Program change with the KBS Symphony

Today I want to tell you about programming. Program change with the KBS SymphonyI had mentioned that my program in Korea has changed, and that’s because the original program was for a large orchestra including brass, winds, percussion and strings.  Now, many musicians have had to isolate because of a case of Covid in the orchestra, and to be safe, the orchestra wishes to create a program that is for strings, and some woodwinds, horns and piano.  This will ensure that the concert can continue, but take precaution for everyone’s safety.  Normally an orchestra programs a concert at least a year in advance of the concert.  In this case, I knew since Sept. what the program would be.  The librarian has to order music, often it is rented, sometimes it’s in their library.  The string principals all look at the bowings (how they will use their bows to create the music, ups and downs) and make their own personal changes.  These markings take a while to create and then transfer to the parts.  Rehearsal plans are usually created a month in advance.  Musicians get their parts to practise one or two weeks in advance of a concert.  So, in this case, where something suddenly changes, there is some scrambling and it’s highly unusual.  The poor librarian must quickly prepare parts, the musicians in this case will be accepting the bowings of another orchestra, the ones which are already on the parts.  Here’s my original program:  Dvorak Cello Concerto, Copland Appalachian Spring, and Stravinsky Firebird Suite.  And now here is the new program:  Kernis Musica Celestis (a beautiful ethereal piece), Haydn Cello Concerto, (beautiful, small classical), Copland Appalachian Spring (small version) and Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony Op. 110a (an arrangement of his String Quartet #8 – a most incredible, important work, and one that I am truly happy to conduct).  The Shostakovich uses only strings.  Here is a photo of the first program, and here also is a lovely envelope sent to me by the librarian yesterday, carrying the new score and parts of the Shostakovich (look at the whole photo to see all of the beautiful writing).


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