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Liebesfreud: News

10th ANNUAL BEETHOVEN’S BIRTHDAY CONCERT TO BENEFIT “WINTERSHELTER” PROGRAM FOR HOMELESS MEN - December 1, 2012

On Sunday, December 16 at 6:00 pm, we will celebrate Beethoven’s birthday by 
performing our tenth annual benefit concert for the Community Outreach Partnership.
The concert takes place at Trinity Memorial Church, 22nd and Spruce Streets.
A wine and cheese reception for the audience and musicians will follow.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Donors who make a gift
of $50 or more to Wintershelter prior to the concert will automatically
receive complimentary admission. Donations can be made online at
www.communityoutreachpartnership.org/donate, or at the office: Community
Outreach Partnership Office, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. For more
information or to donate by phone call 215-732-2515.

Wintershelter is a Philadelphia-based program to accommodate and feed
homeless men. Other programs of the Community Outreach Partnership include
Communicare, an elder visitation program; Cook-off, a meal program for
home-bound persons; Greens-on-the-Go, a Center City Community Supported
Agriculture program ; and Sustainable 19103, a lecture series on urban
sustainability.

Liebesfreud is an ensemble devoted primarily to the performance of great
literature for the string quartet. The group takes its name, which means
Love’s Joy, from the title of a heartfelt piece by beloved violinist Fritz
Kreisler. The main focus of Liebesfreud’s work is the heart of the
classical repertoire, as exemplified by the quartet’s programs of Haydn,
Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert at the Kimmel Center (“Free in the Plaza”
series), the Philadelphia Art Alliance (“Last Fridays” series) and, since
2003, the annual Beethoven’s Birthday celebrations at Trinity.

As Mr. Forbes will be on another continent on December 16,
we are profoundly grateful and honored that
Hai-Ye Ni, principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra,
will join us in this performance of Beethoven’s great Opus 130 quartet.

Beethoven's Birthday Just Around the Corner - November 16, 2012

A month until the big day - our 10th Annual Beethoven's Birthday Bash. As always, all monies raised go to Trinity Center's CORP [Community Outreach Partnership] which benefits Philadelphia's homeless through its Wintershelter program.
This year we are delighted to welcome a guest who is no stranger to Philadelphia music lovers: Hai-Ye Ni, the Philadelphia Orchestra's Principal Cellist will join us in Beethoven's great op. 130 quartet. You come and join us too!
(... and if you live in Center City, it really IS just around the corner: at 22nd & Spruce!)
~ Please see our 'Calendar' page ~  

Fabulous 50 - November 1, 2012

What a pleasure to collaborate once again with consummate artist Ricardo Morales for our 50th "Last Fridays" program! Thanks to Ricardo, our loyal audience and to the anonymous longtime fan who underwrote rental expenses for the Kimmel Center's stunning Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden for this celebratory concert.

Beethoven's Birthday is December 16th - put it on your calendar.
(... please see our 'calendar' page) 

Fiftieth "Last Friday" - October 10, 2012

Liebesfreud will be on top of the world this "Last Friday" when we ascend to the Roof Garden of the Kimmel Center for what promises to be a most memorable concert. We've been looking forward to this since first we had the pleasure of Ricardo Morales's collaborative artistry in Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in 2006 (on Mozart's 250th Birthday).
This time it's the Clarinet Quintet of Brahms, a late work and a supreme masterpiece in the chamber music literature.
Opening this one-hour program will be two short but stunning String Quartet works, also written toward the end of their composers' all-too-short lives.

Liebesfreud quartet members and all guest artists offer their services without fee so that, since the beginning of 2006, all concerts in this "Last Fridays" Series have been open to the public with absolutely no admission charge.  Some members of our audience do contribute to a "Hall Rental Fund" (which helps defray such costs) and to those kind and loyal music lovers we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation. 

For more details on this upcoming 50th Celebration Concert, please see this website's 'Calendar' page.

Taking Stock - October 1, 2012

Liebesfreud's 50th Free "Last Fridays" concert approaches; but first, we pause to acknowledge - and THANK - the many fine artists and FRIENDS who have so graciously joined us over these last 80 months.

