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Inside Appalachia

Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

Classical Music in WV, Summer 2010

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 28, 2010

The latest issue of the magazine Symphony promised me, “an overview summer musical meccas.”

I excitedly flipped to the “W” section of their alphabetized listing, only to find a gap between Washington and Wisconsin. 

Washington, Wisconsin
Where's West Virginia?

Similar disappointment greeted me in the summer issue of Listen magazine and Gramophone’s summer newsletter .

Even though West Virginia doesn’t have something on the scale of Aspen, Tanglewood, or Spoleto (yet!), summer here is full of music, including classical music.  We’ll just have to assemble our own guide.

Here it is: Classically Speaking’s Guide to Classical Music in West Virginia, Summer 2010.  (If I’ve missed anything, be sure to let me know.)

Symphony Sunday 2010 logo

In Charleston, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra brings us Symphony Sunday, which has expanded to a weekend full of events – open rehearsals, the “Beat Beethoven” 5k walk/run, free performances by community and student music groups, rehearsal dinners, brunch, a costume party, a dog parade, and more. 
The weekend concludes with a concert by the WV Symphony Orchestra, Sunday night at 8pm on the University of Charleston lawn. Details for all these events can be found here.
The WV Symphony will also be playing a July 4th concert under the new canopy at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston.

Charleston’s FestivALL  is helping “a city become a work of art” for its sixth year, including a mini-festival of chamber music June 21-25, called “A Moveable Feast.” (disclosure: I'm involved with organizing these concerts!) Events include: an evening of free music on Capitol Street, a flute concert, a vocal recital, a clarinet ensemble from the WVSO, and a piano recital (by Classically Speaking contributor Evan Mack).

Mozart Requiem page
Rock me, Amadeus.

During FestivALL, you can also join a choir for the Mozart Requiem Summer Sing on June 27.  Music is provided, and there are two rehearsals before the performance. Carole Carter and I will be singing along, and we’ll be sure to update the blog as we learn the music. Carole will have some details and helpful hints as well, so watch for her blog next week

- - -

The Huntington Symphony is in party mode with this year’s “Picnic with the Pops.”  They are playing three concerts at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington this summer: “The Disco Party Cruise” (June 12), July 24 “The Big Kahuna” (July 24), and an “All American Beach Party” (August 21).  

Encores of popular Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts will be shown on Wednesday evenings at the Huntington Mall movie theater (in Barboursville). Details and showtimes can be found here.
Marshall University Professor Wendell Dobbs (interview) will lead the fourth annual Timber Flute Festival in Elkins at the Randolph County Community Arts Center June 20-25.  According to Dr. Dobbs, "This Festival presents a unique crossing of the line between classical and traditional flute music."  It is for musicians who would like to explore the history, practice, and creation of wooden flutes.

 - - -

Julia Bogorad-Kogan
Julia Bogorad-Kogan

West Virginia University will host a flute seminar from June 14-19 with guest artist Julia Bogorad-Kogan.  Morgantown will also welcome groups of student musicians to several camps hosted by WVU’s Music Division this summer  – a high school flute camp, double reed camp, and the Mountaineer Music Camp. 

Encores of popular Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts will also be shown on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer in Morgantown. You can find details, including the list of showtimes, here.


Several chamber groups from the Wheeling Symphony have been performing a series of concerts called "Music in Our Neighborhoods"  throughout the year, and they continue through part of the summer. The woodwind quintet will perform at the Stifel Fine Arts Center on June 11, the brass quintet will play a free concert at Grand View Park June 22 at 7pm, and on June 27 at 7pm, brass and percussion ensembles will join together for a free concert at Oglebay Park

I’m pretty sure that the full Wheeling Symphony is playing a few summer concerts; I’ll let you know the details as soon as I find out. The Wheeling Symphony will be touring with vocalist Margaret Carlson to present some free concerts around the state in early July:

July 2, 7:30pm: Fort Nutter, Clarksburg
July 3, 3pm: Canaan Valley
July 4, 7:30pm: Wheeling Heritage Port
July 5, 7:30pm: Weirton High School

The Wheeling Symphony then returns at the end of the summer with two free concerts of "Music Under the Stars," September 5th at Anne Kuchinka Memorial Ampitheater at Oglebay Park, and September 6th at Hazel Ruby McQuain in Morgantown.

