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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Prince George's Philharmonic collaborates with County Highschool Students and with Peter Minkler, viola

               Once more the Prince George's Philharmonic rose to the occasion delivering a wide ranging musical performance last night in the Prince George’s Community College, Largo, Maryland, Fine Arts Building. The participation of Prince George's County students in a side by side performance of George Enescu's Rumanian Rhapsodie No. 1 in A Major, Op.11 showcased both individual musicianship and the conductor's, Mr. Ellis', command of the music.

               The students who played alongside the orchestra in a performance of Enescu's youthful work were:

First violin
               Melia Humphrey                                       Suitland High School
               Kayla Carlyle                                            Suitland High School
               Gabrielle Rogers                                       Suitland High School
               Victor Baules                                            Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Second violin
               Taisha Stewart                                         Suitland High School
               Dominique Marshall                                  Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Rose Pierce                                             Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Oliver Meade                                           Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Krista Hyppolite                                       No school indicated on program
               Megan Lewis                                           Northwestern High School  
               Ryan McDonald                                       Suitland High School
               Alfred Walfall                                          Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Katherine Skinner                                    Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Arianna Copper                                       Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Elizabeth Driver                                      Suitland High School
               Catherine Silver                                      Suitland High School
               Elliott Tapscott                                       Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Jacob Miller                                           Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Jan Knutsen                                           Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Josiah Herrera                                        Oxon Hill High School
               Emily Boluda                                          Eleanor Roosevelt High School
               Andrew Johnson                                    Eleanor Roosevelt High School

               The Rumanian Rhapsodie was completed on 14 August 1901, when Enescu was still only 19 years old and, so, is an appropriate programmatic choice and compliment to the skills and proficiency of our county's young people. The collaboration of the orchestra with Prince George's County's finest was heard by an almost well attended audience. One can only hope that you were there to hear the exciting dance rhythms of the glittering composition. The attacks were clear and as usual, Mr. Ellis found a way to highlight not only the solo parts at the beginning, but all of the enticing musical combinations that make up the swirling folks dance melodies of composition. From the beckoning simplicity of the opening clarinet to the fire of the end, the musical partnership made all us proud of our students and, for a moment, feel like Romanians.

               The concert started with another tipping-of-the-hat to student musicians with a world premiere performance of an orchestral work by Prince George's County's own Christopher Urquiaga, who was graduated in 2009 from my own alma mater, High Point High School in Beltsville.[1] Mr. Urquiaga's original composition, “Dance in 5” went by so fast that I was left wanting more. I hope we can hear an extended work by Mr. Urquiaga in the near future. Perhaps one of our county businesses might consider commissioning a piece by him as part of the bicentennial commemoration of Prince George's County's role in the War of 1812.

               The concert program was so filled with great music and performances that it is impossible to focus on one main part of the evening. In addition to the student partnering performances, the Prince George's Philharmonic collaborated with Peter Minkler, violist.[2]  At a preconcert dinner where I speak about the concert program I was asked about the viola. As we enjoyed a home-made treat of orange slices dipped in chocolate, it occurred to me that listening to a viola is akin to the pleasure found in the finest rich milk-chocolate treats. This analogy only begins to hint at the expressive all-enveloping music that Mr. Minkler brings forth when he plays his viola. His performance of the Romance for Viola and Orchestra in F Maj. Op. 85 by Max Bruch was exquisite. The orchestra was perfectly paired and supportive of the rich tones and melodic lines that wrapped us in a cocoon of musical velvet.  The sweeping main melody in all of its guises is still playing in my head this morning.

               Peter Minkler and the orchestra finished the night with Hector Berlioz's second symphony, Harold en Italie, Symphonie en quatre parties avec un alto principal (Harold in Italy, Symphony in Four Parts with Viola Obbligato), Op. 16, written in 1834. I have to say that I am drawn to the works of Berlioz for their technical brilliance, and, in the interest of noting my biases, not so drawn to their actualization in performance, his Symphonie fantastique, excepted.[3] That said Mr. Minkler soared last night bringing his technical proficiency and his artistic mastery to bear on this musical pilgrimage. The Prince George's Philharmonic worked its magic well allowing the viola to shine and ride above the orchestra in a true partnership that wonderfully framed the soloist abilities and command of the music. Mr. Ellis demonstrated his keen attention to showing off the abilities of his musicians as well as shepherding the ensemble through musical adventures. Given my musical bias towards this piece, I was much taken with the performance and still in awe of Mr. Minkler's artistry and command of instrument, the oft-times overlooked viola. If you get a chance to hear Mr. Minkler perform, you need to grab it.[4]

               After each concert, I continue to grow in my admiration for the level of musicianship and artistry we have right here in Prince George's County. And I continue to be amazed how few people have any idea what we have. You really need to come and hear for yourself what Prince George's County has to offer.

               The next opportunity is:

Saturday, April 6, 2013 - 8:00pm
Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, Bowie, MD
Anthony Elliott, guest conductor
Gabriel Cabezas, cello, Sphinx Competition Winner

Roussel                      Bacchus et Ariane, Suite No. 2, Op. 43
Saint-Saëns               Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33
Brahms                      Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

Single Ticket General Admission: $20, Seniors: $18, Age 18 and under free (ticket required). Single Tickets go on sale the night of the concert beginning at 7 pm, cash or check only. Tickets can be purchased in advance, by check. Please click here for the Single Ticket mail-in order form. All seating is unreserved. Free Parking.

[1] Virginia Terhune. 2013. "Former Beltsville student blends Latin, rock and classical influences in orchestral piece Orchestra debuts work by High Point High grad Saturday in Largo." Gazette.Net [accessed February 10, 2013.
[3] For me personally listening to this piece always reminds me of reading Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu while listening to Ravel's Bolero
[4] Susan Pearl. 2013. Interview with Peter Minkler soloist with Pri Geo's Philharmonic Sat Feb 9th. The PrinceGeorgian.

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