2006
Ricardo Morales, Mozart Clarinet Quintet 
Harold Robinson, Dvorak Bass Quintet  
Jennifer Montone, Mozart Horn Quintet K. 407
2007
Vivian Barton-Dozor, Schubert Cello Quintet
Clipper Erickson, Luigi Mazzocchi, Brahms Piano Quintet
Efe Baltacigil, Vivian Barton-Dozor, Schubert Cello Quintet
Alison Avery, Mozart Viola Quintet K. 593
Michal Schmidt, Elgar Violin & Piano Sonata op. 82
2008
Miles Davis, Dvorak Bass Quintet
Hugh Sung, Kreisler pieces
Sam Caviezel, Brahms Clarinet Quintet
2009
Mari-Liis Pakk, Noah Luft-Weissburg,  Heather Wright, Regina Golovina, Mendelssohn Octet
Ana Tzinadze, Dane Anderson, Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence
Renard Edwards, Mendelssohn Viola Quintet op. 87
2010
Vivian Barton-Dozor, Arensky Quartet op. 35
Dara Morales, Jesus Morales, Brahms Sextet op. 18
Hugh Sung, music of Clara & Robert Schumann
2011
Christoph Eschenbach, Dvorak Piano Quintet

Liebesfreud Begins 8th Season of Free Chamber Music Programs - September 1, 2012

Liebesfreud kicks off its eighth season of free programs by wrapping up our survey of the "Ten Celebrated" string quartets of Mozart.  Beginning in October, 2011, we have been exploring these masterpieces with our audiences both in performance and in open rehearsal. This program, the 49th in our "Last Fridays" series, offers the final two string quartets Mozart wrote: K. 589 in B flat major and K. 590 in F major.

Stay tuned for the exciting announcement of our 50th program with guest, Ricardo Morales, illustrious Principal Clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, performing Brahms' mature masterpiece, the "Clarinet Quintet".

Our thoughts turn now to ... Mozart! - April 17, 2012

With the tax deadline now behind us, we can put our energies into discovering more of the delights and genius of Mozart's most inspired chamber music. Come sit in as Liebesfreud explores two more of W.A.'s "Celebrated Quartets". April's "Last Friday" open rehearsal ... please see the 'Calendar' page of this site, and ... Join us!

The Haydn-Mozart Connection - February 25, 2012

In honor of Haydn's 280th birthday, and in continuation of Liebesfreud's year-long survey of Mozart's "Ten Celebrated" String Quartets, offered are the final two in the set of six quartets the junior Austrian genius wrote for, and dedicated to, the senior:

Mozart’s published dedication page (Sept. 1, 1785 - original in Italian!):

To my dear friend Haydn,
A father who had resolved to send his children out into the great world took it to be his duty to confide them to the protection and guidance of a very celebrated Man, especially when the latter by good fortune was at the same time his best Friend. Here they are then, O great Man and dearest Friend, these six children of mine.
They are, it is true, the fruit of a long and laborious endeavor, yet the hope inspired in me by several Friends that it may be at least partly compensated encourages me, and I flatter myself that this offspring will serve to afford me solace one day. You, yourself, dearest friend, told me of your satisfaction with them during your last Visit to this Capital. It is this indulgence above all which urges me to commend them to you and encourages me to hope that they will not seem to you altogether unworthy of your favour.
May it therefore please you to receive them kindly and to be their Father, Guide and Friend! From this moment I resign to you all my rights in them, begging you however to look indulgently upon the defects which the partiality of a Father’s eye may have concealed from me, and in spite of them to continue in your generous Friendship for him who so greatly values it, in expectation of which I am, with all of my Heart, my dearest Friend, your most Sincere Friend,
   W. A. Mozart

"Last Fridays" series: March 30th, 5:30 p.m. (details on 'Calendar' page)

Take Two - February 2, 2012

Two Beethoven Quartets. One early, one late. 

If you missed Liebesfreud's Annual Beethoven's Birthday concert, take this opportunity!  Join us at the Art Alliance for the next program -the 46th!- in our "Last Fridays" series.  Details on the 'Calendar' page.

Mozart's Birthday! - January 24, 2012

Thanks to Schroeder, of Peanuts comic strip fame, Beethoven's birthday gets a lot of attention, but most years Mozart's birthday goes unnoticed. Liebesfreud will make sure that doesn't happen this January 27 — our Last Fridays concert this month features two of Mozart's quartets (from a set of six) dedicated to Haydn:

  • Quartet in B flat major K 458 "The Hunt"
  • Quartet in E flat major K 428

9th Annual Beethoven's Birthday Concert - November 16, 2011

December 18th / 5:00 p.m. Liebesfreud has completed the "Beethoven Cycle" and embarks upon another journey through this hallowed ground of the String Quartet canon. This year's pairing will center around the sunny key of A with an early quartet, op. 18 no. 5 and one of the giants of the chamber music solar system, op. 132.

