Last Friday night I joined my Mum and Grandma to see the Royal Conservatory Orchestra play at Koerner Hall. My Mum had bought the tickets as a holiday present, so she made sure the three of us were seated right at the front. This was absolutely perfect for drawing!
In the first few minutes before the show I warmed up alongside the musicians. It took a bit of time to get used to drawing from this vantage point because the horizon line was SO low!
The Royal Conservatory has been a musical institution in Canada for over 100 years and has served as a training ground for some of our country's greatest talent. The orchestra is comprised of students from the program, but it sounded unlike any student production I've ever heard!
The first tune was Dream-e-scape by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. One of the violinists caught my attention with the way he tucked his shiny black shoes under the seat as he played.
They rolled out the Steinway for Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 and pianist Minjoo Jo took a seat directly in front of me. What perfect luck!
I could feel the piano strings reverberate with each pounding keystroke and there was so much energy in the room that you simply could not sit still. Peeking over at my Grandma, I saw her making small conducting motions with her hands.
Nearing the end of the piece I saw how fluid my line had become. Later, my Mum noted that I had been drawing to the beat of the music. I hadn't noticed, but that's a pretty cool observation!
When they called intermission I snuck out to grab us some Soma chocolate bars from the concessions and I also took a moment to draw a bit of the crowd. My, it sure was a packed house!
As Grandma munched on a milk chocolate bar I got in another quick drawing before the show resumed.
Conductor Julian Kuerti introduced Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 as one of his favourite pieces of music. By this point the drawings flew freely from my pen.
I made sure to get in a few of the cello and bass players. When they're all seated together like that you can really feel the power of their instruments.
My line became noticeably wilder as the music went on.
A low horizon line suits orchestra drawing exceptionally well. It helps to achieve a real sense of scale.
In the last few minutes I just went for it and hardly looked down at the paper. My drawings became a series of frantic scribbles that subconsciously mimicked the energy of the song. When drawing and music come together, it's always a liberating experience!
Conducted by Julian Kuerti
At Koerner Hall in Toronto