Hammer, Retreat, and Zhou B: Reflecting on October 9-22, 2018

The Civic Season has begun in earnest. Two fun and full weeks began on October 8 when the Civic Fellows drove up to beautiful Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, for some much-needed bonding, brainstorming, and planning. Over the course of the two-day retreat, we got into specifics about our plans for the season, made life maps, talked about our dreams, wrote camp songs, and still had plenty of time for fun on the water, at the archery range, and around the campfire.Photo Oct 08, 1 32 49 PM (1)

I should mention that during the past two weeks we learned that Sandra Bailey has decided to leave the Civic Fellowship to pursue other opportunities. We were all so happy to meet Sandra and loved our time working with her. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Because of this circumstance, we had the opportunity to welcome a new Civic Fellow in bassoonist Quinn Delaney. Quinn is a great addition to this group and is already fitting in swimmingly.


Shortly after returning from the retreat the fellows and a few friends began preparing for our October 19 performance at Zhou B Art Center. Robin Schulze did a great job coordinating that program and ensuring everything went smoothly. That space made a big impression on me and I am planning to go back as a patron to enjoy the art. We performed a varied program of chamber music on the ground level where people were welcome to wander around the open space surrounding us or to escape to one of the other levels to enjoy the various installations and studios.


During one of our rehearsal days, the fellows had a fantastic seminar with Steven Wang of High Concept Labs about the process of writing grants and proposals. I have about five pages of notes as evidence of how useful I found that time. That information will be invaluable as we continue the process of developing our group projects for this spring.


Last week, Marin Alsop conducted the CSO in the world premiere of Threnos by Bruno Mantovani, Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto – performed by pianist Daniil Trifonov – and Copland’s Third Symphony. As part of a series of events honoring the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice, this concert featured works that encourage reflection and inspire hope. Part of this remembrance included preconcert chamber music performances of works from the World War I era by musicians of the Civic Orchestra.

Photos by Todd Rosenberg

These past two weeks also included our preparation for Civic’s concert with Erina Yashima, the CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice. The program consisted of Elizabeth Ogonek’s “All These Lighted Things,” (commissioned and premiered last year by the CSO) and Gustav Mahler’s “Tragic” Symphony No. 6. Erina Yashima led the orchestra through rehearsals and performances on these two pieces masterfully. Photo Oct 21, 4 04 08 PM

In addition to possessing a wide array of technical and expressive capabilities, Erina arrives at every rehearsal with a thorough understanding of the score and communicates a clear and compelling perspective on it. It was an absolute joy to work with her. Our work culminated in two performances. One at the South Shore Cultural Center on October 21 and another in Orchestra Hall on October 23. I cannot say enough about the overwhelming feeling of warmth and support that I received from those two audiences, and the calming effect that had on me. The performances this week are two I won’t soon forget.

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Photo by Todd Rosenberg

By Civic Fellow and cello Philip Bergman


TOP: The Civic Fellows enjoy some time in the water during their retreat to beautiful Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.