When a VW Bug leads to a career in music


Adele Maxfield – Associate Principal Second Violin

Adele photo 

By Ashley Stockwell

Favorite piece to perform: Fauré’s Reqiuem. Every time I get a chance to play that I just snatch it up. I’ve played it four times now, most recently with Masterworks Chorale. 

Fun fact: I’m a raw foodist. I make my own skincare products. I haven’t had any meat since I became a vegetarian in 1997.

For Adele Maxfield, a career as a violinist and music educator was the result of a VW Bug and encouragement from a teacher.

“I picked violin because my parents wouldn’t let me play cello,” said Maxfield. “My older sister played cello and of course I wanted to play cello too. And their explanation was we had a VW bug and you couldn’t get two little girls and two cellos in the car. So I got violin by default, which is fine. It’s much easier to carry around than a cello, so that’s been good. I just love the range. I had a teacher who thought I should be a performer and when I couldn’t think of anything better I decided that’s what I should do.”

These circumstances have lead to a busy life as a teacher and performer. In addition to her role with the MSO, Maxfield plays with the Anderson Symphony and the Marion Philharmonic, is an adjunct faculty member at Taylor University and works with the Muncie Youth Embrace Creativity (MYEC) Goldspace Theatre providing music lessons to at-risk youth.

An instructor of string methods, she plays viola, bass and cello in addition to the violin. She is in the process of learning the mandolin for one of her students, learning right along with him.

For Maxwell, making a living in music and playing with the MSO is a thrill.

“I get paid to do what I love, you know,” said Maxfield. “That’s a real rush.”

Tiffany Arnold, violin

Making life meaningful through music, one concert at a time 

Meet Your MSO: Tiffany Arnold, Violin

By Ashley Stockwell

Tiffany Arnold_photo Desert island composer: Bach

Fun fact: I’m very interested in genealogy and may be related to William the Conqueror.

For Muncie native Tiffany Arnold, playing in the Muncie Symphony Orchestra was a natural progression. Growing up attending “everything that came to Ball State,” Arnold knew that the musician life was for her.

“I started studying violin when I was eight,” said Arnold. “My mom had played the violin and that was probably what planted the seed for me. But when I was in 7th grade I went to this violin recital that just really amazed me and I decided I wanted to be a professional musician then.”

Arnold studied music at Oberlin College in Ohio and began playing with the MSO in her 20s. She moved away from Muncie for a time and rejoined the Symphony five years ago when she returned to the area.

Since her return Arnold has been busy spreading music around the area. Also a member of the Anderson Symphony and the Marion Philharmonic, music is her only profession. She also gives private lessons, co-directs the White River Strings Camp and was recently appointed new Executive Director of the Youth Symphony [formally known as the Youth Symphony Orchestra of East Central Indiana]. She also home-schools her three children, with MSO performances playing a role in their education.

Her passion for music drives her commitment to arts education.

“Music and the arts in general are just so meaningful,” said Arnold. “They really bring you to life and to not have children learn that, to have them go their whole lives without experiencing that, is really scary to me. The idea that we have a shrinking audience for classical music is tragic. There are also a lot of studies that show how important it is and what a difference it makes towards education. That’s almost supplemental to me. It’s true, but to me it’s just so meaningful and I’d hate to think of children not discovering that. I think also that kids learn so much from the process of learning an instrument in terms of discipline and interacting with a teacher and just focus and working a little bit every day towards a goal in the long run – it teaches some really valuable skills.”

Meet MSO Musicians. John Seidel, trombone

Seidel PhotoHow long have you been playing with the MSO?

Well, I got started the first year I started at Ball State, which was 1992, so that’s 22 years.

Is your position tied to symphony?

It was. I’m not sure what the practice is anymore but at that time it was. It was kind of an automatic deal.

What made you decide pursue playing professionally?

Well, I mean it started, I think like most musicians, it started when I started taking lessons in about 5th grade and it was the one thing I felt most comfortable doing and was the most successful at. Quite honestly I reached a point in my life, many years ago now, I’m afraid, where I was sort of at a crossroads and I was considering doing something else and I just couldn’t put the trombone down. I just couldn’t put it aside and that was sort of a sign to me that I should continue doing this. Yeah – I’m no good at anything else! I guess that’s what it boils down to. So yeah, this is what I do.

