Monthly Archives: January 2013
For a while now I’ve been exploring how to better engage the classical audience. Through this topic I’ve examined some of the problems that have led to orchestras declaring bankruptcy and the creative ideas they have tried to get classical performances back on track.
One of the solutions has been the introduction of tweet seats for classical performances. I found a post a while back, where a young man reflected on his experience tweeting at a concert. Ignorant of classical music, he attended a Mobile Symphony Orchestra concert in Alabama where the highlight was Chee-Yun performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto.
Robert McClendon writes: “Given the power of her performance, I regret somewhat that I spent a few precious seconds sending 140-character missives into the swirling void of the Twittersphere. It seems obtuse, even vulgar, to try to capture something so grand using the most disposable medium since the Post-it note. However, the exercise helped transform me into more of an active listener, a true observer instead of merely an audience member. Little details that I might have missed seemed to jump out at me. Attempting to capture the concert in words forced me to think about it on a deeper level.”
The article caught my attention for two reasons:
- Violinist Chee-Yun performed two concerts at Strings Music Festival in 2012, and we were slightly disappointed in the lack of any sort of feedback, positive or negative, after those concerts. I wondered if we would have inspired more conversation if we had allowed tweet seats.
- This tweeter touched on another idea of how to build an audience. He suggests that active listeners have a greater commitment to the concert than passive audience members.
Bluegrass music is one of the favorites for local Steamboat residents. It’s easily recognizable for its use of acoustic stringed instrument, like fiddle, banjo and upright bass. The quick tempo and upbeat strumming generates an urge to dance and stomp your feet. The music reminds me of warm nights and barn dances, so I thought a little summertime music might warm everyone up during this coldest month of the year.
Full Moonshine is an original song is written by the Old Town Pickers. The group is a local favorite, and they perform almost every week at local bars and have also been featured at numerous Music on the Green concerts.
Live Music in Steamboat
The Old Town Pickers will perform tonight Friday, January 25 at the Old Town Pub starting at 10:00pm.
This week Daniel Bernard Roumain visited eight different music classes in Steamboat Springs and Craig. Each class played a little bit of a piece they’ve been working on for him. The Steamboat Springs High School Jazz Band played “Cissy Strut” by The Meters. In the middle of this jazz standard, there is a jam session where a few different instruments get to take improv solos. Daniel grooved with the band on his violin, mixing his unique style with the jazz genre. One stringed instrument soloing with brass and horns in the background was a combination I had never heard before, online casino but Daniel made his violin sound almost like a guitar. In honor of the High School Jazz Band and the Strings School Days program, I chose Cissy Strut for the song of the week.
“Education is not a passive act, it’s an aggressive act.” –Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
The last time Daniel was here, he encouraged everyone in the community to take an active role in learning, regardless of what age you may be. He interacted with 13 schools from three counties and over 2,000 teachers, parents, students and community members. We couldn’t wait for him to return and now the waiting is over.
Daniel is back this week to make music with a more intimate group. Over the next three days, he will visit the Steamboat Springs High School Jazz and Concert Bands, the Steamboat Springs Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Bands, the Emerald Mountain School Lower and Middle School Orchestras and the Heritage Christian School Combined Choirs. Each of these groups has chosen to play one of Daniel’s pieces from a work called Hip Hop Studies and Etudes.
Hip Hop Studies and Etudes
All of the famous composers, Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Mozart, wrote studies and etudes. In music, there are 24 different keys. The composer writes 24 etudes, one in each major and minor key, as a learning tool for the students. Completing the entire set gives the student experience with each key, so when they encounter it in a new piece, they are already familiar with it. Most music students, including myself, learn quickly that etudes are a lot of work, difficult to play correctly and most of the time, not very fun.
As a composer, Daniel set out to write a brand new series of etudes in a completely different genre – hip hop. Just like the famous composers, there are 24 pieces in his Hip Hop Studies and Etudes. If you’ve ever heard a classical etude, these hip hop etudes follow the same pattern. First a theme is introduced, then elaborated on, then varied and finally reintroduced. Although challenging and still requiring dedication and practice to perform, Daniel’s music certainly doesn’t sound like those of the famous classical composers.
