Notes from Maestro Lipari

During this time when we are not presenting live concerts, our music director and conductor, Peter Lipari, will share personal and musical thoughts with you here!

A spirit of gratitude - November 2020

Greetings to you and I hope this finds you and your family well.November brings us two opportunities to show gratitude: Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. In the spirit of gratitude, today I want to share with you some of the things music has brought me.

Throughout my life, music has been the reason why I have friends, the reason that draws me to people, the catalyst to find new friends, and the most important reason why I keep friends. I found my soulmate because of music, and our children all have it as a foundation of the careers they are building. For this, I am grateful.

Music is my day job, my night job, my hobby and my obsession. Music is our international language. It doesn't care about our politics (isn't that a relief!), our religion, or our day job. We can discuss our favorite pieces, or composers, or genres without having to be defensive about safeguarding our opinions. For this, I am grateful.

I began life on the podium in my first year of high school. I was Music Director of a show my first year of high school. People trusted me (for better or worse!) which I now find amazing. For this, I am grateful. The first piece I ever conducted was the final movement of Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony (sorry, it was a band arrangement as we didn't have an orchestra at my school!). I'll never forget that concert. The West Suburban Symphony has played this work in three seasons. Here is one of my favorite renditions, in fact the actual recording I studied as a boy! It's performed by Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra:

Be well and take care of yourself, more importantly, take care of someone else We can't wait to play for you again!

Musical "flavors of the month" - October 2020

Almost every month has a "musical flavor" to it. Easy examples might be holiday music in December, or patriotic music in July, or even a piece like Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony in the springtime. October and Halloween bring with them many classical and non-classical musical representations.

Here are a couple of examples that the West Suburban Symphony has performed from Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique. Since we don't record everything we perform, these excerpts from Berlioz's work are led by my mentor, Leonard Bernstein: March to the Scaffold and Dream of a Witches' Sabbath. When I was young, Disney's 1940 film Fantasia and the wonderful choices of music turned Halloween into a veritable musical carnival! For even more personal listening, here's a link with the West Suburban Symphony playing some Halloween music under my direction.

How I came to be a conductor - October 2020

Hear my personal account, in this short video.