Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Touch of the Irish

This season, the Michigan Philharmonic has embraced and highlighted numerous compositions written by women throughout their concert series. This upcoming concert, A Touch of the Irish, will feature the Gaelic Symphony in celebration of 150 years of Amy Beach, one of America’s most influential female composers.

Did you know?
·         Amy Beach is the first American woman to succeed as a composer of large-scale works.
·         She was 7 years old when she performed her first private recital.
·         She made her debut as a concert pianist at the age of 16.
·         She founded and was the first president of the Society of American Women Composers.
·         She was the first female American composer to compose a symphony performed by  an orchestra, Gaelic Symphony.

·         She is the first American woman to perform as a soloist on her own work. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Black History Month, Women in Music

5 Significant African-American Women Composers in Music History: 

Nora Holt (1885- 1974): An accomplished singer, composer, and music critic, she was the first African-American to receive a master’s degree in the United States.

Florence Price (1887-1953): The first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and have a composition played by a major orchestra. In 1932 she composed Symphony in E minor and in 1933 it was performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Shirley Graham Du Bois (1896-1977): The first African American woman to compose an opera for a major professional opera company. Tom Tom: An Epic of Music and the Negro was written and performed by The Stadium Opera Company in 1932.

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972): One of the first African-American composers and performers to gain national recognition in the United States. Some of her pieces include The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1942), and Shakespeare in Harlem (1959).

Julia Amanda Perry (1924-1979): Composer and teacher known for her fusion of black spiritual music and a neoclassical compositional style. Some of her compositions include Stabat Mater (1951) and The Cask of Amontillado (1954). Julia Perry’s Short Piece for Orchestra was recently performed by the Michigan Philharmonic as part of their Women Composer Series. 

The last composer in the series will be Alice Gomez. Her compositions integrate both ethnic tradition with the universal language of classical music. Mixing extrinsic ideologies and culture with classical music is a technique used by many composers in history who helped reshape what classical music is today. The Michigan Philharmonic will be performing the World Premier of Alice Gomez’s 112 Degrees on April 1, 2017 as part of their Phil-Palooza Concert at 7:30 in the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex Gym in Plymouth. 

And join us at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton this upcoming Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 for Couch Potato Pops (Favorite TV tunes) in celebration of Valentine’s weekend.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Uke Can't Be Serious - Jim Beloff's Ukelele Concert

Discover the wonders of American Music at the Uke Can't Be Serious a Michigan Philharmonic concert held on November 12, 7:30 pm at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton.

This concert will bring various elements together that define the identity of American music. Henry Cowell's American and Irish heritage set combines folk, western and American music. Aaron Copland's Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo score demonstrates the reason he was acclaimed as a leader at defining American music.

Jim Beloff's Ukelele concert will delight and surprise you with his part in symphony music. Richard Rodgers contributions helped define the American music world by actively participating in the musical theater scene.

As a part of Michigan Philharmonic's Women Composer Series, we are featuring Julia Perry's Short Piece for Orchestra (1965). Julia Perry’s Short Piece for Orchestra is a powerful demonstration of confrontational tunes that captivates and surprises the audience. Fortunately, this piece was recorded by the New York Philharmonic in May of 1965 under conductor William Steinberg, unlike many other Perry's works that have been lost or never performed due to the many racial and prejudice issues women and African-American composers face in the musical world. Julia Perry achieved many awards overcoming many prejudices.

Let's be serious and attend "Uke Can't Be Serious", make sure to bring your Ukelele along for a strumming surprise.

"Uke Can't Be Serious"
November 12, 7:30 pm
Pre-Concert Talk at 6:45 pm
Cherry Hill Village Theater
Tickets: 734.451.2112

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Philharmonic Phright Night

Our Annual Halloween Concert Fun

The second concert of the 2016 - 2017 season is on Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30 pm in the PARC Gym, Plymouth. This concert is guaranteed to be fun and will set the tone for your Halloween festivities.

Wear your favorite costumes, bring your children, enjoy free pop-corn and join in the fun!

Our Music Director and Conductor, Nan Washburn will once again surprise and haunt us with "scary classics" and movie sound tracks. From Bach, Berlioz, Gould to Williams, Danny Elfman and Ray Parker Jr. Maestra Nan Washburn has created a concert that features music that represents some of the best tunes used in scary and not-so scary movies. As Maestra Washburn has said before: "orchestral music for movies give composers the freedom to interpret the images and story the movie will talk about"; indeed music speaks first. A family treat for everyone.    

