Sunday, July 5, 2015

THE 2015 HUEY'S, Part Two

In our previous post, we visited the 2015-2016 programs of Orchestra Iowa (dang it, it's the CEDAR RAPIDS SYMPHONY!) and the Dubuque Symphony.  Today, we start with our neighbors to the north and east.

Like I've hall.
That said, they need a "cloud" so that the choristers can be heard.
The Madison Symphony, Overture Center.

September 25, 26, 27, 2015--TCHAIKOVSKY'S FOURTH
Ludwig Van Beethoven:  Leonore Overture No. 3
Aaron Copland:  Clarinet Concerto
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky:  Symphony No. 4

I'm sorry, but this concert seems slapped together.  These pieces, on first (or second, or 100th) glance, have nothing in common, except that they're all written by dead white guys....

October 16, 17, 18, 2015--SCOTTISH FANTASY
Joseph Haydn:  Symphony No. 85 (La Reine)
Max Bruch:  Scottish Fantasy
Sergei Rachmaninoff:  Symphonic Dances

The concert's title would lead one toward a Scottish theme:  maybe some Peter Maxwell Davies (oh no, he's alive!) and Mendelssohn.  Instead, we get a couple of guys who probably never set foot anywhere near Loch Lomond, although Haydn did get to London!

November 20, 21, 22, 2015--FRENCH FANTASTIQUE
Maurice Ravel:  Valses Nobles et Sentimentales
Camille Saint-Saëns:  Cello Concerto No. 1
Hector Berlioz:  Symphonie Fantastique

At least they're all French, but there must be no other Gallic symphony...the hall has a fricking "fantastique" organ.  Why not the Saint-Saens Third?

February 12, 13, 14, 2016--MUSIC, THE FOOD OF LOVE...
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky:  Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Maurice Ravel:  Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2
Ludwig Van Beethoven:  Violin Concerto

Um.....why does February always bring out the "love themes"?  And why is R & J (in some version) ALWAYS played.  Still, I'd like to compare the orchestra's soundscape in the back-to-back Ravel works.  His string writing can bring out the best (or the worst) of this orchestra.

March 11, 12, 13, 2016--THE GREAT EMANUEL AX
Dmitry Kabalevsky:  Colas Breugnon Overture
César Franck:  Symphonic Variations
Richard Strauss:  Burleske
Gustav Mahler:  Symphony No. 4

Let's slap a Kabalevsky barn-burner and Mahler's shortest between two works--gotta get their money's worth--featuring one of the great pianists of our age.

April 1, 2, 3, 2016--OHLSSON PLAYS BRAHMS
Steven Stucky:  Symphony No. 1
Richard Strauss:  Don Juan
Johannes Brahms:  Piano Concerto No. 1

Anthony Tommasini of the NY Times, wrote,  "Mr. Stucky perhaps achieved his goal of writing a graspable symphony too well. I was engrossed in the work right through, and Mr. Gilbert drew an exciting performance from the orchestra. But the music may give away its secrets too readily." It's probably unfortunate that a new work (2012) by an American(!) composer (who's alive!) is going to be dwarfed by the rest of the program.

April 29, 30, May 1, 2016--CARMINA BURANA
Beverly Taylor, Director
Ottorino Respighi:  Pines of Rome
Carl Orff:  Carmina Burana

Like all of the programing, it's. just. plain. old. school.  They must need to fill the hall; the greatest of all Nazi warhorses, Carmina Burana, is on the bill.

Dead guys:  All of them except Stucky
Living composers:  Stucky
Women:  Nada
Austro-Germans: 7 (Beethoven twice, Brahms, Bruch, Haydn, Mahler, Orff, and R. Strauss)
French: 4 (assuming you include Franck, Berlioz, Ravel, and Saint-Saens)
Russians: 3 (Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Kabalevsky)
Italians (what? Holy crap!): Respighi, all alone.
Americans 2 (one dead)

And all of these concerts, with a little variation, fit the pattern.  Ho-hum.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Quad-City Symphony--Saturdays: 8:00 p.m., Adler Theater (Davenport); Sundays: 2:00 p.m. Centennial Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island.

