Music is all about people - composers, performers, the audience. These presentations will focus on particular people and their contributions or associations with classical music.
Classical music composers, conductors and performers – even the great ones – are human beings. They have their likes and dislikes just like all of us. The great ones have some very high opinions of themselves, and low opinions of most others or things they dislike. This session will present the opinions, the likes and dislikes of several experts (mavens) in the classical music field. You will be given a chance to agree or disagree with the opinions of the great ones and put them in their place.
Conductor, Teacher, Performer, Composer
Leonard Bernstein was perhaps the most influential person in the music world in the 20th century. He left his mark in many different aspects of music. He has left a legacy to us in both the classical and orchestral music world as well as with popular and jazz music. This session will explore many aspects of this remarkable man.
The Broadway musical and motion picture West Side Story is perhaps Bernstein’s greatest legacy. As a musical work it includes elements of opera, jazz and Latin American styles. It is a tragedy, a modernization of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Yet it is full of energy, great choreography and even some comic scenes. Bernstein’s music captures it all. This session will present the music and drama from different performances and genres, including some clips of Bernstein conducting it himself.
Danny Kaye was one of the most talented and gifted entertainers of all time. He acted, sang, danced, told jokes and funny stories on the stage, in movies and on television. Yet he could not read a note of music! In this presentation you will see him conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra where he will exhibit all his talents with performances of several classical favourites. On top of all this, Danny Kaye was a wonderful humanitarian. We will learn a lot from him.
Classical music is often characterized by the “heavy hitters” in the lineup – Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, for example. However, much like a baseball team, there are many good players or composers who have contributed in lesser roles and still have produced some great work. You will be surprised to learn and hear who is in this “minor league” lineup and the music they have composed. “Let’s play (ball) music!”
We live in a time when disabled people are given every opportunity and encouraged to participate in activities the same way as able bodied persons. Often a person with a disability does something outstanding that leaves you wondering whether there was a disability at all. The classical music world has several examples of this – where a disabled person rises to the very top. This presentation includes both disabled performers and composers whose work can be considered the best in the world.
That title is a line from a popular song from 1941. It tells you that George Gershwin’s influence on music lasted well beyond his untimely death in 1937. Gershwin’s legacy to the musical world includes not only popular tunes, but jazz, opera and classic orchestral compositions as well. In this presentation you will hear his “Fascinatin’ Rhythms” when we “Strike Up The Band”. “I’m On My Way” to making this a great presentation. ’S Wonderful.
Youth orchestras around the world know Leroy Anderson’s music very well. As part of their learning process they have mastered and performed many of his works. In addition, popular Anderson tunes remain in vogue today. Many distinguished music professionals maintain that Anderson’s compositions are on a par with the great classical masters. But most of all, Anderson’s music is fun.
Gustav Mahler was one of the greatest conductors of orchestral music and opera, and he composed incredible symphonies. But when you follow his personal life, you will see that it was very much like a soap opera with all its ups and downs. His symphonic works mirror that soap opera element. Mahler had one life to live, but he was young and restless during the days of his life and his music reflects that. You will see that he was a real guiding light. This program is both bold and beautiful.
Are the musicals by R&H really considered part of the repertoire of classical music? In many respects they are. They are classics in that they are so enduring. Every year there are revivals of their musicals that are as popular as ever, to say nothing of the repeat presentations of the movie versions. R&H changed many of the characteristics of the traditional American musical and their shows often conveyed an important social message. Much like good opera, they are always great to hear.
The first half of the 20th century was a terrible time for Europe with 2 world wars and many revolutions. Many talented composers, particularly Jewish composers, fled coming to the United States, particularly to Hollywood, where they continued to compose music for the rapidly growing entertainment and motion picture industry. This program will present the works of a number of these talented composers, who took their traditions and classical training and applied them to modern American music.
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