Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paul Haas's week with the FSO

Good afternoon! It's a pleasure to be blogging here from Fairfax, where I've been preparing for this Saturday's concert since Monday night. I drove down from NYC, where I've lived since 1996, and largely avoided any traffic (which is quite a feat, they tell me!) - and the FSO hosted a fantastic welcome party for me on that evening.

Yesterday was spent getting to know the Fairfax County Public Schools a bit, speaking with members of the FCPS administration, and having the pleasure of attending one of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra's "Classical Kids Club" concerts. I was very impressed by the professionalism, scope, and effectiveness of that concert, which was actually an ingenious blend of concert AND talk show, hosted by the FSO's associate conductor, Glenn Quader, with members of the FSO playing and speaking. I can't tell you how incredible it was to watch these young people (K-5), especially their faces, lighting up with surprise, recognition, and sheer joy again and again.

Last night was our first rehearsal for the concert, and it was very intense. The first rehearsal with a new orchestra (new to me, not to you!) is always a unique experience for me, with both orchestra and conductor getting to know one another, getting used to each other's styles and mannerisms. A week like this, working with the FSO, is really a journey. I'm fascinated by that journey, becoming closer with the musicians in the orchestra, making progressively better music together, and learning what makes them respond in a positive, intensely active way.

The rest of the week holds a lot of meetings and rehearsals for me, and I'm going to be putting all of my energy into a fantastic performance for YOU on Saturday. I want to let all of you know how much I appreciate your interest, your enthusiasm, and your coming to the concert this Saturday. Please know this program I'm conducting is tailor-made for you, filled with rousing, energetic, and unforgettable music. My goal for this - and every concert I conduct - is to leave the audience breathless, excited, and wanting more. I'm looking forward to sharing that with all of you.

For those of you who want to learn more about the pieces on the program in advance of the concert, please do come to the ConcerTalk (pre-concert lecture) I'll be giving at 7pm on Saturday night, just before the show.


Paul Haas