Greetings, fellow music lovers! As musicians in the Charlotte Symphony, we are excited to introduce our new e-newsletter. We look forward to connecting with our community here, bringing you stories from "backstage" and sharing our unique perspectives on the world of orchestral music. Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy getting to know us a little better!
A Summer of Summer Festivals
by Jeremy Lamb
Concert season is officially underway, and the Charlotte Symphony musicians have come back from their respective summer adventures. Many performed in festivals; others visited family, attended weddings, took vacations, or stayed at home to manage teaching studios and check things off the to-do list. The largest contingent, by far, traveled to Colorado to perform in one of the many classical music festivals that have taken root there. Six members, including Concertmaster Calin Lupanu and his wife, Monica Boboc, went to the Colorado Music Festival (CMF) in
Boulder where they performed a busy schedule of 3-4 concerts a week. When not performing, they took advantage of the Sunday-Monday break each week to go hiking. Also among the six was harpist Andrea Mumm who enjoyed the wilderness without even having to leave her car: “I was loading up my harp and a bear walked by no more than 15 feet away. I wasn’t worried because he was so focused on finding trash but I thought, ‘Yep, I’m definitely in Colorado.'" Oliver Kot, principal second violin, spent the majority of his spare time at CMF nurturing his love of billiards, practicing at the tables in the student lounge nearly six hours a day. Definitely don’t play him for money.
Trombonists Tom Burge and John Bartlett went all the way to the West Coast for the Britt Music festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. By Tom's account, the hiking seemed every bit as beautiful as it would have been in Colorado: "A one-mile walk can take you as long as 25-30 minutes and can take you up one of many mountains that are as steep as a staircase, but the pay-off is that soon you are looking over an entire valley that may extend for 50 miles. This is a magical area of the country." This summer though, the wildfires were especially destructive, forcing the festival to close one week early. "I was unaware that the hardest hit area- the epicenter of the California wildfires- was Redding, so not only was I lucky to find a hotel room at all, but I was also surrounded by a community of about 10,000 families who had been displaced by the fires and were evacuated. I had a fascinating evening of hearing the personal stories from families in that area."
Back home in North Carolina, principal violist Ben Geller skipped up to Greensboro to teach and perform in our home state’s musical gem, the Eastern Music Festival. Corner him and he’ll tell you how that festival exceeds his expectations in every way: "The level of the group is so high. I love working with Gerard Schwarz, and the other teachers in the orchestra are fantastic. Everyone is so excited and really wants to be there. I'm busier there [at EMF] than any other time of the year. I also like being in NC and close enough to home that my wife Lydia can visit, and logistically it just makes everything so much easier. Once the festival was over, we traveled up to the Pacific Northwest and hung out in Vancouver." Ben also stresses that after working that hard all summer, he needed the time off, in part to avoid performance-related injuries: "It's very rewarding but also exhausting. I need to take a lot of time off from the viola afterward because I'm completely shot, although I'm sure others who work in high-intensity festivals feel the same way."
Clarinetist Sam Sparrow went to just such a high-intensity festival. He traveled all the way to the Swiss Alps to participate in the Verbier Music Festival, one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in the world. "It is a fellowship, so it is not paid, but having access to world class musicians is a huge benefit to your playing. Exposure to new people and access to the best artists in Europe is just a great opportunity.” When asked if he was excited to go, he said he was actually surprised he was invited considering how the audition went. “Normally the people who get in are talked to by the panel, asked to do things about five different ways, and they didn’t say a word to me so I thought they weren’t interested. Then I got the acceptance email at 5am because of the [Europe-USA] time change, and I thought they must have made a mistake, so I hit snooze.”
Behind the Wheel with Scott Hartman
by Amy Orsinger Whitehead
Self-professed “gearhead” Scott Hartman joined the Charlotte Symphony family as Principal Bass Trombone in 2014. Growing up in Florida, he recalls becoming interested in cars in middle school by watching collector car auctions on TV with his best friend Rafael (who is still a car lover and now a middle school band director) and attending car shows with his father, where he loved seeing the muscle cars and hot rods. Scott can trace the start of his lifelong car addiction back to one moment. “When I was a kid I saw a 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T for the first time and I had a visceral reaction, I couldn't stop looking at it and immediately fell in love. This Challenger was painted in Plum Crazy Purple and had a white vinyl top with a white leather interior. It also had the famous Shaker hood where the air intake that fed the carburetors stuck out above a hole in the hood. It was a beautiful combination of obnoxious and aggressive and to me it epitomized the muscle car.”
