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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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April 27, 2006

Music Lessons

St. Paul Sunday has provided me with twenty five years of the best music lessons in the world, but my music lessons in St. Paul didnít start at a radio station. In the summer of 1975, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra held auditions for an Associate Conductor. Despite a resume that showed little experience standing in front of an orchestra I applied and surprised myself and my family by winning a position. We said good bye to our friends in the Pittsburgh Symphony and moved to St. Paul. My new title was Exxon-Arts Endowment Conductor and it was supposed to be a three year appointment at tops.

But one thing led to another and I wound up spending seven very busy seasons with the Chamber Orchestra, conducting close to six hundred concerts all over the country. My education as a conductor really came from my colleagues in the orchestra and an exposure to 17th and 18th century composers, new music and chamber music that had been neglected in my life as an orchestral player. In those days with the SPCO we spent close to three months each season on tour and my appreciation for the skill and passion of the players was immense.

When Minnesota Public Radio proposed a series of programs to be broadcast from their new studio, there was never any question about who the first guests would be ó it would be our house band, the SPCO.

And so it was a very grand pleasure to see the SPCO in a broadcast studio again, twenty five years later. Many players have moved on, of course, but there were still quite a number who had played those first shows. Overall, the orchestra is larger now and the string playing has reached a height of refinement and power that is extraordinary. As ever, their playing touches my heart.

Posted by Bill McGlaughlin at April 27, 2006 9:07 AM