A few nights ago, I attended an amazing concert at the Atlantic Music Festival. I’ve been staying here for close to four weeks, and there’s been no end to the amazing music that is continually being made, and the inspiration that’s been pouring out as a result.
This particular concert, out of all the concerts I’ve attended (and there have been at least three every week), touched me the most. Jaime Laredo, violinist, and Sharon Robinson, cellist, appeared as scheduled guests at the third out of four orchestra concerts, with Sarah Hicks of the Minnesota Orchestra as conductor. All three were a killer combination. Superb conducting, combined with excellent playing… well, one struggles to find words to describe it.
Sarah Hicks was the first woman to hold a titled conductor post in the Minnesota Orchestra’s history. Over the years, she’s gained a lot of acclaim for her conducting at various orchestras as a guest conductor. We were truly fortunate to have her here at the festival.
Not only that, you can check out the blog she co-writes with Inside the Classics co-host Sam Bergman. I love that she has this half Japanese look, too. I also was impressed, watching during rehearsals, by the fact that she doesn’t have to scream at orchestra members to get what she wants out of them. (This was also confirmed by various orchestra members — remarks that she is one of the few nice conductors.) She is nice but very firm and decisive with her conducting, and gets what she wants because she knows what she wants and conveys that clearly to the orchestra members.
Anyone who can make an oboe sing with the crook of one finger is one pretty good conductor.
She’s also been trained as a pianist and viola player, even winning prizes for her piano playing. As a piano performance major, that’s just interesting to me.
And she loves blogging.
From her bio:
In her spare time, Ms. Hicks enjoys running, yoga, her two large dogs, cooking (and eating) with her husband, French hornist Paul LaFollette, blogging and songwriting.
How cool is that? Songwriting? I never would have guessed!
Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. What to say? I was fascinated with the fact that they are actually married to each other, and have collaborated in many performances.They also teach in the same school, Indiana University. Jaime Laredo is famous enough that he has his own wikipedia page, and lots of pictures that appear in Google images. He’s in very high demand as both a conductor and a soloist, and is a Grammy award winner.
Sharon Robinson has also won many awards for her playing, and was a Grammy-nominee. She has appeared as a guest in many orchestras, both in the States and in Europe, including the National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London Symphony, among others. She is quite renowned for her chamber music performances, and co-founded the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, which was named the 2002 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to marry someone who is a fellow writer or fellow musician (or both?). It could potentially be a recipe for insanity, but on the other hand, it could be a beautiful thing as well. Because that person you’re playing/writing/whatever with is someone you’ve come to know and love, you can be so attuned to their expressions and reactions, and make harmony together.
And plus it just seems more romantic — making beautiful music with the one you love.
That came out funny, for some reason.
They performed the spectacular Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor. Talk about a piece that seemed as if it was written for their pairing… What I loved about their performance in the is that at times they seemed to be breathing totally in sync. They were so attuned to each other’s playing that they played so beautifully. Especially the slower second movement. It almost brought me to tears with the intensity and passion of their playing.
They seemed to be writing their own lifesong into the score, flowing from heart to fingers. A reminder that music has to come from a deeper place than the technical abilities or facilities of fingers.
Cello picture from Flickr creative commons and used with permission.
Pictures of artists are artistic photos from their respective niches in the web.