Scott’s favorite cars are Mopar muscle cars (Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth) and in particular, the 1966-1971 muscle cars made by Dodge and Plymouth. He bought his first muscle car, a used 2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker in Plum Crazy Purple with a 6-speed manual transmission (a rare modern version of the muscle car that started it all for Scott), in the summer of 2017. ”I was saving up to buy that car eventually but things changed in the summer of 2017 when a hit and run driver totaled my previous car. I was without a car so I decided it was now or never…”
Soon after he bought his Challenger, Scott joined and became an administrator for the Queen City Challengers, a car club of about 500 Dodge Challenger owners in North and South Carolina who share camaraderie and a common love of their Challengers.
And while Scott enjoys showing his car at car shows, he has recently developed a passion for track driving. ”Soon after I bought my Dodge Challenger I also started to get interested in driving it on track. I did my first track day at the legendary Virginia International Raceway and I was immediately hooked. Now I do track days on road courses, 1/8 and 1/4 mile drag racing and more recently I’ve started to autocross."
Scott sees many similarities between performance driving and performing music.
"Driving a car at its limits on track is actually quite rhythmic. There is a cadence to how you input throttle, apply the brakes, clutch in, change gears and adjust steering, and the timing and amount of input determines how the weight of the car is transferred between the tires, how the car handles and where the car is placed on track. If any of these inputs are too much or too little or occur out of rhythm you can be off the racing line or upset the balance of the car and spin out. Both music and performance driving require a great deal of precision and focus."
If you see a purple Dodge Challenger around town, wave a big Charlotte Symphony hello to our Scott Hartman!
Paws for Applause:
2018-2019 Season Preview
by Erinn Frechette
The 2018–19 season contains a myriad of works combining familiar favorites with fresh offerings from the 21st century. As with any professional symphony orchestra season there are simply too many pieces on the docket to discuss each individually (your program notes and pre-concert lectures will serve as your guides). Let’s take a look at some of the most notable offerings this year.
The Classics Series offers many opportunities to hear favorites from the Baroque period through today and will showcase many of the Charlotte Symphony’s talented musicians. Classics 2, “Music for a Royal Celebration” is part of the city’s 250th anniversary celebration and includes music of George Frederick Handel. Zadok the Priest, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks were composed for the British Monarchy, (Kings George I and II) and were popular pieces of music in the earliest days of the American colonies. The string sections will be supplemented by the power of trumpets, oboes, and bassoons. For more information about Charlotte’s anniversary celebrations visit clt250.com.
Classics 4 pairs Gustav Holst’s The Planets with Deep Field (2015) by Eric Whitacre. Commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra, it takes its inspiration from the Deep Field images captured by the Hubble Telescope. Contained in the constellation Ursa Major, Deep Field contains approximately 3000 galaxies, some of which are the oldest known to scientists. Keep a keen eye on the percussion section from where many of the otherworldly sounds will emanate.
Classics 6 and 8 are all about the orchestra! Strauss’s Don Juan is a powerhouse orchestral masterpiece in which the French Horn section reigns over all. (Although the string parts are some of the most demanding in all symphonic repertoire, they just can’t compete with the power of that horn writing. Sorry, strings!) Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade is teeming with solos for key players and will offer a wonderful opportunity to hear the beautiful tone and graceful style of our new Principal Bassoonist, Olivia Hyeungwon Oh. Concertmaster Calin Lupanu (storyteller extraordinaire), Acting Principal Clarinetist Sam Sparrow, Principal Oboist Hollis Ulaky and Principal Flutist Victor Wang also have moments in the spotlight. Classics 8’s single work, Mahler’s First Symphony, is a program unto itself. This is a piece you will want to learn about before hearing, especially if it will be your first time. Composed at the height of the late-Romantic era, its tonality is often unsettled through Mahler’s extensive use of chromaticism; you may find yourself wondering if the piece is truly in D major! Germanic traditions such as hunting calls (French Horns), lieds (folk and/or high art songs), bird calls (Clarinet), open intervals (4ths and 5ths), and the like are found throughout. One of the most striking features is the use of the song Frère Jacques in the (slow!) third movement. Introduced in the solo Bass, it is set as a funeral dirge in d minor. Make a note to watch Principal Bassist, Kurt Riecken.
