Vienna, the City of Music

Comment

Vienna, the City of Music

 Statue of Mozart, Vienna, Austria

Statue of Mozart, Vienna, Austria


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


 Amitai Vardi,  Erie Philharmonic Principal Clarinet

Amitai Vardi,
Erie Philharmonic Principal Clarinet

Our second symphonic concert this season centers around one single city – Vienna.  It’s an inescapable destination for any European tourist even remotely interested in classical music.  At one point in their lives, Vienna served as the home base for the likes of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Strauss (Richard, Johann and dynasty!)  An incredible music-making culture from the Hapsburg Dynasty through the Classical and Romantic periods, Twentieth Century and beyond, Vienna was a locus for the creation and performance of new works.  Whether writing music for church, the salon, the café, the ballroom, or any of the gleaming, gold-gilt concert halls that make Vienna so attractive, composers also had a wealth of musical talent at their disposal.  The finest musicians in Europe made their home in Vienna because, well, there was enough of an appetite for music in the city to keep them active.  And to say nothing of the many visiting artists from across the continent who continue to this day to make a stop in Vienna.  Vienna is still a locus for art and music fascinated by its own past, it’s vibrant present, and an assured future of musical exploration.

I had the great fortune as a student to make Vienna my home twice.  My first residency was as an exchange student through DePauw University.  DePauw at the time was in a consortium with my own undergraduate school, Denison University, and it sponsored a junior year semester abroad in Vienna with other music students interested in soaking up this incredible culture.  During the day we took courses taught by professors at the Academy of Music, and by night we stood in line together to buy standing room tickets to one of the many amazing performances at the Musikverein, Konzerthaus, or even more frequently, at the State Opera.  We spent many evenings coaching each other on the finer points of plot and characters in a Mozart or Strauss opera while also engaging in conversation with dozens of other like-minded travelers and students who were also willing to stand or sit in line for up to two hours before a production.  After that long wait, we cued up to buy a very affordable ticket which secured a spot, standing, along a railing throughout an entire performance!  I had my first opportunity to see the major operas of Mozart, Strauss, Puccini, Rossini, and even stood through an entire Ring Cycle of Wagner. It was a glorious semester that included excursions to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Russia. I made friends and had experiences that set me on my life’s path in music, and I continue to draw on those experiences in my work today.

My second residency was as a Rotary Scholar, when I studied for an entire academic year at the Vienna Academy of Music, and had many of the same experiences attending concerts and operas, but with the rigors of being a full-time student in the conducting class of Uros Lajovic.  It was another glorious year filled with indelible memories, and in this year I really felt deeply integrated into the culture of this grand and historic city.    

While it is impossible to encapsulate this entire city in one concert, I thought it might be interesting to center an entire concert’s offerings around Vienna.  There is such an enormous breadth and diversity of musical thought that has emerged over Vienna’s past, so our concert might be considered a collage of sorts.  I’ve chosen to start with one of the most bold and dramatic utterances of Beethoven in his Overture to Coriolan. The music, to my mind, perfectly encapsulates what makes Beethoven’s music so fascinating.  The juxtaposition of bold, revolutionary spirit against beautiful, singing melodic lines is nowhere more stark than in this densely-packed overture.  It is perfectly balanced in proportion yet so tense and terse in its ability to pack musical discourse into a short time span. 

We will then traverse back in time to Mozart, who near the end of his life was honoring one of his many musical friendships with an entire concerto written for the clarinet.  At the time, the clarinet was a new instrument that had already found an exponent in celebrated virtuoso in Anton Stadler.  Mozart wanted to honor his friendship with Stadler and spared no creativity or depth of human feeling in this composition.  The music is the height of classical balance and expression, with a gorgeous second movement that affirm for me what makes Mozart a most humane and loving composer (even as he stands so far above all others in his own Pantheon of creative genius!)  I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on one of our own musical friends in Amitai Vardi.  A superb musician who happens to play the clarinet, we can count ourselves lucky to have an artist of Ami’s virtuosity and musicality within the ranks of the Philharmonic, and I wanted to showcase his musicianship downstage by offering him an opportunity to solo with us on this special concerto.

