The future of classical music in Colorado stopped by CPR Classical the other day.
That’s a bit of hyperbole, but not much. We invited three musicians from the Denver Young Artists Orchestra to play the role of “guest DJ” with Charley Samson on Colorado Spotlight this week.
Stories were told. Selfies were taken. And in the process, we got a glimpse of the future of classical music in Colorado.
The instructions were pretty simple. Charley and I asked Rebecca Moritzky, Nathanael Leavitt and Isaac Sellinger to tell us a little about themselves and their music-making and pick a favorite piece to play on the radio.
Moritzky has played harp in the DYAO for nine years, and that first year was a pretty grand start. “The year I auditioned, they were doing Das Rheingold, which calls for six harps,” she said. “So my very first concert with the DYAO was in the senior orchestra.”
Her chosen piece? Claude Debussy’s “Sacred and Profane Dances,” written for a kind of harp that doesn’t get played much anymore — the chromatic harp.
“The chromatic harp never actually took off,” Moritzky said. “Later people took the music Debussy wrote, and it was transferable to the pedal harp, so it’s still a popular piece today.”
Leavitt began playing violin when he was 4 years old after a seeing a violinist playing at the Aurora Mall and has played with DYAO for the last eight years. One of his current fascinations is Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto.
“It’s difficult, but I really, really like it,” he says. “It was written in 1945, and it gives me a good sense of different types of musical styles of the time.”
Sellinger, the clarinetist, revealed a desire to someday switch to the piano (“You can play an entire piece on the piano and don’t need an orchestra.”), but in the meantime he’s still impressed by music the young Gioacchino Rossini wrote: “Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet.”
“That’s the piece that got me really into clarinet,” Sellinger says. “A senior at my old high school in California played it from memory. Absolutely fantastic. The range and the speed and the articulation astounded me, and it’s kind of been my dream since then.”
As a longtime professional disc jockey, what did Charley Samson learn?
“I shouldn’t look back. Somebody is following me.”
One more thing the three young artists taught our seasoned host: the proper approach for taking his first selfie.
“Just point at yourself and hope for the best,” advised our guests from DYAO.
Good advice for many things in life, I’d say.
Hear our guest hosts from the Denver Young Artists Orchestra at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during Colorado Spotlight.