Click Here for a really good article on what the work life of an orchestral musician is – in case you’ve ever thought they had it easy.
The Vivaldi Project presents
A Rare Performance of
The Six String Sinfonias, W. 182
by C.P.E. BACH
performed on period instruments
with guest conductor Maestro John Hsu
Thursday, September 16, 2010 7:30 pm
First Presbyterian Church
305 East Main Street | Durham, NC
Tickets: $20/ $15 students with ID and First Pres. members
For more information and tickets please go to
Tickets also available at the door.
The Vivaldi Project is a premier period instrument ensemble, based in Washington DC, and dedicated to presenting 17th- and 18th-century string repertoire. The name, The Vivaldi Project, refers not only to the group’s core repertoire—the extraordinary works of the virtuoso violinist and composer, Antonio Vivaldi—but also the project of probing into the roots of Vivaldi’s distinctive musical style, as well as his role as the most influential Italian composer of his generation. Vivaldi’s innovative contributions to string writing, the concerto genre, and programmatic orchestral music place him as a pivotal figure between earlier baroque composers and later classical composers. Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, in addition to being the leading keyboard player and teacher of his day, was also recognized as a composer with innovative and revolutionary ideas—the six sinfonias for strings containing some of the most audacious and dramatic material he wrote. These sinfonias illustrate how the art of violin playing as advanced and developed by Vivaldi directly influenced orchestral violin writing, increasing the technical demands placed upon the players and raising the standard of their playing.
John Hsu is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor of Music Emeritus at Cornell University, where he taught for 50 years (1955-2005). As an instrumentalist and conductor, he has toured throughout this country and Europe, and made award-winning recordings. Among them are his CD of Haydn Baryton Trios (with violist David Miller and cellist Fortunato Arico), which was chosen Winner in the Music Retailers Association’s Annual Award for Excellence in London, 1989; and his CD Symphonies for the Esterhazy Court by Joseph Haydn (with the Apollo Ensemble), which was nominated for the 1996 International Cannes Classical Music Award. In May 2000, the government of France and its Ministry of Culture bestowed the high honor of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on John Hsu in recognition of his life-long commitment to French Baroque music as a scholar, performer, and teacher. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, which awarded him the Honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1971, and the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2003. He currently lives in Chapel Hill, NC.
I’ll be playing bass with my favorite jazz (and other music) buddies Bernie Petteway and Ed Butler – Thursday July 1st at the General Store Cafe in Pittsboro.
Don’t miss the Eno Festival this July 4th weekend. It’s a great event for a great cause. Three days of music and crafts. The weather looks good – but if you get too hot go sit in the river. I’ll be playing on Monday July 5 at 10:00 AM and 12:15 PM with Craicdown – filling in (no, I’m NOT bringing the accordion) for David D. who injured his back. Jim Roberts and Rob Sharer – great musicians.
If you like to dance I’ll be playing viol for the Sun Assembly English Country Dancers on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays. They teach each dance so if you’re new to English Country Dance you can still give it a try. The music is beautiful and the dances are fun to watch even if you can’t join in yourself.
Speaking of dance – I start rehearsing this week for a project at the American Dance Festival in Durham. I’ll be playing solo bass for a theatrical tap dance piece by Margaret Morrison on the July 23rd program in Reynolds Theater. It looks like it’s going to be very interesting.
I’ll be playing bass with Steve Wing and Beverly Botsford on July 16th at the Upper Chatham Lower Alamance Community Center. Wow – have I really been playing jazz with these two for 28 years now?!
The month closes out with the Bernie Petteway Trio at Cafe Beyu in Durham – a VERY happening place.
See my performance calendar for more details on all these dates and more.
Three exciting performances this weekend. Friday night at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Durham come hear two of my favorite vocalists in recital. I’ll be playing viola da gamba and baroque cello with Kristen Blackman and Erica Dunkle along with Scott Hill on harpsichord, John Orluk – lute, Sarah Griffin – violin, and Jane Lynch – organ.