The second half of our concert is designed to show that there was a time in Vienna’s cultural history when artists stared the anxiety of pre-World War Europe in the face and felt compelled to highlight those fears in their art.  Arnold Schoenberg was one such artist.  Undisputed in his expertise with the orchestra, Schoenberg boldly came to grips with his own fears and uncertainties about the world around him by embedding those emotional states nakedly into his music.  A rather innocuous title, Five Pieces for Orchestra is really a living, breathing, shuddering utterance of what it must have felt to watch a decadent culture fade before your very eyes.  I am personally excited to hear our orchestra take to take on this very challenging piece, but I am even more interested in your reaction to it.  This is not your typical piece of music.  It is uncompromising in its belief that music should express, even when the expression in some cases is not pretty or downright frightening.

Richard Strauss stared the same Vienna down in his expressionist operas Salome and Elektra.  The music could be harsh and uncompromising in its dissonance.  The stories were so shockingly portrayed that the censors battled to suppress performances.  Commentators later wrote about Strauss taking his music to the very edge of listenability, comprehension, and social acceptability.  This was deeply controversial music and musical drama, and Strauss was unflinching in choosing plots that revealed the more ugly aspects of human nature and heightening them to a degree that could make you shiver. 

And then he decided to turn back.  I can think of no more poignant turning back than in the music to Der Rosenkavalier. Strauss himself admitted that he was taking a big u-turn in musical styling by writing his own ‘Mozart opera.’  The music, while certainly not ersatz-Mozart, does indeed revel in the opulence of Romantic harmony and long, soaring melodic lines.  It is as glittering as it is sumptuous. In this orchestral suite from the opera, we can hear some of the most glorious musical moments from the over three-hour opera in condensed form, minus that singers. But in this case, the singers are replaced by the instruments in the orchestra that can beautifully sing, including violins, oboes, trumpets, clarinets and cellos. 

I hope that in this juxtaposition of Schoenberg and Strauss, you might think about what music is capable of expressing.  How can music transport us emotionally?  How is it that composers writing in the beginning of the twentieth century in Vienna were as capable of creating the most escapist, luscious, fantastical music while also trying to come to grips with their own anxieties and fears for the future in outbursts of highly concentrated expressionist music?  I find it fascinating to think about, and I hope you will, too.   

dm.JPG


Daniel Meyer
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic



Comment

Steeped in Jazz

Comment

Steeped in Jazz

Byron-Stripling.jpg

From Music Director Daniel Meyer


 Byron Stripling

Byron Stripling

I’ve never been to New Orleans.  There, I said it.  I have to admit that it is a gaping hole in my personal travelogue.  A city with its own swagger, sultriness, and astonishingly deep musical heritage steeped in jazz, I just haven’t managed to make it there just yet.  But the great thing about music is that the very soul of a city can travel through its music.  The musicians, the Dixieland style, the foot stomping and the piano comping can conspire to transport us all to another time and place. 

 That’s precisely what we plan to do with the great trumpeter Byron Stripling when he comes to perform with the Erie Philharmonic.  A virtuoso of many talents, the one for which Byron is most well-known is through his ability to play the trumpet like a king.  Byron has crafted a program for us that will transport us to the golden age of New Orleans jazz, most notably the stylings and musical genius of the legendary Louis Armstrong.

 I personally look forward to this Pops concert in particular because at the end of the day, even without additional bells or whistles, it’s the music that will carry the day.  The textures, the melodies, and the rhythms of New Orleans style jazz are instantly recognizable.  When you hear that combination of piano, drums, and brass, you just know that you are going to have a good time and that your toes are going to be a-tappin’.   Jazz artists like Byron continue to perform this music because it is so essential in connecting to our musical heritage as Americans.  And we can take that trip down to the Mississippi Delta together without ever stepping onto a riverboat (though that might be a lot of fun!)

Don’t miss this wonderful music and this very American musical heritage as we welcome Byron Stripling to the Warner Theatre stage.  We plan to have a very good time together, and I am anxious to hear Byron take on a legend while he leads us though this wonderful period in jazz. 

See you at the Pops!

Daniel Meyer
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic



Comment

Marc-André Hamelin Program Notes

Comment

Marc-André Hamelin Program Notes


Written by Ken Meltzer


Rimsky-Korsakov_2_WM.jpg

Capriccio espagnol, Opus 34 (1887)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was born in Tikhvin, Russia, on March 18, 1844, and died in Lyubensk, Russia, on June 21, 1908. 

