Sunday, March 25, 2007

At the speed of life

I've been extra busy these days, and have had a little bit of time to think about it.
If you know me at all, you know that I adore the music of Sir Andrzej Panufnik. Wednesday I met his daughter, Roxanna who is a talented composer as well. Thursday we had an interview for Composing Thoughts, and last night I heard her Love Abides premiered in Philadelphia. It was sublime.
[picture of Roxanna and John before the concert]

It was stellar to meet her, and hard not to ask questions about Andrzej. I did work in a question about growing up with a artistic family and a father who was a composer. You'll have to tune into the show to find out the answers to that and much more.
Yesterday was filled also with other interviews (see the previous post below!) and as I was driving I could hear, but not see the big screen simulcast, of The Barber of Seville with former fellow WSU student Joyce DiDonato. Of course what I heard was sublime. Friends called at intermission and we talked about how stunning she was! I hope they encore it, I'd love to see it again, and may just have to go see one of the repeat performances live at the Met.
Here's a tidbit about Joyce and Un voce poco fa. I used to put together alot of concerts - especially in college, I would even conduct quartets given the chance. I began my debut with Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man to open the very first WSU Contemporary Music Festival. I also started the Wichita Chamber Orchestra, besides the Virtuosi di Wichita State - we'd do Haydn Symphonies, the gorgeous middle movement of Gorecki's Third Symphony and once I did the Marriage of Figaro for horn choir - hey, like I said I would do anything to conduct.
On one such outing with the first concert of the Wichita Chamber Orchestra, we did a concert with myself, Robert Glasmann guest conducted and our soloist was Joyce Flaherty (now DiDonato.) The program opened with Rossini's Italian Girl in Algiers Overture. Then Joyce sang Una voce poco fa from the Barber of Seville. Glasmann conducted Barber's Adagio (I sat in on viola!) and then we ended with Beethoven's First Symphony.
At the first rehearsal (all of the music was on loan from WSU's library) early in June before everyone left for summer festivals, we read the Rossini Overture. Bob was around for the Barber and Joyce was ready for the Rossini. Call me naive, but I hadn't realized there were two versions of the aria, one for soprano and one for mezzo. We started the aria, and Joyce stopped me. "What is that? What key are you in?!" Whoops. WSU only had the soprano version!
She sang it nevertheless. And with all the charm that is Joyce/Rosina.
Yesterday driving I smiled when Joyce was singing at the Met, and reminded me of 16 years ago on the summer day at Duerkson Fine Arts Center in the orchestra room. Bob laughed and shook his head at me. Guess that's one reason I never went into conducting...those small details.
BTW, you can hear and see Joyce on YouTube here. (in the right versions!)

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