Classical Music

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  • Outside of music — On the role of the audience

    Steve Layton
    1 Oct 2014 | 2:45 pm
    [Editor's note: Samuel Vriezen is a brilliant Dutch composer, performer, poet, polymath... oh, let's just say the list goes on. I've known Samuel -- online, at least -- for the better part of 15 years now, following his artistic and aesthetic progression, getting into stimulating conversations and sharp smack-downs along the way. Just the other day Samuel approached me with an essay that he'd been working on, that he felt might be ready for a wider audience through a place like S21. Of course I immediately agreed; Samuel has one of the sharpest minds I know, and whatever rolls around and…
  • Chacona in Baltimore

    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
    Alex Ross
    25 Sep 2014 | 7:54 am
    Judah Adashi, of the Peabody Institute, has put together a program of ground-bass works across the centuries, to transpire on Sept. 30 at Peabody. It includes his beguiling new piece my heart comes undone, inspired by a phrase of Björk's. I'm delighted to have provided a bit of inspiration for the concert, with my old "Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues" essay.
  • ArtsBeat: Carnegie Hall to Offer Free Live Webcasts of Four Concerts

    NYT > Music
    1 Oct 2014 | 9:01 pm
    Carnegie Hall will offer free live webcasts of its concert presentations for the first time later this year, it plans to announce on Thursday — streaming four big classical music concerts in partnership with

    29 Sep 2014 | 8:26 am
    Tomorrow night Daniil Trifonov is making his Royal Festival Hall recital debut - and if you're in London or within easyish reach of it, you need to get there. His programme is:Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV.542 arr. Liszt for pianoLudwig Van Beethoven: Sonata in C minor, Op.111IntervalFranz Liszt: 12 Etudes d'exécution transcendante, S.139Now, it has been drawn to my attention that this concert hasn't sold terrifically well, and this, dear concert-goers, seems absurd. What's the matter? Have you already committed yourselves to another…
  • Pop Quiz: Contemporary Web Iconography

    Drew McManus
    1 Oct 2014 | 12:00 am
    Icons are everyone online and although they’ve been an integral part of interacting with computers for decades, the use of icons has exploded within the last few years thanks to an increase in mobile devices that reply on symbols to not only help save space but encourage simple, predictable and user friendly interaction. To that end, quite a few icons have become standard graphical user interface symbols in navigation menus, but how comfortable are you knowing which one is which? Let’s find out… Menu Icon Quiz Icon #1Close menu itemMove menu itemOpen/Expand menu Icon…
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    Slipped Disc

  • Finally, a credible list of the best US music colleges

    norman lebrecht
    2 Oct 2014 | 1:03 am
    There have been plenty of phony lists in magazines aimed at anxious parents of musical teenagers. This one, however, gets it pretty much right. The top three choices are impeccable. Lower down, you might wonder whether the bottom three are worthy of inclusion, given their recent decline. Peabody is a glaring omission and Cleveland won’t be pleased. Juilliard will have sleepless nights at being placed third. But on the whole, this list is pretty good and Bill Zukerman’s descriptions are credible. Click here for full list. The #1 school is pictured below.
  • Breaking: Chicago flute flies off to Berlin

    norman lebrecht
    1 Oct 2014 | 1:05 pm
    After months of cogitation Mathieu Dufour, Principal Flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has submitted his regination, effective November 4, 2014, in order to join the Berlin Philharmonic in the same position in the new year. We hope he’s made the right choice. Press release follows.  CHICAGO—Mathieu Dufour, Principal Flute, the Erika and Dietrich M. Gross Chair, of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has resigned his position with the CSO, effective November 4, 2014, in order to accept the position of Principal Flute at the Berlin Philharmonic. His tenure there begins in…
  • Click-Bait? It’s an Israeli war crime, apparently

    norman lebrecht
    1 Oct 2014 | 9:59 am
    Editor’s advisory: No musical content. But interesting for social media geeks. A BBC business reporter has unearthed the source of hundreds of viral stories on the Internet, the ones you find yourself clicking on even though every fibre of your brain tells you it’s going to be rubbish. The source of the virus is, apparently, a former digital online officer in the Israeli armed forces, where he presumably failed to influence world opinion. He’s more successful now. Want to know how? You know what to do. Just… click here.  
  • Dark nights: Turkey imposes Islamic dress code on State Opera and Ballet

