Symphony bows with birthday party


POSTED: Monday, September 14, 2009

As the Honolulu Symphony opens its 110th season, we extend our best wishes to longtime symphony supporter Herte Stevens, who celebrates her 100th birthday this week. Herte has chosen an evening of music to kick off her birthday festivities. She and her closest friends from the mainland and Europe will be attending the symphony's opening-night performance Sept. 19 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

As a musician and “;fiddle”; player, I can't think of a more enjoyable way to celebrate such a monumental day.

This weekend, American composer and bassist Edgar Meyer will join banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and legendary tabla player Zakir Hussain to perform Meyer's new work, “;The Melody of Rhythm: Triple Concerto for Banjo, Double Bass and Tabla.”; If you enjoy Mendelssohn, Bollywood films and ol'-fashioned country hoedowns, the work of this American musician is right up your alley.

“;The Melody of Rhythm”; is a unique piece that defies standard labels of classical, pop, country or world music. It mixes the exotic sounds from Indian classical music with the rustic style of American folk and the signature sounds of the orchestra.

The style has both a classical rigor and pop music appeal that is sure to delight symphony fans in Honolulu.

Dubbed a triple concerto, “;The Melody of Rhythm”; places the spotlight on three instruments from different musical traditions.

The banjo is arguably a quintessential American instrument. Created by African slaves in Appalachia to correspond with instruments from Africa, the banjo is immensely popular in American folk, country and bluegrass music. Symphony fans know the double bass as the largest string instrument in the orchestra family.

The tabla is typically a pair of hand drums that was developed in Northern India. It is made in different sizes and is usually played with the hand rather than with drumsticks.

Players use different finger techniques and hand shapes to create a wide variety of sounds. In the hands of a master performer, the tabla can appear to speak rather than simply deliver rhythms. Many Westerners describe the instrument as a “;talking drum.”;

I am truly looking forward to “;fiddling around”; with Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussain and my Honolulu Symphony friends this weekend.

If you are looking for something exciting to do, come to the Blaisdell and help us celebrate the symphony's 110th season and Herte's 100th birthday. Especially in these times, I feel fortunate to have occasions to celebrate and the opportunity to share great music with friends. See you at the hall!


Daniel Padilla performs as a violinist with the Honolulu Symphony and writes about music for Examiner.com. ”;Crescendo”; appears on the Monday prior to each concert of the season to illuminate works to be performed.