Thursday, August 27, 2009

Announcing the "Mendelssohn's World" Project

"Hey, welcome to my page!"

I'm not sure how Felix Mendelssohn would write that if he had his own blog or was keeping up with friends on Facebook ("Hi, Robert & Clara - had a great time last night playing your new piano quintet - very cool!"), but this is how I'm welcoming you to a new feature on Thoughts on a Train.

Odin Rathnam and I are presenting an "educational outreach program" to the Harrisburg School District with a performance by the members of the international music festival that Odin's organized at the West Branch Resort along the Delaware River and the NY-PA border. Odin loves to fly fish and this location allows him to combine that love with making great classical music.

(Here's a photo of Odin Rathnam trying out a violin at Scott Hershey's violin shop in Harrisburg.)

On September 13th, he and a bunch of his friend will be performing three works by Felix Mendelssohn. This year is the 200th Anniversary of his birth and so Odin's programmed

- the Octet for Strings (which Mendelssohn composed when he was 16!)

- the Piano Trio in D Minor (written at the ripe old age of 30)

- and the String Quintet in B-flat Major (written 6 years later and just two years before he died).

Then, on Wednesday, September 16th, they'll all be coming down to Harrisburg to play Mendelssohn's music for hundreds of 9th & 10th grade students at Harrisburg High School plus a number of music students from other schools in the district.

I'll be presenting a cross-curricular approach to the music, to Mendelssohn's life and its background, including a lot of stuff about other things going on around the first half of the 19th Century, with lots of historical events and developments in science and the arts. It's amazing how much of this has an impact on what's going on in our own generations. So we'll be exploring all kinds of things.

To make the information accessible to the teachers and the students, I'll be posting outlines and essays, study-guides, stories and questions right here. You can access them through the "Mendelssohn Project Link" on the side-bar for future reference, or bookmark THIS LINK.

And of course, anyone is welcome to read them.

- Dr. Dick