Tonight’s concert, Transcendent Triumph and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 was suitably billed as the Full InsideOut Concerts™ Experience. This performance by David Bernard and Park Avenue Chamber Symphony honored Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece of Russian romantic music with its soaring emotional heights and virtuosic writing. Bernard’s informative introductions and work with children help educate current and future audiences on symphonic music’s beauty, magnificence, and importance.
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In 2015, Maestro David Bernard of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony began his examination into how orchestras might increase their success with the classical music world’s biggest challenge—audience growth. Bernard pondered the difference between people who are classical music enthusiasts—and those less informed about classical music. Bernard hypothesized that the main difference is the lack of an immersive classical music experience in the lives of those who have yet to discover the beauty and power of music. At this moment, the concept of Bernard’s now well-known “InsideOut” was born, and in the coming seasons, he incorporated a new kind of immersive strategy into symphonic concerts. With each successive event, he “tweaked” the model, ultimately developing an approach toward maximizing immersion in classical music concerts.
This auspicious event was the fruit of an esteemed collaboration between the Kaufman Music Center and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. Gifted young artists competed for the opportunity to grace the stage and perform major musical works with a symphony orchestra before a packed house in a remarkable concert space.
Performed by the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony at today’s two concerts was Sergei Prokofiev’s delightful Peter and the Wolf featuring WQXR evening host and luminary Terrance McKnight. In this symphonic fairy tale for children, Prokofiev introduced storytelling, the instruments of the orchestra, and abstract thinking associated with how sound can represent images and ideas. This delightful, imaginative experience was pedagogically exceptional for engaging cognitive functions related to symbolic representation, conceptualization, and metaphorical thinking. Most importantly, it was engaging and fun.
Experiencing the ineffable, expressive unfolding of the music while seated among the musicians was, without exaggeration, an exalted, rapturous, and elegiac pluradimensional experience. The blinding radiance and pathos of these moments were to reoccur in the Symphony’s successive musical offerings slated for this evening.