Durham Symphony’s 2009-2010 Young Artists Competition

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The Durham Symphony will be holding their annual Young Artists Competition at the Durham Arts Council on December 12, 2009.  Applications are due by November 27, 2009.  This competition allows classical musicians ages 13-21 to compete to play solo with the Durham Symphony in their 2010 spring concert.  This will be the Durham Symphony’s first Young Artists concert with their new conductor William Henry Curry.  If you know of anyone who might be interested in this competition, please send them over to the Durham Symphony website for full details.

Musical Reviews

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Just a quick note to point out two reviews of musical concerts from this past weekend:

Interestingly enough, the concert for the Duke String School got a review while the 3 full performances of Handel’s Messiah, presented by the Duke Chapel Choir, did not.  Something’s a bit wrong there.

In The Mood For Some Christmas Music?

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The Christmas season is upon us and that means Christmas concerts. This weekend there are three performances of the entire Handel’s Messiah by the Duke Chapel Choir at Duke Chapel. In addition the Durham Symphony will be performing their annual holiday pops concert at the Carolina Theater on Friday evening. Featuring former Miss NC Elizabeth Grayson and guest conductor Fouad Fakhouri the Durham Symphony will perform Christmas favorites along with Beethoven’s first symphony. The concert starts at 7pm and tickets can be bought at the door or online at the Durham Symphony website. There will also be a silent auction at intermission to raise money for the symphony.

Duke University String School Concert October 11

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The Duke University String School will be having the first of their 4 yearly concerts this weekend.  On Saturday, 11 October 2008 in the Baldwin Auditorium in the Biddle Music Building on Duke’s East Campus there will be a concert of the beginner 1 and 2 and intermediate 1 groups at 3pm.  Then, at 4pm there will be a Memorial Concert for Wei-Lee Kuo. Finally at 7pm, there will be a concert of the intermediate 2 group and the DUSS Youth Symphony Orchestra.

My son has been taking violin with the string school this fall and will be performing with the beginner 1 group at 3pm.  In addition, when my son started, I mentioned to his ensemble’s group instructor, Stephanie Swisher, that I played double bass and asked if she needed any help.  While they didn’t need anything with the beginner group, she asked if I’d be willing to help with the intermediate 2 group, so I’ll be playing bass with that group at 7pm.

Anyway, if you’re in Durham tomorrow afternoon and are interested in some classical music, consider stopping by!

Update: When posting late at night, double check all your facts. Baldwin Auditorium, of course, is not in Biddle Music Building.  Oh well, here’s hoping I get it right next time. Their next concert will be December 6.

An Octopus Sired by a Dwarf!

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This past weekend on Saturday afternoon we had the first orchestra run through of Yeoman of the Guard.  It went pretty well.  Most of us have had the musical scores for a while now and the main problems were making sure we were together and blending well.  Then on Sunday, we had both the orchestra and the chorus together.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable run-through of all the show’s music and definitely the first and only time I’ve ever heard someone sing this post’s subject. 🙂 (Extra points to anyone that can a) tell what the original quote was and b) where in the score it can be found!) As a musician, I had not really been clued into what was happening with the chorus except for the few queues in the score and what my wife has told me after her stage chorus rehearsals.  So, it was fun to see that part of the story.  I’m really looking forward to Tuesday night where we’ll be all together in the Carolina Theater and I’ll get to see the full show in the first dress rehearsal.

So, for those of you who haven’t heard, the Durham Savoyards will be performing Gilbert & Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Guard at the Carolina Theater on April 17-19 at 8pm and April 20 at 2pm.  Find out more information at the Savoyards website and please come see our show!

DSO Guest Conductor

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At the Durham Symphony Orchestra rehearsal tonight we had our first guest conductor: Andrew McAfee.  He’s the former principal horn player for the North Carolina Symphony and is now apparently working on his Master’s degree in conducting.  Tonight was his first rehearsal with the Durham Symphony.  Beforehand he had sent out a schedule of what we were going to work on when and by and large he stuck to it.  Since this was our first rehearsal for our upcoming pops concerts, tonight was mainly about site reading the pieces and making notes on what to work on before the next rehearsal next week.  All in all, I think he did a pretty good job and should do very well conducting our upcoming concerts.

Another interesting bit of information that was announced at the DSO rehearsal tonight was that we had apparently received 96 applications (with accompanying DVDs of their work) for the position of DSO conductor!  The search committee has now winnowed that down to 10 and will be looking to reduce it even further down to 4 and invite those top 4 to guest conduct during the next season.  I have no idea who the candidates are but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing who the search committee picks.

Durham Symphony Orchestra Upcoming Pops Concerts

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The Durham Symphony Orchestra starts rehearsals tomorrow for their series of pops concerts at the end of April/beginning of May. The concerts will be April 20 at 5pm in Trinity Park, April 27 at 3pm in Cameron Park, and May 3 at 6pm at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion in Durham Central Park. All the concerts are free and open to the public.

These concerts should be interesting as they are the first ones since Conductor Emeritus Alan Neilson retired. The Durham Symphony plans to host guest conductors until a replacement for Maestro Neilson is found. Up first will be Andrew McAfee who is the Music Director/Conductor for the Triangle Youth Ballet and Durham Intermediate Youth Orchestra and Adjunct Instructor of Horn at UNC. He was also formerly the principal Horn for the North Carolina Symphony from 1992 to 2007.

Maestro McAfee has started off by e-mailing the orchestra a complete schedule down to the minute of what he expects to cover during our rehearsal on Tuesday. This is actually the first time I’ve ever had a conductor do that and I find that I actually like it quite a bit. It lets the instrumentalists know what the expectations are and doesn’t leave us wondering how much more we need to cover in the rehearsal. As to whether the reality will actually fit the schedule, that remains to be seen, but I am hopeful.

Durham Symphony Orchestra Upcoming Concerts

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So, I’m fairly bad at posting regularly to blogs, so let’s see if I can start fixing that.

This Sunday afternoon, February 17th at 5:30pm the Durham Symphony Orchestra will be presenting a concert at the Carolina Theater in Durham. This concert features the winners of their Young Artists Competition performing works from Brahms, Haydn, and Chauson. In addition, the orchestra will perform “Jubilation – An Overture” by Robert Ward and Symphony #7 by Beethoven. It should be a very interesting concert and I’m not just saying that because I play string bass with them!

The next Sunday afternoon, February 24th, at 3pm, the Durham Symphony will be presenting another concert, this one free, at the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center in Durham. It will be presented with the Durham Children’s Choir and will feature the same Ward and Beethoven along with the Finale from Hansel and Gretel by Englebert Humperdinck and “other concert favorites”. A poster for this concert can be found here.

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