Daydreaming Father: A Soliloquy

March 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

As a relatively new father (my son is 19-months-old), I find myself wondering from time-to-time what he will be like in 5, 10, 15, even 20 years (and yes, the title of this post intentionally nods to one of the great songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel).  Will he grow out of his full head of bright blonde hair like I did?  When he goes to kindergarten, will he be excited or fearful?  Will he gravitate towards athletic endeavors, artistic pursuits, or maybe both?  What will be his passions, his strengths and weaknesses, the things which hold the most meaning for him?

You may be asking yourself, “Why is Jeff’s fatherhood soliloquy on the HSO blog?  Is this some mistake?”  I begin my post this way because I have to imagine that the parents of this weekend’s Young Artists Competition finalists may have had similar thoughts when their children were young.  These parents now watch their teenaged children engage in the very personal, technical, and emotional act of performing great classical masterworks at an incredibly high level.  These parents have sacrificed greatly to provide their children with rich experiences, rigorous challenges, and robust training.  These parents now have the great privilege (and admitted anxiety) of watching their children demonstrate their passions, display their great musical strengths, and divulge the personal meaning of music in each of their lives.

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For 40 years now, the HSO has provided Connecticut’s excellent young musicians the opportunity to compete at a very high level through the annual Young Artists Competition.  This opportunity not only gives students the chance to receive constructive feedback through the adjudication process, but it also provides a platform for public performance.  On Sunday, six Connecticut high school students will perform a single movement from a work for solo instrument and orchestra (using piano accompaniment).  From this performance, three winners will be chosen and each will receive a cash prize honoring their excellent work.  The first place winner may be given the opportunity to perform with the HSO on a future concert.

Young Artists Competition 2013

Just like I can go on for hours and hours talking about my son, I can also go on at length about reasons why supporting young orchestral musicians is a vital component of an orchestra’s work.  In many, many ways, these talented young people represent the future of the classical music art form.  So, how can you do your part?  To begin, we hope you will consider attending the finals performance of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artists Competition this Sunday, March 16 at 2 p.m.  The performance will be held in Millard Auditorium at The Hartt School, University of Hartford (200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford).  The performance is free and open to the public.  If your Sunday afternoon will be enriched by truly excellent young musicians playing movements from some of the literature’s greatest concerti (think Rachmaninoff No. 2 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto), we hope you will join us.  Oh, and be kind to our competitors’ parents…they are just as nervous, if not more so, than the students themselves.

Jeff Martin

Director of Community Engagement & Education

Hartford Symphony Orchestra

Bachtoberfest: Hartford’s Bach and Organ Music Festival

October 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

hso-bachtoberfest-music-festival

To kick off our 70th Anniversary Season, we are presenting Bachtoberfest, a new music festival featuring music by Bach and music written for organ, October 4-12, 2013. The Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is the primary community partner for the festival; their members will be featured prominently on many of the performances and events. The festival will culminate with our 70thAnniversary Opening Night Concerts at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts on October 11 & 12.

The festival includes free concerts and events at the Austin Organ Factory, Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Congregation Beth Israel, Hartford Public Library, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick St. Anthony, St. Brigid’s Church, First Church of Christ, United Methodist of West Hartford, and Central Baptist Church, amongst others.

HSO President & CEO Carrie Hammond says, “The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to fostering musical performances and inspiring others to present community-minded concerts. Bachtoberfest celebrates the uniquely rich musical offerings that are available in this area throughout the year. Hartford possesses a hidden gem in the Austin Organ Company, which has produced organs since 1893. Scattered throughout this region, including The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, are these world renowned instruments and performers who are drawn to this area to play them. We are thrilled to present this week-long series of events with the Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.”

BACHTOBERFEST CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Austin Organ Factory Tour
Hartford
11:00 a.m.
A behind the scenes tour of the history Austin Organ Company and factory. Closed event for HSO subscribers;  events@hartfordsymphony.org for more information.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Organ Tour: United Methodist Church of Hartford
Hartford
10:00 a.m.
Cheryl Wadsworth, organ

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bach Prelude, Postlude and Choral Anthem: First Church of Christ
Wethersfield
8:45 and 10:30 a.m.
David Spicer, organ
First Church of Christ Choir
8:45 a.m.
Bach Prelude
10:30 a.m.
Bach Postlude and Choral Anthem

Bach Prelude: Hilltop Covenant Church
Cromwell
9:30 a.m.
Carolyn Johnson, organ
Prelude (Fantasia) in G minor, BWV 542

Bach Prelude: First Church of Christ, Congregational
Farmington
10:00 a.m.
Edward Clark, organ
Hartford Symphony organist Edward Clark will perform Bach’s Chorale Prelude on “An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” BWV 653 on his morning service. Get a sneak peak of the talent that will be featured on the HSO’s Opening Night Performances October 11 & 12!

