BEMIDJI – One of the first applicants to receive a fellowship from Region 2 Arts Council/McKnight Career Development Fellowship was Beverly Everett, musical director of the Bemidji and Bismark-Mandan (N.D.) Symphony Orchestras.
A new initiative by the arts council was the implementation of a mid-career fellowship grant, an idea first discussed and designed by a council subcommittee and then approved by the entire board.
Everett was one of two recipients in that first grant round in 2011 and she will be talking about her venture at 7 p.m. July 19 at the First Lutheran Church in Baudette.
In applying for the fellowship, Everett said one of the goals would be to study with a female conductor in a field dominated by men.
“I specifically chose to shadow Maestro JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Symphony in Belfast, Ireland,” Everett said.
“In addition to being one of the great conductors of our time, JoAnn, quite simply is one of the most gracious people I have ever met. The experience exceeded my goals and expectations to such a great extend it is almost hard to describe.”
Everett used the grant to underwrite expenses for two trips each to Buffalo, New York and Norfolk, Va.
In Virginia she was able to hear and experience a symphony by her favorite composer, Gustav Mahler, with Symphony No. 8, subtitled “Symphony of a Thousand.” It is not often performed because of the large number of singers and musicians it requires. Falletta was able to assemble a chorus of 500 singers, a 100-plus member orchestra and eight soloists for a concert as part of the Virginia Arts Festival.
Another event Everett attended was Mahler’s Third Symphony with Falletta as conductor.
“To hear the Third done well is a deep, spiritual experience and it was this in Buffalo,” said Everett. “This piece truly showed JoAnn’s artistry, power and strength as a conductor.”
Everett says that she has found a true mentor in Falletta and a friend who generously shared her knowledge and professional relationships.
“The fellowship may have had a specific beginning and ending time, but what I learned and the friendships I made, will be with me forever,” Everett said. “I know that I am a truly changed as a person, musician and leader because of this.”Tags: news
In the summer of 1997 I had the privilege of returning to the Aspen Music Festival for a second summer to study in their conducting program. That particular summer, I went with one mission in mind, and that was to conduct Mahler's First Symphony. I had fallen in love with the piece, and I had a passion, drive and determination to make a performance of it happen. And so, I did. A group of incredible friends gathered under my novice, naive and inexperienced baton to play this monumental work. I paid them with pizza, and for Mahler 1, that's a lot of pizza. I'm pretty sure that most, if not all of them, now have professional orchestra positions. Some of them may not even remember (or want to remember) that we did that. But I will never forget it, and I owe all those people a debt of gratitude that I may not have even realized at the time. When the performance was over, I cried, uncontrollably. Why? Because my psyche was simply not prepared for what goes through you emotionally when you conduct a Mahler Symphony. I knew basically how to analyze a score, and sort of at that time, what to say to the orchestra. I knew enough gestures to get us through it. But it was the "heart" part, that was the "hard" part, as it were. I simply hadn't lived enough to have been conducting that piece. The next day, my mentor Murry Sidlin said to our class, "Beverly has been to the cathedral." (I think he probably wanted to say, "Beverly has gone round the bend!") But the point was that I had experienced something that, albeit difficult, was an important thing to have experienced. And he also mentioned that it might have made more sense to start with Mahler 4. Well, all these years later, I am conducting Mahler 4. It's actually my second time to conduct it. I learned it from Peter Bay when I was his assistant at the Britt Music Festival in 2002, and I got to hear it live with the Berlin Phil and Simon Rattle in New York City several years ago. During the years since I conducted that first Mahler first, I have lived, loved and lost much. I think I still carry a bit of that wide-eyed wonder about the world, and about Mahler...and I'm glad of that. But I understand better the complexities; the pain; the gruesomeness. I understand the pain of death and suffering; I understand tragedy and grief; but I also understand ecstasy, love, and pure joy. I get it now that you have to go through all that stuff to get to the "Heaven" part at the end. The first time I ever met Simon Rattle, he autographed my Mahler 1 score. And in it he wrote, "Go for the jugular!" I get it that you have to do that, in order to come anywhere near "getting" Mahler. I'm very grateful to our Bismarck-Mandan Symphony musicians who will be playing this piece next week and who are already digging into it in the rehearsals. I'm grateful in advance to Korliss Uecker for the artistry she brings to us. And I'm grateful to Murry, and all of my friends, and everyone who has made up my life in all these past years since 97' because all of you are part of this experience, too. Tennyson wrote, "I am a part of all I have met." And all are a part of me, too...and I can't wait for next week when we "go for the jugular" together with this amazing piece of music!
