This Week's Musical Gems: One Year Ago Today

Mar 12, 2021 8:01:34 PM / by BPO Staff

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Exactly one year ago today, on March 12, 2020, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) performed in Symphony Hall. The world was changing rapidly that week, and while the order to limit gatherings in Boston hadn't yet taken effect, we decided at the last minute to close the concert to the public and livestream it over the internet. In a hall that normally seats 2,600 people, we had about 100 family members in attendance - fewer in the audience than on stage.

A year later, Symphony Hall has not reopened to the public, and we eagerly await the day when we can return, both as performers and audience members. 

As we contemplate this sobering anniversary, we would like to share with you again two things that we shared at the beginning of this journey. The first is the full playlist from the March 12, 2020 BPYO concert, featuring Stravinsky's Petrushka, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and Elgar's Nimrod Variation, with which we traditionally end each season of BPYO. 

The second item is a project that emerged from this concert, Maestro Zander's explanation of Petrushka for a Ten-Year-Old. One member of the virtual audience that evening wrote:

My daughter (10) and I just watched the Petrushka piece. It was beyond lovely. Her reactions: "sad, cool, suspenseful;" then, "I felt it - how Petrushka felt;" and finally "really, really good and talented." Throughout the piece she was rooting for Petrushka to win the ballerina. I asked why, and she said she just knows they belong together.

I felt much of the same but gave more attention to how the music created all those feelings she identified. I also imagined the hours spent rehearsing and thought about what an amazing experience you have shared with your fellow musicians. I was really touched at the end when the musicians stomped their feet for the effect of what should have been thundering applause from the audience. It was an eerie reminder that you were playing to an absent crowd in such a grand hall. 


Maestro Zander writes: "I was so inspired by her question about how music creates its emotional reactions, even in a ten-year-old, that I settled down to write a detailed description of the whole ballet, so that her daughter could get behind the story to appreciate the music."

We look forward to the time when we can welcome you back to the concert hall and create new memories of live orchestral performances!

We send our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this week.

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Topics: BPYO, Elgar, Benjamin Zander, Interpretation Class, Boston Philharmonic, Symphonie Fantastique

Written by BPO Staff

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