Columbus Symphony

Yolanda Kondonassis her harp
Mark Battrell

This weekend's concerts by the Columbus Symphony feature Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and the Harp Concerto by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis joins the CSO for these concerts, conducted by Andres Franco. Also on the program: Astor Piazzola's Milonga del Angel and the Danses sacree et profane by Debussy.

Danish composer Carl Nielsen listening to the rehersal of Saul og David in Gothenburg in 1928
Charles Carlsson / Wikimedia Commons

Growing up,  I was mentored by a next door neighbor who taught music in the public schools. She died a few weeks ago at 94.  I have been thinking of her while studying the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931).

Columbus Symphony conducted by form music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Columbus Symphony

This morning, in a state of happy exhaustion, I take a look at performing arts activities in Central Ohio April and May. 

Everyone knows that audience members at concerts are never happy.

The etiquette is to sit quietly in the dark. Suppress all emotional response and bodily noise. Looking happy or as if you are enjoying yourself is resolutely low rent... Schubert and Brahms were miserable, and you should be, too. The musicians aren’t there to entertain you. Conductors are there to flap their arms, wiggle their bottoms, and get paid a lot. Just look around you, right?


Rossen Milanov
Courtesy of artist

Last Saturday night a woman next to me in the Ohio Theater whispered about the conductor, What do you know about this guy?

Nice people always choose the most poignant moment in the music to start nudging and whispering, so I pointed to his bio in the program, and put my finger to my lips. When the lights went up and the cheers ended, she said Well?

I told her a bit about his background. I said he was clearly a very gifted conductor.

Colin Currie
Marco Borggreve

“I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day.” This was the sentiment expressed by Todd Rundgren some years back. For Colin Currie, he also wants to bang on the drum all day…and the marimba, cymbals, bells, and whatever else he can find. Such is the life now for a percussion soloist.

In a symphony orchestra, kettledrums were about it for ages. Not so anymore. With artists like Evelyn Glennie and Colin Currie around, percussion performance has taken on a whole new dimension.

Rossen Milanov conducts the Columbus Symphony.
Marco Borggreve/Columbus Symphony

The Columbus Symphony performs Incantations a percussion concerto by Einojuhani Rautavaara this weekend at the Ohio Theater. Rossen Milanov conducts, with soloist Colin Currie.

The work was written for Mr. Currie, who gave the premiere with the London Philharmonic in 2009. Also on this weekend’s CSO Program, Brahms Third Symphony and Bolero by Maurice Ravel.

Colin Currie
Marco Borggreve

Watch out, Columbus, our new music scene is pretty hot right now.

On the heels of Denison’s fabulous TUTTI Festival, Capital University and the Johnstone Fund for New Music will be presenting quite the line-up of events next week.

Capital’s Conservatory of Music is preparing for RhythmFest March 17-27 with New Music at the Short North presenting the ‘California Mavericks’ program on March 25.

The Columbus Symphony’s February 27th and 28th program salutes the 1920s in Paris, New York and Berlin. We’ll hear Kurt Weill’s Little Threepenny Opera Suite, George Antheil’s Jazz Symphony, Scherzo a la russe by Stravinsky and Bolero.

Gertrude Stein would sit in her Paris atelier surrounded by her walls filled with “pictures” by Picasso, Cezanne, Matisse and Man Ray and declare to the assembled young men at her feet, “You boys are the lost generation.”

Thomas Lauderdale
Columbus Symphony Orchestra

When I read pianist Thomas Lauderdale’s personal bio page on the CSO’s website, it was less like an artist profile and more like the description of a wonderful character from Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone or the TV series Portlandia.

Lauderdale was born in Indiana, but moved to Portland in 1982 and began studying piano with Sylvia Killman who still serves as his coach and mentor. Here are the two of them, just as teacher and student, no pretense, no pressures. It’s lovely to watch.