Five Elements

I wrote recently that I had been appointed 2006 principal conductor for the Tao Yuan Symphonic Winds. We performed our first concert together on April 15. What a thrill! I already knew the ensemble fills the hall every time they play, but nothing prepared me for the youth and enthusiasm of this audience. They brought us back for a pair of encores and kept the soloists and I busy signing autographs for a long time afterward.

The theme of the concert was Five Elements. The reference is to the five elements of Feng Shui. Each piece on the program evoked one of the classic elements of earth, wood, metal, fire or water.

Carl Reinecke
Concerto for Flute in D minor
Soloist: Ms Chen Li-Lin

Nigel Hess
Thames Journey

Yo Djing-Shren
Nio Li Ge

Johan De Meij
The Lord of the Rings

Bert Appermont
Noah's Ark

Gustav Holst

Percy Grainger
Ye Banks and Braes O'Bonnie Doon

Julius Fučík
Entrance of the Gladiators (Thunder and Blazes)

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
'Flight of the Bumblebee' from Mlada
Soloist: Ms Song Wen-Chi (marimba)

The Taoyuan Performing Arts Center was a delightful place to play. The sight lines couldn't be better for the audience and the acoustics are warm and lgowing for the musicans. It's a small stage but the players are used to its dimensions and know how to work with it.

My personal note for the program read:

Tonight's program is built around the idea of the Five Elements. The choice was inspired by the special place this ensemble holds in its community.

The elements remind us of the importance of living in harmony with our environment. For four years now this ensemble and the community have shared music. In the process all have experienced harmony.

The elements remind us of the need to surround ourselves with life-affirming beauty. In is music the ensemble provides this kind of beauty in its community.

The elements remind us of the need for balance. The ensemble provides meaningful music to offset the noise and empty chatter of modern life. Its music explores every aspect of human existence: tender feelings and tough realities, shining cities and dark forests, adult contemplations and childhood joys.

The elements remind us of the wisdom in looking both to the east and the west. Our musicians do this, harmonizing Eastern and Western experiences in making their music.

The elements remind us that vast skies open above us. Music lifts us in that direction, raising our spirits far above the earth our bodies stand on.

We hope you enjoy tonight's program. You are invited to join us again and help us fill each concert with good chi.
Plenty of good chi at this one. It was a fine way to start the season.



Work in Progress

Potential Energy
Taipei, Taiwan
September 2005

This month I'm up to my ears (as it were) in rehearsals for upcoming concerts with the Tao Yuan Symphonic Winds (April 15, Taoyuan) and Taipei Symphony Winds (May 18, Taipei). If you are in Taiwan and would like to join us for either of these concerts, please drop me a line.

I'll share audio files as soon as I get them. Sometimes this takes a while. Watch this page.