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Monthly Archives: October 2011
Houston Symphony Associate Conductor Robert Franz has had a busy week conducting our Idina Menzel, Family and Detective concerts! Read on to hear about all about it …
It’s been a crazy 10 days in Houston this go around … 3 concerts with Idina, 2 family shows with members of Houston Ballet, and finally, 4 detectives concerts for thousands of 1st through 3rd graders. The thing is, I’ve loved every minute of it!
I love when there are so many pieces to conduct, I love making music with my colleagues in the Houston Symphony, I love working with artists like Idina Menzel and the unbelievably talented dancers from Houston Ballet. The crazier and more complex it gets, the more excited I become. And did I mention that we spent part of these 10 days already preparing for next season?
What have been my favorite parts of the past few days? I have to say that interacting with Idina was every bit as much fun as it looked. She is such a sweetheart, really funny, and oh yeah, real! Although, I can’t forget walking into the new Houston Ballet Center for Dance and meeting all of the dancers for the first time. They have floor to ceiling windows in each studio, so you are looking out over the cityscape. It’s really beautiful. And finally, I had my picture taken with some 4-year-old girls that attended one of our education concerts. They were so cute! They were all dressed up for the concert, and when I knelt down to get in the picture, they all circled and put their arms around me. Their mom told me that this was their first time at the Symphony and they were completely bowled over!
Moments like that are what this is all about.
Robert will be back with the Orchestra in December for our second family concert of the season, The Night Before Christmas. Performances are at 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Saturday, December 3!
This weekend’s guest soloist, cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, took the time earlier this month to write in and share his excitement about performing with the Houston Symphony! Make sure to check out his performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2, Thursday, Oct. 20; Saturday, Oct. 22 or Sunday, Oct. 23.
It will be a tremendous pleasure performing (for the first time) with the wonderful Houston Symphony and Gilbert Varga this month! I first got to know the Orchestra through recordings with Christoph Eschenbach, and vividly remember the intense music-making of all the musicians.
I have a special love for Haydn within the many pieces in the cello repertoire. The second concerto in D Major is especially a jewel itself: so perfectly balanced in it’s structure, lyricism and vivid virtuosic qualities. In many ways, Haydn was a revolutionary in his time, bringing out many new aspects of the instruments’ possibilities. It’s no wonder why cellists still believe that this piece is the most difficult concerto to play. It’s a real challenge!
After my days in Cologne, Germany, recording the cello symphonies by Britten and Prokofiev, I look forward to arriving in the U.S. and sharing this elegant music by Haydn with the audience and the Houston Symphony Orchestra.
Best wishes til then,
For more information about Daniel Müller-Schott, please click here to visit his personal website.
Birthplace and Education: Columbia, South Carolina. University of South Carolina, BA in Music; Hartt College of Music, MM in Performance
Joined the Houston Symphony: July 1981
Beginnings: I began my musical studies at age 11 on a family violin that my grandparents purchased when they arrived in America from Europe. This violin was played by all my uncles and most of my cousins and was finally passed down to me. My first teacher was actually their teacher, as well! I followed my love of the deep, rich sounds of the lower register to become a violist when I was 19.
All in the family: I have an aunt who is an amateur violinist and violist. At 84, she is still an avid chamber music player and concertgoer. She is one of my greatest inspirations, instilling in me my great love of chamber music. My children are also musicians. Shoshi, my daughter, is also a violist, and my son, Michael, is a cellist, although taking a break at this time.
Alternative reality: If I weren’t a professional musician, I would probably be something that would involve art, science and traveling. I’m not sure what it would be.
Musical inspiration: My first teacher, Frits de Jonge, and my later teacher, Walter Trampler, inspired me the most. They both instilled in me the idea that music making is the most important facet of playing your instrument.
Keeping the music making fresh: I challenge myself to study new music and try to perfect my old favorites.
Finding the perfect instrument: I was lucky. I played it and knew it was the one for me. That was around 20 years ago. What I love about playing viola is the deep, rich sound that the instrument produces. We might not have as many solos as the violin, but we are always there, producing a color that becomes part of the melody, enhancing its beauty.
Notable moment: Sharing a recital with my kids a few years ago. We performed a Beethoven String Trio together.
Pastime and good company: Art, running, reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with my husband, Jerry, family and friends (including my dogs).
New Beginnings: I am really excited about welcoming our new violist, Sheldon Person, especially since he and I sit at the same stand! The Houston Symphony viola section is like a family, having played together for many years. Being stand partners is even more special. I look forward to making music together.
Centennial Ponderings: My hope for the organization is a new symphony hall. A performance place we can call our own where we are able to create the perfect environment for enjoying music, on and off the stage.
Houston Symphony Magazine spoke with Linda Goldstein, viola, in September 2011. This conversations is reprinted from the October 2011 issue.