News, unfortunate scandal, and inspiration

Nelson Mandela

RPO IN THE NEWS

Former RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman is returning to Rochester the first week of March to conduct the RPO, mark his 70th birthday, and to celebrate the release of the RPO’s latest harmonia mundi recording, featuring Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony and Serenade to Music.

Current RPO Music Director Arild Remmereit addressed about nine hundred people at the annual Susan B. Anthony fundraising luncheon, which was held on the suffragist’s 192nd birthday at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.   Remmereit has made it his mission to perform more music by women throughout the year.  “I’m bringing you not only pieces of music written by women, but they are great pieces of music,” he told the crowd.   He announced during a recent pre-concert chat hosted by WXXI’s Julia Figueras that the RPO will commission a new work by Japanese-born Karen Tanaka for next season.  Also this week, Remmereit told the Democrat and Chronicle that the RPO is looking at ways to us the web to attract new audiences, possibly through webcasting concerts as the Detroit Symphony does.

ZANDER SCANDAL

Long-time followers of this blog may remember my admiration for Benjamin Zander’s book The Art of Possibility.  The Boston conductor was recently fired for his role in the hiring of a registered sex offender to videotape concerts involving young musicians at the New England Conservatory.  The complicated situation is a cautionary tale for anyone who lives in the public eye.  I have a lot of sympathy for Zander, who expresses regret for what happened in an interview with the Boston Globe He says he never imagined his job was on the line.

SOME GOOD NEWS

Two Eastman School of Music graduates were recognized in the 54th Grammy Awards:  Robert Ludwig (BM ’66 music education and MM ’01 trumpet) was honored for Best Surround Sound Album and Christopher Lamb (BM ’81) won for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. 

A local choral conductor won a regional award last week from the American Choral Directors Association.  Amy Story, vocal director for Canandaigua Academy in Canandaigua, NY, received the Helen Kemp Award for her lifelong passion and commitment to the choral art.  At Canandaigua Academy, Amy conducts the Academy Mixed Chorus, Women's Choir, Madrigal Choir and Jazz Choir. Her singers perform regularly with the RPO.

AND MORE GOOD NEWS

Nearly 1,500 public radio supporters called and pledged $167,796 to support WXXI’s services during our February on-air drive.  Thank you.  With thousands of sustaining members, you have created a fantastic resource that provides intelligent conversation and uplifting performances to tens of thousands of people every day.   You are hearing gratitude reflected on the air.  Please allow me to echo my personal thanks for the privilege of sharing music with you every weekday morning.  I’m inspired by you and all of the goodness and generosity that flows through our community of public radio listeners.

The recent outpouring of support reminded me of Nelson Mandela’s words, as quoted by Marianne Williamson in A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?  . . . We are all meant to shine, as children do.”