Organ Recital: Cathedral of Saint Joseph
Hartford
10:00 a.m.
Dr. Ezequiel Menéndez, organ

Bach Prelude, Postlude and Choral Anthem: Christ Church Cathedral
Hartford
10:00 a.m.
Deniz Uz, organ; Joshua Slater, music director
Choral Anthem: BWV 106b, O Jesu Christ meins Lebens Licht; Postlude: Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548

Bach Prelude: First Church of Christ, Congregational
Farmington
10:00 a.m.
Edward Clark, organ
Hartford Symphony organist Edward Clark will perform Bach’s Chorale Prelude on “An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” BWV 653 on his morning service. Get a sneak peak of the talent that will be featured on the HSO’s Opening Night Performances October 11 & 12!

Bach Prelude and Postlude: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Manchester
10:00 a.m.
Deborah Gemma, organ

Bach Prelude, Postlude and Choral Anthem: St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church
Hartford
10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. Mass
Organ Prelude:
Prelude in E Major (BWV 854), from The Well-Tempered Clavier
The Gallery Choir directed by Gabriel Löfvall, will sing Jesu, Meine Freunde, BVW 227
Organ Postlude:
Prelude in G major (BWV 860), from The Well-Tempered Clavier
5:00 p.m. Mass
Same organ prelude and postlude as at 10:00 a.m. Mass, plus:
The Treble Clef Choir directed by Pamela Johnson, Gabriel Löfvall, will sing Liebster Jesu, Wir Sind Hier, BVW 373, and Den Tod, from Cantata BWV 4 (Christ lag in Todes Banden).

Bach Prelude & Postlude: St. John’s Episcopal Church
West Hartford
10:30 a.m.
Peter Berton, organ; Tanya Anisimova, cello
Prelude: All glory be to God on high, BWV 676, Postlude: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007,VI. Gigue

Bach Prelude, Postlude & Choral Anthem: St. Brigid’s Catholic Church
West Hartford
11:00 a.m.
Natasha Ulyanovsky, organ

Choral Sing-Along: St. Brigid’s Catholic Church
West Hartford
6:20 p.m.
Join the St. Brigid choir and soloists Kelly and David Boudreaux for this public sing along of Bach’s choral works.

Monday, October 7, 2013

HSO Musical Dialogues Series: Bach’s Lunch
Hartford Symphony Orchestra String Quartet
Hartford Public Library, Downtown Branch
12:00 noon
HSO Musicians will discuss and perform works by Bach at this free lunchtime concert. Repertoire will include Bach’s Contrapunctus I, IV, & IX from The Art of the Fugue, Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, and Aria & Variations 1-8 from Goldberg Variations, plus Robert Schumann’s Fugues No. 3 & 5 from “Six Fugues on B-A-C-H” and Clara Schumann’s  Three Fugues on Themes of J.S. Bach.
Sponsored by Travelers

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Organ Recital: Happy Recollections at Congregation Beth Israel
West Hartford
1:00 p.m.
Natasha Ulyanovsky, organ; Peter Dzialo, cello
Program to include Toccata by Theodore Dubois, Happy Recollections by David Popper; Sonata in D Major by J.S.Bach; Strange Meadow Lark by Dave Brubeck; La Folia by Arcangelo Corelli; and Peacherine Rag by Scott Joplin.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Organ Recital: Midday Music at Central Baptist Church
Hartford
12:00 noon
Kari Miller and Jason Roberts, organists
Program to include Bach’s Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (‘Savior of the Heathen, Come’), BWV 659 and Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (‘All Glory Be to God on High’), BWV 662, plus Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor, BWV 593

Friday, October 11, 2013

Organ Recital: Aetna
11:30 a.m.
Brian Parks, organ
Concert is closed for Aetna employees only.