The first performance of the Capriccio espagnol took place at the Small Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 31, 1887, with the composer conducting the Orchestra of the Imperial Russian Opera House.

Approximate performance time is fifteen minutes.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed his brilliant Capriccio espagnol in the summer of 1887.  For some time, the Russian composer had been occupied with the orchestration of his opera, Prince Igor.  However, according to Rimsky-Korsakov: “In the middle of the summer this work was interrupted: I composed the Spanish Capriccio from the sketches of my projected virtuoso violin fantasy on Spanish themes.  According to my plans the Capriccio was to glitter with dazzling color, and manifestly, I had not been wrong.”

It was Rimsky-Korsakov who led the October 31, 1887 premiere of his Capriccio espagnol.  The concert took place at the Small Theater in St. Petersburg, as part of the Russian Musical Society’s concert series.  Rimsky-Korsakov conducted the Orchestra of the Imperial Russian Opera House.  The concert, according to Rimsky-Korsakov, “was played with a perfection and enthusiasm the like of which it never possessed subsequently...Despite its length, the composition called forth an insistent encore.”

Rimsky-Korsakov has long been hailed as one of the masters of orchestration.  The composer himself acknowledged that the Capriccio espagnol, along with Scheherazade (1888) and the Russian Easter Overture (1888), marked the culmination of a period in “which my orchestration had reached a considerable degree of virtuosity and bright sonority…”

The five movements are played without pause.


Rachmaninoff_at_Steinway_grand_piano.jpg

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18 (1901)

Sergei Rachmaninoff was born in Semyonovo, Russia, on April 1, 1873, and died in Beverly Hills, California, on March 28, 1943. 

The first performance of the Second Piano Concerto took place in Moscow, Russia, on November 9, 1901, with the composer as soloist, and Alexander Siloti conducting the Moscow Philharmonic. Society.

Approximate performance time is thirty-three minutes.

When Sergei Rachmaninoff completed his First Symphony in August of 1895, he was 22, and brimming with all the confidence of youth.  “I imagined that there was nothing I could not do and had great hopes for the future,” he later recalled.  Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony received its premiere in St. Petersburg on March 15, 1897, with composer Alexander Glazunov conducting.  The performance was a disaster, and immediately after the final notes sounded, Rachmaninoff “fled, horrified, into the street.”

While Rachmaninoff was able to escape the confines of the theater, he still had to face the wrath of the critics.  Russian composer César Cui wrote in the St. Petersburg News:

If there were a conservatory in Hell, if one of its many talented students were instructed to write a programme symphony on the “Seven Plagues of Egypt,” and if he were to compose a symphony like Mr. Rachmaninoff’s, then he would have fulfilled his task brilliantly and would delight the inhabitants of Hell.

Rachmaninoff, devastated by this turn of events, lapsed into a profound depression.  Rachmaninoff’s friends were alarmed by his state, and tried all forms of cures to buoy his spirits.  Finally, they convinced Rachmaninoff to consult Dr. Nikolai Dahl, a doctor who had gained some prominence for his employment of hypnosis.  Between January and April of 1900, Rachmaninoff visited Dr. Dahl on a daily basis. 

Rachmaninoff told Dahl that he had promised to compose a Piano Concerto.  Dr. Dahl set about treating his patient:

I heard the same hypnotic formula repeated day after day while I lay half asleep in the armchair in Dr. Dahl’s study.  “You will begin to write your Concerto...You will work with great facility...The Concerto will be of an excellent quality...”  It was always the same, without interruption.  Although it may sound incredible, this cure really helped me.  Already at the beginning of the summer I began again to compose.  The material grew in bulk, and new musical ideas began to stir within me—far more than I needed for my Concerto.

Rachmaninoff completed the final two movements of his Second Piano Concerto in the autumn of 1900 and performed them at a Moscow charity concert on October 14.  Rachmaninoff added the opening movement in the spring of the following year and appeared as soloist in the October 14, 1901 premiere of the entire Second Concerto.  The composer readily acknowledged Dr. Dahl’s role in the creation of one of the most popular works of the 20th century, and dedicated the Concerto to him.

The Concerto is in three movements.  The first (Moderato) opens with a series of tolling chords by the soloist, leading to the surging first principal melody, marked con passione.  The Concerto’s slow-tempo movement (Adagio sostenuto) is a fantasia on a lovely theme, related to a melody in the Concerto’s opening Moderato.  The finale (Allegro scherzando) is based upon two themes, the second, one of Rachmaninoff’s most beloved creations.  That theme makes a glorious return in the Concerto’s closing measures.


