Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a name that most of us know because of his popular ballet, “The Nutcracker,” and his overture, the “1812 Overture,” with the famous part for bombastic canons. Both of these pieces are performed regularly at thousands of concerts all over the world.
Tchaikovsky was a leading composer in Russia, living between 1840-1893, but he led a complicated, emotional life with bouts of depression, a disastrous marriage to one of his students, and a long-time relationship by letters with his patron Madame Nadezhda von Meck, even though they never met in person.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
I remember when I got married, this was the saying that everyone followed in order to ensure a good and happy marriage.
Well, I am coming up on my silver anniversary, 25th years, as music director and conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, and I think we’ve had a pretty happy and successful relationship.
Have baton, will travel: Presenting workshops on conducting takes ASO Music Director around the world
I remember when I was a student in school and when we would return in the fall, everyone would always ask, “What did you do this summer?”
Summer is always a time for growth, learning, exploring new things and having fun. This summer, I did all of those things.
Beauty and power: A Verdi ‘Requiem’ for Allentown Symphony, Chorus, soloists, Muhlenberg College Choir
Verdi’s “Requiem” is a piece of mammoth proportions and power and stunning beauty.
Some people refer to it as Verdi’s concert opera, where the four vocal soloists sing aria-type solos contrasted with ensemble and chorus sections. It is some of his best musical writing and a piece that has, through the passing of the years, become even more beloved by all who hear it.
William Shakespeare is often considered the most influential writer in the English language.
We studied Shakespeare in school and some of us can even recite famous quotes from his plays: “To be or not to be: that is the question” from “Hamlet”; or “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” from “Romeo and Juliet,” or ”If music be the food of love, play on.” from “Twelfth Night.”
Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” was one of the plays I remember reading in high school, but I still have to say that my favorite Shakespeare play is “Romeo and Juliet.”
George Gershwin and Aaron Copland are two of the most recognized and respected American composers of the last century. They were born in Brooklyn, N.Y., just two years apart: George Gershwin, in 1898, and Aaron Copland, in 1900.
Both composers were known for exemplifying and developing the “American” sound in music: Copland, for capturing the folk and pioneering spirit, and George Gershwin for incorporating jazz and saxophones into his orchestral pieces.
‘Rise’ to the occasion Daniel Rodriguez sings, Daniel Roebuck narrates, in ASO Veterans’ Day concerts
The Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, was the document that ended the fighting on land, sea, and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. The signing of this document took place at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. It is a national holiday in many countries.
Over time, the name was changed in the United States in order to honor veterans who have served in the military. We now call Nov. 11 Veterans Day.
‘Zarathustra’ has a lot to say
for Allentown Symphony fans
With the start of September comes the start of another Allentown Symphony Orchestra season.
The professional orchestra performs pops and classical concerts from September through May at Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.
Whatever we are performing, it is always a lot of fun for myself, musicians, and audience.
Leonard Bernstein is an iconic figure in the history of music.
As a composer, conductor, author, and lecturer, he was a person who influenced so many people’s lives, especially with his Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic.
Bernstein (1918 - 1990) would have been 100 in August. Orchestras all over the world are celebrating his centennial.
Leonard Bernstein was a trail-blazer, and without him and his influence, I am not sure if I would be standing on a conductor’s podium today.
As Music Director and Conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, I am always looking for new projects we can do and ways that we can partner with other arts organizations in the Lehigh Valley.
Creating new music for today’s audiences is one of my passions, and is one way that we can reflect our times and leave a legacy of music for future generations.
It is challenging for composers today to have their works performed by a symphony orchestra, and so we created the 2018 Composer’s Contest with several age categories to create opportunities for their music to be heard.