Austin Symphony / Leila Josefowicz : 4 of 5
At the last minute I decided to treat myself to the Austin Symphony's season opening concert, and once again I realized how much I love going to the symphony! This was the first non-opera event I've seen in the Long Center, and I was really amazed at the acoustics. I always enjoy people watching at arts events - I was inspired by an elderly woman sitting next to me, since I hope I'm still going to see concerts when I'm her age! The guest artist was violinist Leila Josefowicz, who played Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major with flamboyance and energy. She really stood out from the orchestra in her blue and gold, gypsy-like dress, and she even wrote her own cadenzas (even including tympani in one of them). The concert also included the world premiere of Field of Infinite Forms, which is a combination orchestral and electronic work that was commissioned by the Austin Symphony. I have to say this was a really bizarre piece, but the use of speakers throughout the hall was very cool (I just had a problem with all the Doctor Who synthesizer sounds!). The finale was Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, which I have listened to a million times, but it was absolutely incredible to hear it live. I'm always astounded at how much it sounds like a movie score - modern films really owe a lot to Stravinsky's groundbreaking work. I was also struck by the thought that audiences back in 1919 probably thought The Firebird sounded just as weird as the electronic piece I had just heard - maybe that's why it was chosen for the program! There's absolutely nothing like hearing a live orchestra - I think everyone, regardless of how they feel about classical music, should go at least once!