Shostakovich.jpg

Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two) (1928)

Dmitri Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on September 25, 1906, and died in Moscow, Russia, on August 9, 1975. 

The first performance of Tahiti Trot took place in Leningrad, Russia, in the Large Hall of the Leningrad Conservatory on November 25, 1928, with Nikolai Malko conducting the Soviet Philharmonic Orchestra.

Approximate performance time is four minutes.

While on a tour of the Ukraine, Shostakovich heard a recording of Vincent Youman’s song “Tea for Two” (known in Soviet Russia as Tahiti Trot), from the musical comedy No, No, Nanette.  Conductor Nikolai Malko challenged Shostakovich to orchestrate the song in the span of just one hour.  Shostakovich returned in forty-five minutes with the completed orchestration.  Later, Shostakovich included the delightful, jazzy work in his ballet, The Age of Gold (1930).


Tchaikovsky Headshot.jpg

Francesca da Rimini, Fantasy after Dante, Opus 32 (1876)

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Russia, on May 7, 1840, and died in St. Petersburg, Russia, on November 6, 1893. 

The first performance of Francesca da Rimini took place at the Russian Musical Society in Moscow on March 9, 1877, with Nikolay Rubinstein conducting. 

Approximate performance time is twenty-two minutes.

On August 7, 1876, while on a train ride to Paris, Tchaikovsky read the fifth canto of Dante’s Inferno, and its narration of the tragic story of Francesca da Rimini.  Tchaikovsky immediately “was inflamed with a wish to write a symphonic poem on Francesca.”  On October 7 after his return to Russia, Tchaikovsky began work on Francesca da Rimini, completing the score November 17.  For inspiration, Tchaikovsky turned not only to Dante’s immortal poetry, but to Gustave Doré’s magnificent illustration portraying Francesca and her lover Paolo facing an eternal tempest.  In an October 26 letter, Tchaikovsky informed Modest:

I have written it with love and the love (the central andante cantabile non troppo) seems to have come out respectably.  As far as the whirlwinds are concerned, it would have been possible to make something corresponding more with Doré’s illustration, but it didn't come out as I wanted.  On the other hand, a reliable judgment on this piece is inconceivable while it remains unscored and unperformed.

The March 9, 1877, premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini took place under the direction of Nikolay Rubinstein at the Russian Musical Society in Moscow.  The work proved to be a great success, earning the praise of critics and fellow composers. Francesca da Rimini’s melodic inspiration, colorful orchestration, and surging passion are all characteristic of Tchaikovsky’s finest creations.

A slow-tempo introduction depicts the descent of Dante and the shade of Virgil into the second circle of  hell, described by Tchaikovsky as “filled with groans, wails, and cries of despair.”  Dante discovers the shades of Francesca and Paolo “spinning in each other’s embrace.”  Francesca narrates her tragic story.  Although Francesca loved Paolo, she was forced to marry the cruel Rimini.  Still, Francesca’s love for Paolo burned brightly.  While the two read the story of Lancelot, Paolo passionately kissed Francesca.  At that very moment, Paolo entered the room and mortally stabbed both Francesca and Paolo.  Her narration concluded, “Francesca was again borne away in the embrace of her Paolo by the furiously and wildly raging whirlwind.”



Comment

Russian Brilliance

Comment

Russian Brilliance

DSC_2235-X3.jpg

From Music Director Daniel Meyer


 Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin

I don’t often build an entire program around a single artist, but when that artist is the amazing pianist Marc-André Hamelin, I make an exception.  I had the great fortune of collaborating with Marc last season as he stepped-in at the last minute to replace an ailing Yefim Bronfman for our Opening Night concert with the Asheville Symphony.  He performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, and he played it like, well, an emperor.  With complete control and mastery of the concerto’s technical challenges, Marc was able to project a sovereign control over the piece’s many opportunities to project power, strength, and poetry. 

