Concert Incorporates Stories
Each year for six years, violinist Paul Stein
has brought his Chamber Music Express to the Altadena Public Library
during the holidays to present an unusual type of concert geared toward
children, but also appreciated by adults.
selects a composer or two, makes up a story about him or them and includes
pieces not only by the featured composer, but also by other composers that
he works into the tale.
“Usually, you have a story, and somebody composes music for it,” said
Stein, a Monrovia resident who has played with the Los Angeles
Philharmonic for 18 years.
Stein picks the music and then creates a story to bring the pieces
together. Through the story children may grasp more about music than
just the technique of playing the instrument, he said.
has presented concerts such as “Mozart at Disneyland,” “Cooking with
Ludwig” and “Vivaldi at the Village.”
latest concert was called “Kreisler at Texarkana: Practicing with Scott
Joplin and Fritz Kreisler” that Stein and pianist Mary Ann Brown performed
Dec. 13 at the Altadena Library.
think he’s good with children,” said Lisa Lewis of Los Angeles, whose son
Liam studies with Stein. “He knows how to present a story. When he does
adult concerts, he also tells stories-he’s very animated.”
“Kreisler in Texarkana,” Stein created “a mythical meeting of the minds,”
he said. The composers were contemporaries born in the latter part of the
what if Kreisler, a violinist and composer from Vienna, came to visit
Joplin, the father of ragtime, in Texarkana while they were 13-year-old
boys? It could happen-in Stein’s imagination.
story has Kreisler and his family spending a year in Texarkana where the
two boys meet, practice music together on violin and piano and learn from
each other. The program featured pieces by Kreisler, two Joplin rags, a
piece by American Leroy Anderson and also a gypsy song and Mozart.
the lessons Kreisler learns is that it takes more than hours of practice
to become a fine musician. Enjoying music and the interaction with other
musicians helped Kreisler become well-rounded. It wasn’t just about
playing the notes like a robot.
doesn’t have to be a stressed situation,” Brown said. “It brings pleasure
and joy. Children love good music, so it’s very natural to share new
pieces with them and tell them stories about composers.”
received a Masters of Music from Yale University and served as principal
second violinist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra prior to coming to
produces children’s concerts with Chamber Music Express at schools and
libraries throughout the area and has performed with “Music Center on
Tour.” He also has a teaching studio in Monrovia.
is a staff accompanist at Cal State University, Fullerton, and teaches
piano privately. She was on the accompanying staff at the Juilliard
School for 17 years and has been keyboardist for the Stockholm
Philharmonic, Long Island Philharmonic and Aspen Festival Symphony
great way to introduce the public and kids to classical music,” said
Jackie Freeman, Altadena’s children’s librarian.
kids involved with music come, and it’s free,” Freeman said. “Some older
kids taking music heard about this program from their teachers. A lot of
them cannot afford to go see a live concert.”
Chamber Music Express will perform in January at Wild Rose School in
Monrovia and at Whittier Library.