Postcard Thursday

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Principal Harp Allegra Lilly shares a few pics and stories from the Summer of 15:

“This is kind of an in-between week for me, primarily consisting of packing up and road-tripping it back to St. Louis from Tanglewood by way of my parents’ home in Michigan. I’ve spent the last seven weeks substituting for the Boston Symphony’s principal harpist, Jessica Zhou, who was away on maternity leave.”

Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and Allegra Lilly
Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and Allegra Lilly

“The first a photo is of Bryn Terfel and me after a July 11 performance of the first act of Tosca. Bryn, who was as magnificent as always, must be just about the nicest guy in show business these days. That performance was also very special to me because my parents were able to make the trip out to Tanglewood and saw me perform with the BSO for the very first time. Plus, it was my father’s 76th birthday that weekend, and they just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on August 9th!”

Allegra and Tyler and Niagra Falls
Allegra and Tyler at Niagra Falls

“We ended up with just enough time to drive back to St. Louis and repack before I head to London for the BSO’s two-and-a-half-week European tour. My boyfriend Tyler and I managed to squeeze in a quick stop at Niagara Falls, which he (and our two guinea pigs) had never visited before, so I’ve also included a few photos of us there (the one of Tyler and the pigs is my personal favorite).”

Allegra and Niagra
Allegra and Niagra
Tyler, guinea pigs and falls
Tyler, guinea pigs and falls

“It has been a whirlwind couple of days, but I couldn’t be more excited both to revisit the cities I’ve been to before (London, Paris, Milan) and to see others I haven’t yet had a chance to get to (Salzburg, Grafenegg, Lucerne, Cologne, Berlin). We’ll be playing a ton of fantastic repertoire, too–Mahler 6, Ein Heldenleben, Don Quixote with Yo-Yo Ma and BSO Principal Viola Steven Ansell, an incredibly difficult trumpet concerto by Brett Dean with soloist Håkan Hardenberger, and several other works that don’t involve harp, including Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10.”

One last rainbow near Tanglewood
One last rainbow near Tanglewood

“This has been an immensely fulfilling and action-packed summer, but the prize at the end will be returning to work with my own musical family. I’ll be back in St. Louis the day before we start rehearsals for our 2015-16 season and I can’t wait to dive back in.”

Next Postcard Thursday: horn player Tod Bowermaster.

Summer Lake Views

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Principal Trumpet Karin Bliznik has already made her way back to the Aspen Music Festival and School from Tanglewood, but she shares last glimpses of what is known as the Stockbridge Bowl, near Tanglewood, in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Stockbridge Bowl
Stockbridge Bowl
Stockbridge Bowl through the trees
Stockbridge Bowl over the hills and through the trees

Bliznik is a member of the artist-faculty at Aspen, as are fellow St. Louis Symphony musicians David Halen, Mark Sparks, Tom Stubbs and Beth Guterman Chu.

Magical Trumpets

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Where are your St. Louis Symphony musicians this summer? On an East Coast vibe this week, with cellist Alvin McCall beginning performances with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center in NYC, and Principal Trumpet Karin Bliznik at the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Bliznik sent me a link to the NY Times review of the world premiere of the late Gunther Schuller’s “Magical Trumpets.” The eminent composer, conductor, jazz historian and horn player passed away in Boston in June. Bliznik performed the piece with members of the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Music Center [TMC] trumpet sections. Bliznik was one of two former Tanglewood students in the ensemble.

The premiere of Gunther Schuller's "Magical Trumpets" at Tanglewood. The St. Louis' Karin Bliznik in the middle of the oval.
The premiere of Gunther Schuller’s “Magical Trumpets” at Tanglewood. The St. Louis Symphony’s Karin Bliznik at the center of the players. Photo credit: Hilary Scott

Times critic Vivien Schweitzer writes: “[Schuller] created the term ‘third stream’ to indicate music that incorporated both classical and jazz, such as some of his own scores, like ‘Magical Trumpets.’ It had its premiere on Thursday at Tanglewood, conducted by Jonathan Berman….

“Mr. Schuller, who often composed for unusual instrumentation, scored ‘Magical Trumpets’ for 12 brass in eight different keys. The work certainly proved enchanting, with the varied timbres of the instruments wielded to ear-catching effect and a creative use of mutes providing additional texture. At one point the musicians evoked the sound of a jazz band guitarist.”

Bliznik told me “Gunther was very involved in TMC and the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood. ‘Magical Trumpets’ was very cool. It’s possibly the last piece he composed, so it felt like a historic moment.”

For the full review: click.