Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Community Band Spectrum

Community Band Spectrum
Artistic Interpretation
The Concord Band wants those who attend its concerts, acquire its audio and video recordings or support it financially to understand that the Concord Band is a community band with some unusual characteristics. When one attempts to define the term community band precisely, however, it becomes clear that a simple definition is not possible. So we will help our readers understand many of the relevant issues.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Soprano Paige Myrick is Guest Artist at Holiday Pops

Guest Artist Paige Myrick, soprano
Guest Artist Paige Myrick
Soprano
Paige Myrick, a native of Austin, TX is thrilled to make her Concord Band debut. She most recently joined the Toronto Summer Opera Workshop singing Die Mutter in the operatic fairy tale Hansel und Gretel. She also recently sang the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with The Boston Conservatory. As a young artist at the Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York she performed roles including Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro and the comedic Ms. Pooder in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca. Other roles include the Sandman in Hansel und Gretel and Une Patre in L’enfant et les Sortilèges, as well as excerpts as Magda in The Consul and Cendrillon in Cendrillon. In summer 2011 she was selected as a young artist to participate in the CoOPERAtive operatic training program. She has performed as a soloist in Haydn Nelson Mass and Haydn Theresienmesse with Texas Christian University, Bach Magnificat in D and Haydn 7 Last Words of Christ with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and Schubert Mass in G with The Boston Conservatory.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Holiday Pops is Coming to Town

It's beginning to feel a lot like... Holiday Pops! Posters are going up all around the Metro Northwest area. Be sure to point them out to your friends. This a family-friendly event they won't want to miss!

PROGRAM

James O'Dell
Music Director

Overture to a Winter Festival  (Curnow)

Amazing Grace  (Ticheli)
Steven Barbas
Assistant Conductor

Bell Flight  (Buckley)
David Southard
soprano saxophone

Symphonic Dance No. 3  (Williams)

Intermission

The 8th Candle  (Reisteter)

Featuring Guest Artist, Paige Myrick, soprano
The Holy City  (Adams, arr. L.P. Laurendeau)
Alleluja from the Motet “Exsultate”  (Mozart,  arr. Strasser)
O Holy Night “Cantique de Noel”   (Adam, arr. Laurendeau)

Nobles of the Mystic Shrine  (Sousa)

Intermission

C’est Noel “It is Christmas”  (Jutras)

The Christmas Song “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”  (Torme & Wells, arr. Higgins)
Paige Myrick
soprano

It’s Christmas (arr. Barker)
Audience Sing-a-long

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Fall Concert, 26 October 2013

Dr. Chi-Sun Chan
tuba soloist
The Concord Band’s Fall Concert performed last Saturday night was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The program consisted in an eclectic mix of pieces selected from a list of those requested by Band members.  Among the pieces were several composed in the 21st century. These included October composed by Eric Whitacre in 2000, Capriccio for Tuba and Wind Band in 2005 by Rodney Newton, and Quartets by Roger Cichy in 2006. Every one of these is a piece of contemporary music that, after hearing for the first time, you will surely want to hear again. The rest of the program was composed of selections that have justifiably earned their place as part of the standard band repertoire.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Fall Concert

By Request

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor
Chi-Sun Chan, Tuba Soloist

Program

James O’Dell conducting
Esprit de CorpsRobert Jager
An Original SuiteGordon Jacob
  1. March
  2. Intermezzo
  3. Finale
Capriccio for Solo Tuba and Wind BandRodney Newton
Chi-Sun Chan, tuba
“Gandalf” from Symphony Nr. 1, “The Lord of the Rings”Johan de Meij
Nobles of the Mystic ShrineJohn Philip Sousa

Intermission

QuartetsRoger Cichy
OctoberEric Whitacre
Symphonic Dance No. 3, “Fiesta”Clifton Williams

Read all notes for this program...

