MN Original: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Special

MN Original: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Special


[Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
plays] (Kate Nordstrum) The SPCO
is brave and progressive. (Steve Copes)
What we do is kind of magical,
strange, and wonderful. (Erin Jude)
It’s important for us
to engage young people. They are the future
of classical music. (Kyu-Young Kim)
We have a beautiful new hall. We are hoping that everyone will
come here and be so enthralled that they will want to come back
more and more. ♪
♪ [playing full and bright] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Bruce Coppock) The SPCO today
is one of the most dynamic and vibrant music
ensembles in the world. Those of us leading the SPCO now have the opportunity
to define the next generation. And it’s a very rare moment in
an organization’s history. [SPCO plays] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ We are blessed at the SPCO with an extraordinary collection
of leaders. (Steve Copes)
I think in general this movement is about avoiding,
except for the trio, maybe avoiding the bar lines,
just really long. Let’s do the same thing, 115. (Bruce Coppock)
Concertmaster Steve Copes–
completely fully-formed concert artists
of the highest caliber. He’s an absolutely
world-class violinist, and he has–in his inimitable
and sort of unrelenting fervor for making this a better place
artistically– he’s been at the head
of the charge. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ Kyu-Young Kim, who’s our
principal second violinist, but also is our director
of artistic planning. (Kyu-Young Kim) The SPCO itself
is continually evolving. Like I think the orchestra’s
changed more than probably any professional
orchestra in the U.S. since Steve and I first joined. Steve, was it 1999 or ’98? ’98, and I came in 2000 and I left for a while and came
back, but from then till now has been a pretty clear change
of direction of the musicians taking
more leadership, doing away with the music
director so that the onus is really on the players
to step up and come together about what they really want
to do as an orchestra. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Bruce Coppock)
We’re in a really dynamic
and creative place, in no small part
because we have the pleasure of playing in this fantastic,
new concert hall at the Ordway, which is just
a total dream come true. There’s never been enough time
for everybody to do what they wanted
in the music theater, and it was such an enlightened
and courageous thing for the Ordway Board to do, to
cede control over the building that it was responsible for to a separate
not-for-profit corporation called the Arts Partnership
between the Ordway, the Schubert Club,
the Opera and the SPCO. And now there’s room
for programs to grow and programs to get developed. ♪
♪ (Tim Carl) The original Ordway,
designed by Ben Thompson, created this incredible sense
of procession, you know, the way it sits
over Rice Park. You feel bigger than yourself,
when you come here, you’re part of something
that’s larger than you. And so what the musicians told
us was that they wanted something that was timeless
and warm and intimate. They wanted, I think they used
the term, feeling like the audience was
embracing them. And so we wanted the use of
wood, the warmth of the material to sort of reinforce
that embrace. That was the initial step, and
then the big idea of the ceiling came from taking that idea
and doing it kind of vertically. So using that same warmth
of wood and trying to make a more stronger
physical connection from audience chamber to stage. The walls have this, I think, beautiful,
abstract texture to them that people like
just the look of, but it’s driven very
technically, very acoustically. Acoustics has to triumph
over anything. You can’t sacrifice acoustics
for beauty, but if you do it right, you can integrate beauty
and acoustics. We do everything to shape
the sound in a space. We’re crafting a balance between
different acoustic phenomena. Clarity, articulation, blend,
balance, warmth, richness, aliveness– all of those things
evoke responses from audiences, they evoke responses
from musicians. (Kyu-Young Kim)
I think the sound is vibrant;
there’s a sheen, there’s a blend in the strings,
there’s clarity for the winds, everything that we were hoping
for, and it just made us all extremely, extremely happy
and really moved. (Bruce Coppock)
It’s a community triumph. The leadership that this
community showed in getting us to this moment– it’s everything
that I hoped it would be. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Steve Copes)
One of the things SPCO
prides itself on is being flexible and playing lots
of different types of music. There’s a wealth of repertoire
out there, but also there are a lot of new works
that you can commission, so we try to do that
as a group too. (Bruce Coppock)
We have allowed
the repertoire to expand, largely by giving ourselves
permission to play not just the small
orchestral works that have been the meat and
potatoes– Mozart, Beethoven, Hayden, Schubert symphonies– and there’s a huge amount
of repertoire, especially the composers
of the early 20th century, loved to write
for these small configurations, and that’s music that never gets
played in symphony concerts. [playing dissonant tones] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ Steve and Ruggero both play
on Zygmuntowicz violins. It’s like on par with
Stradivarius, maybe even better. Actually the Zygmuntowicz
allowed Steve to have the most range
of possibility. He has a certain touch
with the bow and a certain kind of vibrato,
and so there’s a real physicality
to the feel of the sound. Like you can kind of feel,