I knew instantly that if we had the chance to bring him back to Erie, I wanted to collaborate with him again. This time, he is bringing the music of Rachmaninoff. The Second Concerto is arguably the most-loved by audiences, and it probably has to do with the near perfect combination of lush, romantic harmonies woven into an emotional language that speaks directly to us. I am thrilled at this opportunity to collaborate with such a special artist again on such a special piece, and he certainly merits top-billing in this opening concert. Marc has also generously agreed to share his talent and passion for great music with our community in several unique ways in the week leading up to the concert.  Please join us for one of those free community events and let Marc know how happy you are to have him back in Erie with the Philharmonic.

But I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t admit how excited I am to get back to making music with my friends at the Erie Philharmonic. I am so proud of how we have grown together over the past few years and are making music in a way that shows off the virtuosity of our musicians.  This virtuosity then enables us to cut to the very core of what each composer is trying to say in his music.  I chose an all-Russian program to feature this combination of technique and emotion, and I hope you agree that this combination shows off what the Philharmonic can do in many facets. Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, Shostakovich’s Tahiti Trot, and especially Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol all delight in vivid colors and serve as perfect vehicles for our wonderful musicians of the Philharmonic. 

I look forward to seeing you on this special Opening Night with the Erie Philharmonic and Marc-André Hamelin.  Thank you for your passion for great music and great performances!

See you at the Philharmonic,

dm.JPG


Daniel Meyer
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic



Comment

My Perfect Subscription

Comment

My Perfect Subscription


From Erie Philharmonic French Horn, Emily Shelley


Ever wonder what concerts one of our musicians would pick to put in their own subscription? Check out what Emily Shelley, one of our French Horns, would pick for her very own Compose Your Own subscription!

Fireworks.jpg

1812 Overture and Pops Favorites

September 22

This concert will be really fun and is bound to bring back a lot of memories from my childhood. These classic pop tunes were featured everywhere!

Hamelin_Sim-Cannety-Clarke-16_13-1900x1265.jpg

Marc-André Hamelin

October 6

I can never resist the rich, lush piano music of Rachmaninoff, and I can't wait to hear Marc-André Hamlin play it (not just because he's Canadian!)

aaron-copland-4ed0481a785b1.jpg

Copland’s Third

January 26

Classic Americana concert (except for Beethoven haha)! Both the Copland (pictured) and Adams are great pieces, and if you like fast, loud music, then A Short Ride in a Fast Machine is right up your alley. More wood block, anyone?

oz-rsd-vinyl-cover-900.png

Wizard of Oz

February 9 & 10

Who could say no to this?

9075db1c7e923f9e7f2e2150b568764a.jpg

Symphonie Fantastique

March 9

Symphonie Fantastique. Who can resist that haunting chord progression in the 5th movement? Horror movies have used this piece of music because it is so scary, I wouldn't want to miss this hair-raising moment!


There’s still time to create a Compose Your Own Subscription! Enjoy the following benefits:

  • Choose any combination of Pops Series and Symphonic Series concerts

  • Free exchanges - if you can’t attend a concert, we can move your tickets to a future performance!

  • Secure your seats for one of our amazing 2018-19 season concerts


Comment

Hooked on Classics

Comment

Hooked on Classics

DSC_2273-108-X3.jpg

From Music Director Daniel Meyer


 Hooked on Classics K-tel

Hooked on Classics K-tel

Do you remember there used to be commercials for an entire set of albums featuring the 1001 Greatest Classical Hits of All Time? I think it might have even been K-Tel, and while snippets of those ‘greatest hits’ flew by, there were images of sunsets, waterfalls, bees pollinating flowers, and men and women with wispy, wind-blown hair scrolling down the television screen? It struck me at the time to be horribly cheesy, but I did of course remember some of those excerpts and am reminded of K-Tel every time those hits make their way onto my rostrum. I’m now at the point of my life where it is a distinct pleasure to revel in some of those ‘cheesy’ hits. Indeed, it’s not Grieg’s fault that his music made onto that list. Nor Liszt’s, Borodin’s, nor Khatchaturian’s. In fact, the mere reason I may have thought they were less-than-serious has everything to do with the way they were presented in those commercials and nothing to do with their worth as pieces of music.

I have to admit that the classical music establishment is also to blame to some degree for some of these popular classics falling by the wayside. Somehow, somewhere, someone decided that Sabre Dance was not equal to the German Requiem in terms of weight, import, and seriousness. Okay, so maybe it’s not. But it never intended to be so. Pieces like Sabre Dance are designed to enchant and delight. They make the orchestra sound great, and what a blow for musicians and audiences that they have lost a home on our concert stages. There is a veritable treasure-trove of great pieces that neither fit neatly onto today’s pops concerts nor symphonic subscription concerts, and we owe it to you to play these very attractive, vibrant, sweeping, (and dare I say) fun pieces of music.

