Garage bands

This morning I attended a rehearsal of the MO above the garage at Norbert and Carolyn’s studio in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood. Seven musicians — 4 strings and 3 horns — practiced Beethoven’s Septet, which is to be performed in a week, Sunday, March 20. I attended and, yes, attended — cocked my ear, that is, […]

Classical music is dead among the young

Not our words but Allan Bloom’s, in the chapter called “Music” in The Closing of the American Mind (1987). Not an astonishing assertion but one that all of who love classical music, and chamber music in particular, are drawn back to time and again. As our eyes rove around the audience at Sundin Hall, whom […]

Birdsong and classical music

This summer you too may have occasion to be a receptive audience to birdsong, quotidian or ecstatic. We all know the cardinal’s impossibly happy song on a beautiful morning. (It makes us ashamed to lie in bed, doesn’t it? (What-cheer, what-cheer … wheet, wheet, wheet, wheet. Get up! Get up! Get up! The world is […]

The clarinet, Mozart & love

I grew up playing alto sax and clarinet in a 1940’s swing band. Little did I think that I would spend nearly 30 years as President of the Board of The Musical Offering, one of the finest chamber music groups in the country. I came late to chamber music; it is, indeed, one of the […]

Playing, listening on one buttock

We got an email the other day with a link to a Benjamin Zander lecture on music and passion. This Mahler-Beethoven interpreter is a marvelous lecturer and demonstrator of the power of classical music. He tells and shows us the difference between rote playing on the beat and passionate playing that takes us off both […]