Don't miss this one. For tickets call us 734.451.2112 or visit

Thursday, October 6, 2016

2016 - 2017 Season "Celebrating Women Composers"

Creating a new season requires a process of creativity. The combination of theme, music, compositions, entertainment, and education are taken into consideration to shape the season. Under the leadership of Music Director and Conductor Nan Washburn, the Michigan Philharmonic has included many performances and compositions by women composers. To this date, Nan Washburn has included many performances and compositions by women composers.

The Michigan Philharmonic is proud to present our 2016-2017 Season ‘Empowering Women through music featuring Women Composers’. Opening our new season is Beethoven and Blue Jeans on Saturday October 8 at 7:30 pm, at the Village Theater on Cherry Hill Rd. in Canton. This curated concert blends joyful expectations and a connection with nature that permeates through the melodies of the three-featured pieces. Starting with Glinka’s Kamarinskaya where the traditional Russian dance folklore sets the tones for festivities. The celebration continues with Katherine Hoover’s Four Winds Flute Concerto, a piece that explores breath as the essential part of living depicting the wind at different times of the year, and is performed by our own Michigan Flute Star, Amy Porter. Closing this fantastic music experience with everyone’s favorite Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony; as Beethoven said the Sixth Symphony is "more the expression of feeling than painting".

Feel the breeze of fall with this warm bucolic season opener featuring Katherine’s Hoover Four Winds Flute Concerto.

For tickets, call 734.451.2112 or visit

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hektor, Jane, and the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

" My father was the first inspiration. He was a pro trumpet player” says Hektor Qyteti, our Principal second violin. He started in a musical family that inspired him to continue the music world footsteps. For Hektor, music has been part of his life since he can remember. At a very young age, Hektor wanted to play the trumpet as his father did, but at such young age, 6 ½ years old, it’s practically impossible, so he took the violin. For Hektor playing violin has been fun and he enjoys playing any note, any music and at any concert. Music is his world.

Hektor is native from Albania where he was the Concertmaster of Korce Philharmonia Orchestra, during which time he performed as soloist in the Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and other major concertos. For 10 years in Albania, he was the Music Director of the Board of Education at the prestigious Korce Tefta Tashko K-12 and High School.

Hektor also conducts the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, “Its fun to direct the Youth Orchestra and teaching them (the children) privately". Hektor is a busy musician; he also plays the Assistant Concertmaster of the Grosse Pointe Symphony as well as other orchestras in the region such as Dearborn Symphony, Warren, Rochester and Pontiac.

It is exciting to witness how much a young person can achieve in a short period of training. “It thrills me to hear how much they accomplish in such a short period and Hektor is a great musician, who engages with the youth with so much care that the kids like to work with him”, affirms Jane Libbing, Manager of the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Education Coordinator. It is important for an orchestra organization to be able to channel the need of the community. The youth orchestra was created to satisfy the demand of our Plymouth Canton community. According to Libbing, “the schools were not providing enough opportunities for children to experience and make music. The demand was big”.

The League of American Orchestras and the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) have provided many researches on the topic of how music education is beneficial for children. Certainly, music is a catalyst for imaginative expression and prepares students to learn, facilitating concentration practices. According to the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) study, “music education enhances fine motor skills, improves recall and retention of verbal information, advances math achievement, improves average SAT scores, and strengthens perseverance”. For the Michigan Philharmonic organization, it is very important the realization of young children as musicians, not just as a part of another check list item, but truly the satisfaction of success that benefits our community in the long run.

The Michigan Philharmonic started its Youth Orchestra many years ago with a handful of children. Today the Orchestra hosts more than 100 children. “The need is big in our community for Youth Orchestras and ours provides the space, the energy and the quality to our youth” says Libbing. Jane has been a long time resident of Plymouth and has been very active with the Youth Orchestra since its beginning. In 2004, the Michigan Philharmonic hired her as the Education Coordinator to administer the CLASSical Music Outreach program in the schools and to manage the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

As Hektor experienced as a child, music can be the world.

The Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Winter Concert will be on December 8 at 7 pm at Canton’s Village Theater. For tickets call 734.451.2112 or visit


Up Next:
Holiday Pops with the Phil, December 10, 6 and 8 pm at Penn Theater in Plymouth.