Just an odd pose...all I can say.
Masterworks I:  The Re-Creation  October 3 and 4th, 2015
Music Director Mark Russell Smith begins our second century by re-living our first concert!  
WAGNER Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger 
WAGNER “Dich, teure Halle” from Tannhäuser – Heidi Melton, soprano 
SCHUBERT Unfinished Symphony, Mvt. 1 
SAINT-SAENS Piano Concerto #2 – Kyu Yeon Kim, piano 
TCHAIKOVSKY Elegy from String Serenade
TCHAIKOVSKY Waltz from Sleeping Beauty 

Okay, they're all European and they're all dead, but this is an interesting look back to how concerts were presented a century ago.  One got "small plate" helpings of lots of different pieces, a little opera, maybe a concerto, hardly ever an entire symphony.  End with a couple of things everyone knows.  Something for everyone.  What if more concerts were like this, only with living composers?  Toss in a tune from (God forbid!) Showboat or a Gershwin song.  Cole Porter anyone?

Masterworks II:  Bach, Brahms, and Shostakovich
November 7 and 8, 2015
The grace of Bach, the romance of Brahms, and the profundity of Shostakovich showcase Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz, Principal Cellist Hannah Holman, and the entire QCSO.
BACH Sinfonias from Cantatas #42 and #21 
BRAHMS Double Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 102, Op. (Naha Greenholtz, violin; Hannah Holman, cello) 
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 10

Dead, dead and dead (although not that long ago!)  Nice to see Bach (in a rather odd pairing), although I'm wondering how he's going to sound next to the big Brahms work.

Masterworks III:  Winter Fun - Mozart and More!
December 5 and 6, 2015
Catch the spirit of the season in a delightful potpourri of classic favorites including Tchikovsky's (sic) Nutcracker Suite, Mozart's Piano Concerto #21 with St. Ambrose professor Marian Lee, and a set of Sleigh Rides.
HUMPERDINCK Prelude to Hansel and Gretel
W.A. MOZART Piano Concerto KV467 in C Major – Marian Lee, piano
L. MOZART Musical Sleigh Ride
DELIUS Sleigh Ride
ANDERSON Sleigh Ride
TCHAIKOVSKY Nutcracker Suite

So it's a holiday concert....why call it "masterworks."  And, for the record, watch the film (Lt. Kije is now available on YouTube).  The Troika has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday season.

Masterworks IV:  Song and Dance
February 6 and 7, 2016 
Virtuoso violinist Livia Sohn shines in Barber's lyrical concerto, and the QCSO dances the night away to Beethoven's Symphony #7.
GRIEG Holberg Suite
BARBER Violin Concerto – Livia Sohn, violin
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

What?  No love?  This is just another seemingly slapped together program.

Masterworks V:  Homegrown Variations - Bancks, Klemme, and Timmerman
March 5 and 6, 2016
Three local stars bring life to a World Premiere Basson (sic) Concerto, Braham's (sic) uplifting Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and Elgar's thrilling Enigma Variations.
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56A
BANCKS Dream Variations for Bassoon (World Premiere) – Mark Timmerman, bassoon
ELGAR Enigma Variations

Great to see a world premiere.  The QCSO continues to mine the talents of local college composition faculty.  (By the way, "Klemme" is the orchestra's associate conductor, like MRS, conveniently from the Twin Cities.)

Masterworks VI:  The Resurrection
April 2 and 3, 2016
Mark Russell Smith Leads Mahler's massive and moving Symphony #2 capping the 101st season with soprano Linh Kauffman, mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala, and the Quad City Choral Arts.  Because of the size and expense of Mahler's Symphony #2, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many concert-goers.

I've heard Mahler 2 more than once--even a performance by the Dubuque Symphony.  It's not a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience.  Any mention of "expense" has no business being in a concert brochure.  And hasn't the QCSO long been known as a "Mahler orchestra."  Surely, the Second Symphony has been played many times.

Dead guys:  almost all.
White guys:  Ibid.
Women:  you're kidding.
Sorry, I'm getting bored.

