Yesterday the New York Times, ran a wonderful article titled Music Therapy Helps the Dying, accompanied by a post in the Lens Blog (NYT's photography blog) Music in the Face of Death. The article featured music therapists from MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care who share music with the sick and dying as part of the palliative care program.
There are so many things that I love about the New York City Master Chorale. I love having the opportunity to sing under the phenomenal, inspirational Dr. Thea Kano. I am engaged by the repertoire we perform and have found much joy in each work, from Rachmaninoff Vespers to Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, of course Paul Leavitt's Requiem, as well as the shorter works we've performed. I love listening to the Duruflé Messe cum Jubilo (a work for men) and have often joked about my plans to sing it one day.
Today is the first official day of summer! I have to say: I still love summer. Growing up, summer was a chance to relax and spend my days reading, playing sports, practicing the piano (at my mother's request), taking day trips to a museum or to the beach. Now I love the promise of longer hours of sunlight, the fireflies that come out at night, and the myriad summer activities - hiking, going to the beach, picnics in the Park.
In early April, the New York Philharmonic had a limited run, staged-reading of Stephen Sondheim's Company, starring Patti LuPone, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, and Martha Plimpton. (Photos of the cast and production are here.) I was unable to attend the performance, but I was very excited to learn that the production is being shown at select movie theaters this week (upcoming showings on June 16, 19, and 21st).
Earlier this year, a friend from the chorus and I saw the movie Of Gods and Men (website here), which is based on John Kiser's book The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria. The book and movie are based on the true story of Trappist monks living in a predominantly Muslim community of war-torn Algeria in 1996. I found this movie moving and beautiful, and I find myself thinking about it frequently, even though it's now been well over a month since I saw it.
This weekend the annual World Science Festival (WSF) will be held in New York City. Started in 2008, this five-day event features the world's leading scientists, thinkers, and researchers, celebrating science through presentations, debates, film, and the arts. It is one of my favorite events of the summer, as I find that WSF presentations are fascinating and approachable, even for those who, like myself, don't have a background in science. This year there are several events in particular that intrigue me as a musician.
"What is the difference between a 'good concert' and a 'magical concert'?" a patron asked as the first question in the "Talk Back" session with Artistic Director Thea Kano and composer Paul Leavitt after Friday night's New York City-premiere of the Leavitt Requiem. It is a phenomenal, challenging, and extremely fitting question, as Friday night's concert was absolutely magical for me as a performer - and, it seems, for the audience as well.
This Friday the New York City Master Chorale will be celebrating its fifth anniversary. I have been part of this organization since the beginning, but it is still hard for me to believe that it has been five years.
Recently, The New York Times ran a fascinating article titled "To Tug Hearts, Music First Must Tickle the Neurons." The article mainly explores Dr. Daniel Levitin's studies of music perception and how music impacts our emotions.