A lesson on how the internet has changed our profession:
Last fall, I was googling for an article on my Amadeus ex machina when I came across an entry under St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic. I clicked on the link and learned that the orchestra had scheduled my piece on its 04-05 season. I emailed the Music Director, whose name is Jeffrey Meyers, and we decided it would be splendid if I could come for the performance. He got funding from the State Department, I got a grant from my place of business, and now here I am. Without Google, I’d be sitting at home, unaware that the concert was taking place.
I met Jeff on Thursday morning on the Bridge of Sixteen Balls. Sixteen Balls is its nickname; I didn’t catch the official name. The nickname comes from the fact that the bridge is guarded by four naked, substantially endowed men and their equally impressive horses, all in bronze.
We had lunch at a nearby Indian restaurant, and I quickly found that I liked Jeff quite a bit. He is intelligent, earnest and witty, and he has a very pleasant energy. He founded the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic three years ago as a way to fill a niche that was missing in this culturally rich city: a chamber orchestra that would be equally at home with new and standard repertoire.
This particular program is entitled American and Russian Composers of the Twentieth Century to the Present Day. The Americans of past and present are Samuel Barber and me; the Russians are Tcherepnin (1899-1977), Slonimsky (b. 1932) and Buzina (b. 1977).
I have to hand it to Jeff: the concert is getting great coverage in the St. Petersburg Times, despite the number of other events going on this weekend: Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Oedipus Rex, and any number of orchestra, chamber and solo performances.
Off to rehearsal; I will try to get back soon.