The Value of Community Orchestras

Author: Carol Roedder, PSO Violinist In the world of solo performing, a talented and hardworking few make it to the very top of the musical echelon to earn their income by, among other things, performing with the major orchestras of the world. Many of these same...

Behind the Musician: About PSO Violinist Brad Gibson

Author: Teri Quick, PSO Supporter (and Brad Gibson's Mother) The symphony and the good friends [Brad] has there are an important part of his life. Music has always been an important part of his life--he started playing the violin when he was 3 and has played...

A Voice of Her Own – Fanny Mendelssohn

What comes to mind when you hear the name “Mendelssohn”? Perhaps it’s the soulful melody that opens the Violin Concerto in E Minor. Maybe it’s the frenetic, driving pulse of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. Regardless, you are most likely thinking of music penned by...

Sonata Form – A Useful Framework to Understand What We’re Hearing

You’ve probably heard the term Sonata Form tossed around before, but may be unclear as to what it means exactly. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians states that the sonata form is "the most important principle of musical form, or formal type, from the...

My Initiation – Orchestras That Play Behind The Beat

One of my nervous-est moments as a conductor came when I first got on the podium to conduct the Kansas City Philharmonic. There were plenty of reasons to be anxious. Every conductor is always aware that 100 or so highly opinionated musicians are about to...

How Beethoven Pushed A Whole Century Over The Brink

E. T. A. Hoffmann, perhaps the most influential writer of early Nineteenth Century Europe, took a listen to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and proclaimed that the Romantic Era had arrived in music. (Hoffmann's work is the basis of Tales of Hoffmann, The Nutcracker, Coppélia, and other...

Remembering the Orchestra, the Peninsula Symphony – Part 4

by Mary Urbach   Updated for February 2017 PSO is now sixty-eight years old. Mitchell Sardou Klein, our Conductor has been there thirty-three years. Ellen Crawford, first flute, has now been in the orchestra forty-five years. John Givens, formerly first bassoon for over fifty years, still plays a...

Remembering the Orchestra, the Peninsula Symphony – Part 3

By Mary Urbach In the early days of PSO we were the only game in town other than the two professional orchestras, San Francisco and San Jose (which was a minor orchestra at that time). Our orchestra was reasonably good, and we always had a well-known...

Remembering the Orchestra, the Peninsula Symphony – Part 2

by Mary Urbach Joan Norton sits out front in the first violin section, second desk behind the Concert Master. When our family first moved to California in 1970 Joan was a neighbor. I asked her if she knew of an orchestra that I could audition. She...

Remembering the Orchestra, the Peninsula Symphony – Part 1

by Mary Urbach Originally Written May 22, 2005 Other than raising a family, playing in the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra (PSO) for thirty-three years was the second most important activity in my life. I rediscovered this story that I wrote twelve years ago, so the dates reflect that...