Concert goers Play the experience Forward via pre-concert lectures by Maestro Don Portnoy
Next lecture, Nov. 15 prior to the Hanson and Shostakovich concert
One cosmopolitan feature long associated with University of South Carolina Symphony (USC Symphony) concerts is its pre-concert lectures – likes the ones Valerie Anderson enjoyed attending at Disney Hall while living in Los Angeles.
“When I began attending USC Symphony concerts here, I was pleasantly surprised to discover in Columbia something quite similar to what the LA Phil does,” said Anderson. “Regardless of whether I am very or vaguely familiar with the selections for a given concert, I always feel there is more to be learned – beyond the program notes, so I attend these lectures.”
Dr. Portnoy, USC Symphony conductor, gives the lectures himself, Anderson said. “He has such a comfortable, engaging way of filling us in on the music, the composers, and how he puts the program together.”
Anderson, who volunteers as South Carolina Public Radio’s classical music librarian, first met Portnoy there during pledge drives. “Dr. Portnoy can always could be counted on to lend his support.”
Effie Phillips also is a regular at the pre-concert lectures, and has been for many years. Prior to a concert, Phillips knows some of the music to be performed and would like to know other music better, “including the Nordic piece coming up for the Nov. 15 Hanson and Shostakovich concert. I study the program between concerts, but the lectures provide so much more. I enjoy Dr. Portnoy’s lectures and how he puts everyone at ease. Before the end of each lecture, he tells us what’s coming up for the next concert.”
Attendance at the pre-concert lectures is free to ticketholders. Portnoy is now in his finale season as conductor of the USC Symphony.
Contributed by Rachel Haynie, Palmetto Artifacts