Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Midori in Recital

                                     . . . she is doing exactly what great artists are born to do,
                                     marshaling her formidable gifts and daring to push herself
                                     further and further into the deepest heart of the music at hand.

                                                                           -- Chicago Sun-Times

                                           O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
                                           How can we know the dancer from the dance?

                                                                              -- Yeats, Among School Children

                                                               . . . you are the music
                                                While the music lasts.

                                                                -- T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets, "The Dry Salvages"

Midori, the foremost violinist in the world, came to town last Thursday for a recital to benefit the Corrales Cultural Arts Council, of which I am vice president.  CCAC is a small, all-volunteer non-profit that presents an annual series of eight general audience concerts by nationally-known performers in an 1868-vintage adobe mission church in Corrales.  The CCAC also provides music education resources for elementary and secondary schools in our area.  (See my blog post "Music in Schools," November 16, 2013.)

So how did a little arts organization like us get a world-famous violinist like Midori to come and play?

Through one of her non-profit community outreach organizations, Partners in Performance (pipmusic.org), Midori donates two performances a year to stimulate interest in classical music as well as generate support for smaller-scale arts presenters specifically in smaller communities like ours.  Two years ago, CCAC applied for one of these concerts and was selected as one of the organizations for 2015.

Like the proverbial dog who catches the car, we were simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  We wanted to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but our experience was limited:  our monthly concerts typically draw about 185 people.

Notwithstanding our history, we decided to GO BIG!  We found an 1,100-seat, state-of-the-art concert hall at a nearby high school.  

Midori and her accompanist, Ozgur Aydin, agreed to conduct master classes prior to the concert for local talented violin and piano students respectively.  And we persuaded our local public television station, New Mexico PBS (KNME-TV), to do a segment on the master classes for their arts magazine show, Colores.

Then all we had to do was fill the hall!  We found corporate sponsors to pay for tickets that would be given to students and parents from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and various Native pueblo schools.  We sold reserved VIP seats that included a post-concert reception, and we sold reserved and affordably-priced general admission seats for the rest.

After months of planning and preparation, it all came together last Thursday night.  We sold out two days before the concert!  Midori and Ozgur arrived the night before, then spent the day doing master classes . . .

. . . and rehearsing.

The hall was filled . . . 

Image courtesy of Dennis Chamberlain


Image courtesy of Dennis Chamberlain

The performers arrived (along with the page-turner) . . .

Image courtesy of Dennis Chamberlain

 . . . and the music began:

Image courtesy of Dennis Chamberlain

And I had the privilege of serving as Master of Ceremonies for the concert! 

Image courtesy of Dennis Chamberlain

If you would like to see more images from the day, visit the Midori in Recital gallery at my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.