NewsBlog Editorâ€™s Note: This post is the third of a series written by CMIE Guided Intern Hermann Hudde, as part of the documentation for Huddeâ€™s CMIE Guided Internship. See other posts in this series here.
As a part of my guided internship, the BSO education office organized a meeting between BPS children and the composer William Bolcom, whose opus Eighth Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra was premiered by the BSO on Tuesday, February 28. The composer was accompanied by the violinist Philip Ficsor and the pianist Constantine Finehouse who are on tour promoting their CD American Double which features Bolcomâ€™s duos for violin and piano. Ficsor and Finehouse started a conversation with the children and the composer with the intention of engaging the children, making them curious about what a composer is and what he does. They asked the composer how his life in music was began and the composer used this opportunity to talk about his childhood and his life. Then the musicians asked the young audience what they felt when they listened to a modern piece of music in comparison to a classical period opus. When some said they found it â€œuglyâ€ or â€œstrangeâ€, Philip used the opportunity to talk about the power of the modern music to express all kinds of emotions. Then the composer was asked about his composition process, and he explained that he tended to be inspired first by images from nature or poetry.. The duo then told the audience that they would start playing a Bolcomâ€™s Serenade for violin and piano which is based on the story of an ugly man who felt in love with a princess and was trying everything to win her love. They played across the different sections of the piece and invited the children to identify the emotions being expressed, and then the duo concluded, playing the whole opus.
When they ended their performance, the BSO came to the stage and played the dress rehearsal from Bolcomâ€™s Eighth Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra. In my opinion, positive this kind of encounter is a positive experience, because is difficult for non-musicians to meet composers and know more about their lives and works. The event also gave the opportunity the children to listen to an orchestra playing in a symphony hall and to observe the work that goes on between a composer and the musicians. All in all, it was a great way to make the whole concept of composing and performing seem more â€œrealâ€ and â€œnormalâ€ to the children.