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-Saëns’ 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.

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Up Next:

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

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