saturday afternoon, American and guitar music on Saturday nights and replay CSO and Ohio State University concerts on Sunday afternoons. Of course, Sundays always start with Sunday Baroque. Love that! Sunday nights are filled with organ music as well as Musica Sacra – sacred church music written through the centuries. (That’s how I discovered William Byrd several years back – beautiful music!) Heck – they even take requests on Fridays AND guarantee us some Mozart every day during the week at 12 noon for the Amadeus Deli.

You just can’t go wrong with Mozart!

Support them if you can

I’m a sustaining donor in that I’m set up to automatically donate $5 to them every month. See? You don’t have to donate a huge amount. (though I’m sure they won’t turn it down) You’re welcome to call in and donate whatever you want and / or whatever you can afford. It’s entirely up to you and it’s all appreciated! And it all adds up! If every listener were to jump in with $5, they’d probably be set! Every listener doesn’t call in – only a few call in. It’s tough.

I listen to Classical 101 via my iTunes radio listing on my laptop as well as on my phone with their app. You can download it from here.

Classical 101 - iTunes

My iTunes radio playlist – so far!

Remember when the jazz station in town changed its format to 80s music? Which has since changed a bit beyond that as well? Well – that change caused us to lose our only jazz station in town. (That I know of at this stage) Sure you can get a little jazz on Sundays on NPR, but you’re pretty much on your own after that. 103.5 / 104.3 – two stations – do they both have to be the same? Couldn’t one at least be jazz? That’s why you see, in the above picture, that my second station there is a jazz station – out of Toronto. Shouldn’t we have a station here in Columbus?

Don’t let something like that happen to our classical music!

You can support Classical 101 by calling them during the day at 866-485-1011 or by placing a donation online. So many cities don’t have what we have. Please join me in supporting this great music! :-)

 

Looking Forward

2014 is going to be a fun year. I’m really looking forward to all the music I’m going to hear – whether it be live concerts in places like Columbus or Chattanooga or something I discover online while checking out 24 new (to me) composers in my Passport to Composers series that I’m starting up in another week or two. Before I jump ahead though, I’d like to say thank you to all the folks who have taken the time to read or even comment on my blog.

Thanks as well to anyone along the way who recommended other blogs to check out in order to help me learn more about the classical music business (Adaptistration and Iron Tongue of Midnight were two main ones recommended, though I’ve since discovered more!). I’m even very thankful for those who told me (when I first started and added what I thought was a cool picture as a background) that the picture may be cool, but it takes forever to open the page. (Oops. Thanks, Drew!)

Giocosity is a new blog as of June of 2013, but even though it’s young, I thought it would be fun to summarize my top posts for 2013 and where folks are visiting my blog.

It’s been tough getting the word out especially knowing I’m just writing for fun as a patron and fan as opposed to writing from the perspective of someone in the industry such as a musician, staff member or consultant. Fortunately, I’ve never claimed to be an expert – just someone who enjoys writing about my concert experiences and learning about the great music being performed along the way – so I imagine more readers will come with time.

Looking at my top ten posts, folks definitely seemed to enjoy French Horn Week as four of my top ten posts were from that fun project.

1. Minnesota Orchestra: Links – summarizes some of the posts written by industry professionals.

2. Soul of an Orchestra - My last post of French Horn week

3. Survey Results: Donate? Or Not? – Part I - Gives an idea of the effort required to make an online donation to the CSO

4. The Show Must Go On - What a wonderful performance by Philippe Quint and the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

5. Minnesota Orchestra Musicians: Let Them Play! - My Labor Day contribution

6. Julia Rose – Associate Principal French Horn - My profile of one of the fabulous French horn players with the CSO. Hers was my first ever interview. Thanks, Julia!

7. …But the Chopin Was Amazing! - It really was! Dr. Nicholas Ross played Chopin’s Piano Concerto #1 excellently well!

8. Not Your Average Concert-Goer - Classical music fans don’t all come in the same packaging!

9. Don’t Look ‘Em in the Eyes! - My introductory post of French Horn Week.

10. Gene Standley – Principal French Horn - My profile of the CSO’s principal horn player. The last of my horn player interviews – one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!

Honorable mention: #11: :-) Westerville Symphony Concert - My first time hearing the Westerville Symphony Orchestra at a wonderful venue at Alum Creek Park in Westerville. I even enjoyed the Khachaturian!

Where are they?

