Monday, September 20, 2010

Muti Comes to Chicago

The buildings were decorated with lights that spelled out
Muti and CSO.
 On Sunday, I went to a free concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  It was free because the CSO was introducing their new conductor Riccardo Muti.  Riccardo Muti is a really famous Italian Conductor.  Muti was the principal conductor of La Scala, the famous Italian opera house from 1986-2005.

We got to the concert just before it started, because we came from the performance at the Spertus Museum.  It very very crowded.  There were 30,000 people in Millenium Park to see the concert.  We didn't have a good view, because there were so many people crowded around the Pritzker Pavilian.  Only my sister Rowena got a glimpse of Muti, because I put her on my shoulders so she could see.  She got excited about seeing the cello section too, because she plays cello.

This was our view.  We couldn't even see Muti!
They played a Verdi opera and "Les Preludes" by Liszt for the first half of the concert.  I wanted to see the second half of the concert, but I couldn't, because Sam and Nathan and Ari who were with me were really hungry and needed to get dinner.  So I missed the Overture to Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky and Respighi's "The Pines of Rome" which featured John Bruce Yeh playing some really great clarinet solos.  I was really sorry to miss that!

I was sad to miss the second half of the concert, but it was really fun to be there with so many Chicagoans who must love classical music.

Maxwell Street Junior Klezmer Band Performs at the Spertus Center
Here is a link to the video of the klezmer performance.

Recently, I joined a youth klezmer group called Maxwell Street Junior Band.  Klezmer music is very interesting.  It is a traditional Jewish style of secular music that originated in Eastern Europe.  It is very different from classical music.  I like klezmer, because it is very free, unlike classical music which has very strict rules.  You can improvise, and the music is really fun.

My group performed at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies downtown.    The Spertus Institute is in Chicago where you can learn about Jewish culture.  The concert was part of an exhibit called "Uncovered & Rediscovered," which is about Chicago Jewish culture and history.

We played many pieces during the concert.  4 of the pieces were vocalist pieces, and the others were instrumental.  The performance lasted 45 minutes.  At the beginning of each pieces, Lori, the director introduced the piece and gave a little of its historical background. 

Lori is really nice.  She is the head of the Maxwell Street Junior Band, and she directs it with the help of other members of the Maxwell Street Professional Band.  My brother and I are new, and she's very enthusiastic about us being there.  She makes us feel very welcome, and she's always excited about everything.  I really like having her as our director.

Playing in the concert was very exciting.  I've never performed klezmer music on stage before, but I really like it.  Normally, I play in a bigger space with more musicians, because usually I play with my youth orchestra.  But with klezmer there are fewer people, and the music is all around you.

Afterwards, Chicago 3 Media interviewed a few people.  It was fun getting interviewed, but very scary too.

Watching My Teacher Perform

Last monday I got to see my teacher Dileep Gangolli perform at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Chicago Cultural Center is a really cool building.  The building has a big colorful stained glass dome, and the theater inside has great acoustics.

My mom dropped me off in the morning at Dileep's house, and I went downtown with Dileep and his wife Janice who is also very cool.  Dileep soloed with a piano accompaniest, and he played really well.  He played a Brahms sonata, Charles Stanford's Three Intermezzi for Clarinet and Piano, and Niels Gade's Fantasy Pieces with pianist Huang Hao Hung. 

I loved the concert.  I really liked the selection of pieces.  They were all pieces I hadn't heard before except the Brahms sonata.  I like listening to new pieces, because I learn new things.  Dileep played very expressively, which is one of his biggest strenths.  He is passionate about the music, and it really shows when he performs.  His performance was very exciting, and he seems to enjoy every minute that he was on stage.  I hope I get to see more of his concerts in the future.

After the performance, Dileep took me out for sushi for lunch, and sushi is my favorite food.  And then we went back to his house and I had a 2 hour lesson with him.  Because my mom couldn't pick me up until the evening, I stayed at his house and read and had dinner and practiced my piano there. 

Not only is Dileep a great performer, he is also a really amazing and inspiring teacher.  I love his lessons and I look forward to them all week.