    norman lebrecht
    1 Oct 2014 | 8:28 am
    From darkening Istanbul: The new General Manager of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet, Selman Ada, has issued shocking new rules for the corps de ballet – ‘a set of rules applicable to all personnel.’ Here’s the code: ‘Athletic wear, sleeveless cotton, shorts, tights, stretch jeans, sandals, slippers, spike-heeled shoes, evening dresses and so on, shall not be worn on the premises.’ This is one of many blows in the Islamic ruling party (AKP)’s clampdown on western performing arts. Here’s the article in Turkish (the headline reads: “Tights…
  • New Yorks Times slashes 100 newsroom jobs

    norman lebrecht
    1 Oct 2014 | 8:15 am
    This has been long expected, but shocking nonetheless. The sweetener is that it amounts to only 7.5 percent of the newsroom staff. The bitter aftertaste is that it will probably bite into culture. They’re also killing off an op-ed app because no-one reads them. ‘There is no magic bullet for the current financial plight of the news business, said executive editor Dean Baquet. Read here.  
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  • ASO’s Interim CEO Will Not Be Involved With Negotiations

    Drew McManus
    2 Oct 2014 | 12:00 am
    Following up on a question from earlier in the week on whether or not Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) interim CEO Terry Neal will be involved with negotiations, evidence has surfaced which confirms he will not be part of the bargaining process. A 9/29/2014 letter from ASO board chair Karole Lloyd made it clear that Neal will only be focusing on the housekeeping roles associated with the CEO’s duties and responsibilities. A copy of the letter follows (emphasis added): A Bigger Fish To Fry? Although the lion’s share of attention is rightfully focused on the lockout and associated…
  • Pop Quiz: Contemporary Web Iconography

    Drew McManus
    1 Oct 2014 | 12:00 am
    Icons are everyone online and although they’ve been an integral part of interacting with computers for decades, the use of icons has exploded within the last few years thanks to an increase in mobile devices that reply on symbols to not only help save space but encourage simple, predictable and user friendly interaction. To that end, quite a few icons have become standard graphical user interface symbols in navigation menus, but how comfortable are you knowing which one is which? Let’s find out… Menu Icon Quiz Icon #1Close menu itemMove menu itemOpen/Expand menu Icon…
  • One Month Into The Lockout And ASO CEO Is Already Out

    Drew McManus
    30 Sep 2014 | 12:00 am
    On Saturday, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) CEO Stanley Romanstein erroneously announced that the ASO and its locked out musicians had entered federal mediation and by Monday morning, he was no longer the CEO. It is unknown if the mediation gaffe was grounds in and of itself for the shift in executive leadership or if it was part of a larger conflux of events, but what is known is Romanstein resigned from his position on Monday although he would make his services available through the end of October, 2014. The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reported that Romanstein resigned…
  • The Situation In Atlanta Continues To Degrade

    Drew McManus
    29 Sep 2014 | 12:00 am
    In what has become one of the more confusing turn of events in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) lockout, the management released a statement on 9/27/14 @ approximately 9:00pm ET announcing that the organization and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association (ASOPA) have agreed to federal mediation. Read the full ASO press statement ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MANAGEMENT AND PLAYERS AGREE TO MEDIATION ASO Management and ASOPA to Use Same Mediator As Metropolitan Opera The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association…
  • ArtsHacker Is Coming

    Drew McManus
    26 Sep 2014 | 12:00 am
    Last month, I tossed out the idea of a new website designed to function like an arts manager version of and posted a form to solicit feedback from arts managers out there interested in becoming contributors. The. Response. Was. Amazing. In short, ArtsHacker is so happening and we should have something up and running this fall! We’ve got a veritable boat load of folks lined up as contributors you’ll recognize alongside some extraordinarily talented newcomers, all of which with mad skill sets to share. Having said that, it’s not too late to declare your interest…
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  • worth reading, to say the least