What other symphonies do you work with?

Yeah, I’m also principal trombone in the Marion Philharmonic and I have played many times with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the ISO (Indianapolis Symphonic Orchestra).

What do you do professionally besides play in the MSO?

 I teach trombone, exclusively, that’s all I do.

Where are you from originally?

A little town outside of Redding, PA. Country, country kinds of origins. I went to college at Westchester (now Westchester University). It’s one of the Pennsylvania state schools with an excellent music program and after I got some decent training I played with several orchestras in that area.

You play trombone– what is your favorite thing about your instrument?

 My favorite thing about my instrument…the way it sounds.

Of all the instruments you could have played, why stick with the trombone?

I probably couldn’t have played any other instruments! (laughing). You don’t need to have fast fingers to play the trombone. You need a fast arm by not fast fingers. I never had a lot of fine coordination in my fingers.

Do you play any other instruments?

Not really. There are a couple low brass instruments I could play if I were pressed into service, but no, I just really play trombone.

So you said you first got involved with music in the 5th grade?

Right. School programs.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of the MSO?

These orchestras – I think the MSO is a cut above a community orchestra – but these orchestras, they’re the lifeblood of a core of musicians in this area. A lot of players in the MSO play in Marion or Anderson or they play in the Chamber Orchestra or they play in the ISO or in Fort Wayne. I used to do a lot more of this than I do now but we used to just travel up and down I-69 and just do concerts. You kind of build a camaraderie if you know who you’re dealing with and it’s just a pleasure to sit and play with these fine musicians.

Do you have a favorite event in the MSO season?

Any concert with a lot of trombone stuff. (laughs)

Do you have a favorite performance from your time with the MSO?

Oh…a favorite…no. Well, we’ve done a couple of big pieces. We’ve done Mahler’s 2nd a few times which was fantastic. I remember a particular Brahms’s 1 that went nicely. Brahms’ Symphony #1 was probably that piece. I remember my first classical LP I bought. I brought it home and I played it on this little record player we had at the house and it was just amazing. You know, it starts out with these drum beats on the timpani and it’s just mesmerizing. So it’s still of my favorite pieces of music.

Do you have a “bucket list” piece, something you have always wanted to perform?

Oh sure! We need to do Mahler 3. There’s a big trombone solo.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

No, not really. I like to take care of my house. It is kind of a hobby for me. I’m about at the end of redoing the family room, so things like that.

Why should people attend Festival on the Green?

 Oh, well Festival on the Green – it’s a great event. It’s always really well attended. A lot of the community turns out. They have contests and food stands and you can bring a picnic lunch and get a table and just make a whole afternoon and evening of it. And the music is designed to appeal to a broad range of folks. It’s just a great event. It is one of the best things the orchestra does, I think, as far as in the community.

MSO Artistic Director, Doug Droste, teams up with Music for All

Douglas DrosteMSO’s Artistic Director Doug Droste teams up with Music For All for 2014 Summer Symposium National Music Camp at Ball State University


By Ashley Stockwell

It’s the “ultimate music camp”. It’s returning for its fourth year at Ball State University, June 21 – 28. Our Artist Director Doug Droste is the summer orchestra conductor and adjudicator for the concert festival. It’s Music for All’s 2014 Summer Symposium National Music Camp!

The MFA Symposium at Ball State typically brings together student musicians and educators from as many as 35 states and abroad. Droste was eager to get involved to further MFA’s mission of music education and youth leadership.

“The main goal I want them to take back is not just musical skills but also leadership skills,” said Droste.  “MFA is really good about teaching leadership and leadership skills. I want students to be good orchestra citizens and not just practice a lot but lead by example in their orchestra class.”

Leading by example includes being prepared for rehearsal, bringing a good attitude and of course, not texting during rehearsal.

The MFA also offers students a chance to step outside of their typical musical styles and try something new.

“The MFA Summer Symposium has a little bit of everything,” said Droste. “The great thing is that if you come as a string player you get exposed to jazz. If you come as a jazz musician you get exposed to orchestra. It’s great to have high school students exposed and immersed in different genres.”

