"The Magic Mirror"
“The Magic Mirror” at the New York International Fringe Festival at CSV Flamboyan Theater ”
by David Roberts
THEATRE IS EASY
“The Magic Mirror”
by Joseph Samuel Wright
“The Magic Mirror”
by Joel Benjamin
THE NEW ENGLAND THEATRE GEEK
“The Magic Mirror”: Window Into Another World
by Gillian Daniels
BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER
A Russian Snow White Awakens
by Brian Schuth
Review by Julie Congress · August 21, 2013
Sunday, March 25 at 4pm
Normandale Lutheran Church, 6100 Normandale Road, Edina, MN 55436
William Schrickel, conductor
Vincent Youmans/Dmitri Shostakovich – Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two)
Polina Nazaykinskaya – Winter Bells
Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony #10 in E minor, op. 93
Shostakovich’s powerful and personal Tenth Symphony traverses an exceptionally wide-ranging emotional terrain, while his witty setting of Tea for Two, created in 40 minutes on a bet, could not be more tongue-in-cheek. Polina Nazaykinskaya’s Winter Bells is the young composer’s evocation of seasonal sounds and memories of her native Russia.
We are excited to introduce Russian composer Polina Nazaykinskaya to concertgoers this Sunday when the orchestra performs her impressive piece, Winter Bells. This is the rising composer's first orchestral composition. It was performed by the Minnesota Orchestra at its annual Composers Institute concert in 2010.
We recently caught up with Polina to learn more about her background, work and musical inspirations. Enjoy!
Please tell us about your musical beginnings.
I was born and grew up in Togliatti, an industrial city in the south of Russia. I began to study the piano at the age of two, the violin at the age of four and the flute at the age of six. At the age of four I enrolled into a Music Academic Gymnasium in Togliatti, where I specialized in all three instruments. I graduated from the academy at the age of 15, and then I enrolled into a music program (with concentration in violin and composition) at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. It was during those formative years at the Conservatory I realized that I wanted to become a professional composer.
What brought you to the U.S.?
I applied to and was accepted by the Yale School of Music. Reflecting back on my experience, I realize that is was serendipitous. In 2010 I completed a Master of Music program in composition at the Yale School of Music. Currently I am pursuing a Doctoral Degree in composition at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music.
Tell us about Winter Bells. Where did the idea come from?
In the summer of 2009, after finishing my first year of graduate school, I was preparing to write a symphonic poem, but I did not have the material or an idea with which I could work. In search of it, I went back to Russia.
In the course of a month, I made trips to several old Russian villages situated in depths of the Volga region, my native land, and collected and recorded songs and folk melodies from elderly villagers, where the oral tradition has been prevalent for centuries. I used this material as a source of inspiration, yet at the time I felt that a something important was missing. I found the missing link after visiting a series of sacred places in the wilderness in the Volga Valley in the same month: three mountain peaks that, when seen from an aerial perspective, appeared to be forming a giant goblet.
I was all alone, with vastness of space and rocks stretching in all directions when it came to me. It was a choral, religious motif, and I knew that I had found a key to the symphonic piece. I continued to work on the piece after I returned to the U.S., refining it and make it conform to my inner vision. I was able to complete the piece in November 2009.
How did you come to know the MSO?
I met Bill Schrickel through the Minnesota Orchestra's Composers Institute. He introduced himself to me after one of the rehearsals and asked if he could perform my piece with the MSO. I was so happy to hear that he liked the piece and wanted to perform it with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra! And now it's happening! I can't wait!
I became acquainted and worked closely with the MSO in November of 2011. Through a very kind favor, Bill Schrickel granted me 30 minutes of rehearsal time with the orchestra, during which I got an opportunity to conduct the MSO. It was such a fantastic experience on all levels. As a fledgling conductor and a composer, I could only dream of working with such a great group of enthusiastic, dedicated, and skilled musicians.
I am so much looking forward to hearing the wonderful Metropolitan Symphony to perform my Winter Bells under the baton of Bill Schrickel - one of the greatest musicians I've ever known.
How do you feel about Shostakovich symphonies and having Winter Bells paired with his Symphony No. 10?
What does a young artist who is paired with a renowned master feel? Anxiety? Elation? Disbelief? The feeling is hard to describe. Shostakovich is one of my absolute favorite composers, who had a profound influence on my professional development. And the Symphony No. 10, especially the second movement, has served as a source of inspiration for the Winter Bells. It is an enormous honor to be paired with one of the greatest symphonies of the 20th century. It's all that a young composer can dream of.
New composers score with fresh work
By Rob Hubbard
Special to the Pioneer Press
Updated: 10/29/2010 11:28:25 PM CDT
If you think the job market is tough in your field, imagine what it would be like if you were competing for work with a few centuries worth of dead people. That's what classical composers are up against in trying to get their work performed by professional orchestras, which tend to set aside most of their season for works by folks like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mahler.
But several young composers make inroads into American concert halls every year, and a fortunate septet of them were able to have pieces performed by conductor Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra on Friday. It was the concluding concert of the 10th annual Composer Institute, a week of workshops, career advice and music making that showcased seven talents at various stages of development, but all with something interesting to say musically.
The influences that emerged in each of the works were admirably diverse, but a theme that came through was how confident some of the composers were in expressing their sense of cultural identity in their music. Hybrids of eastern and western musical traditions could be found in "Namaskar," the concert-opening work by Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen, as well as in the First Symphony of Chinese composer Wang Jie. And the conflict that raged through much of Clint Needham's "The Body Electric" subsided to expose a calm center that sounded like a stroll through a Japanese garden.
Were there any familiar classical composers whose influence emerged over the course of the evening? Well, the shadow of Dmitri Shostakovich darted in and out of many of the works, with plenty of low menacing chords, scurrying fast figures that sounded like desperate fleeing, and jarring explosions from the percussion section, which was given quite a workout by each of the composers.
Will any of the works be "future classics," as the Minnesota Orchestra has annually dubbed this concert? Well, each of the composers showed a lot of promise, but the women among the seven — Wang Jie and Polina Nazaykinskaya — seemed the most self-assured about the sound world they wished to create. Wang Jie's First Symphony traveled a fascinating arc over its 14 minutes, with a simple interval of two notes providing the foundation for a work that grows from innocent inquiry to roiling tension to a deep sense of loss.
Nazaykinskaya's "Winter Bells" may have been the most conventional work in tone and structure, but this young Russian composer is clearly inspired by the religious and folk traditions of her native land, as well as the lush orchestral colors the great Russian romantics unleashed upon the world. "Winter Bells" proved so evocative and cinematic that it wouldn't be surprising to see this composer's name on a major film score very soon. And those might be the most lucrative jobs a composer can get in the current market.