Big Things Happen in the Arts

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Remarkable things happen when you allow yourself to become fully engaged with creating art or performing music. At every level, you learn how little things make big things happen. The arts allow you to experience things from a global perspective and to bring real world meaning to basic knowledge and skills.

Bring Your Music to Life

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I had the privilege of conducting the Arizona All-State Band last month. The experience was extraordinary. One hundred students from schools throughout the state participated after going through several steps to qualify.

Language of Unity

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I recently attended the final concert performed by the 2015 Arizona Musicfest Orchestra in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the works on the concert—the Glagolitic Mass by Leos Janáček—was of particular interest to me. Janáček’s music is deeply influenced and inspired by Moravian and other Slavic folk music.

For the Love of Music

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As I moved from room to room among the hundreds of music teachers at a recent Music Educators Conference in Arizona, I thought about the tremendous passion and commitment that brought all of these people to this profession—teaching music for a living.

The Beauty of Contrast

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As I listened to a recent performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, I realized the significance of what the composer accomplished and the awareness that allowed him to create such a work.

Creating Emphasis

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A recent performance of Gustav Mahler’s massive Symphony No. 2, Resurrection reminded me of the deeply expressive content of the work, but it also showcased both the remarkable genius of the composer and the expertise of the conductor and musicians.

Dancing Together

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A deep understanding of the artistic process gives composers, choreographers, dancers, actors, directors, musicians, and visual artists the distinct 21st century advantage of serving in the role of problem solvers. Artists learn to stretch boundaries and forge new partnerships, often making insightful contributions to intellectual inquiry and the strengthening of communities. Much of the understanding… Read more »

Power of Emotion

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Musical theater is a powerful and popular form of stage performance. Last week I attended performances with music by Stephen Sondheim—a full musical production and an afternoon of his songs from various musical theater works. Many of us experience an emotional reaction to the music created by Sondheim. There’s a fundamental, inspiring humanness in his… Read more »

A World of Wonder

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An orchestra concert that includes Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is especially appealing, and the recent pre-concert rehearsal I observed brought me back to the symphony’s enjoyable, tuneful nature.

Silence between the Notes

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I attended a semi-staged production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute last week. What a delight! It’s no wonder that this opera has captivated audiences for more than 200 years.

Abracadabra

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Conductors’ batons cast a type of spell, but not in the Harry Potter sense. They create and control a form of magic when used to lead a band or orchestra. Many people love to watch conductors wave the baton—it certainly looks like magic because it appears that with a simple wave of a “wand,” the… Read more »

Pedicab at the Pops

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There is no doubt about it—when you go to a Pops Concert, it’s time to have fun! I recently attended a Boston Pops concert sitting at a table near the front of Symphony Hall for the early-ꞌ60s-themed program that was inspired by the television hit, Mad Men.

Sliding Out of Third

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What is going on back there? I was in middle of playing an important solo passage when I noticed movement and whispers coming from behind and below—we were on risers a couple of feet off the main floor of the stage.

Whose Lesson Is This Anyway?

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When I first started to teach music lessons, I was shocked at how much I learned. I found that the true test of whether I really understood what I was doing as a performer was when I tried to teach it to someone else.

Almira: Still Fresh After 200 Years

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Last week I attended a Boston Early Music Festival performance of Handel’s opera, Almira. The opera is rarely performed and, according to experts, has never previously been staged in the U.S.

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Arts Awareness

I was recently sitting in the audience watching a wind quintet concert on stage. As the music began, I found my mind wandering back through my own experiences and there I was back in college playing bassoon in the honors wind quintet. We were enjoying our performance, communicating expertly with a nod here and there,… Read more »