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Spring for Music: Fantasy Programs

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last year marked the first-ever Spring for Music Festival – a Carnegie Hall-hosted celebration of orchestras who’ve brought unusual and imaginative programs to the stage. The series returns this May, as does the festival’s “Fantasy Program Contest” – when anyone can submit an idea and vote for the program of their dreams. (Last year’s crowd-chosen winner paired Strauss’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” with John Williams’ “Superman.”) Joining us to discuss is Tom Morris, the artistic director of Spring For Music.


Tom Morris

Comments [14]

Dr. Ed Grippe

I would come to a concert to hear two pieces related by title and their supplemental relation to each other. The two are: Leonard Cohen's Allaluia and Handel's Hallaluia Chorus. In addition to the incidental overlap of the titles, each piece captures an aspect of human life. Cohen's song [hopefully sung by the same chorus as will be singing the Handel's Chrous, brings to the fore the earthbound angst and human struggle through which sets the ground for an overcoming through existential choice. The Handel piece, on the other hand projects the transcendence that is the motive and inspiration for enduring the sufferings of our existence. The two together thus offer the full range of a lived life, one that I think most audiences would identify with.

Apr. 26 2012 03:50 PM
Henry from Manhattan

I would love to hear Frank Zappa's "Dog Breath Variations" (actually ANYTHING by Frank Zappa) or Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome"

Apr. 24 2012 10:39 PM
Joseph from NYC

Orchestras need to present music in context--if concertgoers are able to connect with both the music AND the composer, the response will be more enthusiastic. Knowing, for instance, that Beethoven dealt with classism, family issues and the downfall of a personal hero will make clear how his music fits into todays world. That composers were real people with real lives is a very important point--and one that needs to be brought to light in ways other than pre-concert lectures and program notes.
And who is to say what is 'exciting'? There are 'fast and loud' works which are not especially arresting and other works which are 'slow and soft' which are incredibly engaging and profound. We need to ask ourselves what experience we want; and there should be different types of concerts, especially over the course of a long season. Can you imagine one week of Mahler followed by a week of Shostakovich, then Bruckner, then Stravinsky? It'd be exhausting!
Orchestras also need to be more involved in the community, beyond the concert hall, on a daily basis. The USA is one of the only developed countries in the world in which major cities only have ONE full-time, professional orchestra; shocking to many and unnecessary, especially given the number of world-class musicians who are unemployed and underemployed. There are a lot of solutions and many wonderful musicians; it has to be a give and take, a dialogue between an orchestra and its community and neighborhood.

Apr. 24 2012 02:38 PM

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra have played in outdoor venues around town occasionally accompanied by fireworks. They are currently offering the following:Neighborhood Concert Series
Enjoy $25 single tickets to hear the DSO in YOUR neighborhood! The DSO is thrilled to present residencies across six Metro Detroit neighborhoods

Also, Amanda Palmer from the punk cabaret band Dresden Dolls has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Apr. 24 2012 02:38 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Hans Zimmer - Inception
Clint Mansell - The Fountain
Bear McCreary - Selections from the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack
If so...I'm there

Apr. 24 2012 02:35 PM
kevin from upper LS

how can planning programs years ahead,by definition,not be inflexible. i don't get it.

Apr. 24 2012 02:34 PM
kp from nj

NJ Symphony Orchestra did a Led Zepplin concert where they backed up a cover band, complete with a Robert Plant sound-alike. Kashmir was awesome when played by the entire of the best live music events I have ever experienced.

Apr. 24 2012 02:30 PM

Dynamic Prices

The other day I went to a concert at Alice Tully Hall. To my surprise the ticket price went up because it was popular. I asked if the prices went down if not so full and the ticket agent just looked at me. Why not lower them if the seats are empty?

Apr. 24 2012 02:27 PM
Rob from Bronx

I'm a Carnegie Hall subscriber (and I volunteer there). So I'm there all the time. What I've noticed is that the things that get people to turn out are not that much different than what gets the to come to other events, like soccer or tennis. And to some extent classical music programmers know this.
1. Ethnic affiliation (Russians really turn out for Kissin; Japanese for Uchida; Venezuelans for Dudamel; Chinese for Lang Lang; the Welsh love Bryn Terfel).
2. Cute/Sexy musicians: Witness Yuja Wang, or again, Dudamel.

In terms of programming, your guests are right: people are pretty predictable. We (They) like Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Shubert.

By the way, Carnegie Hall has $10 day-of "obstructed view" tickets and $10 student/senior tickets for many concerts.

Apr. 24 2012 02:26 PM

I'm voting for ticket prices. It's one thing to take a chance on something for $25-$35 and something else again to take a chance at $60 or more.

Apr. 24 2012 02:24 PM

Ticket prices are just too high for the average concert goer to take a big risk. With the big soloist, you know the piece and how it will sound. In other words, you get your money's worth.

Apr. 24 2012 02:19 PM

As a concert goer myself, I think the single most important thing is not the repertoire (though I do agree that it should be broadened), but the audience experience. We have to manage through break through the brick wall that seperates the orchestra and the audience - have the conductor talk to the audience, encourage applause between movements, etc. Make it a more engaging experience for the audience. Right now the only advantage to seeing a classical concert vs listening to a recording is live sound, and that's not really worth the hassle of dealing with transportation instead of laying around my living room.

Apr. 24 2012 02:17 PM
Jenna from UWS

I would love to hear a program of 80's cartoon/tv classics underscores and themes. Say Jem and the Holograms and He-Man followed by the Smurfs.

I've also heard classical restylings of regional folk music (Caribbean), would love to hear this done from music around the globe.

Apr. 24 2012 02:16 PM

I have been dying to see "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony" in New York for a while now! Maybe 2013 ...

Apr. 24 2012 02:15 PM

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