Posts Tagged ‘iTunes’

Student Orchestra Focuses on Dances & Rhymes

December 15, 2010

Music Director Peter Askim congratulates Xiao after the Dec. 12 concert

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Last weekend’s Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra concert was without any special guest artist or fanfare, but it was wonderful nonetheless. It featured dances from Platee and Marosszek, and, after intermission, a Mother Goose Suite that showcased Kodaly’s interpretation of five familiar nursery rhymes. This concert comes on the heels of the academy’s last popular concert, “Peter and the Wolf,” by Prokofiev, which was narrated by humorist Harry Shearer.

Music Director Peter Askim brought up Shearer again in his introduction Sunday. He said that next Sunday afternoon (Dec. 19), Shearer will be rebroadcasting the academy’s recording of “Peter and the Wolf” on his radio show called, “Le Show.”

“So if you’re anywhere near a radio or the internet, be sure and catch the broadcast,” Askim said.

He also mentioned that the arts academy orchestra has its Tschakovsky’s 5th Symphony release now on iTunes, which would make a perfect Christmas gift. Later, Askim thanked Gaylord Nichols for funding this and Saturday’s concert.

“Today’s concert features music from many different worlds. They’re almost like perfumes,” Askim explained. “Rameau was the father of modern day harmony, and we’re going to perform it the way it should be done–without a conductor.”

And with that, Askim walked off the podium, joking that he would be at JoAn’s (an Idyllwild restaurant).

For the “Suite of Dances from Platee,” the orchestra took direction from Xiao, a first violin student. Throughout the three movements in the suite, the student orchestra sounded much larger then the 25 strings onstage. They were helped, in part, by college-level and professional musicians, including Mariya Andoniya Andonova, a bass player who now attends The Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles.

Askim returned to the podium for the next piece, “Symphony No. 4 in C Minor,” by Franz Schubert. According to the program notes, Schubert completed this piece in 1816 at age 19, not much older than these students. The symphony is scored for strings, pairs of winds and timpani. It opens in a sober and serious mood, yet builds to show Shubert’s gift for melody.

Charles Schlacks, Jr., one of the many locals who attended the Sunday’s concert, said that the orchestra did a fine job on the Schubert piece “that really doesn’t go anywhere.”

Ai-Ching, who plays viola, said that the first half of the concert was good, but she liked the music in the second half.

“The Mother Goose Suites are worth listening to again,” said David, a music student, who had attended the concert the night before. He liked “The Mother Goose Suite” so much that he pursuaded his mother, who works in Idyllwild, to attend the second half after her shift.

The five suites included “Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty,” “Tom Thumb,”Little Homely, Empress of the Pagodes,” “Conversations of Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Fairy Garden.”

According to the program notes,Ravel was inspired by Perrault’s popular “Mother Goose” book collection and wrote a short suite for a piano duet, that was later expanded into a full ballet score.

“Schubert just took some of our favorite nursery rhymes and set them to music,” David said. “You wouldn’t recognize them from the original Mother Goose nursery rhymes, but you also won’t easily forget them.”

After a three-week Winter Break, the concerts will continue on Monday, Jan 17, with the ever-popular Piano Fest at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall. The next orchestra concert will be held on February 5 & 6. For more details, look to the Idyllwild Arts web site at

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Student’s Single on iTunes

June 17, 2010

Laura's single first appeared in a student film

There are no limitations on what a student can do at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Just a few short weeks ago, film student Laura H. wrote and directed her first short film, “On The Bright Side,” about an eternally optimistic guy who refuses to let his girlfriend break up with him. Laura was also the female lead in “Shortcomings,” a teen angst film created by another film student about a guy with a short whatchamacallit. They were among five films screened at the end of 2010 by the Moving Pictures Department. The IAA Trailers 2010 are now out on You Tube.

Not only was Laura a screenwriter, actor, and director this year, but she also composed and sang, “Time Bomb,” one of the songs for her film, “On the Bright Side.” Now, just one week into the summer break, the single is out on iTunes.

Along with a guitar and excellent whistler, Laura sings her first single. You can get a short preview of “Time Bomb,” for free, or purchase it for only .99 cents.

The cover of her “Time Bomb” single shows a bird’s eye view of life-sized black dominoes on a white board. In between two of the dominoes is a person, but it doesn’t look like Laura.

Earlier this year, Laura spoke about how happy she was coming to Idyllwild Arts.

“There’s a lot of support for us in the film department,” she said. “We’re a small group and everyone helps each other out.”

She said it was fun to pick the actors for her film, “On the Brighter Side.” She was debating between two excellent actors. Jamie, the one who got the part, won her over by playing it “over the top.”

After the screening, Jamie, a senior theater major, said that she may consider acting for the camera, something she had not thought of before starring in “On the Bright Side.”

She said that working with Laura was a great experience.

“She listened to our ideas, and let us run with them,” Jamie said. “I told her that I was so angry at Dylan (her co-star) that I wanted to throw a muffin at him, and Laura said, ‘Go for it!'”

The muffin scene didn’t make the final cut, but Jamie said that it was rewarding working with a writer-director who listens to an actor’s point-of-view.

Laura got a “green light” on another script that will be produced at Idyllwild Arts in the fall. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the many facets of Laura in that one too.

To listen to Laura’s new single, “Time Bomb,” visit iTunes. And for more information about the Moving Pictures Department at Idyllwild Arts, visit

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