Symphony Silicon Valley has announced the 2013/14 season, including this, although not flashmob style!
I had a fantastic time this past weekend. I’m so very thankful I was asked to help with the supertitles. Had I not been asked to do that I might have stayed home — pretty likely I would have, in fact! — and I would have missed the wonderful program.
I really fell in love with the music of Kurt Weill, and Lisa Vroman was simply incredible. What a wonderful program!
Here is a video featuring Ms. Vroman with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Richard Kaufman conducting:
There is a Symphony Silicon Valley set this week. Concerts are on Saturday and Sunday, and rehearsals begin on Wednesday. I still don’t know if I’m playing.
This has never happened before. We are doing the music of Kurt Weill, and from what I’ve been told no works they have at this point call for second oboe or English horn. Trouble is, not all the music has arrived. I’ve had to cancel students, but who knows if I really needed to. I’m so hoping I’ll find out soon so I can put students back on the roster if I am not called after all.
… and this is the first time I’ve played Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony!”
Those were the words I spoke to George Cleve during a rehearsal break yesterday.
Crazy, no? But for the majority of my career I was the English hornist of the San Jose Symphony, and only morphed into a second oboist when the SJS folded and Symphony Silicon Valley was started. I continue to be blessed and amazed and incredibly moved by the music that I’ve heard all my career but have only recently been able to play.
Tchaikovksy’s sixth is, for me, about life and death and joy and sorrow and oh so much more. (I normally don’t like to say a work is “about” anything at all — it makes me uncomfortable to do so — but I’m going there with this. Please forgive!) It’s painful. It’s beautiful. And for some reason it makes me miss my parents terribly. When I spoke those words above to the Maestro I nearly cried. When I think of the work and playing it I nearly cry too. I’m so honored to finally get to play it.
It’s also my first time playing Brahms’ first piano concerto. I look forward to hearing Peter Serkin tonight. I’m sure it’ll be incredible.
Some works get less impressive as I age. Some that I thought were amazing when I was twenty … well … I think, “How in the world did that move me like it did?” (Some books are the same way: I read something years ago that had me sobbing on the floor when I finished, so I read it again more recently to try and remember why I was so moved and it left me rather cold. Funny how that goes.) But these two works? For me they’ve grown better with age. Go figure.
I am most blessed to have this little career ‘o mine. Truly.
Q One more question, before you go. I’ve read about your nervousness as a performer. Do you still have bouts of nerves?
A Yes, it’s true. I’m afraid so. But I live with it, and I almost respect it in a certain way. I don’t dread it as much as I used to. I can live with it. It’s part of the energy of what’s going on.
That was just the very last part of the interview, so go read the rest. I always find it a relief to hear that even the top folks have the nerve thing going on.
Mr. Serkin came and played with San Jose Symphony right after I became orchestra librarian there, so I must have been around twenty years old. I am excited to have him return here. Of course neither of us has changed at all, I’m sure.
I really had an enjoyable time on the stage of the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts for our Symphony Silicon Valley concerts. I enjoyed the conductor, Wilson Hermanto, tremendously. I loved our soloist, Mayuko Kamio (huge WOW with her, really!). The review is good, too. How ’bout that?
It was fun to be back on the CPA stage. What memories. I first played there in 1975. Yes. Really. I played on that stage the whole while I was in the San Jose Symphony, and even after that when this new group began. The size of the hall is a bit too large and difficult to fill, in my little opinion, but it’s much easier to hear my colleagues on this stage, so it was great fun to be there.
I also liked the program. The overture to Poet & Peasant is just a bit ‘o fun fluff for the start (again, in my little opinion), the Lalo was impressive, due to our fantastic soloist, and the Dvorak was new to me so I had a good time learning it and performing it. Before I began learning it I didn’t know that the opening of the slow movement would begin with second oboe. All alone. Good old Dvorak! We often “get” to play very low pianissimo lines. We also get to play when the principal oboe isn’t playing. I appreciate that: to know that we are “trusted” to get to do something without our leader … it’s kind of nice! It’s also very rare.
Oh, and fyi: I nailed my four important solo notes. (Or at least I felt as if I did.)
Yes, I just wrote something positive about myself. Don’t worry, I won’t let it happen again. Or at least not often.
Next up: San Jose Chamber Orchestra and Tango Barroco by Michael Touchi!
On the program for our Symphony Silicon Valley opening set is Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
No, we won’t have actors.
I hand’t seen this … shame on me, eh?! I’m blaming it on my busy schedule this past month. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!
I’m looking forward to next year!
We finished up with the Kiddie Concerts today, part of the ArtSPARK program. What a joy it is to see and hear these kids. It’s well worth the early morning start time. Really. You can see some photos if you go to the Mercury News page here.