- - -

There are also a few nice concerts just over the Ohio border:
In Marietta, the River Cities Symphony Orchestra will perform on June 4th at 8pm, at the Lafayette Hotel.  Featured soloists include violinist Taylor Giorgio and violist Emily Peden, who are members of the West Virginia Youth Symphony.

In Gallopolis, the Ohio Valley Symphony will be joined by Broadway star (and West Virginia native) Mark McVey (interviews), for a free July 4th concert.

- - -

That's what I know so far.  As always, if you're hip to anything that I've missed, be sure to let me know.

From Idea to Opera: Part 6, “Angel” in CA

(Commentary) Permanent link
By Evan Mack
 · May 25, 2010
Evan Mack, Composer & Pianist
Evan Mack at the piano
What does it take to create an opera and get it on stage?  Evan Mack is a composer and pianist living in Charleston, WV, who was interviewed on Classically Speaking in May 2009.  He is currently in the process of having his opera Angel of the Amazon produced, and he will be writing here about the experience, from his first inspiration through the opera being staged. You can catch up here: Part One  Part Two  Part Three Part Four Part Five .

On May 1st, the opera Angel of the Amazon was presented at Notre Dame de Namur University in a workshop format. Director Greg Fritsch condensed the 90-minute opera into a 45minute version and used a cast of four to tell the story.

I flew out on April 20th to work with the singers. They had only one rehearsal prior to my arrival. So for two weeks straight, everyday, I worked on getting the voices to convey the message of Sr. Dorothy.

Selections from Angel of the Amazon at Notre Dame de Namur
 Ed. note: You can also find a clearer version of the video here.

It is very funny how musical works take a life of their own. The message of Sr. Dorothy is what this opera has become. I spent most of my time out west, meeting people, networking, and setting up a future return of the NYC production of the opera. Along the way, I found that many people wanted to see the retelling of Sr. Dorothy's life and mission, not as a tribute, but as a means to carry out her work.

This concept may not seem novel, but it is a bit rare in the opera world. The struggle of Dorothy's people is still happening. For example, I got to announce the conviction of the mastermind of Sr. Dorothy's murder before the first notes were played. Regivaldo Galvo, the “John Gotti” of Para, was convicted for her murder. Angel of the Amazon reminded the crowd of 200 that more work needs to be done.

So my goal for this work has shifted from “page to stage” to using opera to get people involved, to act, to do something about a struggle that is still happening. I write this today, 19 days after the performance, as the news broke that the released Regivaldo Galvo on his own accord until the retrial. This will give him plenty of time to “knock off” or “buy out” witnesses. The reality of the Brazilian justice system corrupts Dorothy's message (or possibly reinforces it in death).

I look forward to the NYC read through and staging of this opera. I will continue tell you all about the process as it unfolds.

In the meantime, you can help here.


* From Idea to Opera: Part I
* From Idea to Opera: Part II, Building the Story
* From Idea to Opera: Part III, Character Studies 
* From Idea to Opera: Part IV, Off the Page, Onto the Stage 
* From Idea to Opera: Part V, New York Recital 

Cellist Stephen Ballou (interview)

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 24, 2010

Stephen Ballou is busy most of the year playing cello in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He started his summer "vacation" by playing a recital this at the Landes Arts Center in Petersburg. He performed music by J.S. Bach, George Crumb, Zoltan Kodaly, and Domenico Gabrieli. I spoke with Ballou on Friday, and selections from our interview were featured on the radio this morning. You hear an extended version of interview right here:

This audio player requires Adobe Flash
Interview with Cellist Stephen Ballou

Finding Food on PSO Tour

(Commentary) Permanent link
By Chad Winkler
 · May 21, 2010
Sometimes one of the most difficult part of the tour is finding a good place to eat. There are some travel days when we've been traveling for the better part of the day; we arrive in a brand new city, have a limited amount of time, and need to find food before an important concert in the evening. Oh, and by the way, we don't necessarily speak the "native tongue"!

