Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

I went to a benefit concert for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra last night. The benefit was the brainchild of the director of the Performing Arts Center, someone I do not know, but whose last name is the same as one of the conductors of the night.

There were three conductors, none of which was the conductor of the philharmonic, which is a musician-owned orchestra, the only one of its kind in the U.S. Our own Michael Nowak and Cliff Swanson took the baton on some wonderful pieces of music, including Barber's Adagio for Strings - and the scherzo from Beethoven's ninth. And a Mozart symphony, a really short one. And more. In addition to the symphony, two jazz groups performed, terrific performers, of course New Orleans groups.  One of the groups, the Storyville Stompers Brass Band, consists of six musicians. They paraded their way through the lobby and onto the stage actually during the first intermission, so people were mingling in the halls and on the stairs when they came by, filling the building with music. At the end of the concert they again played their way into the hall as people were grabbing their coats, and marched around the hall, playing, single-file. Some members of the orchestra grabbed their instruments and took off after them, dancing and sometimes playing along, and the parade got longer until the stompers stopped in the main lobby area, where they continued to play to departing audience members. Many of whom simply stopped and danced.

The other jazz group was Banu Gibson and the New Orleans Hot Jazz Band. If she didn't exist I think they'd have had to invent her. She's in her thirties, I'd guess, outgoing and friendly,with a rich jazz voice, and she said she was born with that name. I thought it was some kind of New Orleans name but it's actually from some other country, I don't remember.

Interestingly, very few of the musicians are black. That disappointed me, of course. I believe the orchestra recruits from all over the country, of course, given it's a professional full-time orchestra. So color is what you get, and I'm sure there are more white musicians looking for work than there are black. They are fine musicians. It was a real treat to hear them play difficult music so effortlessly, so cleanly, so beautifully. Our own symphony often surprises me with its expertise but this is a higher level. Some musicians from the SLO symphony, in fact, joined the orchestra, which says something about the caliber of their playing.

The end...


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