Can Music Reverse Global Warming? Here’s Hoping

May 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

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It seems universally acknowledged that music has a positive effect on people. From Mozart CDs for babies to the music played for the senior residents through the Musicians Care Project at Hebrew Healthcare, society embraces music, and particularly classical music, as a means for improving intelligence, social interaction, and personal development. Although the “Mozart Effect” fad of the early 90’s has been somewhat debunked, there is still overwhelming evidencethat focused participation in musical ensembles and active listening to music has positive effects on the brain.

But can music positively change the physical world? Next month, the HSO will perform a piece that might suggest it can. The work is Alternative Energy by composer and West Coast DJ Mason Bates.

Bates says about this piece:

“Alternative Energy is an ‘energy symphony’ spanning four movements and hundreds of years.  Beginning in a rustic Midwestern junkyard in the late 19thCentury, the piece travels through ever greater and more powerful forces of energy — a present-day particle collider, a futuristic Chinese nuclear plant — until it reaches a future Icelandic rainforest, where humanity’s last inhabitants seek a return to a simpler way of life.”

Bates’ takes his inspiration from the things that physically fuel our world today. He walked around a particle collider, recording “huge power surges, epic hydraulic releases, [and] alien-sounding high frequencies,” which are interspersed into the hall in a surround sound like experience for the audience, as if they are inside the particle collider.

 

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Bates also asks the performers to create and play on a drum set made out of foraged car parts. Last week, HSO Principal Percussionist Robert McEwan traveled with the HSO Tech crew to a local junk yard to seek out the pieces he would need to make the drum set.

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HSO Percussionist Robert McEwan looking for drum set pieces

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They left with a muffler, a tailgate from a truck, a gas tank, a fender and a few other miscellaneous pieces. In a few weeks this junk  will be transformed into an orchestral instrument. Not only do we think these pieces will look fantastic on The Belding stage, but with one perfectly timed mallet strike our musicians will turn this garbage into music.

Will our performance of Alternative Energy reverse global warming?  Alternative Energy will do what music does best- make us take a step back and think about ourselves and our environment. It suggests a path for the future where we rely on our existing resources, like musical instruments made from recycled junk. Will the audience be inspired to decrease their own carbon footprint, advocate for cleaner fuel sources, and teach the value of environmental conservation to future generations? Here’s hoping.

Today is #GivingTuesday

December 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The days after Thanksgiving have become synonymous with the pursuit of bargains. From “Black Friday” to “Cyber Monday,” retailers try to pull us away from the intended purpose of the holiday season. This year, the HSO is joining a group of charitable and socially conscious organizations that would live to encourage you to give thanks and give back this Thanksgiving.

Today is “Giving Tuesday.”

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we hope you will show your thanks by giving back to the charitable organizations that make this community thrive. Please consider making a gift to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra today.

Your gift makes it possible for us to bring the highest level of artistry to Connecticut.

From the concert hall to the classroom, the HSO enhances the lives of young people from throughout Connecticut through our educational and communityengagement programs.

The HSO has been bringing the joy of music to the region for 70 years. We invite you to help us keep the momentum going and create harmony in Hartford for years to come.

Our music would not be possible without your generous support. Please give generously and join us in celebrating 70 seasons of artistry, community, harmony and symphony.

Make your gift by December 31 to take advantage of potential tax savings!

Three easy ways to give:
Donate Now online
• Call 860-246-8742, ext. 326, Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm
• Mail to: 100 Pearl Street, 2nd Floor, East Tower. Hartford, CT 06103

A contribution to the HSO’s Annual Fund is an investment in our community and the music you love.

Drink a Beer and Support the Symphony

September 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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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.

5 days until LIFE: The Nature Conservancy

April 22nd, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

As we count down to this Saturday’s performance of LIFE: A Journey Through Time, we will highlight our final LIFE community sponsors, The Nature Conservancy. On Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m., the Hartford Symphony will perform LIFE: A Journey Through Time, beginning with a panel discussion featuring Dr. Frogard Ryan, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. She, along with National Geographic Photographer Frans Lanting and Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, will discuss the impact that the public and the arts can have on Nature Conservation efforts around the state.

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The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. For more than 50 years, the Connecticut Chapter has worked with its partners to protect and conserve Connecticut’s wondrous forests, rivers and shoreline. In 2012 alone, The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut planted American Elm trees resistant to Dutch elm disease in three communities to help restore elm populations, as well as the species they support;maintained the 14,000-acre preserve network while adding 212 more acres; opened 63 miles of river through dam removal; secured $50,000 in grant funding to help protect Brazil’s Atlantic Forest; focused our work in Long Island Sound to protect habitats and restore water quality; secured $200,000 in federal grant funding for coastal resilience to advance nature-friendly solutions, such as tidal marsh migration; assisted nine Connecticut communities with a climate preparedness planning process; and taken a lead in climate disaster-risk preparedness. This work and more continue every day, through our supporters’ generosity, so that we and future generations can enjoy our one-of-a-kind Connecticut life.

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How Can I Help?

