Indian Hill's Blog

Indian Hill Music Honors Black History and the Legacy of Abraham Lincoln

Former Gov. Deval Patrick to Narrate Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” at Orchestra of Indian Hill Concert Feb. 21

The legacy of President Abraham Lincoln, Black history month, and music of the Civil War are in the spotlight at Indian Hill this month, with concerts by the Orchestra of Indian Hill and our Music School faculty vocalists as well as a “Discovery Lecture” highlighting Civil War town bands.

FAC_FEBrecitalVoiceFaculty3WebFaculty Showcase Recital: American Voices

The events begin on Friday, February 12 at 7:00 pm with “American Voices,” an Indian Hill Faculty Showcase concert at 36 King Street, Littleton. Come experience the emotional power and evocative stories of traditional spirituals, Civil War songs, and music inspired by the Civil Rights movement. Four Indian Hill vocalists – Martha Warren, Charlotte Russell, Mary Crowe, and Suzanne Buell — will offer a wide variety of music, including spirituals by Moses Hogan, songs of Stephen Foster, gospel tunes, and selections made famous by Odetta, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone.



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Tickets: $10

Buy online, by phone at (978) 486-9524 x116, or at the door.
The Indian Hill Music Faculty Showcase Series is supported by Nashoba Real Estate.


Lecture_FEB_SKKinne2Discovery Lecture: The Pride of Town and Regiment: Town Bands During the Civil War

Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00 pm, uncover the history of New England’s town bands during the Civil War at our Discovery Lecture with music historian and St. Paul’s School faculty Susan K. Kinne. The presentation also includes music played on the Westford Museum’s Civil War era reed organ. The lecture takes place at the Westford Historical Society & Museum, 2 Boston Road, Westford.

Tickets: $10
Buy online, by phone at (978) 486-9524 x116, or at the door.
This program is in collaboration with the Westford Historical Society & Museum, and is supported in part by a grant from the Westford Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


OIHseasonFebOrchestra of Indian Hill: The Lincoln Legacy

Sunday, February 21 at 3:00 pm, special guest Former Gov. Deval Patrick will narrate Copland’s classic Lincoln Portrait with the Orchestra of Indian Hill at Littleton High School Performing Arts Center, 56 King Street, Littleton. Under the baton of Maestro Bruce Hangen, the concert will also feature a suite from John Williams’s score for the 2012 epic film Lincoln, and works by two African-American composers: William Grant Still (Poem for Orchestra) and Hale Smith (Four Spirituals) sung by New York-based soprano Kristin Renee Young.

Tickets: $20-50
Buy online, or by phone at (978) 486-9524 x116.
This concert is sponsored by Deluxe Corporation Foundation.

Click here for more information about upcoming Indian Hill Music concerts and events, or call (978) 486-9524 (press 0).

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Posted in Latest News, Orchestra

Review: French Composers Take the Stage For Indian Hill Orchestra Concert

By McLaren Harris

“French Connections,” a program of four works by French composers spanning more than two centuries presented Sunday, January 24, by the Orchestra of Indian Hill and conductor Bruce Hangen, marked the welcome return of violinist Irina Muresanu to the Littleton High School Performing Arts Center.

World-traveled and acclaimed as a soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Muresanu has won hearts with her appearances with the orchestra and at Indian Hill’s Kalliroscope Gallery chamber music series, so that many now consider her part of the extended Indian Hill family. On Sunday afternoon, playing an 18th-century concerto by Joseph Boulogne and a more recent (2002) and imaginative nocturne by Henri Dutilleux, the audience was hers.

The Boulogne and Dutilleux works were book-ended by two larger compositions, Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” and César Franck’s D minor Symphony. Because of relative lengths, the Boulogne concerto was moved to the program’s first half, following “La Mer.” Leaving Dutilleux’s “Sur le même accord” (“About the same chord”) to follow the Debussy work would have made more musical sense; despite the century separating their composition and vastly different musical intents, the two share aspects of lyricism, tonal exploration and instrumental color in transparent, or at least translucent, settings.

