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Origins of Mahler

On Thursday, July 25th, the New York City Summer Mahler Project will present “Origins of Mahler,” a benefit concert for the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward.

Conductor James Blachly, recently named the 2013-14 Zander Fellow, has assembled an all-star orchestra in New York City to perform this concert on a volunteer basis. Players include former and current members of the Academy of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and the Weill Music Institute (ACJW) and the Decoda. Some are early music specialists; others are seasoned free-lancers who perform on Broadway or with the New York Philharmonic. Many are teaching artists, and all care deeply about the future of music education in this country.

This concert is possible only with the full commitment of these passionate musicians who desire to make an impact with their playing. They are choosing to give freely of their time to benefit others; in this case for the tangible cause of a Youth Orchestra in New Orleans.

About the choice of programming, Artistic Director James Blachly says,

“We highlight in this program the two greatest compositional influences on Mahler as he himself described: Wagner and Beethoven.[1] In exploring Mahler’s musical origins, the Blumine movement is a fascinating glimpse into his earliest compositional life; Rienzi was described by a young Mahler as ‘the greatest music-drama ever composed;’ and the Eroica symphony is the piece that in one stroke (and with two hammer-blows) spread the musical canvas for a symphonic work as wide as the world, a canvas Mahler would later fill and expand even further. We are thrilled to present this extraordinary music for such a great cause in the beautiful acoustic of St. Bartholomew’s Church.”

Audience members will be invited to celebrate and support a youth orchestra in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans that is committed to the continued growth and strengthening of a neighborhood with a long tradition of independence and cultural strength that continues to merit our ongoing attention and support. Patrons should come prepared to participate in a silent auction at intermission and before the concert.


[1] Gustav Mahler to Alma, 1904: {about Brahms}: “It is very seldom he can make anything whatever of his themes, beautiful as they often are. Only Beethoven and Wagner, after all, could do that.”