I would be on the road again today traveling down I-75 introducing CutTime� and our vast library of symphonic transcriptions and new compositions to orchestras and musicians... but a wonderful opportunity with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra required me to focus on preparing to conduct DSO later this month! I needed to produce the first orchestrations and parts for Gitcha Groove On!, the Serenade from Mighty Love and Pork 'n Beans. I also orchestrated Beethoven's F�r Elise and adapted Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla Overture and Mozart's Symphony No. 25, 1st movement to available instrumentation of about 20 strings and single winds. This FREE concert will take place in Henry Ford Hospital's Buerki Auditorium on Thurs., April 26 at 4p. (More info below.)
CutTime had a very successful introduction March 23 at the American Orchestras Summit thanks to Summit Director Mark Clague's invitation not only to speak on a panel but to perform for the attendees. The CutTime String Quartet performed Pork 'n Beans and City of Trees for several industry leaders. I also demonstrated our new approach to audience development. I urged everyone to think of our work as LIVING INSPIRATION that even non-core audiences can enjoy rather than just "preservation" for knowledgeable core audiences.
Mark Clague also invited the entire San Francisco Symphony concert audience to Sava's State Street Caf� for a Classical Revolution post-concert readings with SFS musicians. Using CutTime's sound system to share with the loud, packed restaurant, we played many chamber music standards then City of Trees and a few symphonic standards.
Last week CutTime String Quartet performed in 5 Detroit Public Schools thanks to a grant from American Federation of Musicians Trust Fund. Since my DSO colleagues were busy rehearsing, I hired local freelancers, two of whom worked regularly in the schools. We had a ball engaging the 1500 or so students with music, questions, music requests and volunteers when possible. Only one school was unprepared and so we started very late. But our patience paid off. I can't tell you how immensely satisfying it is to hear young people screaming at the end of both Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Pork 'n Beans!
My 2-week, 7-city introductory tour around the Midwest last month was also very fruitful. I met with education or outreach staff of 5 major orchestras from Indianapolis to Minneapolis; yes, including Chicago Symphony. I also finally heard CSO live in Symphony Hall with Riccardo Muti conducting Brahms 2nd and our DSO principal bassist Alex Hanna clinch his new position as their principal! This was all very exciting enough. Even better was reading my music at 4 Classical Revolution events and having people really enjoy my work! These players I can now work with for concerts in their cities.
In February the quartet (with different freelancers) also played in northern Michigan Feb. 23-24 for family & student audiences. Sadly, the Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 towards a debut CD failed miserably. Fortunately, I learned how to improve the campaign and will try again soon. (You will be notified!) Also a 4-day residency at Eastman School of Music that month began many new relationships with CutTime, most especially with the Rochester Philharmonic musicians who read quite favorably thru several Players transcriptions.
These opportunities have important implications not only for CutTime but for the entire classical industry. We are not in the MUSIC business; we are in the INSPIRATION business THROUGH music! We inspire not just by playing our instruments well, but also by setting a personal CONTEXT for playing 200-year-old music with words and excitement. I have discovered that when we focus on what we CAN do, it turns out that we can do ALOT!
For example, there is an upcoming opportunity to be surprised by classical with CutTime Players at the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center Saturday, April 28 2p-3:30. In partnership with the Carr Center and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, we will pioneer a new program called I Hear a Symphony to give a very broad and relaxed overview of symphonic music history for curious new audiences to immediately begin enjoying DSO concerts! More info is below.
I know this is long... but there is so much good news to report from Detroit and DSO that I can't hold back! We are boldly changing the way people experience classical music... because EVERYONE deserves such beauty and power, even if they don't come to our concert hall! If you believe this too, please spread the word about the DIFFERENCE CutTime is making around the country!
- Rick Robinson (Mr. CutTime)