Classical Music

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  • You are looking at the future of classical music journalism

    On An Overgrown Path
    19 Dec 2014 | 1:40 am
    Quite rightly there is much lamenting about the enforced departure of New York Times music critic Allan Kozinn. Quite wrongly the lamenting is being led by Norman Lebrecht*, who single-handedly has pioneerd the audience whoring click baiting school of tabloid music journalism that has made the informed writing of Allan Kozinn and others redundant. Quite hypocritically the classical music establishment is lamenting the demise of erudite critics and journalists while at the same time throwing its weight behind tabloid music journalism. * All links to Slipped Disc are indirect to avoid…
  • Kozinn turns out the lights

    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
    Alex Ross
    20 Dec 2014 | 10:01 am
    Like many of my colleagues, I am unhappy to hear that Allan Kozinn, a hugely knowledgeable observer and chronicler of the New York music scene, has been laid off from the New York Times. He had been writing for the paper since the 1970s and became a staff critic in 1991. Will Robin has a compilation of classic Kozinn stories. In the past couple of years, Allan was inexplicably relegated to covering the felonious escapades of pop stars; let's hope that at other publications he will return to the classical beat he knows so well. I can do no better than to quote Jeremy Eichler: "Superb…
  • Billboard announces top-selling classical artists of the year

    Slipped Disc
    norman lebrecht
    19 Dec 2014 | 7:04 am
    The first two are no surprise – the Benedicties of Mary and Andrea Bocelli. The third is a bombshell.     The Guarnerius-playing Anne-Akiko Meyers, with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and American Masters, outsold every genuine classical artist in America in the year 2014.  
  • A Bicentennial For Boston's Handel And Haydn Society

    Andrea Shea
    13 Dec 2014 | 2:17 am
    The group gave the first U.S. performance of Handel's Messiah, and still plays it today. Yet the ensemble has constantly evolved.» E-Mail This
  • Rock Scully, Grateful Dead’s Manager Who Put the Band on Records, Dies at 73

    NYT > Music
    20 Dec 2014 | 8:04 pm
    Mr. Scully became the manager of the psychedelic rock band shortly after seeing them perform at an Acid Test in 1965.
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  • A Bicentennial For Boston's Handel And Haydn Society

    Andrea Shea
    13 Dec 2014 | 2:17 am
    The group gave the first U.S. performance of Handel's Messiah, and still plays it today. Yet the ensemble has constantly evolved.» E-Mail This
  • Best Classical Albums Of 2014

    Tom Huizenga
    12 Dec 2014 | 5:05 am
    Our happy duty: finding 10 releases from 2014 that we can't wait to share.» E-Mail This
  • In The Italian Alps, Stradivari's Trees Live On

    Christopher Livesay
    6 Dec 2014 | 3:02 am
    The master luthier's violins and cellos include spruce from the Fiemme Valley. The forest still thrives, and its trees are still made into fine instruments.» E-Mail This
  • Dublin Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

    Tom Huizenga
    4 Dec 2014 | 10:27 am
    It's amazing how satisfying Philip Glass' string quartet music sounds on four guitars. The interlocking parts are transparent and the music seems to breathe.» E-Mail This
  • What's Your Top 100 Of The Last 100 Years?

    Anastasia Tsioulcas
    1 Dec 2014 | 8:03 am
    Forget the best music of the past year — what are the very best compositions of the last century? Participate in member station Q2's poll, and they'll webcast a marathon of the top choices.» E-Mail This
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    Slipped Disc

  • Times accused of ethnic cleansing in its culture dept

    norman lebrecht
    21 Dec 2014 | 3:40 am
    Afro-American media say the New York Times has got rid of non-white personnel from its much-depleted culture department. Departing are Metro reporter Kia Gregory, who is being laid off after arriving at the paper in 2012 from Philadelphia; longtime reporter Felicia R. Lee, the only black reporter in the Culture section, also being laid off; and Fletcher Roberts, the pop music editor, who is taking a buyout. All are African Americans. In addition, Maria Newman, a senior editor in the food section, who is Latina, is taking a buyout. The departure of the journalists of color from the Culture…
  • A neglected stash of unrecorded Schubert?

    norman lebrecht
    21 Dec 2014 | 3:15 am
    The Argentine violinist Tomas Cotik makes a claim on his new recording that much of Schubert’s dance music exists only in autograph at the city library of Vienna, unpublished and unrecorded. Can this really be? Here’s Cotik’s assertion:   In view of the vast number of recordings of works by Franz Schubert, it may come as a surprise that there are still works that have not been documented on recordings. Schubert composed numerous dance pieces. Some of Schubert’s dance sets were published in engraved editions during his life or shortly after his death; however, most of…
  • All-inclusive season’s greetings to Slipped Disc readers

    norman lebrecht
    21 Dec 2014 | 2:53 am
    h/t Wigmore Hall
  • Winter woes: British singer crashes out of Vienna Rigoletto

    norman lebrecht
    20 Dec 2014 | 11:47 pm
    Last night’s opening of Pierre Audi’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto was marred by the illness of Simon Keenlyside. The baritone had been unwell at the general rehearsal but agreed to brave the opening. Unwisely, as it turned out. He sounded challeneged in the first act. In the middle of the second act he was forced to leave the stage. He returned, struggling to stay on stage until the next curtain. Some idiot in the audience began to boo*.   Before the finale, State Opera director came out to announced that Simon Keenlyside was unwell. An ensemble veteran, Paolo…
  • Billboard announces top-selling classical artists of the year

    norman lebrecht
    19 Dec 2014 | 7:04 am
    The first two are no surprise – the Benedicties of Mary and Andrea Bocelli. The third is a bombshell.     The Guarnerius-playing Anne-Akiko Meyers, with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and American Masters, outsold every genuine classical artist in America in the year 2014.  
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  • That’s No Moon.

    Drew McManus
    19 Dec 2014 | 12:00 am
  • Do You Have A Data Security Breach Policy Yet? (Spoiler: You Should)

    Drew McManus
    18 Dec 2014 | 12:00 am
    In case you missed it, the 12/13/2014 edition of Reuters published an article reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned U.S. businesses to be on the alert for a sharp uptick in Iranian sponsored hacking activity. A recent Iranian effort, Operation Cleaver, successfully infiltrated military and civil infrastructure systems in the US and given the degree of security measures at many nonprofit performing arts organizations, it is high time to begin considering the concept that a major data breach is not just an academic exercise, but a likely event. Consequently, is…
  • What Would You Put In A Letter To Santa?

    Drew McManus
    17 Dec 2014 | 12:00 am
    Dear Santa, You’re a busy guy so we’ll keep this tight: #alliwantforchristmas. As a consultant… A digital assistant that doesn’t make me want to punch Siri, I mean her, I mean IT in the virtual face. A reliable and easy way to hook a vintage rotary phone up to Comcast VoIP service along with a Win8/Win10 app for Comcast Connect. As a culture blogger… An entire year free of writing about labor disputes due to lack of subject material. Scratch that, let’s aim lower and start with world peace. As a technology provider… One hour of every performing art…
  • Here It Is, Your Holiday Moment Of Zen

    Drew McManus
    16 Dec 2014 | 12:00 am
    You know it, you love, it, and it just isn’t the holiday season without it: The Messiah Organist On Crack. If this holiday classic is new to you, give it moment and hang in there until the end; I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s 0:43 of unfiltered Messiah goodness.
  • The Potential Impact Of Wearable Tech On The Orchestra Workplace

    Drew McManus
    15 Dec 2014 | 12:00 am
    There’s a fascinating article by Chris Bruce in the 12/14/2014 edition of that examines the potential impact of wearable technology (i.e. wearables) in the workplace. The article focuses on how wearables can begin to impact various elements of the workday such as troubling issues surrounding privacy concerns and employee tracking to more positive aspects such as improved access to data and smoother communication. Regardless of individual views, it seems all but inevitable that wearables are going to begin shaping the workplace environment; and for orchestras, that…
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  • New Music and Globalization 3: Embodiment and Mobility

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    18 Dec 2014 | 6:55 am
    Rather than attempting a synthesis, Pamela Z’s music highlights—and perhaps even celebrates—difference. She presents identity as a matter of polyphony, sometimes between irreconcilable parts.
  • Ken Thomson: Energized Complexities

    Molly Sheridan
    17 Dec 2014 | 6:21 am
    Thomson's often-complex work is carefully designed and communicates powerfully in live performance without exhausting the audience. We chat with him off stage about how he navigates multiple projects and genres while keeping listeners on the edge of their seats.
  • NewMusicBox Mix: 2014 Staff Picks

    New Music USA
    16 Dec 2014 | 6:05 am
    Before we close the file on 2014, New Music USA staff members have chosen some of their favorite tracks from the past twelve months for this edition of the NewMusicBox Mix.
  • The Queen of Grace and Kindness—Deborah Atherton (1951-2014)

    Debbie Steinglass
    15 Dec 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Deborah helped many composers and performers through her work as a consultant and at the American Music Center, Concert Artists Guild, and the American Composers Alliance. But she was much more than an administrator. Her librettos included Under the Double Moon, a collaboration with composer Anthony Davis, and Mary Shelley, which she created in partnership with the composer Allan Jaffe.
  • The Audience: More Than Money and Applause

    Megan Ihnen
    15 Dec 2014 | 7:13 am
    The whys and hows of romancing your fans and serving your ticket buyers.
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    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

  • Kozinn turns out the lights

    Alex Ross
    20 Dec 2014 | 10:01 am
    Like many of my colleagues, I am unhappy to hear that Allan Kozinn, a hugely knowledgeable observer and chronicler of the New York music scene, has been laid off from the New York Times. He had been writing for the paper since the 1970s and became a staff critic in 1991. Will Robin has a compilation of classic Kozinn stories. In the past couple of years, Allan was inexplicably relegated to covering the felonious escapades of pop stars; let's hope that at other publications he will return to the classical beat he knows so well. I can do no better than to quote Jeremy Eichler: "Superb…
  • A D'Angelo moment

    Alex Ross
    19 Dec 2014 | 10:50 am
    In which Questlove makes a plausible attempt to one-up The Rite of Spring.
  • More on 2014

    Alex Ross
    18 Dec 2014 | 10:32 am
    Jane Freilicher, "Yellow." Courtesy of Tibor de Nagy. Over at WQXR, Anne Midgette, David Patrick Stearns, and Zachary Woolfe have an excellent wrap-up of the year's highs and lows. Also worth noting is a capacious CD list by George Grella. He's absolutely right about the Harbison disc — the String Trio is a piece in which every note seems to count. A few other notable discs that I overlooked in my year-end list: Panufnik's Ninth Symphony and Bassoon Concerto (Heritage), the Seattle Symphony's Dutilleux disc, Philip Thomas's Christian Wolff collection on…
  • Apex 2014

    Alex Ross
    12 Dec 2014 | 10:54 am
    Notable Performances and Recordings, New Yorker website.
  • For Jane Freilicher

    Alex Ross
    9 Dec 2014 | 8:39 pm
    One of the quiet masters of modern art died today at the age of ninety. "Reality is an activity of the most august imagination...."
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  • Hurry up! Join the marathon!

