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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Michigan Philharmonic – 70th Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the orchestra. It is certainly a milestone. It takes a lot of work, initiative, excitement and most of all, passion to continue growing an organization with a progressive vision. The Michigan Philharmonic has grown from a small ensemble, to a community orchestra to a regional musical powerhouse, always innovating and creating classical music experience in our community.


The orchestra started in 1945 when local residents of Plymouth, Evelyn and Carl Groschke gathered a group of friends in their house to play and enjoy instrumental music. At the same time, the director of the Plymouth High School music program, Paul Wagner wanted to organize an orchestra. They joined forces and the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra was born, giving its first public performance on April 20, 1947. Thanks to the Groschke’s vision, the orchestra started to take shape and by the 1950’s it was already established and performing at Plymouth High School (where Central Middle School used to be and where the Orchestra recently moved back to!) and on the school lawn. The Plymouth Symphony Orchestra performed at Plymouth-Salem High School Auditorium for many years.


The orchestra has grown from a dedicated nucleus of a dozen volunteer community players to over 60 professional musicians and performs a wide range of chamber, jazz, popular, and standard symphonic repertoire, ranging from the 16th century to the present. A review of past programs shows that the orchestra has performed approximately 1,500 symphonic works. Hundreds of guest artists and several thousand singers have performed with the orchestra.  In all, there have been seven conductors:

Paul Wagner (1945-1950),
Wayne Dunlap (1951-1979),
Johan van der Merwe (1980-1985),
Charles Greenwell (1985-1986),
Leon Gregorian (1986-1987),
Russell Reed (1987-1999)
and Nan Washburn (1999-present). 

With the vision of our present Music Director and Conductor, Nan Washburn in 2003 the PSO established a youth orchestra program, the Celebration Youth Orchestras. It now boasts three tiers, 65 students, a flute choir, and an annual Vivaldi Concerto competition. In 2004, PSO expanded further by creating a second, highly acclaimed professional performing ensemble, Orchestra Canton (OC).

As an organic organization that reflects the wants and needs of the audience and reflecting on the growth and expansion into more regional communities, the name of the Plymouth Canton Symphony Orchestras (PCSO) was adopted as the "umbrella" for all our ensembles and activities. In 2008, PCSO produced its first commercial CD, "Magical Tunes & Marvelous Tales".

The Orchestra Today

Following a 5-year strategic plan and to truly reflect the tremendous growth in scope and stature, in 2011, the organization adopted the new names of the Michigan Philharmonic and the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

The orchestra has become in one of the most innovative and dynamic orchestras in the region. With many awards, Nan Washburn, Music Director & Conductor, has won 19 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music from the League of American Orchestras and was awarded First Place in The American Prize for Conducting with the Michigan Philharmonic receiving 2nd place for Professional Orchestras last year.

The Michigan Philharmonic is reaching out and expanding throughout our communities including Plymouth, Canton, Northville, Livonia, Farmington, Brighton, Downtown Detroit, and the downriver areas. The orchestra is committed to enrich our audience with a diverse programming, enjoyable cultural and social experiences. Music Education is a very important component of the Michigan Philharmonic organization and through varies collaborations with composers, musicians and community schools it has taken music to many children in our area. Music is fundamental for the integral development of any person. “Children are very excited when they see the instruments and our musicians visiting the schools” says Jane Libbing, our manager for the Youth Orchestra. It is an invaluable experience and indeed makes a difference in anyone’s life. Music is a universal language that knows no frontiers.

For this 70th Anniversary, the mission is to celebrate our traditions, embrace our diversity and enrich our experience. The scope is to broaden our own frontiers and reach to a more varied audience. The Michigan Philharmonic will expands its programming and will feature more innovative work this year by featuring works by new composers such as Kharim Roustom, Clarice Assad, Christopher Cerrone, Max Simoncic, and Laura Karpman.

Michigan Philharmonic: Orchestrating the Extraordinary!
For tickets and more information, please visit or call (734) 451-2112. 

Up Next: Philharmonic Phright Night

Come and join us for a Spooktacular Concert this Saturday October 24, 7:30 pm at Steppingstone School in Farmington Hills. Gues how Nan Washburn will enter the stage!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Side-by-side {A reflection}

By Allison Follbaum

The piercing musicality of the bagpipes is echoing in my ears as I sit backstage at the Michigan Philharmonic's Highland Pipes concert. The sound of bagpipes is almost indescribable. It would almost be an annoying drone except for the calming buzzing beauty and sheer magnitude of the sound. 

Watching the kids run around before the concert took me back to my side-by-side concert experiences with MYPO (formerly known as CYO or Celebration Youth Orchestra).

I played with the orchestra for five years; a violinist who didn't practice as much as she should have, but loving the creative outlet that performing gave. There was a purpose to the tedious hours of practice and endless scales; and to the lessons, and the frustration at trying to learn new skills.

I loved playing in the side-by-side concerts because it gave me a boost of inspiration. Perhaps I could aspire to be like these smartly dressed men and women and perform professionally? Then I could fulfill my dream of playing at Carnegie Hall! 

The adults were kind, asking what school we went to and how long we had been playing. Sometimes I was a little starstruck.

The music always challenged; we were playing real music after all. No "arranged by" 's or "taken from." These were the pieces that you heard on CDs and on the radio. Sometimes they had three or four movements, taking 15 minutes to play, your arm aching after the first movement. 

I loved when the concertmaster stood up to direct the pre-concert tuning. I've never been able to pin down exactly why that's my favorite part, but even when attending a concert, I like to close my eyes and just listen to all the sounds mingling and melding together after that A from the oboe. 