As usual, the performance is the Sunday closest to Mr. Beethoven's birthday and again raises monies - and consciousness - for "Wintershelter", a program of Community OutReach Partnership, a non-sectarian volunteer group that provides direct help to the homeless, hungry, elderly, lonely, or otherwise needy in the city of Philadelphia.

Incidentally, next year (2012) will be our 10th Annual Celebration and Beethoven's Birthday, December 16th, falls on a Sunday - How perfect is that?! So mark your calendars now :>)  See the 'Calendar' page for all you need to know and Please Join Us!

Home For Thanksgiving - November 11, 2011

Come hear Christoph Eschenbach!

On Friday, November 25, our friend, sensitive, ruminant, illustrious pianist and maestro will be joining Liebesfreud in Dvorak's glowing A major Piano Quintet. Don't miss it! This is a free "Last Fridays" concert at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 5:45 pm.

Please see our 'Calendar' page for program details.

photo by Eric Brissaud


photo by Eric Brissaud

Our 7th season! - October 1, 2011

This season begins with a survey of the "Ten Celebrated" String Quartets of Mozart. Over the course of the next 12 months, we will offer 5 pairs of these masterworks, in chronological order. We begin - October 27th - with K. 387 in G major & K. 421 in D minor. November [25th] will bring an as yet undecided (but guaranteed to be memorable!) masterwork....

See you in the Autumn. - May 13, 2011

Thanks to all our loyal listeners for a memorable spring.
Wishing you all a beautiful summer.
Sincerely,
~ Liebesfreud
:>)
p.s. all-Mozart in October

May 13 Concert - May 6, 2011

Our concert at the Philadelphia Art Alliance on May 13 is part of our "Last Fridays" series, even though it's not the last Friday of the month. That means that it starts at 5:30, and admission is free.

Also characteristic of the series is the format: about an hour of delightful chamber music. Featured this month are quartets by Haydn (Op. 42 in D minor) and Brahms (Op. 51, No. 2, in A minor).

We hope you can join us!

March 25 Concert - March 22, 2011

The featured work on this month's "Last Fridays" concert is Elgar's String Quartet in E minor, one of Elgar's last compositions and one of his few chamber works.
Geoffrey Michaels and Phil Kates will open the program with a nod to Bartok on the anniversary of his birth: Selected Violin Duos.
Philadelphia Art Alliance
5:30 p.m.
Price: FREE

Support for this program generously donated by Barbara Kates
in honor of her dear husband, Henry, on the occasion of his 97th birthday

February 25 Program - February 20, 2011

This Friday Liebesfreud musicians Geoffrey Michaels, Philip Kates, and Charles Forbes will be playing "musical chairs" in a program of two string duos (violin and viola) and a string trio (violin, viola, and cello).
Beethoven—String Trio in C minor, Op. 9 No. 3
Mozart—Duo in B flat major, K. 424
Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for Violin and Viola

A free "Last Fridays" concert
February 25 at 5:30 pm
Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 South 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Liebesfreud 5th Year of Free Concerts Begins - January 1, 2011

Five years ago Liebesfreud instituted what has become the only public free chamber music series in Philadelphia.
Concerts are open to all, no tickets required.
39 concerts and counting.

February 25th program to feature Schubert String Trio in B flat major.
Details on calendar page.

Beethoven's Birthday Concert - December 19, 2010

Our 8th! annual Beethoven's Birthday concert is Sunday, December 19 at 5:15 pm, at Trinity Memorial Church, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Music by Beethoven, of course:
String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2
String Quartet in C# minor, Op. 131

As in previous years, this concert is a benefit for Community OutReach Partnership, a non-sectarian volunteer group that provides direct help to the homeless, hungry, elderly, lonely, or otherwise needy in the city of Philadelphia.

October 29 - October 27, 2010

Liebesfreud celebrates the 200th anniversary of Robert Schumann's birth with a performance of his Quartet in F Major, Opus 41, No. 2. Also on the program is the Dvorak Terzetto, Opus 74.

Our free "Last Fridays" concerts are held at the Art Alliance at 5:30 pm.

September 24 Concert - September 21, 2010

Liebesfreud opens a new season of free "Last Fridays" concerts at the Philadelphia Art Alliance on September 24 at 5:30. Our program features two of the great classical string quartets, Beethoven's Opus 18, No. 2 and Haydn's Opus 76, No. 1.

