Ask the Conductor
When you attend a concert or opera or musical, do you wonder about the instrumentalists on stage or in the pit? Who wrote the music and what were their expectations, why those particular instruments, what did the players do to earn that spot, how do they maintain their skills, when is it okay to clap? In three sessions conductor Steven Lipsitt explores the rich fabric of classical music performance. All meetings will include musical examples, and time for questions.
1. Orchestra and Audience
Learn about the history of the orchestra and the instruments that comprise it, the evolution of the concert experience, how some classical music was the shared “pop” music of its day.
2. Theme and Variations
Composers of the Baroque and (especially) Classical and Romantic eras frequently turned to music by their predecessors as a source for thematic material. In some ways this is as close as we can get to the genius of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven as improvisers. While we think of jazz as the home of spontaneous invention, improvisation was a staple of 17th- and 18th-century composers. Mozart’s variations on a nursery rhyme, Beethoven’s variations on a Mozart opera duet, Brahms’ variations on Handel and Haydn will all be sampled (along with a 21st-century example).
3. Rhythm and Emotions
How do master composers use rhythmic figuration to create atmosphere and evoke a mood or feeling in the listener? What psychological or theatrical role do repetition and form play in the persuasiveness of a musical composition?
Steven Lipsitt is founding Music Director of the Bach, Beethoven, & Brahms Society of Boston, Music Director of the Heritage Chorale, and Conductor of The Apollo Club. He has conducted orchestras in Russia, Greece, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, and the U.S. Steven has been a guest conductor at Scottish Opera, the Kennedy Center Opera House, Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Pops, and Boston Ballet, and has served as cover conductor for the symphony orchestras of St. Louis, Toronto, and Boston. He has trained young musicians at Tanglewood, New England Conservatory, Boston University, the Hartt School of Music, and the Boston Conservatory Opera Theatre. Steven has collaborated with Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Odetta, Bobby McFerrin, the Empire Brass Quintet, and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.