August 28, 2009

Learn more about our September concerts

"Apotheosis of the Dance," PBO's first concert of the 2009-10 "Season of the Stars," is less than two weeks away! To help you while the hours away until then, we present below a few resources for you to learn more about the pieces you will hear on September 10-15, as well about their composers, our orchestra and early music.

Listen to the audio preview with Music Director Nicholas McGegan and strings player Maria Caswell:

You can also listen to a movement of Beethoven's 7th and a selection from one of Haydn's London symphonies on September's concert page. Hint: when you click on "Learn more about these recordings," you can read about these works!

An don't forget: 45-minutes before every concert we offer free lectures to our ticket holders. This month's will be given by members of our Orchestra as well as the New Esterházy Quartet.

Thank you to our volunteers!

PBO subscribers are receiving their tickets in the mail thanks to the valiant effort of a number of folks from our community:

Anna Fu searches for the right sheath of tickets.

c.d. evans divides a perforated sheet of tickets.

Michaela Neville stuffs envelopes.

Patron Services Manager David Challinor (top center) leads volunteers Claudine Torfs, Michele Stone, Harry Howe, Anne-Marie Schmoeckel, and Michaela Neville (clockwise) in the proper first aid treatment of paper cuts.

We also want to thank Jonathan, who was little camera shy.

August 18, 2009

Breaking news: Mozart not murdered

Researchers have changed their mind... again! Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart certainly had his vices and enemies, but these causes of death no longer seem to be in favor with this never-ending controversy. So forget what you learned from 1985's Best Picture Oscar-winner, Mozart died at the age of 35 from the same genus of bacteria that helped get you out of class for a few days when you were a kid.

Speaking of Mozart (one of our Music Director's favorite composers), Nic conducted an all-Mozart program last week at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Critic Mark Swed of the LA Times praised Nic, calling him "the sunniest conductor in classical music."

Pianist Louis Lortie and conductor Nicholas McGegan walk off stage... possibly with the ghost of Amadeus. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

August 7, 2009

Preview our 2008-09 Season Highlights

What were some your most memorable moments of last season? One of the staff's favorites was hearing how wonderfully different Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in A minor sounded when played by oboe, not flute. Hear it for yourself:

Read more about why Gonzalo reconstructed the piece for oboe.

What were your favorite moments from our 28th Season?

*These clips are from our 2008-09 Season Highlights CD, which is made available exclusively to PBO's generous members who made donations last year. Learn more about how you can support our music and education programs.

August 6, 2009

Part 2: What I did on my summer vacation...

Wonder what else your favorite musicians have done this summer while PBO is on hiatus? Keep reading...

David Daniel Bowes, violist and PBO's Music Librarian, and his partner Brian Haley took a road trip through California and Oregon to visit with friends and "explore the wilds of second-hand shopping without sales tax." Highlights from the belated honeymoon (they were married last November) included a night spent in a refurbished Santa Fe Railroad caboose at Railroad Motel near Dunsmuir and a day of Sunday driving three beautifully maintained cars from the late 40s and early 50s around Eugene (pictured left). An avid gardner, David plans on having a "jam session" with PBO violist Maria Caswell to learn how to make jams and jellies from his abundant harvests of blackberries, peaches and more. He has also been working like mad to acquire sheet music for all seven of PBO's concerts.

This August and September, Stephen Schultz, flutist, will be playing with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra at the Reate Festival in Rieti, Italy, and the Klang und Raum (Sound and Space) Festival in Irsee, Germany. He recently released Rameau: Pièces de clavecin en concert on Reference Recordings with Ensemble Baroque Nouveau along with his PBO colleagues Anthony Martin, Charles Sherman and Josh Lee. Stephen was just reappointed as Associate Teaching Professor in Music History and Flute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and he will debut there a newly commissioned piece written by Nancy Galbraith entitled “Other Sun” in November. Check out his new video made in support of his CD, Boismortier: Concertos for Five Flutes.

Cellist Tanya Tomkins (pictured left with frequent collaborator Eric Zivian) began her summer teaching at the San Francisco Early Music Society Music Discovery Workshop at Sonoma State. While there, she saw the new Green Center, which she described as "one of the most beautiful venues I've ever seen!" She then went to the Oregon Bach Festival and performed all six Brandenburg Concertos under the direction of Monica Huggett. This was a first for the festival – historically informed performance on original instruments – and it was a big success. Tanya played modern cello with Smetana Trio and taught a master class at the American Music Teachers Association Conference in Santa Clara. She also played the Olympic Festival and a solo concert at the Crocker Art Museum, and, of course, she's not done yet with appearances at the Music in the Vineyards and Moab Music Festival coming up.

Strings player Farley Pearce also taught at the a San Francisco Early Music Society Music Discovery Workshop in June. He is also involved in a Clerembeau cantata recording project, has been playing with the Pocket Opera and the San Francisco Opera Merola orchestra, and coached the California Youth Orchestra cellists in Palo Alto.

Douglas Yeo, who joins PBO when we need some of the odder brass instruments played – like the ophicleide used in last February's concerts, recently completed a six month sabbatical from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he plays bass trombone. During that time, he engaged in several events revolving around the serpent: the biennial "Serpentarium" in Cape Cornwall, UK (see picture below), a recording session on several serpents and related instruments for the Bate Collection's forthcoming audio guide, and a DVD project entitled "Approaching the Serpent: An Historical and Pedagogical Overview."