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children’s programming

This tag is associated with 22 posts

Concert Roundup Part Eleventy

No, seriously, I have no idea how many of these I’ve done and checking is cheating. Here are some concerts happening this week. You should go to one. Several, even.

  • For example, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has something interesting going on — a Richard Einhorn vocal piece called The Passion of Joan of Arc that scores a 1928 silent film of the same name. This is movie music of a different kind. March 3 at Strathmore; March 2 & 4 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Oh, man. First the BSO tries to convince me of Mozart’s genius; now the National Symphony Orchestra is corrupting the children with “The Mozart Experience” and the Magical Circle Mime Company. They’ve resorted to mimes, people. Mimes! You know who else was a mime? Salieri in a face mask. But fine, fine, go ahead and broaden your kid’s cultural horizons. See if I care. March 4. [ See it! ]
  • Or if you prefer your music of the chamber persuasion, NSO music director and in this case pianist Christoph Eschenbach gets his Schubert on with the assistance of baritone Matthias Goerne in the song cycle Winterreise on March 5. [ See it! ]
  • A smattering of upcoming Strathmore performances: a Weimar Cabaret singer and orchestra; a solo pianist; a solo violinist. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

Concert Roundup: The Beginning

Hello and welcome to the first concert roundup of 2012! Are you seated comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

  • This week at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, ITZHAK MOTHEREFFIN’ PERLMAN IN THE HOOOOOOOOOOOOOUSE! He’ll be conducting (and apparently playing, but I’m not sure on which pieces) the “Winter” and “Summer” portions of Vivaldi‘s Four Seasons plus Mozart‘s Symphony No. 25 and Brahms‘ Symphony No. 4. But who cares? It’s ITZHAK MOTHEREFFIN’ PERLMAN. January 12 & 15 at the Meyerhoff; January 14 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • Meanwhile, over at the National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Hannu Lintu (remember him? Boy was he mad) leads violinist Leila Josefowicz and company in Debussy‘s Preludes, a piece by Mackey, and the Sibelius Symphony No. 5. Mm, Debussy. January 12 – 14. [ See it! ]
  • Or if you prefer to cater to your small children, ya weirdo, the NSO is offering two children’s concerts this weekend. One is about a bear who likes to wear hats while listening to Haydn, apparently (January 14), while the other features a cellist who likes linking music to language (January 15). My money’s on the dress-up teddy bear, but to each their own. [ See the bear! ] [ See the cellist! ]
  • Reader Pam Burovac informed me that the Seattle Philharmonc was performing on January 15. What she did not tell me was that the program includes Beethoven‘s sixth symphony. Also some stuff by Miller and Strauss and Handel‘s Music for the Royal Fireworks but let’s not lose sight of what’s important here: BEETHOVEN. [ See it! ]

Concert Roundup 2: This Time It’s Not Concert Roundup 1

This title brought to you by Dangeresque. So you’re gonna have to jump.

Which should totally get you in the mood for this week’s concerts:

  • This week at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra we have everyone’s favorite oratorio, Handel‘s Messiah! As if you would ever not desperately want to go to that. Please. Edward Polochick not only conducts, but also plays the harpsichord, and the solo singers are accompanied by the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale. For unto us a child is born! December 2 & 3 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Or, if you’d rather spend your Saturday morning straight chillin’ with your inner child, the BSO is also offering a children’s concert featuring Rheda Becker narrating Cinderella to Prokofiev‘s ballet score. Helping her out will be Bob Brown Puppets. Yes. Puppets. But not the scary kind. I don’t think. The look perfectly harmless in the picture and none of them are clowns, so you should be okay. [ See it! ]
  • Over at the National Symphony Orchestra, they have Midori. ‘Nuff said. Wait, you want more said? Well, she’s playing a Britten violin concerto, plus there will be a new Golijov piece and the first Shostakovich symphony. Christoph Eschenbach conducts. Hey, NSO, you don’t want to send me some tickets, do you? I think you should. December 1 through 3. [ See it! ]
  • “Are you ready for something new?” asks @TerpsMusic. I am. I am ready. And for free, no less! The University of Maryland music program is presenting a concert of original works by UMD students. Just think — someday you might be able to say you heard them when! Tonight, November 30. [ See it! ]