Community members will also have the chance to discover new music with an evening concert series open to the public. The lineup includes:

  • Yamaha Young Performing Artists — Monday, June 23, 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium
  • Atlantic Brass Quintet — Tuesday, June 24, 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy — Wednesday, June 25, 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium
  • Christian Howes and Southern Exposure, presented by Yamaha — Thursday, June 26, 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium
  • Drum Corps International Central Indiana — Friday, June 27, 7 p.m. at Scheumann Stadium

More information on the Summer Symposium is available at www.musicforall.org or by calling

Meet MSO Musicians. Sabina White, piccolo

Sabina White_photoHow long have you been playing with the MSO?

Since I moved here, which would be around 2002.

What brought you here?

Getting my doctorate in Music Performance from Ball State University

What made you decide pursue playing professionally?

It was a passion of mine since high school. I just wanted to be a professor and play all the time.

What do you do professionally besides play in the MSO?

I’m a nurse at a hospital in the emergency department.

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Chicago, about an hour and a half south of the city
You play piccolo– what is your favorite thing about your instrument?

You kind of have to be spot on because everyone can hear it. I guess it can be powerful even though it’s so small – it can be very powerful. When I was in high school I used to play for the American Legion and we always played the piccolo and you could always be heard above everybody else. It’s just nice to have that high and low. It pierces through so it gives you something to strive for, like, can I make this sound really good? It’s just a good challenge for me.
Do you play any other instruments?

The flute – I started out on the flute with the Muncie Symphony and then I switched to piccolo, which is flute also. I play piano, but not enough to really do anything with.

When did you first get involved with music?

Back in 6th grade when they were testing us for instruments and they told me to play the French horn but my mom said you have to walk to school and if you want to carry that thing, so I said I guess I’ll play the flute then because it’s small. So it’s not really a love story, it’s more of a matter of convenience.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of the MSO?

I like the camaraderie, the people are fantastic and it’s so fun to preform, like the Beethoven 9 we just did. It’s that feeling of everybody coming together and it makes an awesome outcome and I really like that. It just gives you the chills.

Do you have a favorite event in the MSO season?

I do enjoy the outdoor concerts because people who normally wouldn’t go to more formal concert get to come out and picnic and enjoy the music. We get a lot of really good feedback and I really enjoy that. Even though I like the classical parts too, you know, what is perceived as the “high brow” stuff.

Do you have a favorite performance from your time with the MSO?

There’s so many! Not one in particular. I did enjoy this past Young Person’s Concert. It was done really well and I was really impressed with that. It seemed like the kids were really excited.

Do you have a “bucket list” piece, something you have always wanted to perform?

Carmina Burana. It’s one of my favorites, I don’t know why. It’s a great piece.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

I garden avidly, I snow ski, I wakeboard and waterski. I try to do a lot of things – I’m very outdoorsy.

Are you involved with any other community organizations?

I volunteer with Christian Ministries and I used to work at St. Francis of Assisi

Fun fact about yourself:

People are surprised that I do the nursing and music. Using both sides of my brain, I don’t know? I guess I’m just up for anything. I try to experience a lot of things; I’m spontaneous and adaptable. I also really like roller coasters. My daughter would probably say that’s something fun.

Why should people attend Festival on the Green?

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. You have music but it’s not so formal. You can go, spend time with your family and not feel like you’re restricted. If you have kids they can run around and join the parade and get up and dance and run around. You can really enjoy and not be afraid they’re going to make noise.

Meet MSO musicians. Nick Manwell, trumpet

IMG_6118How long have you been playing with the MSO?

Well I was trying to figure that out myself. I think it’s been 16 years, around that area.

What made you decide pursue playing professionally?

 I don’t even know. The real answer is, when I was in college my degree was in music education. But as I got better as a trumpet player I sort of got hooked on it – it’s sort of like an addiction. I just enjoy playing and after I graduated one of the positions that I currently hold came open and I’ve been playing ever since. I just like playing. That’s pretty much it.

What other symphonies do you work with?

Yep, I’m full time at the Marion Philharmonic and I have played with Anderson Symphony and the Kokomo Symphony, just as a substitute, but Marion’s full time.

What do you do professionally besides play in the MSO?

