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.

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.

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