A tribute to the music teacher
Most of us have had kind and generous teachers that left a lasting impression.
Eight-year-old Paul Swindlehurst’s life changed forever when someone stuck a plastic flutophone in his hand. "Looking back," Paul told me, “I would not have lived the same life without all this music because it is so important to me.” It was around this time that he was introduced to Leonard Bernstein’s Young Person’s Concerts, a key gateway of classical music for many.
When pushed to name a favorite piece, Paul struggled (like any reasonable person). With some prodding, he came up with Sibelius’ magnificent tone poem, “Finlandia” and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.
He shared one very particular spot in the Tchaikovsky which occurs at the end of the cadenza, where the soloist looks to the conductor who then brings in the orchestra. It is an oddly intimate moment in a public setting. Here is one musician forcing a hundred other musicians to sit on their hands while the soloist damn well finishes what he has to say. Enlightenment composers saw the first part of a concerto as a kind of battle for domination between an individual and the massed forces of the orchestra. The turning point was inevitably this very spot at the end of the cadenza where the two sides come together. Moments like this elicit a frisson of excitement in me as well.
The first things apparent in Paul are his infectious enthusiasm and a willingness to serve. With forty years under his belt working for non-profits, Paul currently sits on the board of several prominent organizations in town and was also Chair of Yankee Homecoming in 2016.
One flutophone led to a life of music. Welcome to the board, Paul!
David Yang, Artistic Director
On Tuesday, I had the privilege to discuss the composer Arnold Schoenberg with his son, Larry.