    Steve Layton
    3 Dec 2014 | 5:18 pm
    Hey Composers! It’s that time of year again, when the ever-intrepid Marvin Rosen climbs into to the saddle for a LONG trip through today’s music; 25 hours of music by composers like — well, like YOU! But if you want to jump on the wagon, you need to get Marvin a recording by December 15th, so pick your tushies up and move! ……….. the 10th Live Marathon (9th devoted to 21st century music) curated and hosted by Marvin Rosen, host of the award-winning program Classical Discoveries, and presented on WPRB, Princeton NJ at 103.3 FM or on line at: The…
  • San Francisco Contemporary Music Players’ Project TenFourteen

    Michael McDonagh
    1 Dec 2014 | 11:42 am
    The gulf between pop music and “serious” or “new music” can be a big one, and the first concert of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players 2014-15 season TenFourteen set this in high relief. Put another way, the pleasure principle tends to be the guiding light in pop music which isn’t always the case with new music which often tries to be dark or “profound”, or as my late friend Virgil Thomson once observed ” composers look at the history of music as leading up to them,” so it may as well be “heavy.” George Crumb is an…
  • Janney and Laswell “explore the hidden music”

    Cornelius Dufallo
    22 Nov 2014 | 10:42 am
    Just a little “heads-up” — This coming Tuesday, November 25, The Center for Architecture and The Institute for Performance Sculpture will be presenting an inter-disciplinary program that looks interesting. Architect/composer Chrtistopher Janney and bassist/producer Bill Laswell will join forces with  Sara Rudner (choreographer), Sunny Hitt (dancer), and an assortment of acclaimed musicians including vocalists, percussionists, and a turntable artist. The performance, entitled Exploring the Hidden Music, will endeavour to “make architecture more physical, and to make…
  • Richard Valitutto at RedCat in Los Angeles

    Paul Muller
    17 Nov 2014 | 8:21 am
    On Tuesday November 11, 2014 Piano Spheres presented a concert by Richard Valitutto entitled NAKHT. The venue was the RedCat performing arts space at Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and the 275 available seats were mostly filled to hear an evening of solo piano nocturnes. This was the first major recital by Richard Valitutto, who is a member of several leading new music ensembles that appear regularly throughout the city. The concert opened, appropriately enough, with Nocturnes (1929 – 38) by Francis Poulenc. Five nocturnes were played from this piece and the first of these, No 1 in C…
  • From Hungary to Oneonta, with Love

    Tyran Grillo
    4 Nov 2014 | 3:54 pm
    On October 11, the Oneonta Concert Association of central New York presented an unforgettable concert by Musicians from Marlboro. For half a century, Vermont’s Marlboro Music School and festival have spawned top-flight, ad-hoc ensembles pairing rising stars in classical music with established names in the field. The fact that the name of Kim Kashkashian, one of the world’s finest violists and a tireless champion of contemporary music, was mentioned nowhere in the touring group’s modest marketing package indicated the level of Marlboro’s commitment to apprenticeship. Indeed, despite…
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    Classical Performance Podcast

  • From the Steinway Society Piano Competition: Angelique Scully

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    19 Dec 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Steinway Society of Massachusetts Competition winner Angelique Scully plays Prokofiev *** Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 3 Angelique Scully, piano +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
  • From the Steinway Society Piano Competition: Daniel Kim

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    11 Dec 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Steinway Society of Massachusetts Competition winner Daniel Kim Plays Schumann *** Robert Schumann: Sonata No. 2 in G minor (1st movement) Daniel Kim, piano +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
  • From the Steinway Society Piano Competition: Avik Sarkar

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    4 Dec 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Steinway Society of Massachusetts Competition Division 3 (7th & 8th grade) winner Avik Sarkar plays Beethoven and Chopin *** Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 30: (Movements 1 and 2) Frederic Chopin: Etudes, Op. 10: No. 10 Avik Sarkar, piano +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
  • From the Steinway Society Piano Competition: George Kiu

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    27 Nov 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Steinway Society of Massachusetts Competition Division 2 winner George Kiu plays Khachaturian *** Aram Khachaturian: Toccata on Armenian Folksongs George Kiu, piano +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
  • From the Steinway Society Piano Competition: Katherine Liu

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    20 Nov 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Steinway Society of Massachusetts Competition Division 1 winner Katherine Liu plays Moszkowski and Tchaikovsky. *** Moritz Moszkowski: From 15 virtuoso etudes – No.6 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: From 6 Pieces, Op. 19 - Nocturne Katherine Liu, piano +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
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    20 Dec 2014 | 11:29 pm
    Many people are saying that 2014 was simply awful. In many ways it was. My lowest point was when our best friend, Solti of the Ginger Stripes, went to the green field by the rainbow bridge - this is where the souls of cats go to wait for their humans to join them... Solti lived with us for nearly 15 years and we miss him every day.That means that the Ginger Stripe Awards of 2013 were the last. But the spiritual presence of Richard and Cosima Wagner as guests of honour has turned out to be prophetic...Cosima and Richard are back - aka Cosi and RickiSolti's successors, even if they are still…
  • The Mad Hatters' Dance-Off

    20 Dec 2014 | 12:24 am
    Maybe you were lucky enough to get into the ZooNation show The Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the ROH Linbury after I did my article about it the other week, but the thing sold out in a trice. I suspect this one will run and run.In case you missed it, here's the dance-off between the Royal Ballet's Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, tap-dancing megastar Steven McRae, and ZooNation's supercool counterpart, Turbo, with some fans to cheer them on. Happy festivities! And don't forget to log in to JDCMB tomorrow, the Winter Solstice, for what used to be the annual Ginger Stripes Awards,…
  • Who can jump-start Leeds?

    19 Dec 2014 | 12:20 am
    It's been a big week for musical chairs. Abigail Pogson of Spitalfields Festival is off to run The Sage, Gateshead. Darren Henley, head honcho of Classic FM, has been appointed CEO of Arts Council England - this man knows music, knows people love it and knows what's needed in music education, and has made his station a massive success, so looks like good news to me, touchwood. But one more change, north of Watford, is in its way just as vital, perhaps more so.The inimitable Dame Fanny WatermanDame Fanny Waterman is stepping down from running the Leeds International Piano Competition, which…
  • When should a director listen to his/her audience?

    16 Dec 2014 | 5:41 am
    A few of my thoughts on the shifting of scenes on stage, from today's Independent. Design a show so the audience can see it, please; improve it if they can't; know when something is daft and needs ditching; but don't pull a show because of pressure groups!
  • Ten things for your best-ever night out's Chopin Liszt

    16 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    A high old time was had by one and all last night at the Chopin Society's Christmas fundraiser - a gala recital, dinner and ball at London's historic Guildhall, amply attended by the great and good of the UK, Poland and the piano world.For such an evening, you will need for your Chopin Liszt:1. An atmospheric, beautiful and historically significant venue such as this one:2. A tireless, dedicated organiser such as the Chopin Society's Lady Rose Cholmondeley who can muster a guest list of princesses, dignitaries, the Polish ambassador, great pianists and more.3. At the back of your cupboard, a…
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    Classical Music Features from Minnesota Public Radio

  • Met Opera: Le Nozze di Figaro

    19 Dec 2014 | 10:01 pm
    The Met Opera's production of Mozart's masterpiece is set in Seville during the 1930s. Erwin Schrott in the title role leads a cast that also includes Mariusz Kwiecien as the Count and Danielle de Niese as Susanna. Edo de Waart conducts. Read a synopsis and view a slideshow of the opera as you listen on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 11 a.m.
  • Top ten film scores of 2014

    19 Dec 2014 | 8:52 am
    Garrett Tiedemann lists the ten film scores that most impressed him this year.
  • Moveable Feast: Last-Minute Foodie Stocking Stuffers

    18 Dec 2014 | 10:01 pm
    This week on Moveable Feast, John Birge and Minnesota Monthly's Rachel Hutton offer last minute ideas on what to buy for the people in your life who love food.
  • Regional Spotlight: Holiday Cheer

    18 Dec 2014 | 12:30 pm
    This week's Regional Spotlight features concert performances from around Minnesota over these past few weeks. Noel!
  • Class Notes: The Percussion Family

    18 Dec 2014 | 8:50 am
    In the Class Notes video "Choosing the Right Instrument for You: The Percussion Family," the eccentric, outdated computer named TOMMIS provides an overview of pitched and unpitched percussion instruments.
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  • Dip Your Ears, No. 186 (Detmold’s Mahler Surprise)

    20 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    G.Mahler, Das Lied von der Erde (Schoenberg/Riehn Chamber Version) Alfredo Perl / Detmold CO / G.Romberger, S.Rügamer M|DG Downsizing to Effect I’m sure Detmold’s a nice city, but its reputation comes with overtones of dour, drab, and dismal: Some status-burden to overcome for its chamber orchestra! Add a conductor better unknown as a Beethoven-pianist (Alfredo Perl), and two
  • Stradivari Christmas

    Charles T. Downey
    20 Dec 2014 | 7:44 am
    J. Adams, String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet (Nonesuch, 2011)Charles T. Downey, St. Lawrence String Quartet celebrates ‘A Stradivari Christmas’ at Library of Congress (Washington Post, December 20, 2014) In the near-perfect acoustics of the Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium on Thursday night, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. On or around Dec. 18 every year since
  • The Profound Existentialism of Charles Ives: Kent Nagano in Conversation

    19 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    Kent Nagano, picture © Felix Broede Vienna. Kent Nagano waits patiently in the Hotel Lobby. The second I sit down for a quick little interview, the Hotel Lobby pianist, right next to us, starts tickling the ivory. If hotel pianism weren’t already annoying enough on its own (if there’s a special place in Hell reserved for Hotel Pianism… that, presumably, would be everywhere), it’s sure grating
  • Folger Consort's Latest Renaissance Christmas

    Charles T. Downey
    18 Dec 2014 | 6:13 am
    Christmas in New Spain, Folger Consort (Bard, 2014)Charles T. Downey, ‘A Renaissance Christmas’ at the Folger Washington Post, December 18, 2014 Some years, the Folger Consort’s Christmas concert is the best in the city, at least for those who are tired of the same old holiday chestnuts. Unfortunately, this is not one of those years, at least not as this selection of Renaissance music was
  • À mon chevet: 'Love is nothing but the fruit of a long moment'

    Charles T. Downey
    17 Dec 2014 | 1:49 pm
    À mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment. How my toilet broke needs some explanation, and if it lends itself too easily to metaphor, analogy, allegory, anagogy, or, for those with a taste for puns, simile, this is not intentional. Xanadu -- she was from South Tyrol and her parents had been hippies; I don't know if this combination
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    The Rambler