I’m in the US and I’m writing in English, so the vast majority of my readers are from the US.  Makes sense, right? After that, #2-10 countries are: Canada, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Latvia, Spain and Norway.

Honorable mention: #11 :-) Japan

What to expect in 2014

2014 will be fun.  Starting later this month, I’ll post my first offering on my Passport to Composers series where I will feature one composer from every country I’ve either lived in or visited. Having served in the Peace Corps, I like to venture off the beaten path, so the composer I choose to profile won’t always be first one you think of when a country like Austria or Germany is mentioned.

I look forward to enjoying more concerts by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, but also by other ensembles such as Early Music in Columbus, Westerville Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra or, a little further off my locally beaten path, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra.

Locally I hope to expand a little bit as well and work my way out to the New Albany Symphony Orchestra – plus, I have yet to make it to a concert at Ohio State, but that’s primarily due to my funky work hours. If I don’t get out on time (which I rarely do), I can never make it to concerts during the week which is a bummer since there’s so much great music being played! Definitely something I hope to remedy in the new year!

I hope to expand on my interviewing as well. I’m already working on setting up some interviews with some soloists and conductors. Plus, I interviewed composer Michael Torke before the holidays, so I’ll be posting that pretty soon. He’s got some fabulous music out there, for sure!

Who knows what’s in store for Giocosity?! What will be my top posts in 2014? Heck if I know, but I do look forward to having lots of musical fun! I look forward to hearing from you as well via your comments and questions left for me here.

So with that in mind, as they say in my adopted country of Bulgaria:

Честита нова година, приятели! Желая ви добро здраве, много щастие и късмет през новата година!!

Happy New Year, friends!  I wish you good health, much happiness and fortune in the new year!

Bilbo and Santa

Looking for a great holiday-inspired performance this weekend? Good! I have a few ideas for you then, because we have some great music being played in our town!

Not sure which one to choose? Or – did you just happen across my classical music blog and you’re not yet really a fan? If so, I suggest you check one out anyway, but if all else fails – The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug opens this weekend. If that doesn’t put you in the Christmas mood, I don’t know what does!

the_hobbit_an_unexpected_journey_movie-HD

Hey – don’t laugh! I love Tolkien! Besides – my entire family and I are all going to see it this weekend. Yes – three generations of the Brown family – and then, Dad and I are heading out to ProMusica on Sunday. Bilbo Baggins and Santa Claus. Wow! It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Ahem. Speaking of ProMusica…here are those great music ideas I promised!

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra 

These guys are awesome and have three holiday performances going on this weekend including the Messiah sing-along tonight, Dec 13, at 7:30 pm at the Southern Theatre. I promise not to claim a soprano part. Tickets are $20 each so head on out!

A Classical Holiday – Two great concerts this weekend with roughly the same program.

Saturday at the Josephinum – 5:30 pm

MOZART – Ballet Music to “Idomeneo”
HAYDN – Sinfonia Concertante
DVORAK – Legends No. 5-6-7
HAYDN – Symphony No. 98

Sunday at the Southern Theatre – 7 pm

MOZART – Ballet Music to “Idomeneo”
SCHICKELE – Thurber’s Dogs
DVORAK – Legends No. 5-6-7
HAYDN – Symphony No. 98

Westerville Symphony Orchestra 

Sounds of the Season - Saturday at 8pm at the Riley Auditorium at Battelle Fine Arts Center Otterbein University. Tickets are only $25 each and it looks to be a fun concert! 

The Westerville Symphony’s annual “Sounds of the Season” concert is a favorite holiday tradition for hundreds of local families. Assistant Conductor Jim Bates leads a smaller chamber orchestra through a rousing program of holiday themed classical works and other Yuletide favorites including popular audience sing-alongs.

Ballet Met and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra 

An annual tradition, the Ballet Met, with the musicians of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, put on the wonderful ballet we all know and love, The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker Ballet – From the Ballet Met website:

Journey with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy – a magical world of the imagination filled with colorful characters sure to enchant you and your family.

Nutcracker

Performances started yesterday, December 12 and run right through a 12 noon performance on Christmas Eve.  Plenty of opportunities for you to see it between now and then! Make it an annual tradition. My family heads out for J.R.R. Tolkien movies. You could head out for the Nutcracker.

HOW many times?

The other day on Facebook, some musicians from various orchestras were talking about how many times they had each played for this ballet and wow! The numbers were staggering! Check these out!

