Ever wondered how an orchestra operates, or the meaning behind the repertoire you hear at CPO performances?
Since the 1990’s, the CPO has offered a course that teaches students about our classical repertoire. Over the past few years, this course has been offered through the University of Calgary’s Continuing Education Faculty, and is called “Evenings with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Instructing this course (offered in Fall, Winter and Spring with four classes) is our very own Director of Orchestra Operations, Jennifer MacDonald. With Bachelors of Music in Piano, and a Masters in Musicology (the scientific study of music) from McGill University, Jennifer knows her stuff!
Students in this course attend the concerts they learn about (next concert: The Masters: Mozart, Mendelsohn, and Mahler) and receive a backstage tour before the final concert in the session. Each class has a visit from a CPO musician who speaks about their instrument, career path, what it’s like to make music for a living, and answer questions from students. Attending the performances and learning about what goes on backstage ties everything together.
Students also learn interesting facts about the composers. For example, in Jennifer’s classes about our Romantic Rachmaninoff with Pavel Kolesnikov concerts in February, students learned why Rachmaninoff’s first symphony is not often performed. When Rachmaninoff’s symphony was performed for the first time, the conductor was drunk – so it got a terrible review. Rachmaninoff went into a depression after this, and divorced himself from the work – leaving it behind in Europe when he moved to America. Scholars had to rebuild the score from the parts they discovered years later!
So come listen and learn, and experience musical field trips! The next session starts on May 6.