  • Music Since 1989 – end of year progress report

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    15 Dec 2014 | 1:30 am
    I suppose it’s inevitable when you’re writing a book; with so many people you see their first question is ‘So … how’s the book going?’ It’s a bit like being pregnant, except without the heavy lifting and slightly less of the nervousness. In pregnancy’s favour, however, you’re generally pretty sure that the baby is growing, … Continue reading →
  • Some recent CDs, briefly reviewed

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    10 Dec 2014 | 7:46 am
    Vicious Circus are Elo Masing (violin, cello, electric guitar, whistle), and Dave Maric (analogue synth and electronics). The 20 short tracks on Troglodytes Troglodytes (squib-box) are all improvised, and on some the duo are joined by David Turay on alto sax and Matthew Lee Knowles on voice. The sound is oddly gothic, the howls and … Continue reading →
  • Hear me talk at the Red Gallery, 23 October

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    17 Oct 2014 | 4:08 am
    This Thursday, as part of the Nonclassical 10th anniversary celebrations/We Break Strings book launch, I’ll be joining some very fine people in a panel discussion on the new music scene at the Red Gallery, Shoreditch. Details all on the flyer above. Do come along – it should be lively.  Filed under: Music Tagged: nonclassical
  • Back from the RNCM, with love

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    2 Oct 2014 | 8:50 am
    It was a real pleasure to talk yesterday at the Royal Northern College of Music on the subject of contemporary music history. I don’t know what attendance is usually like for these events, but there were people standing at the back and sitting on the floor at the front, so I couldn’t have been happier … Continue reading →
  • On the latest issue of Tempo

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    18 Sep 2014 | 5:21 am
      The October 2014 issue of Tempo has just dropped through the door, I think the fifth since its editorship passed from Malcolm Macdonald to Bob Gilmore last year. And it’s another good one: Gilmore is doing great stuff there. In his editorial he notes that one of the things he wanted to do with Tempo upon taking over was … Continue reading →
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    Soho the Dog

  • Something borrowed, something blue

    24 Nov 2014 | 5:05 pm
    Reviewing Odyssey Opera.Boston Globe, November 24, 2014.
  • Squeeze theorem

    13 Nov 2014 | 4:57 pm
    Reviewing an evening with Michael Pisaro.Boston Globe, November 13, 2014.
  • Organic fruit

    11 Nov 2014 | 3:13 pm
    Reviewing the Cantata Singers and Ensemble.Boston Globe, November 11, 2014.
  • Reflecting telescope

    4 Nov 2014 | 11:28 am
    Reviewing Richard Goode.Boston Globe, November 4, 2014.
  • Back issues

    3 Nov 2014 | 11:08 am
    I haven't updated this space for several months now, for a lot of reasons. I've been writing elsewhere. I've been trying to compose. I've been out of town. I've been....Eh, who am I kidding? This is why I haven't been updating:Which is not to say I haven't been working, though. So, in a bout of real-work avoidance, I've at least gone back and filled in a bunch of links from the interregnum—Boston Globe reviews, NewMusicBox articles, other appearances here and there. I've also compiled a master list of all the "Score" columns I've written for the Globe over the past couple years. (Links to…
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    Opera Today

  • Modernity vanquished? Verdi Un ballo in maschera, Royal Opera House, London
    19 Dec 2014 | 5:37 am
    Verdi Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House - a masked ball in every sense, where nothing is quite what it seems. On the surface, this new production appears quaint and undemanding. It uses painted flats, for example, pulled back and forth across, as in toy theatre. The scenes painted on them are vaguely generic, depicting neither Boston nor Stockholm, where the tale supposedly takes place. Instead, we focus on Verdi, and on theatre practices of the past. In other words, opera as the art of illusion, not an attempt to replicate reality. Take this production too literally and you'll…
  • A Shakespearean Songbook
    18 Dec 2014 | 12:40 pm
  • La Traviata in Ljubljana Slovenia
    15 Dec 2014 | 11:41 am
    Small country, small opera house — big ensemble spirit. Internationally acclaimed soprano Natalia Ushakova steps in for indisposed local Violetta with mixed results.
  • Otello in Bucharest — Moor’s the pity
    15 Dec 2014 | 11:36 am
    Bulgarian director Vera Nemirova’s production of Otello for the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest was certainly full of new ideas — unfortunately all bad.
  • Il trovatore at Lyric Opera of Chicago
    15 Dec 2014 | 11:12 am
    For its current revival of the 2006-2007 production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore by Sir David McVicar Lyric Opera has assembled a talented quintet of principal singers whose strengths match this conception of the opera.
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    Opera Today News Headlines

  • A Shakespearean Songbook

    18 Dec 2014 | 12:40 pm
    By Matthew Gurewitsch [WSJ, 12 December 2014] While he lived, the schoolmaster’s son Franz Schubert made no great splash in the world. Intimates called him Schwammerl, or Mushroom, supposedly because he was small and round. His occasional travels never took him more than 200 miles from his native Vienna. Before his death, much of his music was played only at private gatherings or not at all. Yet the catalog of symphonies, piano sonatas, chamber music and sacred works he brought forth in his brief 31 years—four years fewer than Mozart’s, 26 fewer than…
  • daggers are a thane’s best friend

    13 Dec 2014 | 4:23 pm
    By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 12 December 2014] A Birnam Wood of Macbeths and Ladys has come traipsing through New York this year. Dell’ Arte Opera staged Verdi’s early masterpiece last Summer, and the Met revived its grandiose production of the work back in the Fall. The Met followed that up with a splendid revival of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. And now the Manhattan School of Music’s Opera Theater program (through Sunday) is giving performances of Ernest Bloch’s opera of the same (only to be whispered) name. [More . . . . ]
  • Making a Note of It

    30 Nov 2014 | 11:15 am
    By Eric Felten [WSJ, 28 November 2014] In our age of easy playback, it’s hard to imagine how ephemeral music once was. [More . . . ]
  • Patricia Petibon: Francis Poulenc — Voyage à Paris

    11 Nov 2014 | 11:47 am
  • anger’s aweigh

    25 Oct 2014 | 12:32 pm
    By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 22 October 2014] It was a night a-tingle with excitement at the Metropolitan Opera House. At least part of this lay in never knowing when vocal protests might explode (verbally) somewhere in the auditorium. [More . . . . ]
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    aworks :: "new" american classical music

  • aworks favorites :: nov 30, 2014 #unavailable #struggle #knives

    1 Dec 2014 | 5:54 pm
    american classical: John Cage - The Unavailable Memory of. Philipp Vandré - Vol. 37: Complete Short Works For Prepared Piano [Mode] Alan Splet - Space travel w/ changing choral textures. An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music [Sub Rosa] beyond: Sir Richard Bishop - Algeciras. Decompositions [] Sir Richard Bishop - Event Horizons. Graviton Polarity Generator [Social Music Records] Nau-Zee-auN - Testosterphone. Ikebana: Merzbow's Amlux Rebuilt, Reused and Recycled [Important Records] Gurdjieff, George & Thomas de Hartmann - The Struggle of the Magicians Part 3, from 'The Music of…
  • aworks favorites :: nov 29, 2014

    30 Nov 2014 | 5:54 pm
    american classical: Meredith Monk - Urban March (Shadow); Tower; Railroad (Travel Song). Bruce Brubaker, Ursula Oppens - Monk: Piano Songs []
  • aworks favorites :: nov 28, 2014 #four2 #souvenir #bopknot

    29 Nov 2014 | 10:00 am
    american classical: John Cage - Four2. Latvian Radio Choir - Mythes Étoilés [Aurora] John Cage - Souvenir. Teodoro Anzellotti - John Cage: Cheap Imitation, Souvenir & Dream [Winter &  Winter GmbH] Morton Feldman - Trio for Flutes. Dorothy Stone - None but the Lonely Flute [New World Records] beyond: Viderunt Omnes - Pérotin. The Hilliard Ensemble - Pérotin [ECM New Music] Antipop Consortium - A Knot In Your Bop. Antipop Consortium Vs. Matthew Shipp [Thirsty Ear] Odessa Chen - Small Birds. Winter 2013 Mixtape
  • aworks favorites :: nov 26, 2014 #ives #electro-magnetic #testosterphone

    27 Nov 2014 | 12:21 pm
    american classical: Charles Ives - Central Park in the Dark. The American Avant-Garde In The 20th Century: Music And Modernism [LTM]. Neither the liner notes nor the Internet indicate performers. Alan Tormey - Black Pudding. Theories of Place [New Focus Recordings]. " assertion of noise as the mediating force in a dialog between avant-garde classical music and the mechanical & electro-magnetic infrastructures that undergird contemporary American life." Actually, that's an apt description of the music. beyond: White - Spring House; Build a Link. White [Open Note] Nau-Zee-auN…
  • aworks favorites :: nov 25, 2014 #yetanothersonatasandinterludes

    25 Nov 2014 | 9:13 pm
    American classical: Nothing today. I did listen to yet another recording of John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes. Yawn. Beyond: Steffen Basho-Junghans - The River Suite. Rivers and Bridges [Strange Attractors Audio House] Basho-Junghans' long-form guitar music may even surpass John Fahey's. Masami Akita - Looping Jane. Merzbow - Ikebana: Merzbow's Amlux Rebuilt, Reused and Recycled [Important] Sir Richard Bishop - Cultured in D Minor (w Ben Chasny at Great American Music Hall). Decompositions Michael Stearns - As the Earth Kissed the Moon (excerpt), from 'Planetary Unfolding' (1981). 'I Am…
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    parterre box

  • Serious business

    La Cieca
    20 Dec 2014 | 9:01 pm
    La Cieca (left) reminds her cher public that it is time once again for conversation about off-topic and general interest discussion on the very important and weighty subject of The Opera.
  • Lovely to look at

    20 Dec 2014 | 8:50 am
    On this day in 1898 American actress and singer Irene Dunne was born. Born on this day in 1895 soprano Hildegard Ranczak Born on this day in 1907 soprano Marion Talley Born on this day in 1925 tenor André Turp Born on this day in 1928 bass Donald Adams Happy 75th birthday composer John Harbison
  • Mon coeur s’est calmé!

    19 Dec 2014 | 9:36 am
    On this day in 1881, Massenet’s Hérodiade premiered in Brussels. Born on this day in 1751 composer Giuseppe Giordani, brother of the composer of the classical singer’s first aria. Born on this day in 1882 composer Walter Braunfels Born on this day in 1888 conductor Fritz Reiner Born on this day in 1900 soprano and Glyndebourne founder Audrey Mildmay Born on this day in…
  • Mystery guests

    La Cieca
    18 Dec 2014 | 11:18 am
    “Perhaps what was most exciting about last week at the Met was that there was nothing conventionally ‘special’ going on: no opening nights, no production premieres, no unusual repertoire, no debuts. The thrill derived from the combination of terrific performances and that staple of operatic drama, the late-notice cast change.” [New York Observer] (Photo: Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera)
  • Son souvenir vivra parmi les âges

    18 Dec 2014 | 6:48 am
    On this day in 218 BC, in the Battle of the Trebia of the Second Punic War, Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces defeated those of the Roman Republic. Born on this day in 1894 soprano Nina Koshetz Born on this day in 1920 soprano Rita Streich (in some music for the Holiday) Born on this day in 1922 tenor Cesare Valletti Happy 77th birthday baritone Knut Skram Happy 66th birthday…
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    The Wagnerian

  • Watch Now: Siegfried Act 1.

