The 2011 – 2012 season has kept me busy with so many exciting projects that little time has remained to write about them all on the website – always better than the reverse problem. As the season winds to a close here are some highlights and some previews of next year:
In February I led Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue from the piano with a “renegade” group of GSO musicians assembled to match the original Paul Whiteman jazz band instrumentation. More about that here. In March, in addition to duties at home in Greensboro, I accompanied Dmitri Sitkovetsky to Amsterdam for a recorded concert with Concertgebouw. More information and a podcast here.
Throughout April I led Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in a most successful run of educational concerts for 3rd and 4th graders throughout North Carolina’s Guilford, Alamance, and Rockingham Counties. The concert, entitled “Tell a Tale With Tunes,” focused on music that combines the symphony orchestra and at least one other element to tell a story, and included Serge Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, two dances from Sleeping Beauty by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and excerpts from Harry Potter by John Williams. Instead of a live narrator, we invited kids from all over the area to record and submit their own narrations to Peter and the Wolf, along with illustrations, with over 500 kids participating. The orchestra played along live to the recorded narrations and projected illustrations, each performance featuring a unique version of the narration read by individuals in that day’s audience. Among our upcoming projects is a website to showcase the GSO musicians’ many educational projects all over the area, large and small. Look for that to come online in Fall 2012. Until then I’ll continue posting about them at this site.
Also in April was an elaborate “Disney in Concert” with the talented Candice Nicole, Whitney Kaufman, Andrew Johnson and Aaron Phillips. These artists have been touring the pops circuit of the United States with this concert and I highly recommend catching them if they are in your area – especially if you know young kids who like music. The show is created and produced by the Walt Disney Company and features original orchestrations from the films by Michael Starobin and Danny Troob, two masters of pops orchestration whom I’ve admired for years. It was a pleasure to study and rehearse the scores of these orchestrations I’d seen and heard so many times.
Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra has kept an active concert schedule taking us across the state to Elizabeth City and to Tryon, part of a project to develop more audience and visibility in North Carolina. The youth orchestra has a new website: visit www.gsyo.org and have a look.
Starting in Fall 2012 I’ll lead a second identity teaching private jazz piano lessons as adjunct at Wake Forest University. Their music department is growing a jazz studies program led by several of the area’s finest jazz musicians and I’m looking forward to being involved.