On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show 221 Boston, MA

Francesca Bass, 15

Hi everyone. Sunday we taped a wonderful show at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston. Let me dive right in and tell you all about it!

The show opened with teenage violinist Francesca Bass, playing one of my all-time favorite pieces, Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen. After that exciting start, trumpeter Baldvin Oddsson took the stage to play from the Concerto for Trumpet by Henri Tomasi, a piece which shows off the wide range of color and sound the trumpet can produce in the hands of someone as good as Baldvin. Next up was an incredibly impressive young performer, 13-year-old pianist Kadar Qian, who treated the audience to some selections from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which we’ve never before featured. He definitely won over the crowd!

Muhan Zhang plays the erhu on From the Top

I have to give special mention to Chris’s break piece. In honor of what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, he played Lennon/McCartney’s “Blackbird” arranged by Mike Garson, which was a gorgeous and fitting tribute. (It also just happens to be my all time favorite Beatles tune!)

The second half of the show began with something completely unique. For the first time on the show we featured an erhu player. What is an erhu, you ask? Well, basically it’s a traditional Chinese classical instrument that could be described as vertical violin with two strings. That hardly does it justice though, so we will be posting a video 17-year-old Muhan Zhang demonstrating in exceptional detail the ins and outs of the erhu and playing from one of the pieces he played on the show, Sai Ma (Horse Race) by Huang Haihuai (stay tuned for that video which is coming soon!)

Closing the show was the PALS Children’s Chorus, directed by Alysoun Kegel. The chorus sang two pieces, the first being an original piece written by one of their members, 13-year-old Eleanor Bragg, and the second being an offbeat number called “Singing this Piece” which highlighted the various things chorus members were thinking as they sang the piece. A fun way to end a wonderful show!