In 1984 I met a remarkable man who had a profound impact on my life.
33 years later his perseverance to share with others the same insights he taught me, is spreading.
His impact is reaching thousands of miles and lives
George Marriner Maull was the Music Director and Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony* since its founding in 1979. I was not good enough to play clarinet with that group, but my percussion skills got me in. A concerto performance and a Junior Scholarship to the Mannes College of Music in New York City also made me eligible for Maestro Maull’s advanced student “Listening Class.” It was in that class that I learned the difference between hearing and listening.
George continued to teach his listening techniques for several years, even when he started his own group, the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey. Soon the listening lessons worked their way into actual concerts, and the ensemble changed its mission and its name to become The Discovery Orchestra.
For decades, George has been helping audiences explore a piece of music with live musical excerpts, worksheets, singing, clapping, and lots of laughing, and then after the intermission the Discovery Orchestra performs the piece in its entirety… sometimes along with one or two other pieces.
These programs had such an impact on those who attended that a TV program “Bach to the Future” was funded. Then “Discover Beethoven’s 5th“, and then “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons“. They have been nominated for several Emmys, and are a joy and a great gift. Last year, George and the Discovery Orchestra expanded their years of little Youtube videos into a TV series called “Fall in Love with Music” and I was thrilled.
A little while later, I met Billy from WEDU TV (PBS) in Tampa and put him in touch with the Discovery Orchestra. Agreements were made and the TV program was aired, so that Tampa Bay has been treated to George’s program for several months now.
Then something remarkable happened
A friend of mine, Daryn, who works in the Community Engagement department of the Florida Orchestra, sent me an email announcing a wonderful new concert. On Thursday, May 18th, Music Director Michael Francis will be exploring Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony before performing the entire work after an intermission. Oh, I was so happy! Not only has George’s perseverance had far-reaching impact on orchestras around the country, but to hear that Francis chose Tchaik 5 just made me smile: that was the symphony in the very first full-length concert I conducted on my own at age 19! It has very special memories.
So, what is the lesson in all this?
- Dream a little
- Share a little
- Keep sharing
- Keep sharing
- Persevere through trial and tribulation
- And keep sharing
Your impact is clearly directly related to how much you simply “keep going” and George is living proof.
Thanks, George, for another tremendous lesson! Your innovations from the past few decades are paying dividends on our planet, making the world a better place, and helping us all build a better society by bringing good music to life. You never stop amazing me, teaching me, and setting a fine example for the rest of the world.
Here are the details of Thursday’s concert in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Get there if you can – it’ll be marvelous.
*By the way, a year after I joined the NJYS, Anna Kate Mackle, now the harpist of the Florida Orchestra, also joined that ensemble and we spent two years performing and touring in that group! Small world, indeed.