July 25, 2016
For the past 7 years, I have been very fortunate to conduct the showcase concert for the Young Artist World Piano Festival held in St. Paul each summer. Two winners are chosen from the competitors who come from all around the globe: one winner age 8 to 12, and one winner age 13 to 18.
Every contestant plays the same piece. This year, it was Mozart Piano Concerto #17, 1st movement and Schumann Piano Concerto.
The talent is incredible. Everything is in place from each competitor – no one makes mistakes or plays wrong tempi or has memorization lapses. These are young people who have gone way deeper than the tip of the iceberg. Their fingers fly! And their personalities emerge so clearly. That’s what happens when you go deep. Notes, rhythms, articulation, dynamics – that’s the beginning. When you can get beyond all that (after hours of practice, of course) the magic starts and the muse, who now knows you’re serious, visits you with an invitation to let your heart and soul speak. To be a listener when that happens is to feel something indescribable. You feel privileged to be present. Perhaps you can imagine the humble joy I feel as conductor of the orchestra whose job it is to accompany these wunderkinds.
Next up for me:
I’m gearing up to conduct a program called Bedtime Stories for the Lakes Area Music Festival. I get to conduct some of my favorites – Berceuse and Finale from Stravinsky Firebird; Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade; Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Libby Larsen’s wind octet, Jack and the Beanstalk based on Roald Dahl’s irreverent telling of the age-old tale.
This orchestra is made up of musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and many other national orchestras who come to Brainerd to enjoy the beauty of our lakes.
If you’re in Brainerd on Sunday, August 7 at 2:00, come to the free concert but come early – it’s always a packed house.