Bakersfield Symphony, filling need with video music lessons for California educators

Media View

Prior to the pandemic, the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra’s Kids Discover Music program brought BSO musicians into classrooms. Earlier this year, the orchestra released distance-learning music videos that have won positive feedback from educators statewide.

“The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra has released a series of distance learning videos to support local music programs,” writes Marisel Maldonado on Monday (7/27) at KGET-TV (Bakersfield, CA). “The orchestra wanted to make sure music programs were supported in a time of virtual learning. They have released the full resources ahead of time to give educators the opportunity to plan in the weeks leading up to the start of classes. The orchestra said their lesson series also makes connections to science, social studies, and other arts disciplines. The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra had released learning videos earlier this year and received positive feedback from educators across the state. ‘It’s incredibly exciting to be able to have such a meaningful impact in the lives of so many students, and we are proud to be able to lift up and support the exceptional work of educators during this time,’ said Symphony director of education engagement Kendra Green.”

July 29, 2020

Crossover musician and vocalist Rhiannon Giddens to become Silkroad’s next artistic director

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“Trained as an opera singer, Rhiannon Giddens, … a virtuoso fiddler and banjo player with a soulful voice … has delved into African-American and old-time traditions,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Tuesday’s (7/28) New York Times. “She won a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant in 2017 and wrote an opera based on the autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim man from Africa who was enslaved in South Carolina…. Now she will have a new, global curatorial canvas for her genre-skipping ideas. On Tuesday, Silkroad, the cross-cultural music organization created by Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, announced that Ms. Giddens would be its next artistic director…. ‘This is a great opportunity to bring together what I’ve been doing and what they’ve been doing,’ Ms. Giddens, 43, said…. Silkroad began … as the Silk Road Project, an effort to bring together performers, and music new and old, from the cultures centering on the ancient network of trade routes between East Asia and the Mediterranean. It has since expanded into a multifaceted performing, education and social justice organization…. Her role will occasionally showcase her as a performer, including at a Silkroad concert available online starting Wednesday through Tanglewood.”

Read Rhiannon Giddens’ recent article in Symphony magazine.

July 29, 2020

Eugene Symphony cancels free summer concerts, adds online music and education resources, reconfigures 2020-21 season

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“As ongoing COVID-19 precautions persist, the Eugene Symphony Association has canceled its traditional summer schedule and is reimagining plans for its 2020-2021 season,” writes Matthew Denis in Sunday’s (7/26) Register-Guard (Eugene, OR). “This would have marked ESA’s 12th year presenting its free summer concert series in Eugene, fifth year in Cottage Grove and fourth in Roseburg. ‘Pausing this tradition is truly heartbreaking, but we look forward to … these community celebrations in summer 2021,’ Executive Director Scott Freck said…. The Eugene Symphony had already rescheduled many of its [2019-20] concerts…. The symphony is working to find performance dates in the 2020-2021 season for ‘Bolero,’ originally scheduled for May 14, 2020, Rachmaninov’s Second, rescheduled for May 30 from March 19, Beethoven’s Fifth, rescheduled for June 20 from April 23, ‘Peter & the Wolf’ Family Concert, rescheduled for June 21 from April 26, and pianist and songwriter Ben Folds, canceled after being rescheduled to Oct. 30. Specific 2020-2021 dates have yet to be confirmed.… While away from the concert hall, Eugene Symphony launched a virtual hub at eugenesymphony.org” that includes music-education videos, curated playlists, previously recorded orchestra concerts, and new performances by orchestra musicians from home.