Ms. Muresanu produced a focused tone from her 1856 Giuseppe Rocca violin that was finely suited to the light context of the Dutilleux piece, while not lacking for strength, and she negotiated the rapid passages and intervals, both pizzicato and bowed, with unfailing aplomb. The orchestra, scored conservatively by the composer, matched her spirit and energy. As a venture into contemporary musical idioms, this was successful indeed.

Joseph Boulogne, Guadeloupe-born in 1745 of mixed parentage, was granted the noble title of Chevalier de Saint-Georges by virtue of his leadership of the Légion Saint-Georges during the French Revolution. At age 7, he was brought to Paris to be educated and subsequently gained much renown as a swordsman and also as a violin virtuoso and composer. His Violin Concerto in B flat major (not a popular key for strings) shows an early classic style more like C.P.E. Bach or Glück than Haydn or Mozart, but it is capably written with plenty of dashing solo passages, unusual for that era.

The concerto has solo cadenzas in each of the three movements, the first extensive and the others shorter. Ms. Muresanu excelled in all three as elsewhere; her superb tone and style is well matched to classical genres. Although not hard-pressed technically, the small orchestra was a willing and capable partner.

Debussy’s “La Mer” is one of the most beautiful and effective tone paintings ever composed. Who could fail to feel the awakening of the sea in the opening movement, appreciate the whimsical and many-hued motions of waves in the second, shiver at the approach of the tempest in the third or marvel at the raging winds and seas towards the conclusion? Simply put, “La Mer” is pure genius.

The Indian Hill Orchestra came well prepared for the challenge with excellent work from the winds, a sonorous brass “choir,” robust low strings, lyrical cellos and fine solo lines from concertmaster Alice Hallstrom.

For all its apparent popularity, Franck’s Symphony in D minor is for me a problematic work, and I am inclined to side with its critics. Beginning with the fateful question, “Muss es sein?” it seems mired in gloominess (unlike Beethoven’s use of the motif and its bright response in his final string quartet), heavy orchestration and tedious thematic repetition. The undeniably beautiful English horn solo by Jennifer Slowik in the second movement is the symphony’s highlight; it almost makes the other two movements bearable. Almost.

The orchestra, however, shook off the gloom and acquitted itself admirably, with fine phrasing and brass work (e.g., Clark Matthews’s horn) and fearless dynamics, satisfying the large audience. It is worth noting that, for this French program, conductor Bruce Hangen shed his baton, sculpting phrases with bare hands and arms – very appropriate for Impressionist contexts, whether or not you like the term. Bravo Bruce!

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Posted in Orchestra, Review

A Minute with Irina Muresanu

Boston-based violinist Irina Muresanu will be the guest soloist at the January 24 concert of Maestro Bruce Hangen and the Orchestra of Indian Hill, featuring a program of French composers. Ms. Muresanu will perform pieces by Dutilleux and Saint-Georges. She took a minute to chat with us about the program, and performing with the Orchestra.

OIH_Irina4 In this all-French program, you will be playing pieces by Dutilleux and Saint-Georges. What should we expect from those pieces?
I have to give credit to Maestro Hangen for the wonderful idea of a French themed program. The four pieces belong to four different worlds: Romantic (Franck Symphony), Impressionist (Debussy “La Mer”), Classical (Saint-Georges concerto) and Contemporary (Dutilleux “Sur le meme accord”). The two violin works have contrasting aesthetics: while the Saint-Georges concerto is a very extroverted piece that aims to show off the virtuosic capabilities of the instrument, the Dutilleux explores a more intimate color palette of sounds created by one complex chord.

What excites you most as a musician? Performing solo or with a group? Teaching aspiring violinists? Exploring new music?
I will check “all the above.” Being able to do so many different things, performing and teaching-wise keeps my life interesting – and me on my toes! More than anything, I love a challenging project….

You have performed with the Orchestra of Indian Hill several times, and last winter gave an outstanding solo performance of one of your challenging projects, Four Strings Around the World at Kalliroscope Gallery. What have your experiences been like performing for Indian Hill audiences, and with the Orchestra and Bruce Hangen? 
It always feels like a reunion, as I get to see familiar faces each time I come back to perform.  It’s very exciting to talk to people at the end of the concert, to get their impressions, questions, and to make new friends, especially with the younger people in the audience. There’s nothing better like a little exchange with a kid that asks me to sign the program! And, let’s not forget the stage – I have many esteemed colleagues, friends and even students (or former students) among the orchestra members. My collaboration with Maestro Hangen started many years ago when he invited me to perform the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Boston Pops. He is a great musician and I feel honored each time we perform together.