Our program was entitled “It’s About Time” and we played music in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/8 and 7/4. The final work, Dave Brubeck’s “Unsquare Dance” has us and the kids doing a part of stomping and clapping or snapping that goes like this: stomp-clap-stomp-clap-stomp-clap-clap. (Or, when snapping, we do that in place of the clapping.) I went outside between the two shows one day and the kids who had just attended the first show were filing by to go off to the San Jose Taiko performance at the CPA. Two girls were doing the pattern “stomp-clap-stomp-clap-stomp-clap-clap” over and over as they walked. It was so much fun to see that!
Our conductor, Peter Jaffe, knows how to handle these concerts in just the right way … enough humor (for both the kids and us), enough enthusiasm, and loads of fun. I’m already looking forward to next year!
And in case you were wondering — YES I walked. I walked to the performances Tuesday through Friday, and walked home Tuesday through Thursday. I couldn’t walk home today since I needed to lug everything back home. Thankfully a friend drove me back home so I could still walk to work. I wish I could walk to work all the time. It really was fantastic to be able to do that!
I wasn’t sure I could post photos of the kids here where you can clearly see their faces. Several people have implied that might be an issue. So for now those will stay unseen. (If I hear otherwise I’ll put a few up.) This is why you are seeing a few of my “photo experiments” from the past few days.
Yep, I missed it by a day. Oops.
BUT … if you want a real deal, you can go to Amazon and get the Big Bach Set MP3 download for all of 99¢ today. (The deal is only for yesterday and today as far as I can tell.) I haven’t checked it out very carefully, so I can’t vouch for quality at this point, but for 99¢ it’s worth a go, don’t you think?
Next week Symphony Silicon Valley will be doing this (but not with Baroque instruments). I’ll be on third, in case you are wondering.
… and that’s just the beginning! Don’t you want to hear more? :-)
I love the Kiddie Concerts. The kids are so darn excited. The conductor, Peter Jaffe, is excellent with them, and he says things that keep me awake, even with a start time of 9:30 AM Tuesday through Friday. So I’m looking forward to them. Tonight we have our rehearsal.
I am going to attempt something different this year: I will pack my black clothes and shoes and bring them, along with a lock, to the rehearsal. There are lockers in the musicians’ room, so they’ll get stored there. This way I can walk on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I was concerned that I’d be missing my walks this week, but that will take care of those three days. (The walk is a bit over three miles, one way, so I’ll get over six miles in on those days.) Friday I’ll drive in so I can haul everything back home, and I’ll just hope to squeeze a quick walk in before students arrive in the afternoon.
It appears I’ve become addicted to my walks. (People who read my other blog probably know that already, as I frequently post photos from my walks.)
I had a doctor’s appointment today. My BP was 100 over 59. I’ve lost about 10 pounds. I think this is a good addiction.
It’s been announced in an email (which I’ve cut & pasted below), and is up at the website Here you go!
A Season of Stars
Today Symphony Silicon Valley announced plans for our 2012-2013 Classics Season. The season, running from September 2012 through June 2013, features a range of prestigious concert artists joining our orchestra for a sampling of the world’s best music. Distinguished pianist Peter Serkin returns to San Jose after a twenty-year absence to perform Brahms with close friend Maestro George Cleve: Legendary violinist Andrés Cárdenes brings us a lush concerto born somewhere between old Vienna and 1930′s Hollywood. International touring superstar Karen Gomyo, who’s playing reviewers call ‘sumptuous,’ “dazzling,’ and ‘just plain gorgeous,’ joins us for the solo violin in Lalo’s passionate Symphony Espagnole. Broadway diva Lisa Vroman, who dazzled our audiences in Brahms and Broadway concerts, returns to bring Kurt Weill’s theater music irresistibly to life. Classical guitar king Jason Vieaux will work his Flamenco magic on Rodrigo’s haunting Concerto de Aranjuez. Check out each of next season’s seven concerts, below, for more information!
Saturday 8:00 pm September 29, 2012
Sunday 2:30 pm September 30, 2012
The most famous four notes in classical music launch our 2012-13 season: Beethoven’s mighty 5th, the keystone of an all-orchestra night. A lively Rossini overture introduces the concert, followed by Berlioz’s favorite of all his works. Romeo and Juliette was colored by the composer’s own love story; and audiences share his affection for its ‘Love Scene,’ from its atmospheric opening to its ecstatic conclusion. In the Rhapsody that follows, Liszt conjures up a carnival in 1840 Budapest, filled with Hungarian folk tunes and musical fireworks.
Conductor: Paul Polivnick
Gioachino Rossini: Torvaldo & Dorliska Overture
Hector Berlioz: ‘Love Scene’ from Romeo & Juliette
Franz Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 9 Carnival in Pest
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor
Saturday 8:00 pm October 20, 2012
Sunday 2:30 pm October 21, 2012
Maestro John Nelson is noted worldwide for his mastery of large-scale Romantic music, and this concert is made to order. Lalo’s passionate Symphonie Espagnole is more violin concerto than symphony. Written for the supreme Spanish virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, it tests the most skilled of violinists, and we have invited the young international sensation, Karen Gomyo, to perform this work for us. The program closes with the first of Dvorak’s great symphonies, packed with color and melody.
Conductor: John Nelson
Soloist: Karen Gomyo, violin
Franz von Suppe: Dichter und Bauer Overture
Edouard Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole
Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 6 in D major
Serkin, Brahms & Tchaikovsky
Saturday 8:00 pm December 1, 2012
Sunday 2:30 pm December 2, 2012
Brahms and Tchaikovsky together should be enough for any concert. But to cap this one off, we have engaged master pianist Peter Serkin to perform the D-minor Concerto with his frequent collaborator, Maestro George Cleve. Our December program marks Serkin’s first San Jose appearance in over two decades. Brahms’s concerto is paired with the deeply dramatic symphony that Tchaikovsky himself called “the best thing I ever composed or ever shall compose.”
Conductor: George Cleve
Soloist: Peter Serkin, piano
Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor
Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 Pathétique
Kurt Weill: Berlin / Paris / New York
Saturday 8:00 pm January 12, 2013
Sunday 2:30 pm January 13, 2013
Great numbers of artists left Europe for America in the 1930s and 40s, and the move transformed both them and their new home. Kurt Weill was one of these, and his music mirrored his journey. In this concert / cabaret, we hear first 1920′s Berlin (Three Penny Opera, with its immortal ‘Mack the Knife’); then Paris (Seven Deadly Sins, part opera, part theater); and finally New York, where Weill helped shape the music of Broadway. Vroman, ‘a musical and theatrical marvel,’ (S.F. Chronicle) joins the orchestra in Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins and in unforgettable Broadway melodies from ‘My Ship’ to ‘Lost in the Stars.’
Conductor: James Holmes
Soloist: Lisa Vroman, soprano
Kurt Weill: Three Penny Opera Suite
Kurt Weill: Seven Deadly Sins
Kurt Weill: Broadway Medley
Saturday 8:00 pm March 23, 2013
Sunday 2:30 pm March 24, 2013
To celebrate Verdi’s 200th anniversary, the orchestra and chorale perform his dramatic Requiem in the resonant and resplendent California Theatre. Written for the concert hall rather than the cathedral, the Requiem moves from the awe and majesty of Judgment Day to the tenderness of a prayer for peace. With opera credits that range from Milan to the Met, Maestro Bisanti returns to conduct this moving work by the great Italian master of vocal magic.
Conductor: Giampaolo Bisanti
Soloists: Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, Elena Sharkova, Director
Giuseppe Verdi: Requiem
An American In Paris
Saturday 8:00 pm May 11, 2013
Sunday 2:30 pm May 12, 2013
Our American sampler program offers us two city portraits: George Gershwin’s high-spirited visit to busy Paris streets and crowded cafes, and Bernstein’s vision of New York’s excitement, brutality, and hope. They are prefaced by Cárdenes, Cuban-born Tchaikovsky Violin Competition winner, performing Korngold’s concerto. A musical prodigy, Korngold fled pre-war Vienna to the U.S, where he wrote movie scores (The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk) that revolutionized film music. After Hitler’s defeat, he returned to classical composition and wrote this concerto for Jascha Heifitz in 1945. Just as his great film scores are tone poems at heart, themes from his films permeate this richly romantic work.
Conductor: Paul Polivnick
Soloist: Andrés Cárdenes, violin
John Adams: The Chairman Dances
Erich Korngold: Violin Concerto in D major
Leonard Bernstein: On the Waterfront Suite
George Gershwin: An American in Paris
A Hero’s Life
Saturday 8:00 pm June 1, 2013
Sunday 2:30 pm June 2, 2013
Following Debussy’s sprightly dance, Jason Vieaux, hailed as the modern master of his instrument, performs the most popular guitar concerto in the classical repertory. Rodrigo’s dream of Spanish gardens is followed by Ein Heldenleben, or A Hero’s Life, one of Strauss’s last and greatest tone poems. Strauss employs all the resources of a large-scale orchestra to tell the story that he summarized as “a hero fighting his enemies.” A true orchestral showpiece, it concludes our 11th season on a note of triumphant opulence.
Conductor: Gregory Vajda
Soloist: Jason Vieaux, guitar
Claude Debussy: Danse (Tarantelle Styrienne)
Joaquin Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben