Kids at Symphony Hall in Boston

The renovated Aeolian-Skinner organ is the second orchestra in Symphony Hall. Last night Michael Gandolfi’s new piece had the great orchestra and the great instrument working together. Andris Nelsons conducted the BSO, and French organist Olivier Latry brought the organ to life with his hands and his feet. Gandolifi’s piece was inspired by the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide. There was a moment, when the organist was playing, that the violins beside him sounded like singers in a congregation or a choir.

The second piece was Gustav Mahler’s 6th Symphony. That rat-a-tat and big-boom full-load of a composition would fill up any listener. The visceral moments tear your heart out. We sat behind 15 or 20 high school students with shaggy hair, in their Sunday shirts, ties, and sneakers. One young woman in front of me had a ring in the side of her nose. Maybe they were members of their school’s orchestra. I identified their young director at the end of the row. Some of the kids nodded off in the middle, but there they were, taking in 80 minutes of Mahler and the splendid sound-spectacle of the symphony in that extraordinary hall. Wanted to hug every one of them as if they were my own.

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