You can find more on Music Education at and

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Michigan Philharmonic – Behind the Scenes

In this series we will be portraying our musicians who are the core foundation of our organization. Our orchestra has been able to retain some of the most qualified musicians in our region. We believe that excellence in programming and great professional relationship helps to grow a more dynamic organization.  

Playing music together has been a mankind needs for thousands of years. During the renaissance groups of friends gathered to play together, which whatever instrument, they had in hand. There were no “composed” parts for determined instruments, more like a free for all type of music. The orchestra in the modern sense came to life in the 17th century when Monteverdi composed one of the first opera’s Orfeo (1607). He composed the music for determined groups of instruments and demanded a lot of instruments. But, why a musician wants to become one? What drives a person to follow a passion and convert it into a lifestyle? Why playing together?

Joseph Deller, Concertmaster

“I saw a violinist play on TV when I was five years old and I said: ‘I want to do that.’“ says concertmaster, Joseph Deller about what encouraged him to take music. Joe is a native from Dearborn, MI. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Violin Performance from Hope College in 2003. Joe has been playing with the Orchestra for many years. As many musicians parents, Joe’s parents encouraged him to take music when he was a child; his parents gave him a piano “to see if he would stick with something”.

It is definitely very important to develop a musical ability. Music enables the creative process of an artist and of any person; music reaches within someone’s soul and reflects the inward world of people. Joe affirms, “Music is a comfort, an escape, a challenge and above all an expression of emotion.” Playing with the Michigan Philharmonic has had some challenges; Joe says that “the most enjoyable performances are the ones that are the most challenging. Some pieces that stick out in my mind are Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 and Saint-SaĆ«ns’ organ Symphony.”

Playing together enables a sense of companionship beyond judgment and an opportunity to learn from others. Joe enjoys running and reading literature, but furthermost he enjoys hanging out with his newborn baby girl.

Lisa Raschiatore, Principal Clarinet

For Lisa Raschiatore, Pricnipal Clarinet, music started in her 4th grade band class. According to Lisa,  “Mr. Ferris demonstrated all the band instruments for us, and I really liked the clarinet because it had the most shiny buttons!  Seriously...I was ten, so what did I know?!” Even a simple impression such as the shiny buttons or the many strings an instrument has, can make a difference in one’s life. When the Michigan Philharmonic musicians go to workshops with the 3rd. graders at different schools in our region, the children engage in so many ways with the musicians and their instruments. It is a reminder that simplicity captivates children’s mind and help build interest in music. Lisa is one of the musicians who visit children and show them the “shiny buttons” of her clarinet in hope of one day, a kid like her, will take on music as a profession.

For Lisa her band teachers played a very important role: “I particularly remember my high school band director, Mr. McQuilkin, as someone who really pushed me musically in my youth, so make sure you support your band directors.  They make a BIG difference in the lives of countless children.  I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without mine.” Music is powerful; it moves people from different cultures and enables them to cross bridges triggering a profound rewarding experience. There are scientific proofs of how music benefits children and adults alike.

Lisa continues: “What does music mean to me?  The world.  I'd be a very different person today if I hadn't started playing the clarinet when I was ten!  I do remember a fun story about how I started:  after our first band class, I was SO excited to learn that I could make a honking duck noise on my clarinet mouthpiece that I showed my mom the ENTIRE way home in the car. It drove her nuts!  She's been such a great supporter of all that I do, as have the rest of my family and my partner Scott. I'm a very lucky girl.” 

Music also has challenges and for Lisa the most difficult and enjoyable performance with Michigan Philharmonic has been playing the Clarinet Concerto by Aaron Copland.  In Lisa’s words: “It was exhilarating to perform such a virtuosic work, but it kicked my butt too! It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by such great musicians playing the Copland. I won't forget it.” Playing music together has been an experience where musicians can learn from each other, as Lisa has experienced. 

Lisa enjoys music as a fundamental part of her life, but she also likes to walk in nature, especially in our Great Lakes region. She loves to recharge her batteries along a nice campfire, but ultimately, she gardens: “I feel passionately about fresh, homegrown vegetables...and I love to cook and eat them too!  I also have a big crush on beautiful flowers, specifically dahlias, and spending the afternoon in a botanical garden sounds perfect to me.” 

Music is “The world”, a universal language.


Up Next:

This Saturday October 24 at 7:30 pm, Steppingstone School in Farmington Hills
"PHRIGHT NIGHT", #Halloween Spooktacular Concert. For tickets, or call 734.451.2112.