Skip to main content

February 18, 2021
Brahms' Last Hurrah

March 4, 2021
The Art of the Audition

Orchestral Literacy
3-Class Course

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is extending its adult music education with several virtual events for winter and spring 2021.

In February and March, we are offering two intriguing 90-minute virtual lecture/music education events via Zoom — Brahms’ Last Hurrah with Maestro Rhodes on February 18th, and The Art of the Audition: From Conservatory to Career with Cellist Emily Taubl on March 4th

Beginning on March 18th, Education Director Kirsten Lipkens is presenting an interactive three-session class on Orchestral Literacy, designed to give both long-time symphony attendees and newcomers to symphony concerts a better understanding of how an orchestra works, the role of the conductor and score, how a composer uses form and structure in their musical expressions, and more.

— Click on an image below for more details and registration link —

Through the Card to Culture program, individuals who are EBT, WIC, or ConnectorCare card holders may get free tickets to these events. Contact Education Director Kirsten Lipkens at if you are interested.

Brahms’ Last Hurrah

with Maestro Kevin Rhodes

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 7:30pm

In the fall Maestro Rhodes led a lively and jam-packed session which included touching on all of the beginnings and endings of the 9 Beethoven Symphonies in order to give fast and furious thumbnail sketch of how Beethoven’s work compared with the music of his time, and over the course of his entire creative life.

This time the final movement of Brahms’ final symphony will be under the microscope providing the basis of an entirely different lecture focusing on and digging into the details of Beethoven’s successor’s final symphonic movement. It is an entire movement full of incredible variety developed from an 8 bar theme. Maestro Rhodes says “People ask me all the time what a specific piece of music is about. Sometimes I have to say, it’s about nothing…it’s just about music…music about music, notes about other notes. This last symphonic utterance of Brahms is the ultimate music about music. Join me on February 18th and find out why!”

Ticket sales end at 7:00 pm on the day of the event (February 18th). Zoom link will be sent after registration. 

About the Instructor: 

American conductor Kevin Rhodes enjoys a wonderfully varied career spanning concerts, opera and ballet across the globe, having conducted in over 15 different countries with more than 50 different orchestras. This season he is celebrating twin 20th Anniversary Seasons as Music Director of Massachusetts’ Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra and his eleventh season as Principal Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston in addition to continuing his ongoing relationships with the Opera Houses of Vienna, Milan, and Oslo.

The Art of the Audition: From Conservatory to Career

Emily Taubl, SSO’s Principal Cellist

Thursday, March 4, 2021, 7:30pm

Join Emily Taubl, the SSO’s Principal Cellist for an engaging and interactive discussion on the intimidating world of auditions! Ever wonder what it’s really like to step into an audition room? Curious about how an audition is run or what the panel is looking for? Pull up a chair and join us!

In this 90-minute presentation, Emily will share stories and play excerpts on her cello to give a behind-the-scenes look at auditioning for The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music and the New England Conservatory as well as professional orchestral auditions. It will be a night of laughter, engaging discussion, and Q&A that’s perfect for musicians and non-musicians alike. We look forward to seeing you there!

Ticket sales end at 7:00 pm on the day of the event (March 4th). Zoom link will be sent after registration.

About the Instructor: 

Cellist Emily Taubl has attracted attention for her expressive playing and uncommon poise. She has been called “an outstanding cellist with a bright future” by the Hartford Courant, and serves as the Principal Cellist of the Springfield Symphony (MA). She has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Hartford Symphony, Boston Virtuosi, Granite State Symphony, Nashua Chamber Orchestra, New England String Ensemble, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Vermont Philharmonic, Juilliard Pre-College Symphony and the University of Vermont Symphony Orchestra. She studied at The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and the New England Conservatory. Ms. Taubl lives in Burlington, VT, where she teaches both at the University of Vermont and privately. In March of 2020, Emily formed the Champlain Trio along with violinist Letitia Quante and pianist Hiromi Fukuda.

Orchestral Literacy

A 3-Session Course for Adults

March 18, April 1, April 15, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
$25.00 per class, $60.00 for all three
Instructor: Kirsten Lipkens

Whether you are a long-time symphony attendee or have limited exposure to classical music but are curious to learn more, this three-session class will give you a deeper appreciation of how an orchestra works, what a conductor does, how a score is interpreted, how composers use the building blocks of form and structure to develop a piece of music, and more. No prior music theory knowledge necessary to take these classes.

Depending on your level of interest, take 1 or 2 sessions for $25.00/each or all 3 for a discounted series rate of $60.00. Questions? Contact Education Director Kirsten Lipkens at Zoom link will be sent out after registration.

Through the Card to Culture program, individuals who are EBT, WIC, or ConnectorCare card holders may get free tickets to this event. Contact Kirsten Lipkens (email address above) if you are interested.

March 18 @ 7:30PM

Deconstructing a Classical Symphony Orchestra Concert

You take your seat in the concert hall and await the start of the concert. You can learn about the pieces being played from the program book, but even before the music begins, you have questions: Why does the 1st violin walk onstage and tune the orchestra? What do the arm patterns of the conductor mean? What is a score and how does the conductor use it?

In this introductory session, we will answer those questions, plus discuss seating in the orchestra, explore instrument families, and explain basic musical terms, providing a sound foundation to help you better understand and enjoy the classical concert experience. We may even be surprised by a special guest or two!

April 1 @ 7:30PM

The Composer: The Painter of Music

Much like painters use brushes and pigments to express their art on a canvas, composers use:

• melody
• harmony
• texture
• rhythm/meter
• tempo
• and dynamics

to create their symphonic masterpieces. Using both musical excerpts and visual aids, this interactive session will explore how these musical hues work together to form a classical composition.

April 15 @ 7:30PM

The Architecture of Sound – Form and Structure in Music

Form in classical music is the overall structure of a piece. We may not be aware of it, but without structure, a piece of music would be nothing more than a random set of ideas and the result would leave the listener completely unsatisfied. Just as structure in architecture defines the shape of a building, musical structure defines the parameters of a composition, taking the listener on a musical journey with a solid beginning, middle, and end.

Using recordings from the SSO archives and plenty of visual examples, this session takes a deep dive into the most popular building blocks of musical form.

About the Instructor: 

Kirsten Lipkens, Education Director of the Springfield Symphony holds degrees in Music Performance in Oboe from The Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music. She has lectured in Music Appreciation at the University of Virginia and Western New England University, and has performed with Symphonies all over the east coast. Her passion is to inspire all people to listen to live classical music in its many forms and to make all people feel welcome at SSO concerts in Symphony Hall in Springfield.