Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven, Elgar and Montague

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hearing yet another fabulous performance by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, only this time – I had five other people with me! So instead of just writing about the performance, I thought I’d ask my friends and family to share their thoughts on the concert.

On last weekend’s program were:

Invictus – by OSU alumnus, Stephen Montague.

Violin Concerto by Edward Elgar with Ilya Gringolts on Violin (OMG he was so good!)

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

Maestro Thomas Wilkins was on the podium.

Meet my friends and family: Sarah and Bernadette are coworkers of mine. Mom and Dad are…well…Mom and Dad. And Ben, is my 11-year old nephew. Sarah has season tickets with me. This was Bernadette’s first-ever CSO concert. Mom and Dad go at least once or twice per year and Ben went with Sarah and me to his first concert last year for Beethoven’s 6th.

The concert was really great. It truly was. It started out a bit weird, got better with an amazing violinist then ended with the piece we all loved, but hey – don’t take my word for it. Take theirs!


Sarah: “I really liked it”

Bernadette: I’m impressed with the composer…..but I am not too keen with present day composers, you know? I mean…..the piece itself sounded like JAWA and Star Wars or Galactica or something. it was interesting though.

Mom: I liked the idea that it was composed by a “hometown” guy, but I cannot say that I enjoyed it.  Very discordant, which was his point, I guess.  I prefer ‘musical’ music – with a melody.  This, to me, was more like 8 minutes of musicians’ warm-up.

Dad: Interesting, reminded me of Stravinsky.  Not my favorite style of music.  Could not find theme.  However, as a former percussionist, I thought the use of E-drums was kind of exciting touch.    Would not attend just for this style.  Prefer classical.

Ben: Meh. I didn’t like it.

Heather: Funky. Not something I could listen to a lot, but nice to try something new! I especially liked the percussion.

Sarah and Bernie

Sarah and Bernie


Sarah:  I thought he was amazing. It was a little on the longer side but still very good.

Bernadette: OMG!  I never heard this violin concerto before by Elgar…..but my gosh!!!! The violinist was fantastic!!!!!!!  I didn’t hear ANY, ANY slip or slide – no mistake!!!!  And his notes were in tune and of perfect pitch – to the highest note!!!! I love him!

Mom: Loved the first movement. The second and third dragged and seemed unnecessary. The violinist was spectacular. Every note was clear and lovely. Amazing talent. Would love to hear him again.

Dad: He was fantastic. Made Elgar acceptable. Elgar seems to draw themes out too much for my taste.

Ben: It was ok. I got bored.

Heather:  Beautiful! (Bit long in the middle) but man oh man – Ilya Gringolts was absolutely fantastic!  He played exceptionally well and had the most beautiful tone! First and third movements were the best (especially the first).


Mom, Dad and Ben


Sarah:  I think they did a really good job with the Beethoven too – and that is one of my favs.

Bernadette: Always loved Beethoven….and his story (as well as Chopin’s and Mozart’s) – I’m sure all of them had a colorful life…..but you can hear the passion in his music! That 1st movement (the popular one) was also a piece of mine when I was a teenager – playing the organ!  =)

Mom: Beethoven’s 5th is one of my favorites anyway and the orchestra performed it so very well.  Loved it.

Dad: One of my favorites. Symphony did a superb job. Had me on edge of my seat watching sections play and enjoying.

Ben: I really liked watching the conductor!

Heather: LOVED IT!  Beethoven is awesome to begin with, but the CSO did a great job – especially in the last movement. The first few movements seemed like warm ups to the last one when there was just an explosion of beautiful sound. It sounded like they were really getting into it. I loved it. Love – love – LOVED IT!  I swear I’m not just saying this because I met them – the French horns were awesome!! WOW!


Sarah: Overall I enjoyed it

Bernadette: I like the conductor…he was very ummm, what’s that word??? Not comedic, but “showy?” He was great! I enjoyed him as well as the orchestra  BRAVO to the whole concert! =)

Mom: So fun to watch the conductor. I do not normally pay so much attention to the conductor as I would not want him/her to be a distraction; but in this case, I made an exception. His entire body language enhanced the music. Some parts of the symphony just called for a nuance of movement, while others brought in all parts of his body.

Dad: (Maestro Wilkins) was really into all three selections. He seemed to immerse himself into Beethoven’s 5th. He added history and relevance in his pre-remarks. Would like to see more of him. Hire him when current one leaves. Overall-concert was great. I don’t have to listen only to favorites.  Kudos to symphony for another great performance.

Ben: (about Maestro Wilkins) He was cool!  Sometimes you didn’t see his arms; then they appeared, seemingly out of nowhere!

Heather: Great concert! I especially loved how Maestro Wilkins put everything in historical context prior to playing Beethoven’s 5th.

Oh – and for the record, on the way up to Mom and Dad’s – Dad (completely unsolicited) complimented the horn section, too! “The French horns sounded excellent.  They really did a good job tonight,” is what he told me in the car.

So, about that Schumann Concert Piece for Four Horns for next year…


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