Posts Tagged 'jun iwasaki'

fight for your rite – part III

with the los angeles skyline slowly receding over the horizon in the rearview mirror, monday night’s crowd returned from intermission for a bedtime story.  dvořák’s nocturne for string orchestra was the only selection on this final program offering musical warmth and security – a brief respite during an evening of floating coffins, mobsters, and human sacrifice.  we all knew this lullaby was bullshit, though… stravinsky’s barbaric tour de force was just 10 minutes away.  it was as though maestro carlos was collectively tucking us in for the night, whispering softly in the most creepy austrian accent he could muster: don’t let ze bedbugs biteh.  besides, this audience had already proven itself much too restless and fidgety for a quiet serenade.

but then it happened.  with humble violins, violas, cellos, and double basses, an undersized tribe of musicians (led by chief iwasaki) gathered onstage and offered the kind of uncomplicated tenderness that only antonín dvořák could compose.  the final minute of this work is pure heaven – an extended softness that managed to hold 2,600 folks in hushed rapture.  as the band held still bows against strings, motionless, the final notes of the nocturne were allowed to simply evaporate before us.  the beaver was breathless, slack-jawed, immensely grateful for the final silence of the season.


what’s on tap?

tomorrow and monday night, the oregon symphony offers p-town its final program of the season, featuring john adams’ take on a liszt piano piece, john adams’ take on the city, antonín dvořák’s take on a lullaby for strings, and igor stravinsky’s take on sacrificial virgins.

why go?  yo: it’s the last concert of a freaking remarkable 2011/12 season, jun iwasaki (fresh from carnegie) is back on the concertmaster hotseat, a freshly-trimmed coach kalmar is on the podium, the show is gonna be recorded, and the program features not one but two (!) works by the brilliant left-coast composer john “not-our-second-president” adams.  only have time for a single reason?  well, when this season was unveiled over a year ago, the beavs asked every musician it could get its paws on what he or she was most looking forward to performing.  without fail, stravinsky’s rite of spring was at the top of their lists.  word.

*click here to get tix nowit’s gonna be a riot.

spring break giveaway!!! (day 5!)

well folks, hold off on that keg stand for just one moment: the last day of the classical beaver’s 2nd annual spring break giveaway is officially here!  everyone at the home office is tingling with anticipation as we pull back the final curtain to reveal this truly outrageous prize… a pair of tickets to witness piano god garrick ohlsson rock the schnitz with the oregon symphony!  looking to blow your mind (and a guest’s mind) on sunday april 1st or monday april 2nd?  sure you are.  but wait ~ there’s more!  since it’s the last day of the giveaway and all, this rodent is also gonna throw in a copy of the band’s eventual grammy-winning music for a time of war cd.  but wait ~ there’s still more!  the liner notes are lovingly autographed by (imho) the three standout musicians of the recording: flutist alicia didonato paulsen, trumpeter jeffrey work, and concertmaster jun iwasaki!  yowza!!!  simply send ol’ beavey an email with the phrase wartime beaver in the subject line before midnight tonight and you’ll be in the running for the tix and disc.  oh, yeah: ~ good luck and thanks for playing!  {whew}

and we’re walking… and we’re walking… and we’re stopping

…and we’re looking up.  some sharp-eyed readers have already noticed the brand-spankin’ new classical beaver logo: thanks for all the congratulatory comments ~ everyone here at the home office is really, really proud of it!  [oh, and a big waffle-tail salute goes out to my totes wonderful neighbor leslie who brilliantly managed the entire photoshop operation ~ you can borrow a cup of sugar whenevs…]  now, if you’ll bring your attention to the sidebar, i’ll show you another new-fangled feature recently added to the blog.  right below the facebook and twitter buttons (hint, hint) you’ll find the absolute best way to while away your weekend: the search tool.  want to know how many times the beav has mentioned jun iwasaki or john pitman or gioachino rossini over the course of 2+ years?  well, now you can find out.  and it’s still got that new search tool smell!  enjoy.

filling jun’s shoes: take 1

for those of you who don’t know, mr. peter frajola is the oregon symphony’s assistant concertmaster.  for those of you who have really been living under a rock, our former heart throb concertmaster jun iwasaki left the band this summer for supposedly greener pastures in tennessee.  the beaver decided to pester peter with a few queries on the matter:

hey peter, i’m guessing you’ll be extra-busy this season since jun has left the band, right?