An Original Suite

British composer Gordon Jacob holds a unique and special place among early writers for wind band, and was one of the foremost contributors to the expanding repertoire of original works for this ensemble. An Original Suite was his first composition for band, completed in 1928. The three-movement suite (March, Intermezzo, Finale) draws on original folk-song material and is specifically written for military band, an instrumental distinction separating the concert band from the traditional and ever-popular British brass band. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire.)

Esprit de Corps

Esprit de Corps by Robert Jager was commissioned by the United States Marine Corps Band, Colonel John R. Bourgeois, conductor. The march is based on “The Marines Hymn” and is a tribute to the Marine Band and the Corps. It is a lively and superbly crafted march: dramatic, solemn, inspirational and fast (“tempo di Bourgeois”). About this piece, Jager writes: “The composer intends that this work should display the fervor and virtuosity of the Marine Band and the musical spirit and integrity of their conductor.” (Source: JRO and published score.)

Capriccio for Solo Tuba and Wind Band

Composer Rodney Newton has scored music for films and TV, and was Music Consultant to the London Film School for 21 years. His Capriccio for Solo Tuba and Wind Band is a lush composition in the Romantic style, featuring the lyrical and technical virtuosity of the tuba. The instrument was a late arrival to the symphony orchestra and familiar solo repertoire (i.e. solos for violin, clarinet, cello, etc.). The work is scored in the tuba’s tenor range and is punctuated with rapid rhythms and soaring melodies that capture the beautiful voice and timbre of the instrument. (Source: James R. O'Dell.)

Symphony Nr. 1, “The Lord of the Rings”

Johan de Meij’s five-movement Symphony Nr. 1, “The Lord of the Rings”, won first-prize in the 1989 Sudler International Composition Competition. The first movement is a portrait of the wizard Gandalf, one of the principal characters of the literary trilogy. His wise and noble personality is expressed by a stately motif. The piece begins with a slow Maestoso; the sudden Allegro Vivace is indicative of the unpredictability of the grey wizard, followed by a wild ride on his beautiful horse Shadowfax. (Source: published score.)

Nobles of the Mystic Shrine

Unique among the many marches penned by John Philip Sousa, his 1923 Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (his only march with a part for harp) also features the triangle and tambourine. It was written at the request of his nephew and sponsor, A. R. Varela, immediately after Sousa became a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Sousa was named the first honorary director of the Almas Temple Shrine Band in Washington during the same period. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire.)

Quartets

The music of New England-based composer and University of Rhode Island professor, Roger Cichy, has become a favorite of the Concord Band. Among his many compositions for band, Cichy describes Quartets as “a unique work exposing a multitude of quartets that exist within the full ensemble.” During the use of the transparent and exposed textures utilized in many compositions, composers tend to use combinations of instrumental colors that seem fitting and appropriate for the desired texture. In Quartets, Cichy relies on traditional quartets to fulfill the instrumental colors during those times when the musical textures become transparent and exposed. Cichy was able to make use of fourteen different quartets within the composition. This work contains a total of twenty episodes, sometimes brief, where one or another of these quartets is used. (Source: JRO and published score.)

October

Eric Whitacre is an accomplished composer and major figure in contemporary music, having received awards from ASCAP and the American Choral Directors Association, and honored with a Grammy nomination in the contemporary classical composer category. October was commissioned by the Nebraska Wind Consortium, consisting of more than twenty-five high schools, colleges and universities throughout the midwest. The work captures the essence and mood of a crisp October day, with its beautifully natural harmonic language and flavor of the changing season. Whitacre writes: “The simple, pastoral melodies and subsequent harmonies are inspired by the great English Romantics (Vaughan Williams and Elgar), as I felt that this style was also perfectly suited to capture the natural and pastoral soul of the season.” (Source: JRO and published score.)

