Monday, February 27, 2006

Youngstown Treats

This weekend we played Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra in Youngstown, OH. The Beethoven is one of the only pieces written for piano trio (that's what we are) as concerto soloists with orchestra, so it's always a special treat for us to play it. It's definitely a rush to have an entire symphony orchestra behind you backing you up.

There were many special treats in store for us in Youngstown. First of all, somebody at the symphony clearly has a flair for the dramatic. We've already noted the limos that drove us around all weekend. When we arrived at the hall for the concert, all of the stage hands were decked out in 3 piece suits (black t-shirts and jeans is more the norm). The Symphony performs in an old Warner Brothers movie house turned gorgeous renovated theater, complete with lots of those old style dressing rooms with the make-up lights that heat the rooms to 100 degrees. (Call me a diva, but I've gotta say those bright, even lights on both sides sure beat standard issue restroom flourescents when you're trying to paint your face!)

It was also a very special treat to collaborate with the Youngstown Symphony and their conductor / music director, Isaiah Jackson. An example: the slow movement of the Beethoven starts with a gorgeous cello solo that sings, but in a personal, confiding sort of a way. (After Julie plays this solo, I'm often so moved it takes a big effort to refocus and make my next entrance.) It is very easy for the orchestral accompaniment to drown out this intimate melody, so in a rehearsal Isaiah wisely pulled out an old conductor trick: he walked out to the audience and asked the orchestra to play with Julie without his guidance. They did so beautifully, following and supporting her, and it was a wonderful example of how music with 40 performers can still be chamber music.

The most special treats during our trip to Youngstown were our very special guests. Because we had a couple of days off and then spent a couple of days rehearsing and performing with the orchestra, our stay in Youngstown was longer than usual... long enough for Donna's husband Kai Yu and Julie's boyfriend Aaron to fly out... YAY!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home