Friday & Saturday, October 11 & 12, 2013

HSO Masterworks Series & Special Event: 70th Anniversary Opening Night!
Mortensen Hall at the The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
8:00 p.m.
Hartford Symphony Orchestra; Carolyn Kuan, conductor; Edward Clark, organ; Connecticut Youth Symphony, Daniel D’Addio, music director; Wu Man, pipa
We’re rolling out the red carpet for Opening Night! Two of the most famous works in the organ repertoire, Saint-Saëns’ massive Symphony No. 3 and Bach’s glorious Toccata and Fugue in D minor, will be played on The Bushnell’s historic, Hartford-made Austin pipe organ with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

Drink a Beer and Support the Symphony

September 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

hso-and-back-east-brewery-bachtoberfest

Back East Brewery and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra have releasedBachtoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style seasonal beer produced by Back East Brewery. Beginning the week of August 26th, Bachtoberfest will be available on tap at many great restaurants throughout the Greater Hartford and New Haven markets, including several restaurants in downtown Hartford. Bachtoberfest also will be available for purchase at the Hartford Symphony’s 70th Anniversary Opening Night performances at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts October 11 and 12.  Beginning August 28th, Bachtoberfest will be available for purchase in half-gallon growlers in the tasting room at Back East Brewery in Bloomfield, CT.  Back East will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each growler sold to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in support of their artistic, educational, and community programs.

18 days until LIFE: Rivers Alliance of Connecticut

April 9th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

As we count down to the April 27th performance of LIFE: A Journey Through Time, we will highlight our LIFE community sponsors, continuing today with Rivers Alliance of Connecticut:

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Rivers Alliance of Connecticut is the only statewide 501(c) (3) non-profit dedicated to protecting and enhancing Connecticut’s rivers, streams, and aquifers.  Our members are individuals, organizations, and corporations concerned with the health and conservation of the state’s waters.  Rivers Alliance was founded in 1992 to promote and support environmentally sound state policies; to assist the state’s many watershed and river groups; and to educate the public about the value of water and aquatic habitats. Our talented twelve-member Board of Directors includes representatives from the state’s major river and watershed organizations.

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Looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, we will be working on the following issues:

  • Protecting state-conserved watershed lands that are at risk of takeover for private development.
  • Reversing the proliferation of harmful pesticides.
  • Preserving and enhancing streamflow.
  • Cleaning up and protecting groundwater.
  • Rolling back the state’s draconian water secrecy laws.
  • Promoting a rational, fair statewide water management plan.                                                                                               river-alliance_quinnipiac-river                                                                                                                                            How can you help?                                                                                                                                                        river-alliance_margaret-invertebrate-sampling                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Funding for Rivers Alliance is received from our members, grants, and special events.  Membership categories are:  Individuals and Families: $35.00; Nonprofit Organizations: $50.00; Patrons: $50.00; Sponsors: $100.00; Businesses: $250.00; Sustainers: $250.00; Benefactors: $500; Guardians: $1,000.00.  Membership donations can be mailed to: Rivers Alliance, P.O. Box 1797, Litchfield CT  06759, or made securely online at http://www.riversalliance.org. If you would like to volunteer, please e-mail rivers@riversalliance.org or call us at (860) 361-9349.
  • river-alliance_kayak-on-water-jeff-feldmann

53 days until LIFE: CT Forest and Park Association

March 5th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Spearheaded by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, organizations from across the state of Connecticut are coming together to promote environmental awareness and preservation through LIFE: A Journey Through Time.

carolyn-kuan-conducting-life

At the center of the project will be a multimedia extravaganza for the senses featuring breathtaking photographs from National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting and original music by Philip Glass on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 7:30p.m. at Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT led by HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan.

 LIFE aims to bridge the gap between nature and science, and is realized through the integration of photography with the performing arts and the world of life and earth sciences. The HSO will take the audience through seven stages of the Earth’s evolution: Elements, Beginnings, Out of the Sea, On Land, Into the Air, Out of the Dark, and Planet of Life through 60-minutes of continuous music and projected photographs.

In conjunction with the Hartford Symphony’s performance, Hartford Public Library will display 40 of Lanting’s LIFE photographs at their free Art Walk Exhibit space in the main HPL branch on Main Street in Downtown Hartford from April 8-May 3, as well as an opening event on Friday, April 12 at 6pm and a free lecture by Frans Lanting on Friday, April 26 at 6pm. Additionally, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts will display more than a dozen of Lanting’s works in their promenade gallery from April 8 – May 3.

