His Favorite Things

Concert on October 8th Celebrates One Man’s Lifelong Love Affair with Music

“When one of his favorite pieces came on the radio, Richard could instantly recognize the performers. Especially with pianists – he was so familiar with their sound and how they approached the music, it was obvious to him who was playing.”

When it came to music, Richard Vanderbilt was insatiable. According to his wife, Ivonne, his record collection included over 10,000 classical and jazz recordings. One of his greatest joys was listening to his records, attending concerts, or finding new performances to watch online.

After Richard passed away, Ivonne wanted to celebrate her husband’s life – especially his passion for music. She called the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s office, and asked about planning a concert that included the music he most loved.

Ravel’s La Valse was one of Richard’s particular favorites. It is intense, emotionally-charged, and a real challenge for the orchestra’s musicians. According to BSO Artistic Director Alejandro Gómez Guillén, each piece on the program connects with listeners on a profound level.

“Richard had wonderful taste in music,” Alejandro says. “These are true masterpieces of the 20th century, and express a depth and range of emotion not always found in a typical concert program.”

Debussy’s serene, meditative Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and the lively Fêtes add contrasting emotional colors to the program. The orchestra will also perform one of Ivonne’s favorite pieces, Barber’s deeply moving Adagio for Strings.

To close the program, pianist Sung-Mi Im will be featured on Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue. Sung-Mi, a faculty member at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, specializes in piano chamber music. Her collaborative approach, coupled with the improvisation required by Rhapsody, will take this familiar piece in a fresh direction.

So, what would Richard think of the concert we’re planning for him? According to Ivonne,

“I know he would thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. Maybe even shed a few tears. His love of music taught me so much, and I think he would be very happy that this is being shared with others.”

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Rhapsody – Color and Improvisation
Sunday, October 8, 2017 6:00 pm
Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood, Bloomington, IN
Get tickets: BCT Box Office (812-323-3020)