    19 Dec 2014 | 4:32 pm
    Queen City Chamber Opera, in collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati, continue to produce their Ring cycle - albeit one act at a time it would seem - as they turn their attention to act 1 of Siegfried. Well worth your time.Queen City Chamber Operain collaboration with the Wagner Society of CincinnatiRecorded 10/26/2014Artistic Director and Conductor: Isaac SelyaAssistant Conductor: Jesse LeongStage Director and Set Designer: James SlouffmanAssistant Director: Deborah LewisScenic Engineer: Daniel MazzoneCostume Design: Joy GalbraithLighting Design: Sally StewartLighting Team: Amber…
  • Who Is Richard Wagner? Paul Dawson-Bowling

    19 Dec 2014 | 2:24 am
    The following is the introduction - especially adapted by the author -  to Paul Dawson-Bowling's two volume introduction and analysis of Wagner and his work: The Wagner ExperienceThe Wagner ExperienceThis is a book of enthusiasm. It is addressed to everyone with an interest or a potential interest in Richard Wagner. People who take to the Wagner Experience encounter something wonderful, like gazing into a silver mirror which dissolves into a miraculous, self-contained world, glinting with life-changing possibilities. There are others who sense its appeal but find it difficult, and the…
  • Nina Stemme: Tristan's Death Wish & Why Kundry Must Wait

    19 Dec 2014 | 1:47 am
    While a typically pedestrian interview in someways - but one has to consider its audience and the journalists need to write for that audience - Rupert Christiansen's recent discussion with Nina Stemme, never-the-less produced some interesting moments.Discussing the relationship between Tristan and  Isolde for example, she told him, “I used to be preoccupied with conveying Isolde’s status as a Princess and the reasons that she hated the love that she felt for Tristan – issues that dominate the first act. Now I’ve become more fascinated with what she feels about death. Tristan has…
  • Parsifal: Jonathan Meese Is Out And Uwe Eric Laufenberg Is In

    18 Dec 2014 | 6:27 pm
    Uwe Eric Laufenberg -sans mother or swastikasAfter  Jonathan Meese's less than graceful exit from Bayreuth's 2016 Parsifal, a replacement has been, very, quickly found. However, one suspects those looking for a straightforward reading and presentation of the text maybe somewhat disappointed given Uwe Eric Laufenberg's revisionist tendencies with Wagner's work. However, we might expect something  both closer to that text and perhaps much more coherent a production then we have seen at Bayreuth for sometime - we hope
  • When Opera Directors Need To Step Back And Reevaluate Their Work

    18 Dec 2014 | 4:55 pm
    Düsseldorf Deutsche Oper am Rhein's Tannhauser.An interesting discussion from Jessica Duchen which asks "Should an opera production be changed if audiences dislike it?" Sparked by the clear revision of Christof Loy’s production of Tristan und Isolde at the ROH this season and going on to discuss the Glyndebourne/Richard Jones’s new production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Mariinsky’s staging of the Ring and Düsseldorf Deutsche Oper am Rhein's Tannhauser.  When the director Christof Loy’s production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde first opened at the Royal Opera House in…
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    Kenneth Woods- conductor

  • Happy 85th, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

    Kenneth Woods
    6 Dec 2014 | 12:57 pm
    Happy 85th birthday to Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt (née Johannes Nicolaus Graf de la Fontaine und d’Harnoncourt-Unverzagt– I really do need a posher name), cellist, conductor and visionary. Without doubt, one of the most interesting musicians of the last 50 years.   Cellist, conductor, visionary and lumberjack, Nikolaus Harnoncourt Harnoncourt, to me, represents the what happens when rigorous and questing scholarship is wedded to temperament, insight and a taste for danger. Too often, one can guess every choice of a HIP interpreter before they even give their first…
  • Haydn’s Music- Bathed in Fire and Blood

    Kenneth Woods
    22 Nov 2014 | 9:17 am
    (Disclaimer- I’ve broken my no-swearing rule in this post. Apologies for any offense. I think Haydn’s music merits a bit of good profanity) Long-time Vftp readers will know that I’m quite the Haydn aficionado. Last Saturday, I broke a long, heart-wrenching dry spell since my last performance of a Haydn symphony with a very satisfying rip through the Master’s Symphony No. 44 in E minor, “Trauer (“”Mourning”). A satisfying performance? Maybe that’s not quite the right description. I dare say I was satisfied, nay, even pleased with how the orchestra played it and how…
  • Music seeks parallel lines

    Kenneth Woods
    6 Nov 2014 | 11:53 am
    Imagine I suggest we go to the museum together to look at some art. What do you first imagine we’ll be looking at. If you’re like most people, you’ll first assume that we’re going to look at paintings. And maybe a few sculptures? Paintings have been very much on my mind of late. The ESO just premiered an incredible new violin concerto by Deborah Pritchard based on the astonishing series of paintings, “Walls of Water” by Maggi Hambling. Not only was Deborah’s concerto written in response to Maggi’s images, those images were projected (on a grand scale) behind the orchestra…
  • A rationale for reporting as false as the theory being reported

    Kenneth Woods
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:36 am
    The media have been ablaze this week with news of a new film espousing the completely discredited theory that Anna Magdalena Bach actually composed the Bach Cello Suites and a number of other important works by Bach. BS is the food, water and air of the mass media, so should we be surprised or disappointed that so many major newspapers and media outlets covered such a patently false theory in such detail? Everything in this headline and the following bullet points is either completely false or wildly misleading. Here’s a comparison that makes me just a little cross.The number of…
  • Explore the Score- Schnittke String Trio

    Kenneth Woods
    25 Oct 2014 | 5:01 am
    PSALM- CONTEMPORARY BRITISH TRUMPET CONCERTOS £12.00 Add to cart The new recording on Avie Records of Schnittke’s String Trio by Ensemble Epomeo is released on October 27th in the UK, November 10th in the USA, but available direct from the Downbeat Store via the link above. The disc also includes string trios by Penderecki, Kurtág and Weinberg Alfred Schnittke Alfred Schnittke’s String Trio, composed in 1985, was commissioned in celebration of Alban Berg’s centenary. Schnittke later arranged the work as a Piano Trio, and his friend, Gidon Kremer, transcribed it for string…
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    Iron Tongue of Midnight

  • United States Comes to Its Senses

    17 Dec 2014 | 8:52 am
    U.S. and Cuba, in Breakthrough, Will Resume Diplomatic RelationsIn a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast.It took long enough. Cuba has never been a threat to the US in any way. (That was the Soviet Union with the missiles.) 
  • When You're a Very Big Company...

    15 Dec 2014 | 3:36 pm have a very big number of cast change announcements. The Met press office tells us:Johannes Martin Kränzle is sick and won't be singing Beckmesser in Wednesday's Meistersinger. Martin Gantner steps into the role, and Ryan McKinney sings Kothner, the role Gantner was to sing.Lusa Salsi will sing Enrico in all performances of the upcoming run of Lucia di Lammermoor, replacing Fabio Capitanucci, who has withdrawn for personal reasons. The performances are scheduled for March and April, 2015.
  • Winter is Coming....

    15 Dec 2014 | 3:30 pm
    ...and with it, season announcement season for 2015 summer music festivals and the 2015-16 season. I know this, because San Francisco Opera just emailed subscribers to say that we would have our subscription packages on January 13, 2015. Season information will be released to the press for publication on January 8.I also know of another company that will have an exciting season announcement at some point.
  • Janis Martin

    15 Dec 2014 | 2:28 pm
    From San Francisco Opera comes news that mezzo Janis Martin has died, age 75, of unknown causes. She was in the Merola Program in 1958 and '59, and sang with SFO from 1960 to 1990. Her roles ranged from small parts in her debut year to Elektra, Bruennhilde, Senta, Marie, Ortrud, Brangaene, Meg Page, Marina, Suzuki, the Composer, and Sieglinde. Her Met career lasted from 1962 to 1997 and embraced a similar wide range of roles.
  • Irene Dalis

    15 Dec 2014 | 9:45 am
    The mezzo-soprano, who sang at San Francisco Opera from 1958 to 1973 and at the Met from 1957 to 1976, has died at 89 following a short illness. (Chron obituary by Joshua Kosman.) She had retired a year or two ago from Opera San Jose, which she founded 30 years ago and had led very ably. Her roles included Princess Eboli, Kundry, Amneris, Zita (Gianni Schicchi), the Nurse (Frau), Herodias, Klytemnestra, Azucena, Brangaene, Ortrud, and other dramatic soprano roles.
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    Musical Assumptions

  • The Portable Swan

    17 Dec 2014 | 12:29 pm
    Here's a performance from Tel Aviv by the Pizzicato Quartet playing my string quartet arrangement of Saint-Saens's "The Swan." I get a kick out of a group named the Pizzicato Quartet playing this arrangement because the viola part is played totally pizzicato. I call it a "portable" swan because it is a lot easer to travel around with a string quartet than with a harp or a piano!You can see the arrangement here.
  • Finding a Voice: Musings on Creativity

    2 Dec 2014 | 6:30 pm
    It occurs to me that so much of what becomes popular culture (in other words, culture that catches on with a large casual audience) has to do with imitation. Take Christmas music, for a seasonal example. Many of the enduring classics of the Christmas season, like "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer," written by Johnny Marks, are pretty much variations on the same formula, much like what we think of as candy bars are variations on pretty much the same few formulas. There is popular Christmas-season music that doesn't follow the Marks formula, like descendants of "Sleigh Ride," selections from the…
  • "Having written"

    1 Dec 2014 | 11:06 am
    Before I started writing music, I had a talk with a composition student about writing music. He told me that he enjoyed having written music, but did not particularly enjoy writing it. Once I started writing music myself, I found the process itself far more interesting than the satisfaction of "having written." There are some pieces that I am happy to have written, many, in fact, but the real creativity and the real satisfaction comes in the putting of one note after and against another.I suppose that we are all wired differently.The big problem comes when you have written a lot of music, as…
  • Bloch on Bach

    28 Nov 2014 | 11:45 am
    From Essays on the Philosophy of Music, translated by Peter Palmer (Cambridge University Press):. . . . He cherishes his theme, in which he as no other composer compressed what was to come, tension and the sharpest outline of tension. He goes on lovingly considering the theme from all angles and prospects until it blossoms forth and until, in the great modulations of the fugue, it has become an unlocked shrine, an internally unending melody (`internally' meaning within the context of the theme), a melismatic universe in respect of the developed individuality of his theme. For precisely this…
  • More Thanksgiving Music

