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MSO concert tells stories of 'Famous Last Words'

October 15, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Maryland Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze told different stories Sunday about the pieces the MSO performed as part of a concert titled "Famous Last Words."
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

When Ruth Coe saw the Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s guest artist at this past weekend’s Masterworks 1 concert was going to be a cellist, she decided to get a ticket to Sunday’s concert at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

Coe, 58, of Waynesboro, Pa., said she attends at least one MSO concert a year, but she happened to be reading “The Cellist of Sarajevo” at church last weekend, so her curiosity was piqued about a different cellist, MSO guest artist Zuill Bailey.

The novel, which Coe was reading during intermission Sunday, was inspired by a cellist during the siege of Sarajevo, and tells the story of a cellist who witnesses the death of 22 friends and neighbors by a mortar attack and decides to play at the site of the attack for 22 days.

MSO Music Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze told different stories Sunday about the pieces the MSO performed as part of a concert titled “Famous Last Words.”

Before intermission, the orchestra performed composer Jean Sibelius’ “Tapiola.”

“So this piece stands as a monument of someone who is at the top of his game and yet chose for many reasons never to utter another musical word to the public,” Schulze told concertgoers.

Joyce Weaver, 59, of Lovettsville, Va., said she appreciates Schulze’s insights.

Rich Weaver, 62, said the couple arrived late to the concert after having car trouble as they drove to the theater straight from a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The pair discovered the MSO during former conductor Barry Tuckwell’s last year with the orchestra, when the “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ was played for a Christmas concert, and they started buying season tickets the following year, during conductor tryouts, they said.

Jen Mihm, 20, of Carroll County, Md., said she attended Sunday’s concert for her music appreciation course at a Carroll County college.

“I tagged along because I like symphonies,” said her friend, Hannah Sommer, 20, of Taneytown, Md.

It was the first MSO concert for the two friends, as well as for Mihm’s mother, Mary Beth Mihm.

“The ‘Tapiola’ kind of reminded me of music that they have in old thriller movies,” Sommer said.

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