Northampton Press

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Moving ‘Pictures’: ASO to accompany animated film in East Coast premiere

Thursday, February 22, 2018 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

Art inspiring music, inspiring more music, which inspired more art. Sounds like a tongue-twister, or a lesson in cause and effect.

It all started in 1874 with a gallery exhibition of the drawings and paintings of Victor Hartman, an artist and architect who was a good friend of the Russian composer, Modest Mussorgsky.

Artistic inspiration: Allentown Symphony Orchestra explores roots of ‘Scheherazade’ and Paganini

Friday, January 26, 2018 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

I think that some of the best music ever written was often inspired by a picture, a story or a melody that someone else wrote.

That leads us to question: Where does artistic inspiration come from? We often think of the artist, the composer, or the writer sitting in his or her little hovel, desperately trying to come up with some new creative idea that will set the world on fire.

In reality, though, many artists, writers, and musicians are often inspired by other creative people, and they build upon artwork, stories, or music of the past.

Icing on the holiday: Allentown Symphony, Penguin skaters, choruses take to PPL Center

Thursday, December 7, 2017 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

With the advent of the month of December, the mood around the country has changed. We have entered “the holidays,” a time when we look forward to spending time with family and friends, shopping for gifts, and perhaps relaxing and taking a little time off from work.

Sometimes during December, we get trapped in the bustle of errands, shopping, cleaning, and cooking, and we forget that really the most important thing we can do during this time of year is to spend time with the people we care about.

Sounding Beethoven: with ASO, Eroica Trio, and a Bertoia premiere

Friday, October 20, 2017 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

There has long been a connection between art and music, with one often inspiring the other. Many musicians are also artists and vice-versa.

Years ago, when I first started conducting the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, someone asked me if I had ever heard any of the sound sculptures created by the artist Harry Bertoia. At that point I had not, so they invited me out to Harry’s Barn and Studio in Bally, Berks County, along Route 100, about 15 miles from Allentown.

World-class opera stars to join Allentown Symphony Orchestra to open classical music series

Friday, September 29, 2017 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

As I was growing up, opera was a type of music that I didn’t think appealed to me, but I really didn’t know much about it. I had heard all the jokes about opera music and the loud wobbly voices and crazy plots, and so I decided I didn’t like opera music.

When I was young, I also didn’t like vegetables, tomatoes, mushrooms, or avocados, until later in my teens when I actually tried them. Then I realized they were really quite good. I’ve enjoyed vegetables, tomatoes, mushrooms, and avocados, especially guacamole, ever since.

Broadway under the stars: Allentown Symphony joined by Freddy soloists, Parkland Chorale for free Levitt concert in Bethlehem

Friday, September 1, 2017 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

Summer is for sitting outside eating hamburgers and hot dogs, relaxing, kicking back, and in general, just having a good time.

Summer nights are for listening to music under the stars, enjoying the cool air and letting the music wash over you as you sit with friends outside on the lawn.

I think of places like Tanglewood in Massachusetts, with the Boston Symphony; Wolftrap in the Washington, D.C., area, with the National Symphony, and The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the LA Philharmonic.

Resurrected and Transformed: Allentown Symphony, Chorus to perform monumental Mahler

Friday, March 24, 2017 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

Why do people write music? Why do people search for a meaning of life beyond themselves? What is the purpose of our time on earth? What legacy will we leave behind? And what might we experience after death?

These are questions that have haunted musicians, artists and creative souls for generations and for centuries.

We are continually searching: Pursuing our never-ending quest for answers that we will never confirm.

King of Instruments Week-long ‘Organ Extravaganza’ precedes ‘Symphonic Organ Festival’ and Ewazen ‘Concertino’ world premiere

Friday, February 24, 2017 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

“In my eyes and ears, the organ will forever be the King of Instruments.”

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Allen Organ is the official organ of the Allentown Symphony and we have enjoyed a wonderful partnership for many years.

Classical Ice: Allentown Symphony proves a good skate for debut concert, PPL Center ‘Holiday Spectacular’

Friday, November 25, 2016 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

Great images come to mind when you think of a “Symphony Orchestra on Ice.”

I can see the tuba player skating along next to the piccolo player, and maybe the cellists sitting on chairs being pushed by the percussion section, but it got a little tricky when I tried to figure out how they would hold their music, skate and play their instruments all at the same time.

‘Variations’ on an ‘Enigma’: Contest composition, Schadt winner pace Allentown Symphony concert

Friday, October 21, 2016 by DIANE WITTRY in Focus

e·nig·ma /iˈniɡmə/ noun a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

This is the word used by Sir Edward Elgar as part of the title for the set of variations that he wrote on a single theme, the “Enigma Variations.”

The story goes that Elgar was improvising on his piano and came up with this nice melody that reminded him of his wife, Alice. As he experimented with the music, changing it around, he jokingly called out to his wife in the kitchen, “Who does this sound like?”