My take on A Late Quartet … No passion, no reason to play


In STEPHEN HOLDENs New York Sunday Times (Nov 4, 2012) music review of the film, A Late Quartet, he states the credo of any musician worth being called a true musician:  The film “has an important point to make about classical music. For the musicians who play it, especially intimate chamber works in which the group members have to think, feel and breath as one, their instruments are vehicles for conveying strong emotion. Without passion, a performance, no matter how impeccable, is just a technical feat.”

Whether it is chamber music or a Mahler symphony, if there is no passion, no commitment, no personal understanding, no love, then there is no reason to be playing.

Autism Spectrum: Emotional Regulation through Clarinet Lessons at 2012 VASC VCA Convention

Grace Kolman, Doctoral Student at James Madison University and Maestro Barry Kolman, currently Professor of Music, Washington & Lee University presented “Autism Spectrum: Emotional Regulation through Clarinet Lessons” at the 2012 Virginia Counselors Association Annual Convention. The annual convention was held at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center on November 15 -17, 2012. 

The presenters explored the significant emotional benefits of teaching music to adolescents with Autism. One particular case was assessed with a live clarinet performance. The instructors and students then reported  on how the experience changed their lives. 

Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra’s “Around the Symphonic World” season to open November 10

The Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra’s “Around the Symphonic World” season is set to open with Music of Eastern Europe and Russia on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall. 

Under the baton of Maestro Barry A. Kolman, the SSO will perform Shostakovich’s Ballet Suite No. 1, op. 84; Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33, featuring Julia Goudimova, cellist; and Goldmark’s Rustic Wedding Symphony. Tickets are required and can be purchased online at (click on the “buy tickets” button) or by calling the Lenfest Box Office at 540-458-8000.

Bye Bye Birdie–a great success!

Bye Bye Birdie closed last Sunday in Lexington, VA.. I not only conducted the show, but also played clarinet/saxophone in the pit. The performances took place in a 250 seat “black box” making the shows very intimate. We had six sellout crowds for each show. The leads, especially Albert, Mr Macafee, and Rose, stole the show. Because of budget constraints, the pit band contained 12 very talented musicians instead of a full orchestra that the score calls for. I enjoyed the challenge of conducting and playing at the same time; my first time! Though the show itself is somewhat dated, this did not bother the most appreciative audience watching our very enthusiastic and professional cast.

The Conductor With an Ear for Peace

A great article by Harvey Sachs for the New York Times commemorating what would have been Georg Solti’s 100th Birthday (please be sure to go to his website – so beautiful!). An amazing career with a strong passion for bringing musicians from around the world to perform together.  A Chicago institution, the Jewish-born Hungarian maestro mused out loud that if musicians from all walks of life can perform together (as they did often under his baton), then why couldn’t world diplomats and their respective countries live in harmony as well?

There is something in the human spirit that binds us together, whether we know it or not;  it’s our love for all that is beautiful! It is an enigma as why humanity can go to that shadow side of life, to a bizarre and ugly universe, and do such terrible things to each other.  Long-live Sir Georg Solti!

James Levine to conduct again

James Levine to conduct again in May after two-year injury layoff.

The Met announced that James Levine’s first performance is scheduled for May 19, 2013, about a month before his 70th birthday. He is to conduct the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in a concert at Carnegie Hall. Maestro Levine will return to the podium after a two-year absence. A fall last year left him partially paralyzed. Levine is without a doubt one of the most celebrated and brilliant conductors of our time. His repertoire consists of everything because he can conduct everything. We all welcome his return and pray for his continued recovery. The music world has missed you Maestro!