Ben Bradlee, orchestra fan

Posted on: October 27, 2014

In Wednesday’s (10/21) Washington Post, conductor Jeffrey Silberschlag writes a first-person remembrance of editor Ben Bradlee, who died this week. “My first encounter with him was through my performance at his historic home in St. Mary’s County, Porto Bello.… Later, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I developed an outdoor concert series, known as the River Concert Series. Ben and Sally [Quinn, Bradlee’s wife] would come to the concerts. One evening, after having recently conducted Aaron Copland’s ‘Lincoln Portrait,’ I asked Ben if he would be interested in creating a narration about Nixon that we could set to symphonic music. He quickly responded ‘No!’ in a way that was very clear, but he said, ‘I might be interested in highlighting a set of quotes spoken by the presidents while I was at The Post.’ … Those quotes fueled the Boston-based composer, William Thomas McKinley (a descendant of President McKinley) into a musically ironic direction. We premiered the piece to about 6,000 people in St. Mary’s with the Chesapeake Orchestra. The record company, MMC, decided to record the work in London with the London Symphony Orchestra.… Ben was very enthusiastic and amused that his particular voice was going to be immortalized as a recording artist with the London Symphony.”

Posted October 24, 2014