Morph into Spring with this week’s music (Mendelssohn and More)

Just because it’s an interesting transition between playing the music of Pink Floyd on Saturday and moving on to Masterworks this week doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. The Pink Floyd crowd loved the concert, and it’s always nice to play for an appreciative audience. (Picture a rock band backed by a full orchestra playing the Dark Side of the Moon album.)

This week has so many great things in it. We have a guest conductor, Mei-Ann Chen, who has been a pleasure to work with. She is very energetic, polite and efficient. We worked with her in 2016 for Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and as a conductor, she was a joy to have with us on stage and well-received in the audience as well. Because of our schedule, we’re having to do all of the rehearsals in two days, which is a challenge. The orchestra sounds sharp and the music is fun to play. The William Walton piece is fun to play because it’s basically Bach with a large orchestra. You can click here to listen to an interview with WUOT 91.9 FM host Melony Dodson speak to Mei-Ann Chen where she previews each piece on the program and talks about her path to becoming a conductor.


The “Too Hot Toccata” has a lot of interesting rock and funk rhythms and a lot of interesting melodic ideas. I don’t think you’ll leave humming the tune, but I do think you’ll enjoy hearing it because it’s meant to be fun.

The Hindemith piece (Symphonic Metamorphosis on a theme by Carl Maria von Weber) has always been a favorite of mine because I played it a lot as a band transcription. I’m sure a lot of the wind  and percussion players have as well. It features all sections of the orchestra (nice solo, Hannah Hammel), and is a complicated but fun piece.

And then we feature one of our own, Concertmaster Will Shaub, who sounds great on the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. The Mendelssohn is a classic and we’re lucky to have Will.  We’re also lucky to have Gordon Tsai, who plays concertmaster on the rest of the concert because if you play a solo on a concert, you usually don’t play the other pieces.

This concert is a nice mix of new and old music with a different presence on the podium. It’s a nice way to head off to spring break. Thursday’s performance was pretty high energy; I recommend starting your St. Patrick’s Day weekend with some fine sounds on Friday night, tickets and info here.

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