Tuesday night I heard the Central Dauphin Middle School Choir and Orchestra, as I teach a co-worker's daughter violin, and it was their winter concert. It was fun to see her and her sister sing, and then to hear her play quite well with the orchestra. Just an hour and a half before the concert, she showed up with her mom, having broken her e string. I just happened to have a spare string at work, and put it on for her, and played a few scales to attempt to stretch it a bit before hand.
Wednesday night I was in Philadelphia, for a song recital with Network for New Music, part of the Bernstein Festival. There was a charming pre-program by Settlement School students in the lobby, where listening I was recognized by new music fans/composers that read this blog and the Composing Thoughts blog. (Indeed the world is getting smaller and smaller, I get recognized and run into friends in NYC these days!)
It was delightful to hear this group play new works by students as well as Jennifer Higdon's Bentley Roses, and David Rakowski's Sex Songs. Network was joined by two excellent singers, Susan Narucki and Randall Scarlatta, who were both stellar. To top it off, Network also had the poets on hand to read their works before the compositions. The entire recital was inspirational, and really fed my creative soul. I left wanting to write and express myself. These sort of recitals are very special and Narucki, Scarlatta, and the ensemble did a great service besides very high art for the community.
Notable was Melissa Dunphy's Black Thunder. Not only is she a friend, it turns out she is a delightful composer, writing very idoimatic for piano trio and baritone, but also with great sensitivity for the words and music.
Last night I was back in Philly to hear the world premiere of The Singing Rooms with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Unfortunately there was a snow storm and despite everything, Dick Strawser and I went - taking our time on the roads to get there. We had a quick bite of Italian food right next to the Kimmel and caught the first half of the concert, before braving the elements to get back to Harrisburg. I'll post a review later today, but the short of it is: I died last night hearing Jennifer Koh playing Jennifer Higdon's Singing Rooms - It was heavenly.
This weekend I'm in NYC to hear more music and see friends, as well as next weekend. Oh and I'm travelling next Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday for some exciting projects - stay tuned!