As we count down to the April 27 performance, we will highlight our LIFE community sponsors and Frans Lanting’s work, starting today with the Connecticut Forest and Park Association:

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The Connecticut Forest & Park Association protects forests, parks, walking trails and open spaces for future generations by connecting people to the land.  CFPA directly involves individuals and families, educators, community leaders and volunteers to enhance and defend Connecticut’s rich natural heritage.  CFPA is a private, non-profit organization that relies on members and supporters to carry out its mission.

We envision Connecticut as a place of scenic beauty whose cities, suburbs, and villages are linked by a network of parks, forests, and trails easily accessible for all people to challenge the body and refresh the spirit.  We picture a state where clean water, timber, farm fresh foods and other products of the land make a significant contribution to our economic and cultural well-being.

CFPA delivers programs designed to “Conserve” (Trail Stewardship and Land Conservation), “Connect” (WalkCT), “Advocate” (Legislative Agenda), and “Educate” (Education Program).

Since the first members banded together in 1895 to save Connecticut’s forests from runaway fires and excessive timber harvesting, CFPA’s singular blend of vision, persistence, and partnership has protected the landscapes whose very names mean Connecticut. Peoples State Forest. Mohawk State Forest. Gillette Castle. Rocky Neck. Sherwood Island. Talcott Mountain. All of these special places were protected through partnership efforts that CFPA catalyzed.

Over the past century, CFPA has been instrumental in the acquisition of more than 100 state parks and forests for public use and enjoyment. Today, CFPA continues to champion the needs of Connecticut’s public recreational facilities for the funding, personnel and equipment necessary to maintain and improve these natural treasures.

CFPA’s leadership over the years set a national example for successful forest conservation and reversed the damage to Connecticut’s natural resources. When the organization began its work, Connecticut was 20% forested: today it is 60% forested. CFPA remains vigilant and involved in the sound management and protection of our land, water and wildlife resources.

In addition to protecting land for public enjoyment, CFPA’s visionary leaders established the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System in 1929 which traverses public and private lands throughout Connecticut and is enjoyed by thousands of citizens each year. Today, approximately 825 miles of trails are maintained by hundreds of CFPA volunteers working in cooperation with many public and private landowners.

For you to make a difference in protecting and conserving Connecticut join and give to the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, simply go to www.ctwoodlandsand click on “Join Us” or “Donate Now.” To volunteer on trail projects, events or in the office, go to www.ctwoodlands.org/volunteer. In 2012, CFPA volunteers contributed over 21,000 hours of their time – they make conservation happen in Connecticut.

Hallelujah

December 10th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

concora-bach-concert-2012

Handel’s Messiah is arguably the world’s best-known and most-often performed oratorio in the world.  It became an instant hit at its premiere in Dublin in 1742, and today, some 270 years later, it is performed in one fashion another in every corner of the globe.  One of those corners is Hartford, Connecticut, where on Friday and Saturday, December 14 and 15, the HSO, and CONCORA, the region’s first all-professional concert choir, present Messiah in the Asylum Hill Congregational Church.

The musical forces will be quite similar to those which Handel had in mind; namely an orchestra of strings, oboes, bassoon, trumpets, timpani, with small organ and harpsichord as the keyboard instruments.  These total some twenty-seven of the HSO’s finest players, and CONCORA offers thirty-two highly trained voices, equally balanced at eight per part.  The result is a musical ensemble of considerable heft yet small enough to be as nimble as Handel might ever wish, making possible brisk (though unhurried) tempos and sparkling iterations of some very quick notes!   Our quartet of soloists hails from the Yale Opera Studio, as current or recent students, and these include soprano Claudia Rosenthal, mezzo-soprano Kelly Hill, tenor Galeano Salas, and bass/baritone Andrew Brown.

The idea behind this particular version of Messiah is that of Maestra Carolyn Kuan, who visited a CONCORA performance last December and shortly thereafter issued the invitation to the chorus to be a part a performance that might be called, “historically informed.”  (That phrase can easily call forth a yawn, but our performance will not.)  Maestra’s invitation was extended to me as well, to prepare and conduct the performances, and I am most grateful for the opportunity.

richard-coffey-headshot

While we are not presenting the entire oratorio, we come close, and even with a few cuts, we will retain the dramatic thrust and scope of this epic work.   The performance will be dramatic, perhaps even opera-like as to our intention to wrest from every note the intensity that this great story deserves.  There will be moments of eagerness, some of bombast and pomp, many of tenderness, not a few that are poignant, and, along the way, and at the end, moments of triumph expressed in unbridled musical glory.

-Richard Coffey

Artistic Director, CONCORA

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