Coming on Board

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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.



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Welcome to the 2018-19 season!

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Welcome to the 2018-19 season!

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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!

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- Daniel Meyer, Music Director



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Time 'Phlies'

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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.

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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.


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From the Vault, part 15

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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.



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From the Vault, part 13

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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.



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From the Vault, part 14

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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.



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From the Vault, part 12

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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.



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One year later

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One year later


From Brigit Stack, Marketing Assistant


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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.



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Professional cardio drumming connoisseur

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Professional cardio drumming connoisseur


From Vee Butler, Donor Relations Manager


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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. 

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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!



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From the Vault, part 11

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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!



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From the Vault, part 10

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From the Vault, part 10


A recording of Wagner's Overture to Tannhauser from April 1958 at Strong Vincent Auditorium under the direction of James Sample.  



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From the Vault, part 9

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From the Vault, part 9


A recording of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man from October 1960 at Memorial Auditorium (now Erie High School) under the direction of James Sample.  

Don't miss this iconic piece performed this season as part of Copland's majestic Symphony No. 3.



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Behind the scenes with Philip Glass

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Behind the scenes with Philip Glass

The Erie Philharmonic was part of a consortium of orchestras that commissioned the legendary composer Philip Glass to write a new piano concerto for pianist Simone Dinnerstein.  

Watch this amazing new work come together in the above video, and be sure to not miss the regional premiere on April 7 right here on stage at the Warner Theatre!



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Looking Forwards

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Looking Forwards

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From Music Director Daniel Meyer


I suppose the finale concert of any concert season is filled with nostalgia to some degree.  It is a chance for the Philharmonic to look back on a season filled with highlights, musical triumphs, and happy collaborations.  We can also take stock of how far we have come as an ensemble – how well we make music together, how vividly we realize the intentions and dreams of our composers, and how deeply those impressions have been printed on the hearts and souls of you, our beloved audience.  We can also look forward to a future of making-music together that will continue to increase in quality and richness, also thanks in large part to your enthusiasm for how we play on the Warner stage and throughout our region.   

Piano soloist Simone Dinnerstein

Piano soloist Simone Dinnerstein

In some ways, the musical selections that make up our season finale program reflect those backwards and forwards glances.  The Bach keyboard concerto Simone Dinnerstein will play certainly takes us back to a time of the clean, lean musical textures of the Baroque-era concerto.  We revere Bach for his musical intelligence, but we respond to Bach for the coursing energy that runs through his counterpoint and dance rhythms.  

Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony seeks to capitalize on looking backwards towards the greats who have gone before (namely Haydn) in a sprightly mini symphony.  While dabbling in nostalgia, he also points forwards with thoroughly modern, sometimes unexpected and sudden harmonic changes. 

Ravel fondly looks way back, to Greek antiquity, in choosing to set Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe in a full-length ballet.  But he also clearly bathes in sumptuous, unabashedly sensual orchestral colors and rich harmonies that could not have even been imagined before. This music delights in the interplay between sonic saturation and stark, spare moments.  I suppose that is one of the reasons why this work is so effective on the concert stage, apart from any dancing, costumes, or sets.  

Even the brand-new piece that we helped commission, Phillip Glass’ Third Piano Concerto, pays a debt to Bach in its use of a Baroque-era orchestra (strings only) and Bach-ian counterpoint.  Glass’ modern twist, of course, is how his repetitions and slight modifications to texture and musical notes creates a slow evolution and an emotional state not unfamiliar to Indian music lovers. 

So let’s look and listen forwards and backwards together next weekend.  Let’s delight in how composers respect and even subsume elements of the creators who lived long before, yet also delight in the departures they take from those influences.  Together let us celebrate the finale of the 17-18 Erie Philharmonic Symphonic Season, and also look forward to another nostalgic and forward-looking 18-19 Season with a sense of discovery and delight!

 

Thank you,

Daniel Meyer
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic



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The Best of all Possible Worlds!

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The Best of all Possible Worlds!


Written by Devon Lavinia Yates


I have to admit, when I was asked to be a part of Candide…I didn’t know much about it other than the song “Glitter and Be Gay” which I would be lucky enough to be singing. After further research and a full listen to the cast recording, I immediately fell in love. 

This show is special to me for so many reasons. Not only is it an incredible piece of comedic theatre, based off a brilliant novella by none other than Voltaire, but this will be the first time I’ve performed a show in Erie, PA since I was 18 years old where I played Maria in West Side Story at the Erie Playhouse. Not to mention that I’m going to be starring opposite my best friend and the most talented lady I know, my mom. 

I’m so lucky to have grown up in the Erie community where theatre is so appreciated and encouraged. I’m even MORE lucky to have grown up in a household where music and theatre were constantly celebrated. Cast albums were always playing through the speakers and we were always working on our next musical project. The last show my mom, Trisha, and I did was Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim where she played the Witch and I played her daughter, Rapunzel conducted by none other than our main man, my dad, Bruce Yates. Fast forward 15 years later, where we will be standing together once again where we both belong, on the stage. 

I’ve spent the years since then going to school for Music Theatre, moving to NYC, working crazy hours and attending endless auditions until one day I landed a gig that changed my life: cruise ships. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world performing, however this time it was someone else extremely special. That someone is actually who I’ll be starring opposite in this show! My best friend, Michael Valentine. How often do you get to get paid to travel the world and perform with your best friend?!? Not often! 

Michael and I met 13 years ago doing AIDA at the Erie Playhouse. He was this new boy from Philadelphia that was coming to play Radames, so we were all very eager to meet this mystery man. I’ll never forget the day he walked in (May 2nd, 2005 — I have a journal entry from that exact day) and the rest is history. We became extremely fast friends, and considering he was “new” to Erie, I decided it was my duty to take him under my wing (whether he particularly wanted that or not!). After a few shows together, life took us in different directions for a while, but then we came back together and moved to NYC in 2010. Since then, we’ve stumbled through life together dreaming of the day we could actually do a show together again (and not just production shows like on the cruise ships). Well, thanks to the Erie Playhouse, The Warner Theatre and the Erie Philharmonic - that time has finally come! Our dreams are coming true! 

I can’t wait to be back on my old stomping grounds with so many of my dear, old friends to bring this art to life! I can truly say, that everything is for the best in THIS best of all possible worlds. 



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