Saturday, July 28, 2012

New York Times: Brooklyn String Orchestra Performs 'Beethoven, Fela Sowande and Noel Pointer'

New York Times
July 23, 2012
Nancy Bruni

The String Orchestra of Brooklyn concert in Fort Greene Park on Saturday, featuring young musicians from the Noel Pointer Foundation, did not disappoint. What a treat it was to listen to the music of Beethoven, Fela Sowande and Noel Pointer on top of the hill with the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument as a backdrop. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 came alive under the cool sky.

The evening, part of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy summer concert series, started with an instrument “petting zoo” for kids. Neighborhood children plucked or strummed violins, violas, cellos, double basses and guitars. To the delight of young concertgoers, String Orchestra of Brooklyn and Noel Pointer Foundation’s youth orchestra members answered any question.

Then it was time for the performance. The young musicians, eight to 14 years old, took their seats with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn’s members and played – side by side and bow by bow – the Danza and Roots Suites. They kept their beat and every note with helpful direction from their musical mentors and conductors, Jesse Henkensiefken and Eli Spindel.

We can all aspire to be like the passionate members of the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, who come from diverse backgrounds. The cello section includes doctoral candidates in neuroscience, architectural acoustics, psychology and classics. Violinists are also social workers, college professors and computer programmers. Other players are students, teachers and music performers.

[The Nigerian composer Fela Sowande (1905-1987) is featured at]

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