I’m a farmer. Corn and soybeans. Madison County, Grant Country, Wabash County – it’s a family farm.

Are you a Muncie native?

I’m actually from Marion.

Did you grow up attending MSO performances? 

The funny thing is the Muncie Symphony was the very first live orchestra I ever heard in my life. I’m kind of a naïve old country boy, you know. I didn’t grow up listening to classical music or anything. I got started on band is school and I just always liked playing trumpet but never thought much about it because, like I say I was coming to Ball State to be a music teacher, to be a band director, and I was naïve to all the different things and all the different styles. I mean I knew about jazz band and I knew about orchestras but I just wasn’t exposed to them as far as everything there is about orchestra. And that one [MSO] was the first one I ever heard and that was in college.

You play trumpet– what is your favorite thing about your instrument? Of all the instruments you can play/could have played, why trumpet and why stick with it?

Well the reason I played, because, like I say, I’m a naïve country boy we didn’t have a lot of money. I was the youngest of three kids. My two older brothers started on trumpet, so we had a trumpet and that’s what you played, I didn’t have a choice. But I guess what I liked about the trumpet was it’s versatility. I do a lot of church stuff and you can play a lot of sweet, tender things on the trumpet or you can play real loud, bombastic, aggressive stuff like in some of the orchestra pieces or in jazz band. And there’s so many genres you can play a trumpet in. There’s just so much you can do. I guess that’s what I learned to like about it. It’s just capable of so many things.

Do you have a favorite genre to play in?

I’d say orchestral is what I do the most but my favorite is brass quintet, which is a chamber group.

Do you play any other instruments?

Nope, trumpet and radio, that’s about it.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of the MSO?

Really, when I started what I liked the most was playing with all the professors, like the brass faculty and stuff. And I still do, but some of them have retired. You meet people along the way and I’ve made a lot of good relationships and friendships and stuff. I just like coming down and getting to play in Emens or in Sousa. They’re great halls to play in.

Do you have a favorite event in the MSO season?

Not really. I like them all. I’m trying to think. I do enjoy the outdoor ones. Festival on the Green and we play one at Minnetrista. When the weather cooperates, you know, they can be kind of relaxing. The music’s relaxing too, it’s not over the top.

Do you have a favorite performance from your time with the MSO?

Well, I was thinking about that. There’s a bunch of them. I did like Verdi Requiem we did many years ago, which was huge. I like it when there’s the big orchestra and they bring the choirs in and there’s a bunch of people on the stage.

Do you have a “bucket list” piece, something you have always wanted to perform?

Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.  

Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

Yeah. I mess around with woodworking and carpentry.

Are you involved with any other community organizations?

I’m on the elder board at my church in Marion and a member of Eastbrook Young Farmers, which is my old high school. Basically in that school district we raise money for scholarships for kids going into agriculture. 

Fun fact about yourself/trivia?

People are usually surprise I’m a farmer. I leave the tractor to go put on my tux, which is not you know, normal, but there are a few of us out there. The other day, this was cracking a few people up. I was practicing my trumpet in the tractor. With the technology today’s tractors have GPS satellites in them and once I get it started I turn around, hit a button and the tractor starts driving itself. So my hands are free, and I’m sitting there and I had a big performance – this was a few weeks ago- so I just wanted to see if it would work so I brought my music and I was practicing up there. My wife didn’t believe me.


Why should people attend Festival on the Green?

Well for one it’s a beautiful place to see a concert. I really enjoy the setting. It’s early evening, the music’s relaxing, people bring picnics. It’s just a fun, relaxing evening. I can’t think of any other reason than that. It’s not stuffy, we get to talk with people, you don’t have to be quiet. Kid can come and enjoy it. It’s good exposure for them. Sometimes the indoor concerts are a little over their heads or too stuffy. It’s just a good place to see a concert, assuming the weather holds.

Nick Manwell

Meet MSO musicians. Eleanor Trawick, viola

Eleanor Photo_editedHow long have you been playing with the MSO?

I have been playing with the MSO for more than 15 years, about 16 or 17 years.

What made you decide pursue playing professionally?