July 29, 2020

Grand Teton Music Festival names Emma Kail executive director

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“The Grand Teton Music Festival has a new executive director,” writes Richard Anderson in Tuesday’s (7/28) Jackson Hole News and Guide (WY). “The board of the 59-year-old classical music nonprofit announced Tuesday that Emma Kail will take the lead administrative post, effective Sept. 1.” She will succeed Interim Executive Director Simon Woods, who becomes president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras in September. “Kail, 40, has extensive experience as both a musician and a classical music administrator…. She graduated from the storied Interlochen Arts Academy of Michigan, studied trumpet performance at Indiana University and earned a master’s degree in music at the Cleveland Institute of Music … and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In the early 2000s, she switched to the administrative track, starting with the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, the Omaha Symphony and the University of Chicago. In 2007-08, she was an orchestra management fellow with the League of American Orchestras (where she briefly met GTMF Music Director Donald Runnicles) after which she spent two years as director of artistic administration for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In July 2010, Kail was hired as director of operations for the Kansas City Symphony, where within a year she was elevated to general manager, a post she held for nearly nine years.”

July 29, 2020

Cheyenne Symphony to perform rescheduled Mahler/Beethoven concert, with social distancing

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“The pandemic effect hit the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra early on, causing it to postpone the ‘Mahler and Beethoven’ concert planned for late March,” writes Ellen Fike in Tuesday’s (7/28) Cheyenne Post (WY). The performance, featuring the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture and Symphony No. 3, “will occur in August, with a matinee and evening concert. Cheyenne Civic Center’s new seating plan factors in enough space to allow for social distancing during concerts…. The 800 ticket holders will be divided into two groups of 400 [and] the civic center will require the string and percussion players, and music director William Intriligator, to wear masks…. ‘That show usually requires 95 musicians on stage,’ CSO executive director Lindsey Reynolds said. ‘We’ve amended it to have [around] 50 players…. The ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ show now will be performed on June 12, 2021…. The first CSO concert that will again be open to the public will be sometime in October…. ‘We’re going to do some smaller events that have been reprogrammed to fit a smaller orchestra and musical repertoire for them,’ Reynolds said.… The orchestra is planning to return to a traditional-size orchestra in January.”

July 29, 2020

Westmoreland Symphony heads outdoors with string quartet concert

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“A quartet of Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra string musicians will be ‘Live on the Lawn’ Friday on the grounds of the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center,” writes Shirley McMarlin in Tuesday’s (7/28) TribLive.com (Pennsylvania). “The concert … features the WSO String Quartet—violinists Dena Miller and Samantha Nelson, Sarah Ferrell on cello and Sasha Shapiro on viola. The bill includes a Mozart string quartet and light classics by Bach and other composers. ‘The second half will include some more popular pieces, like Mission Impossible and Pirates of the Caribbean, and will finish up with some lovely sacred pieces and some patriotic pieces,’ says WSO Executive Director Endy Reindl…. ‘We’re all dying for some live music,’ says WSO Marketing Manager Joy Carroll. The Friday concert and another planned for Aug. 28, featuring Beo String Quartet, replace the symphony’s annual summer chamber concert series at Unity Chapel in Unity, which could not be presented due to pandemic restrictions.… Attendance at ‘Live on the Lawn’ is limited to 250; advance registration is required, with limit of four guests per registration…. Masks must be worn when entering and exiting the grounds and entering and exiting the building…. Groups should maintain 6 feet of distance from others.”

July 29, 2020

Sphinx Organization names recipients of 2021 Medals of Excellence

Industry Buzz

The Sphinx Organization has announced that conductor Lina González-Granados, composer Carlos Simon, and oboist Titus Underwood are the three recipients of this year’s Sphinx Medals of Excellence. Each recipient will receive a $50,000 career grant at a private celebration co-hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2021. Lina González-Granados is artistic director of Unitas Ensemble, an ensemble she founded that performs works by Latinx composers and provides free performances for underserved communities. She currently serves as the Solti Conducting Apprentice at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and is the conducting fellow of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony. Carlos Simon, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, composes for large and small ensembles as well as film scores. Recent commissions have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Reno Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra, and Irving Klein String Competition. Titus Underwood is principal oboe of the Nashville Symphony. Prior to the Nashville Symphony, he was acting associate principal oboe of the Utah Symphony. He received a Master of Music from the Juilliard School and earned a Bachelor of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The Sphinx Organization is a Detroit-based social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

July 29, 2020