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!
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
- Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ gets Civil War-era makeover (miamiherald.com)
- The Nutcracker- 6 Performances With Full Symphony Orchestra (ktla.com)
- Huntsville Ballet Performs “The Nutcracker” Featuring The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra This Weekend (whnt.com)
- Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Robinson Ballet partner for ‘The Nutcracker’ (bangordailynews.com)
- ‘Nutcracker’ returns to the Capitol Theatre this weekend (yakimaherald.com)
- A chamber orchestra in … a bar? (csmonitor.com)
- Memphis orchestra reaching out to community (miamiherald.com)
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.
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)
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?
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!
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?
Last weekend I enjoyed a great performance of Brahms’ 4th Symphony with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. This weekend, I was treated to a great performance of Brahms’ 3rd Symphony by the Westerville Symphony Orchestra. I’m still looking for a performance of Brahms’ 2nd for this next weekend to continue my Brahms symphonic trend!
Playing at the Fritsche Theatre in Cowan Hall at Otterbein University, the Westerville Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson, performed its first Masterworks concert of the 2013-2014 season. On the program were two terrific pieces of music:
Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F Major, op. 90
Chopin, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11- featuring Nick Ross on the piano
The Brahms was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the Chopin…was amazing!
Jennifer Hambrick from WOSA, Classical 101, came out before the concert started to tell us a little bit about the music we were about to hear. While talking about the Brahms, she challenged us to tap our feet during the first movement to see how well we could keep up since Brahms got a little bit creative there with his time signatures.
I kept up ok for a while but then gave up because listening to the music was infinitely more fun than concentrating on my foot tapping. It was a bit of a challenge, keeping those threes in line. As an audience member though, I was happy to leave the work to the musicians on stage!
I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard Brahms’ 3rd symphony before and I have none of his symphonies in my music library, so I didn’t yet know what to expect. That said, I noticed the 3rd movement sounded somewhat familiar, so I’ve probably heard that on the radio. The 4th movement was especially enjoyable.
I liked it all, it was very well-played, but the 4th movement definitely stands out as my favorite!
And then they played Chopin
Saturday’s program included one of Chopin’s two piano concerti: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Opus 11, masterfully played by pianist and Otterbein Professor, Dr. Nicholas Ross. Like the Brahms, I hadn’t heard this piece before either, but it – was – magnificent!
Wow. Dr. Ross was so good!
He played so well, can you imagine what an inspiration that performance was to his students? I wonder if someone recorded it because I would love to hear it again.
OK, I could continue gushing about Saturday’s performance – especially of the Chopin – but I think that at this stage, you know I think! Suffice to say, this performance of the Chopin totally made up for my disappointment with last week’s soloist for the Rachmaninoff.
Like the rest of the audience, I was immediately on my feet upon completion of the Rondo – Vivace moment. After a couple of curtain calls, Dr. Ross came back and treated us to an encore. No idea what it was, but it sure sounded good!
Well done, Westerville Symphony! Well done!
The Westerville Symphony’s next Masterworks concert will be after the New Year on March 29 back up at Otterbein. They’ll be playing Jon Deak’s Condominiums on the Hot Stove (Home on the Range!) as well as…
• Mendelssohn, Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op.21
• Haydn, Symphony No. 94 in G Major (“Surprise”)
• Prokofiev, Suite from Lieutenant Kijé, Op. 60
If you’d like to see them sooner, you’re in luck! They have a concert, Sounds of the Season, on Saturday, December 14. Hard to believe that’s less than two months away!
- Must See Classical Music in Columbus (giocosity.com)
- The Brahmsian Orchestra at its best: Philharmonia Brahms cycle continues with Van Steen 13/10/13 (gslaterwalker.wordpress.com)
- Westerville Symphony Concert (giocosity.com)
- Westerville Symphony: Practice Review (giocosity.com)
- Rachmaninoff and Brahms (giocosity.com)
- Classical music Q&A: What makes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 so great? French pianist Philippe Bianconi discusses his upcoming performances of it this weekend with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Plus, the memorial performances for singer Ilona Kombrink a (welltempered.wordpress.com)