Our Team

31
Jul

Interview with Alexander East

Alexander East came to Kansas City in 1996 when selected to be a cellist in the Kansas City Symphony. Alex is a member of the committee which selects music for Summerfest. He offered these thoughts in developing the programs you are enjoying:

Summerfest: Where do you start when selecting music for us to hear?
Alex: We want the audience to be surprised by what they are hearing, but surprised in a good way. Each piece needs contrast to give variety on the program, but also a thread of similarity between pieces.

Summerfest: How do you accomplish this?
Alex: Sometimes, we will start with one piece of music and then look to add pieces that offer a combination of elements we are looking for. Or, we will try to achieve a variety of instrumentation. The question we always keep in mind is whether the audience will enjoy the music as much as we do.

Summerfest: Is the audience involved in this process?
Alex: We constantly try to absorb what we hear from audience members, as well as intuitively judge how the audience responds to each piece of music. “Reading” the audience is a key factor in selecting music for future programs. We are always looking for a “hook” for the audience to discover when they attend the concert.

Summerfest: This isn’t a quick process is it?
Alex: We think about this all of the time. Summerfest’s Artistic Committee meets on a regular basis, but but throughout the year, individual members will encounter a piece of music which we suggest to others. We’re always thinking about the audience. We want the audience to enjoy the music as much or more than we do.

Summerfest: So, we should all gather at your house after the concert? What are you going to serve?
Alex: My house is nowhere big enough for all of us. Besides, I’m not much of a cook.

Summerfest: I guess that means those of us in the audience will have to organize a pot luck supper.

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