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by Daniel Hautzinger

MLK1In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 20, The Cleveland Orchestra honored Dr. King’s calls for universal brotherhood by hosting its annual Community Open House featuring various Cleveland performing arts groups.

Severance Hall provided warmth throughout the snowy day, with various performances and activities scheduled. The Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer was transformed into a dance floor with flashing lights and an emcee for a fun diversion between performances. Downstairs, in the Smith Lobby, guests were invited to view a display about the life of Dr. King.

Performances began at 12:15 with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. Directed by Lisa Wong, the enthusiastic high school-age singers demonstrated balance and musical maturity well beyond their years. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

ESUC-1The young string players of El Sistema @ Rainey and El Sistema University Circle will be featured during the Martin Luther King Day open house at Severance Hall on Monday, January 20 in a one-hour performance beginning at 3:00 pm.

Two of Cleveland’s El Sistema programs were launched by Cleveland Orchestra violinist Isabel Trautwein, who established her first program at the Rainey Institute in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood three years ago after studying El Sistema principles in Boston and Venezuela during a sabbatical from the orchestra. She established the University Circle program last fall.

Trautwein invited ClevelandClassical to follow El Sistema University Circle. We observed six sessions including rehearsals and private lessons on Friday afternoons between October and mid-November, with a follow-up visit on January 9.

What is this phenomenon called El Sistema? It seems to have taken musical education around the globe by storm and has led to the creation of organizations like The National Alliance of El Sistema-Inspired Programs in the United States— many of which have connections to music schools and symphony orchestras. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

GROSSMAN-LizaLiza Grossman and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra always pack their concerts full of content, and the opening concert of the ensemble’s nineteenth season on December 7 in Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University continued in that tradition. In addition to two solo orchestra works and a concerto, CYO invited Isabel Trautwein and the young string players of El Sistema @ University Circle for a side-by-side, and welcomed The Oblivion Project for half a dozen nuevo tango pieces by Astor Piazzolla.

CYO and its dynamic conductor raised the curtain with John Adams’s high-energy overture, Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Driven by the pervasive rhythm of a wood block and propelled by an excellent brass section, the piece raced along like the top-performance sports car it invokes and safely arrived at its destination (and with no white knuckles on the curves!) Read the rest of this entry »

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