Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Interviews with David McCarroll and Edward Jones

On February 28, Longwood Symphony Orchestra will perform its 3rd concert of the season with our wonderful Guest Conductor Edward Jones, and the 23 year old violinist David McCarroll, who is already on the international stage, but is also a student of Donald Weilerstein at New England Conservatory of Music.

Longwood Symphony plays at the intersection of the arts, medicine, and healing.

David and Ed have also come from a background where music and caring go hand in hand. Here are some thoughts they have shared with LSO:

Q: As you know, Longwood Symphony Orchestra's concert will be a collaboration with ALS Therapy Development Institute. Does the Longwood model affect your music or change your perspective in any way?

EJ: Longwood's model of presenting concerts to highlight medical causes is a laudable one. In terms of audience demographics, it's fascinating: half of the audience comes to support its colleagues in the medical community, and in the process hears wonderful music; the other half, I suspect, come to hear the music and in the process become educatino in the fight against disease. Symphony orchestras and other arts organizations should be central players in any community, and yet so frequently they are marginalized. Longwood has found a way of reaching out and bridgin disparate groups of people, and it does so very successfully. It's always a thrill and a responsibility to introduce new audiences to music, and this group is a great ambassador for the future of classical music.

DMc: This sense of the healing power of music is very personal for me. My parents have cared for children with AIDS since I was very young--in Romania, Uganda and South Africa-- but also in my home in California. They adopted and fostered several generations of children with AIDS with whom I grew up, some of whom are no longer with us. I began playing when I was four and quickly realized music was much more important to my family than just entertainment. I try to bring this sense of healing and transcending everyday problems to all performances, but it is especially meaningful to me to be playing with this very special group of peole and know that it will be benefiting ALS patients.

Q: Have you performed other concerts for medical needs or medical causes?

EJ: Many of my earliest musical experiences were playing for the pupils in my mother's school--a school for severely mentally handicapped children. I would play the trumpet and piano for them, and it was during these formative years that i really experienced the power of music-makiing to physically transform and heal. Children who were in constant pain and torment seemed to experience slight relief and even enjoyment from the music, and that is something I have tried to keep constantly in mind since. For many people, music can be--and should be--a truly life-changing event. Too often in our culture, music is seen as an elitis past-time with no real relevance to the world--as witnessed by the endless cutting of music education budgets: the work of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra proves this to be completely false.

D Mc: I've done a lot of performing in hospitals and healthcare settings and it is definitely a very different experience from performing in a concert hall. You really feel first hand how important music is and I think it's also the act of going to play for one person or a small group of people in need of music that sets this apart. I've also played concerts for the peace organization Fellowship of Reconciliation and Doctors without Borders, which I feel are important causes, especially with the many conflicts facing the world today.