Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Frederick Symphony Concert

I've enjoyed playing the violin in the Frederick Symphony Orchestra concert this past Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Frederick Community College, Frederick, MD. The concert was an all Beethoven concert, under the baton of Glenn Quadar, our new conductor.  We are very fortunate to have him as our conductor! 

This is the first time that I played in their October concerts and truly enjoyed it! The auditorium was packed and the audience very receptive. We all sounded good and the solo performances by Alyssa Boxhill was outstanding! I have been with the orchestra almost two years now and have seen it go through several changes as they searched for a new conductor.

A little about me:
I have been playing a string instrument (viola/violin) since third grade, and have taken classes at CWRU, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Music School Settlement, and HCC. I have also taken private lessons from Hyman Chandler, Lucien Joel, Helga Rein, Deb Stotelmyer, among others. I also performed in several orchestras throughout the years, including the Cleveland Philharmonic (viola), Cleveland Womans' Orchestra and chamber groups (viola), Friday Morning Music Club (viola), HCC string ensemble (violin), CVSM orchestra (violin/viola) and Frederick Symphony Orchestra (violin). More recently, I have been playing the violin solely due to a neck injury which prohibits my playing the viola. The viola is a larger instrument and requires a different kind of playing which puts a strain on my neck. 

If anyone has taken private violin lessons, most of the music is geared for solo performances or recitals. Unless you are a solo performer, most of the music available is part of an ensemble, like in a string orchestra or symphony. When you play these pieces by yourself, you hear bits and pieces, like a puzzle. When you join the ensemble, your reward is the whole sound that comes together, similar to a puzzle. The synergy is wonderful, particularly when the group is talented and skilled and particularly when it is music by a classical composer like Beethoven, Corelli, Brahms, Mozart, Hayden, Handel, and Schumann. Of course there are a number of other composers that have achieved success, and they are too numerous to list here.

So what has made me continuously seek playing a musical instrument and performing in orchestras? Is it the beautiful sounds that arise from the instruments meshing together, sliding by each other, evoking harmonic themes when we play? Is it the feeling of being lifted up to heaven or dropped down to an abyss in a matter of seconds? Is it the feeling of wonder at the ability to make such fine music with my instrument or even the joy of physically playing? It's more than that, although it takes several tries to make it sound perfect! 

Playing a musical instrument transports me to another dimension, almost like writing a novel. Each phrase, note, theme becomes a movie in my head. I can picture Romeo and Juliet, their last dire moments together, in Prokofiev's masterpiece. I can picture people dancing the delightful waltz in a ballroom to one of Strauss's pieces, dressed in fine 19th century garb. I sigh, I cry, I laugh with  my instrument, and if I can portray that image dancing in my head through my playing, then I have succeeded in carrying the torch for the composer's art into the realms of our twenty-first century culture.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Poem - Gone Like the Music

This poem is dedicated to my late husband, Tony. I wrote it while listening to the following music:
Gone Like the Music
Sounds stream past me
You are gone, streaming past
me like the music that I hear
The soft, relaxing music
With the harp and the guitar
Meshing, weaving sighs of hope
Going on and on, a kaleidoscope of notes
As I gaze with my soul beyond this moment
Looking for signs of you
Going into your world
The other world
Your touch is in another plane.
Your smile is in another world.
You love was left behind
For me to cherish.
It was not just you
Or just me
It was you and me
The togetherness that I cherished
The merging of the minds
The merging of the hearts
The love we witnessed together
Grew stronger each day
Until we were like one
No beginning, no end
I used to say "Don't take anything for granted."
I used to say "I feel like I'm living in Paradise."
Our protected enclave was so perfect,
So peaceful, so calm.
We lived for each other in the stillness
Of the moment, yet that moment is gone
Like this music that will end
When I turn the sound off
I walk away to lie down
Hoping that sleep will
Overcome the sadness and
Bring you to me
And then I will tell you my news
As if you were seated next to me
Drinking coffee and talking
And laughing as if there was no tomorrow.
Ipatia Apostolides 2015