Monday, November 1, 2010

From Blog to Blog, Musically Speaking

(I pretty much wrote this article myself, with a few tweaks from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Manager of Publications...he told me he had to excise all the "personality of my conversational style", and so removed some lighthearted remarks I had included. Oh, well, still great to be asked and to have the recognition for the organization that sucks the life out of me on a daily basis. JUST KIDDING!)

Here's a link to the actual DSO blog post, though I've copied all but the photos below.

DSO Guild: Fun Insights for Music Lovers

Meet Nicole LeBlanc, president of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Guild. With these questions-and-answers, LeBlanc introduces the DSO Guild and talks about its membership, social events and support for Performance Preludes, the DSO’s entertaining and informative pre-concert programs. She explains how the Guild lets music lovers meet and hear from DSO conductors and guest artists, and talks about her appreciation for the DSO and its programs.

Who can join the DSO Guild?

DSO Guild members love classical music and love to meet the instrumentalists, composers and conductors who bring that music to life at the Meyerson Symphony Center each week. We are individuals from all backgrounds, men and women of all ages, working and retired, music aficionados all. We are dedicated to deepening our knowledge and appreciation of music. We get to know each other at our member events, making smart new friends and new musical discoveries at the same time.

How is the DSO Guild related to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra?

Since 1968, the DSO Guild has fulfilled its mission of supporting, promoting and funding the adult music education efforts of the DSO. We further that mission by conducting ten Guild meetings during the season, holding an annual fundraising gala dinner and by fully underwriting the DSO’s free pre-concert Performance Preludes series.

What the heck is a Performance Prelude?

Performance Preludes are informative, educational and entertaining lectures, held one hour prior to each DSO classical series concert. Performance Preludes are FREE to all ticketholders. The lectures, which take place in Horchow Hall on the lower level of the Meyerson, last approximately 45 minutes. The presentations are given by some of the most accomplished music scholars in the area and usually include audio-visual components. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll get out in plenty of time to find your seat. Click here for the schedule

What’s special to you personally about the DSO and the DSO Guild?

My world is filled with music of all kinds (from Bartok to Broadway and Baaba Maal to Bollywood) but clearly I do have a special love for classical music. One of the first things on our agenda when my husband Bill and I moved to Dallas in 1992 was to investigate how we could attend Dallas Symphony concerts. Unfortunately for us, the entire season was sold out by subscription! We were placed on a waiting list and we haven’t let our subscription lapse since 1993.

I am an intensely curious person by nature, always seeking more knowledge about the things that interest me—so from the first DSO Guild event I attended in 2005, I was completely hooked. I was so comfortable getting to know the members, almost as though I had discovered a secret society of my own geeky kind--other music and arts lovers who felt just as I did about the fellowship and enrichment opportunities offered by the Guild. There is no other group like it! I genuinely look forward to every one of our meetings and hope to remain involved for many years to come.

What are Guild member events like?

The Guild usually holds ten events throughout the DSO season. Luncheon meetings are held at elegant clubs like the Petroleum Club, Lakewood Country Club and The Tower Club. Evening events take place in some of the most beautiful homes in Dallas and feature wine and hors d’oeuvres. The guest artists at our events are the noted and noteworthy instrumentalists, composers and conductors who are sharing their musical gifts with the DSO at the time.

Past guest artists have included conductors Jaap van Zweden, Andrew Litton and Marin Alsop; composers Jennifer Higdon (winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music) and Steven Stucky (August 4, 1964, to be performed by the DSO at Carnegie Hall in May); and stellar soloists such as pianist Steven Hough, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. Although our events are both elegant and educational, lighthearted fun and camaraderie permeate every gathering, thanks to our common love of music. Each meeting seems more enjoyable than the last – they are anything but boring!

What’s going on at the Guild this season?

Thus far in fall 2010, we have been treated to a presentation and duets by DSO principal oboist Erin Hannigan and associate principal bassoonist Scott Walzel; a Q & A with talented and charming violinist Nicola Benedetti; and an intimate evening with cellist Lynn Harrell, who brought his instrument and played it in the unique and spectacular surroundings of a 1910 church-turned-residence where our event was held.

On Wednesday (Nov. 3), Guild members will spend the evening at the high-rise tower The House in Victory Park, site of the Dallas City Living Tour sponsored by our sister support group the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League. We’ll have wine and hors d’oeuvres and hear a presentation by dynamic conductor Alondra de la Parra, who will be leading the DSO in a program of Latin Masterworks Nov. 4-7 at the Meyerson.

In January, we’ll enjoy a luncheon with composer Poul Ruders, who is writing Symphony No. 4, An Organ Symphony, a world premiere organ concerto for the DSO and its principal organist Mary Preston, who will also join us. That will be followed in early February by an evening meeting featuring composer Stewart Copeland, drummer of famed rock trio The Police. Copeland, too, is working on a world premiere, Gamelan D’Drum, for the DSO and D’Drum, a percussion ensemble featuring several members of the DSO’s percussion section. Also in the works is an early-March luncheon meeting with conductor Gunther Herbig who will conduct Mozart and Dvorak with the DSO March 3-6. We’ll also have three more exciting events that are still under wraps.

Is that all that’s going on the DSO Guild?

Why, no. We have just confirmed that local favorite and international piano sensation Olga Kern will perform at our annual Spring Gala on April 3. Kern will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of her winning the Gold Medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Since that time, she has gone on to great acclaim as both recitalist and concert pianist, but has always maintained a special relationship with the Metroplex because it was in Fort Worth that her glamorous, globetrotting career was launched. Our gala is an intimate affair - a cocktail reception and sumptuous dinner in elegant surroundings, followed by a private recital by Kern! Proceeds from the gala help underwrite the Performance Preludes lectures.

Can I join the DSO Guild?

Yes! All are welcome! Memberships are available at a five-event level for $235 and ten-event level for $395. Non-members are also welcome to attend our regular events for $55 before stated RSVP deadlines, $75 after. Non-members and guests are also invited to the Dallas Symphony Guild Spring Gala with Olga Kern, with pricing to be determined. Sponsorships are also available. For more information on the DSO Guild, its events or its gala, please visit our website at, email us at or call 214-821-2428. We look forward to meeting you and sharing our mutual love of music and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra!

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