Liebesfreud (plus 2) on May 28 - May 22, 2010

This month Liebesfreud's "Last Fridays" series of free concerts returns to the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The Liebesfreud Quartet will be joined by violinist Dara Morales (of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and cellist Jesus Morales for a performance of the Brahms Sextet op. 18 in Bb major.

Also on the program are two works for string quartet, a Fugue in F minor by Grieg and the delightful Italian Serenade by Hugo Wolf.

Friday, May 28, 5:30 pm
Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 South 18th Street
(southeast corner of Rittenhouse Square)

Phil Kates revisits China - May 5, 2010

Trip to China Earthquake Region - June 9, 2008

by Philip Kates

June 4 - 5, 2008, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

First, I must say, the beautiful spirit of the Sichuan people was so moving, even in the wake - indeed the midst - of their terrible disaster. I have never had the privilege to meet a more compassionate, warm and caring people. Also, without the sincere help and guidance of Wu Zhuo Ling (Julie), my interpreter here, most or all of my good intentions would likely have been fruitless. She dedicated herself completely to seeing that I was able to touch the lives of as many as I did. It started with a desire - as people all over the world have felt, and acted upon - to make some small difference in even a few lives here. Of course, in a way, the primary and overwhelming need is for food, clean water, secure shelter and a real reason to hope - to believe - that life will again be normal. But in another way, I learned - or rather had my conviction affirmed - that an equally vital human need is to know that others care.

Upon hearing of the devastating "Wenchuan" Earthquake, I began to think if there was anything I could do, personally, for those living through the disaster. My work with the Philadelphia Orchestra would bring me near to the "area" 3 - 4 weeks after the first awesome shock. I say first because there continued to be several significant aftershocks which also had shattering effects, both physically and psychologically. We (the Orchestra) would be arriving in China on June 1st with concerts in Beijing on the 2nd & 3rd; the 4th was a day off (and most of the 5th) so I knew my window for a visit, if there was to be one. If there was to be one...

I have brought my violin to play for children in many schools around the world during my 27 years of touring with the Philadelphia Orchestra, but of what possible use could a violin player be to children suffering from the end of their world? To seek to impose myself on these vulnerable people who were struggling in ways I could not begin to comprehend - what a selfish and egotistical thought! Our first tour concert was in Japan on May 23rd, just 11 days after the quake, and I began to solicit opinions from people in the tour group: Was this a stupid, naive idea? Was it dangerous, crazy or worst of all, callously self-centered? I began to realize a sound decision really couldn't be made until we actually arrived in China - conditions in the quake areas were changing daily and the last thing I wanted was to be a nuisance or inconvenience to those with so many real troubles or the legions of people bringing legitimate help.

When we arrived in Beijing on June 1st I started making inquiries. (I had already checked into flights while back in the U.S.) A reporter who had heard of my prospective plans sought me out. Jennifer Lin, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, had just returned from the quake region. She thought the time could be ripe for a good will type visit (especially with music): The major aftershocks had probably passed, the Chinese government had acted quickly to get temporary housing and support systems in place and people (many, at least) were starting to settle into a routine, basic as it was. This was all the encouragement I needed. I was introduced to a thoughtful and gentle young man, Ted, originally from Ohio, but now living in Beijing. He was hired to be interpreter for the Orchestra during our visit. Ted's best friend - it just so happened! - lived in Chengdu (where my flight would arrive) and he was sure, if available, she would be pleased to serve as interpreter for me. (It turned out she was far more than that, facilitating practically every detail of my time in Sichuan.) Soon thereafter, I was introduced (by Steve Millen, Orchestra V.P. & Manager of Operations, who also coordinated the Philadelphia Orchestra's own Earthquake Relief initiative - resulting in substantial corporate contributions for the building of earthquake-proof schools) to Ning Shao and Jim Curtis. Both are associated with Pennsylvania's cooperative effort with China for exchange of commerce and now, especially, building safe schools in China - a project for which Orchestra musicians themselves contributed $5000.

(Not so incidentally, Pennsylvania government officials were a huge help in facilitating the donation of gifts and medicines in conjunction with a 1999 Orchestra musicians' visit to an orphanage and school in Viet Nam! - but that's another story....)