Symphonic Dance No. 3 “Fiesta”

Symphonic Dance No. 3 “Fiesta” by Clifton Williams depicts the pageantry of Latin American celebrations—street bands, bull fights, bright costumes. It is one of a group of five pieces originally commissioned for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. It was later re-scored for band and first performed in March, 1967, by the University of Miami Band, under the composer’s direction. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire.)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cichy Commission Published

Composer Roger Cichy and Music Director James O'Dell
Composer-conductor Roger Cichy presented Music Director James O'Dell with a published copy of Flowing Pens From Concord, commissioned by the Concord Band in 2008 to commemorate our 50th Anniversary Season. The work recently became available from Ludwig Masters Publications. Until now the Band used an unpublished manuscript.

Cichy graciously conducted a clinic with the Band on his piece, Quartets, which will be performed at our Fall Concert on October 26th, with the musical theme, "By Request."


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Concord Band Presents 55th Season "By Request"

Concord Band "By Request"
Join the Concord Band as we begin our 55th season with our annual Fall Concert, presented at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord, on Saturday, October 26, 2013, at 8:00 PM. Our concert theme, "By Request," features music composed for symphonic band requested by Concord Band members, and showcases tuba soloist and Concord Band member, Dr Chi-Sun Chan. The program includes music written by American and international composers and represents a wide variety of musical styles and genres.

Dr Chi-Sun Chan is Featured Soloist

Dr Chi-Sun Chan, Tuba Soloist
The Concord Band is pleased to present our own principal tubist, Dr Chi-Sun Chan, as featured soloist at our Fall Concert, titled By Request. Dr. Chan, a member of the Band since 2009, has been music director and conductor of the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association (GBCCA) Chinese Music Ensemble since 2002.

Dr Chan has chosen Capriccio for Tuba and Band by contemporary British composer Rodney Newton, who has scored music for British films and TV and was Music Consultant to the London Film School for 21 years. In the Capriccio, Newton intertwines extremely fast percussive sections with flowing melodies. Originally written for British tubist James Gourlay in 2002, the piece has become a worldwide favorite for soloists and bands. With several short cadenzas neatly woven into the structure it is effectively a one movement concerto that is sure to please the audience.

Friday, August 9, 2013

2013-14 Concert Season Schedule

Mark your calendars for the Concord Band's 2013-14 concert season:

Fall Concert
  • Saturday, October 26
Holiday Pops Concerts
  • Friday, December 13
  • Saturday, December 14
  • (Snow date December 15)
Winter Concert
  • Saturday, March 8 
  • (Snow date March 9)
Spring Pops Concerts
  • Friday, April 11
  • Saturday, April 12

We'll have more details soon about the program for the Fall Concert.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Visit from Roger Cichy


The Concord Band received a surprise visit last night from composer Roger Cichy (right).  In 2009, the Band commissioned Mr. Cichy to write Flowing Pens from Concord, and he came to tell the Band that the piece has now been published.  To commemorate this exciting news, Mr. Cichy presented a plaque to be hung at 51 Walden.

For more about Flowing Pens from Concord, visit
http://concordband.org/cgi-bin/lib.pl?piece=flowingpensfromconcord.

And for more about Roger Cichy, visit his web site  http://rogercichy.com/index.html.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer Schedule Postcards

Sound of Summer with the Concord Band

Our colorful summer schedule postcards are on their way! Look for them in your mailbox. Not on our mailing list? Sign up here.


Boston Festival of Bands

Saturday, June 8, 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Free admission.
Faneuil Hall, Boston MA.
Concord Band plays at 12 noon

Picnic in the Park

Thursday, July 4, 10:00 am - 4:00 PM. Free admission.
Concord Band plays at 3:00 pm

Fruitlands Summer Concert Series

Thursdays at 7:15 pm. Parking $15 per vehicle ($10 museum members).
Fruitlands Museum, Harvard MA
  • June 20: Welcome to Summer
  • June 27: Dancing Under the Stars
  • July  4: Spirit of America
  • July 11: Broadway's Best
  • July 18: A Copland Portrait
  • July 25: A Summer Retrospective

Friday, April 26, 2013

Meet the Trombone Section

Concord Band trombone section.
From a rehearsal in 2002, left to right: Glenn Garvey, Mark Vincenzes, Peter Norton, David Tweed, Sam Reynolds and Andy Nichols.
The Concord Band recently presented an award to the longest-tenured member of the Band, trombonist Andy Nichols. Andy has played with the Concord Band for a full fifty years, and is retiring from the Band this season. Until we have a solo feature for Andy, here's a reprise of the article featuring the trombone section. Amazingly, ten years since this article was published in Notes from the Concord Band, at Andy's retirement the section was still 100% intact!—ed.

