Earlier this week a new musical blog, Sticks and Drones, saw the daylight for the first time, and it is maintained by not only one, but TWO US-based orchestra conductors, Ron Spigelman and Bill Eddins. By the fifth day into its existence the blog has already six entries, all of them interesting! It seems that this one got a great start and I hope the writers will keep up the inspiration... Make sure to check the Barenboim video clip in the "First Official Post" (or at the YouTube) - it is so great to see a great pianist teaching!
Friday 9 November 2007
By Sasha Mäkilä on Friday 9 November 2007, 21:27
Tuesday 23 October 2007
By Sasha Mäkilä on Tuesday 23 October 2007, 21:51
My American colleague Amy Wilson has started a new blog called Conducting Orchestras. It is mainly aimed at students of conducting, so let's hope by time it will become a good resource. I will add it to my blogroll on the right. Don't forget to check Kenneth Woods' blog too - it is regularly updated and has a lot of interesting articles!
Sunday 17 June 2007
By Sasha Mäkilä on Sunday 17 June 2007, 23:37
Last night we had the final concert of the Hot Springs Music Festival. The orchestra played Ma Vlast (Moldau) by Bedrich Smetana, An die schönen blauen Donau by Johann Strauss, and the 8th symphony of Antonin Dvorak. The orchestra, consisting of music students and their mentors, did a great job! Especially the brass was shining that night, much to thanks to inspiring coaching by the trumpet mentor Scott Moore.
The Festival Horns! Photo by A.S.
Besides the concert, I had to witness one remarkable trait of American character. The festival runs mostly on the donations made by private citizens, and before the concert it was announced that there is a "grant challenge" of 5000 USD made by one donor, and for the festival to get it, the audience should be able to match it by their collective donations during the 2 festival weeks. The challenge was short of only something like 500 bucks from the goal, but during that one intermission the audience came up with 4000 USD in donations! Four thousand!!! That means that every member of the audience contributed by something like 10 dollars average. This kind of generosity and supportive spirit I would like to see in Finland also!!!
Festival players Willie (viola) and Beth (violin). Photo by A.S.
After the concert we of course had a little party and said goodbye to those friends who were leaving already by night. I also sorted some orchestral parts with Case and Dana (the other two conducting students), but that job (which we were asked to reserve two whole days) was finished in half an hour! So that means that for next two days I will just spend sitting on my thumbs in the quiet little town of Hot Springs! Now that the festival is over it seems there is absolutely nothing to do here! Luckily I have three books with me, so I will probably just rest and read and gather forces for the homeward journey...
Me and Andrew. Photo by A.S.
Thursday 14 June 2007
By Sasha Mäkilä on Thursday 14 June 2007, 15:39
The Festival Banner. Photo by A.S.
I have spent already two weeks in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They have a nice little music festival here, and I am assisting the music director (Richard Rosenberg) with two other young conductors, Case Scaglione and Dana Sadava. There is a lot going on, orchestral and chamber music concerts going on every day, and the players have all the time rehearsals or master classes. Just the need for assistant conductors seems to be overestimated. The job would be perfect for one assistant, but for three it is too little to do, especially since the town itself does not offer much entertainment...
Conducting the Hot Springs Music Festival orchestra
Yesterday we had a nice orchestra concert, which I opened with Rossini's overture to "La Cenerentola". After that we accompanied 8 (!) students taking turns playing the Vivaldi's Four Seasons, after which maestro Rosenberg conducted the original version of Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. The locals really seem to appreciate their festival, the venue (Fieldhouse) was packed almost full!
Andrew Soli with Laura and Richard Rosenberg. Photo by A.S.