That is what Saturday’s Pops Opening night is all about. We want to bring those fun K-Tel moments to you in their technicolor splendor, and play them without reservation. Their cymbal crashes, sweeping romantic chords, and triumphant climaxes are all worthy of our attention and effort, and I dare say that the opportunity to make the Philharmonic the ‘star of the show’ through these pieces is one of the main reasons I wanted to start the Philharmonic Season with such a colorful and orchestrally-focused concert.

One side note, I think this might be the first every performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture that I have ever conducted indoors!

See you at the Warner, and Happy New Season

dm.JPG


Daniel Meyer
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic



Comment

Coming on Board

Comment

Coming on Board


Written by Judy Emling, new member of the Board of Governors


I have appreciated and loved classical music since I was a child, but became an Erie Philharmonic attendee in the late 80's. Although I haven’t been an active volunteer, my interest in the Erie Philharmonic piqued when the current Staff arrived four years ago. 

Of course, the esteemed Daniel Meyer "moves" everyone to a higher level when he conducts. His interest in reaching out to the youth has impressed me. His choice of performances appeals to all audiences. I really enjoy the variety of composers he chooses each Season.

In April 2018, Lisa Herring approached me to ask if I would consider joining the Board. Although stunned, I felt honored. After talking with her and Steve Weiser, it was an easy decision. I became "official" June 25 at the Annual Meeting.

One of my favorite Community events is the Beat Beethoven Street Festival. I look forward to volunteering and running in the 5K. I hope my friends will join in the fun of that day.

Emanuel Ax with Julie Chacona, Gloria and Wally Knox and myself

October 6 will definitely go down as a big day in my life of musical culture; The Orchestra will perform Rachmaninoff’s Concerto #2, my absolute favorite piece.

It is difficult to identify a favorite concert during the past three years. However, Lisa Vroman and Emanual Ax would be hard to top. 

My memories of The Warner date back to the late 1940's when we attended movies. I loved the opulence and elegance of the Theater, even at a young age. And it was so huge! My memories are multiple and heartwarming, extending throughout my life. I plan to continue building memories during the next three years while serving on the Board.



Comment

Welcome to the 2018-19 season!

Comment

Welcome to the 2018-19 season!

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 11.23.26 AM.png

From Music Director Daniel Meyer


With a wealth of colorful, rich and diverse music at our fingertips, it’s often more difficult to decide what not to include in our coming season’s offerings than to decide what makes the final cut.  You have likely surmised by now that we love to create fascinating combinations in the  musical experiences we design for you.  While taking on the scores of Strauss, Prokofiev, Copland, Adams and Torke, we will also continue our four-year focus on the music of Beethoven, leading up to his 250th birthday in 2020.  We will perform his dramatic Coriolan Overture, the Third Piano Concerto, and his Opus 95 String Quartet in an arrangement by Gustav Mahler.  I am inspired by the warmth and enthusiasm you bring to the Warner each time that we take the stage, and I believe that the music we have selected for this season will continue to inspire and delight you.  

I am also pleased to welcome world-renowned guest artists who will be gracing our stage, from pianists Marc-André Hamelin and Yulianna Avdeeva to young violin sensation Simone Porter, and our own Principal Clarinet Amitai Vardi performing the music of Mozart. 

On the Pops Series, I have long wanted to introduce Byron Stripling, whose virtuosity on the trumpet is matched by his warm music-making and personable stage presence.  Vocalists Joan Ellison and Lisa Vroman make happy returns, and we continue presenting films in large projections above the stage while the Philharmonic plays the score in real-time with the classic MGM film The Wizard of Oz

We are also proud of our musical partners, the Erie Philharmonic Chorus and Erie Junior Philharmonic, who continue to make important and lasting contributions to the musical life of the Philharmonic and to our community. 

Jonathan Moser, our Principal Second Violin, is the new Music Director of the Junior Philharmonic, taking over from the esteemed and long-serving Robert Dolwick.  