When it comes to proficiency, many would agree that among all instrument sections of the Concord Band, our Trombone section ranks very high—right at the top, in your editor's opinion. What makes this so impressive is that, while players of all wind instruments must form a proper embouchure (position of the mouth—lips, tongue and teeth) to play each note, instrumentalists other than trombonists need merely depress the proper key or keys on his or her instrument to do so. Trombonists, on the other hand, must position their slides (which can travel almost two feet) to an accuracy of 1/8 of an inch! Perhaps you're not as impressed with this as is your editor (who plays only non-melodic percussion instruments, which need merely to be struck—some would say banged—at the right moment), but if you've managed to get this far, please read on.

The Concord Band's six trombonists have been with the Band an average of more than 16 years [in 2002—ed]. Four have been with the Band for fifteen years or more; a fifth, nine years. All but one were born in the Northeast (Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania); the sixth hails from Arkansas. All began their trombone studies as children and played in school ensembles at every stage of their education. Today, four play in more than one musical group. A few play more than one instrument; one even admitted to having played the accordion!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ten Years Ago—My Online Cousin

Notes from the Concord Band
Another in our occasional series looking back ten years....  Band member Dave Southard created the Concord Band web site in 1995 when the web was still in its infancy. For all we know, it is the first community band web site in the history of the universe! Fundraising chair Dan Diamond, never at a loss for a new angle, ran this article in the Winter 2002 issue of our traditional newsletter, Notes from the Concord Band.

As publications go, both my online cousin, www.concordband.org (or concordband.org as he is known to the family), and I are relatively young. I'm a teenager, having been born in the autumn of 1989. Concordband.org is six years younger, first appearing on the scene in 1995. I am an example of what marketing gurus might call a semi-intrusive medium. That is, I show up in the mail to make my presence known, but you still have to take the trouble to read me. Concordband.org is strictly non-intrusive: You have to decide to read him. But he can do things I can only dream about!

While I am mailed twice a year to about 3,200 homes and businesses, he can be looked at any hour of the day or night by hundreds of millions of people anywhere on the earth, and (for all I know) other planets as well. And while my content must be finalized, and made as close to error-free as possible no later than seven to ten business days before mailing (for which we must allow a month prior to each major concert), his content can be changed on a moment's notice. Which, dear reader, brings me to my purpose here: The Concord Band expends a lot of energy making useful information available to you through our website. Please take advantage of it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 Spring Pops

The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director 
Amanda Carr, Guest Vocalist 
William McManus, Guest Saxophonist 
April 12 & 13, 2013

Program

TitleComposer/arranger
Proud HeritageWilliam Latham
Welsh VariantsJames Curnow
Concord Band Commission
"Schottische" and "Western One-Step"
from Suite of Old American Dances
Robert Russell Bennett
Clear Track Polka (Bahn Frei)Eduard Strauss;
arr. Alfred Reed
Dave Brubeck: A Portrait in Timearr. Robert Smith
MaybeAmanda Carr/Bevan Manson;
arr. William G. McManus
Something Wonderful Happens in SummerJ. Deuvries/J. Bushkin;
arr. William G. McManus
They Can’t Take That Away from MeGeorge and Ira Gershwin;
arr. Warren Barker
Amanda Carr, Vocalist
Hooray for Hollywoodarr. Warren Barker
Original Dixieland Concertoarr. John Warrington
Blue Sterling: Theme for JerryWilliam G. McManus
Commissioned for the Concord Band by the family of Dr. Gerald Kriedberg
World Premiere
William McManus, Alto Saxophone
Night and DayCole Porter;
arr. William G. McManus
Amanda Carr, Vocalist
William McManus, Alto Saxophone
Americans WeHenry Fillmore;
ed. Frederick Fennell
The Stars and Stripes ForeverJohn Philip Sousa,
ed. William Revelli

