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July 2, 2007

Alex Ross

I have been following the writing of Alex Ross in The New Yorker, and on his blog, and find him one of the few writers who seems to have a sense of American orchestral life beyond the largest cities. His most recent writings are insightful and very much worth reading, which you can find by clicking here.

Posted by hfogel at July 2, 2007 9:40 AM

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I'm pretty sure that the journalists in those cities have a fair idea of what's going on with their orchestras. It's more accurate to say that Ross is one of the few writers with a national readership to have a sense of American orchestras, and one of even fewer whose publication gives him the means to cover such ensembles.

Posted by: Marc Geelhoed at July 3, 2007 4:47 PM

It's great to see that a critic like Ross has taken the time and effort to find out first-hand what's going on beyond the Hudson River.

On another point, how many read Bernard Holland's review of the recent NY Philharmonic concert, conducted by Bramwell Tovey? He touches on a point which Henry raised here a few weeks ago.

QUOTE: "Friday's program at Avery Fisher Hall, led by the conductor and amiable conversationalist Bramwell Tovey, was a chestnut roast from start to finish: a greatest-hits lineup calculated to soothe the brain and slow the heart rate.

It is embarrassing to say, on the other hand, that by avoiding very familiar repertory so strenuously, we end up not playing it much at all. Fearing the obvious, we make the obvious into the rare.
I can't remember the last time I heard Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" or Smetana's "Moldau." One noticed details in the Grieg Piano Concerto and Rossini's "William Tell" Overture that over long periods of absence had been forgotten." UNQUOTE

Could it be that Bernie Holland has been reading Henry's blog?

Posted by: Larry Fried at July 4, 2007 1:05 AM

I also read this article by Alex Ross. He illustrates the success stories amongst orchestras that had been ranked lower than their current standing. It is indeed a wonderful facelift to have either a new hall, new conductor or both. I've worked with the Alabama Symphony after it rose from the ashes, and return next January (Leroy Anderson's Concerto) and also see a similar success in the resurgence of the Honolulu Symphony. I worked with that orchestra as far back as 1988, and lastly in 2002. With Andreas Delfs as their new maestro, his presence and amazing abilities will catapult the orchestra to a new level. I agree with Larry Fried regarding familiar repertoire. As for the Grieg Piano Concerto, I performed the well-known work last season, and will play it again on July 11 with a relatively obscure summer festival orchestra in Point Pleasant, NJ--directly on the beach. Alphonse Stephenson, the maestro of Symphony of St. Peter by the Sea, is quite a brilliant chap. He draws huge crowds to take in the beach setting, with a beautiful moon shining over the Atlantic with the top players of the northern NJ region. Most people there know about this gem of a venue, and those in other parts may not. I've been there frequently, and Alphonse always includes those pieces that everyone adores and would expect to see on his programs--yet he always includes works they don't know as well.

Posted by: Jeffrey Biegel at July 5, 2007 6:27 AM

Good site! I'll stay reading! Keep improving!

Posted by: Doe at November 10, 2007 10:41 AM