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Concert Roundup IS Holiday Pops

I swear I’m not really this cynical; I LOVE the holiday season! But it makes me giggle, the way the concerts all seem to match up at the same time. 🙂

  • You’re going to be so super-incredibly surprised when I tell you what the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert is about this week! Why, it’s a Holiday Pops performance! NO! This one promised carols, handbells, and Santa Claus, so if those are your collective bag, you better grab some tickets. Don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities: December 12 at Strathmore; December 13, 14, 15 & 16 at the Meyerhoff. There’s even a ticketed post-concert reception after the second show on December 14 if that would interest you. [ See it! ] [ Reception! ]
  • Ooh! Ooh! And! You’ll never guess what this week’s National Symphony Orchestra concert is about! Why, it’s Happy Holiday Pops! This one promises carols and Santa Claus but no handbells (which is not to say that there won’t be any, they just didn’t promise them), although if I’m reading the description properly maybe there’ll be snow? Nifty! December 13 – 16. [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: fiddler Mark O’Connor, klezmer, Mannheim Steamroller, a production of The Nutcracker, jazz holiday music; really just a ton of seasonal stuff. Check it out [ See the calendar! ]

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


I Coulda Been a Concert Roundup

Because the BSO is playing Bernstein’s On the Waterfront, and… shut up.

  • But first, talking! As the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra website says: “Learn about Leonard Bernstein‘s ‘Kaddish’ Symphony from BSO Maestra Marin Alsop in discussion with Chazzan Emanuel Perlman of Chizuk Amuno Congregation. Program is followed by a Q & A session and a light dessert reception.” Plus everyone who attends gets a 20% discount on the “Kaddish” concert. AND you get dessert. Win-win. September 19 at the Gordon Center as far as I can tell. [ See it! ]
  • Like I said, the BSO starts off its regular season with, oh, what’s that guys name? Oh yeah; Gil Shaham, playing the Barber violin concerto. No biggie. Also Bernstein‘s On the Waterfront symphonic suite and Copland‘s third symphony. September 20 & 21 at the Meyerhoff; September 22 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • The NSO says: wait for it…
  • This week at Strathmore: a viola and guitar duo. Not even gonna try to sell that one (oh, I kid ’cause I love). [ See the calendar! ]

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

A Concert Roundup Carol

Looking for some respite from the relentless holiday cheer? Well, you’re not getting any. Suck it up, Mr. Scrooge.

  • Speaking of Mr. Scrooge, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra premiers a musical version of A Christmas Carol this week, from the composer of the ever-popular Too Hot to Handel Bob Christianson, whom I believe will be there. The Baltimore City College Choir joins a handful of soloists in all your favorite roles, from Tiny Tim to an assortment of chronology-obsessed ghosts. December 16 & 17 at the Meyerhoff. Oh, and there’s a party afterward. [ See it! ] [ Party time! ]
  • Miss the BSO’s Messiah last week? No problem — this week the National Symphony Orchestra tackles Handel’s Christmas oratorio. This one has different people — like the University of Maryland Concert Choir — and is in D.C. instead of Baltimore, but I’m pretty sure the basic principle is the same. [ See it! ]

Stop! Gala time!

Hold the phones! Stop the presses! This is no time for LOLs!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have done it — thanks to the sweet, sweet PR head over at everyone’s favorite Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, I have procured tickets not only to the BSO’s season-opening gala concert on Saturday, but I’m also getting into the following dessert reception. With the orchestra. And Hilary. Hahn. (She doesn’t quite warrant a mothereffin’ a la Itzhak but she definitely deserves double punctuation.)

How did I finagle this? Why, I promised that I’d live-tweet the whole reception, of course. Duh.

So you had best be glued to your Twitter feed come, oh, say, 10 pm? The concert’s at 8:30, so I’m going to guess 10 pm. I’ll tell you who I see, who I hear, and who I’m too scared to talk to who I squeaked out a “hello” to and then ran away from. That’s the kind of sparkling content you can expect.

#bsogala is your hashtag; I don’t know if I’ll be the only one using it but you’ll get more comprehensive coverage if I’m not, so win-win. DO NOT FORGET. Follow me on Twitter NOW.

Is anyone else going to be there?

Oil can! Oil can!

Got some interesting news in my email the other day:

Dust off your instruments, start practicing and mark Tuesday, September 20 on your calendars! Music Director Marin Alsop and the musicians of the BSO invite you to perform with the BSO on stage at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

This once in a lifetime opportunity, led by Maestra Alsop, will feature the following repertoire:

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture
Bizet: Selections from Carmen Suite No. 2: Habanera and Danse bohème

Check out this YouTube clip of our very first “Rusty Musicians” event!

Deadline has been extended to Friday, September 2. Space is limited and very few remain for winds and brass.

Click here to sign up now!

This program has proven super popular in the past — I still sometimes get hits to former posts on the subject — so if you’re on the fence, I say hop it. You’ll have fun. Personally, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet is the one piece of his that I could stand never to hear again, but most people like it, and Carmen is always welcome here.

Oh, and I have good news and bad news. Bad news first: you still have to be 25 or older to participate. Good news: general admission to the concert is free this year! It’s $50 to register, though; if you make it, let me know! There’ll be an interview in the offing if you’re willing.

For your anticipation

The BSO summer season is over, but before we let them fly free on their weeks of hiatus, here are some upcoming season facts and events so that you can be prepared:

So there you have it — everything you need to ready yourself in the coming weeks. If you want to know more about the upcoming season but don’t feel like messing around with the BSO web site, here’s the post I did with a rundown of all this season’s concerts. Wait, scratch that. All this season’s concerts that I think look interesting.