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Artist Spotlight: Amanda Carr

Guest Artist Amanda Carr
Having emerged as the consummate entertainer, Amanda Carr is a multi-styled vocalist/pianist that began early on in her teens and 20’s in the rock and pop genre, but using this influence has, in recent years, focused on fresh interpretations of the Great American Songbook.  For over three decades she’s performed and recorded both in the U.S. and abroad. She’s received critical acclaim from a tough bevy of reviewers. Her 2005 recording, “Tender Trap” debuted by charting nationally in the top 50 and received 4-stars from All Music Guide. Her follow-up national release in 2007 was a feature story by respected jazz journalist, Nat Hentoff, in The Wall Street Journal which catapulted her to global exposure as he hailed her, “...a true jazz singer in a time of wannabes”. (She’s also featured in Hentoff’s book, At the Jazz Band Ball: 60 Years on the Jazz Scene 2010-University of California Press.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rotary Club's 'Click to Care' Auction

For 37 years the Rotary Club of Concord has sponsored a Pops Concert featuring the Concord Band. The event is one of Rotary’s major fundraisers and has been the site of a silent auction to benefit Rotary’s international and local causes. Now, in its 38th year, the Rotary Pops has expanded their fundraising online auction, open to the public prior to the April 12 concert.

Guest Artist Spotlight: Dr William McManus

William McManus_photo_Jan 2013
Dr William McManus
Music Director Emeritus of The Concord Band, Boston University School of Music Associate Director for Music Education, composer, and alto saxophone soloist William McManus returns as a special guest artist for our Spring Pops series.

Dr McManus was Associate Professor of Music Education at Boston University from 2003-2008,and Chair of the Music Education Department from 2005 until 2008.  Prior to joining Boston University, he served as Director of Fine and Performing Arts in the Belmont Public Schools, taught at New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, and Fitchburg State College, and served on the National Executive Board and as Eastern Division President of MENC (The National Association for Music Education), and as President, All State Concert Chair, Professor Programs Director, and Research Chair of MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators Association).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Winter Concert "Rhapsody in Blue"

I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful concert at The Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden in Concord. The Concord Band performed “Rhapsody in Blue: Made in America,” their annual Winter Concert under the direction of James O’Dell. The featured piano soloist was Michael Lewin, a talented, enthusiastic professor of piano at Boston Conservatory.

To a nearly sold-out crowd, O’Dell stepped on stage, and the music began immediately. To me, this is the correct way to begin a concert. Many community groups will begin with announcements about future programs, or housekeeping issues, or with biographical information about the composer whose music the audience is looking forward to hearing. The Concord Band skipped all of this and brought us directly to the reason we had come: to hear the blended, contrasting, unique and diverse sounds.

The intonation and tone quality proved excellent from the start. Americans We is one of Henry Fillmore’s more famous marches, featuring a trumpet trio that sparkled with crisp tonguing and excellent balance. When the woodwinds added their filigree in the subsequent repetitions of the main theme, they did so with sparkle and panache. The conductor remained understated and clear, and the respect his musicians have for him is quite apparent.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Meet the French Horn Section

The double horn

The Intrument

Interestingly, the French horn is actually German in origin. In addition, is really two instruments in one. In 1971, it had its name officially changed to simply horn by the International Horn Society.
The horn is a brass instrument made of about 12-13 feet (3.7-4.0 meters) of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. Pitch is controlled through the adjustment of lip tension in the mouthpiece and the operation of valves by the left hand, which route the air into extra tubing.
Most horns have lever-operated rotary valves. The double horn (the most common type) has three rotary valves and a fourth valve, usually operated by the thumb, which routes the air to one set of tubing tuned to F or another tuned to Bb.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Suite of Old American Dances