The new era of the of this ensemble, which is one of the longest serving training orchestras in the country, will begin on August 6 with their reinvigorated string camp titled Opus 1.  This weeklong camp will include classes from Philharmonic musicians, performances, audition prep, field trips and more.  

Learn more by clicking here.

We want you to be stimulated by each new concert experience and challenged by the beautiful complexity of each new score we play.  We want you to come away from each performance at the Warner Theatre renewed and captivated by the power of great music.

Thank you!

danielSignatureBlack.png

 

 

 

 

- Daniel Meyer, Music Director



Comment

Time 'Phlies'

2 Comments

Time 'Phlies'

Picture it – Erie. 2015. The Erie Philharmonic hires a (almost) completely new team to run the administrative office and, almost exactly three years later, I’m glad to report – we are still having a blast together.

I’m confident that there’s seldom a staff that works out both as co-workers and as friends after the work is done. Not every experience has been perfect, like the time we planned a recurring fundraiser based solely on Mac n’ Cheese, knowing a certain Patron Services Manager is lactose-intolerant (I’m looking at you, Lisa…) or the times embarrassing videos from around the office made it to a featured place on our various social media accounts (Steve, this one is all you…). We always come out stronger on the other side of any experience.  

There have simply been too many highlights to name throughout the past three seasons, but I’m going to do my best and feature two that’ve gone above and beyond:

Erie Philharmonic Youth Concerts – If you ever want a great real-world example of the term “organized chaos,” I would encourage you to volunteer for one of our Youth Concerts each November. Getting 2,000 elementary students into the Warner Theatre is one feat, getting that first group out while simultaneously getting another 2,000 into the theatre in a limited amount of time is…well, fun certainly isn’t the right word – but it’s definitely an experience!

Getting to see the faces of each student as they walk into the grand, golden State Street lobby is unforgettable. The shock, awe and excitement on their faces is tangible as teachers, volunteers and Erie Philharmonic staff alike work to keep each group organized. These kids get to experience true joy through learning from the moment they walk through the Warner’s art deco entrance until the last measure of music provided by our musicians. Being a part of this experience for the students is truly invaluable. These concerts are what great memories are made of and I feel fortunate to work for an organization that not only champions experiences like these, but actively works to make them a reality for our community.

IMG_3867.jpg

The Organ Symphony – I will admit my ‘music nerd’ came out in full force during the last symphonic concert of our 2016-17 season, “The Organ Symphony.” While I can genuinely say that I’ve enjoyed each and every concert for different reasons during my time with the orchestra so far, this one stuck out in particular because it featured two of my absolute favorite pieces of music: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 in C minor – the “Organ” Symphony.

This concert brought tears to my eyes and happiness to my heart in a way no concert had done before or since. As my Phil family already knows, “I just have a lot of emotions,” and nothing brings it out of me like great music.

There’s something that links both of these fantastic memories – dedication. In my eyes, the level of dedication, effort, organization, and camaraderie our staff exhibits is largely unmatched. Working at the Erie Philharmonic is a lot like looking at an iceberg. The concerts, events, laughs, and friendly conversations buoys optimistically above the water, while below the surface lies hours planning, preparation, trial and error, and error, and more trial. It all comes down to one thing, though, that keeps the engines going – love. Love for our work, love for each other, and love for what we can bring to our community.


2 Comments

From the Vault, part 15

Comment

From the Vault, part 15


A recording of the 4th movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 from 1957 at Strong Vincent Auditorium under the direction of James Sample.



Comment

From the Vault, part 13

Comment

From the Vault, part 13


A recording of the 2nd movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 from 1957 at Strong Vincent Auditorium under the direction of James Sample.



Comment

From the Vault, part 14

Comment

From the Vault, part 14


A recording of the 3rd movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 from 1957 at Strong Vincent Auditorium under the direction of James Sample.



Comment

From the Vault, part 12

Comment

From the Vault, part 12


A recording of the 1st movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 from 1957 at Strong Vincent Auditorium under the direction of James Sample.



Comment

One year later

Comment

One year later


From Brigit Stack, Marketing Assistant


headshot.jpg

Almost a year ago to the day, I had applied to the Erie Philharmonic’s open position for a Marketing Assistant. I remember clearly how excited I was that this job would come about at all, let alone right after I had graduated from college. I’ve been a musician for over half my life now, and it wasn’t until this past year that I entertained the possibility of working for an orchestra.