* Christopher Blair, Principal at Akustiks, has conducted the Nutcracker roughly six times.

* Holly Mulcahy, Concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, is nearing her 200th performance.

* Jeff Korak, 2nd Trumpet in our own Columbus Symphony Orchestra, is coming up on his 350th performance. Wow!

* Conductor of the Ballet San Jose, George Daugherty, wins the prize though. This season, he is nearing his 2,000th performance! Yes – that’s two thousand! Bravo!

As a patron, I’ve only seen it once or twice. Not quite the accomplishment we see from these musicians!

How many times have YOU seen The Nutcracker ballet?

Have a great weekend everyone!

 - Heather

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s that time of year when people are making last-minute donations in order to add to what they can write off on their taxes. As well they should. There are plenty of places out there that are in need of our generosity, so I say, go for it!

My favorite orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is one such organization. Two more that I think are well worth your support are the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and the Westerville Symphony Orchestra. Why these three? Because I’ve been to performances of all three in the last few months or so and think they’re fabulous!  (CSO – six concerts, ProMusica – one concert, with tickets for another this Sunday, and Westerville Symphony – two concerts.) There’s some great music to be heard in this town, friends! And WOSU Radio – Classical 101 – I listen to them all the time.  Their app helps keep me sane at work when stress levels are high and my hyper coworker is far louder than usual!

Many orchestras have a 60/40 split – 60% off donations and 40% off ticket sales. Not sure about ProMusica or Westerville, but the Columbus Symphony Orchestra has a 70/30 split. That means 70% of their operating budget (per the last two annual reports – 2011 / 2012) stems from donations and only 30% from ticket sales, so they definitely have their work cut out for them in terms of soliciting donations. They’re so worth it though because their musicians are amazingly good! Of course – you could all just start buying tickets like I do. Hey – It’s a suggestion. You support them AND get an evening of fantastic music!

Support your community!

Supporting the arts helps to support your community. Think about it – you’re helping to keep people employed – always a plus. You’re getting high quality, live entertainment! Very cool. You’re helping to improve and expand educational opportunities for both children and adults. Both necessary. And you bring in tourism dollars by helping to give people yet another reason to visit your town. Tourism helps boost your local economy!

Arts and culture make up a significant chunk of our economy. The A/P recently reported how the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment of the Arts have released a study on just how much arts and culture, a.k.a. “Creative industries”, contribute to our national economy. In the A/P article, it says this:

Creative industries led by Hollywood account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services, the government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy.

Drew McManus today commented today in his blog, Adaptistration, that you should naturally take care in what you read.  Consider the source and don’t compare apples to oranges. Most studies are locally based, rather than national like the one above. I agree with him – that makes total sense.

I think it’s a good indicator of things to come though and something to keep track of because it’s easy to cut funding for the arts and it’s easy to cut funding to music programs in schools, but remember folks, concerts and plays and art exhibits really do bring money into our communities are they are not to be taken lightly. These are some good economic contenders who can really help us out and are therefore deserving of our support. Think about it – you can support the arts, help boost our economy and get a tax write-off. Wins all around!

Here are some details on some local arts organizations that, in my humble opinion, I think you should all support this holiday season if you can. If all else fails, you can buy a ticket, too, but arts organizations bring a lot of money into our economy, so it’s worth making sure they stick around. You’ll get a tax write-off, of course, but you’re making sure Columbus is a well-rounded city full of entertainment and music education programs.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra 

Our symphony is incredibly good! Go buy a ticket for their next concert and then make a donation! Yes – the online donation process is beyond horrid, but they take checks. It’s super simple – just grab their address below. (Clicking the “Donate” button off the front page gets you there, too)

Columbus Symphony
55 E. State St.
Columbus, OH 43215

Then, go to your bank’s website, log in and set them up like you would for any bills you might pay, only this is not a bill. This is a great musical organization that is worthy of our support, my fellow Buckeyes! Fill out the amount you’d like to donate and send it off. There. Done.

Congratulations. You’ve just supported the longest standing musical arts organization here in Columbus. Took less than five minutes. Come on. Admit it. You feel good now, don’t you?

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra 

Wow. These guys are really good. You can mail a check to them, too, but their online donation process is ridiculously easy to use. Just click the link above and make a donation. It takes two minutes. Feel free as well to join my dad and me this Sunday at their Holiday concert. (Messiah sing-along is Friday and their Christmas concerts are Saturday at the Josephinum and Sunday at the Southern Theatre downtown. It’ll be really great!)