it’s like almost a little, one time I described it as
being al dente, you know, like a pasta that has like
a core to it, a little bit chewy, so I mean
that’s the big… I like that! [Kyu laughs] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Kyu) We’re all quite different;
Ruggero has a distinctive sound, I mean all the principal
players. I think Maiya and I, principal
viola and principal second, we try to create like a cushion
for that fills in and also very flexible on listening
and shaping from within. And it also has to be a little
bit more chameleon-like if you’re playing
those inner voices. And so to match this
or to match that, so we will be forming our sound
over the next few years. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Steve Copes)
When you’ve done all your work and you’ve done your personal
work at home on your instrument and then you’ve studied
the score, and you share this love of music and something happens then
on a good day, I think all the musicians can
feel like that at once. It’s like having a really good
dream or something! [Kyu laughs] ♪
♪ [loud applause] [flute plays in brisk rhythm] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Eleanor Owens) Today we’re at
Linwood Arts Plus in St. Paul and we’ll be visiting a
second-grade classroom with our guest artist, Alicia, who will be playing flute for
the class today. [playing brightly] Being engaged as good citizens
is an essential part of our life as a cultural
organization. And part of that social
imperative involves making sure that school-age kids have
the opportunity to be exposed to music. For nearly 20 years we’ve run
a program in the Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools
called “CONNECT.” (Alicia)
Thumbs up if you know the name
of that instrument. Alright, on the count of 3
let’s say it out loud, 1, 2, 3! (kids) Flute!
(Alicia) Awesome! One of my favorite things to do
is to close my eyes and tell a story with the music
that I’m playing. So I wonder if you guys
will all close your eyes and use your imagination. [Alicia plays a lilting melody] (Erin Jude) “CONNECT” is first
and foremost a partnership
program, so we are here to partner
with teachers and schools so that we are together
providing classical music as a part of the integrated academic
experience for these students. [Alicia plays] (Erin)
We have a theme every year
that’s introduced and then we send our musicians
into the schools with an education specialist
to prepare them for a live SPCO concert that’s
been designed just for them and capitalizes
on what they have learned
throughout the year. [Alicia plays] (Erin)
This year was
a composer study on Mozart. We really dove into Mozart
and who he was. He wasn’t just a brilliant,
genius prodigy. He was somebody who was
a risk-taker, and he was somebody who followed
his passion. He was a kid
who could not sit still and wanted to do this and try
this and go there and do these things, and those
are things that kids relate to. [Alicia plays] What I imagined in the music
was like bees in a garden. (young lady)
I imagined hummingbirds
and fairies. I imagined someone skipping and
running in a field of flowers. I imagined the color yellow
because the song was very happy. (Alicia)
So sometimes when composers
write a piece, they’re imagining
those same things. All of you had different ideas
when you heard the same music, and when Mozart was
composing that, he probably had a lot of those
ideas, and he wrote it down. So if you’re ever thinking about
an idea and the moment strikes, why not write a song? We love to see
the thank-you notes that come back after concerts because they tell us what
the students took away and that they really felt like
that this was something very special
created just for them. Out of all the instruments
you play, which one do you like
playing the best? (Alicia)
My favorite’s actually piccolo,
the little guy. The piccolo alone can play
louder than the whole orchestra. [Alicia plays the piccolo] (Erin)
We see nearly 5,000 students
each year in 12 elementary schools. We are engaging every student,
1st through 5th grade. [Alicia plays the piccolo;
bright and loud in tone] “CONNECT” is our biggest
in-school program, and then we have a series
which has family concerts, and those are all free of charge
for the community. We have a couple of coaching
programs that we do with high school students and
one for adult amateur musicians. And through our community
engagement work we have a deep
and growing partnership with the Greater Twin Cities
Youth Symphonies and the Capri Theater
in North Minneapolis. [alto flute plays] (Erin)
It’s important for us to engage
young people in music because they’re the future
of classical music. They are the ones who will be listening to it when they’re
older, going to concerts, and furthermore, it’s our
responsibility to advocate for the artform of classical
music at a baseline level and students knowing and hearing
about classical music is exceptionally important
to our mission. [alto flute plays] [the SPCO plays
in bright folk-dance rhythm] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ So the SPCO is a curious
artistic institution especially
by American standards. We collaborate with a whole
range of artistic partners. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ [with Eastern European accent]
My first experience with SPCO was that I completely fell in
love with all these people. It’s kind of… affair, so it started
with a big passion, but let’s see what happens. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ [the SPCO plays
in bright rhythm] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Kyu-Young Kim)
We work closely
with the guest conductors and this week we have