* * * * * * * * * *

WCF Symphony--Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

They have a cool hall as well....
(RiverLoop Amphitheatre, Waterloo)
Jerome Margolis – Rivers Run Free (world premiere)
George Frideric Handel – Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks

To me there is something just so appropriate about hearing these Handel works outdoors.  Now, if only the WCF Symphony would toss the strings and use Handel's original instrumentation: raft-fulls of oboes, horns, trumpets, etc., that would be the ultimate!  This AND a world premiere.  I've caught a midi version that demonstrates some licks reminiscent of Vltava (the Moldau to most folks outside the Czech Republic.)

Zhou Long – The Rhyme of Taigu
Two Klezmer sets with David Krakauer, clarinet
Aaron Copland – The Red Pony

Another living composer!  That's two for two! AND Klezmer music--on an orchestra concert!  Maestro Weinberger's love for his native instrument--the clarinet--is coming out, but I like it.  Given the make up of the rest of the program, we'll let the dead Copland slide; The Red Pony is a lovely piece.

John Williams – Music from Star Wars
Selections from:
Gustav Holst – Planets
Leonard Bernstein – On the Town
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake
Richard Wagner – The Ring
Igor Stravinsky – Rite of Spring

Another living American (even if it is John--never met a perfect fifth he didn't like--Williams).  The Holst connection is obvious, as are Wagner and, in a way, Stravinsky.  Bernstein and Tchaikovsky I'm not so sure, but JW will definitely describe it well to his audiences.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6 // 5:00PM - 6:15PM and 8:30 PM:  BACH I
(Brown Derby Ballroom, Waterloo)
Johann Sebastian Bach – Suite no. 1 and Brandenburg Concerto no. 1

If you're going to present Bach, take it out of a cavernous concert hall.  That's what the WCF has done for the second year running, using the much more intimate--a chamber if you will--ballroom of the renovated Brown Derby in downtown Waterloo.  This also serves to bring the orchestra out of its palatial residence and into different spaces in the region.

Avner Dorman – Spices, Perfumes, Toxins with Maraca2, percussion
Igor Stravinsky – Firebird, 1945

Of his work, Israeli-born Dorman writes, "The title Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! refers to three substances that are extremely appealing, yet filled with danger. Spices delight the palate, but can cause illness; perfumes seduce, but can also betray; toxins bring ecstasy, but are deadly. The concerto combines Middle-Eastern drums, orchestral percussion, and rock drums with orchestral forces – a unique sound both enticing and dangerous. I think that's enough to get me to this concert.  Firebird is probably a bit overplayed as it's the most palatable of Stravinsky's ballet scores, but still, it is the stuff of genius.

SATURDAY, APRIL 2 // 5:00PM - 6:15PM and 8:30 PM:  Bach II
(Brown Derby Ballroom, Waterloo)
Johann Sebastian Bach – Suite no. 2 and Brandenburg Concerto no. 2

Josef Strauss – Velocipede Polka
songCYCLE – Music by Timo Andres, Richard Lerman, and others with music video by Rapha
Edward Elgar – Enigma Variations

Did Elgar ride a bike?  Or is that just an enigma?  (Couldn't resist.)  I don't know what to make of the middle of this program.  That in itself spells "cutting edge."  MORE LIVING AMERICANS!

RiverLoop Amphitheatre, Waterloo
Orquesta Alto Maiz with live orchestra! This is our first summer concert on the waterfront in downtown Waterloo.

Orquesta Alto Maiz has long been a staple throughout the corn belt (I heard them early in their careers sometime in the 80s in downtown Davenport).  While the personnel has gradually changed, the sound is the same:  authentic Latin-inspired fusion guaranteed to get the crowd dancing.  One can only imagine the possibilities when teamed with a symphony orchestra.

The scorecard:  The only place where WCF falls short is in the neglect of women composers.  But there is so much contemporary American music here that one can only applaud the efforts of Maestro Weinberger to break the mold.  WCF continues to dominate the Huey Awards.  In a  way, I really wish there was true, rather than token, opposition.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

THE 2015 HUEY'S!!! Part One

Introduced in advance of the 2011-12 concert seasons, I began a pursuit--with accompanying commentary--of the most stimulating orchestral programing in this "neck of the woods."  Of course, Chicago, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities are within driving distance, it's rather difficult to make a day trip out of the concert experience.  So I've limited the draw to orchestras in Eastern Iowa and have (for the first time), added the Madison Symphony to the mix.  It's approximately the same distance from Dubuque as Waterloo-Cedar Falls and has a cool hall.  That in itself can make attending a concert more worthy, assuming there is something interesting on the bill.

