Walter Bitner

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Peter and the Wolf

Soviet art depicting Peter and the Wolf ~ Peter is dressed in a Young Pioneer uniform (click images to enlarge)

It’s one of the most often performed works in the orchestral repertoire, and with good reason: Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf may be the most ingeniously composed piece of musical storytelling ever written for children.

This month, the Nashville Symphony performed Peter and the Wolf for thousands of local elementary school students as the featured work on this season’s Young People’s Concert for 3rd and 4th graders. I had not heard the piece for a while. Over the last couple weeks as I observed our superlative orchestra performing Prokofiev’s masterpiece for rapt audiences of children, I thought about the unique power of music to invigorate and develop a child’s imagination.
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Olga Scheps: 2016 Update & Satie

Olga2015byUwe Arens

photo by Uwe Arens

The most remarkable pianist of her generation – Russian-born Olga Scheps, who was raised and resides in Germany – has continued this year to develop her repertoire and career in surprising directions. I first wrote about Olga nearly a year ago, upon the release of Vocalise, her fifth CD for Sony. That article – Meet Olga Scheps – includes biographical notes, links to some videos of her performances, and an overview of her discography.

The last year has been busy for Olga – in addition to her concertizing, she has just released another disc – so I decided to write a review of some of her recent activities, and about her new recording, Satie.

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A Day at the Hall

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

6:56 am: drive into town in pouring rain and heavy traffic – listen to Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96 and drink my coffee on the way in

7:37 am: after walking to the hall from the parking lot a block and a half away, enter through the stage door and make my way up to my office: nobody else is here yet – take a few minutes to begin this blog post

7:54 am: change into my suit

IMG_4074

note Maestro Giulini on my office wall looking over my shoulder

8:05 am: there is still nobody here so I pose for a quick suit selfie to insert here later

8:10 am: sit quietly for a few minutes

8:30 am: Education & Community Engagement Program Manager Kelley Bell arrives and we head down to a kitchen on the second floor to prepare what seems like a vast amount of coffee for the volunteers who will arrive shortly to help us this morning.  Since neither of us have done this before we manage to make a bit of a mess (which we clean up as best we can) and only acceptable coffee, but we finally make our way with the cart down to the West Atrium where several volunteers are waiting.  After some rearranging of tables and conferring with the volunteers and members of security staff (who will help with traffic flow for the buses full of elementary school students that are about to arrive), everything seems ready so I head backstage to try to catch concertmaster Jun Iwasaki before the buses pull in.  Luckily I run into Jun in the hall and we hold a brief meeting in his dressing room about a program we are planning together for May.  I stop by the Green Room to check on our guest artists for today’s concerts (more about them later), then I head back towards One Symphony Place where the first buses are beginning to pull in – it’s now about 9:45 am.

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