North, South, East, West: All points of the compass have allure, but none stirs us from complacency as mercilessly as the last. As Chautauquans know, the theme last week was “The American West.” As we were reminded in the Amphitheater Saturday night, that theme has lost none of its power to lift our spirits and open our minds.
Conductor Bruce Hangen made his Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra debut Thursday evening in the Amphitheater, leading the first of two season appearances.
Week Six of the 2014 Chautauqua Institution season kicks off on Saturday, July 26, and ends on Saturday, Aug. 2, celebrating the weekly themes with lectures, art and live performances. The morning lectures, on “Brazil: Rising Superpower,” will take place at 10:45 a.m. from Monday to Friday in the Amphitheater, while the afternoon Interfaith Lecture Series, “Brazil: The Interplay of Religion and Culture,” follows at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy.
This season, every concert represents a podium audition for Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra music director, a coveted position that has been vacant since 2011. The audience has been given a chance to vote in this democratic process, with some weight also given the musicians — who can tell in eight bars if a maestro has the real goods.
On Saturday at 8:15 p.m. in the Amphitheater, Muffitt will conduct both the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and five students from the MSFO in this season’s inter-arts collaboration of Go West!
What is music about? It’s an ancient and rather silly question, but it comes up every time the music of Dmitri Shostakovich is played — as it was at Saturday’s concert by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
Sometimes the gap between one tradition, or one era, and another seems just too vast to bridge, to make the connection between the comforts of, say, the familiar older melodies when set against the risks of our moment, in this here and now.
The Logan Chamber Music Series will feature its second of two in-house Chautauquan groups at 4 p.m. this afternoon at Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall as the Chautauqua Wind Quintet performs a program titled “Mozartiana: A Midsummer concert with the Chautauqua Chamber Winds.”
A swell of Chautauquans flooded Hultquist Center porch Wednesday morning, overflowing onto the steps and surrounding area to listen to the Trustees Porch Discussion, “Fine & Performing Arts & Inter-arts Collaboration.”
This young man, his name is Cristian Macelaru, put his brand on the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Tuesday evening in the Amphitheater. For this was no ordinary New World Symphony they played together, even though there is a world full of the New Worlds now — too many, really, some of them like weeds growing in music videos and advertisements and ever more on the variety of airwaves.