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Encores and Curtain Calls
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The Pioneer Valley Symphony, shown here being led by Paul Phillips, its music director and conductor, was honored recently with a 2013-2014 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

Encores & Curtain Calls: Pioneer Valley Symphony, the little orchestra that could!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.” — Leonard Bernstein The Pioneer Valley Symphony, which is soon to turn a venerable 76, has released its 2014-2015 season of offerings with an eye toward focusing on music born of the stage, in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this past April. … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Theater, music and laughter

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Never mind June, the July summer arts scene is bustin’ out all over and it seems only fair to at least touch upon some of the less-known possibilities lest they go unnoticed in the sheer abundance of riches. Original musical theater Happening right under our noses — indeed, opening this evening — is … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Three tales of summer

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One of the most poignant moments of the Superman saga occurs in “Superman Returns,” when we see our solitary protagonist descending toward earth from the darkness of insterstellar space, hearing, as he does so, to a desperate, densely layered cross-section of earth-born voices, beseeching the cosmos for intercession. A bit further on, Lois … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Pain & passion

Thursday, January 2, 2014

“There are two ways to live your life One is as if nothing is a miracle The other is as if everything is a miracle” — Albert Einstein One of the wonderful privileges of writing a column such … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Joseph braves a snowstorm for a fantastic performance

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” — Pablo Picasso The New Year is nigh upon us. So, let us lift our cups to artists — those seemingly crazed, courageous souls … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Come one, come all, sing ye noel

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up — they have no holidays.” — Henny Youngman (standup comic/violinist) It’s not our fault, it’s Mama Nature’s; she’s the one who keeps immersing the planet in her … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Radiance and glory

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?” — Albert Einstein Perhaps it’s the perennial softening power of Christmas, perhaps purely wishful thinking or, just possibly, … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: Double anniversary in Deerfield

Thursday, December 5, 2013

“I, too, played the organ frequently in my youth, but my nerves could not stand the power of this gigantic instrument. I should place an organist who is master of his instrument at the very head of all … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: A ‘Nutcracker’ from the Emerald Isle

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

“To regret the past, to hope in the future, and never to be satisfied with the present: that is what I spend my whole life doing.” — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky If you reckon in all the stage, screen, … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Exuberant & joyous work

Thursday, November 21, 2013

“The volatile, utopian, experimental quality of the music — its insoluble mystery — still makes a great many performers (whether using period or modern instruments) feel insecure and frightens them off.” — Heinz Holliger (renowned oboe virtuoso) Back … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Muses of early America

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Perhaps nowhere else in historical America do agony and ecstasy so closely intertwine as in the foothills of New England, where tight-lipped, terminally pragmatic farmers eked out their existences with no great expectations even as, in the ivory tower of an Amherst bedroom, exquisitely sculpted gems of claustrophobic … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

“I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life — but I have felt it.” — Igor Stravinsky You don’t need to have a bulldozer to go deep; if you know where to find the gold, you can mine the same treasure much more humbly with a … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Dynamic, angular & playful

Thursday, October 24, 2013

“You got to play the flute as a flute — like that; you can’t play — like — a tenor concept on soprano; it sounds wrong. But some guys do it, and they think it’s OK, but not so!” — Jerome Richardson,  tenor saxophonist and flutist Jazz pianists, … 0

Wonderfully, pathetically human

Thursday, October 17, 2013

“Chaplin wasn’t the funniest, I wasn’t the funniest, this man was the funniest.” — Classic silent film comedian, Buster Keaton,  speaking of Stan Laurel Boys will be boys, which is why Laurel and Hardy will live as long as films endure: for these two seemingly fully fledged adults … 0

Sonorous, elegant & radiant

Thursday, October 10, 2013

“In the next world, I shan’t be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it.” — Ralph Vaughan Williams A nice way to get acquainted with our own Greenfield Community College Chorus is to sit in on its traditional season-starting mini-concert at the … 0