The original Huey post laid out the criteria:

The "Huey awards" are totally arbitrary, based upon my own criteria which include possible thematic content, inclusion of both contemporary and American composers and overall creativity and originality. The latter would imply programs that step out of the Overture - Concerto - Symphony box. Also of important note is the presentation of works outside the standard repertory; i.e. why offer yet another performance of Dvorak 7 (or 8 or 9) or Shostakovich 5--regardless of my own love for those works--when there are hundreds of neglected works that may be favored by audiences (and surely the players). Do we need yet another performance of Beethoven 5 instead of say, the Bizet Symphonie? Or what about the Franck--long a staple of the repertoire that now seems to be rarely played? I could make a long list of neglected works and that's just the works of the "masters."

It is incumbent upon the modern day symphony to be a proponent of the music of our time BECAUSE that is the heritage of the medium. It was not until the mid to late nineteenth century that works of the past started to form any kind of "repertory." In the time of Mozart and Haydn, people were "discovering" the works of Bach and Handel as if they'd been composed in another millennium, rather than some one hundred years previous. In Mozart's time (and Beethoven's and many other's) the music presented on a concert program had to be new. There were no "interpreters" of the music of the past; most performers were led by the composers themselves. But, somewhere along the way (the early twentieth century and the rise of serialism?) the audience became disconnected from the music of its time. If we are to remain viable, we must espouse the changing milieu in which we live.

The criteria have evolved to place an emphasis not only on contemporary music, but the insistence that American orchestras should be committing themselves to American music--the both the past and the present.  The days of concert consisting of only dead white European males must come to a halt.  When women are making great strides on the rostrum (not enough) and off (the most recent Pulitzer Prize in music was awarded to Julia Wolfe for Anthracite Fields), the time has come to perform music by contemporary female composers.  While it may be viewed as righting over a century of "wrongs," it just makes musical sense.

The "contestants" are listed alphabetically by city of origin (my own personal bias bypasses the Cedar Rapids Symphony's reincarnation as "Orchestra Iowa"--it ain't my orchestra!)  By the way, any spelling or grammatical errors are offered as the material appeared on the orchestra's website when I visited.  Commentary is provided from the sites; Score and Podium's is in italics.

Couldn't resist.
He was on their website!
The Cedar Rapids Symphony: concerts held at The Paramount Theater and other locations.  Visit

September 12 (Brucemore Mansion Grounds)
DVORAK — Symphony No. 9, From the New World
SMETANA — The Moldau from Ma Vlast
arr. HANKEWICH — Men of Harlech
TCHAIKOVSKY — 1812 Overture

This one seems to always get me.  I like the "Czech bent" offered in a city with a large native population (as well as the National Czech and Slovak Museum).  One has to wonder why it's titled "The Moldau" instead of Vltava (aren't there several other movements from which to choose?) AND, WHY MUST AN ORCHESTRA OFFER YET ANOTHER PERFORMANCE OF 1812?  It has nothing to do with the American War of the same name and nothing to do with our independence.  Yet, it gets hauled out year after year, almost always with at least only huge (and worthwhile) cut!

October 16-17 “A National Romance”
ELGAR — Froissart Overture
RAVEL — Piano Concerto in G Major
SIBELIUS — Symphony No. 2 in D Major

Three iconic works from the late romantic era and early 20th Century, each of which defines the style of music of their nation. Edward Elgar pays tribute to Jean Froissart, whose Chronicles described the great era of chivalry, while Jean Sibelius stokes the patriotic conscience of his native Finland. Meanwhile, nobody represents the French style more than Maurice Ravel in his Piano Concerto in G Major, which flirts with influences of American Jazz and the music of George Gershwin.

Overture - Concerto - Symphony, all by dead white European males.

