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Posts Tagged ‘John Harbison’

A step in the right direction

l-r: Masha Popova (flute), Jacob Shack '14 (viola) and Maria Semes (violin) after they performed Beethoven's Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola, Op. 25.

Jacob Shack ’14, a resident of Pforzheimer House concentrating in the Comparative Study of Religion, was awarded an Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA)/Office of Postgraduate and National Fellowships Artist Development Fellowship to attend the Tanglewood Music Center this summer. He has performed as principal violist and has held leadership positions with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, Dunster House Opera, and Brattle Street Chamber Players. His professional ambitions include becoming an orchestral violist, a violist in a chamber ensemble, and a professor of viola.

While having been here for just over a month, my musical summer in the Berkshires feels like it has lasted several years. I don’t mean to say that my summer is tediously boring and uneventful. Quite the contrary—I have learned and absorbed so much that each day feels incredibly long and full. In the process, I have been exposed to exactly the kind of life as a professional musician that I hope to attain after college.

I have spent the past month and a half studying at the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) in Lenox, Massachusetts. As a viola fellow at TMC, I am a member of the TMC Orchestra, which performs once a week. In addition to my orchestral engagements, I am assigned various chamber music projects throughout the summer. On the faculty of TMC are some of the greats in the classical music world, like composer John Harbison and Roger Tapping, the incoming violist of the Juilliard String Quartet. I have been lucky enough to work with these incredible musicians over the past month, and there are more to come. Read more…

Harvard and NEC: Conducting expressivity

December 10th, 2010 No comments

Aram Demirjian '08 conducts the NEC Lab Orchestra under the incisive eye of Hugh Wolff '75. Photo: Andrew Hurlbut

Harvard conductors are pioneering the orchestral conducting program at New England Conservatory. With the vision of Maestro Hugh Wolff, NEC’s Director of Orchestras, the orchestral conducting program at NEC has taken on new form and new life with a highly selective, two-year graduate curriculum that is polishing the artistic leadership and musical character of talented young conductor, Aram Demirjian (Harvard ’08, NEC MM ’11). Aram is in the first class of conductors with only one other student, Joshua Weilerstein.

Photo: Andrew Hurlbut

Along with course work in score reading, instrumentation, orchestration, and performance practice, seminars and private lessons, Aram’s conducting skills are being developed to the fullest and will be on display 8:30 p.m. Friday, December 10 (tonight) at NEC’s Brown Hall in a concert free and open to the public, featuring Beethoven’s Overture to Leonore No. 3, Op. 72, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture (1870), and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 38, Spring. See Harvard’s own Aram Demirjian in action on the podium — with his focused expressivity achieved by economy of gesture that I remember even from his days conducting my chamber group in Music 93r in ’07-’08 — conducting the NEC Lab Orchestra in its culminating concert of the semester.

Continuing my series of conversations about music with Hugh Wolff, today’s post presents Maestro Wolff’s views about Harvard composers, John Adams ’69, MA ’72, and John Harbison ’60, who help to shape the future of music as composers, critics, and intellectual American voices.

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Hear Maestro Wolff’s insights into the music scene and orchestral concert audiences in Frankfurt, Germany compared to those in North America. Maestro Wolff propounds that John Adams has worldwide appeal, known to international audiences, and compares this to North American audiences’ reception of new music. Maestro Wolff shares his ethos of programming new music, earning the trust of your orchestra, and feeling that new music should be a part of the mainstream of what an orchestra does — completely integrated into the concert subscription series. Read more…