April 18, 2011

The Work behind the Concert

Random pictures during rehearsal for the Young Peoples Concert

Seldom do people realize the commitment of the musicians. 
Most of these ladies and gentleman have already put in 
a full day of work at their day job.  
Some drive an hour each way to rehearsal, which tonight is over at 10 p.m.  
The concert tomorrow begins at 9:30 a.m. 
Aren't they amazing?

April 14, 2011

Young Artist Competition Winner, Arthur Shou, keeps on winning!

The Muncie Symphony Orchestra plays an important role in offering young musicians competition and performance opportunities.  Arthur Shou is one of many talented pianist who competed in the 2010 Young Artist Competition. He won the Senior Division. Arthur has been recognized in Indiana and beyond as an aspiring, up and coming musician.  You may remember Arthur Shou's wonderful performance at this season's Fisher Shaffer Concert. Arthur won the piano division of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition this January.  
Arthur Shou

Saturday, the 16th of April, Arthur is performing Schumann’s  Piano Concerto with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.  For TICKETS call 800.738.3727:   $40 Level 1, $34 Level 2, $20 Level 3, $15 Students

We are very fortunate to have a part in his early career and blessed to know Arthur and his family. Arthur is the older brother of Oliver Shou who won this MSO's Junior Division Young Artist Competition in January. You will find Oliver's bio in a previous post. Oliver is performing on the program for the MSO Young Peoples Concert April 19th. More on the YPC here.

Arthur Shou is 17 and a junior at Carmel High School in Indiana.  He started piano at the age of six with Dr. Keli Xu.  In 2007, he joined the Indiana University Young Pianists Program as a student of Dr. Karen Taylor of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In addition to his passion for the piano, he also studies cello with Mr. Ron Noles and is the principal cellist in the Carmel High School Symphony Orchestra

His gifts have earned him numerous awards and performances, including the recent performance with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.  In recent years, he has won the 3rd place in 2009 Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Maurer Young Artists Concerto Competition and 1st place in 2010 Carmel Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and 2010 Muncie Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.  In the past, he participated and won numerous competitions, including 1st prizes in the Young Hoosier Pianist Competition (junior division) in 2005 and the 2nd in 2006 (senior division), 1st place in Music Teacher National Association State Round (junior division) in 2005, and Indiana Music Teacher Association in 2001 (Early Elementary, District), 2003 (Elementary, District, and State), 2005 (Middle School, District and State), and 2006 (High School Junior, District and State), and was a finalist in Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Maurer Young Artists Competition in 2004. He has attended the IU Summer Piano Academy four times, where he was selected to perform in master classes for Prof. Karen Shaw, Jonathan Bliss, and Andre Watts. Other highlights include performances at Ball State University, Goshen College, Anderson University, and the Indiana Historical Society.  

Break a leg Arthur!

April 13, 2011

Rialzo II

Rialzo II is back after the inaugural  fun and successful event last spring!

Held at the Horizon Center, this is the place to be at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21st.  Rialzo II is a fun, elegant, classy evening of excellent food, dancing and entertainment by Kool and the Gang, and shopping, sort of.  Both silent and live auctions raise money for arts partners Muncie Civic Theater, Cornerstone Center for the Arts and Muncie Symphony Orchestra.  Wander among the silent auction items, find something you love, and start the fun of bidding!  

Tickets, $150 per person, are available online here.

April 6, 2011

Animals in Music

April 19th over 2000 mostly 4th and 5th grade students will fill Emens Auditorium for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra's Young Peoples Concert. 

The theme is ANIMALS.

Carnival of the Animals composed by Camille Saint Saens in 1886 is among the selections on the program. You might enjoy a preview, but not all the animals will be heard at the Young Peoples Concert. The accompanying YouTube Videos are by Julian Rachlin & friends.  A free copy of the Score is available.  Ogden Nash wrote a series of poems based on the composition. Poems by American writer Ogden Nash

Camille Saint-Saens
Was wracked with pains,
When people addressed him,
As Saint-Saens.
He held the human race to blame,
Because it could not pronounce his name,
So, he turned with metronome and fife,
To glorify other kinds of life,
Be quiet please - for here begins
His salute to feathers, fur and fins.


