Emi Ferguson on Vivaldi's "Il Gardellino"

I thought it would be fun to see these challenges as an opportunity to “recompose” Vivaldi’s famous concerto "Il Gardellino” (The Goldfinch) for full modern orchestra - taking advantage of the full string section and the wonderful colours that a wind section can add, reimagining what this piece might have sounded like if Vivaldi were living today and writing the same piece for a modern orchestra and modern flute.

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Dvorak and his Musical "New World"

Antonin Dvorak's "New World" Symphony was welcomed instantly and universally as a sublime musical masterpiece and a profound experience for audiences when it was premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1893. But it is revealing and fascinating to look back today at the controversies about its composition and its reception, revolving around questions of cultural authenticity and its place in a struggle to define what, if any, significance in the larger artistic universe America might aspire to.

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In 2001 the 20th Century's master jazz pianist, Dave Brubeck, and the younger generation's jazz piano leader, David Benoit, presented a young teenage jazz piano phenom to their audience in a concert called "Three Generations of Jazz Piano." That young star-in-the-making was longtime PSO favorite, Menlo Park's own Taylor Eigsti.  Here they are, taking their final bow:

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Chelsea Chambers
“Lenny,” “Lenyushka”, … “Maestro”

These monikers tell you a lot about the unique place of Leonard Bernstein in the history of American music.

He hated to be called “Lenny” by strangers, but he became such a familiar, human and loved international figure that it was inevitable. No other symphony conductor of his era (when legendary podium masters were both revered and feared) could have been addressed so unceremoniously. He made classical music an integral part of the ordinary American home.

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Jim FungComment