a great conductor and very collaborative
conductor, Paul McCreesh. We’re all asking questions
and listening and trying to figure out what
he wants and giving our ideas, and that’s very exciting too, so
it can happen that we can play like an unconducted ensemble
when there’s someone in front. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ We’re playing
this Britten piece, which, it’s an awesome piece. It’s just a string piece,
but the creativity, and you can tell he’s
like a young composer who’s just like everything’s
possible for him. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Bruce Coppock)
We’re the only full-time
chamber orchestra in America. We play 35 sets of concerts a
year, all over the Twin Cities. And because we’re transportable,
we have the advantage to create relationships
with 10 or 11 communities throughout
the metropolitan area. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ In the orchestra field
across the country over the last 10, 15 years, there’s been about
a 30% decline in audiences. At the SPCO, over
that same period of time, there’s been a 40% increase
in the size of the audience. And we attribute that A:
to our advocacy for this music, but a pricing strategy
that removes a very significant barrier, and a geographic strategy that
allows us to take this music to a whole bunch
of neighborhoods. [chamber ensemble Victoire
plays softly] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ [soprano sings] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Bruce)
We created a series called
“Liquid Music,” run by an extraordinary woman,
Kate Nordstrum, and her mission is to find
the outer edges of the intersection
between classical music and what’s going on
in the pop world. And she’s an extremely
enterprising, imaginative curator
of that series. ♪
♪ “Liquid Music” is co-presenting
with Walker, a project
by 3 different ensembles collaborating with each other. Victoire is
a chamber ensemble, helmed by Missy Mazzoli. She is a composer. She works with opera,
she works with orchestra, small ensemble, large ensemble. With every piece that I write,
I try to create something completely new, something that
no one has ever heard before. And I think that my music is
a real mix of sounds that come out
of the classical tradition. ♪
♪ I loved classical music growing
up and I love that entire world, but I also grew up in the ’80s
and ’90s listening to the radio. So pop music was equally
a part of my life. I don’t think of it
as a self-conscious
combining of the two worlds. It’s more just that this is the
world of music in my own mind. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Kate)
For “Liquid Music” new
is brand-new. Most often with these projects
the work is being created for the first
time, and so audiences are experiencing these projects before anyone else
has had the chance to see them. We’re really working with
musicians in the community and nationally, internationally,
helping them realize some of their
greatest artistic dreams. [keyboard plays] ♪ Oo-oo oo-oo ♪ ♪ Oo-oo oo-oo oo-oo ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ Oo-oo oo-oo ♪ (Kate)
When I talked to Missy
about her project and I recommended Glasser
and Noveller, I knew that they could enter into Missy’s
new compositions in a cool way. ♪ Sweet fruit! ♪ ♪ Ripening in my arms ♪ (Kate) Glasser is a vocalist; people describe her music
as synthpop. ♪ I notice ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ That drip ♪ ♪ Sacrifice ♪ ♪
♪ (Kate) Noveller
puts you in
another world and it’s very
meditative, very gorgeous,
very visceral. ♪
♪ I find SPCO to be incredibly
brave, incredibly progressive to take a risk on
a music series like this. It’s so important
for us to also look out and see
what else is happening in the musical world today
in the visual art realm today and how can we engage, you know,
artists of all stripes? ♪
♪ (Bruce Coppock)
Part of the fun of “Liquid
Music” has been that we’ve been able to collaborate with
our sister organizations, most notably the Schubert Club
and Walker Art Center. This helps us grow
as an organization, and that’s part of who
we must be. How close to the bleeding edge of classical music
do we dare go? ♪
♪ [the SPCO plays;
bright in tone] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Bruce)
We’re on the cusp
of something where we’ve got the concert hall, we’ve got
this forward direction, we’re clear about who we are, we’re garnering fantastic
international press. What we have the opportunity
to do now is to create an unbelievably
vibrant ensemble for the future. (Kyu-Young Kim)
SPCO, it’s about reaching
for something, and we have incredible support
from the community so… and they’re supporting us
to reach higher and higher. [applause] (Bruce)
The new hall becomes
this alive and present, vibrant vehicle for conveying all kinds
of emotions through music. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Steve Copes)
I think being a musician is,
it’s a privilege and it’s
a big responsibility too. Audiences can see
that we love this music and we’re passionate about it. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ (Bruce)
As we’ve undergone
this artistic transformation, it feels like
it’s all coming together, and for the first time
in the history of the SPCO, maybe we can, in our own way,
have it all. And that’s really exciting
for the community. It’s a thrilling moment for us. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ [loud cheers & applause] [The SPCO plays] CC–Armour Captioning & TPT (woman) This program
is made possible by The State’s Arts
and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota. [orchestral fanfare]

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