In May, each music group will perform one piece from Hip Hop Studies and Etudes at a free community concert at the Strings Music Pavilion. But for the moment, Daniel is crafting the young musicians. In the workshops this week he is creating a space where music can be played loudly, alone, in small groups, together but not with each other, all to lead to a confident performance. If you would like to attend any of these workshops, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since this week has been all about reflection, the song of the week is from a concert that stood out as a favorite from the summer by both the staff and patrons. Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring is a famous work, easily recognizable by its use of the familiar Shaker melody, Simple Gifts. At the July concert, the musicians performed the piece, while a slideshow of photographs from local photographers Jim Steinberg, Rod Hanna and Judy Jones kept time to the music.
The photographs focused on memorable shots from the Steamboat Springs area. Pictures of Rabbit Ears, Steamboat Ski Area, Sleeping Giant and the creatures of the valley progressed through the journey of the seasons from early spring to late fall. For those who know the area and have personal memories associated with the famous landmarks, the pictures appearing at precise musical highpoints evoked powerful emotions.
Appalachian Spring is a 25 minute piece of work, although this video features only the section with Simple Gifts. While the slideshow here is only reminiscent of the live performance at the Strings Music Pavilion this summer, the music is still brilliant and the mountains inspiring.
With the turn of the New Year, the staff of Strings Music Festival spent a little time reflecting on 2012. The year was momentous with our 25th Anniversary, the best-attended Kitchen and Garden Tour ever, opening a new parking lot and 26,000 people enjoying live concerts.
Here are our favorite moments:
Kay: There were so many great moments during the 2012 season. My favorite would have to be the night we performed Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Andrés Cárdenes conducted the music in perfect rhythm to a big screen video presentation by Steamboat’s top photographers of this town’s incredible beauty from spring to fall. Not a dry eye in the house!
Betse: Although there are so many things to say about the summer, the following special feelings stand out:
Jaw-Dropping – William Close and his Earth Harp. We’ve known since 2004 that his show would be amazing – and now the rest of the world knows that “He’s Got Talent.”
Peaceful – Yoga under the Earth Harp.
Emotional – An incredible collection of photographs of the valley set to a brilliant performance of Appalachian Spring.
Awesome – Our biggest production yet – 24 band and crew members plus 2 semis, 2 tour busses and a brilliant performance by k.d. lang.
Proud – To present South Africa’s Johnny Clegg who has truly changed the world for the better, both with his music and his actions for peace and tolerance.
Annie: The 25th year for Strings was a milestone for many, and it was very rewarding for me to have been here that long. My favorite concerts this year were k.d. lang and Appalachian Spring, but it’s really hard to choose because I enjoyed the whole season! Congrats to the Strings staff for making it such a success.
Cristin: My favorite moment of 2012 had to be at Strings School Days at SOROCO. Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) asked an auditorium of students if anyone was in the choir. Turns out that one lone girl in the balcony raised her hand. He asked her to sing anything she wanted, and she nervously started singing the most beautiful rendition of Summer Time and the Living is easy while Daniel accompanied on violin. She received a well-deserved standing ovation from her peers, and as it turns out she was a new transfer student.
Most Rewarding Moment: I had the chance to work with Richard Perlmutter of Beethoven’s Wig and three of our local community musicians. While we were on stage I realized how lucky I was to be involved in a community where a traveled professional musician, musicians that just like to play for fun and a room full of children can come together to make music.
Favorite Instrument: From the moment I saw the Chime Sword in the concert with Mass Ensemble and William Close, I was enthralled. It was just as beautiful to watch as it was to hear. Music came from different places, chimes rang from the stage and notes resounded above me from the Earth Harp, but were perfectly in time and the experience reminded me how limitless live music can be.
Favorite Concert: It’s not often while listening to live music that you can lay back and close your eyes. When the Tesla Quartet performed at Music on the Green I was able to do just that. It brought me back to my childhood memories when I used to watch my Dad play at evening concerts in a park.
While the weather has been consistently below zero and the sun sets before 5:00pm, we are already looking ahead to warm, sunny, summer days in the park before concerts. We have some new surprises to announce, so keep following the blog and reading our newsletter to be the first to know what’s in store for 2013.
Country star Blake Shelton released the first single of 2013 at 12:02am on New Year’s Day. Some say that the song has the potential to extend his run of seven Number 1 Hits to eight, but this streak may be more to do with the timing of the release rather than the merit of the song. I enjoyed listening to it, but I have to admit that it sounds rather generic, as if it could be sung by any country artist. What I like most is that it’s a promise of much more new music to come in 2013.