atthemac.blogspot.com, April 4, 2014
by Kirk Muspratt, photo by Carol Fox & Associates
They tell me that when we perform Beethoven’s Fifth and Beethoven’s Seventh at the MAC next week, I will have been conducting there for exactly ten years. Hard to believe! As with all artists who are studying a role, choreography, a piano sonata or an orchestral score, normal time becomes quite distorted and certainly compacted. I can study a score for four hours and it seems like ten minutes. I can study a concert for a month and it seems like two days.
One of the goals that I set for myself ten years ago was that the orchestra should be able to compete with any of the orchestras in this city and for our patrons to be “wowed” when they attended our concerts. This meant not only the quality of the playing, but the presentation, the human feeling that each person felt when joining us for a concert, the “it” factor. That “it” factor means for me that when a person walks in to the MAC he or she is in one state of heart and mind, and when they leave they should practically float out. After each concert, I hope for the following comment from at least one patron: “That was even better than last time. How are you going to top that?” My response is invariably something like: “Oh tonight was nothin’! Just wait for the next concert! It will make this one look like New York pizza.” To some extent I am kidding, but on another level, I am truly expecting that of New Philharmonic.
I have lots and lots of dreams for our orchestra. When I first came here, I dreamt of having a New Year’s concert at the MAC. The administration supported me in this goal and our annual New Year’s concert has flourished. I knew in my gut when I first met the MAC audience that this would be a concert that would excite them. Next season, because people love the concert so much, we are planning to offer three performances in one day!
In addition, next year, I will be able to add a children’s competition to our outreach into the community, which will allow us the chance to showcase a child’s musical talent at each and every one of our concerts. They will play solo for just a few minutes on the main stage at intermission. I do this with the orchestra that I conduct in Indiana, and it is often my favorite part of the concert. For me, including a young person from the community at our concerts has tremendous value and gives us all the chance to change the life of a young person forever. Another goal that I set for myself when beginning a decade ago was to ensure that the opera flourished at the MAC. I am committed to ensuring that this fantastic and arresting art form not only survives, but that it flourishes. In pursuit of this goal, we are planning to do a concert version of an opera next season. I will have more information on our plans for next season at a later time.
As I sign off this blog, I want to say that this orchestra has a special feeling to it, and that this feeling does not come from me. It comes from Harold Bauer, the conductor who founded the orchestra; it comes from our musicians to an overwhelming degree; it comes from the feeling in the MAC – the intimacy and closeness with the patrons there.
I hope that you will join us on Saturday April 12th and Sunday April 13th for the two “Ultimate Rebel” Beethoven concerts. I do not view myself as a rebel. I want only to be a musician creating what is needed and desired in 2014, 2015, 2020, 2025 and beyond. We, as musicians, are living in a whirling, fast-evolving world, and we should be keenly attuned to our environment, the needs of our business, and the passions of our audience. That has been and will continue to be my charge going forward.
I thank you for having me for the past decade. I thank you for the opportunity to create, study, learn, give back, and hopefully, at times, change the feeling in your hearts.