Two CSO musicians will be featured in Concerto appearances this year—Concertmaster, Calin Lupanu and Principal Flutist, Victor Wang. Lupanu will perform Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane and Camille Saint-Saëns Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso (Classics 12). These short French works are virtuosic tours de force for solo violin; the Saint-Saëns is more traditional while the Ravel makes use of manufactured exoticism found in much of early 20th century classical music. Wang will appear on Classics 7 performing Michael Daugherty’s Trail of Tears (2010). This concerto will lead you through a range of emotions evoked by rhythmic drive, soaring melodies, and the beautiful, supple tone of the soloist. Listen carefully for unusual sounds such as flutter tonguing (rolling the tongue while playing) and pitch bends.
The season will conclude with Ravel’s Bolero, arguably one of the most well-known and beloved orchestral works of all time. Famous for its steady crescendo and incessant snare drum rhythm, the piece serves as a study in orchestral color and timbral possibilities. Opening with the most delicate of flute solos (Victor Wang), the principal and counter melodies volley back and forth as more instruments are added. Listen for the sultry saxophone solo and well as the scooping Principal Trombone solo (John Bartlett).
Finally, small gems to watch for include:
Classics 3: Luciano Berio’s Return of Madrid (1975), a seven-minute piece based on a movement of Luigi Boccherini’s Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid. While a 43-year-old work can not be classified as “new,” Berio is not a composer whose music you often hear at a Charlotte Symphony concert.
Classics 5: John Adams’s The Chairman Dances (1985). Subtitled Foxtrot for Orchestra this piece showcases the tonal possibilities of the percussion section. Rachmaninov’s beloved Symphonic Dances appears later in the evening. Will you leave with a new favorite dance?
Classics 11: Igor Stravinsky’s Funeral Song. Composed in 1908 upon the death of Rimsky-Korsakov, lost, and rediscovered in 2015, Stravinsky stated it was the best of his works (before The Firebird) and the most harmonically advanced. Each solo instrument plays its own melody in a symbolic processional and wreath laying ceremony at Rimsky-Korsakov’s tomb.
There are so many exciting offerings this season you won’t want to miss a single show! We look forward to seeing you, our patrons and friends, in the audience!
Erinn's Holiday Bread Pudding
Now that it has finally cooled off I feel like I can look forward to the holiday season—decorating, shopping, and eating! There’s something so comforting about the aromas and tastes of fall and I look forward every year to sharing meals through the holidays with family and friends. One of my all-time favorite dessert recipes is Giada De Laurentiis’s Panettone Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Syrup. It’s a hit every time I make it (and I enjoy doing so when it will be shared by many as it’s pretty heavy!)
One panettone bread loaf trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
8 large eggs
1 ½ cups whipping cream
2 ½ cups whole milk
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 Cup water
1 Cup packed dark brown sugar (I use light brown and it’s fine)
2 tablespoons whipping cream
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Use the butter to lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish.
2. Trim the outer brown skin off the panettone loaf, cube, and arrange in the baking dish.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar (I usually cut back on the sugar to just 1 cup). Pour this over the bread cubes, pressing to submerge all. Let stand and soak for ½ hour.
4. Heat oven to 350° F.
5. Bake until the pudding puffs up and is set in the center (approximately 45 minutes) then cool slightly.
1. Combine water and brown sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat until the sugar dissolves (stir to avoid burning).
2. Boil approximately 10 minutes to reduce (keep stirring)
3. Remove from heat and add cream and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
The syrup keeps well in the refrigerator and is easily reheated in the microwave.