I learned from these gentlemen that their organization had, just days earlier, built a temporary school in Mianzhu, a badly damaged area, and they could arrange a visit there if I liked! Contact was made with a volunteer, Li Li, at the school and it was set. When I arrived at the airport in Chengdu, I would need a car and driver as the village school was about 2 hours drive north of the city. I spoke with Julie who would set it up. However, the day before I was to leave, Julie phoned to say that a friend of hers had been several times to this area and wanted to return to help the relief effort so hiring a car (and driver of unknown credentials) would not be necessary. (This turned out to be a fortuitous development.) The day before the trip, Ted arranged for purchase and delivery of my airline tickets (to Chengdu and then, next day, to Guangzhou, the city of the Orchestra's June 6th concert). Then we set out shopping to get gifts (colored pencils, crayons, modeling clay and assorted sweets) for up to 200 children.

That night, at our final Beijing concert, Lang Lang, illustrious Philadelphia-trained, Chinese soloist for our China concerts - who each night had offered a painfully beautiful encore "dedicated to the victims of the Earthquake" - signed a photo for the children of this "Project Hope" school and also wrote a personal message for them.

June 4th

Upon arrival at Chengdu airport (a 2 1/2 hour flight from Beijing) just before noon, I am met by Julie and her friend, Mi. They seem genuinely to be looking forward to setting off, although with a certain sense of sober responsibility, which I feel as well. They think nothing of the 2-hour journey. Mi drives a substantial Jeep and her driving skills (I will learn) range between seriously competent and virtuosic. It was a brilliant stroke of luck she was willing and available, first, because any normal car would have been crippled by the terrain we would encounter and second, any mercenary driver would surely have balked at even attempting to put his vehicle through the tortuous "roads" which, unbeknownst to me, lay ahead. Also very fortunate - Mi had already made several relief trips on her own to this area and so had a government issued placard which allowed the vehicle on the roads we would need to travel.

At a certain point it seemed obvious we would be perhaps a half hour late. (The school visit was planned for 3 - 5 p.m.) Julie phoned Li Li. He said, even though we had been instructed to stop first at the City Hall, now doubling as Earthquake Relief Administration Office, we should come directly to the school. Mi therefore took a "short cut" which at the time seemed (to me) to be a big error in judgment: The "road" went for miles of hard-packed, hilly dirt, rocks and, worryingly, even a small, muddy river to traverse - more like an ATV course than a road. When we finally arrived at the school, we found what an important and good decision this detour had been: Just a few hours earlier, the city government had decided to prohibit entry to all foreigners to the Mianzhu area! (It seems that foreign reporters had become increasingly intrusive into the lives of victims and the stress was becoming too much on these villagers.) At first Li Li was reluctant to let me meet the children, but our sincere concern and patience helped him see our intentions to be rooted in friendship. Surprisingly, in anticipation of my arrival, the headmaster (principal) of the school had dismissed all the students early! He had said it was too hot (and it was!) for them to be inside... Maybe this was his way of honoring the new directive...

Anyway, Li Li got word out to the people in the village and we set out for a pastoral spot amid bamboo stands and rice paddies. I don't know how Mi managed to keep the massive Jeep from dipping off the narrow strip between the rice fields - I was holding my breath. We left the car in a shaded area and walked the final 500 meters or so to where the children were gathering. There were about 20 by a small oblong, terraced, stone swimming pool. Some were splashing and playing - as children should. Others were expectantly waiting for the music. We all found a cool(-ish) place among the bamboo stalks. Julie introduced me and the children seemed very proud - as if they must be quite important to get a visit from a musician from a big American orchestra that had just performed in Beijing the night before! Now the concert could begin.

The music consisted of short pieces which my father had taught me when I was about their age (6 - 12 years old): Bach, Weber, Beethoven, Gossec, Wieniawski, Kreisler and one of my dad's own compositions titled, "The Bird". (It fit very nicely in this open air "program".) More important than the music though, yet inextricably linked to it, was the human contact - the connection I could make with these beautiful, young people who were undoubtedly struggling to come to grips with what their lives had become - what there lives might not become.

After a warm reception for the musical fun, the children followed us back to the Jeep where they sweetly lined up and each graciously and delightedly received candies, cakes and books (which Julie & Mi brought). To Li Li I gave the before-mentioned school supplies and Lang Lang's photo and message. I also presented him with a set of Orchestra CDs and our acclaimed DVD, "Music From The Inside Out" for their future school's library. We were then led on a "tour" of some of the destruction. Not gaping cracks or monstrous upheavals of earth as I had imagined (and dreaded) seeing, but soberingly terrible visions nonetheless. We have all seen the horrible images in newspapers, on TVs and computer screens - there is no need for me to try to describe here with my inadequate words. ... a collapsed school, of course, garden walls, remnants of houses... but the one sight especially memorable because of the personal connection I now have made - a house which a man had only finished building a month earlier: rubble. His wife was asleep upstairs when the quake hit; somehow she managed to get clear before she would have been crushed. All in her immediate family survived. Of the 2900 people living in their village on May 11th, 1000 are no more.