The music of Robert Russell Bennett (1894–1980) has had a monumental influence on American music and composers, and his orchestrations of more than 200 musicals established his distinctive and unique “Broadway sound” that is recognized worldwide. One of his original compositions for concert band, composed in 1949, is Suite of Old American Dances. The five movements are chock full of syncopated rhythms, sonorous and rich harmonies, and they superbly represent the undeniable American sound of the composer. (Source: JRO)

“Described by trade ads of the time as capturing the festive character and mood of a traditional Saturday night barn dance, the movements are more accurately social dances from Bennett’s Kansas City days at Electric Park and decidedly not rural in nature.” (Source: George Ferencz and Wikipedia)

Children’s March, “Over the Hills and Far Away”

Percy Grainger (1882–1961) was born in Brighton, Australia, and came to America in 1915 as a recognized pianist and a leading interpreter of the Grieg Concerto. His distinctive orchestrations and use of instrument timbre (tone color), specifically in the larger lower reeds (bassoon, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophone), are clearly evident in Children’s March, “Over the Hills and Far Away.” This light-hearted and fanciful march was one of the first works for concert band to include piano as an integral part of the orchestration. The tune is first introduced by the bassoon and baritone saxophone, and progresses through a series of instruments and orchestrations, punctuated by rhythmic articulations and abrupt dynamic treatments. (Source: JRO)

2013 Winter Concert

Rhapsody in Blue

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor
Michael Lewin, Piano Soloist

Program

Americans WeHenry Fillmore; ed. Fennell
Suite of Old American DancesRobert Russell Bennett
  1. Cake Walk
  2. Schottische
  3. Western One-Step
  4. Wallflower Waltz
  5. Rag
Children’s MarchPercy Aldridge Grainger; rev. Erickson
Variations on ‘America’Charles Ives; trans. Rhoads and Schuman
Michael Lewin, piano

Intermission

Célèbre TarantelleLouis Moreau Gottschalk; arr. Birch
Combination MarchScott Joplin; arr. Schuller
Rhapsody in BlueGeorge Gershwin; arr. Grofé and Verrier
Michael Lewin, piano

Read all notes for this program...

Americans We

Henry Fillmore (1881–1956) had problems deciding on a title for this march. His band was giving a series of concerts at the local zoo so he would introduce the new work as The Cincinnati Zoo one day and Pure Food and Health the next! Finally, realizing that it was probably his finest march, he published it in 1929 as Americans We and dedicated it “to all of us.” Noting the exuberance in this march, Paul Yoder reminisced recently that Fillmore had once told him that he wrote music “to make people happy.” [Information from Paul Yoder] (Source: March Music Notes, Norman E. Smith)

Variations on ‘America’

Variations on ‘America’ is a witty, irreverent piece originally for organ by Charles Ives (1874–1954), composed in 1891. According to Ives’ biographers, Henry and Sidney Cowell, it was played by Ives in organ recitals in Danbury, CT and in Brewster, NY, in the same year. His father would not let him play some of the pages at the Brewster concert because they had canons in two and three keys at once that proved to be unsuited to performance in church; they made the boys “laugh out and get noisy.” This is Ives’ earliest surviving piece using polytonality. William Schuman wrote a remarkably effective orchestra transcription of the work in 1964 and it is on this version that William Rhoads based his equally effective band transcription. [Franko Colombo Publications] (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire.)

Célèbre Tarantelle

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869) was among the first American composers and performers to gain international recognition. Many contemporary musicians and concertgoers question the musical integrity of his composition, but few doubt the brilliance of his technique and the emotional effect of his playing. A highly gifted piano virtuoso, Gottschalk adopted many mannerisms of Franz Liszt and was highly acclaimed in Europe, South America, and the United States before Lincoln was elected President. During most of the American Civil War, he lived with his mother and younger brothers and sisters in Paris, where his home became a mecca for the musicians, writers, and authors of the time. Célèbre Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra (arranged for piano and concert band by Sebastian Anthony Birch) is a lively, energetic Italian dance in 6/8 time, and features fast and furious galloping passages encompassing the piano’s uniquely wide range. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire and JRO.)