November 6-7 “The Fifth Season”

FINZI — The Fall of the Leaf
PIAZZOLLA — The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
TCHAIKOVSKY — Symphony No 1, Winter Daydreams

Whether it’s English autumnal majesty fostered in Finzi’s music, the sensuous tango influences of Piazzolla’s Argentina, or the fiery passion of Tchaikovsky, each work explores the various seasons in a feast of musical style. Four seasons and one concert to enjoy them all.

An attempt to disguise the tried and true Overture - Concerto - Symphony model.  The Piazzolla, although originally scored for his own quintet of violin (viola), piano, electric guitar, double bass and bandoneón, has been rearranged by Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov as a Violin Concerto.

January 29-30 “Stirring Fantasies”

VAIGHAN (sic) WILLIAMS — Fantasia on a Theme By Thomas Tallis
TCHAIKOVSKY — Serenade for Strings

Watch these musicians expansively soar and thrill in these masterworks for large string ensemble. Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis fuses renaissance England with early 20th century sensibilities, as Tchaikovsky writes some of his most passionate and memorable melodies in his Serenade for Strings. Old meets new again, with a re-invention of Bizet’s music from his masterful opera. Just as Carmen seduced the passions of her suitors, this music, uniquely scored for strings and percussion, will stir your fantasies.

Trying to figure out the relationship among these three works.  Oh yeah, all the composers are dead.  It's a cheap show to produce, however:  NO WINDS!

March 11-13 “New Frontiers”

MILHAUD — La Création du Monde
MOZART — Bassoon Concerto
SCHUMANN — Symphony No. 2 in C Major
Featuring Matthew Ransom, bassoon

Each composer broke new ground in their own unique way whether it was the shocking embrace of 1920’s jazz idioms in Mihaud’s whimsical interpretation of the Creation of the World, Schumann’s exuberant hyper romanticism or Mozart’s unprecedented precocious ease with his musical mastery. Together, these works make a memorable evening of musical daring. This concert marks principal bassoonist Matthew Ransom’s debut performance as a soloist with Orchestra Iowa.

Dead, dead, and dead:  although it is refreshing to see a Milhaud work on an Iowa orchestra program.

May 6-7

BEETHOVEN — Missa Solemnis
featuring: Mary Wilson, soprano; Renée Rapier, mezzo soprano; Eric Barry, tenor; Sumner Thompson, bass

Orchestra Iowa is proud to continue our mission of serving our great state in this partnership with the combined choruses of Simpson College (College Chamber Singers and the Simpson College Choir), and the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble. Written during the same time as his ninth symphony, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is widely considered to be one of his supreme achievements, and one of the greatest monuments in the symphonic/choral literature. Rarely heard in live performance, this concert represents yet another first in Orchestra Iowa’s 94-year-old concert history.

Beethoven: he be dead too.  As I've found several mentions of Missa Solemnis performances around the country, it's hard to say that the work is "rarely heard."  Heck, I've sung it--my first major work as   a vocal/choral major undergraduate.

June 4 “A Hero’s Lifef (sic)

SIBELIUS — Lemminkaïnen’s Return
WAGNER — Siegfried’s Funeral March from Götterdämmerung
DVORAK — A Hero’s Song 
R. STRAUSS — Ein Heldenleben

Don’t miss this rare occasion to experience the pinnacle of Richard’s Strauss’ orchestral writing. Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s life) chronicles the life and loves of a hero (presumably the composer himself) in a symphonic tour de force that will leave audiences breathless. To compliment the remainder of the program, each piece pays tribute to various mythic legends, including Dvorak’s very last orchestral work which, like the Strauss, places the artist as the ultimate hero.

This might be the most interesting program of the whole season, but--of course--we've already heard from Sibelius and Dvorak.  The other two guys are dead as well.

For those keeping score:

Dead guys:  20 (some were counted twice)
Living guys:  none
Women:  none
Austro-Germans: 5 (Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, R. Strauss, Wagner)
French: 3 (Bizet, Milhaud, Ravel)
Czechs: 2 (Smetana, Dvorak appears twice)
Scandinavians: (1 Sibelius twice)
Russians: 1 (Tchaikovsky, three times)
Brits:  3 (Elgar, Finzi and Vaughan Williams)
Americans (not counting an "arranger"): 0 (One if you count Piazzolla)

Was it?  Couldn't tell you....I wasn't there.
The Dubuque Symphony, with concerts at Five Flags Theater and the University of Dubuque Heritage Center.  See

