Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

MELANIE PAULSEN

MelaniePaulsen

Melanie plays the French Horn and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2017. She is a music educator and lives in St. Charles.

When and why did you start playing?  I started playing in 5th grade because I wanted to be cool and play an instrument like my sister.

What do you enjoy most about playing?  It helps me take a step back and forget about my problems. And also it’s really fun to play “adult” music after teaching elementary music all day.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  My first warm-up in my college concert band.

What are your musical influences?  Being the best teacher I can be to my students, and keeping my passion for music alive.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  My grandma was my piano teacher. She started it all and even as an 87 year old Alzheimer’s sufferer in a nursing home, can play pretty much anything from memory and on command.

Does anyone in your family play music?  My grandma, my mom and my sister

What’s on your iPod?  Basically anything and everything. I LOVE Taylor Swift! (#sorrynotsorry)

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  You will never regret the decision to pick up a musical instrument.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups?  It really makes me a better musician!

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert BandIntense, incredible, fun

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about youI grew up on a farm in Iowa, and my parents’ cattle population was/is probably the most cultured group of livestock ever! I used to practice my French horn outside and they were my only audience.

 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!

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Composer Viet Cuong

Sound and Smoke is a highlight of our winter 2018 program.  Both the title and concept of Sound and Smoke were derived from a line from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play Faust, when Faust equates words to “mere sound and smoke” and declares that “feeling is everything.”

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Read the program notes for Sound and Smoke here.

Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by The New York Times, Viet Cuong’s music has been performed on six continents by a number of leading soloists and ensembles including the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Sō Percussion, JACK Quartet, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Albany Symphony, Gregory Oakes, and Mimi Stillman, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Aspen Music Festival, International Double Reed Society Conference, US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, Midwest Clinic, and CBDNA conferences. Viet’s awards include the ASCAP Morton Gould Award, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Award, Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award, Cortona Prize, Walter Beeler Memorial Prize, Boston Guitarfest Competition, Dolce Suono Ensemble Competition, and Prix d’Été Competition. He also received honorable mentions in the Harvey Gaul Memorial Competition and two consecutive ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prizes. Viet has held artist residencies at Yaddo, Ucross, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and was a scholarship student at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, Copland House’s CULTIVATE Institute, and the Aspen and Bowdoin music festivals. Currently a Diploma student at the Curtis Institute and a Naumburg and Roger Sessions Doctoral Fellow at Princeton, he holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory.


We contacted Mr. Cuong and asked him to share with us his thoughts on his journey in music, his musical influences and inspirations and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  There aren’t any musicians in my family that I know of—my mom and brother are engineers and my dad is a scientist. However, my mother thought it would be good for me to start piano when I was quite young, I think around 5. She read somewhere that learning classical music could make me better at math later on in life! I never really enjoyed practicing, so I stopped lessons after about a year. But I thankfully didn’t write off music completely—when I got to middle school I joined band as a percussionist and miraculously remembered how to read music. Around this time I decided to try piano lessons again, and (surprise, surprise) still didn’t like to practice, but I did discover that I really enjoyed making my own music from scratch. One day I downloaded Finale Notepad and began to actually write down my piano improvisations, as well as some of my early attempts to imitate music we played in band. Since I was a percussionist, I was often counting rests and observing how composers wrote for the ensemble; in many ways, this is how I originally taught myself to write for winds. All throughout high school I played percussion and clarinet in the band program, and composing was something I enjoyed doing on the side. I never really had a composition teacher until I went to the Peabody Conservatory for college and majored in music composition. After Peabody I did graduate work at Princeton and right now I’m now at the Curtis Institute pursuing an AD.

What have been some of your musical influences?  Stravinsky, John Adams, Ravel, Ligeti, Bach, and lots of pop music. All of my teachers and their wonderful music have really influential on me as well.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  I’ve had so many great experiences with music, and it’s really hard to choose…I did recently have a premiere of a percussion quartet concerto with Sandbox Percussion and the Albany Symphony that was a blast!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why? Beethoven. If his music is any indication, it would be a complex and amusing conversation. They also say he was a big fan of coffee!

What inspires you? Listening to the music of other composers and musicians is always inspiring to me. I’m also inspired by the idea of pushing myself with every new piece to try something I haven’t done before.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Every so often encourage yourself to listen, perform, or write a piece that you would have originally thought to be unenjoyable.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band. I’ve been a fan of Northshore for years, and I’m so excited to be a part of this concert. Thank you so much!

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Viet Cuong and Mallory Thompson at The Midwest Clinic, Chicago, 2017

A special thank you to Mr. Cuong for speaking with us and giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at www.vietcuongmusic.com to learn more about this notable American composer.


Truly Wonderful The Mind of a Child Is…

Sunday, February 18, 2018, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois


Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at www.northshoreband.org

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Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

DIANA ECONOMOU

Diana Economou

Diana Economou plays the Clarinet and joined the Northshore Concert Band in 2017. She is a band and orchestra director and lives in Wilmette.

When and why did you start playing? 12 years old – 5th Grade

What do you enjoy most about playing?  Being able to communicate my inner feeling without words

Do you have a favorite musical memory? Once during a recital I played a piece and everything and everybody around me disappeared. It was just me and my instrument. When I finished my last note, before the audience clapped, somebody said, “Beautiful”

What are your musical influences?  Greek CDs my parents played in the house as a child, my older brother playing classical music loudly while he showered, my high school band teacher.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  Matthew Temple

Does anyone in your family play music?  My brother plays piano

What’s on your iPod?  Classical music, mostly Orchestral.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it, and one day you’ll express yourself in a way you never would have imagined.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups?  Don’t know, yet. I’m new.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band  Northshore, Band, Great….

 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!

 

Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

MOLLIE MCDOUGALL

Mollie McDougall2

Mollie McDougall plays the French Horn and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2005. She is a Band and Orchestra Director and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? Syracuse, NY – my grandmother used to play piano and everyone would stand around and sing – I wanted in on the action and started playing piano when I was 6 and horn when I was 10.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love making music with others and finding what the greater group can create together. I love my friends in the band that support me and l love learning from them and passing on what I learn to my students.

Do you have a favorite musical memoryPlaying chamber music at Sarasota Chamber Music Festival with musicians from all over the world.

What are your musical influences? Gail Williams, Greg Miller

Who was your most influential music teacher? My high school band director, Andrew Perry

Does anyone in your family play music? My sister is a singer and violinist, my grandmother was a pianist and a great music appreciator.

What’s on your iPod? EVERYTHING – U2, Jazz, Rachimoninoff, Mahler, Bach, Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, middle school band music….

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it! It gets more and more rewarding and fun!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Amazing leadership, musicianship and friendship

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Inspiring, motivating, engaging

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I teach middle school band and orchestra in Highland Park and have twin 3 year olds and a golden doodle.

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!