fix this!

(this came to my attention care of Sam’s excellent blog)

Nico Muhly has an interesting game that he played with the New York Philharmonic’s season opener – which was:

Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture
Ibert Flute Concerto
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4

They initially decided to try to make the program worse, which it seems they weren’t able to bring themselves to do, then they tried to make it better in terms of what they want to see in the concert hall, namely a mix of new and old in interesting combinations.

It’s a good mental exercise, and one that could be made with any set of programs.

Take a look at the upcoming OSO programs – is there one that has you scratching your head?  How would you make it better and more interesting for you?

Read Muhly’s entire entry here.

style or substance?

Style vs. substance the duality that’s on my mind as I write this.  I’m at a loss.  Why do individuals or organizations who do impeccably prepared, virtuosic performances passed over in favor of those who cloak mediocrity in the guise of a fancy mission statement?  Does it really all come down to marketing?  Are we who play traditional forms of classical music doing ourselves a disservice by slaving away to perfect our craft?

I don’t think that the style/substance relationship is a zero-sum equation.  One can inform the other.  They can achieve a symbiosis together that they would lack separately.  But, still, are we in America so impressed by a slickly packaged idea that we can overlook the actual substance of that idea?  I’m afraid to answer my own question, because one answer indicates that I’m cynical beyond rescue, and the other answer says that I’ve hopelessly naïve.

Any thoughts?

eastern exposure

I’m here in La Grande, Oregon with the Oregon Symphony, in case you’re wondering.  And it’s been a busy first day.  Yesterday my wife (a freelance cellist who plays often with the orchestra) and I arrived here at around 9:00 p.m., enjoying the great change of scenery and ecosystems that we continually marvel at when we venture across the Cascade Range along the way. 

I got some great sunset shots from the top of the huge hill that I-84 climbs before you descend through the Blue Mountains into La Grande, but no way to post them at this time – I’ll be sure to share photos from the trip with you when I’m back home on Sunday.

This morning at 9:30 and 11:00 we played youth concerts for elementary, middle, and high school students from La Grande and several surrounding communities, including Baker City, Cove, and Union.  Continue reading “eastern exposure”