Newly Refurbished Symphony Hall in Phoenix

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by Derek Reaban, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    I had a very enjoyable evening getting to play with an orchestra at the newly refurbished Phoenix Symphony Hall and working with the new Music Director of the PSO, Michael Christie!

    I left work and arrived at the parking garage across from the Bank One Ballpark and did my normal warm-up / maintenance routine from 4:45 PM to 5:15 PM. I had the air on because it’s still really hot in Phoenix, and it was actually not too bad playing in the passenger seat of my car. I headed down to the Hard Rock Café for dinner and made it back to my car by 6 PM and played for another 15 minutes. Everything felt great and I spent another 10 minutes listening to the beginning of Beethoven 5 with my part just to start falling into the music.

    I walked from the parking garage to the stage door and was there in plenty of time to check in. There were so many people that turned out for the 1st Annual “Play-In†that they divided the orchestra in half (I was placed in both groups so I got to play everything) - the group was made up of players from local symphonies around the valley.

    I’ve known about this play-in for about a month (along with the list of what we would be playing) and I’ve been listening to the music on my drive to and from work every day. I spent time listening to the music with the parts early in the first week so I really knew the parts before I ever sat down to play a note. Talk about a great way to learn music!

    There were 3 trumpets that showed up and we played on Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture, Beethoven Symphony No. 5, and the Carmen Suite No. 1 (the orchestra also read Mozart Symphony No. 40).

    I drew the 1st part for the Tchaik and I was so prepared for this I felt like I was playing a concert. I literally knew the part so well that I was completely at ease with my playing. There was no fumbling for notes or rhythms, no trip-ups with a Trumpet in E part, no missed entrances. It was just literally on autopilot. And it really showed in my playing. I was simply doing what I had been working on for the past 4 weeks and made it sound as easy as knew it should sound. No forcing or uncertainty, just a relaxed approach, a vibrant sound and nicely shaped phrases. I should be so well prepared for every first rehearsal that I attend!

    I played second on the Beethoven and sat out for the Carmen. But I knew all the parts backwards and forwards, and could have played any part they put in front of me.

    Michael Christie was very easy to follow, and I really enjoyed getting to see him in action. After the break he asked if anyone wanted to learn how to conduct the opening of the Beethoven, and his description of pulling a rubber band back in time along with some dramatic gestures made the woman that volunteered feel at ease. After she had some success, he invited another person up. This time it was a girl about 10 years old, and she did great! What a feeling for a 10 year old to wield so much power over a big orchestra (about 150 people showed up for the evening).

    We played the Beethoven again with Michael Christie (1st and 4th movements) and then called it an evening.

    I was very impressed at the lively sound that we heard in the new hall. I hope the Phoenix audiences will enjoy the newly transformed venue.

    I will certainly take this experience with me the next time there is an audition at the PSO. It was so much fun to play the principal part over a big orchestra at Symphony Hall and be extremely well prepared and relaxed. Now I know that I can play any part well in that hall. I will definitely draw on those feelings the next time I’m playing by myself on that same stage!

    What a great evening!
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    Jul 13, 2005

    The opening of a new hall speaks loudly about the health of a musical community. How wonderful for you on many levels.

    The new Frank Geary designed Disney Hall ( opened to great acclaim 2 seasons ago and the buzz continues. People who came the first time to see the architecture are now coming back and bringing friends. The LAPhil is still bathing in the reflected light of the exterior, as is CalArts. Our REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater) is the "second" stage in the building and the most technologically advanced black box in the world.

  3. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Thats awsome, it sounds like you had a great time. My privet lessons teacher Sharon Ash played at that with you. She sure seemed excited when we were talking about it at my lesson last week. So from the looks of it you guys had fun! I can't wait untill I'm advanced enough to experiance things like that.
  4. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    In addition to the renovated Phoenix Symphony Hall, the Valley will debut another new hall this season. The Mesa Arts Center (which will be the home of my orchestra - The Mesa Symphony) will have four separate theaters, 200,000+ square feet, and the Ikeda Hall will have 1,600 seats. I'm going there tomorrow night for our first meeting of the season to get a tour of the hall!

    Here's an artist's conception of the Center at night and there are more details at this website.


    It must be very exciting to have performances in the new Disney Hall in LA. I'm going to make it over there one of these days to hear the LA Phil.
  5. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    I've heard Sharon's name for years and I met her for the first time last night. The 2nd player that sits beside me in the Mesa Symphony plays in a quintet with Sharon and another player that I've known for years plays in the San Marcos Symphony with her (he was at the play-in too). I even subbed for her in a quintet job several years ago. It was certainly a neat opportunity that brought us together last night!

    Glad to hear you're studying with a good player.

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