I've been a subscriber of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Classical Connections Series for about four seasons now. The program has definitely succeeded in that it's gotten me to become enthusiastic about classical music and want to get other people my age involved in attending symphony concerts. In fact our core group of subscribers has tripled over our tenure.
At any rate, I was excited to get the opportunity tonight to go to a full performance for free. The MSO sent out a mailer earlier this season with a choice of concerts for customers to select one 'on the house." I picked this weekend not only because it was the only open slot on my calendar, but also because the incoming Music Director, Edo de Waart, would be conducting.
Luckily I got to catch de Waart's Milwaukee debut last spring with Classical Connections. That experience was truly mind-blowing as it was Holst's The Planets, complete with crazy early-computer graphics NASA video running on a big screen above the musicians.
Tonight's concert did not have visual effects, but it was well worth going all the same. The diversity of the program -- John Adams' The Chairman Dances (Foxtrot for Orchestra), Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Quintet in B-flat Major, Opus 34 (featuring a stunning performance by soloist Todd Levy), and the crowning jewel of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 “New World” -- highlighted what a world-class outfit the MSO is and how they will continue to excel under the direction of Edo de Waart.
I've been a huge fan of long-time music director Andreas Delfs, but I am so excited to see what the "Era of Edo" will bring.
On a less serious note, Brooke (my symphony companion) and I had fun playing Craig's suggested game of "Count the occurances where John Williams ripped off Dvorak."