I have personally found as a great resource Trip Advisor to find not only things to do, but places to eat. When I'm first in a new city (whether here in Europe or back home in the USA), I want to know what other travelers have recommended (note: I have no affiliation with the site; I just think it's a great resource.).

Yesterday, I found a terrific, and relatively inexpensive restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. According to TA, this was a top-five restaurant in Frankfurt, serving authentic German food. I couldn't resist! The portions were big, and the food and service second to none. Enjoy the before and after pics -- and check out the German flag in both!

Dinner in Europe


Clean Plate in Europe

Today we travel to Luxembourg for two concerts, tonight and tomorrow. And you can bet that I'll be curious to find out what fellow travelers recommend on Trip Advisor!

* Have Trumpet, Will Travel: Meet Chad Winkler 
* Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Tour, Pt 2 

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Tour, Pt 2

(Commentary) Permanent link
By Chad Winkler
 · May 20, 2010
Chad Winkler

Chad Winkler is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra trumpet section.  He is a native of Morgantown, West Virginia, and he received his Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University. He’s been keeping a journal while traveling through Europe with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and emailing it back to us when he can!  You can find the first part of his adventure here.

May 16 -- 

After a few days in Basel, we are headed in a few hours across the border to Germany for a concert tonight in Stuttgart. Last night's concert was very well received and a great way to kick off the tour! I'm spending the last few minutes -- before the long bus ride -- enjoying a coffee (and free internet!) at Starbucks.

I found this sign outside a shoe store yesterday while walking around Basel! Winkler's are everywhere!

Winkler Sign
Chad Winkler
If you are reading this and have a moment to comment, please do! We want to know who is out there!


May 19 --

Eiffel Tower
Chad Winkler

Seven days down and twelve more to go! What a privilege it has been to perform for packed houses and enthusiastic audiences.

Before Frankfurt, we spent about 18 hours in Paris -- and I got to do a small amount of sight-seeing, including the majestic Eiffel Tower! (sorry about the lighting -- the sun was in and out of the clouds!)

Thank you all for reading! I hope you've enjoyed getting a small taste of what we've been up to!

Met Opera Summer Encores

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 20, 2010

Last night, a friend and I went to the mall to catch an opera -- the HD broadcast of Armida by Rossini from the Metropolitan Opera.

The singing was beautiful, and the sets and costumes were imaginative. I don’t think I could ask for many things better than listening to Renee Fleming and her regiment of tenors (chief of whom was Lawrence Brownlee) singing all night.  I will not dwell, therefore, on how this serious side of Rossini is not my favorite corner of the opera world.

Renee Fleming as Armida

During one of the intermissions, I promised some fellow opera fans at the movie theater that I would post the schedule for the operas that will be shown at movie theaters this summer. The Met is presenting what a friend has dubbed “encores of encores” – rebroadcasts of several favorites from the past few years.

These operas will be shown at movie theaters in West Virginia in Barboursville (Huntington Mall) and Morgantown. You can also find broadcasts in Ashland (Kentucky) and Pittsburgh. 

The Met: Live in HD Summer Encore Series 2010

AIDA (Verdi)
Wednesday, June 16, 6:30 PM local time
4 hours approx.
Original HD broadcast:
October 24, 2009
Gatti; Urmana, Zajick, Botha, Guelfi, Scandiuzzi, Kocán

Wednesday, June 23, 6:30 PM local time
3 hours approx.
Original HD broadcast:
December 15, 2007
Domingo; Netrebko, Alagna, Gunn, Lloyd

EUGENE ONEGIN (Tchaikovsky)
Wednesday, July 7, 6:30 PM local time
3 hours approx.
Original HD broadcast:
February 24, 2007
Gergiev; Fleming, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Aleksashkin

LA BOHÈME (Puccini)
Wednesday, July 14, 6:30 PM local time
2.5 hours approx.
Original HD broadcast:
April 5, 2008
Luisotti; Gheorghiu, Arteta, Vargas, Tézier

TURANDOT (Puccini)
Wednesday, July 21, 6:30 PM local time
3.5 hours approx.
Original HD broadcast:
November 7, 2009
Nelsons; Guleghina, Poplavskaya, Giordani, Ramey

CARMEN (Bizet)
 Wednesday, July 28, 6:30 PM local time
3.5 hours approx.
Original HD broadcast:
January 16, 2010
Nézet-Séguin; Frittoli, Garanča, Alagna, Kwiecien

You can also now find this schedule here on the Metropolitan Opera website.