Combination March

Combination March was the second published march (1896) by composer Scott Joplin (1868–1917) and is one of his earliest works. The meaning of “combination” is unknown. Gunther Schuller orchestrated the March in the early 1970's for concert band, and captured the light- ness and spirit of the composer’s early works for piano. One of Joplin’s most famous pieces, Maple Leaf Rag, was published in 1899 and was followed over the next two decades by more than 50 rags and other compositions, including two operas. (Source: JRO)

Rhapsody in Blue

One of the most widely performed works for piano and instrumental ensemble is Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (1898–1927). Written in 1924 and premiered on February 12 of that year by the Paul Whiteman orchestra with Gershwin on piano, the work was orchestrated by the fa-mous arranger Ferde Grofé. The original orchestration was scored for Whiteman’s 24-piece band plus violins, and was later orchestrated by Grofé for larger ensembles. In 1928 Grofé scored it for concert band but the published version required substantial editing and contained many errors and re-harmonization not true to the original version. Thomas Ver- rier (then with the California State University system, now at Vanderbilt University), set this accompaniment, constructing it from authentic original resources, archived materials and manuscripts. (Source: JRO)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Gershwin, Gottschalk and Guest Artist Michael Lewin

Pre-print of article published in the Concord Journal on Feb 22, 2013. 

Michael Lewin
Boston played a role in the origins of the American classic Rhapsody in Blue, and a Boston-based piano virtuoso who lives in Newton will bring the piece to life in Concord on March 2 at the Performing Arts Center, 51 Walden Street. In early January 1924, George Gershwin was on a train ride from New York to Boston when the rhythmic noises of the train on steel rails helped him form the concept of Rhapsody in Blue. Internationally-acclaimed pianist Michael Lewin has made the Rhapsody an important part of his piano repertoire. He has performed it more than 50 times with orchestras around the world. Of a performance in Miami, the Miami Herald said: "The virtuoso pianist confirmed his gifts with this stellar appearance. He gave us a precise and solid interpretation of the famous work. Lewin’s execution was truly impressive in its style and energy."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Guest Artist Spotlight: Virtuoso Pianist Michael Lewin


Michael Lewin, piano
Michael Lewin is internationally applauded as one of America’s most abundantly gifted and charismatic concert pianists, performing to acclaim in more than 30 countries with orchestras, in recital and as a chamber musician. Commanding a repertoire of 40 piano concertos, he has performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue more than 50 times. He has performed with conductors including Carlos Miguel Prieto, Keith Lockhart, Constantine Orbellian, Anton Kersjes, Theo Alcantara,  Sergei Babayan and Hugh Wolff. Mr. Lewin’s discography has received extraordinary critical praise, and reflects the great scope of his musical interests. His recording of Gottschalk’s piano music, “Bamboula!”, earned a Boston Herald “Year’s Top 10 Pick”, while the Boston Globe enthused that “Lewin has the chops and the charm for these pieces.” Deeply committed to guiding and nurturing gifted young pianists, Michael Lewin is one of America’s most sought-after teachers. He is a member of the Piano Faculty at The Boston Conservatory, where he also directs the Piano Masters Series, and at Boston University, where he is Visiting Artist in Piano. A native of New York, he studied at the Juilliard School. His own teachers included Leon Fleisher, Irwin Freundlich, Adele Marcus, and Yvonne Lefébure.

Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in its Original Setting


The Concord Band continues a significant 54th season with its annual Winter Concert, presented at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord, on Saturday, March 2, at 8:00 PM. Rhapsody in Blue, features internationally acclaimed pianist Michael Lewin playing two monumental works for piano by American composers: Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin and Célèbre Tarantelle by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. The program (subtitled “Made in America”) consists of works written between 1858 and 1950, all but one by American composers.

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