Now that there are no BSO concerts for me to hype for a few weeks, you can all look forward to a bunch of posts featuring My Thoughts And Opinions. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Have you ever noticed that the national anthem is one big question?

Well? Can you see?

Never mind; I’ll tell you what you can hear this weekend, courtesy of the ever-stalwart BSO and their “Star-Spangled Spectacular.” On Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 at Oregon Ridge, it’s a Standard Patriotic Concert, featuring Tchaikovsky’s The 1812 Overture (which I still love so shut it) and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever (I was once spoiled by James Galway playing the piccolo part; it will never be the same to me again). Seating? Bring a blanket and camp out on the lawn. Rustic! Fireworks to follow.

If you prefer the authenticity of watching your Fourth of July concert on the actual Fourth of July, get thee to Germantown for Germantown Glory (note: this is not, in fact, a town belonging to me). Gloryous activities start at 6 pm, but the important part — the concert — begins at 8 pm. The program is described as “a musical salute to America” which I am reading as “more or less the same thing.” Again, fireworks to follow — and as far as I can tell from the press release, the whole thing’s free.

Okay, great! Once again I have taken care of your holiday plans. You’re welcome.

Give money, get music

Oh, this is interesting. Got an email from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra:

Make a gift of $75 or more to get access for two people to the Donor Appreciation Concert on June 18th.  Donors of $250 or more receive four complimentary seats.

Join us at this year’s Donor Appreciation Concert as the BSO shares the stage with members of the BSO Academy Orchestra. As one of our valued Members, you will have the exclusive opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the BSO’s groundbreaking initiatives.  Be one of the few who will have the chance to experience Maestra Marin Alsop leading the Academy’s culminating concert featuring symphonic favorites by Bernstein, Ravel, Mahler, Rimsky-Korsakov and Hindemith. For more information on the concert, click here.

Become a Beethoven level Member ($150) and enhance your concert-going experience with two complimentary drink vouchers.

Ticket sales cover only 40% of our annual operating costs.  Your gift will help us balance our budget and reach our remaining Annual Fund goal of $150,000 by August 31st!

To discover more ways your support will enhance lives in local communities, please visit our “Case for Music.”

Make a gift to the BSO today!

I checked out the concert, and they’re offering some Ravel, some Hindemith, a Mahler symphony, AND: Berstein’s Overture to Candide AND: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol! And if  you give them $150 they’ll also give you alcohol? What a deal! Man, I wish I had that kind of money to drop. Does anyone wanna go splitsies with me?

Youthful bias and Sibelius

This week’s BSO concert is entitled “Gomyo Plays Sibelius,” on account of because violinist Karen Gomyo will play the Sibelius violin concerto. To which I say: sigh.

I may have told this story already, but way back in eight grade my middle school county orchestra took a field trip to see a BSO concert wherein no less a luminary as Pinchas Zukerman played the Sibelius violin concerto. He did it beautifully — for a very very very very long time, with stops to retune. Boy did my mind wander. Why is it part of standard soloist repertory again? (I’m sure someone well tell me, in chastising tones. Stay tuned.)

In fairness, I was a mere eighth grader at the time. I may have even still counted Beethoven’s sixth symphony as my favorite, and I now know that the seventh is clearly superior. Tastes change. You should probably make up your own mind, and you can do so on Friday, May 27 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff or Saturday, May 28 at 8 pm at Strathmore.

Carlos Kalmar will conduct, and the program also includes Mahler’s What the Wild Flowers Tell Me (arr. by Britten, Bek!) and Walton’s first symphony. And then you can take a nice nap during the Sibelius, no?

Don’t forget — the Decorators’ Show House closes at the end of May. There are fancy things to buy, people.

I’ve got no strings to hold me down

Okay, let’s say you’re a joyless curmudgeon and Rodgers and Hammerstein just isn’t your thing. Looks like your entire weekend is free. Do you mind if I suggest an alternative? An alternative I’m in? An original ballet version of Pinocchio? At the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly, Maryland? Two showings at 3:30 and 7:30 pm? Tickets max out at like twelve bucks a pop? Here’s the Facebook event? I’m a marionette? Twice? (I demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.)

Whether you can come or not, I’ve dreamed up a little exercise for you. Below you will find two lists. One represents a very small selection of scenes from the Ballet Academy‘s production of Pinocchio. The other lists all the corresponding music for the show. The music has been shuffled, and it is YOUR job to figure out which piece goes with which scene. I’ve provide YouTube links for the music to help. I’ll set aside two tickets to the showing of your choice if you can match them all. Not that I think anyone’ll take me up on it, but the offer stands!

Regardless, I’m challenging your ability to feel the music — can you tell what each piece has been matched to represent? GO!

The Scenes

  1. Pinocchio has a run-in with the police
  2. Stromboli’s puppet show: Tux and Gown
  3. Stromboli’s puppet show: Strongman
  4. Stromboli’s puppet show: White Corps ballerinas
  5. Pleasure Island: The donkey boys are put through their paces

The Music

  1. “Marionettes” from Scenes de ballet, by Glazunov
  2. Overture to Fra Diavolo, by Meyerbeer
  3. Armen’s Variation, by Khachaturian
  4. “Schottische” from Souvenirs, by Barber
  5. Poupee Valsante, by Kreisler & Rupp

See, there are only five! It’ll be easy! Just remember: always let your conscience be your guide.