Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The BSO Academy Is Here!

Yesterday we had our first orchestra rehearsal for the BSO Academy, our brand new week long program in which amateur adult musicians come to rehearse, perform and hang out with the BSO. I met several Academy participants, and it is a pleasure to work with them. My stand partner Sue has clearly played in orchestras a lot; I can tell by how she listens to everything going on around her. Our first piece of the rehearsal yesterday was the Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances, a challenging piece for professionals. Marin was her usual professional and jovial self, and it actually was very much like a normal BSO rehearsal. Of course there were moments that were less together than usual, but you would expect that even if you added a few dozen new professionals to our mix. Partly it is a matter of getting used to how to play in our hall. When do you play with the other parts you are hearing, and when do you need to try to "play with the stick (baton)"? Because the acoustics can confuse you a bit. These are the questions I'm sure the participants are facing, because we also deal with those issues every week at JMSH.

Last night I coached a group playing the Mozart Clarinet Quintet. Three of the five of them work at the National Institute of Health! Another is a piano teacher, and Suzanne, the violist, came the furthest. She is from New York, and she is an editor. They are very nice and good players. Steven, the clarinetist who studies with Eddie Palanker, our bass clarinetist, has a beautiful sound. We covered a lot of ground in two hours; going through the third and fourth movements, working on articulation, quality of sound, keeping the tempo. Then we went back to the first movement and concentrated on the first half. I love coaching chamber music. I was ready to continue when I finally looked at the time and realized that we had already gone ten minutes over. They had had a long day, and the shuttle was waiting to take them back to their hotel.

I'm really excited for the rest of this week. The BSO Academy is off to a good start!


  1. I am playing horn in the summer academy, and I think the experience is INCREDIBLE! We were all very nervous during the first rehearsal - the conductor was off like a rocket and the huge sound from the orchestra was a bit intimidating. Once our nerves settled, it started to be fun. The orchestra members are working really hard to make sure we are feeling welcome and enjoying the experience, despite a few missed notes :) on the Pines of Rome.

  2. Hi, Kristine. Glad you are enjoying it, and that the BSO musicians are helping with that. Yes, our stage is quite loud. The acoustics are great when the hall is full of people, but when we are rehearsing, sometimes it is too boomy for us to hear each other well.

    I'm enjoying meeting a lot of you this week. In a few minutes, I'm going back down to the hall to coach the people playing the Mozart Clarinet Quintet.

  3. Check out Ian David Moss' insightful article:

    from the article:

    "for me, and I imagine for others, the most intense, fulfilling arts experiences I’ve had have all been from performing and learning music, seeing and hearing it come to life before my eyes, and the relationships I’ve formed with others who were doing the same. That’s what can’t be replicated from ordering Tropic Thunder on-demand or seeing Vampire Weekend at the park."