Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chang and Tchaikovsky

I went to a rehearsal of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. All the doors of the Art Centre were locked except the stage door which was the last one I tried. Guest conductor, Alasdair Neale, already had the orchestra hard at work. All the instrument cases were lying out on folding tables in the wings. I sat at the end of a table next to a huge cello case. Fearing I might knock the case over while sketching, I moved my chair away a bit. Sarah Chang, the solo violinist, never performed while I worked on the sketch. The security guard stopped and looked over my shoulder when I was first blocking in the sketch. I stiffened thinking he would insist I move out into the public seating. He lost interest and moved away.

The brooding emotional drama of the Fifth Symphony is classic Tchaikovsky. Rossini’s genius for melody and comedy permeates his popular Semiramide Overture. For pure American lyricism, no work outshines Barber’s Violin Concerto, performed by the incomparable Sarah Chang. I was impressed by several really gorgeous horn section solos. Periodically the conductor stopped the orchestra to go over subtle diction and tone he wanted emphasized.

The orchestra took a break just as I started adding color to the sketch. I was amazed at how many times I was asked to add more hair to player's manes. By the time everyone was back in place, I had all the large washes defining the stage in place. I added washes to the players as they started to perform again.

There is a performance tonight, Saturday January 26 at 8 pm and another performance Sunday January 27th at 3 pm at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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