    26 Nov 2014 | 9:20 am
    Here's one more Thanksgiving arrangement that can be played with violin and viola or any combination of treble and bass instruments. You can download a PDF to print here. I wish a wonderful day of Thanksgiving to everyone who visits here!
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    eighth blackbird » Blog

  • From Hardanger fiddles to In C

    15 Dec 2014 | 7:25 pm
    Action shot Everyone making C's for Curtis and In C. Getting ready for the group photo. I'm holding Curtis' Google Glass. One of Dan's fiddles. So much tuning... Nick looking pretty convincing on the fiddle. A shot of Dan's beautiful traditional Hardanger fiddle. Iarla, Lisa, and Dan   We spent the last week in Philly, starting with an initial workshop with Dan Trueman and Iarla Ó Lionaird to run through some sketches of what will eventually be our collaborative work entitled Ólagon. They brought some custom tweeters, a keyboard, and a couple of beautiful Hardanger fiddles on which Dan…
  • Murphy’s Law

    24 Nov 2014 | 7:36 am
    Last Friday we drove four and a half hours in the morning from Richmond to Davidson, North Carolina, to play a concert that night. Little did we know what we had waiting in store for us… First, as we got ready to start our sound check, we realized that there was no toy piano. The stricken look on the faces of the poor stage crew was enough to know that they had been anticipating some kind of snafu with us given our uncharacteristic percussion rider. They insisted that they had their most anal guy triple-check our rider and there was no toy piano on it. We confirmed with Rachel that this…
  • Williamsburg

    17 Nov 2014 | 6:39 pm
      Our visit to the College of William and Mary happened to coincide with fall’s most spectacular colors, set against the bucolic backdrop of Colonial Williamsburg.  It’s a place I’ve been wanting to visit for years, so it’s quite serendipitous that we came at such a beautiful time and that I had a couple hours to walk around the town. I snapped some scenic photos and included some of Lisa’s gorgeous pics of the fiery trees. Enjoy!The post Williamsburg appeared first on eighth blackbird.
  • Hello Kitty

    10 Nov 2014 | 7:46 am
    We spent the past two days performing in and absorbing the strange, wonderful new sounds of the Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival at University of Richmond. This is my fourth year experiencing the festival and this was the best yet. We contributed an entire concert of sextets and solos, entitled All the Pretty Birds (I know, people can never resist), and attended the other three concerts. The festival opened with Matthew McCabe’s 14 years, a lush quartet that Michael, Nick, Tim and I performed. Incidentally, it was Matt’s fourteenth year with the festival, though…
  • Grammy buzz for In the Ivory

    29 Oct 2014 | 1:56 pm
      Our recent collaboration with jazz bassist extraordinaire Matt Ulery, In the Ivory, is being considered for a Grammy nod in a few categories, including the new category of Contemporary Instrumental Album! We just joined Matt and his band at Littlefield in Brooklyn during their whirlwind east coast tour a couple weeks ago. We are also planning a special premiere in Chicago this summer – more on that at a later date.  Please help get the word out about this gorgeous album – get it here or on iTunes, and vote if you can!The post Grammy buzz for In the Ivory appeared…
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    an unamplified voice

  • Eva outside Paradise

    13 Dec 2014 | 1:00 pm
    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Metropolitan Opera, 12/02 & 12/09/2014 Morris/Volle, Dasch, Cargill, Botha, Appleby, Kränzle, König / LevineThis revival, which has three more shows after this afternoon's moviecast matinee, is simultaneously an unmissable representation of Wagner's masterwork and a relative disappointment that leaves out much significance. Which aspect is more evident will, of course, depend on your familiarity, expectations, and priorities.The success is, I suppose, more remarkable. The Met managed - on rather shorter notice than usual - to find not one but two excellent…
  • Midlife

    6 Oct 2014 | 4:30 pm
    Macbeth - Metropolitan Opera, 9/24/2014Lucic, Netrebko, Calleja, Pape / LuisiThis was, despite what seems to be generally positive press, a dispiriting night at the Met. It hasn't been that long since Anna Netrebko was the wonder of the Mariinsky's 1998 tour, a bel canto soprano of limitless beauty and promise (as one can hear from Gergiev's Bethrothal in a Monastery and Ruslan & Lyudmila recordings), but that silver-voiced singer never really sang with this company -- at least not past her official debut in 2002's War and Peace. Netrebko returned in the late-Volpe/early-Gelb era a different…
  • High life

    29 Sep 2014 | 3:30 pm
    Le Nozze di Figaro - Metropolitan Opera, 9/22/2014Abdrazakov, Petersen, Majeski, Leonard, Mattei / LevineAfter a less than memorable closing run two seasons ago for Jonathan Miller's production of Figaro (which served the house well long after the director banished himself in a snit about Bartoli's airing of alternate arias), the Met opened 2014-15 with another Englishman's production. Richard Eyre's attempt isn't much better or worse than his predecessor's. It will probably serve the house in much the same way through casts both better and worse than this one.The physical production won't…
  • The 2014-15 season, at its start

    25 Sep 2014 | 1:21 pm
    This is a revision of the original preview post from February. Changes are in bold and discussed [in brackets].Figaro (new Richard Eyre production)Abdrazakov, Majeski, Petersen, Leonard, Mattei / Levine (September-October)Schrott, Willis-Sørensen, de Niese, Malfi, Kwiecien / de Waart (December)Levine opens the season, as he should, with an excellent male cast and a somewhat odd but not impossible female cast for this new Figaro. As for the second bunch, I've knocked Erwin Schrott's Figaro in the past, and still have little hope for dramatic parts, but his excellence in comedy since then…
  • Some other show

    24 Sep 2014 | 8:51 am
    Monday, facing out from the Met Plaza...These protesters were probably right, but they were also a month too early.
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    On An Overgrown Path

  • You are looking at the future of classical music journalism

    19 Dec 2014 | 1:40 am
    Quite rightly there is much lamenting about the enforced departure of New York Times music critic Allan Kozinn. Quite wrongly the lamenting is being led by Norman Lebrecht*, who single-handedly has pioneerd the audience whoring click baiting school of tabloid music journalism that has made the informed writing of Allan Kozinn and others redundant. Quite hypocritically the classical music establishment is lamenting the demise of erudite critics and journalists while at the same time throwing its weight behind tabloid music journalism. * All links to Slipped Disc are indirect to avoid…
  • Have a nice tripe

    18 Dec 2014 | 7:13 am
    Arrived back at Gatwick Airport from Upper Egypt where I took the photo above on a Nile ferry. Collected car from long term car park and turned on BBC Radio 3 for first time in months. Greeted by the unctuous Petroc Trelawny asking: "I don't want to nag, but have you voted in Radio 3's favourite Christmas carol competition"? Turn radio off immediately. Maybe I'll tune in again to BBC Radio 3 sometime next year to see if the tripe is more palatable when new network controller Alan Davey is onboard. Also on Facebook and Twitter. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical…
  • Learn as if you were to live forever

    5 Dec 2014 | 7:18 am
    Mahatma Gandhi exhorted us to "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" . So, accordingly, I celebrated my recent coming of (old) age by taking the overnight Stena Line ferry seen above across the North Sea from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, from where the excellent Dutch public transport network took me on the path of more living and learning. My first destination was Norman Perryman's studio in Amsterdam. Norman's experiments in fusing kinetic art with classical music have long appealed to me, and when I wrote about his Aldeburgh Festival appearance with…
  • Masterclass for Kyung Wha Chung

    4 Dec 2014 | 12:15 am
    Photo was taken by me at the recent concert by Sufi master Sheikh Hassan Dyck and friends in Katwijk, Holland. Both the Sheikh and the young audience member had colds, so Sheikh Hassan tossed the youngster a cough sweet. A great time was had by all - including grumpy old me. More on that concert - Sheikh Hassan's not Kyung Wha Chung's - via this link.Also on Facebook and Twitter. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).
  • Why is jazz ignored in the search for new audiences?

    3 Dec 2014 | 4:03 am
    For the past seventeen years my listening room has contained a piano. It is a large room, and the piano was in an area well away from the listening area for my high end audio system. However, a recent rearrangement meant the removal of the piano, and the change in the sound of the audio system was marked. Which is not surprising, because even an upright piano offers many possibilities for sympathetic vibrations. Sympathetic resonances from passive strings add the tone colour to instruments including the sitar, while the use of extra, unstruck strings to enrich piano tone was developed by…
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  • Arriving early to listen to voices

    Roger Bourland
    13 Dec 2014 | 10:22 am
    [The next group of posts were written after the premiere of the opera.] Opera director and friend Peter Kazaras insisted that I meet with the singers as early as possible. As our performance was a combination of students and faculty it is especially important to have that early meeting. Peter explained that singers internalize their music, becoming a kind of muscle memory. It’s easy to make note changes for instrumentalists: “Clarinet, that is a B flat in measure 47″ and they change the note. Singers have to change a lot more making that change, it has to become part of…
  • Scott Dunn: The art of collaboration

    Roger Bourland
    7 Nov 2014 | 2:35 pm
    I have been blessed in my recent collaboration with pianist, conductor Scott Dunn who will be conducting the world premiere of my opera, La Paloma y el Ruiseñor at the Teatro Angela Peralta in Mazatlán, Mexico on November 14 and 15, 2014. Having scored several feature films, I have learned the value of “cutting”——this happens on all levels of the film industry, but in music it means that just because a composer provides good music for a scene, if, in the mind of the director, the music is not helping or doesn’t capture the mood, he asks that the music be rewritten. All…
  • My two favorite patter songs

    Roger Bourland
    14 Oct 2014 | 1:59 pm
    “Pick a little, talk a little” from Music Man by Meredith Willson. “Not getting married” from COMPANY by Stephen Sondheim. Both of these are inspirations for my patter song in LA PALOMA Y EL RUISEÑOR where Julián nervously reintroduces himself to Ángela as she returns to Mexico from Europe.
  • Armando Piña performs “Ja vas lyublyu” (Prince’s Aria) from The Queen of Spades by Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky

    Roger Bourland
    13 Oct 2014 | 11:17 am
    A handheld private recording made by someone, but you’ll get a glimpse into the talent of Armando Piña performing in a recent competition who will be premiering the role of Julián in LA PALOMA Y EL RUISENOR, at the Teatro Angela Peralta; Nov. 14, 15, 2014 in Mazatlán, Mexico. The work Armando performs here is “Ja vas lyublyu” (Prince’s Aria) from The Queen of Spades by Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky. From Final del XXXII Concurso Nacional de Canto Carlo Morelli, conducted by Enrique Patrón de Rueda, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City.
  • Penélope Luna performs Concerto for Coloratura Soprano and Orchestra by Reinhold Glière