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
243 North Fifth Street, Suite 202
Columbus, OH  43215

See? Another great music organization supported. I know you’re feeling good now!

Westerville Symphony Orchestra 

They don’t have an online donation system, per se, but you can go into their store and “purchase” a donation amount. It’s a little weird, but it works. Plus, like the others, you’re always welcome to go the online bill-pay route and set them up with your online banking.

Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University
167 South State Street, Suite 80
P.O. Box 478
Westerville, Ohio 43086-0478

I was pleasantly surprised the first time I heard them play last August. Wow! And it was a free concert, too! Can’t go wrong with that! And then in October with that Chopin piano concerto – WOWZA! It was seriously amazing, people. You should kick yourself if you missed it. They have a holiday concert coming up this Saturday at 8pm up at Otterbein. Tickets are only $25 and unlike ProMusica and the CSO (Sorry guys) their $25 tickets are actually $25!  No added Ticketmaster fees. Awesome!

I’d be going, too, were it not for the fact that my bonus (and my savings) have to go to a new catalytic converter. Yeah. Fun. But I’ll go in the new year – and you should, too!

It all adds up!

Anyhoo…if you set these great organizations up like you do with all your bills for online banking, you can very easily make a small (or large!) donation to them whenever you’re in there paying all your bills.  Even $5 every now and then adds up!  That’s what I donate to both the CSO and WOSU every month.

Oh my gosh – speaking of WOSU radio! Classical 101, our local classical music station in town, probably does more to advertise and market all these arts organizations than the organizations themselves – and I promise, that’s not meant to be snarky in any way. Classical 101 is just awesome!

They do so much to help promote great music in our community. Heck – its on-air personalities give pre-concert chats at so many performances (Christopher Purdy at the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer Hambrick at the Westerville Symphony Orchestra and Boyce Lancaster at the Codas at ProMusica Chamber orchestra – among others, I’m sure!) which help us all better relate to the music we’re about to hear – or have just heard. It’s so helpful – especially when you’re about to hear something new – to be able to put that music in context. It helps you both relate to the music but also better understand it so you can figure out why the 1st movement of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto was considered so weird at the time, or why there were riots at the premier of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (great for ticket sales though!), what Mahler was like “before he was Mahler” and how the heck did they manage to get a substitute soloist for Mendelssohn’s violin concerto only two days before the first performance!

We’re so lucky to have so much great music in this town – and so much of it, too!  And to think, I didn’t even mention Early Music in Columbus (I hope to make it to Twelfth Night!), Chamber Music Columbus or wow – the Ohio State University and Otterbein University schools of music!

So tell me, which organizations are you supporting in 2013?

Happy December

Having just had a super busy, yet super fun Thanksgiving weekend, I don’t have anything musically oriented for today, so I thought I’d let you know a few things I have in the works!

More interviews

As you know, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the entire horn section of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra as well as our new concertmaster. Now, I’m working on setting up some more fun interviews of CSO conductors, an upcoming soloist (fingers crossed, this works out!), an American composer and a local business that supports our symphony! Most of these will take place after the new year, so there are some exciting things in Giocosity’s future!

Upcoming concerts

Some friends and I are all going to go see the CSO Holiday Pops concert this Saturday! I’m excited since it’ll be my first time going to this one. The following weekend, I’ll be attending another holiday concert with my dad. This time, it’ll be the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra that we go see. I haven’t gone to their holiday concerts before either.

Stashbuster

Not music related, but on my knitting blog, Itinerant Knitter, I’m posting a stashbusting advent calendar that starts today. Not sure what that is? Well – it just means that I have a ton of yarn in my stash – much like every other knitter and crocheter – including a certain music director in Chattanooga (who shall remain nameless!) who may or may not have recently added to her own stash thanks to a great yarn sale online. Ahem. So each day, I’ll be introducing you to some yarn in my own stash. No guarantees if I’ll actual stash bust or not, i.e. actually knit something with it, but I’ll have fun with it anyway! Maybe I’ll get some good suggestions on what I can make.

So much yarn, so little time.

5000 +

Giocosity is a pretty new blog. I’ve only been around since June, but this weekend, I topped 5,000 visits to my blog! Yea! As always you’re welcome to leave comments or shoot me an Email (Giocosity (at) gmail.com) as I love to hear from you. Most important though, THANK YOU for reading what I write. It means a lot that more and more people are interested in what I share here.

