South Bend Symphony’s Alastair Willis, curating “Quarantunes” from home

Posted on: May 6, 2020

South Bend Symphony Orchestra Music Director Alastair Willis. Photo by Michael Caterina

“Alastair Willis has become a DJ of sorts during the coronavirus pandemic,” writes Andrew Hughes in Sunday’s (5/3) South Bend Tribune (IN). “Twice a week as he shelters at home with his family, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra’s music director posts new messages to his latest creative endeavor, ‘Quarantunes,’ on the orchestra’s website…. Each post serves as a peek into Willis’ personal playlist and contains a short description of the featured work and a link to a performance of it on YouTube…. [Posts include] the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 … Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta …’Concierto para metals’ by the Cuban jazz band Irakere … and the pop music of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Conversation Peace’ album … He writes … about how Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto is ‘the one piece that got me into music’ and inspired him to take up the instrument at 13…. The SBSO also has launched Musician Mondays, a video series on YouTube [featuring] members of the orchestra.… Willis plans to continue ‘Quarantunes’ once the orchestra returns to the stage, but with one caveat: ‘We may have to change the name once we’re all allowed out.’ ”