A Summer Evening at the Lincoln Center

Last evening I went for a Summertime Classics concert at the Lincoln Centre. According to the NY Times, the series is “the nearest you suppose that the Philharmonic will openly venture in the direction of the pops concert”. For me it was a perfect way to end a busy, topsy-turvy week. The music was light and cheerful, Bramwell Tovey the conductor was very entertaining and the Philharmonic, well it was the NY Philharmonic.

It was the most informal concert I’ve ever been to at the Lincoln Center. Mr. Tovey introduced each piece with tidbits about the composer, the music and the period. I’ve never seen conductors explain the music. He was full of one-liners which made me think that he could have a decent second career in comedy. In his introduction to Franz Liszt’s Les Preludes he explained that Liszt was considered an icon of Hungary though he spoke no Hungarian. Then quickly added it was like if George Bush or Paris Hilton spoke no English. And while describing celebrities in 19th century Europe he stated that they were pretty much like celebrities today except they didn’t go to prison.

I owe my interest in western classical music to my maternal grandfather. He had a habit of listening to western classical music on the radio while he took his afternoon nap. I was a passive listener then, now I actively seek it. While in college, Nisu-bisu and I attended a workshop on classical music appreciation by Parag Trivedi. He used to host a show on Radio Mid-Day back in the early/mid-90s. I attended an enhanced version of the same workshop several years later at b-school. Then during my EY years, a colleague and I would attend all the free concerts during Bbay’s western classical music season each winter. And in NYC I have been very lucky to live so close to Lincoln Center (and to discover a source for discounted Orchestra section tickets).

What is the music scene in S’pore? Milind told me they have a national orchestra. True? What about other types of music? Would S’pore be on U2’s tour itinerary? What about dance and theatre? When we were in NYC, Milind promised me he’d take Salsa lessons. Will we find an instructor with a will strong enough to make Milind dance?

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