This week is the Prokofiev Symposium here at LSU and just before it starts the Wind Ensemble is performing some works by Joseph Schwantner. They were supposed to perform tonight (February 23) but there is a crazy storm coming through today. Its barely started raining now but the winds are supposed to gust up over 40 mph. So, tomorrow will be an awesome concert in the Union Theater! Come check it out.
Mr. Schwantner also gave a lecture in composers forum yesterday talking about his Percussion Concerto. It was interesting to see and hear the different styles he combines to create the peice as a whole. I also enjoyed the things he used to reference his friend who he dedicated the second movement to and also him talking about the people who inspire him. It was especially cool when he mentioned George Rochberg who is one of my favorite American composers and talk about how his music changed over time.
Thursday the Symposium starts and there are going to be some great papers presented, recitals, and a concert. A lot of Prokofiev's piano and some other works are going to be performed and one piece by his grandson Gabriel Prokofiev, his Concerto for Bass Drum. There were some naysayers in the orchestra (as there often are with new music) but after having the soloist Dr. Bret Dietz come in and rehearse with us everyone seems to have figured out that the piece can be really awesome when done well. I always tell people you cannot judge a concerto based on the accompaniment alone but no one really listens. You only have HALF the piece! How can you judge a piece based on your part or a few other parts put together? I liken it to judging a book by its cover or title you just shouldn't. Sometimes someone comes up with some unfortunate art or title for a book but the substance is really great! Give the music a chance before you dismiss it. And yes I understand that sometimes certain things are not fun to play but you were asked to play it and that is why you are in the group so do your best and hate on it after it is over.
I think some of the most exciting and scary parts of the Symposium are the people who are coming, Russian dignitaries, experts in their field (read Richard Taruskin and Simon Morrison), great soloists etc.
I'm also looking forward to Gabriel Prokofiev's composition workshop on Saturday. Learning from professionals in the field like Joseph Schwantner and Gabriel Prokofiev always make me feel ready to take on the world of music with my own ideas and to challenge myself and my capabilities.
Lets hope for a good week and a mild storm!