Be sure to keep in touch through Facebook. Closer to the shows, I will have a few tickets to give away. You can also look ahead to the fall with the schedule of the eleven operas that will be broadcast next season.

Pianist Teresa Walters (interview)

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 18, 2010
Pianist Teresa Walters
Pianist Teresa Walters

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t play … I’ve just always loved the keyboard.
I love the opportunity to have an orchestra at my fingertips, and I love the black and white keys. I love the way the piano feels. I love the resonance of the grand piano and all the opportunity for expression.”  -Teresa Walters

Teresa Walters has played the piano for as long as she can remember, and she is passionate about sharing the music she loves through her performances and recordings. This weekend, she will perform and teach in Clarksburg.

Walters will play a recital of music by Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Lili Boulanger, and Bach (as arranged by Feruccio Busoni), this Friday at 7pm at First United Methodist Church in Clarksburg. She will then coach area piano students in a masterclass on Saturday morning, which the public is invited to observe. Admission is free to both the recital and the masterclass.  

Here’s a chance to briefly meet Teresa Walters and learn more about this music before the concert, in a 10-minute interview:

This audio player requires Adobe Flash
Interview with pianist Teresa Walters

Grand Finale in Wheeling

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 13, 2010

This Friday, the Wheeling Symphony performs the final concert of its 80th season.

Angela Cheng piano
Pianist Angela Cheng

The Wheeling Symphony is joined by pianist Angela Cheng (interview) to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 (familiar to some as the “Elvira Madigan”).  The concert features  the Adagio for Strings and Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance by American composer Samuel Barber, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth, and the evening concludes with Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony. 

Maestro Andre Raphel Smith, music director of the Wheeling Symphony, spoke with me at the beginning of the season about each of the concerts.  Here is our discussion of the music for this concert:

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Interview with Maestro Andre Raphel Smith


* Angela Cheng interview (September 2008)
* Previous Wheeling Symphony concerts from the 2009-2010 season:
      - Wheeling Symphony and Zuill Bailey 
      - Dancing with the Wheeling Symphony
      - Baroque Jewels in Wheeling

* Wheeling Symphony 2010-11 Season Preview 


Have Trumpet, Will Travel: Meet Chad Winkler

(Commentary) Permanent link
By Chad Winkler
 · May 12, 2010
Chad Winkler
Chad Winkler

Greetings all, and welcome to my first Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tour blog post! I'm very excited to be a part of the blogging team, and very much looking forward to traveling in Europe and performing in great halls with my fabulous colleagues.

In the days to come, I'll be blogging and hopefully, posting a few pics for you to peruse. I hope that you will be able to get an inside look into what goes on "behind the scenes.”

For now, it's off to Basel, Switzerland for me!

PSO Tour Cities
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tour map

Chad Winkler is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra trumpet section.  He is a native of Morgantown, West Virginia, and he received his Bachelor of Music degree from West Virginia University. He then earned his Master of Music degree from Duquesne University, where he studied with PSO Principal Trumpet, George Vosburgh.

Chad will be sending dispatches to Classically Speaking as he travels through Europe with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on their BNY Mellon 2010 European Tour.  You can read more about Chad Winkler and about the tour on the PSO website.

Pleasant Distractions

 Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 7, 2010

On the off chance that you're spending any time indoors during this lovely spring, here are some fun classical distractions that have caught my attention recently.  Hope you enjoy!