Donations to The Nature Conservancy can be mailed to 55 Church Street, Fl 3, New Haven, CT 06510. Phone donations can be made to Laura Brownstein at 203-568-6278 and Laura Weinberg at 203-568-6281. Online donations can be made to nature.org/connecticut (choose Connecticut in the designation field). General volunteers inquiries can be made to Laura Brownstein  at 203-568-6278 or Martha Rice at 203-568-6294; At Devil’s Den Preserve: Cynthia Fowx at  203-226-4991, ext. 116; and At Sunny Valley Preserve: Laura Shail at 860-355-3716.

You can contact The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut at:
55 Church Street, Fl 3
New Haven, CT 06510
203.568.6270 phone
203.568.6271 fax
nature.org/connecticut
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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.
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32 Days Until LIFE: Riverfront Recapture

March 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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

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Riverfront Recapture is a unique private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving central Connecticut’s quality of life and urban vitality through cultural events, entertainment, group sports and recreation in a welcoming environment along the banks of the Connecticut River, as well as ongoing efforts to protect and maintain the riverfront and make more of it accessible to the public.  It is the first and only organization in the region to offer this combination of programming, all designed to connect people to the river, get them back in touch with nature within an urban environment and provide them with experiences they might not otherwise have. Riverfront Recapture began in 1981 with the goal of transforming the banks of the Connecticut River from an area walled off by flood dikes and cut off by Interstate 91 into a vibrant, active riverfront of four parks connected by riverwalks and bridges.  The Riverfront parks currently attract nearly one million visitors a year.  The organization is dedicated to preserving the hard work and investment it began 31 years ago while it looks to expand and enhance the park system.riverfront-r_g5

Thanks to the annual support of hundreds of individuals and many family foundations, our festivals, youth enrichment programs, concerts and athletic competitions are offered to the public free of charge. Riverfront Recapture could not accomplish its wide range of activities without public support.  Donations can be made online at www.riverfront.org, or by calling 860-713-3131 x 326.

How can you help?

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Do you have free time?  Want to learn more about your community and its history and help make a difference to the people who love our parks?
Why not join the Riverfront family as a volunteer.  Riverfront volunteers are a vital part of the Riverfront Recapture family. They are depended on to help organize and assist at events, enhance visitors’ experience, lend a hand with landscaping and gardening and offer youth programming options to area kids.  When you volunteer, you’re applying your time and talents in ways that positively impact the individuals, organizations and corporations using the riverfront park system. You’ll meet and work with great people, and enhance the staff’s knowledge by sharing your own skills and experiences.  Individuals, families and groups are all welcome. Please help provide our Metro Hartford residents and visitors an inviting, well-kept park system and free, quality events.  Volunteer today, and fill your tomorrows with excitement, learning and fun!  Please call Samantha at 860-713-3131 x 305 or email scappelletti@riverfront.org.

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Sweet Home Alabama

November 7th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

This weekend, the Hartford Symphony turns our ears to the sounds of the Electric Guitar concerto Gee’s Bend.

Composer Michael Daugherty talks about the quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and how he took inspiration from these miraculous examples of American traditional folk art:

Daugherty says about the piece:

“My composition is a patchwork of various crosscurrents: I intertwine American guitar rock and southern folk music with contemporary classical music to create a colorful and unique tapestry of sound.

 The first movement, Housetop, takes its name from a popular quilting pattern often used as a point of departure by the Gee’s Bend quilters. In my Housetop, winding melodies are framed by striped syncopated grooves, patterned triadic chords and Jimi Hendrix-like psychedelic guitar riffs colored with fuzz box and distortion.

Grandmother’s Dream is a slow blues which expresses the memories and feelings of 
generations of Gee’s Bend quilters who have endured poverty and hardship, but hope for a better life to come through their creation of inspired quilts. I utilize lush string chords, bowed cymbal and vibraphone and ringing crotale [finger cymbals] to produce a vision of quilts made of faded remnants and scraps of clothing worn by loved ones. To remind us of the hard labor endured by generations of Afro-American workers in the fields of Gee’s Bend, the guitar’s dream-like, soaring melodic lines, colored with delay, phaser and compression, evoke a painful cry for hope and salvation.

Washboard is my homage to the quilting bees of Gee’s Bend. Using quilting methods passed from generation to generation, the unique quilts by the Afro-American women of Gee’s Bend are often created collaboratively in quilting bees.Washboard is another kind of quilting bee for singing, soulful woodwinds, scrappy washboard and guitar playing ‘southern blues’ licks.

“The final movement is a blazing virtuosic ‘tour de force’ titled Chicken Pickin’. The title refers to a southern style of plucking the guitar strings made famous by guitarists such as Bo Diddley, Chet Atkins, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Duane Allman. The title also alludes to the fact that most of the residents of Gee’s Bend continue to inhabit small, modest farms where their ancestors were once slaves. For most Gee’s Bend quilters, the singing of African-American spirituals and an active church life are important parts of the gospel of inspired quilt making. To honor this tradition, I have threaded spirituals, such as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot andNobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen into the orchestral fabric of my musical quilt, which is dedicated to the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.”

So to get your creative juices flowing, here are some of the quilts that inspired Daugherty’s concerto.

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