Conducting Beethoven

ConductorOur annual 400 mile motorcycle trip to Tanglewood, Massachusetts was hot but enjoyable. On the return trip we used only state and country roads. Took a little longer, but we saw a lot more. The concert on Sunday was outstanding. The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra delivered a brilliant performance of Copland’s Symphonic Ode. After the break, Asher Fisch, conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus as they performed Beethoven’s powerful Symphony No. 9. The full orchestra and 150 person chorus thrilled the 10,000+ people in attendance. See a few pictures of the motorcycle, my brother, our wives, and the performers at Tanglewood.

I have a special place in my heart for Beethoven. In 2006, I was fortunate to have a second opportunity to conduct The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. This time it was Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture. Maestro Sidney Rothstein, my friend and instructor, suggested a more complex piece this time and Creatures of the Prometheus filled the bill. It was indeed a challenge, but at the same time an exhilarating experience that is hard to describe in words. I didn’t count how many times I read the thirty-page score and listened to mp3 recordings of the Prometheus, but it reached the point where the notes were playing in my head nearly every waking hour. I made two introductory beats and then away we went! To watch these professionals at work, to hear the actual instruments instead of an mp3, to see the musicians in front of me and occasional encouraging smiles from them was a joy. If the orchestra senses that you know the music, they will actually follow you! I made a few mistakes, but I don’t believe the audience noticed. At the end, I congratulated the orchestra on their performance and was humbled as *they* applauded. Here are the reviews from the The Ridgefield Press and The Danbury News-Times.