What first interested you in orchestral music?
I would like to say that my love of orchestral music came from my music teachers in school, the opera which played in my home every Saturday hosted by Milton Cross because that would be so very highbrow and sophisticated.
Looking back the reality is that my love of orchestral music came from watching cartoons on TV. Warner Brothers in particular used a lot of orchestral music in the background. One particularly memorable cartoon from that collection was based on the orchestrated version of List's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 where the cartoon characters built a skyscraper in time with the music (Every time I hear that I remember the cartoon).
So, the question is: what brought you to orchestral music?
My childhood Suzuki program had a string orchestra. One of my earliest music experiences was having to walk through their rehearsal room on the way to my private lesson. There were a bunch of elementary-school kids playing Brandenburg 3 in its simplified version. I really,
Playing Brahms's second symphony in my school orchestra; within 2 or 3 years I was a classical music junkie. One advantage of not being involved in the performance is that I get to hear a better one!
Brahms symphonies on my dad's LP collection I went through while my parents left for vacation and I stayed at home and looked after house and garden when I was 15. As a classically trained pianist I was pretty close with classical music already, especially piano rep, but maybe because of my growing up in a small town in a very rural area I had no sense at all for orchestral music - until then.
The very first piece of music I played in an orchestra, which was Britten's Simple Symphony. At 12, I was quite taken by the Sentimental Sarabande.
My mother I guess: classical music was always on the radio or the record player. However, I think the first time I went 'oh wow' was the famous pianist Schroeder, playing Beethoven's Pathetique (OK its not orchestral but I think I can stretch the OP to classical).
My father's record collection for one. Then our city had a very good all-city Youth Orchestra, at two age levels. I remember starting with Corelli Xmas concerto, then later things like Brahms symphonies, Stravinsky Petrushka, Pines of Rome,.. They always did the original editions, never simplified arrangements.
My interest in orchestral music grew immensely because of a very beautiful cellist sitting across violin section. Brahms #3 never sounded quite the same after that!
Seeing Vanessa Mae play Bach's Partita 3 Prelude, believe it or not. I just couldn't believe it was one violin instead of two, and to this day the sound capable of a violin amazes me.
My childhood teacher was founding concertmaster of the local community orchestra. He was a good player. We would go to their concerts. I was impressed when they did Scheherezade.
The womb? My parents were/are classical music buffs. They didn’t play themselves but especially my father supported musicians wherever he could. He sadly passed away way too early, but I still hear redirected thanks from people who’s first pro grade instrument he financed or backed their travel expenses for auditions. There were frequent chamber music sessions amongst musical friends (artist family. Don’t get me started, it is all a bit wild. My parents would provide the space, one friend did the poster ...it’s all very nostalgic.) The first piece of music I remember knowing by name was Vivaldi 4 seasons. I painted a new cover for the fraying LP when I was 4 - it’s still there : D I am passionate about almost all genres of music with in one way or another with the possible exception of RNB and german schlager music, but this world has stayed with me even through my deepest Punk years.
Playing in youth orchestra. I fell in love with the feeling of simultaneously being surrounded by sound and being part of it.
Attending my first live orchestral concert when I was 12. I'd just moved back to the US after 9 years in Dubai where Western classical music was virtually nonexistent at the time, and my family wasn't musical at all, so I knew orchestras existed but hadn't heard one outside of film scores before. Within two or three months, I had a whole pile of classical CDs.
What I miss from childhood youth symphonies: Having giant string sections -- 11 stands a section. Even professional orchestras rarely have big string sections any longer. I love the sound of massed strings. I also loved playing choral-festival gigs with 100+ person choruses. I particularly love the massive "wall of sound" effect, sitting principal second which essentially lets you hear the orchestra the way that the conductor hears it, dead center.
When I started on the violin in 6th grade, I just thought it was a cool thing to be able to play. I never really thought much about orchestral/classical music too much. I don't remember when exactly, but at some point before 8th grade, my mom told me about the local youth orchestra that she and my biological father were both in. She told me about the tour in Europe that they went on, and she gave me a CD of them performing Peter And the Wolf by Prokofiev and Dvorak's 9th Symphony. I never really listened to Peter And the Wolf too much, but I started listening to the Dvorak over and over again. She also gave me the 1st violin part that was my dads when they performed it. I would try to follow along with the recording, and it would sound awful since i had about 2.5 years of playing under my belt, but I remember really wishing I could perform it sometime. I still haven't, but I ended up joining the youth orchestra and played in all 3 levels, and as a senior in HS, I got to perform in a national festival with the orchestra. So I guess I could credit both the Dvorak recording and youth orchestra for getting me into violin and orchestral music.
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