BWW Interview: George Marriner Maull of THE DISCOVERY ORCHESTRA - DISCOVER THE FIREBIRD at Fine Arts Center At Delbarton School
There are a lot of really cool things about living in a world where technology is moving at lightning speed. We have information at our fingertips that is accessible to just about everyone in a split second. It makes my life way easier when questions from my three year old arise like, is a sloth related to a monkey? (It's not, but I could see why he would think that.) Music has become such a personal experience we can download an individual song and carry it in our pockets to listen as we go about our day. But just like every big change it creates lost arts. The lost art of talking to someone face to face, the lost art of waiting, just patiently waiting, looking around and noticing the flowers, exchanging eye contact and smile with a stranger. The lost art of listening to a full body of music with intention, sitting with family around a fire after a long day and having music be the single entertainment.
If you know me you may have figured out by now that I look for the beauty in everything. I truly believe that we have a responsibility to live our existence appreciating all the little wonders in our world. Music reigns supreme at the top of my list of things to dial into for an immediate glimpse of splendor. And I learned through my training at NYU that the more you know about what you're listening to the more you will connect to it and enjoy. The Noticing Muscle has to be exercised often and with vigor. It starts with educating yourself about the common things you see, hear, feel, taste. The enhancement comes from the knowing. A group of weeds on the side of the highway can quickly become a delicate bouquet of Queen Anne's Lace. That cup of coffee you drink down quickly every morning can be savored by recognizing the flavor notes.
Which brings me to the Discovery Orchestra! Formerly the New Jersey Philharmonic, this group teaches you how to listen to classical music. To engage with the music by guiding the listener through what they are hearing. I recently spoke with George Marriner Maull, Artistic Director of The Discovery Orchestra. He is a delightful and energetic man with a clear and true passion for classical music listening and enjoyment. Growing up in Philadelphia, George attributes his style of teaching listening to his High School music educator Dr. Saul Feinberg who inspired many students to become active listeners. Maestro Maull spoke to how music is so common it has almost become sonic wallpaper. We go through our day experiencing various genres of music without a thought. It can quickly numb us to the beauty and frankly genius of these pieces. With the right tools and explanations, we can all become more engaged participants in our own experience of these important classical masterpieces.
Below are some questions about the three time Emmy Nominated series The Discovery Orchestra answered by Maestro Maull. They will be holding a concert on Sunday, Sept.22, 2019 2:45 pm at the Fine Arts Center at Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ. This concert will be filmed for television! You will find a link at the end on how to attend this and future concerts. Along with the places to go if you would like to experience past performances on YouTube and Amazon Prime.
Tell us about this program!
The Discovery Orchestra is a nonprofit music organization based in New Jersey that helps people worldwide discover new, meaningful ways to listen to and emotionally connect with classical music. Through our Discovery Concert programs, we engage the audience with exciting classical music pieces, using humor and narrative to interactively guide folks through the piece's musical details, and teaching the listening skills that can bridge the gap between simply hearing music, and truly listening to it. For this Discovery Concert, Discover The Firebird, we will be exploring some of the thrilling details of a movement from Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, the musically-wild Infernal Dance of King Kastchei, the villain of the Firebird legend. Stravinsky's powerful rhythms, and sometimes dissonant harmonies, create the perfect vehicle for this type of moment in the ballet. Not wanting to 'leave the audience hanging' at the end of the dance with no redemptive moment, we will conclude our concert with the beautiful Lullaby and the triumphal Finale from his amazing score.
How did this idea come about?
The idea for this program was actually suggested to us by one of The Discovery Orchestra's longtime audience members and benefactors, Michael Johnston of Gladstone. He engaged the staff in conversation, noting: "You've explored the music of Bach, Vivaldi and Beethoven in your previous television programs, why not present an early 20th century work like Stravinsky's Firebird Suite? It would be good to help audiences understand a composition that is not traditional, but rather, less accessible and in turn, more challenging to listen to." And here we are!
What has the response been like?
We are delighted that a full house will be in attendance. There is even a rumor at the office of a waiting list for tickets!
It's so exciting to be filming for a national concert! Will that be accessible to the general public? How and where can we view it?
With distribution by American Public Television (APT), audiences will be able to view Discover The Firebird on many public television stations across the country, beginning in April 2020. We have been very gratified with the response of public television programmers to our past offerings, and so we are confident that stations in major markets such as New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and numerous smaller markets will again choose to air our new program, Discover The Firebird. In the meantime, you can check out our previous media programs, including our most recent 8-part series, Fall in Love with Music, and various Discovery Chats, for free on Amazon Prime or on our YouTube channel.
Is there anything else we should know?
Our television shows also have an "afterlife" beyond the broadcast period. All of our shows are in the Films Media Group (FMG) catalog and are streamed to classrooms across the country - both in secondary schools and universities. In addition, with APT Worldwide and the Orchestra's own expanding media capabilities, we are broadening access to our programs to both classically-curious and classically-trained folks worldwide. We are so humbled to be able to bring the joy of actively listening to classical music to a wider audience.
Visit https://discoveryorchestra.org for more details!