From the desk of arts writer Phyllis A.S. Boros
Anyone who has ever doubted whether a child’s life can be deeply touched by a classical concert experience need only consider the case of North Haven student Caroline Salant – who makes her conducting debut May 23 in New Haven.
In February of 2007, the then 12-year-old attended a Greater Bridgeport Symphony concert along with her parents, Dr.Stacey Salant and Michael Peter Salant.
Although Caroline, a gifted music student, was very impressed with the soloist, virtuoso trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, she was even more taken by the conductor, Maestro Gustav Meier, who she had the opportunity to meet following the performance at a Green Room reception at Bridgeport’s Klein Memorial Auditorium.
That brief meeting – and Meier’s energetic and insightful conducting – left a lasting impression on the student, her mother said recently.
Fast forward to a few months ago, and the publication of Meier’s master work on the art of conducting: “The Score, the Orchestra and the Conductor” (Oxford University Press).
Thinking that her daughter might enjoy having a book by one of the most renowned teachers of conducting in the world (and someone she actually had met), Salant, a clinical psychologist, purchased a copy of Meier’s tome and subsequently had it autographed for Caroline.
The book soon became one of Caroline’s most cherished – and the now 15-year-old North Haven High School/Educational Center for the Arts freshman is toying with the idea of conducting as a career.
To explore the option, and to have some fun, Caroline has decided to preside over a performance of Terry Riley’s “In C” on May 23, beginning at 1 p.m., at Neighborhood Music School, where she studies. Performing the piece will be students from the nonprofit school.
It’s a modest piece, but “In C” will give Caroline her first opportunity to wield a conductor’s baton (and she’ll perform on the flute as well), her mother points out. Caroline also is organizing the concert in order to obtain her Girl Scout Silver Award, the most prestigious award obtainable at her age.
Caroline explains that “In C” is a series of 53 melodic patterns played in sequence by any instrument. One may play each phrase as many times as desired before moving on to the next, but the patterns must be played in order. The score can be found at http://www.otherminds.org/shtml/Scores.shtml. (To hear the piece, go to In C Terry Riley on YouTube.)
Admission to the concert is one nonperishable/canned item, with the event to benefit the Connecticut Food Bank. The Neighborhood Music School is at 100 Audubon St. in New Haven; for directions, visit www.nmsmusicschool.org