I’m really not doing all that much extra this season, as we’ll be having “guest” concertmaster candidates trying out for our opening.  Hopefully, Maestro Carlos will find us our next great leader with all the great qualities we loved in both Jun and Amy.

any guesses as to how long it’s gonna take for the band to find a new concertmaster?

Sometimes a music director finds a new CM right away, sometimes it can take a few years.  I think Seattle had been looking quite a while.

a few years?!  jeez.  well, it seems nashville is set for a little while ~ what have they gained in snatching away mr. iwasaki?

Nashville?  They’re thieves!  I don’t want to talk about them.  I think we’ll all miss Jun, as he’s a terrific violinist, an extremely capable leader, and was a fun golf partner for many of us.  Who could forget Joshua Bell limping onstage last time he came here, after playing golf with Jun?

ha ~ didn’t know that, thanks for the tidbit!  um, i’ll end with an easy-peasy question and ask if you’re looking forward to any concerts this season.

My faves this coming year?  I’m kinda partial to violinists, so Perlman, Zukerman, Bell, Nadja, Karen Gomyo, and Stefan Jackiw… and getting a new concertmaster, all in one season!

sweet!  for those of you keeping score at home, karen gomyo is the next violin superstar on deck… halloween and halloween eve to be precise.  thanks, peter!

btw, wondering who the heck was trying his best to fill jun iwasaki’s shiny shoes this past weekend?  well, his name is john macfarlane and he currently holds the lengthy title of assistant principal second violin with the lyric opera orchestra in chi-town.  mr. macfarlane has already been the concertmaster for several bands, including the evansville phil (’03-’07) and the spoleto festival orchestra.  after growing up in iowa city, he went on to snag diplomas from northwestern and u. of maryland.  john (like jun) was also a student of cleveland’s legendary concertmaster william preucil.  his wife karyn is also a violinist, but i’m not sure if their son ian has held a bow yet.

auf wiedersehen, mr. iwasaki

the sad, sad news broke just over a week ago now: jun iwasaki is leaving the oregon symphony for another band.  it’s the orchestral equivalent of superman resigning from the justice league of america.  okay sure, the beaver knows the band will play on (gloriously) and it knows peter frajola is gonna step up to the plate (brilliantly) and it knows carlos is eventually gonna snag some amazing new replacement (assuredly)… however, at the present moment, the same recurring thought seems to surface over and over: this really fucking sucks.

okay, i’ve said it ~ perhaps i can move on now.  perhaps.  it’s just that when the classical beaver first fell in love with this orchestra, mr. iwasaki was the face of the band.  always there.  always kick-ass.  whether he was leading the charge through a symphony, or shining as a soloist, or disrobing during the danzón, he proved to be no less than a perpetual violin adonis.  the beav misses him already.

nashville, you are one lucky s.o.b.

what’s on tap?

this saturday, sunday, and monday at the schnitz (and don’t forget tuesday in salem!) the oregon symphony will shine a spotlight on some of its own as 8 oso musicians take center stage as soloists in a variety of lil’ musical gems.  and to cap off their phenomenal 2010/11 season?  why it’s mr. béla bartók’s abso-fucking-lutely wicked concerto for orchestra!

why go?  well, for all those who couldn’t make it to carnegie, the same brilliant band will be playing the schnitzer concert hall – the war is over and it’s time to celebrate good times, c’mon!  seriously, eight of the best musicians in stumpland are gonna showcase their own musical chops and totally blow away the audience – the beav guarantees it.  joël on viola… alicia on flute and todd on clarinet… nancy on cello… niel and matt on percussion… játtik on tuba… jun [sigh] on violin… oh my.  i’m looking forward to hearing every single one of ‘em, especially the fabulous ms. ives who will somehow transform her cello into a country fiddle during tchaikovsky’s pezzo capriccioso.

go.  go.  go.  check out deets and grab your tix by clicking on this sentence.  see you there (for reals, if you’re going monday)!

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