Erica and Kristen are well known for their solo work with several of Rodney Wynkoop’s fine choral groups and are presenting this recital of works by Bach, Purcell, Monteverdi, Schutz, Dowland, and a beautiful new work by a composer friend of theirs – Paul Leary. The acoustics at First Presby are perfect for this music – it’s a wonderful room and we’re so lucky that the church is supportive of having concerts there. The recital is free and open to the public. 8:00 pm Friday the 23rd.
Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon I’ll be playing bass, cello, and bouzouki with Jim Crew and John Hanks accompanying the spectacular tap dancing of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble. If you’ve never seen these young people dance – well – you really need to come out and see and hear them. VERY fine group of young people that I have been working with for many years now. Carolina Theater in downtown Durham.
September 26th and 27th I’ll be riding to raise money to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis. I will be joining more than 2,000 other cyclists for the 2009 MS Bike Tour “BB&T Tour to Tanglewood” which will benefit the Central North Carolina Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We will be riding a minimum of 90 hilly miles over 2 days to help end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis, a chronic, often-disabling disease of the central nervous system that strikes people in the prime of life. Last year approximately 2,300 cyclists raised more than $1.5 million on the New Bern Tour that Karen and I did. We have both lost friends to this disease and each of us knows several people who are currently living with MS. As we have contacted people in our fund raising efforts we have discovered that almost everyone we have talked to either has friends or relatives with MS. We are asking for your help in this challenge. By making a pledge on my behalf, you will support national research efforts to find the cause and cure for MS in addition to helping fund local programs for the thousands of people in Central North Carolina who live with and reach beyond the daily challenges of MS each day. In the past 20 years, significant progress has been made in the treatment of MS, particularly for those who are newly diagnosed. Last year I raised over $1200 to help this cause. Please help me match or exceed that amount this year. Any amount is appreciated. If you can help you can easily donate securely online using your credit card at the National MS Society website. Here is the link: Robbie’s Donation Page
Click the “Donate to Robbie” button on top of the fundraising thermometer and follow the instructions. I will be automatically informed via email of your donation. Thank you so much for your support and for your interest in multiple sclerosis!
Notes: Due to schedule conflicts I am unable to do the Bike MS New Bern Tour that Karen and I have done for the last two years and which directly benefits our community. Karen is hoping to do at least part of that tour. But I wanted to continue working for this cause and the Central Carolina Chapter helps many people close to us.
Why only 90 miles this year? (Last year we rode 175!) The Tour to Tanglewood is very hilly compared to New Bern. I will have 3 route options to add up to 55 additional miles on Saturday. I plan to add at least one additional route – we’ll see how it goes from there!
A very powerful statement against the incitement of mob violence that is going on by so called “political leaders”. Watch the video but if you can’t there’s also a text version: Countdown With Keith Olbermann
Some rides from my house
21 miles to Maple View and down through Calvander:
View Larger Map
18 Miles American Drive, Mt. Sinai Hill Route
View Larger Map
I love choirs. My earliest (enjoyable) musical memories are of singing in elementary school choir. Of course, I was a soprano then and got to sing the melody. Then there were years of no singing at all but in high school I happened to walk by the choir room as they were rehearsing “O Magnum Mysterium” (Victoria) and I was hooked. I gave up my lunch hour to sing second bass parts with buddy Steve Russell.
These days I mostly accompany choirs and we have such fine mixed choirs in the Triangle. But the sound that moves me the most is that of the unmixed choirs – all men, or all women – equally potent. This Saturday the Women’s Voices Chorus performs. I’ll be joining them on a few tunes playing bass as they celebrate dance. There will even be some dancers. John Hanks will play percussion.
Women’s Voices Chorus has been around since the early 90’s – founded by Mary Lycan. I’ve played with them many times over the years and they’ve had their ups and downs but tonight at rehearsal sitting in the middle of the ensemble I got goose bumps the singing was so beautiful. Rich, expressive, wonderfully in tune and oh, those altos! There is nothing like the sound of a women’s chorus. Cheerfully and artfully directed by Allan Friedman – yeah, a guy – but I can tell they love him. Should be a very pleasing concert – please come.
Saturday, May 2, 2:00 pm – Chapel Hill Bible Church