Spreading the Dazzle Around

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Many of the St. Louis Symphony musicians who returned from New York on Saturday made their way back to Powell Hall on Sunday. They came to see and hear the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, whom many St. Louis Symphony musicians coach and teach, both as part of the YO Beyond Rehearsal program and privately. They heard Grant Riew and Hava Polinsky perform as soloists (Faure’s Elegy and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, respectively) as well as Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite and Marquez’s Danzon No. 2 for Orchestra. It was a sold-out house. Once again, the YO dazzled.

Hava Polinsky performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.
Hava Polinsky performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Many of you have seen the reviews that have already come in from New York documenting the dazzlement the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus left behind at Carnegie Hall Friday night. Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times wrote “the chorus entered, soft and calm yet changeable, like clouds moving past one another” during Meredith Monk’s WEAVE. The women of the chorus sang the third, Sirens, movement of Debussy’s Nocturnes. Woolfe wrote that they “brought filmy subtlety to the hovering vocal mist.”

One of those sirens, Patty Koflon, shared these thoughts of her Carnegie moments: “It was thrilling to sing at Carnegie Hall. I was surprised by the size of it … that it only holds approximately 121 more seats than Powell Hall, and that the configuration was more vertical (think sitting in the KC Royals stadium) as opposed to our more horizontal configuration. The audience was so very responsive to us and, due to what I presume is a huge Monk fan base on top of it, the atmosphere felt almost party-like.

“I loved some of the quirky things such as the sign leading onstage which reads: “Isaac Stern Auditorium Dedicated January 28, 1997 No Eating, Drinking or SMOKING On Stage.”

Sign of another era. No smoking on Carnegie stage.
Sign of another era. No smoking on Carnegie stage.

After WEAVE was performed, Kofron writes, “…as the chorus came off stage after performing the Monk, Ms. Monk was standing backstage and an impromptu receiving line formed whereby she greeted us individually as we approached her, shook our hands and made conversation. She is an extraordinarily kind and down-to-earth woman.”

Dazzle and down-to-earth is a nice descriptive pairing for the YO, St. Louis Symphony and Chorus. A final example, the dazzling down-to-earth chorus manager Susan Patterson, keeping her cool in a Carnegie rehearsal space.

Chorus manager Susan Patterson, standing, keeps her cool.
Chorus manager Susan Patterson, standing, keeps her cool.