top of page
Enhanced MM Taming the Beast.jpg



Every year, the federal TV in the now defunct country of Czechoslovakia broadcast the opening concert of the Prague Spring music festival. Even as a kid, I felt there was something different about this concert. The audience was in a state of high concentration. Faces wore noble and dignified expressions. The President of the country was present. I wondered: what is this music? What magic changes people in such a powerful way?


Even today, the opening program of Prague Spring remains the same: Smetana’s Má vlast. To say that Czechs care deeply about this piece is an understatement. They live every melodic phrase, every turn of harmony. I dreamt about one day recreating this experience in the United States, and now I am getting my wish! Welcome then to the story of Vyšehrad – an old castle that has seen glorious victories and crushing defeats. Follow with me two streams of the Vltava river, as they gather steam, merge, attend to a hunt, a wedding, spend time with river nymphs dancing in the moonlight, go through treacherous rapids, and finally meet their old friend Vyšehrad. Lastly, beware falling in love with Šárka, the Bohemian Amazon who gets caught between duty and passion, lest you want to share the gloomy fate of the princely knight, Ctibor. Truly, a more outrageous story of love and revenge is hard to find!


To us, the New World Symphony by Dvořák is filled with the sounds America is made of. So immense was the composer’s genius, that an alternative reading is equally plausible. Czechs find this music thoroughly theirs. In the famous Largo, they hear a call of a hopelessly homesick man. I did not fully appreciate this layer of the Symphony until Covid prevented me from going back to the old country for three years. It was the uncertainty of “when” that finally opened my ears. 


Today’s performance attempts to highlight two contrasting elements – the exciting promise of the new land and the wistful look back – and find a higher unity woven from Dvořák’s unsurpassable melodies. What a delight to visit my ancestral lands with you!


Happy to announce that I will be teaching at Aaron Copland School of Music in New York City this fall. This will complement nicely my Queens Symphony and Rogue Valley Symphony engagements!

Speaking of RVS, we are opening a brand new chapter with holiday pops! This exciting development grew out of our relationship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. December (Home for Holidays) and February (Valentine's Day) concerts will see the RVS appear in the Agnus Bowmer Theater. Read on for more details here

bottom of page