Monday, September 29, 2014


Jay Friedman (conductor), orchestra members and audience all agreed!  Yesterday's concert was a huge success in every way:  we had a very large and appreciative audience, Jay's conducting was spectacular and the orchestra performed at its highest level to date.


In "Pictures at an Exhibition, Stokowski's version, the orchestra pulled out all of the stops to create excitement and drama at every turn.  


John Bruce Yeh and Teresa Reilly thrilled the audience with their beautiful playing of Mendelssohn's Konzertstück for two clarinets.


Our playing of Strauss's "Death and Transfiguration" was in top shape, due to the excellent tutoring session from Maestro Muti a few days earlier and executed in final form by Jay Friedman.


Many new audience members reported that they would be back!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Maestro Muti's Visit

Maestro Riccardo Muti came to our rehearsal on Wednesday, September 24!  He helped us rehearse "Tod und Verklärung" by Richard Strauss, a piece we will perform at our concert on Sunday, September 28. 

The mood of the orchestra was "excited", "thrilled", and "happy".  We all tried to play our best!  Maestro Muti set us at our ease immediately by his little jokes and huge charm!  He was quite tough with us, though, asking us to repeat, repeat, repeat certain phrases until they were just right!  It was like watching a potter shape a lump of clay into a beautiful object.  In fact, he, himself, stated that conducting an orchestra was like sculpting a flower.  As he spoke and showed with his hands the beautiful flower, we all knew what he meant.

What a fantastic evening!  It's one we will never forget!  Many thanks to our conductor, Jay Friedman, a colleague of Muti's, for arranging this great event!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Maestro Muti Returns!

Riccardo Muti, the esteemed conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will come to our rehearsal on Wednesday, September 24.  He will take us through "Death and Transfiguration" by Richard Strauss, which is to be played at our concert on September 28.  

Last year, he worked with us at a rehearsal of "Les Préludes".  It was magical to watch his hands and face as he communicated all of the musical directions without speaking!  After the run-through, he asked us to play small sections of the music.  He made suggestions on how to play it better.  Meanwhile, he had us all smiling and laughing with his charming ways!  So, not only did the orchestra learn a lot from the maestro, we enjoyed every minute.
I'll report tomorrow on how things went!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Teacher and Student!


A teacher and his student have re-united in the orchestra! Don Schmalz, a long-time player and former concertmaster of the orchestra, was Margaret Fiorito's first teacher!  She was in elementary school at the time.  And now they both play for the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest!  Don has a number of students who have become professional players.