Why Do Animals Sing?
I have wondered about nature’s music ever since my mother pointed out that it is everywhere if you will only listen. Birds, nature’s finest musicians, sing incredibly complex songs. With two sets of vocal cords, they can harmonize with themselves. Loons have been “calling” since the time of the dinosaurs! Humpback whales sing the same 30-minute song as they migrate and if one whale makes an adaptation, they all learn it and incorporate it into the song.
Our concert on May 1 is made up of pieces written by composers who were inspired by the sounds of nature and our guest, David Rothenberg, who has written many books on the subject, will provide valuable insight.
This concert will be especially meaningful for me because it will be my last as Music Director of this wonderful orchestra. It will be a bittersweet departure. As I told the musicians, my shelf life as a conductor has not expired but my instinct, which has never failed me, says it’s time for a change.
I look forward to seeing you all on May 1 at Wayzata Central Middle School at 3:00 pm. For details, visit the link below.
After 17 months of unwelcome hiatus, we are thrilled to be back, stronger than ever, presenting a season of exciting programs. There is mounting pressure to make orchestras and their programs more reflective of the communities they serve, so diversity in classical music has become a political – as well as an artistic – imperative. Our programs reflect our desire to embrace that challenge.
We have a fabulous new home at Wayzata Central Middle School. The auditorium provides everything we need – an acoustically superb stage, large audience capacity, welcoming reception area and ample parking.
NACHITO HERRERA! October 3 and October 10, 2021
What is so unique and miraculous about Nachito Herrera is his amazing ability to inhabit two very different musical worlds – classical and Latin jazz. He is the perfect example of how an enlightened artist can transcend various genres creating something that floats above it all. He is a Cuban immigrant who is not just breaking down barriers, he is showing that diversity is an essential part of moving humanity forward. Repertoire includes Rachmaninoff, Piano Concert No. 2 and the premiere of Esperanza (Hope). Upon waking after 11 days in the ICU recovering from COVID-19, the melody came to Nachito.
MINNESOTA’S OWN. November 21, 2021 KEVIN KLING, Special Guest
This program will be a musical tribute to Minnesota. We will showcase the creations of two MN composers, Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus. Between each musical selection, internationally renowned MN storyteller, Kevin Kling, will share his literary genius including his original narration for Benjamin Britten’s, Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
THE WSO CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH. FEBRUARY 27, 2022 BRUCE HENRY, Jazz vocalist/Historian
Our soloist for this program will be Jazz vocalist and African American historian, Bruce Henry. With his help, we will provide a musical overview of the African American musical voice from
1750 – 2020 including symphonies, spirituals, gospel and leading composers of the Harlem Renaissance, Duke Ellington and William Grant Still. We finish with Umoja written by Valerie Coleman, declared Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman of the Year.
WHY DO ANIMALS SING? May 1, 2022 DAVID ROTHENBERG, Musician/Author/ Composer/Philosopher
David Rothenberg has written several books including Why Birds Sing, Bug Music, Thousand Mile Song. He has played his amplified clarinet underwater with whales, with nightingales in Berlin and traveled the world speaking on the subject of the musical connection between humans and animals. Between all pieces, he will share his expertise and recordings of bees, birds and whales, providing fascinating connections to human music. We have commissioned him to write a piece for this concert based on our State Bird, the Loon. The piece is entitled Loon Asylum because that is what you call a group of loons.
Thank you to all of you that continued to support us during the pandemic. We are excited to resume full rehearsals in September, and look forward to seeing you at our concerts this season!
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, concerts of all kinds.
But even though live performances have come to a halt, Facebook and YouTube feature a smorgasbord of virtual offerings that remind us of human creativity that knows no bounds. In order to create these musical jewels, one needs resourcefulness, diligence, confidence, hard work, problem solving, flexibility and discipline. ALL of these skills are learned through the study of music. Is it any wonder that musicians can create these amazing things?!
I am sad though because, just this week, the WSO board decided to cancel the remainder of our concerts for this season – a heartbreak because it means we won’t be able to perform together as the WSO family or collaborate with fantastic soloists – Nachito Herrera, Osmo Vänskä and Erin Keefe.
But, the good news is that we are merely postponing these collaborations until it is safe to perform together and for our loyal audience once again.
The human need for music is self-evident. Music will never stop.
Until I can see all of you again…