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Music professor Rob Lehmann inspires students from Mexico to Europe

Dr Lehmann guest conducts German orchestra

This semester, School of Music Professor Robert Lehmann spent his sabbatical performing, conducting and studying in Mexico and Europe. He shared some of his travels via email and included a link to a news article about one of his experiences. Lehmann is Professor of Music and Director of Strings and Orchestral Activities at the University of Southern Maine School of Music where he conducts the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his duties at USM, he is Music Director of the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra, and the White Mountain Bach Festival in New Hampshire.
Prof Lehmann and family
Back in March he and his family performed a concert at the language school in San Miguel de Allende where his wife Kim [Kimberly Lehmann - School of Music artist faculty] and son Alex studied Spanish while he worked on his sabbatical project. He said the group of students (ages 8-22) sat in complete silence for 45 minutes of classical music. Afterwards, he said they were mobbed for selfies and pictures and showered with flowers. Their son Alex, joined them for his first-ever performance of the Beethoven Serenade, Op. 25.

Later in the spring, Lehmann said he and his wife Kim finished a duo recital in a beautifully refurbished property in Polenz, Germany (near Leipzig) He recounted that he had run into USM Distinguished Professor Burt Louden who is also in Germany (Halle) on a Fulbright. This photo was taken right after Dr. Louden was there with his partner Hiroko Fogarty. Dr Lehmann and friends

Lehmann and his wife also performed recitals in Mainz, Cologne, Ramstein - Germany, and in addition, he gave an orchestra workshop for the Rheinische Musikschule in Köln-Portz which received a write up in the local paper. They had given a recital the night before, in which their 14-year old son Alex, also joined them for the last work (Beethoven Serenade). Lehmann said even the Burgurmeisterin (town mayor) attended! 

The orchestra workshop was arranged through a music teacher friend at the Carl-Stamitz music school in a suburb of Cologne, Germany called Köln-Portz (her brother Volkhard Lindner plays in the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra). The “veruckte amerikaner” or "crazy American" comment [mentioned in the news article] is not a slur. Lehmann said it was a self deprecating term used when he thanked everyone, after an intense, 4-hour workshop, for putting up with his less-than-amazing German, and hoped that although he and the orchestra just spent one day together, much of what they learned and worked on, would come back to them in the future when they remembered that day with the crazy American conductor. One of the German participant’s quotes near the end speaks to this point.

..."Mats and Valentin will definitely remember the "crazy American" for a long time. The two friends play together in the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Rheinische Musikschule and have come to the workshop through their teachers. While Mats wants to make music with a conducting studies to his profession, law student Valentin keeps the cello as his hobby. 'Mr. Lehmann has shown us in certain aspects approaches that I did not know before. I definitely take some of the musical work with him,' said a delighted Valentin."

Lehmann performed a Vivaldi double violin concerto alongside two very talented young German violinists, and then led the orchestra, comprised of youth orchestra musicians and their teachers in music by Bach, Dvorak and Handel. His son Alex (a member of USM's Youth Ensembles), was featured as a soloist in the Second Orchestral Suite by Bach, and his wife Kim led the viola section. All told, they had about 60 musicians participate.

Lehmann has concertized as violinist and conductor, in his native Mexico, throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and in Europe and Ukraine. He has been a frequent guest conductor with the Portland Symphony and has conducted All-State and Festival Orchestras from Maine to California and Hawaii.