Apollo and his harp have reigned in our region for almost 100 years through the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) with musical education and world-class entertainment. During this difficult time, KSO’s music director, Julian Kuerti, and musicians wanted to find ways to continue creating music together for the community, even if only virtually. The result of their dream is a stunning virtual performance of Overture to “The Creatures of Prometheus,” Op. 43 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Beethoven composed the ballet based on the Greek myth of Prometheus, who took pity on the man during a dark time and brought them fire from the gods. This message of hope echoes through the power of the KSO’s musical performance; it’s a beautiful picture of what can happen when we come together right now.
“We all meshed as if we were in the same room,” said Frank Silva, director of operations at the KSO, who can be seen and heard on the clarinet in the performance. Music director Julian Kuerti instructed each musician to light a candle at the beginning of their performance and then blow it out at the end of the video to symbolize their individual flames of music coming together for something larger. Silva described the experience as a beautiful picture of what can happen in this new context. “None of us knew what anyone else was going to do with that,” he stated. In the end, all musicians seamlessly created a masterpiece together through their individual performances, with most using everyday recording devices like smartphones and iPads. Silva remarked “it came together in an amazing way,” and we completely agree.