Getting there is half the fun part 2

Steve and I go through his two pieces today. One is a world premiere by Gerald Garcia called Heart of the Rose, a concerto in three movements for strings and guitar. It’s a little pop for my usual tastes, but it makes up for it with a lot of fresh humor and very good virtuoso writing for the guitar. I’m sure the audience will love it. Also on the program is Malcom Arnold’s Serenade for Guitar and Strings, which is a short, simple and gorgeous piece.

 In the evening, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are performing at St. David’s Hall, and we go. It’s not one of their better programs (one new piece is absolutely awful garbage by one of the few composers in the world who seems to make money hand-over-fist writing this dreck), nor is it a promising conductor. Still, after the overture, Steve turns to me, absolutely blown away. “What an orchestra! What a hall! Their brass are amazing- so much better than L.A. Phil!”

 I’m delighted to hear him say it- I see this orchestra work their hearts out week in and week out, and they always deliver in concerts. There is a truly selfless culture in the band, and it makes for great concerts, even on nights when it maybe doesn’t deserve to be great…. 

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

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