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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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March 30, 2006

Musical Renaissance Man

I think there is an old stereotype about classical musicians. Often, this is the implied job description: must have started serious training at age of three, preferrably with a stern woman named "Frau Something or Other;" must be extremely diligent in study, which should never be light hearted or—gasp!—fun; thick European accent preferred. Stephen Prutsman is none of the above and yet he is one of my favorite all-around musicians today.

Stephen Prutsman grew up in LA and while it's clear that he studies music just as rigorously as the next top-notch pianist, he brings an easy-going, relaxed attitude to the way he talks about music. For example, as you'll hear in the show he has a profound connection to Bach English Suite, but Stephen's open about the fact that he became interested in the piece because he just like the way it sounded. He heard the opening bars, thought they were so interesting and catchy, he couldn't get them out of his head.

I also appreciate Stephen's music in the variety of music he creates. He's a fantastic soloist, composer and conductor. In the past year, he has been one of the Artistic Partners of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and audiences love what he has done. Have any of you seen him in performance with the Chamber Orchestra or as a soloist or conductor anywhere else? What did you think?

Posted by Suzanne Schaffer at March 30, 2006 3:02 PM

 

Comments

Wow! I hate to use a hacknied one word response, but Prutsman's wide ranging interests, his deft musicianship, and his vivacious, sensitive playing of all the pieces featured ( except the Wagner) left me speechless. And the beauty of his work more than once in tears. I thought he was good the one time I saw him with the SPCO, but now I'm left feeling he's great! I love his repitoire, too! It would be a crime for me to suggest what he might play on his next visit to the show as he's a phenomenal judge of what is best for him! I'm only sorry now I will have to wait a full year before hearing him again with the SPCO-on 4/14/06 at the UCC. Bravo!

By VINCA K RENNER at April 2, 2006 2:32 PM

 

great show! fantastic diversity.

By Greg Haworth at April 2, 2006 10:13 PM

 

Thank you to Bill McLaughlin for all your great shows and for presenting Spoleto musicians these past 2 weeks running! We enjoyed especially Andras Diaz, Wendy Chen and - of course - Stephen Prutsman, having had the good luck to hear each of them in person at the festival. Looking forward to more Spoleto stars on St. Paul Sunday.

By Jon Towle at April 3, 2006 6:51 PM

 

Prutzman is great -- unbelievable!! The show was one of the best!! Now, where can I find his recordings?

By Marijane Stafford at April 4, 2006 12:26 AM

 

Vinca, Greg, Jon, and Marijane:
So nice to hear from you all!
Jon, as I wrote last week, I'm a Spoleto fan too. Please listen in this June 4th when we welcome four more Spoleto (and Saint Paul Sunday) favorites, the Saint Lawrence String Quartet, for music of Haydn, Ravel, and Jonathan Berger. And Vinca, don't be shy about requesting repertoire for Stephen's next visit -- we love to hear what our listeners' preferences are, whether or not we can always accomodate them. It's wonderful whenever we learn that fans of the program are so deeply engaged.

By Vaughn Ormseth at April 4, 2006 1:34 PM