You can fine panettone at most major grocery stores, Sam’s Club/Costco, and specialty stores such as World Market. It is a sweet Italian Christmas bread loaf containing candied oranges and lemons, zest, and raisins. I have seen variations including Pumpkin Spice (which would pair nicely with the cinnamon syrup), and chocolate, which you could pair with a crème anglaise or bourbon-sugar syrup. I hope you will give this delicious recipe a try and enjoy it with your loved ones this fall!
Here, There, Elsewhere:
Musicians of the Charlotte Symphony Performing Beyond the CSO Stage
by Janis Nilsen
The versatile Charlotte Symphony Musicians perform in other settings, different attire, widely varied combinations and sometimes on instruments other than those we play on the Symphony stage. This regular column in the Soundpost will keep you apprised of our activities around town and around the globe.
Concerts begin at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary of Providence United Methodist Church, 2810 Providence Road. Events are free and open to the public.
A brief history: This series began informally in 1978 as Symphony musicians sought opportunities to perform the great chamber music works for members of the community who share this passion. In 1982, Providence United Methodist Church’s Music Director David Stoke offered us the use of their sanctuary for these performances. Since 1995, Lori Tiberio has been the Artistic Director for the series, which offers chamber music performances by CSO musicians and their friends, as well as choral concerts by the PUMC Choir.
October 28, 2018 Music of the Twentieth Century
CSO oboist Erica Cice performs Benjamin Britten’s Temporal Variations (1936) for oboe and piano with Queens University Professor of Music Paul Nitsch
CSO clarinetists Allan Rosenfeld and Samuel Sparrow offer Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Two Clarinets (1918)
Charlotte Symphony’s Assistant Concertmaster Kari Giles and pianist Tomoko Deguchi present John Adams’ Road Movies (1995).
The Charlotte Mandolin and Guitar Quintet perform music of Vlado Sunko, Peter Ostroushko and Fritz Kreisler. The quintet features Don Tison, Jane Hart Brendle and Leigh Marsh, mandolins; Nick Lampo, mando-cello and violoncello; and Troy Conn, guitar.
Sunday, January 13, 2019, 7:00 pm Two Great Russian Composers
Quintet in G minor for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass, op. 39 (1924) by Sergei Prokofiev performed by Erica Cice, oboe; Samuel Sparrow, clarinet; Jenny Topilow, violin ; Kirsten Swanson, viola; Jason McNeel, double bass
String Quartet no. 2 in D Major (1881) by Alexander Borodin featuring Blue Ridge Chamber Players, Tatiana Karpova and Jane Hart-Brendle, violins; Matthew Darsey, viola; Nick Lampo, cello
Sunday, October 28, Flute4
Davidson College, Sloan Building in Tyler-Tallman Hall
Pre-concert lecture/reception at 1:30 p.m, performance at 3:00 p.m.
CSO flutists, Erinn Frechette and Amy Orsinger Whitehead will be performing as members of Flute4, a Carolina flute quartet with members Carla Copeland-Burns and Caroline Ulrich.
Trombone Quartet gives Charlotte Premiere
October 29, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Northwest School of the Arts
CSO’s trombonist Tom Burge and bass trombonist Scott Hartman together with trombone professors Dr. Justin Isenhour, Winthrop University, and Dr. Jeremy Marks, UNCC, and The Carolinas Wind Orchestra are performing The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Jeff Cortazzo. This will be the Eastern US premiere of the work, only its second performance. It premiered earlier this month in Arkansas.
Did you catch CSO’s principal cellist Alan Black with Barnaby Bright at The Evening Muse on October 14? Alan’s enthusiasm onstage suggests he loves stepping out of the classical vein and sharing the stage with the amazing talents of this Indie/folk duo Becky and Nathan Bliss.
Amy Orsinger Whitehead appears on the newest CD of hammered dulcimer player, Joshua Messick. The CD, called Hammered Dulcimer Christmas, Volume II was released in September and is available on Amazon.
CSO bassoonist and contrabassoonist Lori Tiberio will be traveling to New York in November to play Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with the Grammy Award-winning Albany Symphony Orchestra. She is their first-call contrabassoonist.