Well I’ve always liked music and playing the viola, especially playing with other people, is just a lot of fun. It’s not something I get to do a lot of now. I’m a professional musician but my profession is more in the area of teaching and composing music but I welcome the chance to get to play and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra is a great outlet for performing.

What do you do professionally besides play in the MSO?

I teach at Ball State’s School of Music. I teach music theory and music composition.

 Where are you from originally?

I grew up in the Cleveland area, Cleveland, OH.

You play viola– what is your favorite thing about your instrument?

My favorite thing about my instrument is that I get to play all the inner voices – the counterpoint and the supporting parts that maybe can’t be heard on their own but are completely indispensable to the music. I feel like I have access to a secret part of the music that a lot of people don’t get a chance to experience.

Do you play any other instruments?

I play a little bit of piano. Most people who play professional learn at least a little bit on piano. It’s especially helpful if you teach because you can sit down and really hack through something.

When did you first get involved with music?

I got involved with music when I was very small. My parents started both me and my brother off with music theory lessons and piano lessons.

So I’m assuming you came from a musical family?

My parents are great lovers of music but they don’t themselves really play that much. My mother played piano a little bit. Most they always loved classical music and jazz and felt that they, growing up, didn’t really get a good opportunity to do music because of their family situations and they were happy to provide that for me and for my brother.

I took private lessons through the Cleveland Institute of Music, which is a conservatory, but it has a preparatory department.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of the MSO?

I guess my favorite thing is getting to experience the repertoire that the orchestra plays, both pieces that I know well, some of which I’ve played before or maybe pieces that I know because I teach those pieces but I’ve never actually experienced playing with an orchestra surrounding me. And that’s always fun, when you know a piece well from studying the music and listening to a recording, then you get to experience it live. And I also like the opportunity to play with my Ball State colleagues who are performers. It means I maybe have more in common with them than if I was just the theory professor.

So would you describe yourself as more of a theorist than a performer?

Oh yes, definitely more of a theorist and more of a composer. Performing is not something I do a lot. It’s not something I get to do every week and certainly not every day so when a couple weeks have gone by and I haven’t taken the viola out of it’s case it’s nice to have a reason to take it out again and remember I do know how to play this instrument.

Do you have a favorite event in the MSO season?

Not really. I probably enjoy the serious classical concerts more than I enjoy the pops concerts but that’s just who I am.

Do you have a favorite performance from your time with the MSO?

A couple of highlights. One of the highlights for me was when we played Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring because that was a piece that I had long known pretty well just from studying it and listening to recordings and I’d taught different portions of the Rite of Spring but it was the first time since I’d been a teenager that I’d got to really play in the piece. My other best experience in the Muncie Symphony was back awhile ago when we had a director named Bridget Reischl, this way maybe 10 years ago. She programmed a wonderful repertoire with a lot of different music, including a lot of contemporary music. As a composer I really appreciate playing contemporary works from composers that are still alive. I’d love the opportunity to write something for the MSO or have them play one of my existing orchestral pieces.

Do you have a “bucket list” piece, something you have always wanted to perform?

No, I think most of the pieces I’ve really wanted to perform I have performed. I guess maybe the Bartok Concerto 4. (Bela Bartok is a Hungarian composer)

Do you think performing the pieces that you know in depth like the Rite of Spring gives you a new understanding of the music?

Yes, very much so. It’s a more emotional way understanding of the music and it’s a much more, active, kinesthetic way of understanding the music. It’s also wonderful to be in the orchestra and surrounded by the sound. Being in an orchestra is like being in the best surround sound theatre possible.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

I have a bunch of hobbies. I am a home brewer – I brew beer and cider. I’m a backpacker. My partner and I have been stringing together parts of the Appalachian trail over the past 10 or 12 years.

Are you involved with any other community organizations?

I’m very active in the Unitarian Universalist church. I’m the former choir director there and I still sing in the choir sometimes.

Fun fact about yourself:

I was the New York Judo State Champion for women in my weight class my last year of college.

Why should people attend Festival on the Green?

People should come to Festival on the Green because it’s a great community event and it has a lot of things besides just music. It’s a great way to experience Muncie and the greater Ball State community. It’s a fun time.

