Electric Gershwin performance
Standing ovation for young pianist
Discussing the complexities of George Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue with
a writer before last Fridays Sun Valley Summer Symphony American composers concert,
pianist Jeremie Michael disclosed that although he had played the Gershwin classic many
times, never had he done so with an orchestra.
In a sense, it didnt matter. Michael, a 19-year-old musical
prodigy who is studying at the Juilliard School, electrified a packed house under the tent
and received a prolonged, and deserved, standing ovation. He received a bouquet of flowers
for his elegant effort, lower right.
Michael, currently music director of the long-running off-Broadway
smash, The Fantastiks, said its actually more work playing
"Rhapsody" solo because the pianist must master more of the orchestration on the
Michael brought a rhythmic bounce to the 1924 piece that would have
made Gershwin proud.
Complementing Michaels verve was clarinetist David Neuman of the
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, whose opening gliss on "Rhapsodys"
signature note seemed to have a particularly jazzy lilt, setting the table for
The program also included pieces by Bernstein, Barber and Sousa. Its
quality was all the more remarkable because the symphonys approximately 85
musicians, mostly Americans but with a few Canadians mixed in, rehearse only once on the
afternoon of the evening performance.
"It amazes me how quickly we adapt to one another," said
Alasdair Neale, the symphonys music director, shown below conducting Friday night.
"People have to make adjustments," the 37-year-old associate
conductor of the San Francisco Symphony said during a rehearsal break Friday afternoon.
"Its a challenge."
Last Friday night, that challenge was certainly met. The result: a