Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Blossoming Music

It's that time of time of year again, when young musicians from all over the world descend on Kent State's School of Music for the chance to be mentored by members of the Cleveland Orchestra. While they're learning , we're the lucky recipients of free chamber music concerts. On a hot summer afternoon, it's great to sit in a cool concert hall and listen to Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak, Schubert, Haydn and more contemporary, but still dead white European composers like Poulenc, Britten and Shostakovich. They'll occasionally throw in a really new composition, full of plucks, clicks and whines, but I enjoy it all.

I'm still doing sketches, but it's getting a bit tiresome, since where I sit only affords me either a first violinist or the violist in a string piece, or in the woodwinds, a clarinetist, flautist or oboist, depending on the seating arrangement for the group. Since they tend to bunch together , I seldom get a good view of the cellist or bassist. The oboist above is from a couple of years ago and I was struck by his slumping posture. I have a sketch of hi in a group and he is still slumping. I have wondered what sort of impression he must make when he auditions.

This year's group seems to be a cut above, although they are all usually very good. For some reason, this year we have five pianists from Korea. It's unusual to have that many pianists anyway. Yesterday all three of the numbers were with piano and the three that played were stupendous. I also noticed that there are a couple of high school students , both of them cellists. I can't remember if they've ever had high school students before. One played yesterday in a Shostakovich piano quintet winch was brilliant.

So, in a world where we tend to think of those under 25 spending their lives plugged into an electronic device, and being passive observers of virtual lives out there in the cyberworld, here are these young musicians who are making the most delightful music and appearing to enjoy it as much as the audience. Maybe they go back to the dorms and plug themselves in, but I doubt it. You can't make that kind of music without a lot of hard work and a love of making music.

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