[note: this was originally written on my personal blog, but some may find this interesting.]
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) season has begun. So far two concerts. And I have yet another role in my new city: blogger for the PSO. I should get at least a post out every month. And it comes with two tickets for each concert. A friend of mine made this observation: this means I have to find a date every other week or so.
The PSO started blogs last year, and while other arts organizations do so, the PSO went further and had people who were not affiliated with the orchestra have blogs hosted on their site. In addition to the risk that you have no idea what the outsiders would say, they run the risk that the people who have been given this forum don’t write anything. It is a testimony to classical music and the PSO that people who will be dedicated to writing and putting their thoughts out in public can be found. (actually, a quick look at their site says they batted around .500 last year among their outsiders in this respect. But still, most organizations would love to have even one volunteer dedicated to write on a regular basis so the PSO is probably doing very well.) There are blogs from the conducting staff, musicians and back office of the PSO. And there are also music students and music faculty from local schools. And then there are just regular patrons, including me.
So what is my place in the world here? Obviously, I can’t talk about playing the piece, or practicing. (Actually, most musicians would go pale at the thought of having to write about every performance. It goes with real bad memories of graduate school recitals) And there are several others who can talk to things like history or higher forms or arts criticism. And the Post-Gazette and the Trib-Review have concert reviewers who can write about the technical quality of the performance. So us outsiders are here to just write out our feelings about the concert going experience. Of course, that is a bit vague, so we have some license to go beyond feelings.
This past weekend, the PSO contacted the Pittsburgh Bloggers website and offered tickets to the first 15 bloggers registered there who responded to their ad. So they took us on a backstage tour and had a little reception after the concert. Naomi (who is the other major contributer to the page) is a dedicated and consistant carryover from last year, and it was a pleasure to have met her over the weekend. For some of them, this was the first time they had met each other live before. And it was the first time some of them had been to a concert in a while. It does change the dynamics. I went to the pre-talk and my friend commented that the bloggers were the only people at the concert pre-talk without grey hair. And I imagine that this was the whole point of the exercise.
I am looking forward to the season. To many concerts. And to the opportunity to spout off random thoughts to a wider audience.