I was originally planning on attending the Saturday performance of the ASO, but Thomas Søndergård is conducting again and I just don’t like his work. I ended up holding off on donating the ticket back, though, so that I could attend the chamber concert of the Merian Ensemble that was scheduled to proceed the ASO’s Thursday performance. The Merian Ensemble is dedicated to bringing the works of women composers to audiences and, even though they’ll be staging a more fleshed out program on the 17th at the Schwartz Center, I wasn’t going to turn down a chance to hear a program of music that I’d never heard before. Continue reading →
I debated whether or not to go to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s concert last night. I’m still in the mourning period for my mother and, according to tradition, I’m supposed to avoid listening to music. However, doing so was starting to make me feel like a prisoner to my grief and, besides, there are a few other rules that I have set aside due to practical concerns. The concert was very good so I’m glad that I did go. Continue reading →
Thursday’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert was preceded by a wonderful chamber concert programmed by principal harpist Elisabeth Remy Johnson. It featured five women composers in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Sadly, aside from one piece a year by Jennifer Higdon, the ASO includes women composers on the obnoxiously long list of groups of composers that it rarely bothers to program for its Delta Classical Series. This concert represented a 500% increase in the number of women composers that series subscribers will hear in Symphony Hall this year. Kudos to Remy Johnson for pushing for this program and shame on the ASO for failing to deliver a meaningful variety of music to its audiences. I can’t think of a single reason that they couldn’t have put one small piece by a different women composer on each week’s program in March. Or, for that matter, one piece by a Black composer each week in February for Black History Month. It’s absurd that concert goers in the 19th century probably had as much or more exposure to women composers than we do now, with artists like Beach, Farrenc, or Smythe being regularly programmed. Aside from a significant number of contemporary composers, we have centuries of works to draw from so there are no shortages of pieces that will fit into any given program. It bugs the crap out of me that, as a regular concert-goer, I hear the same pieces over and over again from the same men from the Classical Music Pale of Settlement between the Rhine and the Volga when there are so many other amazing pieces of work that are ignored just because the (mostly) men who are in charge of programming were all brought up with the same tradition of music education that seems to have its roots in the toxic German nationalism of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue reading →
I generally enjoyed all five of the pieces that were finalists in this year’s Rapido! Competition produced by the Atlanta Chamber Players. The theme this year was dance and the instrumentation was flute, clarinet, and cello. Once again, my favorite wasn’t the one that the judges picked but their choice was one of the three of the five that I would like to hear expanded upon. Continue reading →
The problem with liking new music in Atlanta is that concerts are often held in spaces with no climate control. Yesterday’s YInMn Project new music festival organized by Cassidy Chey Goldblatt was held in one of the galleries at Whitespace Gallery. While it’s a lovely space and its location in Inman Park likely provided the inspiration for the festival’s name (the blue chemical compound YInMn is a homophone of Inman), the gallery provided no cooling on a humid, sticky day that reached 90˚F. For ventilation, the gallery was left open to the property’s lovely courtyard, which is wonderfully well protected from any errant breezes that might try to invade it. So, sweaty, salty, and sticky, I sat for 6 ½ hours or so listening to six ensembles do an excellent job playing a wonderfully varied array of music. With the exception of one of the ensembles, there were no printed set lists and the heat slowed my poor brain down too much to note what the musicians said, so below are my general impressions of each set with only a few pieces mentioned by name. Continue reading →
I very nearly missed the Emory Percussion Symposium concert last night because I managed to overlook the little note in the email that said that we’d need to enter the Schwartz Center from the rear and come into Emerson Hall from back-stage. Fortunately, I saw a few people walking that way and started following them and, fortunately, they were going there, too. It was a good concert, so I’m glad that I didn’t give up and go home. Continue reading →
I was fortunate enough to be sitting with a member of the ASO’s Talent Development Program before the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s pre-concert chamber recital this evening. I was fighting a horrible amount of grumbly grumpiness but she was sweet enough to humor some random adult asking her about her music studies. It’s amazing what a dose of youthful optimism can do to turn a mood around. Thanks to her, I was already in a pretty good mood when the music began and I’m grateful for that because it let me quickly settle into the best of the pre concert chamber recitals that I’ve been to this year. Continue reading →
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