Our Musical Heritage

Our Musical Heritage

Friday, August 26
We have just arrived in Copenhagen. Another unusually warm day, and we are trying to get our bearings. Tivoli Hall is a new venue for us; this is the orchestra’s first time in Denmark.

Since we left Lahti, the schedule has left little time to contemplate esoteric sunrises or much of anything besides finding a cup of coffee at strategic moments. Edinburgh, the second of our four concerts went by in a blur. Our very tight schedule was made significantly tighter by one Very. Thorough. Passport control agent.

Historic concert halls tend not to have all the modern conveniences for all the obvious reasons, and once again our heroic stage crew managed to shoe-horn our instruments and wardrobe trunks safely into and out of a very tricky, very cramped backstage.

Then, seemingly in a matter of minutes, we were in Amsterdam, warming up on the stage of the marvelous Concertgebouw. Playing in that legendary hall, we feel viscerally connected to our musical heritage. More than any other discipline I can think of, ours is passed from Master to Pupil. My teacher studied with Felix Salmond, who played chamber music with Brahms. Erin Keefe’s teacher studied with Efrem Zimbalist, who studied with Leopold Auer, to whom Tchaikovsky dedicated his violin concerto.

Each of us can trace a lineage to the musicians who formed the foundation of the symphony orchestra as we know it today. And few concert halls embody that history like this one. It’s so easy to forget that before the relatively recent advent of recorded music, live music was the only music. For our great treasury of magnificent western music to develop, it was necessary for one generation of composers to be heard by—and inspire—the next.

That’s the history we sense here. As we warm up onstage, it seeps into our bones. It’s a legacy we hope we are not just bringing back to Minnesota with our experiences, stories, and reviews, but a musical legacy of our own which we are also creating, day by day, year by year, for audiences at home.

Marcia Peck

Cellist Marcia Peck has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1971. She is also an award-winning fiction writer who has received two Minnesota State Arts Board Artists Fellowships. Her essays have been published in Minnesota Orchestra at One Hundred and the Orchestra’s program magazine, Showcase. Read her full biography »