The lion is the king of beasts, 
And husband of the lioness.
Gazelles and things on which he feasts
Address him as your highoness.
There are those that admire that roar of his,
In the African jungles and velds,
But, I think that wherever the lion is,
I’d rather be somewhere else.


The rooster is a roistering hoodlum,
His battle cry is cock- a- doodleum.
Hands in pockets, cap over eye,
He whistles at pullets, passing by. 


Have ever you harked to the donkey wild,
Which scientists call the onager?
It sounds like the laugh of an idiot child,
Or a hepcat on a harmoniger,
But do not sneer at the donkey wild,
There is a method in his heehaw,
For with maidenly blush and accent mild
The donkey answers shee-haw. 


Come crown my brow with leaves of myrtle, 
I know the tortoise is a turtle,
Come carve my name in stone immortal,
I know the turtoise is a tortle.
I know to my profound despair,
I bet on one to beat a hare,
I also know I’m now a pauper,
Because of its tortley, turtley, torper. 


Elephants are useful friends, 
Equipped with handles at both ends,
They have a wrinkled moth proof hide,
Their teeth are upside down, outside,
If you think the elephant preposterous,
You’ve probably never seen a rhinosterous. 


The kangaroo can jump incredible, 
He has to jump because he is edible,
I could not eat a kangaroo,
But many fine Australians do,
Those with cookbooks as well as boomerangs,
Prefer him in tasty kangaroomeringues. 


Some fish are minnows, 
Some are whales,
People like dimples,
Fish like scales,
Some fish are slim,
And some are round,
They don’t get cold,
They don’t get drowned,
But every fishwife
Fears for her fish,
What we call mermaids
They call merfish.

In the world of mules
There are no rules.
(Laughing, In the world of mules
There are no rules) 


Cuckoos lead bohemian lives,
They fail as husbands and as wives,
Therefore, they cynically disparage
Everybody else’s marriage 


Puccini was Latin, and Wagner Teutonic,
And birds are incurably philharmonic,
Suburban yards and rural vistas
Are filled with avian Andrew Sisters.
The skylark sings a roundelay,
The crow sings “The Road to Mandalay,”

The nightingale sings a lullaby,
And the sea gull sings a gullaby.
That’s what shepherds listened to in Arcadia
Before somebody invented the radia.   


Some claim that pianists are human,
Heh, and quote the case of Mr. Truman.
Saint Saens on the other hand,
Considered them a scurvy band,
A blight they are he said, and simian,
Instead of normal men and wimian. 


At midnight in the museum hall,
The fossils gathered for a ball,
There were no drums or saxophones,
But just the clatter of their bones,
Rolling, rattling carefree circus,
Of mammoth polkas and mazurkas,
Pterodactyls and brontosauruses
Sang ghostly prehistoric choruses,
Amid the mastodonic wassail
I caught the eye of one small fossil,
“Cheer up sad world,” he said and winked,
“It’s kind of fun to be extinct.” 


The swan can swim while sitting down,
For pure conceit he takes the crown,
He looks in the mirror over and ovea,
And claims to have never heard of Pavlova.


Now we’ve reached the grand finale,
On an animalie, carnivalie,
Noises new to sea and land,
Issue from the skillful band,
All the strings contort their features,
Imitating crawly creatures,
All the brasses look like mumps
From blowing umpah, umpah, umps,
In outdoing Barnum and Bailey, and Ringling,
Saint Saens has done a miraculous thingling.

Another piece on the program is the Overture from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II
 Die Fledermaus means The Flying Bat.

Can you imagine this 3 pound 6 foot bat? 
Good thing it eats fruits and seeds! 

Giant golden-crowned flying-fox Bat 

Giant golden-crowned flying-fox

Ballet of the unhatched Chickens by Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition)

When Mussorgsky wrote "Pictures at an Exhibition" in 1874 he was inspired by paintings and sketches by the painter Viktor Hartmann.  Hartmann drew 17 costume and set designs for the ballet Trilby, four of which are extant. This is the sketch that inspired Mussorgsky's 
Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks.

