Today's post is from NSO@Wolf Trap Festival Conductor Emil de Cou.
My name is Emil de Cou, and I am a compulsive communicator.
I may not be Gen X, Y, or Z, but I am no less addicted to my iPhone and my MacBook. I wish I could tell you that my dependency has to do with conducting my conducting business, or staying in touch with friends and family, or playing video games, or listening to music, or watching movies, or editing these program notes. But the truth is I hold these devices close to my heart simply because they make me feel less alone in a world of 7 billion people ( a good potion of whom are my friends via Facebook). I connect therefore I am.
Which is precisely the same feeling I get when I step on a podium and jump off the grid. To conduct is to connect, from myself to the musicians, and through them to you, the audience. Music is the original social medium. Who needs Words with Friends when you have notes with friends?
This season we are fortunate to have several friends join us for our annual musical merriment with the NSO @Wolf Trap. Tomorrow night we start with an old friend of the National Symphony, Randall Craig Fleischer, who served as associate conductor of the NSO from 1989 to 1994 and currently leads the orchestras of Anchorage, Youngstown, and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Tomorrow he rocks the NSO with a tribute to the contemporary sounds of Broadway.
After tomorrow's concert it's a mad dash to Hollywood with the NSO's Principal Pops Conductor, Steven Reineke, who also serves as Music Director of the New York Pops and Toronto Pops, and previously served 15 years as associate conductor of the Cincinnati Pops under the legendary Erich Kunzel. Who better than to lead us in an entire program of the mega-hit film music of John Williams? We'll explore Williams' galaxy with selections from Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters, Schindler's List, and the Harry Potter series.
Next weekend we are joined by yet another star of film and theatre music-and BFF of the NSO- Marvin Hamlisch, who shares the stage with the music of one of his idols, George Gershwin. Joining Marvin onstage is vocalist Melissa Errico, whose interpretations of standards from the great American songbook delight audiences everywhere. Pianist Kevin Cole joins our tribute to Gershwin with Rhapsody in Blue. The following night, Saturday, July 14, all NSO@Wolf Trap ticket holders are welcome to celebrate Bastille Day with a free ride in my personal hot air balloon to Paris... by way of Kansas, of course, because after our concert-length presentation of The Wizard of Oz with live orchestra, we will need to drop off Dorothy. She forgot her cell phone, and Auntie Em is, like, totally freaking out.
The weekend of July 26-28 presents an incredibly diverse repertoire inspired by a variety of noble quests. Conductor Eimear Noone leads us to the land of Nintendo for an inspired symphony based on the video games series The Legend of Zelda. The following night I take you on a tour of our solar system with Holst's The Planets, including high-def images from space. And on Saturday night we explore of our inner selves with a quest for peace through Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.
For our final two concerts it's back to Broadway, first with Steven Reineke and the great Idina Menzel, and, last, but definitely not least, for our closing concert I have the privilege of leading the NSO in a live performance of Leonard Bernstein's score of West Side Story in sync with the film version starring the late great Natalie Wood.
So power down your phone- no texting, no tweeting, no surfing. Nothing will happen on Facebook that won't be just as unimportant after the concert. If you're desperate to connect, the best way to do so is to let go!