Playing in style
By Gabrielle Poshadlo
Two University of Michigan graduate music students, who double as Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Youth Ensemble Mentors, hit the road in a brand new Cadillac ATS and followed the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to Carnegie Hall for its May 10 Ives Immersion performance as part of the week-long Spring For Music Festival.
Along the way, David Cook, first year graduate student of clarinet performance and Emily Wespiser, second year graduate student of flute performance, spread the word about Detroit, the DSO, and Cadillac ATS drivability by performing pop up concerts and documenting their trip using hashtag #ATStoCarnegie.
Stops along the way to Manhattan included a performance at Central Cadillac on Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio and a visit to Lola Bistro, a Cleveland diner owned by Michael Symon of Detroit’s Roast in the historic Westin Book Cadillac hotel.
It’s the first time in 17 years the DSO has performed at Carnegie Hall.
General Motors Foundation provided a $350,000 grant to the DSO for music education initiatives, including its involvement in the prestigious Spring for Music festival.
About David Cook
Originally from Troy, Michigan, David Cook is pursuing Master of Music degrees in clarinet performance and chamber music at the University of Michigan. He holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Central Michigan University. David works with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Youth Ensembles as Civic Orchestra Clarinet Mentor and will be an Orchestra Fellow at the Immanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival this summer. He is especially excited for the Carnegie Hall performances as a result of completing his research project about the musical evolution throughout Charles Ives’s symphonies.
About Emily Wespiser
A native of Lee, Massachusetts, Emily Wespiser is an active solo, orchestral and chamber musician. As the Detroit Civic Youth Orchestra mentor, she has performed under esteemed DSO conductor Leonard Slatkin, and alongside international soloist Emanuel Ax. Selected to perform and study at the Brevard Music Center for the 2013 season, Emily has spent past summers as the resident principal flutist in the Opera in the Ozarks Orchestra and performing in masterclasses for flutists such as Jeffrey Khaner, Keith Underwood, Ian Clarke, and Doriot Dwyer. Emily can be heard performing with the University of Michigan Symphony Band on their recently released CD, Points of Departure (Equilibrium Records), and with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra on their soon to be released Rite of Spring CD.
An advocate for new music, Emily has premiered works by composers such as David Biedenbender, Marco Schirripa, Brendan Vavra, Peter Learn, and Gordon Stout. Emily holds a B.M. from Ithaca College, and recently completed her Masters of Music at the University of Michigan, under the direction of flutist Amy Porter.
About DSO’s Carnegie Hall performances
On May 9 and 10, the DSO will become the first orchestra ever to perform two unique programs during New York’s visionary Spring For Music Festival. Joined by Oregon crossover artist Storm Large and the University Musical Society Choral Union, the repertoire will include all four Charles Ives symphonies performed for the very first time on the same program, as well as Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, selections by Rachmaninoff and Ravel’s La Valse.
May 9 Performance
The first performance will feature Kurt Weill’s ballet The Seven Deadly Sins, starring cabaret singer Storm Large on lead vocals. Originally written for Weill’s wife, Lotte Lenya, in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht, the work premiered in Paris in 1933 after Weill fled persecution in his native Germany. It tells the tale of what could be two sisters or a split personality as they set out on a tour of American cities each represented by a different sin. The ballet is a bitter satire on bourgeoisie exploitation.
Also on the program are Ravel’s La Valse, and Rachmaninoff’s Caprice Bohemian and Isle of the Dead. Isle of the Dead will appear on the DSO’s third and final CD of Rachmaninoff’s symphonic works to be released on the Naxos label in 2013.
May 10 Performance
The second performance consists of all four Charles Ives symphonies, a debut for the DSO as well as for Carnegie Hall. Music Director Leonard Slatkin chose an immersion into Ives in pursuit of showcasing the strength, sound, ensemble and style that is uniquely Detroit.
Long known for celebrating American repertoire through recordings and commissions, telling Ives’ biographical story through the consecutive performances of all his symphonic works serves as a tribute to both Slatkin’s affinity for American compositions and Detroit’s longtime acquaintance with the American school. Slatkin, who considers Ives to be one of America’s most progressive composers of his time, imagined the four-symphony program as a way to familiarize the audience with his style.
Gabrielle Poshadlo is a publicist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.