Learn more about Irina Muresanu, watch a video, and listen to performances.

Maestro Bruce Hangen and the Orchestra of Indian Hill
featuring Irina Muresanu, violin
French Connections
Sunday, January 24 at 3:00 pm
Littleton HS Peforming Arts Center
Tickets: $20, $35, $50

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Posted in Blog, Latest News, Orchestra

A 2016 Resolution You’ll Love to Keep

All too often, the resolutions people make are all about doing less. Eating less, spending less money, wasting less time online (oops).

But this is a cold, dark time of year. Winter is begging us to have more fun. And far more enjoyable – and arguably easier to stick to year-round – is a resolution to do more of something you love. Saying yes to calling up old friends and family whose company you miss. To reading more books. To going on more walks outside.

How about saying yes to a free music lesson at Indian Hill Music?

Registration is open for Free Lesson Day on Saturday, January 30, at IHM. Our top-notch faculty members are opening their studios to put you on the path to learning a new instrument in piano, guitar, percussion, strings, brass, woodwinds, or voice. (If you don’t own an instrument, you can borrow one of ours.) Lessons are open for ages 5 – adult, in all styles and any level – from beginner to advanced.

No strings attached, unless you mean those on a cello or guitar…

Slots are limited, so register for your free lesson now!IHM_FLD-eblast-image

Posted in Blog, Music School

IHM Faculty Showcase Recital: Songs of France!

Indian Hill Music’s Faculty Showcase Recitals provide a venue for Indian Hill Faculty and Students to perform music based on the themes established by the Orchestra of Indian Hill’s concert season. January’s Recital features piano and vocal music by French composers Fauré, Debussy, Boulanger, Massenet, and Duparc.


Amy Lee, piano

Faculty pianist Amy Lee opens the program with Trois Morceaux pour Piano by Lili Boulanger, who hailed from a musical family in Paris and who was the first woman composer to win the Prix de Rome in 1913. “Her music has exquisite harmonies, with influences of Fauré and Debussy,” said Ms. Lee. “Though she died at the early age of 24, her Three Pieces (Trois Morceaux) are beautiful gems of a tremendous potential. Her death was a tremendous loss to the musical world.”

Boulanger’s sister, Nadia, was also a pianist and composer, and was considered one of the greatest pedagogues of the 20th century. “The Boulanger sisters have a rich musical legacy, which lives on in today’s composers, musicians, and me,” said Ms. Lee, whose teacher at Longy School of Music, Judith Ross, studied with Nadia Boulanger. “One cannot think or speak of French music without mentioning Lili and Nadia Boulanger.”


Susan Bonito, soprano, and Rob Woodin, baritone

Faculty vocalists Susan Bonito, soprano and Rob Woodin, baritone, will perform pieces by Fauré and Massenet.

Ms. Bonito notes that she chose to sing Cinq mélodies “de Venise,” Op. 58 by Gabriel Fauré for the French program because a couple of the songs were among the first French songs I learned in college, but I had never learned the entire opus,” she said.  All five of the songs are based on poems by Paul Verlaine from his collections Fêtes galantes and Romances sans paroles.


Eric Kamen, piano

“I also chose the final duet from the opera Thaïs by Jules Massenet because I wanted to collaborate with faculty baritone Rob Woodin.  This piece, in particular, also afforded the opportunity to collaborate with a violin student from Indian Hill Music School.  In this duet, the beautiful and very famous “Meditation” violin solo comes back and is also incorporated into the vocal lines for Thaïs.  The piece features Eric Kamen on piano, and violinist Andrew Hill, a student of Alexander Vavilov.

Also in the program are solo and duet piano pieces by Debussy, performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Kamen, and songs by Fauré and Duparc, sung by Mr. Woodin, accompanied by Ms. Lee.

Buy tickets online.

The Indian Hill Music Faculty Showcase Recital Series is sponsored by Nashoba Real Estate.





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