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COVID-19 Conundrum

Marlene’s Musings November 16, 2020 What an incredible challenge we musicians face in this year of Covid-19! Who would have predicted that a time would come when live music performances would stop? Music, after all, has such a functional role in every part of life – weddings, funerals, church services, sporting events, school assemblies, rallies, […]

Mahler #1 was Musician’s Choice

Marlene’s Musings April 26, 2020 Hello WSO Family! Today would have been our Mahler #1 performance – this season’s Musicians’ Choice concert. Of all the pieces we have performed over the last several years, Mahler #1 seems to describe the emotions of this difficult time better than the rest. Mvt. 1 has a jovial main […]

Clowning Around

Marlene’s Musings February 16, 2020 Stravinsky is my favorite composer. We will be performing the music from Petrushka, one of three ballets he wrote for Serge Diaghilev and the Russian Ballet between 1910 and 1913. Petrushka is the iconic character of puppet theater in many countries – Punch in England; Pulcinella in Italy; Polichinelle in […]

The Golden Age

Marlene’s Musings October 7, 2019 What do all these pieces have in common? Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue Kurt Weill/Bertold Brecht: Threepenny Opera Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein: Showboat Copland: Symphony No. 1 1. All were written during a 10-year period of great cultural shift in America – between 1919 and 1929 2. All the composers were in […]

An Amazing Season To Come!

Marlene’s Musings September 12, 2018 I am studying like a fiend, preparing for the first concert of our 10th Anniversary Season. When I thought about repertoire to celebrate 10 years, I had to include Beethoven Symphony #5. I know it is familiar to everyone and most musicians have played it many times, including me as […]

Composing To Save Your Life

Marlene’s Musings April 3, 2018 Shostakovich 1906-1975 Shostakovich was recognized from an early age as one of Russia’s great composers. He completed his first symphony at 19 and by 26, his film scores, Cello Sonata and first string quartet were admired. His opera, Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk, played for nearly two years to rave reviews […]

I Adore Our Audience!

Marlene’s Musings January 1, 2018 I adore our audience! Late last year, Simon Sperl (our fabulous new executive director) and I met a few members of our loyal audience at Caribou Coffee on Lake Street in Wayzata. What a treat! As conductor, I see the audience as an entity but rarely get a chance to […]

Ann Bancroft, My Hero

Marlene’s Musings November 1, 2017 Years ago when I was conducting family concerts for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, I had the idea to ask Arctic Explorer, Ann Bancroft, to narrate Wolf Tracks by Beintus, a piece similar to Peter and the Wolf except in this one, the wolf protected.  I had a 50/50 chance […]