A full-of-life conductor
In June of 2002, my soon-to-be-bride and I spent a few minutes talking with H. Robert “Bob” Reynolds and his wife Kristin Reynolds. This conversation, at a casual, post-conducting-symposium soirée, was rich because of musical and relational connections. It was clear to both of us that this special couple had something going for them. Kristin, an accomplished oboist, had returned again to CU-Boulder as a volunteer, offering her artistic talents to play in a rehearsal ensemble for the benefit of conductor-students.
Bob was guest lecturer in an afternoon session, and he did something “off the beaten path” that contributed, materially and memorably, to my education. He shared with us the Jessye Norman recording of Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs; these recorded performances, Bob put forward, were an example to all music-makers. This lesson provided a model for a group of conductors—who are, after all, music-makers who lead and inspire groups of other music-makers.
Last night (November 18), Reynolds led portions of a rehearsal of two Baylor University bands, and I was privileged to watch a video feed. Bob’s masterful, mature leadership actually brought tears to my eyes. I knew two of the works he was conducting fairly well, but he knows them intimately. His conducting was, to say the least, inspiring. Anyone may tune in tonight for the live performance; several works will be conducted by Bob Reynolds. The URL for the performance is https://www.baylor.edu/music/index.php?id=935526.
A living composer
Sometime in the summer of 2009 or 2010, I contacted composer Carter Pann about his music. I had heard the wind band transcription of his orchestral work Slalom and wanted to acquire the piece for use with my orchestra at the time. Pann congenially sent me a burned CD with Slalom and three others, along with a handwritten note.
These kinds of interactions with living composers of art music can be energizing. I wish our performance had done his great music justice. It was a technically demanding piece than my ensemble should have attempted at the time, but we do have fond memories of it.
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The general public tends to think that “classical” or cultivated, artful music (1) is only of interest to dull people and (2) was only written by dead composers. Reynolds and Pann are two fine examples of vigorous, living musicians who give the world something of beauty and artistic merit.