Looking back on first season with the MSO

Douglas DrosteArtistic Director Doug Droste looks back on first season with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra 

By Ashley Stockwell

May 19, 2014

A Midwest guy at heart, Ohio native Doug Droste is glad to be in Indiana and celebrating the completion of his first season as Artistic Director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. Glad to shake his “rookie” status and with a better understanding of how to pace himself for the coming season, Droste described his inaugural season as “memorable” and full of highlights.

“I had four really memorable performances,” said Droste. “The first one we did was a highlight, the one we did with my buddy Christiane Howes on the jazz violin was a highlight, the Time for Three event was a highlight and the Beethoven’s 9th performance was a highlight – that’s the first time I ever conducted it. Those were all memorable events that I treasure.”

A new Muncie resident, Droste is eager to increase the presence of the orchestra through community involvement and local leadership. Community involvement, he says, is how we can have future listeners, practitioners and future patrons of music. His vision for the future of the orchestra was exemplified by the April performance of Beethoven’s 9th.

“It was truly a community event,” said Droste. “The music performed, the way it was performed, the Masterworks singers combined with Ball State choirs and the Muncie Symphony performing Beethoven’s monumental work – it was priceless.”

Next on his agenda is spending time with his family (a trip to Disneyland has already been checked off his list) and enjoying the Festival on the Green.

“It’s a fun free concert – it’s a Muncie beach party,” said Droste. “All the music is associated with summertime or water. It’s a pops concert so we’ll have medleys from the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett but we’ll have some pieces from Anderson and Vivaldi as well. There’s something for everybody.”

Muncie Symphony Orchestra announces New Artistic Director!



Doug Droste, Artistic Director
Douglas Droste, Artistic Director

April 30, 2013 – Muncie Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is pleased to announce that Douglas Droste has been selected as the organization’s Artistic Director.  Droste will take the reins in July as the 6th artistic leader in the MSO’s 64-year history.  Droste is also the newly appointed Director of Orchestras at Ball State University.

Prior to his MSO appointment Droste served as Director of Orchestral Studies at Oklahoma State University and Principal Guest Conductor of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.  During his tenure at OSU, Droste was lauded for his performances of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Holst’s The Planets, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, among others. He also helped establish the opera studies program, conducting performances of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Menotti’s The Medium, and the full premier of Jeremy Beck’s Review. With the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Droste conducted a variety of concerts as well as productions with the Oklahoma City Ballet, including the full premier of Lanny Meyers’ Legends of Sleepy Hollow and Adolphe Adam’s classic ballet, Giselle.  Demonstrating his versatility, Droste has conducted pops concerts with artists such as Ben Folds, The Flaming Lips, Pink Martini, Michael Cavanaugh, John Pizzarelli, Christian Howes, Cherish the Ladies, as well as the productions of Cirque de la Symphonie, and Jim Brickman’s Tribute to the Carpenters.

Douglas Droste is recognized as possessing “obvious joy” for making music and a “sure sense of timing” when on the podium. Those under his baton routinely acknowledge him for his in-depth musical interpretations, keen sense of communication, and his personable ability to empower musicians.

Droste was selected following a nationwide search for a new Artistic Director that had been under way since the fall of 2012.  “We are excited to welcome Douglas Droste as the new Artistic Director of the MSO,” said Roberto Darroca, Chair of MSO’s Board of Directors. “ Doug is not only an established orchestra leader in the community, but an active performer in his own right. We are confident that after success of 2012-13 guest conductors season, MSO will continue to flourish under Doug Droste’s direction.”

Droste’s recent guest conducting appearances include the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Festival Ballet productions of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Adam’s Giselle; frequent appearances with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, including its “Great Music, Great Spaces, Great Images” performance series; and the Amarillo Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra on an all-Bach concert, including performing as violin/leader on Brandenburg Concerto No. 1.

A dedicated advocate of youth orchestras and music education, Droste regularly conducts all-state and region orchestras as well as other youth orchestras throughout the country.  Droste is also active as a clinician and adjudicator for school orchestras and festivals.  Believing that outreach and community engagement are important tools for the promotion of music education, Droste established a Young People’s Concert series with the OSU Orchestra.

