you had one job

Are either of these names correct? [click to enlarge]
Violinist Tessa Lark

The violinist in question referred to (in this screen grab from the Rochester City Newspaper) is actually named Tessa Lark. I know this because I went to her own website to find out. It’s a small thing, but to me it looms large. Details matter. When reporting, getting the facts straight is Job One. Most likely a copy editor or captioner (if those jobs still exist) was in a hurry and mistyped the name – twice.

I’m hardly perfect. I make errors and typos all the time. I try to catch as many as I can before hitting the ‘Publish’ button, and I correct those that I’ve missed as soon as they’re brought to my attention. The more I read online content, the more I find these sorts of errors. They add up, and they undermine the integrity of the rest of the content. I wish we could all try just a bit harder.

sibelius’ 150th

Happy Birthday, Jean Sibelius! I love the symphonies of Sibelius (with the possible exception of No. 2, and that’s only because of the endless scale patterns that annoy me to play – I love listening to it), and I have since before there was ever an inkling that I’d make music my profession. NPR has celebrated by digging into its archives and finding interviews with Michael Steinberg covering each of the symphonies. Each one is just a couple minutes long, and Steinberg has a way of talking about music that is both erudite and easy to understand – a rare combination!

My own favorites?

  • No. 5 – I cry during the great ‘swan’ motif every single time I play it.
  • No. 3 – Such a Haydnesque, and light piece, as Steinberg says, a “U-turn from what came before”.
  • No. 7 – Who knew a C major scale could be so beautifully evocative?

As for No. 6 – It is growing on me, I’m looking forward to returning to it this season. The Oregon Symphony is performing Sibelius’ Sixth Symphony in February, with guest conductor Robert Spano (and Joshua Bell as violin soloist, playing the Bruch Concerto No. 1). We last performed this enigmatic symphony with Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu, who described it as the most classically ‘Finnish’ of the symphonies.

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You can listen to the entire series of discussions here.

Hearing Voices concert tonight! Q&A with Alex Ross

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Alex Ross

Today’s online edition of the Portland Mercury features a Q&A with MacArthur Fellow, Pulitzer finalist author, and The New Yorker music critic Alex Ross – well worth a read, and please consider coming to our concert tonight – it’s Ross’ only appearance with a new music ensemble in North America this season!