If you could change one thing about San Jose, what would it be?
I wish there could be far more interest and support in the arts; all of the arts. There are so many struggling groups here in the city and right now. My wish is that the population in San Jose would be more inserted in what we are trying to create for them here.
She made it look effortless, even as she was playing the most technically difficult of all the reed instruments. She only played a handful of songs on the clarinet that night, but every time she did, she took my breath away.
When I read the headline I thought they were talking about Prince as in “Purple Rain” prince. Silly me! And I’m even a baseball fan. Go figure.
Prince goes classical with walk-up music
Prince Fielder might qualify as a classic left-handed slugger. He now qualifies as a classical hitter.
When Fielder stepped to the plate for his first at-bat Thursday afternoon, his at-bat music was different — not just for him, but for any Major League hitter. It was Mozart’s Requiem, classical music with a dramatic tone.
It has shown up in movies, which is where Fielder apparently received the inspiration.
“I liked the Batman sound, the superhero sound,” Fielder said.
Fielder has been known to change his walk-up music more than once during a season, and he has toyed around with different ideas for his at-bats. This, however, was a new one.
Research shows that coughing seems to increase at classical music concerts. It’s no news that a lot of music is ruined by coughing. Coughing in quiet moments, coughing at the end of a movement, coughing that sweeps through an auditorium like wind over a prairie.
Coughing seems to increase during contemporary music and in slow, quiet movements, but researchers don’t know why. According to a story in the Telegraph, professor Andreas Wagener, a German economist, said there were few statistics on the subject but existing research indicated a strange increase in coughing among classical concert audiences.
What prevents classical newbies from enjoying classical music, and what are some ways you bring them into the fold?
Wow, so many things. First of all, a $75 ticket, for a lot of people. The mean lady who glares at you if your seat squeaks. Boring concerts. Lazy marketing. In short, the practice that has been in place for some time of selling classical music to the already initiated and making it quite unfriendly to the novice. Thankfully all of that is changing very fast.
I’m glad to be part of a generation of musicians who are totally aware of the need to reach out in a genuine, active way to wider audiences, to connect with listeners, and to educate in the real sense of the word, to make sure that what we do has relevance to the real world we live in. Something I’m very proud of is the work I do to further that goal, and the recognition and appreciation I find coming from my audiences for that effort.
Both the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Symphony offer adult educational opportunities that may likely surprise you. Not at all the stuffy clans you might expect, opera and symphony music highlight how music truly is one of life’s greatest treasures, whether you are making, performing or listening in the audience. Here is the scoop on getting the most out of your opera and symphony experiences while possibly increasing your own skills as well. Once you get into the performance halls you will feel better able to enjoy the shows.
Leave the tiaras at home and come as you like, dressed up, outfitted for work, or simply dressed for comfort. Relax and enjoy the shows.
I have been in this business since 1975. Never have I seen anyone wear a tiara.
When he was 7 years old, Liang Wang fell in love with the sound of the oboe watching his uncle play in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in China. Ever since, Liang has been pursuing a career in music.
In 2007, 20 years after being enamored by the oboe, he became the first Chinese-born principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic.
Wang is still at the New York Philharmonic, which was established in 1842 and has performed in some 15,000 concerts, more than any orchestra in the world. But as a foreign-born artist living his dream in New York City, Wang is ready to pass on his knowledge to inspire young Chinese music lovers to realize their own dreams.
At the end of 2012, the New York Philharmonic and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra established a four-year partnership in collaboration with Columbia Artists Music LLC to establish the Orchestral Academy in Shanghai, which will enroll 30 students annually beginning in the fall of 2014. It also includes annual performances by the philharmonic in Shanghai through the 2017-18 season.
“It will be an overture for running the orchestra institute for highly-selective young musicians in China,” Wang said.
MMost woodwind players would be surprised if you asked them whether the material from which their instrument is made affects its sound. Certainly!—most would reply. An inexpensive nickel-plated flute has a tone lacking in character and brilliance, but a fine silver flute sounds, well, silvery! It has a tone that sparkles, that sings, that carries to the back of the concert hall. The most discriminating flutists might opt for the more luxuriant timbres of white, yellow, or rose gold, or even the rare and weighty quality of platinum.
And any self-respecting oboist or clarinetist would refuse to even consider an instrument made of lifeless black plastic. Only the finest aged African blackwood can provide the dark, rich, woody tone that a true artist requires. Bassoonists likewise insist upon bassoons made from the best maple, and preferably treated with a secret-formula varnish, which, like that of the famous Stradivarius violins, is rumored to impart a special vividness and resonance to the instrument’s sound.
For the past few days, I have found myself increasingly depressed and angry over the general reaction to the strike by the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony. I have observed via social media and in person a variety of people refer to these top flight musicians as “whiners” because they make @$165,000 per year. Such comments are usually followed by, “I wish I made that much money.”
Well, you might if you were at the TOP of your profession, although in virtually every other profession, you would probably make much more than that for being the very best at what you do. Mid-level managers make more than that in high-tech companies. Government bureaucrats running small agencies at San Francisco City Hall make more money than these highly-skilled and extraordinarily-gifted musicians. In San Francisco, LOTS of people make more than that who are not the very best of their profession.
On Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, Lee joins forces with Pamela Hakl, Symphony Silicon Valley’s principal oboe. One of the ensemble’s key players — she’s performed memorable oboe solos in the ballet’s productions of “Swan Lake,” “Nutcracker,” and “Romeo and Juliet” — Hakl is also a member of the Opera San Jose orchestra and served as principal oboe of the San Jose Symphony from 1980 until its final performance in 2002.
The article is actually about the violin soloist, but it was great to see this paragraph. I only wish I could hear the Bach, but I’ll be doing the Verdi. Ah well ….
… and thank you, Sal Pizarro, for your kind words!
SPELLING COUNTS: Composer/conductor David Amram, a frequent guest with Symphony Silicon Valley, had a nationwide profile in Opera News this month, and the article even ran with a photo of Amram appearing on the California Theatre stage last season. Unfortunately, the caption misidentified the orchestra as the “Silicone Symphony Orchestra.”
Let me tell you: Our local musicians are real — and they’re spectacular.
Overall, my week with classical was a quality experience. It felt good to commit to something and stick with it, not counting the few late-night rock outs I had to get out of my system. I learned that there’s definitely a place in my life for Wolfgang and company, if the mood is right. If I die tomorrow, there are a lot of things I won’t have accomplished yet. Swimming sends a shiver down my spine, and I still haven’t found a green food I like. But at least I can say I died having been able to appreciate classical music.