My favorite moments in music performance are those when, as a member of the audience, I am able to make a connection to something personal — something musical that relates to something extra-musical, extending a memory or experience into the present space. Because I want music to be meaningful, it doesn’t take much — I am looking and listening for the connection.
On Thursday evening, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presented two works that were likely unfamiliar to its audience, followed by Dvořák’s nationalistic Symphony No. 6. The ensemble exhibited enthusiasm for Kodály’s suite from Háry János and Bottesini’s first concerto for double bass, and a masterful command of one of symphonic literature’s giants.
On Thursday night, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presented “Concerto for Viola and Orchestra,” a work Chautauqua Institution co-commissioned from composer Aaron Jay Kernis, with soloist Paul Neubauer in the spotlight. With a raw spirit and exceptional virtuosity, Neubauer beautifully portrayed Kernis’ masterwork, one underpinned by relationships and which focused on folk tunes, as the composer described it from the Amphitheater stage.
When a conductor demonstrates historical knowledge by adjusting the scope of expression to accommodate the composer’s — what a different kind of conductor might call restraint — the audience is in for a treat and an education.
The 2014 Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra season officially begins as guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger and piano soloist Andreas Klein join the CSO at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the Amphitheater.
Saturday night, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presented an exceptional lineup when they paired an introverted canonic jewel with two extroverted works from the 20th century. Audience members were treated to a well-designed program that gave the CSO an opportunity to display their stylistic expertise in both Manuel de Falla’s and Dmitri Kabalevsky’s boisterous works and Schumann’s gentle symphony.
Chautauqua-centric entertainment reached a new peak Friday night when poet and perennial favorite Billy Collins compared his creative process with songwriter Paul Simon. The two discussed the qualities an opening line should have, their sources of inspiration and told the stories behind several well-known songs and poems, all with a heavy dose of charm and humor.
The Athenaeum Hotel boasts Duke Ellington as one of its many famed visitors. In late September, Ellington will return to the Athenaeum in musical form.
From Sept. 20 to 23, the Athenaeum will host the 15th annual “Jazz at Chautauqua,” a party featuring world-renowned jazz musicians focusing on jazz standards from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. For the first time in its history, this jazz party will be prefaced with a traditional jazz workshop from Sept. 16–20.
Will Glover has made the journey to the Chautauqua Institution since 1998, but this year’s trip was punctuated with a number of special events. Adorned in white, he graduated from the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, and on July 30, he presented Chautauqua’s Archives with a copy of Gerard Noel’s The Journey of the English-Speaking Union, a book chronicling the 90-year history of the organization responsible for his introduction to Chautauqua.
An economist, writer and teacher, Glover was the recipient of the Bell Tower Scholarship in 1998, an award presented to a teacher from the ESU for professional development. The award includes tuition and boarding for up to four weeks at Chautauqua and a stipend for travel expenses. Chautauquan Carol Duhme funds the annual scholarship.
While the Beatles were making their American television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964, The New Christy Minstrels were performing in the White House.
Forty-eight years later, the folk group will hold another presidential audience, performing during Chautauqua’s “Presidents Club”-themed week at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.
Reminiscent of a band out of Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind, The New Christy Minstrels under the direction of Randy Sparks had great success as a folk ensemble in the 1960s, went through several restructured phases, and now resemble their original group again. Randy Sparks founded the group in 1961 in order to perform his music, following the example of composer Stephen Foster in the 19th century, who, when having trouble getting his music played, handed his repertoire over to the Christy Minstrels.