Dear Friends,

If you’ve been coming to Mistral concerts for a while, then you probably know that there are certain themes which live deep within my DNA, color my day to day living, and guide my artistic choices: memory, love, and childhood. And that they are all connected to music.

For most baby boomers like me, Disney’s Fantasia was as much an integral part of our childhood as Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz (and for some of us, Amahl and the Night Visitors). We vividly remember the half fawn/half human satyrs from Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony and the dinosaurs of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. But none is more indelibly printed on our memories than poor Mickey Mouse’s nightmare and angst in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. We will never be able to hear Dukas’ riveting tone poem without viscerally reliving the multiplying broomsticks carrying more and more pails of water into the castle. And why would we want to?

And who doesn’t have memories of hearing the full orchestral version of Saint Saens’ beloved Carnival of the Animals, and the tunes associated with their favorite animals? We hope that these works, infused with childhood innocence and humor, will still be as charming to adults who know them well, as they will be to children who are hearing them for the first time. I know that they will keep us all ‘young at heart.’

Leonard Bernstein’s Concerts for Young People in Carnegie Hall inspired a whole generation of music lovers in the 1960s. It is our deepest hope that Mistral will play some part in nurturing a love of music in kids.

I am honored to welcome Mike and Kitty Dukakis as narrators today. I’ve gotten to know them through our concerts and our mutual friends Barry and M.E. Bluestone, and they were so gracious to agree to read these entertaining Ogden Nash poems that introduce Carnival of the Animals. Thank you, Mike and Kitty!


PS – I always love to hear from you!