A sort of stable chaos

A respectable blanket of snow has arrived. The abrupt shifts in weather mirror the entropy of the symphony season. Conductors, concert programs and venues fly by – we ended October with an “outreach week” that saw the orchestra playing in six different spaces over four days, and last week’s Baroque and Beyond program saw us rehearsing in Kitchener before performing shows in Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge. Against this chaotic backdrop the disciplined work that happens outside of scheduled “working hours” stays constant – searching for weaknesses in technique, preparing for particularly fierce musical challenges in the months ahead, scraping reeds.

It’s a bit like Donkey Kong Country. Everything’s moving really fast and is risky and dangerous, but you have to keep your eye on the future and find the next exploding barrel to jump into or you get nothing done.

My feelings about the state of things aboard the good ship KWS have been given a considerable lift of late, with two key announcements on the organization’s leadership. After a year of searching we have an executive director, whose enthusiasm about this orchestra is incredibly contagious. We’ve also been searching for a concertmaster since before I joined the orchestra, and everyone is delighted to hear that we’ll have a fabulous musician taking up that position in the new year. Onward and upward.

The next folder on our stands is an intriguing one, a collaboration with Canadian authors Miriam Toews and Wayne Grady – writers responding to musical selections, and musicians responding to written selections. From there, on to the November Signature program, after which I can finally shake out the hand cramp from the third movement of the Barber Violin Concerto. After that the holiday season is upon us and the perennial challenges of the Nutcracker (the KWS is back in the pit at CITS for the first time in many years!) beckon, followed by a “holiday” woodshedding the Stravinsky Octet and the Brahms Violin Concerto.

The 2015 schedule is unusually dense – two programs a week virtually every week until the end of the season. Bring it on.

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