On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show 215 Portland, ME

Hi everyone! I’m just winding down from a wonderful show we taped in Portland, Maine tonight in the beautiful Merrill Auditorium with Portland Ovations. The whole show was fantastic, but I wanted to share some of my favorite highlights with you.

17-year-old pianist Wil Bristol played a piece that called for him to use his forearms to create loud, dissonant note clusters in certain parts, and the effect was incredibly dramatic. After Wil played (and thankfully managed to leave the piano in one piece!), one of our producers went out into the audience to interview the composer of the piece, Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee. She talked about the powerful emotions that went into creating it, and the incredible joy it gave her to watch Wil be able to access those emotions and bring it to life. She said that although she may look “old in body,” musicians like Wil keep her feeling young.

Another piece I loved was Valse by Arnold Bax, which was played by 14-year-old harpist Anna DeLoi. She described the piece as “the demented doll dance” and I think she hit the nail on the head! It was beautifully creepy, and Anna played it with immense expression.

Another thrilling part of tonight’s show was Christopher O’Riley’s break piece. For those of you who have never been to a live taping, the break piece is a solo Chris plays at the midpoint of each show. When the program airs, you only get to hear a small portion of the break piece performance, but the live audience hears the whole thing. Sometimes Chris plays traditional classical repertoire and sometimes he plays new interpretations of music from other genres. For this show, he did something completely unique – he premiered a piece written by a 17-year-old composer from Vermont. That composer’s name is Tim Woos, and Chris met him when he was featured on a show we taped last month in Burlington, Vermont (airing this May).

And here’s the best part – I snuck in close with my Flip cam and taped the whole piece in its entirety for you! So I present to you… in all its Flip cam glory… the world premiere of Tim Woos’s Here and Now performed by the fabulous Christopher O’Riley. Enjoy!