Esa-Pekka Salonen and Debussy

Esa-Pekka Salonen came to Symphony Center tonight to conduct Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas et Mélisande with the CSO. It was my first time seeing Salonen conduct and seeing an opera done in concert form. Overall, I thought the performance was excellent and became a big fan of Salonen’s!

Before concerts, CSO usually offers pre-concert talks, in which they invite an individual to give a short lecture on each of the pieces on the program. For tonight’s concert, the speaker was my music professor – Steven Rings! He’s incredibly knowledgeable on music and knows how to explain music to an audience in a clear, eloquent, and accessible manner. His insight on Debussy’s work was great – at one point, he connected the somewhat dark/meandering atmosphere of the story to Debussy’s use of whole tones in the music, and explained it very clearly at the piano. It was definitely very cool hearing my teacher give a talk at the CSO-grateful that I get to go to school in this great city of Chicago.

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