Trilby was first performed at the Bolshoi in 1871, with choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Julius Gerber, both celebrities in their day. The plot was loosely based on a short story by the French author Charles Nodier titled "Trilby, or the Elf of the Argyle", published in 1822 (there is no relation to DuMaurier's ballet Trilby, which appeared in 1895). Petipa moved the setting from Scotland to Switzerland, and made other substantive changes as well. The title was changed to "Trilby, the Demon of the Hearth". The ballet featured children from the Russian Imperial Ballet School dressed variously as birds, butterflies and, as in this sketch, chicks still in their eggs. source

You will just have to see this piano playing cat for yourself.

The Catcerto by Mindaugas Piecaitis

The Young Peoples Concert is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend, please call the MSO office for more information.  765-285-5531

April 5, 2011

Elusively Crazy!

Elusively Crazy, the Muncie Symphony Orchestra season finale, is elusive. Well, you won't see it all this season.  The April 30th concert has been cancelled. I know, it is very disappointing.  Disappointing for the audience, for the musicians, for the MSO- everyone the MSO touches.  We just don't have the funds to pay for the concert.   Here is why.

Did you know each concert can cost as much as $35,000?  Where does the money go?

  • Rental of venue -Emens Auditorium and the staff
  • Shuttle from the parking lot to Emens
  • Rental of music - MSO does not own most of the music we play.  Purchasing music is more expensive than renting.  Occasionally a piece can be borrowed from a nearby orchestra, and that helps with the cost of music.  MSO lends music as well.  
  • Fees for the Artistic Director, Guest Artist(s), musicians,                                                                                         ~ Personnel Manager  - she hires the musicians for each concert, and                                   ~ Music Librarian - he is responsible for finding the music, sending it out before the concert so the bowings can be marked-so all the string players play the piece in the same way, getting the music to the musicians so they know the music when the rehearsals start, collecting the music and returning to the owner.
  • Concert advertising
  • Office and staff support
  • Printing fees for the program book, inserts, tickets
  • Online presence: Muncie Symphony Orchestra website, MSO Blog, MSO facebook 
Multiply this by 5 regular season concerts, Young Peoples Concert, two Rattanovy concerts, Festival on the Green, Picnic & Pops concert, and as many as 50 programs for schools and underserved and at risk audiences with Music on the Move and a program at the Muncie Children's Museum.  

Where the money goes is only half of the story.  Funding is critical to the success of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. As any organization, MSO lives on a budget planned months ahead of the fiscal year. MSO applies for grants from organizations such as the Indiana Arts Commission. The IAC funding covers about 3% of the budget.  Season ticket sales and admissions another 23%.  Contributions from corporations and sponsorships about 29%, folks like you about 22%, Foundation grants roughly 5%, and income from endowments, interest tops out at 13% and other income from touring, Rattanovy series,  and other events is just under 6%.  Planning for concerts, guest artists, events and educational programs depends upon meeting the funding projections.  Projections that are based on historical data. Most of the time it works well. This year, however, funding did not meet the projections, which resulted in canceling Elusively Crazy. 

We know the economy has been rough for a few years, and conditions within the community are challenging.  We hope this will improve soon.  You can help in several ways.  The MSO is offering to refund ticket holders for the April 30th concert.  If you desire a refund, please call the MSO office by April 30.  Should you prefer to donate the cost of the tickets, we would appreciate it greatly.  Please let us know so that we may provide you with a non-profit tax donation letter.  The MSO depends upon individual contributions from people like you.  Does that sound like a PBS public service announcement?  It's true that many non-profits need funding.  We truly hope that the services we provide for you and the community are valuable and contribute to the quality of life you enjoy and desire.  If so, please consider making a contribution to the MSO.  We accept cash, checks, and credit cards.  To contribute, you may 
  • Call the office at 765-285-5531 
  • Mail or bring your contribution to Muncie Symphony Orchestra c/o Ball State University, 2000 University Blvd, AC-112, Muncie, Indiana, 37406
Thank you for your support and understanding. Next MSO concerts are the Young Peoples Concert on April 19th, and Festival on the Green on June 11th.  Both of these concerts are provided without cost to the audience. Call the office for more information. We hope to see you there.