    Roger Bourland
    12 Oct 2014 | 4:18 pm
    I had the honor of working with a most brilliant soprano on the faculty in Mazatlan, Penelope Luna, who will play Rosa in LA PALOMA Y EL RUISENOR. I made a number of adjustments for her voice and talent. And after I heard this Gliere performance, I felt free to go even higher! You will get an idea of her talent by this amazing performance of the Gliere Concerto for Coloratura Soprano and Orchestra under the baton of Enrique Patron de Rueda. Conductor Scott Dunn and I are honored to have the assistance of Maestro Patron and Maestra Martha Félix in coaching the chorus and soloists in our…
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    The Omniscient Mussel

  • Day 18: O, du Fröliche

    Miss Mussel
    17 Dec 2014 | 3:01 am
    On the left, Diana Damrau. On the right, Anatol from Bochum who will come to your house or senior’s home and play his accordion. Today marks two years since Miss Mussel arrived in the Deutschland. Where has the time gone?...
  • Day 17: The Chanukkah Song

    Miss Mussel
    16 Dec 2014 | 3:34 am
    It’s not just Mariah who’s having a 20th anniversary this year. Adam Sandler’s legendary Chanukah Song first appeared on his 1996 album, but was written in 1994. Or at least, so says Wikipedia. And if it’s on the internet, it’s...
  • Day 16: Silent Night

    Miss Mussel
    15 Dec 2014 | 4:37 am
    For chorus masters everywhere, who have probably had enough conversations like this to make them reconsider the value of continued existence. Miss Mussel and the
  • Sharks In Toronto – Ripley’s Aquarium

    Miss Mussel
    14 Dec 2014 | 12:52 pm
    [more to come later. Short version: the shark tunnel is cool. Petting the troglodyte things was gross and cool. The hoardes of small children were a little more manic than I consider optimal.] © Miss Mussel for The Omniscient Mussel,...
  • Cologne Christmas Markets – Music at the Dom

    Miss Mussel
    14 Dec 2014 | 12:30 pm
    Every year in Cologne and most cities in Northern Europe, let’s be honest, the Christmas markets bathe the city in lovely yellow light, the happy hum of convivial chatter and the smell of sweaty hockey socks, a detail present thanks...
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    The Naxos Blog

  • This is the week that was

    18 Dec 2014 | 5:22 pm
    For many people, the week running up to Christmas Day is a frenzy of last-minute shopping, gift wrapping and chestnut peeling, not forgetting rehearsals for Carol Services and Midnight Masses. This week’s blog post, however, skirts the tinsel and mistletoe to look back at some of the more sober events that took place in this particular week during Christmas Past. On 19 December, 1843 Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published. No doubt author and publisher alike had little inkling of the enduring success it would go on to enjoy, nor the alternative media into which it would…
  • Baton charges

    11 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    The publication of John Axelrod’s Naxos Ebook The Symphony Orchestra in Crisis certainly caused a stir, with its wry observations and thought-provoking predictions for the industry. One year on, we asked the American conductor for a review of the state of play, which we are pleased to share with you here. Since publishing my book in Germany in 2013 with the title “Wie großartige Musik entsteht…oder auch nicht!”, and in 2014 as a Naxos Ebook entitled “The Symphony Orchestra in Crisis,” I have seen how many of my observations about the crisis in the Symphony Orchestra have…
  • Podcast: Changing hats

    4 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    The music of the Spanish-American composer Leonardo Balada defies categorisation, switching between styles with an easy confidence that continually surprises and delights. Rick Phillips takes us on a tour of this latest Naxos disc of Balada’s music, which visits soldiers and steelworkers alike in their vivid sound worlds. Album details… Catalogue No.: 8.573298
  • Strike up the banned!

    27 Nov 2014 | 8:00 am
    Sticks and stones will break my bones But words will never harm me. Tell that to the censors, who are hard at it every day around the world serving repressive regimes with their literary cuts. History has its own examples. Pierre Beaumarchais’ 1778 comedy Le Mariage de Figaro, for example, challenged the rights and privileges of France’s aristocracy and was soon seen as a powerful detonator for the French Revolution that followed a decade later. Based on that comedy, Mozart’s opera Le nozze di Figaro got caught up in the ripples of the rumpus as revolutionary notions started…
  • Where corals lie

    20 Nov 2014 | 8:00 am
    Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the planet’s greatest beauties, stretches for some 2,900 kilometres off the Queensland coast and provides the habitat for a cornucopia of corals, fish and sea mammals. Yet we read how swathes are being slowly decimated by climate change and pollution and, in this particular case, what the eye doesn’t usually see, the heart will certainly grieve for ever if the problem isn’t stemmed. This got me thinking that the undersea world is an unlikely source of inspiration for composers, since its tracts are largely silent domains, with…
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    Spotify Classical Playlists

  • Some Improvements

    30 Nov 2014 | 11:41 am
    1) No playlist and no regret.2) Classical composer/artist names have been normalised. I counted 284 different spellings of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and 23 names of Choir of King's College, Cambridge. Thousands of duplicate classical artist pages have been merged. You can search for Rachmaninov and still find Sergei Rachmaninoff (also try CPE Bach, DSCH).3) Composers' pages start to make sense. The Popular section (which used to be playground for spammers) now becomes a nice introduction for casual listeners. See Robert Schumann:And the discography is easier to browse…
  • More than 40,000 classical albums from Naxos now have composers displayed for every track

    2 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Philip Lane – English String Miniatures, Vol. 6Lincoln Trio – Notable WomenVarious Artists – Music for the Zombie ApocalypseRichard Craig – inwardBarokksolistene – London CallingThis also applies to Pentatone, Ondine, New Amsterdam, and all labels distributed by Naxos. Check out the list here.
  • Help testing the new classical radio

    22 Mar 2014 | 9:19 am
    A small percentage of users now get revamped classical radio. Try it here: Use the skip button to flip through a few tracks.If you only see soundtracks and greatest hits from not-so-great compilations and less than 10 composers, you are still on the old radio. Please ignore it like you did in the past few years.If you see a wide range of selections from respectable labels, then play on. The more you listen, the more users will get the new version.Your feedback will be much appreciated. Thanks.
  • Composers are now displayed for the Harmonia Mundi catalog

    12 Mar 2014 | 1:14 am
    For those of you who already followed my Harmonia Mundi - hmGold Series playlist, it might take a while before the composers appear in the desktop client. In web player everyone should see the composers now.
  • 2014 New Classical Releases Index (Collaborative Playlist)

    10 Jan 2014 | 11:19 pm
    Thanks everyone for updating the 2011, 2012 and 2013 New Classical Releases Indices. Let's do it again in 2014 and hopefully next year you won't have to use a playlist to browse the newly recorded/released classical albums of the year.Same rules as before:1. One track per album. You can click album titles and browse full albums.2. Add new tracks at the top of the playlist, so the new additions can be found easily.3. Please avoid duplicated entries. Use the filter bar to check before adding. For example: before you add Daniel Barenboim – New Year's Concert 2014 / Neujahrskonzert…
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    Classical CD Reviews

  • Berg Lulu: Warlikowski, Daniel, Hannigan

    Gavin Dixon
    14 Dec 2014 | 3:25 am
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  • Brahms Choral Works Reuss

    Gavin Dixon
    12 Dec 2014 | 12:06 am
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  • Raskatov Monk's Music

    Gavin Dixon
    8 Dec 2014 | 9:45 am
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  • Bruckner Symphony No. 1 Ivor Bolton

    Gavin Dixon
    4 Dec 2014 | 9:03 am
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  • Art of Fugue Angela Hewitt

    Gavin Dixon
    17 Nov 2014 | 9:36 am
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    Classical CD Reviews

  • Berg Lulu: Warlikowski, Daniel, Hannigan

    14 Dec 2014 | 3:25 am
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  • Brahms Choral Works Reuss

    12 Dec 2014 | 12:06 am
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  • Raskatov Monk's Music

    8 Dec 2014 | 9:45 am
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  • Bruckner Symphony No. 1 Ivor Bolton

    4 Dec 2014 | 9:03 am
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  • Art of Fugue Angela Hewitt

    17 Nov 2014 | 9:36 am
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    Anne Midgette: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Into the woods of musicals’ sounds: Two critics on what sings on stage and screen

    Anne Midgette, Nelson Pressley
    19 Dec 2014 | 9:53 am
    The impending opening of “Into the Woods” prompted music critic Anne Midgette and theater critic Nelson Pressley to compare notes on their very different takes on the last major movie of a Sondheim musical, Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” and on what makes a movie musical work.Read full article >>
  • L’affaire Lazic: a pianist and reviewer face off

    Anne Midgette
    4 Nov 2014 | 2:35 pm
    In 2010, I wrote a review of a recital at the Kennedy Center by the pianist Dejan Lazic. In 2014, he wrote the Washington Post and asked us to take it down.Neither of us expected that our words would have the effect they did.Read full article >>
  • The verdict(s) on “Klinghoffer:” a review roundup

    Anne Midgette
    22 Oct 2014 | 6:22 am
    I am still in the process of reading all of the critical responses that have appeared so far to the “Death of Klinghoffer” at the Metropolitan Opera, and I know more will follow. I am compiling all the links here in part simply as a service to myself, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who is interested in the discussion. I’ll keep adding more as I get them. (ETA: Thanks to Lisa Hirsch at Iron Tongue of Midnight for her own compilation, which added several to my list.)Read full article >>
  • Lindsey, Portillo shine in Washington Concert Opera’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi”

    Anne Midgette
    29 Sep 2014 | 2:52 pm
    The Wolf Trap Opera deserves a lot of credit. This is not, to be clear, a review of a Wolf Trap production. The show I saw on Sunday, Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” (a.k.a. “Romeo and Juliet”), was presented by the Washington Concert Opera, and an engrossing, melodious presentation it was. But two of its brightest lights have sung leading roles in this region. David Portillo, a tenor, and Kate Lindsey, a luminous mezzo-soprano, each spent two summers at the Wolf Trap company, which identifies and supports young talent. (Lindsey, from Richmond, was back at Wolf Trap for an…
  • Eric Owens on singers and opera companies: “We need to help them help us.”

