News and Pictures

Some new publicity features have appeared since my original post about the Pictures at an Exhibition concerts this week (Taipei and Taichung, April 9 and April 12). The concerts feature guest conductor Apo Hsu and the Taiwan Wind Ensemble. An exhibit of my Taiwan photographs will be featured in the second half of each concert in tandem with the live performance of Mussorgsky's music.
  • TNews has a feature in English and Chinese. The photo shows the Taiwan Wind Ensemble's music director, Ms Wen-Wen Chou, at the podium.
  • Taiwan Music Professionals, a Facebook group, hosts this events page in English and Chinese.
  • And my favourite, for sheer ambience, is this charming Chinese-language blog entry by Lorita Hsu.

You are invited to join us!

Tonight's concert takes place in Taipei's National Concert Hall at 19:30 (7:30 pm). Sunday's concert takes place in Taichung's Zhongxin Hall at 14:30 (2:30 pm). Full details appear in English here and in Chinese here.


Conductor's Notebook

Mercury Seven

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the announcement of America's original seven astronauts.

Nasa itself had been created less than a year earlier, beginning operations on 1958 October 1. After rigorous testing of hundreds of candidates, the seven astronauts for Project Mercury were chosen on 1959 April 1. The Mercury Seven were introduced to the world in a press conference in Washington DC on April 9.

Back, L to R: Alan Shephard, Walter Schirra, John Glenn
Front, L to R: Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Deke Slayton, Gordon Cooper

Ohio's Zanesville Recorder observes the fiftieth anniverary with an exclusive interview with John Glenn. 'I can't believe it's been that long,' Glenn tells reporter Holly Richards. 'The experience back then of being selected and participating in the early flights is so vivid to me, it seems like this all happened a couple of weeks ago.'

"I was on test pilot duty with supersonic aircraft for 3 1/2 years when the space program started and they were looking for this new word 'astronaut,'" he said. "When I was a kid in New Concord, there was no word like that. It was in the realm of test flying, and President Eisenhower decided he wanted military test pilots.[...]

"There were a lot of tests; it was everything they knew how to give," Glenn said. "This was a brand new experience and they didn't want people to freak out in this new experience of space."

. . . .

"The early flights got so much attention because they were open to the world, they were not secrets," Glenn said. "When the Soviets sent up Gagarin, the data and information was secret. We had international press at the Cape for the launch, and the Soviets hadn't had that; it wasn't permitted. President Eisenhower decided he wanted the program open for the whole world; he said we were going to succeed or fail with the world watching, and I think that was a good decision."

. . . .

"I thought this was not just a stunt; I looked at it as we were seven people starting a new service, like the Army or Air Force, that would continue for a long time and be important for the country. I'm proud of that, but more than that I feel I've had some wonderful opportunities. [...] Most people have similar opportunities in different areas of their lives. The thing is to be as trained as you can and to make the most of them."

Nasa observes the anniversary with a special interactive web site.



Music at an Exhibition

Come join the Taiwan Wind Ensemble, with guest conductor Apo Hsu, for a special presentation of music and images. The concerts take place on April 9 Thursday 19:30 in National Concert Hall, Taipei, and on April 12 Sunday 14:30 in Zhongxin Hall, Taichung.


Fiesta by Philip Sparke
節慶 菲利浦‧史巴爾克

Children's March by Percy Aldridge Grainger
兒童進行曲 帕西‧阿德利基‧葛仁傑

Sea Drift by Anthony Iannaccone
海上漂流 安東尼‧艾納康

Pictures at an Exhibition
by Modest P. Moussorgsky
arr. by John Boyd (after Ravel)
展覽會之畫 莫德斯特‧穆索斯基 / 約翰‧柏依德 編曲

Both concerts will feature a photo show designed by me to accompany live performance of Pictures at an Exhibition. The show interprets the images, narrative, themes and motives of Mussorgsky's work in images of modern Taiwan.

Tickets may be purchased through Arts Ticket:
02 3393 9888

Visit the main site of the Taiwan Wind Ensemble for more details.




from Through the Theory-Class

by Alton Thompson
Peabody Conservatory, 1999

'Twas brillante; the sliding tones
did grandioso in the glee;
all mambo were the saxophones,
and modal rags in key.

'Beware the Juilliard, my son!
The jawbone’s bite, the monotone!
Beware the Jubal bird and shun
the flageolet Bombardon!'

He took his vorspiel sword in hand—
long time the minim foe he sought—
then rested he by the timpani
and stood a while in thought.

And as in opus thought he stood,
the Juilliard, with eyes of flame,
came riffing through the tango wood—
and dupled as it came!

One two! One two!—and through and through,
the fipple flute went sturm und drang!
He left it dead, and with its head
he lingered dankgesang.

'And hast thou slain the Juilliard?
Come to my arms, my beecham boy!
Cecilia’s Day! Cello! Bourrée!'
He yodeled 'Ode to Joy.'

'Twas brillante; the sliding tones
did grandioso in the glee;
all mambo were the saxophones,
and modal rags in key.

(with apologies to Lewis Carroll)