Thank you again and have a great week, everyone!

 - Heather

The Show Must Go On

Last weekend for the first time since moving to Ohio, I had the pleasure of seeing a performance  by the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. Originally on the program were a handful of pieces ranging from Mozart to Mendelssohn: Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, K. 183; Klein’s Partita for Strings; Mysliveček’s Octet (parthia) for Winds No. 3 in B-flat Major and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor featuring ProMusica’s Creative Guest Partner and Principal Artist, Vadim Gluzman.

I heard Mr. Gluzman perform a violin concerto by Alban Berg last May with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  He’s incredibly good and has an album of Partitas out that I especially enjoy.  You should check it out!

Unfortunately, because of a sudden family emergency, Mr. Gluzman had to fly back home to Israel at the last minute. That was announced last Tuesday.  The concerts were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday!  Fortunately, Mr. Gluzman’s good friend and amazing violinist, Mr. Philippe Quint (American violinist, Russian by birth) was able to stand in.  Plus, Maestro Danzmayr was able to change his schedule around to conduct the ensemble as Mr. Gluzman was  originally going to be on the podium as well.

The show must go on, right?

Finally!

Mr. Quint arrived in Columbus on Friday and performed on Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, Mendelssohn’s violin is standard repertoire for him and he already had it memorized because he only had about one rehearsal with the orchestra prior to performing it for us.

IMG_1471

Violinist Philippe Quint

Wow.  He was so good and while I only have my CD recording for comparison, he definitely topped that!  The recording I have is of the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Leonard Bernstein with Pinchas Zuckerman on the violin.  I couldn’t help but grin during the cadenza in the middle of the first movement.  I didn’t know fingers could move that fast.  He really did an excellent job playing that for us.

After listening to Mendelssohn’s violin concerto a million times in my car or on headphones, I finally got to hear it live!  Oh wow – it was so beautiful and apparently the rest of the sizable audience agreed with me because we all gave him a standing ovation with a couple extra curtain calls!

We weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it. Check out Jennifer Hambrick’s concert review!

Philippe Quint seems to be quite prolific in terms of recorded music.  He’s been nominated for several Grammy awards and has even recorded the Mendelssohn concerto we heard at this concert.  Visit  his website so you can learn more about him. Be sure to check out his recordings, while you’re there.

On a side note, Philippe Quint was also in a movie last year about a Russian violinist working in New York.  Take a look at this trailer. At least here we certainly don’t have to worry about the lead actor’s merely playing the “air violin!”

Chamber music

The beauty of ProMusica Chamber orchestra is that it allows for chamber music to be played. It’s smaller than a full-fledged symphony orchestra and can still play symphonies that call for a full orchestra, (though you probably won’t see something like Mahler or Stravinsky in this setting) but it also has the ability to just send out a handful of musicians as it did with its opening piece: Mysliveček’s Octet (Parthia) for Winds in B-flat Major. The concert started with eight musicians: two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons and two french horns – played by CSO hornists Principal Gene Standley and Adam Koch.

What they played was a beautiful piece by someone I’d never even heard of before: Czech composer, Josef Mysliveček, a contemporary and friend of Wolfgang A. Mozart. (though I saw somewhere they eventually had a falling out over an opera commission or something. I’ll have to look into that!).  The clarinet parts were especially good and it was all extremely well-played.

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Our revised program!

Speaking of Mozart

The second half of the program was devoted to Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. Maestro David Danzmayr commented on how they just exchanged one G-minor symphony for another.  (The program was originally going to perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G-minor, K. 183. If you’ve seen the movie Amadeus, you’ll recognize it as the opening music being played after Maestro Salieri makes his entrance.)

I’ve been hearing so much Romantic and 20th Century era music lately that hearing this symphony was like I had a chance to go home and spend time relaxing in a familiar and comfortable setting.  It was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Of course – I like Mozart so much that I’m already planning a road trip down to Chattanooga, TN to hear this very piece performed again by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra as part of its chamber series. I’m really looking forward to hearing them play in February!

Coda

KUDOS to ProMusica Chamber Orchestra for an added piece of entertainment: Coda. After their concerts, they allow the audience to meet and ask questions of some of the musicians from that evening’s concert. In this case, we had the opportunity to hear Maestro Danzmayr and soloist Philippe Quint afterwards. And while sure, that was cool and all, I also got to finally meet Classical 101′s own morning host, Boyce Lancaster! Yea!