This is the title of one of my favorite films of Leonard Bernstein. In it he expresses the profound and obvious thing that we all know: that when we teach, we learn just as not much if not more, ourselves. This week I've been reminded of how we never know the difference we might make in someone's life. Last month I had the opportunity to speak to students in a variety of settings at Cottey College. I learned so much from the students, and was inspired by them. They have been so generous in their expression of gratitude to me. A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to see some of the most important mentors of my life: my first organ teacher, James Steel. My college organ professor Joyce Jones. My college conducting teacher, Stephen Heyde. And a dear friend, Betty Young whose late husband Robert (Dr. Young) was one of the pivotal people in my life. Dr. Young was the first person to whom I confessed that I wanted to be a conductor. I expressed to him my concern about feeling called to this profession, when I had previously thought I was called into full time music ministry. He said two things to me that changed my life forever. In his deep voice, he said (of orchestral music) "Beverly, this music is where we find GOD!" And then he explained that one need not have full time employment at a church to minister to people through music. Those two statements secured and validated the direction I wanted to go, and in doing so, changed my life. Now I have this amazing opportunity to serve as a "Success Coach" with a 7th grade student in Bemidji as part of this innovative program called "Students First." My wish for my own life is that I will always be a "student first." And that I will always remember that we never know what we might say on any given day that could make a huge difference in someone's life. Carry on!
In my last post, I outlined my musical activities taking place between Jan. 14th and Feb. 14th. I will reflect on some of the amazing moments/aspects of those events! Our cinema concert January 14th was fun. Even though I am a professional conductor and maybe should be beyond caring about such things, one of the things that meant the most to me about that concert was the amazing group of friends I had there. One friend, despite being totally exhausted, literally came straight from a flight to the concert. Audiences play such an important role in what we do; and it's especially meaningful when the audience contains dear friends. My talk at Cottey College was so rewarding. If you don't know of this school, get to know it. The students I met were all incredible young women, ready to go out and change the world...and receiving the tools they need to do so. I was nervous because I don't often give formal presentations like that. But I had a blast and would love to do it again! My time with JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Symphony was more than I could have imagined. WOW! Gil Shaham's playing of the Barber Violin Concerto was one of the most amazing musical performances I have ever heard. I cried at every concert during the slow movement. I learned so much from JoAnn. She is a wonderful, expressive, powerful and elegant conductor. The people there in the orchestra and community just LOVE her and there is something to be learned from that as well. One thing that inspired me the most about my time there was the orchestra itself and its professionalism, positive "vibe" and wonderful sound. I am striving uphill to inspire those things in my orchestras, too. AND, while I was there in Virginia, I received a call that I had been approved to adopt my new kitten Bravo. I don't think I've ever written in this blog specifically about the deep loss we sustained at Christmas in the loss of my beautiful boy Divo. I felt strongly that Divo's brother Maestro needed a playmate, so we now have Bravo, a 6 month old tuxedo kitty! Both are getting along famously! I returned to begin rehearsals in Bismarck for our concert with Martina Filjak. If you don't know Martina and her playing, get to know her. She is amazing and world class. She played the Ravel Concert in G with us. Again, WOW! The BMSO did a great job and really grew during this concert. They also did a remarkable job on the Franck Symphony in D. Then I went immediately into a week of preparations for our very special Feb. 12th concert with my friend and favorite scholar/author Clay Jenkinson. Clay joined us in Bemidji for a concert based on J Robert Oppenheimer. People love it! We did great music, had great soloists (Brad Bradshaw singing the Britten Holy Sonnets of John Donne) and the stupendous Stravinsky Octet with our orchestra members and guests. A totally unforgettable afternoon for all. Programs like this one are SO important. Using our profound art form of music, and fusing it with the humanities and a world-class scholar, brought about questions, discussions and emotions that are so important to bring to the surface in today's world. If I could do a concert like that every month, in addition to the more traditional programs, I would feel I had left a good mark on this world. We ALL learn from programs like that. I just can't say enough how important they are. Finally I played an organ recital for the 2012 Mid Winter Conference at Baylor U where I did my undergraduate degree. Joyce Jones, who is my mentor, friend, and musical Mom, is retiring. I was so honored to be there. And again, to have so many family and friends in the audience. Now on to the rest of the spring's concerts! Fun times and great music ahead!
I am new to Twitter, but you can now follow me there @BeverlyEverett
This pretty much sums up the next few weeks for me! What incredible opportunities in store...
Saturday, January 14 is our Music from the Silver Screen concert with the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra. &pm at the Belle. Lots of John Williams favorites, plus a few surprises. Saturday, January 14 at 7:00 pm Belle Mehus,
Wednesday, January 18: Distinguished Speaker at Cottey College. The Institute for Women’s Leadership and Social Responsibility at Cottey College announces that Dr. Beverly Everett, music director and conductor of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra and the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, will be the first headliner of the Institute’s annual Distinguished Speakers Series. She will present on the topic of “Women’s Leadership in the Performing Arts” at 7:00 p.m. in the Missouri Recital Hall of The Haidee and Allen Wild Center for the Arts on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.