On the way back to the car, we were shown where this family was living now - nine of them, including grandmother and cousins, in a makeshift shelter (so many of which clutter the rural landscape): a good tarpaulin covering, some quasi-protection from wind and rain on the sides, some flimsy bedding materials and not much else. There were smiles though: The family members clearly were concerned they would still be in this fragile "home" come winter, but just as clearly grateful they were all together, alive. We chose the paved route back to Chengdu.

After about ten minutes' driving away from the village on dirt roads, we would have a less battering ride to the city. It was now past 6:00, but Mi and Julie knew I would still like to play in one more place today, if possible. Right by the Relief Office (which we had bypassed on the way) was a "tent city" the likes of which I couldn't have envisioned. Its orderly set-up reminded me of a military barracks, but it definitely was not at all like that socially. There was a very friendly, community feel - and, it was much larger. I don't know how many large tents - a thousand, two thousand - most with less than a meter of space between them. There were also "specialty" tents set up for cooking, distribution of water (by pail), toilet facilities and even a tent for hair-cutting. There were many children playing together, spiritedly in the dirt - only the old people seemed like lost souls, out of a twilight zone, wandering as if they imagined this is how life, for them, would end.

Julie and Mi scouted around and found a tent set up to be a schoolhouse. They got permission for me to play and a teacher put word out that a musician - an American - had come to visit them. It was dinnertime and only a couple dozen were there when I began, but the "odd" sounds coaxed curious passersby. This impromptu stop turned into another exceedingly meaningful visit and when the music was over, the children clamored for autographs and photos. Julie and Mi lingered to talk with the teacher about ways they could help when they returned in the near future.

Now 8:00 and dark out, the day felt long enough. (For me, travel had begun in Beijing at 7 a.m. - I wouldn't be to my Chengdu hotel until 11 p.m.) I had told Julie of a hospital in the city I wanted to visit on the next day - she would arrange it - tomorrow would be here soon.

June 5th

Actually, she hadn't arranged a visit - Julie just "knew" that it would be OK! At a little past noon, we arrived at the Hua Xi Hospital and went right to a pediatric floor. (Children on this floor were all here with quake-related injuries - and again, I prefer not to describe.... some of these children were from the village I'd visited the day before.) Julie walked into one room and asked parents if they'd like some violin music. The response was puzzled, but enthusiastic. -

And so it went... for the next 2 hours we went from room to room, about 10 minutes in each. Wards had from 4 to 8 children. And the most wonderful thing - although something I've confidently come to expect - regardless of her physical or emotional condition (and some were glum or rightfully angry at the state of their lives) - each child had a smile on her face before I left the room. Especially moving for me, perhaps in a way only a parent can appreciate, were the tears in some mothers' and fathers' eyes as they glimpsed a now rare lightheartedness and glee in their children's faces. Any doubt I may have had as to the value of my making this trip evaporated at such moments.

 

For decades, the Philadelphia Orchestra has been known as an international ambassador - in fact helping to open up relations between China and the West with its historic 1973 visit here. And my father had always told me that, professionally, membership in this fabulous organization would open doors all over the world - I just never imagined that would mean such personally satisfying possibilities. When I was in Mianzhu, the father whose "home" I visited asked, "In Beijing, do they think about us or only about the Olympics?"... I didn't know how to respond - only to say that I knew when Lang Lang played that encore, everyone in the entire concert hall was thinking of him and his family - and nothing else. When I left Mianzhu, I was presented with a gift. It will always be one of my most treasured possessions, but only as a symbol of the love I felt that day and the small good I know I accomplished. It is a bright green t-shirt which, in Chinese, says simply, "We are together - Wenchuan Earthquake - Volunteer". 

Something To "Harp" About - November 7, 2007

Liebesfreud looks forward to its 5th annual Beethoven's Birthday observance.
This year's main course is the op. 74 "Harp" quartet with an appetizer of op. 18 #2.
["Dessert": As always, a wine & cheese reception with the musicians!]
While many of Liebesfreud's concerts - most notable the "Last Fridays" - are FREE!
this program's $10 admission charge benefits, 100%, "Wintershelter" a program of the Trinity Center for Urban Life.
Concert time: 5:00 p.m. Beethoven's Birthday! (Sunday, December 16th)
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