May 10, 2016

One Blog Away


The faces of adult and youthful listeners! Children counting entrances of a musical idea on their fingers! Skeptics sometimes wonder: “Can young people in 2016, in the ‘Age of the Miniscule Attention Span’ – short attention spans aided and abetted by iPads, iPhones and PC’s – give their undivided attention to an almost eight-minute, wordless, movement of abstract music. . .in this case, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Movement IV?” This photo from our most recent Discovery Concert tells the whole story.

At The Discovery Orchestra we know the answer is a resounding “Yes!” If you first give attendees problems to solve that can only be fathomed by listening. Mix in a healthy measure of humor and energy and you receive comments like these we received from this representative sample of the 201 respondents to our instant survey at the concert.

“I love getting inside the music.” “It is fun as well as informative.” “I love listening, then learning, then listening again.” (Referencing our practice of performing the featured music twice – once before the investigation and once after.) “It was participatory – which made it easier to follow.” “Wonderful interaction, a great way of learning.” “I have no background in music and I learn much from these concerts.” “It certainly improves my listening pleasure.” “Gives much more meaning to the music.” “As a high school student in an orchestra, and as a composer, it helps me to go into detail about how music is structured.”

It’s also very gratifying to know that the highly trained professional musicians who have performed with us for many years – like violinist Katherine Livolsi-Landau – also perceive the value of what we’re doing at The Discovery Orchestra. Following the performance, Kathy said: “To see the faces of the audience members as we play the music for the second time is incredible. They are so focused on the music!”

One blog away from what? Our 100th blog post! We’ll come up with something special. In the meantime, if you have not taken the seven and a half minutes needed to watch and listen to Carlos Kleiber conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No 7 – do it now, full screen, sound up!