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Not one, not two, but three conductors - Henry Janiec, David Effron and Keith Lockhart - took the podium at the Brevard Music Center for this concert. Each of these musicians has had his turn at guiding the educational and performance activities that make the seven weeks of Brevard the sought-after destination for some of the finest young musicians in the world. Now each of the three chose a monumental orchestral work for a celebration of the life of the late Linda Candler.
Henry Janiec, who for over thirty years guided BMC, chose the tone poem “Don Juan” by Richard Strauss. Maestro Janiec, dressed in a white dinner jacket despite the heat, was in excellent form in this dynamic and challenging work.
David Effron, who led BMC for twelve years, chose the Shostakovich Symphony No. 6, whose powerful and emotional final movement “portrays Linda as I knew her” according to Maestro Effron’s comments broadcast on WDAV 89.9 (which live broadcast the concert as well as the BMC performance of “Hello Dolly!” the previous evening). Rumpled in white shirtsleeves in the heat, Maestro Effron displayed his excellence as a conductor and educator, leading the orchestra through a work that is seldom heard in concert.
Now in his second year as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor, Keith Lockhart took the podium after intermission, nattily dressed in his all-black summer concert attire of trousers, suspenders, shirt and cummerbund. During his time in Brevard this season, he has led the Transylvania Symphony Orchestra (high school aged students) in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, the Brevard Sinfonia (college aged students) in Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, and for this concert led the BMC Orchestra (one-third faculty, two-thirds selected student musicians) in Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. Through this trifecta Lockhart, who is an alumnus of BMC, directly influenced all the orchestral students at BMC this summer. His impact is being felt.
All three conductors, with their differing styles, successfully tapped the orchestra’s musicianship. Reviewing this concert becomes an exercise in constructing a paean. I have chosen to concentrate my paean on the remarkable solo passages provided throughout the afternoon by principal players.
As concertmaster for this concert, Patrick Rafferty (in his seventeenth year at BMC) produced the solo violin passages in the Strauss. Eric Ohlssen (in his sixteenth year teaching oboe at BMC) shone in the lengthy oboe solo.
Eric Ginsberg (in his nineteenth year at Brevard) had important passages on E-flat clarinet in the Shostakovich, as did Paige Morgan on English horn (in her thirteenth year at Brevard). Dilshad Posnock on piccolo, Renée Krimseier on flute, and Mark Hughes on principal trumpet (all relatively new to the faculty) played with distinction. Cellist Felix Wang (in his second year at BMC) has been playing with distinction whenever he has appeared as principal.
The entire brass choir met the challenge of the Tchaikovsky, horns in the lead. Principal bassoon William Ludwig (in his eighth season) and timpanist Charles Ross (in his second season) were also impressive during the “Pathetique” Symphony.
The manner in which talented young student instrumentalists mix with brilliant BMC faculty (some seasoned, some newly attracted) to be led by three fine conductors, is a testimony to the mission of the Brevard Music Center: “teaching gifted young musicians to prepare and perform great musical works at a high artistic level.” It is working.