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Maestro David Danzmayr – Philippe Quint – Boyce Lancaster

Mr. Lancaster started things off (once someone found batteries for the microphones! D’oh!) asking them about the changes and such for this concert. From there they went all over the place and seemed to really enjoy answering questions from the audience. I loved having the opportunity to get to know the musicians a little bit in a more informal – and approachable – setting.

Upon meeting Mr. Lancaster, he asked me, “Isn’t this a wonderful way to spend an evening?”

Absolutely! Well done, ProMusica!

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Want more violins? Come back on Monday for part I of an exclusive interview with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Jean-Sébastien Roy.  OK – I still don’t know how exclusive it really is, but it’s pretty cool all the same!  He’s very talented – you’ll want to meet him! 

 

KISS Principle

To quote Lisa Hirsch, author of the Iron Tongue of Midnight,

Make it as easy as possibly for people to give you their money.

She’s right.

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

Number of steps required to make an online donation to local arts organizations here in Columbus:

  • Opera Columbus: 5
  • ProMusica Chamber Orchestra: 5
  • Columbus Symphony Orchestra: 20 (More if you have to set up an account and more if you change your mind about the amount halfway through the process.)

5 steps vs. 20-plus steps.  Which seems simple to you?

Persistence, I hope, pays off

Every month I give $5 per month to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Is it a lot? Heck no. It doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what they need in order to keep up their operating budget – 70% of which relies on donations.

Yeah.  70% of their entire budget.

I did research for this blog and after half a dozen attempts, I LEARNED how to make an online donation to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. It is unnecessarily cumbersome. Their online donation portal, simply put, is not efficient.  It’s not user-friendly and puts an undo burden on the donor, who will most likely give up prior to completing the intended donation.

I’d love to see the conversion rates.

And to be quite honest – had it not been for this blog and a desire to have actually tried something I say I don’t like, I probably would not have donated. Like some CSO musicians, I gave up, too, the first few times, then the next couple of times as well because I just couldn’t figure it out. Sad thing is? I’m computer savvy – I’ve created blogs, websites, I work on computers all day long – PC at work, Mac at home…this should not be a challenge.

Why so many hoops?

Having a computer and knowing how to turn it on should be the only prerequisite to being able to make an online donation. I shouldn’t have to LEARN how to make a donation. I should only have to go to your website, click a button, fill in a few blanks and be done with it. Casual donors are going to send their money elsewhere once they discover how much is required of them up front.

As for my $5? I wish I did, but I just don’t have more to give, so I give that much. I give it because I love the music and for a non-profit organization constantly having to raise money, every little bit helps.

Imagine if the CSO/CAPA team would consider making a change from this cumbersome process to a legitimately good process?

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My research on this comes from open source material. You can check it out yourself and see if you agree or disagree. Here – www.columbussymphony.com. Try to make a donation and let me know how far you get.

And how many tries it takes you to get there.

How Far Would You Go?

Sounds a lot like an ad for the Peace Corps, doesn’t it? Well, I’ll be surprised if this turns into the toughest job you’ll ever love, but hey – you never know!

How far would you go to make an online donation to a local arts organization?

I’ve listed three fabulous organizations below. All are worthy of both our financial support and a trip (or two) to their performances! For each one, I’ve outlined the steps needed for a donor to go from the front page of their websites to receiving a donation confirmation.

I’ve counted going to the site itself as step #1 for all.

OPERA COLUMBUS

1. Go to http://www.operacolumbus.org
2. Click “Support” to be taken to “Support” page
3. Click “Contribute online”
4. Fill out form which includes amount to donate, name, address, credit card info
5. Click “Contribute now” button

Done. Enjoy your receipt / confirmation page.

PROMUSICA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

1. Go to http://www.promusicacolumbus.org
2. Click on “Support Us” to be taken to the “Support Us” page
3. Click “Donate Now”
4. Fill out form which includes amount to donate, name, address, credit card info
5. Click “Submit” button

Done. Enjoy your receipt / confirmation page.

COLUMBUS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

1. Go to www.columbussymphony.com
2. Click “Donate” button to be taken to “Support” page
3. Click “Online Donations” to be taken to the CAPA portal within the Ticketmaster Website
4. Type in Email address and Password. Click “Continue” button and proceed to step 5.

