Comments from Performers
The October 11th concert by the Allentown Symphony has inspired me to write a fan letter. What really impels me to write is how impressed I am by what Diane Wittry and the Symphony have been accomplishing together since she became Music Director. Indeed, while I have been hearing wonderful reports about Ms. Wittry from various sources, I had not heard the Symphony since my appearance there as a guest soloist during the conductor-search season. Thus, on both accounts, I was unprepared for the surprise that awaited.
The Lieberman piece was, of course, wonderful. And who could argue with Beethoven? But what especially has stuck in my ear is the Strauss performance: therein was unmistakable evidence of what has been happening in Allentown. For a metropolitan-class orchestra to master the challenges of such a score is impressive enough. But what really astonishes me is the musical quality and focused attention that carried through so seamlessly, from the beginning to the end. That is a remarkable accomplishment – and a rare one – for any orchestra. Additionally, the eloquent prelude of living poetry is a brilliant format for presentation that many orchestras should do well to note.
All together, it was a remarkable evening. And I thought I would write to thank you for making it possible.
Cello Soloist __________________________________________________________________________________
As a former permanent member of the Royal Stockholm (Sweden) Philharmonic’s cello section I particularly want to comment on Ms. Wittry’s very fine work before (!) and during rehearsals. I have had the pleasure of working with many world famous conductors. But I have never experienced the high level of planning Ms. Wittry provides. Ms. Wittry’s work on the podium is very efficient. Ms. Wittry always works diligently and most patiently with the balance of sound, intonation and rhythm. I never feel that time is wasted! The atmosphere during the rehearsals is always pleasant. And the results have been ever more exciting and appreciated. People are astounded by how the orchestra has improved under Diane Wittry’s leadership.
Diane Wittry is always able to get the best results from every orchestra member. Demonstrating authority and knowledge, Maestra Wittry is well appreciated by the musicians who work hard towards achieving her goals. Her musical ideas are innovating and refreshing for even the most experienced musician. Diane has the ability to study the score in a profound way. In her work she focuses on large ensemble issues like balance, intonation, rhythmic accuracy and phrases, as well as minor issues like bowings and unified bow placement. Another aspect of a good conductor is their ability to create the right atmosphere during the concert. Diane’s enthusiasm and stage presence capture the audience’s heart and provide the musicians with the confidence to perform their best.
What a wonderful experience it was to play the “Sea Symphony” under your direction. I have loved the piece ever since I first heard it in Carnegie Hall a few years ago and I was thrilled to have the chance to play it. Your rehearsals were a pleasure and I love the way you work with the orchestra!
I wanted to tell you again how much I enjoyed playing with you. You really brought out some wonderful nuances in the music. The concert was spectacular. It will go down in my book as one of the most special and unusual and gorgeous concerts I've ever played in. I thought your stories and descriptions of the music were wonderfully colorful and evocative of the images of Scotland's rugged desolate terrain, choppy waters, frigid wind, and hearty and hospitable people! I gained a new appreciation for Scottish music thanks to you. Thank you! I hope our paths will cross again.
New York, NY __________________________________________________________________________________
Diane Wittry did an excellent job leading the Symphony in February. She is a wonderful musician, worked well with the orchestra, and gave a terrific pair of children's concerts. I was very impressed with her musical abilities—she recognized and corrected problems, she made musical sense of the works, she knew how to handle the orchestra. I felt that when she conducted, she had a sound image of what she wanted and knew how to give direction to the players to achieve that image. Her eye contact and communication was with the entire orchestra, not just the first desk of players. Ms. Wittry was extremely organized and made efficient use of her time. The orchestra responded well to her on both a musical and personal level. I think she got excellent results during her stay.
Personally, I felt challenged and rewarded by her conducting. I hope that the new conductor will be someone from whom I can learn more about orchestral playing and literature. In my opinion, Diane Wittry offers that possibility. Diane Wittry is far and away rny first choice for the conducting position. She is enthusiastic, ambitious, and well-trained. I feel that she offers a commitment, energy, and skill that surpass any of the other candidates. Her sense of programming, her experience with youth, and her involvement with making music would enhance this orchestra. I think that she would make positive contributions to our musical life and I recommend her without qualification.
Symphony of Southeast Texas __________________________________________________________________________________
I enjoyed working with Diane Wittry very much. She is a very talented conductor, not to mention her charm and enthusiasm for the music and the orchestra. We spoke several times in regard to programming the arias. She is very organized and timely returning messages, which is quite an accomplishment when both of us were so difficult to reach in person.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to sing with the Symphony. It was musically and professionally a very rewarding experience.