Our planet is inhabited by close to seven billion humans, and admits of unlimited possible experiences. But we exist in insulated cocoons, sparse webs of interconnected people, places and things.
One Sunday last November I was unable to attend a piano recital presented by the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, as I was conducting a concert with the National Gallery of Art orchestra. It took place, conveniently, in the National Gallery of Art (one of the world’s great museums…if you aren’t awed by the room upon room of great masters, you will perhaps be as impressed with the Greek statuary as my ten-year-old, who said “Dad, they didn’t have many clothes in ancient Greece.”) On the program was the Double Concerto for Violin and Viola by Jonathan Leshnoff, and I was there largely because the composer was so pleased with the Duluth performance of the work in 2008. The soloists with the DSSO then, as in Washington, were Charles Wetherbee, violin, and Victoria Chiang, viola.
Also on the program was the Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber. The previous week I conducted the Adagio for Strings on a series of concerts with the Fort Worth Symphony. Shortly thereafter I received an email from Frank Almond, asking “Did you conduct the Fort Worth Symphony recently?” Frank Almond, currently concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony, had spent three years as concertmaster of the Fort Worth Symphony.
Readers may remember Frank Almond’s solo appearance in Duluth with the DSSO in 2010. (His performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was stunning; I particularly liked the second week of January.) Frank’s email was in reference to the December conducting workshop that I ran with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra which he was about to attend; he was looking forward to hanging out in Baltimore with his buddy, pianist Adam Golka.
I know of Adam Golka because his brother, Tomasz, a fabulously talented conductor, was a student of mine at Peabody. Now when did I come across Adam Golka’s name? Oh yes – this is the year; he was in Duluth, performing a Mozart concerto with the DSSO in March, in a concert conducted by another former student of mine.
Speaking of the DSSO, I return to Duluth in April after welcome hiatus of several months (you can only hole up for so long in an ice-fishing shelter before the booze runs out….but oh, how I’ll miss Minnesota!). My first concert back includes the spectacular Violin Concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff, performed by the violinist for whom it was dedicated, Charles Wetherbee. And the final concert of the season finds virtuoso pianist Alexander Korsantia bringing his prodigious technique to Rachmaninoff’s breathtakingly difficult—and equally beautiful--Piano Concerto no. 3. That pianist whose recital I had to miss in Baltimore? Yup, Alexander Korsantia.
Like Yogi said, déjà vu all over again.