If you haven’t already set up an account, follow steps 4A-B-C-D

4A. Under “I don’t have an account” Type in Email address. Click “Continue” button to create account.
4B. Fill out name, address, telephone numbers, etc.
4C. Click “Continue” button to proceed to account set up confirmation page.
4D. Click “Continue” button on this page to proceed to account front page. Proceed to step 5.
5. Follow instructions advising you to scroll down and then click the “Donate Now” button
6. Select “Myself” under donor information drop down menu (Myself is the only option)
7. Check box if you wish to remain anonymous. :-)
8. Scroll down to choose and click “Columbus Symphony Orchestra” so fund option will appear
9. Click on Columbus Symphony Fund Annual Donation so amount box will appear
10. Type in amount you wish to donate
11. Click “Apply” button to make amount appear under “total donation”
12. Click “Add to cart” button to be taken to the shopping cart page
13. Review donation amount to ensure you’re donating as much as you’d like to donate.

If changing amount, follow steps 13 A-B-C. If amount is fine, move on to step 14.

13A. If you’d like to change the donation amount, click “Change donation” for a pop-up box to appear.
13B. Click “Yes” button to change your item being purchased where you to be returned to step 5.
13C. Re-do steps 5-13 using your new amount and continue
14. Click “checkout” button to be taken to page where you can enter payment information

** 10 minute time limit for processing begins now. **

15. Choose payment option in drop down menu (Credit/debit card is the only option) so form to fill out payment information will appear.
16. Enter name, address, credit card info
17. Click “Next step” button
18. Review your card info / purchase
19. Click the box agreeing to the terms of use
20. Click “Submit order” button

Done. Enjoy your receipt / confirmation page.

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So what do you think?

How far would you go to give your money away?

Must See Classical Music in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio is a city filled with arts organizations and for those of us interested in listening to classical music, it provides us with a wealth of options.  The classical music concert season is starting in the next few weeks and whether you’re a veteran of going to see the symphony or looking to venture out for the first time, I’ve put together a list of what I think are some must-see concerts.

For those of you who might be new symphony goers, the classical music concert season follows the school year, so it starts in the fall a few weeks into football season and goes through collegiate finals weeks in May. After that, it usually takes a few weeks off before starting the summer pops season.  Plenty of music – all year long!

This is not an all-encompassing list – heck, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra has 15 classical music series concerts this year alone – but it does offer up a nice sampling of things to try in the coming months.  Check this out – there’s something for everybody.  Maybe we’ll even see each other at some of these.  I sure hope so because there’s some great music on upcoming programs and the musicians are fabulous!

Columbus Symphony OrchestraComplete schedule

Mahler’s Symphony #2 – Resurrection – Friday, October 5. at the Ohio Theatre

Includes the Columbus Symphony orchestra playing alongside the Columbus Symphony Chorus.  Canadian soprano Dominique LaBelle, who sang at last year’s season opener of Beethoven’s 9th, will again be one of the soloists.  And if you thought Beethoven’s 9th was good, you shouldn’t miss this!  Be sure to listen for the French horns!

Beethoven’s 5th – Friday/Saturday, November 15-16 at the Ohio Theatre

Who didn’t love the movie Immortal Beloved with Gary Oldman as Ludwig von Beethoven?  Everyone recognizes his well-known 5th Symphony – heard anywhere from in the movie to the Google Chrome commercials and by everyone else who marks a dramatic moment by singing these four notes: DA DA DA DAAAAAAAA!

Rhapsody in Blue – Saturday, February 8 at the Ohio Theatre

Want a chance to hear that fabulous clarinet glissando at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue?  Here’s your chance – in an evening of nothing but music by George Gershwin.  One of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, pianist Peter Nero plays a variety of music such as Rhapsody in Blue, S’Wonderful, Someone to Watch Over Me, etc.  I bet that if you close your eyes, you’ll even be able to picture Gene Kelly singing and dancing!

Mozart’s Requiem – Friday/Saturday, April 11-12 at the Ohio Theatre

Speaking of movies, Mozart’s Requiem, left unfinished at the time of his death in 1791, but later finished by one of his students, is probably (in this writer’s humble opinion) the most beautiful piece of music ever written in the entire history of man. (No pressure, CSO!) It was the piece of music depicted at the end of the 1984 movie Amadeus that was being dictated by a very sick Mozart to an awed Antonio Salieri. Whether what happened on film was really true doesn’t matter as it’s a beautiful beautiful beautiful piece of music that you should see performed live if you possibly can.

Not enough Mozart for you? Never fear – there are two other concerts earlier in the season (November and February) that also feature his music.

