Postcard Thursday

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Celeste Golden Boyer is not only an extraordinary violinist and the orchestra’s Second Associate Concertmaster, in recent years she’s become a remarkable photographer. In this week’s Postcard Thursday, you not only get to know some of what she’s been up to, but you get a view of her personal summer photo album. Here’s Celeste:

This summer has been all about family! Our oldest, Charlotte, just turned three!

Celeste 1She has a lovely new accessory for the summer, a big black boot, after taking a rather ambitious jump at the playground a couple weeks ago that ended in a broken foot.

Celeste 2Oh well. She is taking it like a champ, and we are getting ready for her birthday party this weekend–I get a little too carried away party planning!

Benjamin has started walking, which is a very exciting milestone around here! Nice to have him upright and ready to play with and “stand up” (literally and figuratively) to his sister!

Celeste 3 - Ben & sisterCeleste 4I have enjoyed working on my photography this summer. I have gotten the chance to take photos for lots of people, several of whom are my symphony colleagues! I have loved getting to take their professional head shots, photograph their new babies, and take portraits for young families in the orchestra!

Celeste 5There has been some violin activity–I promise! I just returned from Interlochen Arts Camp last week, where I had the position of Valade Concertmaster Fellow. I enjoyed teaching several young violinists, as well as sitting in on early morning orchestra rehearsals with conductor Josh Weilerstein and working with the students who were learning to play Beethoven 5, most of them for the first time! Of course, being away from the kiddos (and the hubby!) was challenging for this momma’s heart! We are so glad to be reunited, and are enjoying our summer together!

Celeste & FamilyFriday: We resume the STL Symphony Hot Picks for season 16/17 with No. 2!

Next Postcard Thursday: Principal Percussion Will James.

Hot Picks: No. 3

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A program deep in the American grain: John Adams’ The Chairman Dances, Korngold’s Violin Concerto, and Dvorak’s “From the New World” Symphony. It’s a program the Symphony musicians love from top to bottom.I love Adams’ Chairman Dances,” says first violinist Dana Edson Myers, “and really enjoy David Robertson’s electric interpretations.”

Gil Shaham. Photo by Luke Ratray.
Gil Shaham. Photo by Luke Ratray.

“I am really looking forward to having Gil Shaham play the Korngold Concerto with us,” says Associate Principal Cello Melissa Brooks. “He plays it better than anyone.” Double bassist Sarah Hogan Kaiser is also looking forward to playing with Shaham, “To me, [the Korngold] sounds like sweeping movie music. Gil is one of my favorite soloists that comes to town because I just love his playing, but he also seems like such a down-to-earth person and we have a great time making music with him.” The St. Louis Symphony has quite a history with Korngold’s Violin Concerto. The orchestra played the world premiere of the work with Jascha Heifetz at Kiel Opera House in 1947, the eminent Vladimir Golschmann conducting.

David Robertson conducts this New World Symphony weekend, January 13-15, 2017, which concludes with Dvorak’s musical response to his late 19th-century American sojourn, which included time the Bohemian composer spent in a Czech community in Iowa. Many American audiences hear the voices of their nation interpreted through a foreigner’s sensibility. Others may hear a foreigner’s longing for his homeland. Leonard Bernstein went so far as to describe the symphony’s famous “Goin’ Home” theme, often referred to as a “Negro spiritual,” as “a nice Czech melody by Dvorak.”

However you hear Dvorak’s Ninth, it is an evocative sonic message written from our soil and from our air. Cally Banham plays the enigmatc theme, and calls the “New World” Symphony “a piece¬† I hold closely to my heart, as it contains the most iconic solo written for my instrument, the English horn. Finding the right nuances in the solo is a challenge that lasts a whole career, and each performance is fulfilling in a different way.”

Flutist Jennifer Nitchman adds that it “has lots of second flute solos” too.

Thursday: A break from the Hot Pick Top 5 countdown because it’s Postcard Thursday with Celeste Golden Boyer.

399th Army Band

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The St. Louis Symphony was proud and honored to host the 399th Army Band from Ft. Leonard Wood on Friday. A group of 40+ soldiers arrived for an open rehearsal of the Music You Know: Storytelling concert, so were treated to David Robertson taking the orchestra through Bernstein’s Candide Overture,¬† Vitali’s Chaconne in G minor with STL Symphony violinist Celeste Golden Boyer, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and other popular works.

Before the show a group met with flutist Jennifer Nitchman, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army Field Band. She told them she was more the Private Benjamin type of soldier, a cultural reference that was lost on them. Maybe it streams on Netflix.

After the rehearsal there was lunch from Pappy’s, and then master class with the Symphony’s Will James, percussion, Ann Choomack, flute, and Jeffrey Strong, trumpet, making use of the stage at KDHX and a practice room at Jazz at the Bistro.

Director of Community Programs Maureen Byrne put it all together. Here are some pics.

399th Army Band
399th Army Band
STL Symphony flutist Jennifer Nitchman meets members of 399th.
STL Symphony flutist Jennifer Nitchman meets members of 399th.
STL Symphony Associate Principal Horn Thomas Jostlein meets a former student, Jeff Spenner. Spenner told me he drives from Ft. Leonard Wood to Powell Hall almost every weekend for a Symphony concert.
STL Symphony Associate Principal Horn Thomas Jostlein meets a former student, Jeff Spenner. Spenner told me he drives from Ft. Leonard Wood to Powell Hall almost every weekend for a Symphony concert.
In the foyer
In the foyer
Soldiers arrive for lunch and master class at the Stage @ KDHX.
Soldiers arrive for lunch and master class at the Stage @ KDHX.
Jazz on the stage
Jazz on the stage
Band members listen to colleagues.
Band members listen to colleagues.
STL Symphony trumpet player Jeffrey Strong gives some instruction.
STL Symphony trumpet player Jeffrey Strong gives some instruction.
Jeffrey Strong and STL Symphony piccolo player Ann Choomack with members of the 399th.
Jeffrey Strong and STL Symphony piccolo player Ann Choomack with members of the 399th.
Principal Percussion Will James talks with 399th drummers.
Principal Percussion Will James talks with 399th drummers.
Hats and sticks
Hats and sticks