Author Archives: Ryan Libel

Rachmaninoff 3, Tchaikovsky 1: a Sunday at the Symphony

Two guests from Europe led a program of Russian music at Symphony Center over the weekend – I was happy to make it out for the final concert, this past Sunday’s matinee, snatching up the very last seat on the main floor available online about four hours prior to showtime.  The Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado […]

Beethoven Bonanza

The 2019-2020 Chicago Symphony Orchestra season was announced via e-mail on one of our crazy cold Chicago days last week.  When I started paging through the PDF guide I could barely contain my glee – the season is a tribute to Beethoven, my favorite, who, in 2020, will turn 250 years old. The CSO has […]

Goldberg Variations, by Vogt

Monumental pieces for the piano occupy a special place in the repertoire – recently I saw Oliver Messiaen’s epic Visions de l’Amen duet played by Aimard and Stefanovich, for example.  Players treat these pieces differently than they do orchestral works, program music or chamber pieces.  My experience is extremely limited, but Lars Vogt’s performance of […]

Duet and Progress

The Bach Concerto for Two Violins is supposed to be a duet, so yesterday Teacher and I started on that part of the project.  We played through the first page or so twice, and I think it went well!    Playing duets with her is always fun, enabling me to appreciate my progress on the instrument […]

New Year Slowdown

I had my first lesson yesterday after a break of over a month – the longest hiatus to date that Teacher and I have passed in our five years.  During that time, travel for a funeral and for the holidays and other end-of-year happenings conspired to keep my practice at bay.  I probably only practiced […]

Proficiency Means Different Things to Different People

Nana

In phone conversations with my nana, at some point she’d generally say, “I read all your blog posts, Ryan – I just think it’s great!”  While I don’t have a lot of 90-year-olds in my list of acquaintances, I do think it’s safe to say that Nana managed to keep up with the times more […]

Lovera’s Chaconne

My Mondays off afford me the opportunity to take in free concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center from time to time.  I gravitate toward the recitals sponsored by the Musicians Club of Women – they present “award winners in concert” and start at 12:15 (on the dot).  Last Monday, November 26, the award winner was […]

The Last Note

Book Four is a long haul.  In yesterday’s lesson, after we played through the final notes of the final bars of the final piece, Teacher rejoiced jubilantly – a slightly unexpected celebration for me, “You made it!”  She wrote the date in the book in the margins next to the last measure.  Sloughing through all […]

Diwali with The Chicago Sinfonietta

A week ago I attended the Chicago Sinfonietta’s most recent concert at Symphony Center, a program entitled Sea of Light timed to coincide with Diwali, the 5 day Hindu celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance.  In Hindu cultures, Diwali is a time for reflection, celebration, family, and starting fresh.  […]