I joined the staff in the summer, so I was able to learn a lot before we started our busy concert season that fall. The excitement built up as we finally approached our opening night concert with Lisa Vroman. I’ll never forget getting my first official tour of the Warner Theatre and sitting in the audience before the Erie Philharmonic. It finally sunk in that I was working for an orchestra and I would get to support and work with music every day. I met musicians that had taught my friends growing up, not knowing this orchestra had unknowingly been a part of my life long before I moved here. The feeling of sitting back in an empty auditorium and hearing your favorite pieces of classical music played by such talented musicians is unparalleled. In fact, the only feeling better than working at this job is sitting in an orchestra and playing the music yourself. I don’t think I could have asked for a better career as someone who loves music, and working with this staff and doing so many different tasks is exactly what I needed. I hope that everyone in the orchestra world gets the chance to work with such a tight-knit staff and changing organization.

The events that truly made me realize I was in the right place were our youth concerts last fall, which we held for over 6,000 Erie schoolchildren over two days. While the days were hectic, all I could think about was my sixth grade trip to the Cleveland Orchestra and how formative and inspiring it was to me as a young musician. I believe I had only been playing flute for a year or two when we went, and I told my mom right away that I wanted to play in the orchestra. While my path has changed slightly, I know that without that experience I would not have arrived at this job so soon in my post-grad career. The work our orchestra does in the community means so much to me, especially as someone who truly benefited from just one field trip. I hope that we can continue to provide as many services as we do for these children, maybe even more. The importance of these kids attending a free concert is only compounded by the fact that music education is so scarce in Erie and some kids don’t have the means to attend a paid concert. 

 After helping 6,000 students in and out of the Warner Theatre!

After helping 6,000 students in and out of the Warner Theatre!

Being this close to the music, I know that I want to put my energy and passion into this job, hoping to spark the same feelings in someone like myself. So many of us on the staff come from musical backgrounds, and it’s so fascinating to see how our passion for music shapes the work we do and the dedication the six of us have to this orchestra. I’m eager to begin my second year with the Erie Philharmonic and see where it takes us and the Erie community.



Comment

Professional cardio drumming connoisseur

Comment

Professional cardio drumming connoisseur


From Vee Butler, Donor Relations Manager


Headshot_Butler, Vee.jpg

Wow. Since starting here in late January, I have enjoyed every moment of working with the Philharmonic. The only word to describe the experience is ‘wow’. I began right before the Scheherazade concert with soloist, Sharon Isbin. Being involved in the week preparations was exciting, but only met by the outstanding performance on Saturday night. After my first week, I was blown away by the coordination and commitment the staff has to each and every event. 

DSCN1146.jpg

Fast forward to another incredible time well spent, Mac N Cheese 3. When I first heard about this event, I was utterly confused on how an orchestral non-profit was to pull off a mac n cheese tasting competition. On Sunday, March 4th, I saw how it all made sense. To have almost a thousand people coming through the doors to support the Erie Philharmonic while tasting fantastic bites from local restaurants was truly moving. I immediately understood why this event was so important for us and the community. Definitely an event I will be looking forward to next year! (Save the date--March 31st, 2019!)

Moving through more concerts, a gala, and closing the season; another event that ensured my connection to the Erie Phil was working with the YMCA on Healthy Kids Day. The administrative staff spent the afternoon welcoming kids to play cardio drumming and with boom whackers. I never knew what either of these activities were, but after that day, I would self-identify as a professional cardio drumming connoisseur. Absolutely joking, I cannot keep any rhythm! But the beautiful thing about spending this time together, was that I truly felt the connection with the children that came to play. I had such an unforgettable time meeting new people—parents and kids alike. The smiles of the kids will be engraved in my memory moving forward with continued Erie Phil outreach events. 

While continuously working throughout the week with subscribers, donors, musicians, and more, I knew I found the place I wanted to be working. The staff is consistently trying to challenge themselves to create better experiences for the Erie community, a value I hold close to my heart. I have thrived on every moment I have had with the Erie Philharmonic so far and cannot wait to explore new challenges and adventures in future seasons!



Comment

From the Vault, part 11

Comment

From the Vault, part 11


A recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 from April 1958 at Memorial Auditorium under the direction of James Sample.  Don't miss additional Beethoven selections this coming year as part of our Beethoven 4/4 Festival!



Comment