Join us as we partner with the Allegheny Country Library Association for their Virtual Summer Reading Program. Our week of “Musical Storytelling” explores how music can help tell a story, as well as support the emotions and characters in stories.

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Special Family Concert

The Carnival of the Animals

Perfect for all ages, this 40 minute concert is a wonderful opportunity for the family to share together. The program features musical selections from the favorite musical score of Camille Saint-Saëns, The Carnival of the Animals, paired with the text and illustrations of the Penguin Random House book of the same name. Poet Toi Derricotte reads the funny and eloquent verses of Jack Prelutsky and the beautiful illustrations created by Mary GrandPré are shown throughout. In addition to several full orchestra selections, special solo performances by six PSO musicians will be the highlight of the performance. These are: Lorna McGhee, Principal Flute; Laura Fuller, Viola and Violin; Andrew Fuller, Violin; Tatjana Mead Chamis, Acting Principal Viola; Anne Martindale Williams, Principal Cello; and, Brandon McLean, Acting Principal Bass. Your own musical ambassador, Fiddlesticks, opens the concert with Resident Conductor Andrés Franco and Associate Conductor Earl Lee. A special “Meet the Musicians” post-concert video takes you behind the scenes to meet the instruments and players. Visit the extra resources area to learn more. Which animals are your favorite?

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Creating a Musical Story

It's fun to create a musical story! Learn about the elements of a story such as characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution, and how music plays an essential role. Join Fiddlesticks, composer Lucas Richman, Resident Conductor, Andrés Franco, PSO Principal Contrabassoonist James Rodgers, and flutist and PSO OTPAAM Fellow, Shantanique Moore, to be part of the process and learn how you can create a musical story of your own.

Additional Resources

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Shantanique Moore Bright Spot →
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Jim Rodgers Bright Spot →

Examples of books that use music to help tell the story

Jupiter Cove by Ann Bryant
Gobble, Quack, Moon by Matthew Gollub and Judy Love
HAJA: The Bird who was afraid to Fly by Julia Jordan Kamanda
ABIYOYO by Pete Seeger and Michael Hays
John Feierabend Song Tales set: First steps in music 16 book set of Folk songs and stories by John Feierabend

Composing Music

Meet composer Lucas Richman and learn how he composed Music Can Make Your Life Complete for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Fiddlesticks Family Concert Series. Lucas uses the piano to demonstrate the many decisions he had to make throughout the composing process. After watching, we hope you will be inspired to try composing music this summer!

Additional Resources

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Make Time for Music with Fiddlesticks →
Lucas Richman: Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant →
Little Kids Rock: Jam Zone- Song writing lessons and activities →
"Music Can Make Your Life Complete" lyrics →

The Music in George's Head

Victoria Luperi, Associate Principal Clarinet, narrates this beautiful book written by Suzanne Slade which tells the story of how George Gershwin came to compose Rhapsody in Blue. Illustrations by Stacy Innerst are shown and musical interludes of Rhapsody in Blue performed by Victoria Luperi on clarinet and Rodrigo Ojeda on piano.

Additional Resources

Meet illustrator Stacy Innerst →
Classics for Kids: George Gershwin →
Ducksters: How the Piano Works →
Classics for Kids: Ragtime Music →
All Around This World: The Blues for Kids →
Classics for Kids: Jazz →
Jazz Series for Kids →
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Jazz for Kids →
MCG Jazz →

Further Reading

Reading with permission from Boyds Mills & Kane.

Carnival of Animals

Join us for selections from the favorite story and musical score, Carnival of the Animals. We will pair the music of Camille Saint-Saëns with the Penguin Random House book of the same name for a wonderful musical adventure. Poet Toi Derricotte will read the verses by Jack Prelutsky about each animal and illustrations by Mary GrandPré will be shown. In addition to the full orchestra performances, six individual musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony have recorded solos of specific animals. These players include: Lorna McGhee, Principal Flute; Laura Fuller, Viola and Violin; Andrew Fuller, Violin; Tatjana Mead Chamis, Acting Principal Viola; Anne Martindale Williams, Principal Cello; and, Brandon McLean, Acting Principal Bass.

Additional Resources

Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Living Collection Playlist →
Classics for Kids: Camille Saint-Saëns Biography →
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Music and Wellness – Animal Breathing →
Looney Tunes: Carnival of the Animals (Parts 1) →
Looney Tunes: Carnival of the Animals (Parts 2) →
Pittsburgh Zoo YouTube Channel →

Further Reading

Permission granted in accordance with Penguin Random House open license agreement.

Dragon Night

Hear the book Dragon Night come alive through words, music, and art as author JR Krause tells the story of a young boy afraid of the night befriending a dragon afraid of a knight. The concert will end with the Dragon Night Theme Song performed by pianist Rodrigo Ojeda and the full orchestra will be heard in works by Chopin and Stravinsky. 

Additional Resources

Kiddle: Dragon Facts for Kids →
Learning Games for Kids: Homophones →
Art Projects for Kids: How to Draw All Kinds of Dragons →
DK FindOut!: Dragons from around the World →

Further Reading

  • When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore
  • Dear Dragon by Josh Funk
  • DK Eyewitness Books: Castles
  • DK Children's Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters

Permission granted in accordance with Penguin Random House open license agreement.

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