Symphonic Fantasies
SATURDAY, October 10 | 7:30pm SUNDAY, October 11 | 2:00pm
AMY DUNKER New Fanfare (world premiere)
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2 - Natasha Paremski, piano
BERLIOZ Symphonie Fantastique

The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra opens its 57th season with an exciting new fanfare written specifically for this concert by Dubuque composer Amy Dunker. Russian piano virtuoso Natasha Paremski joins the orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s romantic and powerful Piano Concerto No. 2 while Berlioz’s fantasy- filled symphony is a thrilling blockbuster. From the “March to the Scaffold” to the “Witch’s Sabbath,” this music is truly one of the great classics.

Interesting to note Dubuque's take on "fantasies."  Rach 2 has appeared here several times over the years (yes, it does have some fabulous tunes).  The Berlioz?  Did he write anything else?

Magical Mozart
SATURDAY, November 14 | 7:30pm SUNDAY, November 15 | 2:00pm
MOZART Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
GLASS Movement 3 from Symphony No. 3
HAYDN Trumpet Concerto - Wes Skidgel, trumpet
MOZART Symphony No. 40

Mozart’s sparkling overture begins this concert, followed by the beautiful, mesmerizing strains of Philip Glass’ music for strings from his Third Symphony. DSO Principal Trumpeter Wes Skidgel is the featured soloist for Haydn’s lovely trumpet concerto. The program then concludes with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 masterpiece, which is graceful yet emotionally compelling.

One of these doesn't belong and two of them ain't Mozart.  Haydn?  Even though he belongs, been there, done that.  It's the "go-to" trumpet piece. Why not the Hummel?  Much more interesting piece.  Philip Glass?  This might be palatable, just once.  Still, amidst Mozart and Haydn?  It doesn't make sense, other than as filler.

Beautiful Brahms
SATURDAY, March 5 | 7:30pm  SUNDAY, March 6 | 2:00pm
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1
BRAHMS A German Requiem - Dubuque Chorale, chorus;
Emily Birsan, soprano; Ashraf Sewailam, baritone

Beethoven’s lively and exciting First Symphony is followed by Brahms’ German Requiem, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. Both tender and powerful, it features the Dubuque Chorale, two outstanding vocal soloists, and a large orchestra.

This is not the DSO's first traversal of the Brahms (nor the Beethoven I believe) in recent years.  Verdi anyone?  I don't think that's been heard since the tenure of Nicholas Palmer.

SATURDAY, April 2 | 7:30pm SUNDAY, April 3 | 2:00pm
ADAM Giselle (fully staged ballet) - Heartland Ballet Company Dubuque City Youth Ballet

The orchestra joins forces with the Heartland Ballet Company to present a fully staged production of the romantic ballet Giselle. A tragic love story with supernatural elements, this ballet is both heartfelt and fun. It has been more than 10 years since the symphony last performed a fully staged ballet, so you won’t want to miss this uniquely special event.

Many, MANY years ago, the DSO (or at least a portion of it) was the house band for the local ballet, which performed nothing with canned music.  Unfortunately, that's gone by the wayside.  So, it's good to see a return to tradition in a hall that can probably accommodate a larger complement of players.

SATURDAY, May 7 | 7:30pm SUNDAY, May 8 |2:00pm
DVORAK Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto - Midori violin

“Midori has already established herself as one of the most important violinists of our time!" (This quote is at least ten years old, if not more.  Midori has been playing professionally for over 30 years. Born in 1971, she's not a kid anymore.  Maybe I should be forgiven my lack of enthusiasm, but she once blew off a residency while I was studying at UW-Madison.)

The scorecard:
Dead guys:  10 (and 1/2 if you want to count Glass)
Living composers:  2
Women:  1, although a brief work.  Condescension anyone?
Austro-Germans: 4 (Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, and a double helping of Mozart!)
French: 2 (Adam and Berlioz)
Czechs: 1 (Dvorak)
Russians: 2 (Rach and Tchaik--surprise!)
Americans 2

So, part way through our traversal of the local orchestral scene, it seems a certain victory for dead guys and the traditional concert "meal."  

To be continued.....