“The MSO is a vital cultural asset for east-central Indiana, and the position of Artistic Director is a critical one in protecting and advancing the value of that asset.  Doug’s background, skills, experience and passion make him uniquely qualified to lead the MSO in the coming years”, said Charlie Sursa, MSO’s Board president-elect.

A talented violinist, Droste has performed with the orchestras of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Nashville, Memphis, Lubbock, and the Lancaster Festival (OH). He is a former student of John Gilbert and the late Michael Davis. Droste is also skilled on viola and trumpet, and has sung with a variety of choral ensembles.

Previous positions include Music Director/Conductor of the Oklahoma Youth Symphony, and faculty positions at Austin Peay State University (TN) and Liberty Union-Thurston School District (OH). Droste studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School, Oregon Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling, as well as other prominent conducting seminars. His primary conducting mentors include Gary Lewis, Larry Rachleff, Michael Jinbo, David Lockington, and Jose-Luis Novo. Droste holds degrees from The Ohio State University and Texas Tech University.


About MSO

MSO is a professional orchestra that originated in 1948. The orchestra was formed to build community connections through music while giving Ball State University faculty and students an outlet to pursue musical excellence in performance.  Over the years the orchestra evolved and consists of approximately 70 musicians, including professional musicians performing in tri-state area orchestras, Ball State University faculty and students.


The MSO seeks to provide its audience with rewarding musical experiences and to promote social exchange among attendees of the musical events. As an organization that celebrates the cultural vibrancy of our local communities, the MSO uses music as a way to stimulate, transform, educate and entertain through traditional classical and pops concerts, children’s concert, chamber events, and community engagement programs.

Johannes Brahms and Joseph Joachim: Friendship, Collaboration and Composition



Johannes Brahms, 1853

Joseph Joachim, 1853, by Menzel

Joseph Joachim, 1853, by Menzel

When I read a book it feels like I know the author just a little bit.  The more books I read by the same author, the more personal the perception of relationship becomes.  That same acquaintance is true when listening to music.  Beethoven, Mozart, Bach-their styles are well known and comfortably familiar.  I am barely an amateur musician, but when I play music and multiple pieces by the same composer it adds a depth and understanding to the experience.  So imagine the process and experience of collaborating with a composer on a concerto written for your instrument. A close friendship between composer and performer can be an intimate creative process. Such were the circumstances between Johannes Brahms and Joseph Joachim in creating Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77.


Joachim and Brahms were alike in many aspects.  They both held very high standards of music quality and artistic integrity.  Joachim is “widely regarded as one of the most accomplished violinist of his time.”  He and Brahms collaborated closely for many years. From 1881 to 1883 their friendship cooled after Joachim believed his wife was having an affair and Brahms disagreed with the suspicions in a letter written to Joachim’s wife.  She offered the letter as evidence in the divorce proceedings.

Joseph Joachim and Amalie Weiss

Joseph Joachim and Amalie Weiss

Had Brahms and Joachim not met in May 1853, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 may have never been written.  At the ages of 20 and 21 the musicians, Brahms as accompanist and Joachim as violinist, become life-long friends. In 1853, Joachim introduced Brahms to Robert and Clara Schumann, another life-changing friendship for Brahms. Brahms fell in love with Hungarian music during his friendship with Hungarian Joachim and as a result composed his well-known Hungarian Dances from 1858-1868.

Brahms’ summer in Pörtschach Austria in 1878 inspired a sketch of their most significant collaboration, the Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77, in 1878. The first performance, in Leipzig, on New Year’s Day, 1879.

In modern culture, the third movement of Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major has been used in film scores such as Paul Thomas Anderson‘s 2007 film There Will Be Blood including the end and main credits. The third movement was also the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice song Don’t Cry for Me Argentina from the musical Evita.

Brahms’ love of Hungarian themes inspired the third movement of his concerto.  Spring Program book contains program notes for the Concerto discussing the technical side of the piece are available here.

by Judy Cowling




Los Angles Philharmonic program notes written by Grant Hiroshima, executive director of a private foundation in Chicago and the former Director of Technology Development for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Arizona Theater http://www.arizonatheatre.org/atc-resources/dynamic/ed_docs/opnDrs_playguide-Brahms.pdf

Chicago Symphony


The Musical Quarterly


Johannes Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77: (1878)