    Anne Midgette
    11 Jul 2014 | 10:28 am
    I wanted to write about Eric Owens, the bass-baritone, because he seems to be turning up an awful lot of places as artist-in-residence — Glimmerglass, Wolf Trap, and the Washington National Opera. I didn’t realize, however, just how deep his commitment to expanding his role actually is — something I outline in my article in this Sunday’s Washington Post, as he spends six weeks with the young singers at the Wolf Trap Opera.Read full article >>
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  • Financial Planning For Musicians: 6 Steps to Financial Security

    Astrid Baumgardner
    19 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    Now that you have worked on your financial literacy chops (see: How To Take Charge Of Your Finances As A Musician), let’s put this information together and make a financial plan. This is a key stop that takes the amorphous concept of “How can I make a living as a musician?” and breaks it down into [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • 5 Questions to Daniel Felsenfeld (The New Music Gathering)

    Arlene &#38; Larry Dunn
    18 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    Composers Mary Kouyoumdjian, Daniel Felsenfeld, Matt Marks, and Lainie Fefferman are the organizing forces behind The New Music Gathering, a first-of-its-kind event for practitioners and lovers of contemporary music to be held at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, January 15-17, 2015. Danny Felsenfeld took time out from the flurry of final event preparations to give [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • ECM+ Presents Generation2014 in Ottawa

    Curtis Perry
    17 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    The evening of Tuesday, November 18 at the Ottawa National Arts Centre’s 4th Stage marked the eighth and penultimate stop for Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM+)’s eighth Canadian tour: Generation2014. Celebrating twenty years, a 140-page complementary volume was included as a memento, packed with program notes, biographical details, and score excerpts. The ensemble, whose mission is [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • Vicky Chow/Tristan Perich: Surface Image

    Gavin Gamboa
    16 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) is a $140 million construction perched atop a hillside within the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. The Music Curator at EMPAC, Argeo Ascani, himself a musician, is likely to extol the facilities at his disposal, which includes access to some of the [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • This week: concerts in New York (December 15 – December 21, 2014)

    Sam Reising
    15 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    Blood Makes Noise | Holly Herndon Holly Herndon presents two special evening concerts in the Guggenheim Museum’s Tower Gallery Level 5. Performing in collaboration with guest dancers and vocalists, the concerts highlight musical works written for a multichannel ambisonic speaker system, creating a uniquely immersive audience experience. Monday, December 15 at 7:00 PM & 9:30 [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
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  • What should you give to your favourite person in the world?

    Grace Miles
    18 Dec 2014 | 2:15 pm
    You might have more than one favourite person. They may or may not be musicians. I for one really appreciate gifts. Research suggests that kids who know how to delay gratification will become high performers. Can we buy happiness? On one hand, the key to happiness is in how we spend our money. But research […]
  • Become a Better Stage Performer with Dianna David

    Grace Miles
    17 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    When I arrived to the studio, I deposited my bag on the sofa and took my pants off. Dianna wasn’t weirded out, so I knew we could be friends. And, chill out, it was raining and I was wearing white pants, so I layered sweats on top. Dianna David is a movement storyteller, and I […]
  • Why You Need a Homepage (Right Now)

    Grace Miles
    11 Dec 2014 | 8:05 am
    The internet is one of the most powerful ways to connect with people because you can control how people see about you and how they act. It doesn’t matter what you do, or what industry you’re in, psychology works with human brains. For example, if a well-designed website can help music teachers gain more students, and […]
  • Dealing With a Student Who Hasn’t Paid (But is Training for an Important Performance)

    Grace Miles
    17 Nov 2014 | 8:28 pm
    Take a look at this scenario… You are a piano teacher. There is a student you like a lot, whom you’ve been teaching for two months. You first heard her playing at her performance recital– and you were impressed. The mother is well-connected, and kind, but tough, a lady who knows what she wants and will ask […]
  • 19 Jazzy Christmas Piano Solos

    Grace Miles
    12 Nov 2014 | 8:00 am
    This year, I’m feeling the big-band! I can’t wait to unveil what I’ve been working on. In the mean time, I’ve collected 19 jazz-inspired Christmas piano solos. I wish I had time to play all these. Sheet music is linked below (ranging from late intermediate to advanced). Enjoy! The first pieces are loud and boisterous… […]
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    Grand Piano Passion™

  • Grandpa’s Gift

    Guest Writer
    16 Dec 2014 | 2:00 am
    This amateur pianist received a valuable life lesson from her concert pianist grandfather, but his words didn't sink in until many years after his death. Guest Writer The full article Grandpa’s Gift is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Satie Gnossienne No. 3 Amplified

    Michael Brazile, Contributing Editor
    1 Dec 2014 | 2:00 am
    Gain perspectives on interpreting Satie's Gnossienne No. 3, with its flexible sense of rhythm, lack of measure markings, and colorful written indications. Michael Brazile, Contributing Editor The full article Satie Gnossienne No. 3 Amplified is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Ode to the Piano, a Poem

    Guest Writer
    17 Nov 2014 | 2:00 am
    Mary Jo Balistreri, who has a hearing loss, writes of the piano as an honest friend and lifelong teacher in this uplifting poem dedicated to Nancy Williams. Guest Writer The full article Ode to the Piano, a Poem is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Music On My Mind

    Guest Writer
    3 Nov 2014 | 2:00 am
    Cochlear implants plus auditory memory restored music to Barbara Chertok, who studied voice and piano before sudden hearing loss in her twenties. Guest Writer The full article Music On My Mind is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, First Movement, Amplified

    Cosmo Buono, Special Contributing Writer
    27 Oct 2014 | 2:00 am
    The Beethoven Moonlight Sonata's first movement is not as simple as it seems; find historical context and tips on ways to interpret the piece with rubato. Cosmo Buono, Special Contributing Writer The full article Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, First Movement, Amplified is on Grand Piano Passion™.
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  • Freebie Friday: Another round of free sight reading exercises!

    19 Dec 2014 | 9:59 am
    The stuff of nightmares . . . I’m getting obsessed with getting my students to sightread, so I imagine these types of posts will just keep coming for awhile. But let’s make it more interactive, in order to get access to these two free exercises, comment below and answer the following questions: 1. Do you work on sight reading in your lesson? 2. What resources do you use to practice sight reading? 3. How important do you think regular sight reading is?  4. Say something random about your feelings about sight reading! I realize this might seem like a big ask just to get two easy…
  • Freebie Friday: 4 Beginner Sight Reading Pieces

    12 Dec 2014 | 12:00 am
    Sight reading I know that sight reading is probably the last thing on everyone’s mind in the midst of all the Christmas music you are rapidly teaching and performing BUT I’m going to share these anyway because I’ll likely forget if I wait. My usual m.o. for teaching sight reading skills is usually to write something geared toward that student in the few minutes before the lesson begins. Then, I present it to them and give them between 1-4 minutes to “study” the piece without playing it. Usually, I’ll give them prompts or hints for potential tricky spots…
  • Freebie! Simple interval identification flowchart and accompanying online quiz

    5 Nov 2014 | 6:27 pm
    Greetings! Teaching my beginner students intervals, I often find that they want to count the lines and spaces for each interval rather than looking at the patterns of how these intervals look. In an effort to retrain one of my students, I came up with this handy flowchart to help her approach the answer correctly, using the method I’d like her to learn. So now, I’m going to share it with you lucky people. A note: This chart only addresses generic 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths (not major, minor, perfect, etc). You can get the flowchart here.  Below’s a preview. After I get the…
  • Halloween worksheet on . . . dah dah dum “the devil in music”

    27 Oct 2014 | 5:22 pm
    As many of you may know, the tritone (aka augmented fourth or diminished fifth) has always had some spooky connotations. (For those of you who aren’t so familiar with its history and are interested, you can read about here and here Listen to a classic example of the use of the tritone in this great animated version of Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens. Teach your students about this interval using this very simple free worksheet. It’s written so that it can be used by students who aren’t ready to know about diminished and augmented intervals, instead discussing only whole steps.
  • Free piano concert tonight at Tulane @8pm

    20 Oct 2014 | 7:27 am
    Here are the program details: Newcomb Dept. of Music Presents Pianist Andre Ponochevney Monday, October 20th- 8:00 pm Dixon Hall-Tulane University Free admission Program Domenico Scarlatti, Six Sonatas                                                                                      D Minor K 213 E Minor K198 C Major K487 B Minor K87 E Major K531 A Major K24 Sergey Prokofiev,    Sonata No.7 in B flat major, Op. 83                                                           Allegro…
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    Classical Commentary: Barry Lenson's Classical Music Blog

  • In Praise of “I Hear You Calling Me”

    Barry Lenson
    3 Dec 2014 | 1:52 pm
    “I Hear You Calling Me,” a popular song that was composed in 1908 by Charles Marshall to words by Harold Harford, is not a musical masterpiece. It’s a sentimental parlor song that was published alongside hundreds of others in those days. It isn’t an Irish song per se, but it became a blockbuster hit when it was recorded by the Irish tenor John McCormack.Despite its modest musical quality, there is just something about “I Hear You Calling Me” that makes it wonderful. When people hear it for the first time, they want to hear it again. I know that I felt that way the first time I…
  • Why Does Music Sound Like Music? Part I: Overtones and the Cycle of Fifths

    Barry Lenson
    13 Nov 2014 | 9:23 am
    Have you ever wondered why western music sounds the way it does?It was a question that was on my mind in my early days as a conservatory student. And I will never forget a class that took place one day, when my theory instructor sat at a piano to demonstrate how overtones work.  It was my first step toward understanding the cycle of fifths, key signatures, tonality, atonality, the different timbres of different musical instruments, and so much more.Since I founded this blog, I have been itching to write a series of blogs that would explain these concepts. However, I faced the problem of…
  • Let’s All Boycott The Death of Klinghoffer

    Barry Lenson
    22 Oct 2014 | 6:06 am
    Is there any possible reason why an opera with this power and deeply moral message should be protested?Protests raged the other night when the opera The Death of Klinghoffer by John Adams was performed at the Metropolitan Opera.  It is good to protest operas that incite hatred, ask us to think about evil people, contain offensive stereotypes, or marginalize anyone.But if you want to do away with Klinghoffer, moral consistency requires that you boycott the following operas too, or possibly burn their scores . . . You must never again attend performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which…
  • When Composers Need Promotion

    Barry Lenson
    5 Oct 2014 | 6:57 am
    Carl Nielsen I always feel a little suspicious when the works of a particular composer need “promotion,” don’t you? The first such composer who comes to mind is Paul Hindemith. Back in the 1940s, my parents attended some meetings of a Hindemith Society in New York, an organization that endeavored to teach music-lovers about the system that Hindemith (1895-1963) used to compose music. The society also aimed to encourage listeners to appreciate his works. Today, several Hindemith societies still exist, including the Hindemith Institute in Frankfurt, Germany. And then there are the…
  • The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard about Opera, Part One

    Barry Lenson
    15 Sep 2014 | 2:39 pm
    Dolora Zajic – Are you going to tell me that anybody sang this aria better than this in years gone by?In case you missed it, the title of today’s post is a joke. But it is a joke with a point, because just when you think you have heard the dumbest thing ever said about opera, somebody seems to come along to top it.But of all the dumb things ever said about opera, this is surely one of the dumbest . . . “All the great voices . . . where have they gone?”I have heard this idiotic opinion many times over the years. I think the first time was about 40 years ago (gulp, I must be old) when I…
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    The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical Music News Source

  • VC GIVEAWAY | Enter to Win 1 of 5 D’Addario Kaplan Christmas Prize Packs

    20 Dec 2014 | 11:54 am
    To help celebrate the international release, The Violin Channel in conjunction with D’Addario Orchestral, is this week giving away 5 D’Addario Kaplan Christmas prize packs – each containing a set of Kaplan Amo and Vivo violin strings, a Kaplan premium dark rosin and t-shirt – and a D’Addario foldable music stand. Enter now: Entries Close: 27th December, 2014. The post VC GIVEAWAY | Enter to Win 1 of 5 D’Addario Kaplan Christmas Prize Packs appeared first on The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical…
  • Signed Kyung Wha Chung ‘Complete Decca Recordings’ CD/DVD Box Set Winner Announced!