David Russell

* NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, especially the recent performance by guitarist David Russell

Classics in Concert: Classical concerts streamed by NPR Music (as they happen, and then archived).  I really enjoyed hearing the Emerson Quartet performing at (le) Poisson Rouge

Hell Mouth blog

* Composer John Adams is blogging up a storm, with posts both witty and wise, at Hell Mouth

* Jeremy Denk muses on Brahms, sun spots, and really good muffins in “Whose Brahms?” 

* Some recent favorite albums:
   - Telemann: The Baroque Gypsies
by Ensemble Caprice
   - Songs of Debussy and Mozart
(Juliane Banse, András Schiff) 

 * Finally catching up on #operaplot (just reading, I didn’t enter this year)

* And for an encore: "2 Guys 1 Flute" (sent by Maestro Antonio in Wheeling. Grazie mille!):


Jack Gibbons & Gershwin in Elkins (interview)

(Interviews) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 4, 2010
Jack Gibbons
Pianist Jack Gibbons

This Friday in Elkins, pianist Jack Gibbons plays "An Evening with Gershwin." It's part of a three-day Gershwin Gala in Elkins, presented by Davis & Elkins College. Other events this week include a masterclass on Wednesday (which is open to the public) and a concert for school children on Thursday. 
You can check out my radio story about the concert Wednesday on WV Morning (and now online here).  If you're interested in hearing more about Gershwin and Gibbons, as well as a bit about Charles Alkan, you can listen here to my full interview with Gibbons: 

This audio player requires Adobe Flash
Interview with Jack Gibbons
Gibbons also has some nice videos on YouTube:

WV Classical Calendar -- May 2010

(News) Permanent link
By Mona Seghatoleslami
 · May 4, 2010

May 2010

May snuck up on me this weekend!  I apologize for not having this post here sooner, and I now present our calendar of classical music concerts in West Virginia this May (am I missing something?  Let me know!)

May 1: WVU Community Music Department Recital

May 1: Met Opera HD: Armida (Morgantown, Barboursville, Ashland)

May 1-2: Brahms, Ein Deutches Requiem (Shepherd University)

May 2: John Weigand, clarinet; James Miltenberger, piano (WVU Faculty Recital)

May 2: WVU Community Arts Orchestra

May 2: Charleston Civic Chorus Spring Concert

May 2: WV Youth Symphony 60th Anniversary Concert (interviews)

May 4: WV State University Choir

May 5: Fairmont State University Collegiate Singers

May 5: Shepherd University Preparatory Orchestra Concert

May 5-7: Gershwin Gala, featuring pianist Jack Gibbons (interview) (radio story)

May 6: Fairmont State University Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble

May 7: Montclaire String Quartet (Sutton Baptist Church)

May 8: Fairmont State University Choro Band

May 8: Voices of Spring (Ohio Valley Symphony and Ohio University Choir)

May 9: Montclaire String Quartet “Golden Highlights”

May 9: Greenbrier Valley Chorale and Carnegie Children's Chorus (Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg)

May 11: Tuesdays with Fran (Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg)

May 14: Wheeling Symphony “A Grand Finale,” with pianist Angela Cheng (interview)

May 16: Evensong (St. John's Episcopal Church, Charleston)

May 16: Choral Concert: Morton Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna (St. Francis de Sales Church, Morgantown)

May 18: Carnegie Children's Choir Concert (7pm, Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg)

May 19: Met Opera HD Encore: Armida (Morgantown, Barboursville, Ashland)

May 20: Opera in Cinema: L'Orfeo (Charleston, Beckley)

May 21: Teresa Walters, piano (First United Methodist, Clarksburg)

May 21: Stephen Ballou - Cello Workshop and Lecture (Landes Arts Center, Petersburg)

May 22: Stephen Ballou - Cello Concert (Landes Arts Center, Petersburg)

May 22: Organ Dedication Recital (First Presbyterian Church, Buckhannon, 7pm)

May 23: Opera in Cinema: L'Orfeo (Charleston, Beckley)

May 23: Tammy Western, piano (Landes Arts Center, Petersburg)

May 23: OPUS Chorale Spring Concert (7:30pm, Christ Church United Methodist, Charleston)

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