In recent days I’ve seen oboist Phil Ross, percussionist Will James, violinists Wendy Plank Rosen, Kristin Ahlstrom and Jessica Cheng, double bassist Chris Carson, English horn player Cally Banham, and I’ve engaged in email conversations with violists Beth Guterman Chu and Jonathan Chu, clarinet player Scott Andrews, horn player Thomas Jöstlein, violinist Erin Schreiber, and concertmaster David Halen. This means the summer festivals are over and the musicians are beginning to return home to St. Louis–a delightful harbinger of the new season. When they all get together next week for rehearsals they’ll look something like this:
Second violinist Andrea Jarrett goes north of the border to French-speaking Quebec and sends lots of pics.
“OK, so I tried to narrow it down as much as I could–here are my favorite photos from the summer!
Next and final Postcard Thursday of the summer: Bass clarinetist Tzuying Huang
The Powell Hall chandeliers have been lowered for ease of cleaning. Many crystals, much bronze to be made bright and shiny for another season. It’s one of my favorite summer events. It’s so special that former STL Symphony Resident Conductor and current Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Ward Stare and his friend Anna came to town to give my chandelier photos a sense of scale. Ward returns in December to conduct music from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, with Concertmaster David Halen as violin soloist, and Act II from The Nutcracker.
In a recent blog post I talked about the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra program Mentoring the Music: Peer to Peer. YO cellist Julie Holzen–moving into her college life at Oberlin this week–and Lutheran High North student Tieryn Minor piloted the program during the 15/16 season. Videographer Nicola Muscroft spent some time with them this spring and produced this video.
If you’ve been by Powell Hall recently you may have noticed that it’s been getting a nice spritzing. There’s been a lot of projects, big and small, that have been happening inside and outside of the 91-year-old building this summer. By the time Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone arrives, Powell Hall will be ready. Those of us who work inside…as ready as we’ll ever be.
Violist Chris Tantillo has been on Colorado hiking trails and golf courses, on a Missouri lake and at Busch Stadium, among other places, this summer. Here’s his summer-vacation report:
“So far, I’ve had a very fun and relaxing summer. I mainly stuck around St. Louis, teaching my students, but was able to get out of town a few times as well. My wife Rebecca and I took a trip to Denver, where we hiked some trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, explored the area and went to some fantastic restaurants.
“I went back to Denver a second time with some friends and colleagues for our annual Mancation golfing extravaganza.
“We also spent many weekends swimming and kayaking in Innsbrook, MO, where my in-laws have a lake house.
“And of course, Rebecca and I went to a few Cardinals games, which are always a blast!”
Next Postcard Thursday: Second violinist Andrea Jarrett
Amidst all the social-media and just plain media responses to the Nelly-with-the-Symphony announcement on Tuesday, my favorite came from via Lindsay Toler on stlmag.com. She pulled this blurb from Billboard, describing the Nelly concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony: “‘Hot In Herre’ sounded exactly like you would expect ‘Hot In Herre’ to sound with an orchestra: perfect in every way…No one was in their seat. It didn’t matter if they ‘didn’t like rap’ or had ‘never been to a symphony before.’ It was what can only be described as very, very lit.”
So if you’re wondering “suit or sweat” at Powell Hall in February, it’s going to be a lot of both.
In March St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra cellist Julie Holzen wrote a Playbill article about her experience as a musical mentor to Tieryn Minor, a freshman at Lutheran North High School and a member of an IN UNISON Church. Holzen and Minor practiced together. Holzen shared her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. Minor took the stage with the YO in rehearsals and performed on the February On Stage at Powell Concert. You can read Julie’s article here, which gives her insights into the first year pilot of the YO’s Mentoring the Music: Peer-to-Peer program.
Julie is going on to her first semester at Oberlin this fall. She, Tieryn, and STL Symphony Associate Principal Cello Melissa Brooks got together for some work in the Powell Hall Green Room the other day. Afterward, Melissa was effusive about the program and about Tieryn’s music-making. Tieryn’s eager for her next YO Peer-to-Peer Mentor in the coming season.
You get people who care about people and who care about music, put them together, you find stories to live on.
For those of you who remember the time Paul McCartney sold out Busch Stadium with his former band, you may also remember a summer concert festival known as the Mississippi River Festival, 1969-80. The St. Louis Symphony was central to that festival, which not only featured the orchestra but some legendary rock & roll acts, including the Doors, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and the Who.
In its very first season, the festival got extraordinarily lucky when Bob Dylan showed up to play with the Band. It was Dylan’s first live appearance since his motorcycle accident–an event that figures prominently in Dylan lore.
We’ve been going through old files this summer and this popped up recently. Peter Pastreich, who was managing director of the Symphony (he went on to do many big things in the orchestra industry) wrote Dylan a thank-you note.
It would be impossible for me to express what a great lift you gave the Mississippi River Festival. Your appearance on the stage with The Band was the most exciting moment I can remember. It was a very great pleasure having you with us.
Needless to say, we would love to have you back at next summer’s Mississippi River Festival. If there is any way this could be possible, I hope you will let me know.
In any case, please accept our warm thanks and affection.
Pastreich probably knew that the odds for lighting striking twice were long–Dylan goes where Dylan goes–but he gave it a shot. And Pastreich followed in a tradition we maintain at the St. Louis Symphony–we know the importance of saying “Thanks.”
Jeffrey Strong of the St. Louis Symphony trumpet section takes us on a hiking trip in California mountain country.
“My wife Maggie and I took a 20-day road trip with our dog, Archer, to California this summer and spent about a week hiking in Mammoth Lakes. We had stops in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Denver. It was great to see so much of our beautiful country, and we met some great people along the way.
“I’m currently spending my time training for the upcoming MO Cowbell Half Marathon, which takes place in St. Charles, and getting my music ready for the orchestra season to come.
“We are playing a lot of Beethoven this year, so I’ve been re-reading Lockwood’s books, Beethoven Symphonies: An Artistic Vision and Beethoven: The Music and the Life. I include a picture of our new kitten, Tiger, checking out the September repertoire on my white board.
“I’m very excited for this season, especially the September 23 concert when Karin Bliznik and I get to play Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Trumpets in C major. This season should be a blast! (Pun definitely intended.)”
Next Postcard Thursday: violist Chris Tantillo.