The new season of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off this weekend, and it wasn't good. It was great.
Being able to take constructive criticism well is a gift. Especially in publishing and broadcasting, feedback often feels personal, and no matter how reasonably it’s delivered it can reduce one to a quivering, gelatinous mass .
In the radio business, the general rule is every single comment from a listener probably represents what hundreds of others think, too. Good and bad. For the most part, the radio program managers I know take listeners pretty seriously.
Criticism from peers sounds even more loudly. So when the Public Radio Program Directors Association released contest judges’ reactions to a piece I produced, I braced myself.
The Rochester music scene gets some press in this lengthy New York Times article about Eastman grad Caleb Burhans. Reporter Allan Kozinn writes that Burhans took a job as a substitute in the Rochester Philharmonic “. . . which was sometimes rocky. Once, when Mr. Burhans turned up at a rehearsal with his hair dyed purple, the orchestra’s managing director asked him to do something about it before the concert. Mr. Burhans turned up in a witch’s wig, cut short. The next week he tried to dye his hair a conventional red, but because of the purple die, it came out crimson, so he shaved his head. ‘I found out that one of the trumpet players was going around saying that I was making a mockery of classical music because my hair was purple,’ Mr. Burhans said. ‘And I had a really intense conversation with the managing director, where I said: ‘You know, I’m just trying to help classical music, because if we don’t get more people like me coming to these concerts, this orchestra is going to die. The only people who are coming are old people, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot.’ And he said: ‘Yeah, you’re right. Sorry.’”
This week I packed up the 2007-08 Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert CDs and lugged them in a cardboard box to the basement for storage. The RPO's new season begins October 10th, and the 2008-09 concert will air on WXXI beginning in April of 2009.
The other day I thought about going off-line, cold turkey. No Facebook, no blog. Just for awhile, to remember what life used to be like.
Then three things happened.
Nearly one third of Rochester residents live below the federal poverty level. What does that mean?
Behold the 2008 Poverty Guidelines:
Persons in Family or Household - Income
1 - $10,400
2 - 14,000
3 - 17,600
4 - 21,200
5 - 24,800
6 - 28,400
SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 73, No. 15, January 23, 2008, pp. 3971–3972
A group of Unitarians and professional classical musicians are working together to help. Click here for more.
Hear the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra perform "The Rite of Spring" under Christopher Seaman. Also on the show: Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music.
Hear it streaming during the broadcast Monday night at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5.
My score of Carmina Burana is pretty gross. Coffee-stained, marked up, dog-eared. Once I left it on the kitchen counter and made enchiladas, so it even sports a few tomato stains. I’ve been using it for about a decade, and I think I’ve performed Carl Orff's work about eight times.
Maybe I’ll trade it in someday and start with a fresh copy. But for now, this one is a well-loved map of a favorite country. A smutronstalle. A wild strawberry place.
I sang Carmina Burana with the Rochester Phil and Rochester Oratorio Society last May, and that concert will air on Monday, September 1st at 8:00 p.m. on Classical 91.5 FM.
Being a radiohead, I love the sound of sound, you know? Recorded sound. In this case, I admit the broadcast has nothing on the live experience. But it’s still worth a listen.
First of all, thank you for reading my blog. Thanks, too, to the creative readers who submitted captions in my contest. I'll announce the winner early next week, after I poll a panel of non-experts.
Today, a bit of news about the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.