ProMusica Chamber OrchestraComplete Schedule

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor -   Saturday/Sunday, November 9-10 at the Southern Theatre

Violinist Vadim Gluzman, who played the Alban Berg violin concerto with the CSO last May, is back to play one of Felix Mendelssohn’s most famous pieces.  While it gets a lot of play time on the radio, a live performance should not be missed!

Mozart Mass in C-Minor – Saturday/Sunday, February 22,23 at the Pontifical College Josephinum/Southern Theatre

Not to keep referring to movies, but if you have the Amadeus soundtrack, then you’re familiar with the Kyrie from this mass by W.A. Mozart, featuring soprano, Felicity Lott.  In the movie, it was in the scene when Mozart’s wife took some of his music to Maestro Salieri and was being played at the point he dropped all the manuscripts on the floor because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  Beautiful! This live version features the Lancaster Chorale under the direction of newly appointed music director, David Danzmayr.

Opera ColumbusComplete Schedule

Madama Butterfly – Friday/Sunday, November 22, 24 at the Southern Theatre

Puccini’s most beloved opera about how a Japanese maiden falls in love with an American Naval officer.  Originally a flop when premiered in Milan back in 1904 it has since become one of the most highly performed operas around the world.  Featuring Priti Ghandi as Cio-Cio San and Harold Meers as Pinkerton, this is performed in collaboration with the Ohio State University.

The Pirates of Penzance – Saturday/Sunday, March 8-9 at the Southern Theatre

Considered “light opera,” this Gilbert and Sullivan work features the character, Frederic, who is mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates through his 21st birthday – something made more challenging because of his having been born on February 29th!  With a constant theme of duty, everything works out in the end with this fun story.

Ballet MetComplete Schedule

Swan Lake – October 18-20 at the Ohio Theatre, October 25-27 at the Aranoff Theatre

Tchaikovsky’s beautiful ballet about a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse only able to return to life as a princess if a prince swears his love to her.

The Nutcracker – December 12-24 at the Ohio Theatre

Don’t miss an opportunity to see Clara and her Nutcracker prince for yet another wonderful Tchaikovsky ballet.  With two weeks’ worth of performances, there’s a chance for everyone to see one!

Early Music in ColumbusComplete Schedule

Twelfth Night – Saturday/Sunday, January 4-5 at the First Congregational Church

The Early Interval will perform music from the 12th -17th centuries in France, Italy, Spain and North Africa on traditional instruments such as the recorder, bass dulcian, crumhorns, medieval lute, chitarone, rebecs, violin and pipe and tabor.  Don’t know what some of those are? No worries. Neither do I, but I look forward to finding out in this celebration of music marking the end of the Christmas season and welcoming in the new year.

Westerville Symphony OrchestraComplete schedule

Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 1 – Saturday, May 10 at Fritsche Theatre in Cowan Hall – Otterbein University

Didn’t get enough of the high seas with the Pirates of Penzance? Great! This symphony is actually titled “A Sea Symphony: A Song for All Seas, All Ships” and has text from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” It will be performed next spring along with vocalists from a variety of choral ensembles at Otterbein University.

Chamber Music Columbus - Complete Schedule

Dvorak Quintet in A Major, Op 81  – Saturday, November 16 at the Southern Theatre

The Pacifica Quartet plays along with pianist Marc-André Hamelin, who played just beautifully last year with the CSO. They’ll be performing quintets by Shostakovich, Dvorak and Ornstein.

Ravel and Mozart – Saturday, January 18 at the Southern Theatre

The Escher String Quartet will be playing Ravel’s quartet in F Major, Mozart’s Quartet in G Major, K.387 and Ainsi la Nuit by Henri Dutilleux.

New Albany Symphony OrchestraComplete Schedule

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Sunday, October 13 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts

If you didn’t get to see the 9th, Ode to Joy, last year with the CSO, then don’t miss your chance to see it next month in New Albany, OH with the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, featuring the Capital University Chapel Choir.

Holiday Concerts

Looking for some great Christmas music?  Most of these ensembles offer up some great music sometime in December that allows for audience participation and enjoyment.  Don’t worry, I’ll post it all later on, but between various pops concerts, the Nutcracker and more traditional music, I promise you’ll have plenty of options.  If you’d like, you can go ahead and get a head start by checking out their complete schedules linked above.

French Horn Week – coming up the week of September 23-27 here on Giocosity! 

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