Monday, May 15, 2017

Waterbury Symphony Orchestra welcomes new Executive Director

by Vincent P. de Luise MD
May 15,2017

The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (WSO) has named Robert Cinnante as its new Executive Director, beginning May 3rd, 2017. Mr. Cinnante brings a strong background of experience in arts administration to his role. As Executive Director, Mr. Cinnante will provide leadership and vision, to fulfill the orchestra’s mission and achieve its goals of artistic excellence, financial stability, development, and community engagement.

Robert Cinnante, the new Executive Director
of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra

Mr. Cinnante hails from Holbrook, Long Island. He received his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Music - Classical Vocal Performance - from the New England Conservatory (NEC)  in Boston. As an undergraduate at NEC, he trained with the renowned tenor Vinson Cole, and during his Master’s degree years, he coached with Patricia Misslin, best known for her work with soprano Renee Fleming and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe.
During and after his years at NEC, Mr. Cinnante collaborated with famed violist Kim Kashkashian at Music for Food, a musician-led initiative for hunger relief, where he served as General Manager. He also regularly acts as a consultant to artists and arts organizations, including flutist James Galway, the Formosa String Quartet, the Triple Helix Piano Trio, and the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Global Summer Institute of Music.
Cinnante comes to the WSO from Virginia Opera, a professional opera company with mainstage operations in Richmond, Norfolk and Fairfax, where he served as Statewide Director of Education and Outreach. 
Cinnante is committed to engaging and connecting the greater Waterbury community through music, education and outreach. “The Arts have enriched my life in more ways than I realize, and continue to do so. Therefore, it is my desire to create opportunities for others to enjoy enriching experiences through the Arts,” says Cinnante. 
To this end are the continuation of and support for the long-standing and nationally recognized El Sistema-inspired Bravo Waterbury! string instrument education program, and a new series of five concerts by the WSO during the 2017-2018 season that will be performed in “Great Spaces” throughout the region, in addition to the WSO’s regular season in its home base in the Leever Auditorium at Naugatuck Valley Community College.  These musical excursions will take listeners beyond the concert hall and into venues in Connecticut that represent an artistic collaboration of sound and structure. From historic homes and magnificent churches to art galleries and distilleries, each of these spaces creates a unique bond between artist and audience.
At 28 years of age, Cinnante is arguably the youngest full-time Executive Director of an orchestra in the United States. WSO artistic director and conductor, Maestro Leif Bjaland, is enthusiastic about Mr. Cinnante’s coming on board as Executive Director: “I am absolutely delighted that Robert Cinnante will be joining the WSO family. He has an excellent background in the arts, and is extremely knowledgeable of all genres of music. I believe he will be a tremendous asset to the WSO as well as the entire Waterbury arts community.”

@2017 Vincent P. de Luise MD

Saturday, May 13, 2017


by Vincent P. de Luise MD

Euterpe, the Muse of Music
Oil on canvas, by Egide Gottfried Guffens (1823 - 1901)

Submitted for your delectation is an elegant portrait of the Muse of Music, Euterpe (Greek, "eu"= "well" + "terpein" = "to delight" i.e. "She who delights well"). 

Euterpe is always depicted in sculpture and painting as playing a musical instrument. What instrument might this be? It is often incorrectly stated that it is a double flute. 

In fact, what Euterpe is playing are the Auloi (singular "Aulos"), which are ancient reed instruments, forerunners of the single-reed chalumeau, which morphed into the clarinet; the double-reed oboe; and the bagpipe's chanter.

"Dulciloquos calamos Euterpe flatibus urget"
"Euterpe pushes forth, with her breathing, the sweet-speaking cane reed"

Indeed, we have it directly from the fourth century Roman poet and physician Ausonius in the banner inscription in the painting above, to the left of Euterpe. Ausonios writes (from his Idylls: Book XX):

"Dulciloquos calamos Euterpe flatibus urget" 

This translates as: "Euterpe pushes forth, with her breathing, the sweet-speaking reed cane"

The Latin word "calamos," and its Greek antecedent "kalamos," refer to a "reed"' or "cane" (not a flute). The Latin inscription supports the thesis that the Auloi that Euterpe is playing are reed instruments. The term calamos became the French word chalumeau, pl. chalumeaux), an early single reed instrument.

Modern reconstructions of ancient chalumeaux 

There were several kinds of Aulos - those with a single reed and those with a double reed. The most common variety was a single reed instrument similar to the chalumeau above. Archaeological finds and related surviving iconography indicate that there were also double-reed Auloi, prototypes of the modern oboe.

The sound of the Aulos has been described as "penetrating and insistent," more akin to a bagpipe, whose chanter is a double reed pipe. 

The modern clarinet was invented and further developed in the early 1700s in Nuremberg in the workshop of Johann Christoph Denner and Sons. The Denners took the single reed chalumeau, added a register key, overblowing a twelfth, thus allowing for another octave and a half of diatonic notes. 

A modern reconstruction of one an early Denner clarinet.
It is essentially a chalumeau to which is added a register key (not visible) near the mouthpiece.

Reed instruments are either idioglot, wherein the reed is built into the wood pipe itself, or heteroglot, in which the reed is attached to a mouthpiece separate from the clarinet itself. 

Early 18th century clarinets from the workshop of Johann Denner and Sons, Nuremberg.

Today's clarinets are heteroglot. Auloi were idioglot instruments, i.e., the reed was built into the mouthpiece itself. Looking carefully at Euterpe's Auloi, you can see a slit in each Aulos in the part of the pipe closest to her mouth. Within the slits are vibrating pieces of cane (reeds).

What is exciting about all of this, to clarinetists as myself, is that Euterpe, the Muse of Music, was herself a clarinetist ! 
Now that is something very special :)
Ars longa !

@2017 Vincent DeLuise MD