One of the knowledge gems that I received from involvement with the Michigan Phil is that if you want to pursue your dreams, you can. Everyone has the potential to succeed if you aspire for greatness, even when it comes to a competitive field like musical performance.

For me, I just want to be able to play the violin part of Pachabel's Canon in D with my dad, at my wedding. Luckily, there's no fancy shifts in that piece.

Allison Follbaum currently interns for Michigan Philharmonic, while avoiding the adult world after graduation. As an alumni of MYPO and a sister of a current student, she loves any excuse to get involved in the arts, especially with the Michigan Philharmonic. Caught between love for journalism and public relations, she currently works part time at a law firm and freelances on the side. Her favorite piece of classical music is Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Michigan Philhrmonic Celebrates Culture Week!
April 27 - May 5, 2013

The first week of May each year has been designated as Canton Culture Week - celebrating the many different ethnic cultures which make up the community.

Each year the celebration kicks off with the Student Art School featuring artwork from all 25 schools in the Plymouth Canton School District.  This incredible show features nearly 1000 works by students from elementary - high school and showcases the budding artistic talents of these young people.

The Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra performance follows each year at the Village Theater featuring over 85 students in 4 different levels performing music from the classics to Bollywood!

The Michigan Philharmonic rounds out the week with a multi-cultural performance featuring music from many different ethnic traditions.  In the past music from Bollywood and China have been featured.  This year celebrates the music of Latin America with "Musica de las Americas" which features all Latino composers and includes youth strings players joining the orchestra on the last piece, De Colores, a beautiful Mexican Folk Song.

The Michigan Philharmonic values it's commitment to the diversity and multi-cultural programming and features music by composers from the world over.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The French Connection

This past Sunday, the Michigan Philharmonic performed at the First Methodist Church in Plymouth. Adorn in red for the "Go Red Campaign" the orchestra performed "The French Connection". The pews of the beautiful church were filled as the Michigan Phil performed pieces by Maurice Ravel, Louise Farrenc, and Mark Petering. Joining the orchestra this performance was composer Dr. Mark Petering and Canadian pianist, Anastasia Rizikov, with Petering's Fanfare and Reflection after Ravel starting the afternoon. A brilliant performance showcased the impressionistic composition that paid tribute to Ravel and was a beautiful introduction to a French styled concert.
Dr. Petering answering questions with Washburn before the concert.
The audience was then wowed by Rizikov's performance during Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major. Hearing Rizikov insert emotion in every note, it was hard to believe that she is only fourteen years old. After the concerto, Rizikov entertained the audience with solo works before the intermission.
With these special guests in attendance, we cannot forget the orchestras and conductor Nan Washburn's musicianship. The orchestra brought to life Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op36 by relativity unknown female composer, Louise Farrenc. To close the concert, the orchestra performed Ravel's Bolero arranged for a smaller orchestra.
Rizikov performing with the Michigan Philharmonic

The Michigan Philharmonic will be performing next at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton Michigan on March 9th. They will be performing "A Beetles Blast," a fun pops concert including the tunes of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow and Billy Joel. For ticket information for this fun event please visit our website or call 734-451-2112.            

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Michigan a Creative State: You Can Take That to the Bank | Creative Impact Michigan

The Michigan Philharmonic is proud to be one of the organizations whose data was used to produce this report on the economic impact of the arts in Michigan.  The results of the report illustrate the extensive impact both economically and creativly that the arts have on the well being of the Michigan economy and culture.  Cultural arts activites account for $2 billion tourism dollars flowing into the State's ecomony and close to 3 million school children experienced the arts in 2011
The report also confirms that the hundreds of cultural organizations in Michigan are thriving on earned income - $.70 of every $1 is earned as opposed to subsidized.  This is good news for the arts in our State and good news for arts groups around the country.
the data was gathered through the Cultural Database Project which 25 states are now participating in.  This data is derived from 990's and audited financial data from all cultural organizations receiving state and foundation grants.  Take a moment to read the report at the link below:

Michigan a Creative State: You Can Take That to the Bank | Creative Impact Michigan

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hospice of Michigan Benefit Performance.

This past Sunday the Michigan Philharmonic's chamber ensemble performed "Miniature Masterpieces" once more at Planterra, an enclosed botanical garden located in West Bloomfield. As the winter wind blew outside, concert goers enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, champagne and pastries among vibrant foliage and a spring-like atmosphere. Once again we were graced with Kristin Kuster's presence as the chamber performed her piece, Ribbon Earth, for the second time. Although the acoustics of St. John's Inn were incredible, the natural surroundings and ambiance provided by Planterra, brought another element and new appreciation to Ribbon Earth. The event was MC'ed by Fox News reporter Roop Raj and all proceeds from the event benefited Hospice of Michigan, a great organization that helps people and their families in a time need.  

The Michigan Philharmonic's next performance, "French Connection," will be at the First Methodist Church (in Plymouth) at 2:00. The orchestra will be joined by piano protege Anastasia Rizikov and composer Mark Petering. At thirteen years old, Rizikov is already an accomplished musician, winning the Rotary International Piano Competition in 2012. The Michigan Philharmonic will be performing Petering's Fanfare and Reflection after Ravel. Pertering's compositions have been performed by numerous orchestras and he currently is on faculty at Carthage University. 

During the "French Connection" concert, the Michigan Philharmonic is pairing up with the "Go Red Campaign for Women." Our musicians will be wearing red accessories in honor of the campaign and we encourage audience members to show their support as well. Some "Go Red" products will be available for purchase at the concert. So GET YOUR PHIL and show your support for great music and the fight against heart disease. 

For ticket information call us at 734-451-2112 or visit our website: