Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yo Pro Lingo

Megan McIntosh Frenzen is a member of the VSO's Champlain Valley Friends board of volunteer leadership, is a professor at Champlain College, and is a YoPro, a network of young professionals in the greater Burlington area that Meg has personally organized to rally on nights when the VSO is playing at the Flynn. Read on for her entertaining letter to the group and a video supporting the research she has done on the program. A quick vocabulary lesson... "dope" means "great."

Dear YoPro:

I sure hope you’re free on Saturday, October 25th… because I have some plans for you!

It’s time to rally it up and support our local arts – by the way, I’m pretty sure I saw you at the Art Hop, wearing nothing but tassels and body paint… (and looking great), but let’s not forget about those old school classical arts – even if there aren’t belly dancers on site.

C’mon, get together with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Young Professionals Group on October 25th. Are you wondering if you, or anyone you know, could be considered a ‘Young Professional’? Remember, if you’re under 60 years of age and not in jail (parole, OK) – you’re in!! What a great opportunity to hang with old friends, make some new ones, and support locally made music.

Beginning at 6:30pm… enjoy discounted small plates at the Green Room, a lovely joint where you can even cocktail like a localvore with a Sunshine Vodka martini! And, by the way, you don’t have to know a THING about classical music to enjoy FABULOUS company, good food and great music. Trust me.

Sold? Good.

Call Ann at 864-5741 ext. 10 right now and get your tickets – don’t forget to mention that you’re a YoPro to get our 20% discount and seating in our section – yeah, that's right, our tickets are only $36, for a classy night at the symphony, that ain’t bad. If you know any students, please pass the word along to them – their tickets are only $9. I know that’s like 2 weeks’ worth of Ramen noodles, but still… it’s SO worth going hungry to see these guys play.

WHAT: The YoPros go to the symphony.

WHEN: Saturday Oct. 25th. Pre-Game at 6:30pm, Concert at 8:00pm.

WHERE: Green Room (followed by a short walk) & the Flynn Theater

HOW: Foxy. No holes in your Carharts, maybe a button or two on your shirt, basic hygiene preferable.

WHY: Duh. To be awesome, why else?

If you’re interested (or bored at work) read on for details about the concert…. If you’re not interested, or not bored at work, just call Ann ASAP and get set up for the 25th.

Can’t wait to see you!


Chief YoPro and Social Facilitator

Musical notes...

Generally speaking, classical composers are dead. Maybe that’s what makes them ‘classical’. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I hear that the VSO is dedicating a Masterworks season to 'Music of Our Time' – everything the VSO is playing has been written SINCE 1935, which suggests that some of these dudes might even be *gasp* alive.

So, the concert on the 25th is going to be dope. Jaime Laredo (who happens to be tres cool) will be conducting (that’s the guy with the stick), and this super young violinist (Augustin Hadelich) is going to be the guest soloist – just to remind us all how much talent we lack.

The first piece is called “Chasing Light...' and was written in 2008 *gasp again*by Joseph Schwantner. Holy crap! He’s still alive… he has a website:, he lives in the upside down Vermont (that would be New Hampshire) AND will be at the Flynn when the VSO plays his piece (no pressure). Anyway, it seems Joe is an early riser since this piece ‘draws its spirit, energy and inspiration from the celebration of vibrant colors and light that penetrate the morning mist as it wafts through the trees in the high New England hills’. Hmm… I’ve seen that before. Usually, after a late night (not an early morning), but none-the-less, I’ve seen it. What qualifies this guy to write classical music about such things? Well, he worked his tail off at the Chicago Conservatory and Northwestern University and has served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music. He’s won all sorts of awards (read: Pulitzer Prize in 1979, not kidding) and has had several Grammy nominations. Yup, that’s qualified.

The second treat of the night was composed by Alberto Ginastera in 1941. Sadly, he passed away in 1983. 'Estancia: Ballet Suite' is a four-movement suite drawn from his 1941 ballet Estancia, which was inspired by his life on the ranches of Argentina. And here’s a fascinating little tidbit from Wiki for you…

“The progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer brought Ginastera attention outside of modern classical music circles when they adapted the fourth movement of his first piano concerto and recorded it on their popular album Brain Salad Surgery under the title 'Toccata.' They recorded the piece not only with Ginastera's permission, but with his endorsement. In 1973, when they were recording the album, Keith Emerson met with Ginastera at his home in Switzerland and played a recording of his arrangement for him. Ginastera is reported to have said, 'Diabolical!'. Emerson misunderstood Ginastera's meaning: Ginastera spoke almost no English and meant that their interpretation was frightening, which had been his intent when he wrote it; Emerson, being British, took it to mean 'awful'. Emerson was so upset that he was prepared to scrap the piece until Ginastera's wife intervened saying that he approved. Ginastera later said, 'You have captured the essence of my music, and no one's ever done that before.'

To wrap up the evening, the VSO will play the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich which was composed in 1948. This guy wrote his stuff under Soviet rule in the 1930s and 40s… not the best situation for an artist of any kind. In fact, his largely miserable relationship with the Soviet government led to two official denunciations of his music and the periodic banning of his work. Oooops. Denunciation is one thing – full out banning means you’re really doing something right! This particular piece is often described as ‘ferocious’ – and we’re talking about an orchestra – so that certainly means something... After a brooding opening movement (think McCain after the Couric interview), the orchestra ramps up to this crazy violin thing – in fact, violinists are prone to snapping bowstrings as they get after it in this ultra intense piece. I’m guessing they didn’t have shrinks in Mother Russia back then – cause this guy was working out some issues for sure, and it’s awesome.

Can’t wait to see you at the Green Room!

Meg McIntosh Frenzen

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer performing Ginastera's Toccata