Concert Roundup and the Sundance Kid

Good morning, collective sunshine! It’s… well, it’s rainy and uniformly gray over here. And it’s supposed to be cold over the weekend, which is why you’ll want to forgo any sort of outdoor activity and stay within the safe confines of the concert hall. Take your pick:

  • This week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra puts on quite a production with an old school-style oratorio by Arthur HonnegarJoan of Arc. Marin Alsop is at the podium for this vocal and orchestral production, with Caroline Dhavernas in the title role. It promises to be quite a spectacle. November 17 & 18 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Over at the National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Christoph Eschenbach has put together a program featuring Leonidas Kavakos playing the famous Brahms violin concerto and, more importantly, Beethoven‘s sixth symphony, the “Pastoral.” I practically cut my classical teeth on the “Pastoral;” great stuff. November 17 – 19. [ See it! ]
  • Although this alternative NSO family concert aimed at kids sounds so interesting that I really wish I were a small child again (this, admittedly, is not the only reason). NSO musician Glenn Donnellan made an electric violin out of a Louisville Slugger. How cool is that? So cool that he’s going to play Van Halen on it. Well, also Vivaldi and what have you. November 19. [ See it! ]

A great big squash just sat upon my hat!

And now it’s time for Classy Songs with Larry.

Fun fact: this  piece of music once cost Richard Strauss a Whole Bunch of Money. “Funiculi, Funicula” was written by Luigi Denza in 1880, but when Strauss heard it, he assumed it had to be an old, traditional Italian folk tune. So he went ahead and wrote it into his Aus Italien and, naturally, Denza sued. And won royalties! But apparently Schoenberg got to use it for a string quartet scot-free; how’s that for favoritism?

I don’t much care for children(‘s concerts)

Hi! Allow me to tell you a story of my childhood.

When I was in, oh, I think it was fifth grade, my music class took a field trip to see a children’s matinee at a symphony; it might have been the BSO, actually (in which case, please remember that my issue in this tale is not with the musicians. Love ya, BSO!). On the program that day was Copland’s Rodeo, or at least the finale.

Since no one can put together a children’s program without inserting some kind of hook, an artist was brought out before the Rodeo segment. She had a great big easel over which was thrown a big pad of black paper, and assorted chalks. It was announced that, as the orchestra played, this artist would draw what she saw in the music. I distinctly remember thinking: oh, this should be interesting!

It was NOT interesting. It was LIES.

The orchestra played Rodeo, which, if you aren’t aware, is a ballet about cowboys and cowgirls. The artist drew, in various traditional Old West scenes, cowboys and cowgirls. So what you’re telling me, artist lady, is that what YOU see in the music just happens to coincide with the precise plot of the orchestrated ballet? Lies.

I am STILL bitter about this, and here’s why: even as a fifth grader, I was not an idiot. I knew when I was being patronized. And yet somehow, at every children’s concert I attended, I felt like the organizers couldn’t tell the difference between fifth graders and idiots.

I’ll admit that the fact that I was brought up with classical music probably colored my perspective on these matters. I didn’t need actors making up some stupid story to correspond with Beethoven’s sixth to love it, but then I already knew it — maybe others needed the story to hook their interest.

We talked last week about whether and why classical music is dying, and many hit upon the question of how to properly interest younger generations in the genre. If the adults in charge are still talking down to the kids in the audience, I don’t know what good it will do. But then maybe the quality of children’s programming has improved. Or maybe I’ve always been oversensitive and it’s fine the way it is. Somebody educate me!

Go through my pockets and search for loose change


I’m sick.

I’ve been sick since I got back from Orlando.

Clearly I need to stop leaving Orlando. It disagrees with me.

Your BSO concerts this week are Big Band Hit Parade and Beethoven: A Musical Hero for the kids.

Okay, back to laying on the couch popping aspirin and watching “Better Off Ted” on Netflix.

Aren’t you a little short for a guard?

The bows are back in town! Yup, the second half of the BSO season starts this week, and they’ve chosen to tempt karma by kicking it off with John Williams’ Star Wars suite. Come on, guys. Aim higher.