January 19-23: The first of my Region II Arts/McKnight Career Development Fellowship studies with JoAnn Falletta. I will have the opportunity to basically shadow Maestro Falletta over 3 days of rehearsals, concerts, meeting and media events. Program is amazing: Gil Shaham playing Barber's Violin Concerto; Copland Appalachian Spring (full) and Dvorak New World. All I can say on this is wow! And thanks JoAnn and Region II!
February 4: Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra concert with Martina Filjak, pianist and also with Alyssa Spratta, trumpet, the winner of our 2011 Young Artist Competition. Program is Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture; Arutunian trumpet concerto, Ravel Piano Concerto in G, and the Franck Symphony in d.
February 12: History Meet Music Concert in Bemidji with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra and guests Clay S. Jenkinson as J. Robert Oppenheimer and tenor Brad Bradshaw. Clay will portray Oppenheimer and the program will feature music of Oppenheimer's life and times including the waltz from Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, the Stravinsky Octet, and the Britten Holy Sonnets of John Donne.
February 14: I will be playing a solo organ recital by invitation as part of the 2012 Mid Winter Organ conference at Baylor University. This is a special opportunity because it is also the retirement of my amazing mentor Dr. Joyce Jones. The recital is at 4pm on Feb. 14 in Roxy Grove Hall, Baylor University. Program includes works of Vierne, Bach, Brahms, Franck and Duruflé.
"Let choice whisper in your ear and love murmur in your heart. Be ready. Here comes life." -Maya Angelou. With deepest gratitude for all of you, family and friends, near and far. For your love and support in my losses and for your celebration and praise when things went well. For your hope, joy, friendship and music. I raise a glass to all of you and may 2012 bring us together at some point and bring you all, your heart's desires. Happy New Year. Beverly
Not too many days left in what has been a kind of weird year. A year that while seems full of loss in a certain way with the death of my Grandmother, was also quite full in terms of meaningful experiences and collaborations. In 2011, the musical highlights for me are: February Appalachian Spring and Rhapsody in Blue with Tatiana Roitman; March Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Sadie and Sarah Hamrin, Dvorak New World Symphony, The Old Turtle with Keith Bear; April Lalo Cello Concerto with Wes Baldwin and Bolero, and on May 1, the monumental, unforgettable Defiant Requiem. 2 fun summer concerts with Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome and Chuck Suchy; a big Mozart tour to Europe. September 11 commemoration concert with Mozart Requiem and 2 incredible new pieces by Eric Ewazen and Jay Greenberg. October was Gershwin Piano Concerto with Jacob Adams and Afro American Symphony, and then the world premiere of Cowboy Land by Chris Brubeck with Clay Jenkinson. November was one of the top 3 musical experiences of my life, getting to perform Christopher Rouse's flute concerto with Carol Wincenc. And of course the usual suspects at the holiday concerts. Reading highlights: I've read 5 books on Mozart, 3 on Dvorak, a couple on Copland. Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Historian, The Swan Thieves, Sarah's Key, Ulysses, the Perfection of the Morning, a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the Dubliners, A Free and Hardy Life, and most recently, The Character of Meriwether Lewis by Clay Jenkinson. Am currently reading a biography of Robert Oppenheimer and Undaunted Courage. My favorite movies seen this year are: Midnight in Paris, King's Speech, True Grit, and Anonymous. I made several 16 mile walks and got to play the organ at St. Stephen's Cathedral. I've got a great life
Last night was the long awaited premiere of the newly commissioned work "Roosevelt in Cowboy Land" by Chris Brubeck. This 50 minute symphonic work in three parts tells the life story of President Theodore Roosevelt through words and music. Chris Brubeck has a national and international career as a composer and musician. His music is frequently played and premiered by leading orchestras and musicians all over the world. (Chris is the son of Dave Brubeck, one of the leading jazz geniuses of all time. Clay Jenkinson is one of the nation's leading humanities scholars, and specifically is one of the nation's leading Roosevelt scholars. (He is also a leading scholar on Thomas Jefferson AND Meriwether Lewis, having just completed what will become, I think, the leading piece of scholarship on Meriwether Lewis, his new book "The Character of Lewis," scheduled to come off the press next week.) I am blessed that I can also say that both Clay and Chris are great personal friends of mine. Needless to say, I am so humbled by the opportunity to work with these giants in their fields. I am also humbled and honored to work with the orchestras that I get to conduct. Last night, bringing that all together with one of the most enthusiastic and involved audiences I've ever heard, was pure magic. I have received numerous messages today saying how moved people were, how they had chills, tears and laughter. What other 50 minute piece does all that? Clay is just incredible as the narrator. I have seen him perform in his historical portrayals of these figures. But integrating his gift with the symphony orchestra is remarkable. He had the audience on the edge of their seats, and then his voice and the orchestra's music making...of Chris' music...just reached out and grabbed people right in the heart. Today I am full of gratitude. And I am full of excitement that we get to do all this AGAIN...THIS Friday, October 28 in Dickinson. So if you missed last night, come on out to Dickinson next Friday! You'll be glad you did!
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