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by Mike Telin

STOOKEY-NathanielThe Composer is Dead, a funny musical whodunit by children’s author Lemony Snicket and composer Nathaniel Stookey (left) that “investigates” every section of the orchestra, returns to Severance Hall on Friday, May 16 beginning at 7:30 pm when Brett Mitchell will lead The Cleveland Orchestra in a special Family Concert. The concert features the composer as narrator.

Since its premiere with the San Francisco Symphony in 2006, the piece has quickly become a hit with audiences and orchestras across North America. Prior to the work’s Cleveland Orchestra premiere in April 2010, we had the opportunity to speak to Nathaniel Stookey by phone from his home in San Francisco. The engaging composer told us about his ties to Cleveland as well as the series of “fortunate events” that led to the commissioning of The Composer is Dead. The following is an excerpt from that interview.

Mike Telin: Have you ever worked with the Cleveland Orchestra before now?

Nathaniel Stookey: Only as an usher during the 1988-1989 season while I was a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Donald Erb. So other than that no, I have not worked with them. But I am very excited about this opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »


by Mike Telin

BUTTERMAN-MichaelIf you’re looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon on a family outing with Mom this weekend what could be better taking in a Cleveland Orchestra Family Concert? On Sunday, May 12 beginning at 2:00 pm conductor Michael Butterman makes a return visit to Severance Hall with his own program titled Fables, Fantasies and Folklore.

During the concert, audience members will be invited to create their own musical story. It’s really just an exploration of narrative and music, [basically] how composers develop a sense of character, setting and plot,” says Maestro Butterman.

Recognized for his commitment to creative artistry, innovative programming, and audience and community engagement, Michael Butterman serves as music director for both the Boulder Philharmonic and the Shreveport Symphony and is resident conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony. And for thirteen seasons he has held the position as Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach for the Rochester Philharmonic, the first position of its kind in the United States.

Butterman created Fables, Fantasies and Folklore in Rochester and he describes the concert as something that works very well for elementary age kids who are thinking about their own creative writing, and studying English language arts. But, he points out, “we are also doing it on Mother’s Day which is about parents and kids having a good time. Read the rest of this entry »

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