Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Interlochen 2016, ICO Concert #3

Today we are making our final preparations for the 2016 Intermediate Concert Orchestra's third concert of the summer season. It has been a wonderful week or so of rehearsals and ICO is really ready to give this performance. We have three pieces to perform on this concert and I know they are all going to be well received.

We will open the concert with Mendelssohn's Sinfonia # 7 in D Minor, Mvt 1. This is a wonderful String Symphony movement that will challenge any young string orchestra. It features wild dynamic swings, a contrapuntal texture at times as Mendelssohn is known to utilize, and requires independent counting from each section of the orchestra. I particularly love how the viola section is challenged in this piece. The ICO viola section in this session is certainly up to the task. This piece always requires a great deal of detailed rehearsal and the orchestra has risen to the task. My goal for the last two rehearsals is to really accentuate the rhythmic motion and variation in the peace and develop a little bit more of the dynamic nuance within each line of the work. This piece also provides ample opportunity for encouraging students to listen across the orchestra in an effort to solidify rhythmic stability.

Next, we will feature two of our esteemed cello faculty members, Dr. John Marshall and Dr. David Carter on the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto in G Minor. It has been a wonderful experience to prepare the accompaniment for this work and I feel that providing the opportunity for these young musicians to accompany such fine soloists is rare, indeed. Again, this accompaniment provides ample opportunity for teaching young orchestral musicians to look past the notes and rhythms and to find the direction in a piece of music. I always tell students that their first job in playing Vivaldi is to make every note "sparkle." I am also pleased that my bassist in this ensemble, Jonathan, will be performing the continuo part along with a student harpsichordist. Again, this is a rare opportunity for such a young musician and he has truly risen to the task. The smile on his face during rehearsals has been truly gratifying for me.

We will finish our portion of the program with another great jazz string orchestra chart from my friend Tom Sharp. This one is called Mayfair Drive and is listed as Medium Difficult by Lucks Music. This chart features a cool solo bass line and some really cool string riffs and sounds. Since I had a harpsichord player around rehearsals for the Vivaldi, I asked Tom to give me something that a keyboard player could use in playing this piece.  He quickly send me the changes and a lead sheet for the pianist.  (It pays to know the composer!!) Then, one of our piano instructors, Alejandro Bernard-Papachryssanthou tweaked the part just a little bit more and we will be featuring our piano player, Isabella, with the orchestra on this piece. Like many of Sharp's charts for string orchestra, this requires no improvisation on the orchestra's part and allows for teaching the orchestra swing style and a variety of other idiomatically jazz concepts.

This concert will be live-streamed and broadcast live on the web on Wednesday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. I hope that you can tune in and check out a great performance by the Interlochen 2016 Intermediate Concert Orchestra.


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