Luckily they counterbalance it with the Phillip Glass piece Icarus at the Edge of Time, which is based on a children’s book by physicist Brian Greene. Why, when I was a little kid I loved learning about physics. No, wait, that’s an enormous lie. Happily, the story is about “a young boy’s accidental adventure to a black hole.” Oh, okay, that I can get on board with. Very Star Trek, no? (Scoff not — instead go listen to Jerry Goldsmith’s Voyager theme. Beautiful.)

The program also features Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Ceres, and there are LOTS of expository videos on the concert pages. There are performance on Friday, January 14 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff, Saturday, January 15 at 8 pm at Strathmore, and Sunday, January 16 at 3 pm at the Meyerhoff. Wear your wax wings.

Updated to add: DISCOUNT!

12-Hour Sale, 50% Off Tickets!

The madness begins TOMORROW (Wednesday, January 12) at 6 p.m. and ends Thursday, January 13 at 6 a.m.!

Login to BSOmusic.org using Promo Code 14514 during these 12 hours to purchase your discounted tickets to Star Wars plus Icarus at the Edge of Time. You must login before adding tickets to your cart to view discounted ticket price. This offer is for online purchases only.

Mo’ music

I feel like the quality of my titles is deteriorating.

No matter! This week’s concert is a BSO SuperPops event, featuring “the cool sounds of Motown presented live and with jive by one of today’s hottest and most talented vocal groups.” I know very little of Motown, but if it’s half as fun as it is to say “live and with jive” I can get on board with it. Also, the hot and talented vocal group is Spectrum. Here they are:

Snazzy, no? Makes me want to put on one of those coats. Then I would add a fedora and some black character heels, and I would dance around while singing “Get Happy” like an extra-glitzy Judy Garland in Summer Stock.

More rational human beings, however, will probably be content with watching Spectrum do their own shiny coat thing. Opportunities abound:

Oh, and you have small children/an affinity for Saint-Saens and/or puppetry, there’s a Carnival of the Animals family concert on April 24 at 11 am at the Meyerhoff. Spoiler: the swan is dying.

Forgive me a fit of nostalgia

The BSO has an upcoming family concert entitled Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. Now, everyone knows I am not Mozart’s biggest fan, but this one has me super excited because it’s part of the Classical Kids franchise.

I am always amazed when I discover classical musicians who are unfamiliar with these titles, and yet I encounter so many. Although clearly they’ve branched out, they at least originated as sorts of “radio plays” that taught the stories of great classical composers. Guys, I grew up on Classical Kids. Seriously. My parents used to play them on long car rides to make me sit quietly, and on I think it was Saturday mornings (or maybe Sunday?) the old classical music station WGMS would air one.

Okay, they were heinously apocryphal – although the details of the composers life were accurate, the stories themselves were works of fiction – but you couldn’t ask for a better way to be introduced to scads of classical music all at once. I would not know Mozart’s The Magic Flute a quarter so well as I do now if not for the Classical Kids version, even if it was translated into English and even if they did add some time-traveling kid and a tiny dragon. The point is, the music was stamped into my brain, and I’m fairly certain that’s precisely the point of the whole program.

I don’t know how many new titles have been developed since I was little, but the ones I remember featured the aforementioned version of The Magic Flute, Renaissance music, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Tchaikovsky, and of course, my old friend Beethoven.

Indeed, Beethoven Lives Upstairs was unanimously voted by my family as the best (it was even made into a TV movie). And so, when I heard about the BSO’s Classical Kids concert, I was plunged into a fit of nostalgia and immediately hightailed it to iTunes to download away. It was there, thankfully, and I’m quite giddily looking forward to listening to it at the gym tonight (this may be one of the music-geekiest things I have ever typed). The only thing that makes me sad is that none of the other tracks appear to be available. Maybe I can locate them by some other means.

Regardless, they obviously work. The Classical Kids programs, I mean. I remember being engaged in the story and the music, but I never felt talked down to, as I feel bad children’s music programming sometimes does. Even my parents enjoyed them.

So if you have a small and impressionable child, I encourage you to take them to see Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. It’s on Saturday, January 30, at 11 am at the Meyerhoff, and as always the BSO Family Fun Zone starts up at 10 am. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Hmmm. I may have to perform some more in depth reviews of my old favorites. I’ll see how my beloved Beethoven story has held up over time.

P. S. Classical Kids people, you don’t have a Wikipedia page that I could find. What’s up with that?