    20 Dec 2014 | 11:24 am
    And the winner is in! The following lucky VC member will be receiving a personally-autographed Kyung Wha Chung 20 CD/DVD ‘Complete Decca Recordings’ box set – courtesy of Decca. The newly-released set features prized recordings lead by Sir Georg Solti, Kirill Kondrashin, Rudolf Kempe, Charles Dutoit, Andre Previn and more. Richard Lo from the United States Congratulations to Richard and please stay tuned for more exciting VC giveaways. The post Signed Kyung Wha Chung ‘Complete Decca Recordings’ CD/DVD Box Set Winner Announced! appeared first on The Violin…
  • VC BUZZ | The Piano Guys – World’s Largest Christmas Nativity Scene [VIDEO]

    19 Dec 2014 | 11:36 am
    Youtube viral sensations, The Piano Guys have this week released a new Christmas video – featuring what’s believed to be the world’s largest nativity scene. The video, containing a whopping 1039 vocalists, presents reworked versions of Christmas favourites, ‘Angels From The Realms of Glory’ and ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ – and features vocals by Peter Hollens, David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. THE PIANO GUYS | CHRISTMAS 2014 | ANGELS FROM THE REALMS OF GLORY | ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH The post VC BUZZ | The Piano Guys –…
  • VC BUZZ | Katy Perry ‘Roar’ Cover – Cellist, Kevin Fox & Tobby the Tiger [VIDEO]

    19 Dec 2014 | 10:52 am
    Canadian cellist Kevin Fox performing a cover of Katy Perry‘s smash hit single ‘Roar’ – featuring guest artist, Tobby the Tiger. “I don’t think there’s anything that can prepare you for the sight of a real full-size tiger,” Kevin has said. KATY PERRY | ROAR (CELLO COVER) | CELLIST KEVIN FOX & TOBBY, THE TIGER The post VC BUZZ | Katy Perry ‘Roar’ Cover – Cellist, Kevin Fox & Tobby the Tiger [VIDEO] appeared first on The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical Music News Source.
  • Stolen 1790 Philadelphia Viola Found Smashed in the Street

    19 Dec 2014 | 9:35 am
    The 1790 “Giovanni Grancino, Milan” viola stolen last week, during a home robbery in Philadelphia, and reported on The Violin Channel, has been found smashed into piece in a vacant lot near the victim’s home. The owner, Nancy Drye, a member of the University of Pennsylvania Orchestra, had owned the instrument since 1978. “It feels like a death in the family,” she has said. The instrument was valued at approximately US $9,000. If you have any information, please contact Philadelphia Police.   PREVIOUS Stolen “Giovanni Grancino, Milan, 1696″ Viola Alert –…
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    Stephen P Brown

  • Great Picks For Your Holiday Classical Music

    9 Dec 2014 | 4:29 am
    December is a time of year that is filled with parties, gatherings, and good times. Whether you are going to host a dinner party or will be home with family, the music, as we all know, can help set the mood. When it comes to classical music, you won’t have to leave it behind for the holidays. You can work classical music into your holidays more easily than you may think! There are some great Christmas classical music picks. Here are a few you may want to consider adding to your collection this year (Amazon affiliate links): “Christmas Carols from Westminster Abbey” – Here is a CD that…
  • Annual Reader Survey 2014 – Summary

    26 Nov 2014 | 4:08 am
    Click this picture for the full analysis I am so very, very, VERY grateful that my cloud server deletion occurred just after my Annual Reader Survey, which I outsourced! The results and my analysis were not lost and I can share them with you now, a little earlier than anticipated (because it’s so exciting!) This is the first year I invited participation from everyone interested in what I have to share, and the results are fascinating. You can expect a few changes in the focus of this website (as it is rebuilt) and how I intend to help others improve their lives… including you.
  • A sample of the new concerto

    23 Jan 2014 | 1:52 pm
      My next composition isn’t quite ready yet. But I really like it and want to share it with you NOW. So, there’s a sample below! It may seem my 7 year #PsalmQuest has been on hiatus and maybe you even thought I’d given up already. Well, I was ahead of schedule so after all the Christmas performances I did take some time off over Christmas and New Year to visit lots of people up and down East Coast USA, and then I embarked on my long-awaited Concerto for Bass Clarinet and strings. It’s almost ready and we all have to be thankful to Calvin Falwell and Diana…
  • Flashing is popular again

    16 Jan 2014 | 4:28 am
      More and more musicians are doing it. Apparently there were over 40 reported incidents worldwide in 2013. Fortunately, many of them were caught on camera. Which of the following incidents from the past few years are worthy of international attention, and which are lucky not to find themselves in the Establishment’s penal custody for flashing in public? I’ll tell you my fave if you tell me yours! Share your thoughts and your favorites in the comments below… 1.   2.   3.   4. Haven’t reached my favourite one, yet! Remember – I’m a…
  • 12 books for the growing career

    10 Jan 2014 | 4:15 am
    I’m working hard on my next #PsalmQuest piece – a concerto for Bass Clarinet and Strings, and it is going well, but with the holidays and lots of travel it’s been hard to keep up. Should have something to share with you in a month or so. In the meantime, here is a list of 12 books all budding/ growing… people should read (At first I wrote “musicians” but realized there is a great deal of info here that is relevant for anyone trying to grow a business or even just their own career, even in the music-related books!). If you or someone you love is trying to…
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    Amati Auctions, News, Reviews and Magazine - Amati Instrument Auctions - Amati Instrument Auctions

  • CONCERT REVIEW: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Oliver Knussen

    19 Dec 2014 | 1:34 am
    Anssi Karttunen (cello), Nicolas Hodges (piano)Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Oliver KnussenChapel of King’s College, Cambridge, 8 November 2014 ★★★★☆ ‘Beethoven never does what you expect him to’, remarked Sir Harrison Birtwistle after Anssi Karttunen and Nicholas Hodges had played the Cello Sonata Op.102 No.1. It made a fitting climax…
  • CONCERT OF THE WEEK: Diotima Quartet, London

    12 Dec 2014 | 9:24 am
    Diotima QuartetShoreditch Church, London, 14 December Those fearless French champions of cutting-edge contemporary music the Diotima Quartet come to London’s Spitalfields Music Winter Festival with a world premiere by British composer Sam Hayden. The Diotima’s violist, Franck Chevalier, describes Hayden’s Transience as a cross between Jonathan Harvey and Brian Ferneyhough.…
  • CONCERT REVIEW: Giovanni Sollima and Kathryn Stott, RNCM

    10 Dec 2014 | 11:27 am
    Giovanni Sollima and Kathryn Stott. RNCM, 11 November 2014 In a famous scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick makes a match cut from a rotating bone to a spacecraft journeying to the moon, showcasing three million years of evolution. As if in emulation, the Italian-born cellist Giovanni Sollima…
  • CONCERT OF THE WEEK: London Chamber Orchestra, London

    2 Dec 2014 | 7:13 am
    Alexey Stadler (cello), London Chamber Orchestra/Vladimir AshkenazyCadogan Hall, London, Wednesday 3 December The London Chamber Orchestra welcomes two Russian-born artists of different generations for its performance at Cadogan Hall this week. The orchestra’s 77-year-old president, Vladimir Ashkenazy, conducts the concert, which features 23-year-old Alexey Stadler as the soloist in Elgar’s…
  • CONCERT OF THE WEEK: OAE/Tognetti, London

    24 Nov 2014 | 4:02 am
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Richard Tognetti (violin, director)Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, Tuesday 25 November After making his Academy of Ancient Music debut in February, Australian violinist and director Richard Tognetti is back in the UK for some more period-instrument action. This time the gut strings belong…
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  • A Talented Choir Surprised Shoppers With A Performance They’ll Remember Forever

    Liviu Craciun
    18 Dec 2014 | 9:11 am
    A shopping center food court in Canada was the victim of a joyous flash mob attack by an Ontario choral society on Nov. 17 2010. Their performance of Handel’s Messiah Hallelujah chorus has taken the Internet by storm and has already been seen more than 45 million times so far. The video, shot by hidden cameras and planned by a small company called Alphabet Photography as a thank you to their customers, is the most viewed choral flash mob on Youtube up to date. Niagara This week reported that the video of the event, which took the mall’s food court patrons by delighted surprise, was…
  • 10 Beautiful Sheet Music Christmas Ornaments You Can Make Yourself

    Liviu Craciun
    18 Dec 2014 | 4:26 am
    Sheet music can add a certain touch of elegance to your decor, and these ornaments would be a wonderful addition to your Christmas decorating. We have been seeing some absolutely awesome ornament DIY’s around, so we decided to get together a list of 10 of our favorites. Remember, only use sheet music copies you don’t need anymore: 1 – Sheet Music Ball from I Heart Naptime 2 – Star Crafts from Crafty Nest 3 – Musical Trees from HGTV 4 – Sheet Music Paper Ornament from Kifli es levendula 5 - Clothespin Angels from SmileMercantile 6 – Christmas Tree from Happy…
  • E-Traces: Ballet Shoes That Turn Movements Into Paintings

    D Grant Smith
    17 Dec 2014 | 1:36 am
    Photography / Lucía González / Marta Guillén A dancer’s movements, when performed with eloquence and style, transcend art in the conventional sense. It becomes something more fluid and radiant than mere dancing. This especially applies to ballet, where nimble and poetic motion are the expression of story. What if you could take the dance and make it something different, add a new layer to the complexity of the work that could incorporate more artistry? Such an undertaking (and endeavor) has been taken on. Photography / Lucía González / Marta Guillén E-Traces is the creation of Lesia…
  • 3 Questions with Anna Leonova, Ukrainian Composer

    16 Dec 2014 | 3:16 pm
    Meet Anna Leonova! Anna Leonova is an Ukrainian composer of contemporary classical music, pianist, composition teacher, piano and music theory teacher, currently living in Qatar. At an early age, Anna took an interest in music and started writing her own songs. Her music has been performed at various festivals and concerts throughout the world, such as “Mammern Classics” ( Mammern, Switzerland), TCU Festival of Ukrainian Chamber Music (Texas,USA), ” Kyiv Music Fest ” (Kyiv), ” Music Premieres of the Season ” (Kyiv), ” Forum of young music ”…
  • Cellogirls: New Fan Anthology About 2Cellos

    D Grant Smith
    15 Dec 2014 | 6:41 am
    While many music biographies are written by individuals with a proclivity for interest in their subject, it is rare that a book would be written by actual fans. However, Cellogirls is a new creation chronicling the rise and power of the phenomenon that is 2Cellos and achieves much more than a standard biography. Compiled by Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, this collection of essays tell the personal experiences taken from fans themselves. Over fifteen pieces were written from individuals across the globe and spanning multiple generations. The book sets apart what it means for female music fans to express…
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