Symphony offers 'backstage' series to broaden appeal

July 21, 1996|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Jane Schorsch, the new executive director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, knows full well that concert audiences HTC across America are graying as arts budgets are becoming leaner.

"I'm rabid on the subject of combating these trends," she said in her office on the first floor of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. "The antidote is education. I want everything we do to have an educational component, and I don't mean just for the kids. If we only educate young people, it will take us 30 years to rebuild our audience."

Attendance at ASO concerts has risen steadily in recent years, but Schorsch, who has managed several other arts organizations and served recently as director of audience development for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is taking nothing for granted.

Beginning with the 1996-1997 season, conductor Gisele Ben-Dor's valedictory season with the ASO, concert-goers will be invited to sign up for "Backstage at the ASO," a series of seven classes taking people behind the scenes to see how a symphony works.

Sessions will be presented by members and friends of the orchestra on topics such as musical instruments, rehearsal techniques, repertoire selection and the role of the critic.

"We did this in Baltimore, and both the public and the musicians had enormous fun," Schorsch said. "We staged mock auditions, taught about bowing and tempo markings, had people blowing into all sorts of mouthpieces and demonstrated how to read a score. Everyone loved it."

"Backstage at the ASO" will be conducted in Room 306 at Maryland Hall from 7: 30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Sept. 5. The fee will be $90 for supporting ASO members and $110 for nonmembers.

Call the orchestra at 269-1132 for more information.

The orchestra also will present "Windows on Music," a series of free 45-minute lectures, before its Friday evening subscription concerts during the 1996-1997 season.

Discussing such masterworks as the Dvorak Cello Concerto, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and Brahms' Fourth Symphony will be Rachel Franklin, the British pianist who played Mozart's K.466 Piano Concerto with the Anne Arundel Community College Orchestra this spring. Franklin, young and personable, already has performances at London's Wigmore Hall and New York's Carnegie Recital Hall to her credit.

The orchestra also is continuing its commitment to the young.

Schoolchildren from across the county will come to Maryland Hall this fall for "Superheroes in Music," which will feature the newly published book, "Brave Martha and the Dragon" by Maryland author Susan L. Roth along with music of Copland, Wagner, Bizet and Stravinsky.

The ASO's annual children's concerts are scheduled Oct. 20 and March 9, and the orchestra will again be registering youngsters for "Discovering the Symphony," its Thursday afternoon music appreciation class, this fall.

"It's very simple," Schorsch said. "People of all ages need to feel encouraged to want to enter a concert hall and make a decision about what they've heard. And all that really takes is two ears and a heart."

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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