More Mahler Please

by pieces of moments

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Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra performed Mahler’s astoundingly beautiful Symphony No. 5 last night at Symphony Center. Their performance was breathtaking. If I were to play the recording for you, you would never guess it was an orchestra of high school students from the maturity of technique and interpretation. Hats off to their conductor, Allen Tinkham, for being able to pull such creativity of sound from their collective potential. I was really impressed. Honestly, it was one of those things where you know you are watching something special in the making. Which, is the magic of live performance, isn’t it? In a world where we can pause and rewind, live performance and the fleeting electricity of those moments is all the more exciting.

I’m so proud of the kids, too. They played with their hearts and souls swinging from their sleeves. I carry in my mind memories of some very special performances I participated in, both solo and ensemble, as a young music student. That’s the really lovely thing about this night: no matter what else happens throughout their lives, good or bad, no one can ever, ever, ever, take this experience away from them.

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Prior to their performance, David Polk from WFMT’s wonderful show, “Introductions,” interviewed some of the students in one of the green rooms. Be sure to check their website to hear this, and other great interviews and performances from talented young musicians from all around Chicago.

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I also learned a few interesting things about the backstage world of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Like, they have plenty extra conductor chairs on hand in case of a chair disaster.

Also, the musician dressing rooms have telephone closets with old school telephones (along with courtesy scratch paper and telephone books) supplied for caller convenience.

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