August 3, 2016

August updates from RPO Musicians

While you can’t catch an RPO concert in August, many of our musicians use this time to travel and perform with other ensembles. We caught up with a few principal musicians to see what they are up to this month!

Erik Behr and Juliana Athayde
principal oboe (The Dr. Jacques M. Lipson Chair) and concertmaster (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair)
Interview with Erik Behr
Credit Suzy Gorman
What are you up to this summer?
Juliana and I are traveling to Idaho to join the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, playing principal oboe and concertmaster/associate concertmaster of the orchestra there. I will also be playing chamber music and we are thrilled to be there with our daughter, Kaia and her grandmother, (Juliana's mom) visiting from California!

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony is comprised of fantastic musicians from some of the best orchestras in the country, and the guest list and repertoire are incredible. The donors of this festival also provide sponsorship so that attendance is free for the audience!

Why is it important to you to find opportunities to perform outside the RPO?
We have been coming to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony for nearly a decade. We get to play with amazing musicians and learn about unique collaborations that are changing orchestral music, and then we bring ideas back to the RPO community to see what could work for our audience. Playing outside the RPO keeps us more aware of innovation and the high-level of talent we have throughout the nation.

Juliana Athayde performing with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony this month. Here she performed three of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Photo by Nils Ribi.

Rebecca Gilbert, principal flute
The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair
credit Suzy Gorman

I am playing a special concert at Perinton Park's Center Stage at 6 PM on Sunday, August 28 with a group I play with called The Mancini Trio, named after Dave Mancini. I am a founding member of the group. It's a Latin program and we performed it on “Live at Hochstein” last spring. The concert is free to attend! Our performance will be followed by a performance by the RPO Marimba Band.

We will be playing a piece called Sonata Latino by Mike Mower (which has a tango movement in it), Fiesta Latina by Dave Mancini, Mallorca by Jeff Tyzik, and Amazing Grace, arranged by Dave Mancini. Though this program is mainly Latin music, the group doesn’t just play Latin style music and we have a variety of repertoire that we can present depending on the presenter’s needs. My specific interest in Latin music came from studying tango dancing for several years, culminating in a short residency in Buenos Aires, Argentina back in 2000

Why is it important to you to find opportunities to perform outside the RPO? 
The music world is so multi-dimensional and I love engaging in all kinds of collaborations beyond the concerts I play with the RPO. I love playing chamber music because of the immediacy and intimacy of the collaboration. It is a complement to the large scale works that I play in the RPO all year long! In chamber music performances, I have more control over the interpretations and overall musical impression I can offer an audience. Further, collaborating with Dave Mancini (who is an active composer/arranger) offers another layer of creativity as we often meet to collaborate when he is writing for flute. I think of myself as an ambassador for all kinds of music and I feel it is particularly important to be an active and engaged advocate for live musical performances by performing as much as possible beyond the RPO concert stage!

Rebecca Gilbert performs with The Mancini Trio on WXXI's Arts in Focus

Doug Prosser, principal trumpet

The Elaine P. Wilson Chair
credit Suzy Gorman
What are you up to this summer?
I just got back from Vail, Colorado where I played Mahler's Second Symphony with The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo Festival. I grew up in Colorado, and the RPO used to spend our summer season there, so it was a particularly nostalgic and wonderful time to be back!

This month, Eastman School of Music Trumpet Professor James Thompson and I will lead a week of performances and classes at the Eastman Summer Trumpet Institute. It’s always a fun week with talented young trumpet players.

After that, I'll be playing with The Philadelphia Orchestra during their residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. My wife, Hilde and my daughter, Andrea will be joining me there. We've been there before and absolutely love it! The restaurants, day trips, bike rides, hiking, and concerts all converge to make it an awesome summer destination for us. Then, we're taking a family vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine for five days. I have visited Maine for a brass festival over the last several years, but this will be the first time I get to go with my family.

Why is it important to you to find opportunities to perform outside the RPO?

That's a good question. I guess my take on being an ambassador for the RPO is to be exhaustively prepared to perform at the highest level. That's really what most of my outside-of-RPO experiences entail for me, especially when playing in Philadelphia. I've developed friendships in my musical collaborations outside of Rochester and those relationships always provide an opportunity to speak about the things we're doing here. Most of the trombone players I know in Philly are always curious to know how the orchestra is doing and how we're enjoying working with Ward Stare as our new music director. They most certainly recognize his past and his inspiring presence as a trombone player and it's great to be able to speak with them about all the positive things he's doing in Rochester!

Doug Prosser (far right) backstage in
Vail, Colorado

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