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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 clarinetist in the SPCO. But, every single time I play or conduct this piece, I just cannot believe the brilliance of Beethoven. I always discover exciting new things. When I was a kid I wondered what all the Beethoven hoopla was about – I preferred Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Mozart – but as soon as I played my first Beethoven symphony I was hooked. In all fields, there are iconic figures who catapult us forward into brave new worlds. Beethoven was one of those figures.

His 5th symphony is a remarkable display of ingenious, ground-breaking creativity. I can’t wait to show some examples of that at our concert on Oct. 14.

One of my favorite soloists from the past 9 years is Manny Laureano, Principal Trumpet of MN Orchestra. Manny is a spirit-above-ego guy. It’s all about the music with Manny and how it connects to community. When I asked him to perform on our opening concert he immediately agreed and even suggested a piece – one he had premiered a couple years ago. Michael Gilbertson’s Trumpet Concerto opens with a 3-part trumpet fanfare – showcasing the skills of WSO trumpeters, Ben Alle and Miriam Dennis. The piece is full of beautiful melodies, driving rhythms, intriguing harmonies and lots of challenging technique for the entire ensemble.

Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man is the quintessential American piece – open, welcoming, powerful. It will be a great way to start the season.

And the Grand Finale? I hope you’ll be there as we include 100 string students from Wayzata High School and singers of the Edina Chorale to join us in performing the Ode To Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Happy Birthday to us!

2012-13 New Season!

Marlene’s Musings
August, 2012

MarleneWithClarinetI am excited about another WSO season, having been fueled by a wonderful summer of conducting and playing. For 25 years I have spent summers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming performing as part of the Grand Teton Music Festival. It’s a place where superb music making and majestic mountains inspire me to feel gratitude for the life I have. Musicians come from all over the country – New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit, Milwaukee, Colorado, just to name a few – to make music with life-long friends and to hike up arduous paths to crystalline mountain lakes. Donald Runnicles, in my opinion, one of the world’s great conductors, leads the orchestra. Each week is a different program, but a stand out for me this summer was a concert version of Wagner’s Die Walkure with soloists from the Met and Berlin Opera. Spellbinding!

In mid-July I flew home to conduct the showcase concert for The Young Artist World Piano Festival. A competition is held to choose winners to play with the orchestra. There are two categories: under 12-years-old and over 12-years-old. This year, the winner of the younger division was William Yang, the wunderkind who played with WSO in February 2012. He performed the 2nd and 3rd movements of Mozart’s most difficult concerto, K. 466. It was INCREDIBLE! The winner of the older division performed the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto in c minor (same brooding key as his 5th symphony, Coriolan Overture and Pathetique Sonata). The cadenza under the adroit musicianship of Evren Ozell had us all tearing up.

Then it was off to Brainerd for the Lakes Area Music Festival. This was my third year, the first two as clarinetist and this one as conductor and clarinetist. Unlike other festivals around the country this one pairs professional players from the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago Symphonies with freshly graduated musicians from Juilliard, Eastman School and Music, Rice University and others. It is somewhat similar to the Teton Festival in that musicians are brought to a gorgeous area and housed in lovely abodes, but this festival provides mentoring for the young and some humble pie for the old! You can imagine how delightful it is to conduct an orchestra made up of both.

Now I’m ready to tackle the huge amount of study required for the WSO’s fourth season.

mannylaureanowebresCheck out this line up of guest artists:

  • Manny Laureano, principal trumpet, MN Orchestra
  • ANCIA Saxohpone Quartet, Selmer and VanDoren sponsored soloists
  • Kaleena Miller, tap dancer extraordinaire whose group, Rhythmic Circus, will be performing in New York City for a couple months this season
  • Edina Chorale, Minnesota BoyChoir, Karin Wolverton, Gabriel Pressier – for our performance of Carmina Burana in Feb and March 2013

 

There will be a lot of familiar repertoire, some rarely performed jewels and a premiere or two.

I look forward to sharing the incomparable WSO experience with you.

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