    Steve Hicken
    11 Sep 2014 | 5:50 pm
    This is the first of what will likely be a very occasional series, pointing you to some stuff I thought was, well, worth reading.Alex Ross on pop culture and power. Key sentence: "Between them, Adorno and Benjamin were pioneers in thinking critically about pop culture—in taking that culture seriously as an object of scrutiny, whether in tones of delight, dismay, or passionate ambivalence."A conversation with Richard Powers. Key sentence: "You can listen to music for millions of different reasons, and if you consider the fundamental components of music—melody, harmony, rhythm, texture,…
  • happy birthday!

    Steve Hicken
    4 Jul 2014 | 8:39 am
    Some music for the day:Bonus track:
  • music for one musician

    Steve Hicken
    19 May 2014 | 4:04 pm
    The redesigned Burning Ambulance launches today. One of the new offerings is my review of Rough Fields' recording of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians.
  • erik carlson, violin

    Steve Hicken
    17 May 2014 | 1:20 pm
    Review at Sequenza21.
  • douglas detrick - the bright and rushing world

    Steve Hicken
    27 Apr 2014 | 6:28 am
    Review at Sequenza21
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  • Paola Prestini: Following Her Vision

    Frank J. Oteri
    1 Oct 2014 | 7:20 am
    Paola Prestini combines wild imagination and controlled practicality on an almost molecular level—it’s as if both are fused together in her DNA. Whether she’s talking about her own multimedia operas or VisionIntoArt, the interdisciplinary arts production company she co-founded 15 years ago, she tends to think big but she always manages to make it happen.
  • Two Women Composers Commissioned in New League/EarShot Program

    NewMusicBox Staff
    30 Sep 2014 | 12:05 pm
    Julia Adolphe and Melody Eötvös will each receive a $15,000 orchestral commission as part of a new program administered by The League of American Orchestras and EarShot to provide commissions and premieres for scores composed by women.
  • Do You Hear the People Sing? Music and Protest in the Street

    Molly Sheridan
    30 Sep 2014 | 7:25 am
    In a crowd, nuance fades away. When the argument is literally framed by a fence in the street, the question of "which side are you on?" can take on a certain stark, if ultimately artificial, clarity.
  • (Don’t) Leave it to Bieber

    Robert Fink
    29 Sep 2014 | 7:49 am
    I’m not saying you can’t hate some pop music; I’m just saying you can’t, in the presence of a practicing postmusicologist, hate on all pop music just because it is popular, disguising elitism as self-pitying pride in new music’s marginalized market position.
  • Open Letter from American Composers to Atlanta Symphony

    NewMusicBox Staff
    25 Sep 2014 | 11:54 am
    We are appalled to see the orchestra’s supremely talented players locked out from playing their concerts while at the same time being asked to accept painful salary cuts and submitting to the reduction in the size and quality of their ensemble.
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    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

  • "Deafening Silence"

    Alex Ross
    25 Sep 2014 | 2:09 pm
    The Atlanta Symphony musicians are holding an event tonight outside the Woodruff Center, where they have been locked out by a management that seems to have learned absolutely nothing from the recent debacle of the Minnesota Orchestra. Meanwhile, John Adams, John Corigliano, and other leading American composers have published an open letter at NewMusicBox; Robert Spano, Altanta's music director, speaks up for the musicians in an interview with the Times's Michael Cooper; and Donald Runnicles, the principal guest conductor, does the same in an interview with the Guardian's Tom…
  • Chacona in Baltimore

    Alex Ross
    25 Sep 2014 | 7:54 am
    Judah Adashi, of the Peabody Institute, has put together a program of ground-bass works across the centuries, to transpire on Sept. 30 at Peabody. It includes his beguiling new piece my heart comes undone, inspired by a phrase of Björk's. I'm delighted to have provided a bit of inspiration for the concert, with my old "Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues" essay.
  • A Czernowin moment

    Alex Ross
    24 Sep 2014 | 5:25 pm
    The score of Zohar Iver can be seen here.
  • Pop note

    Alex Ross
    24 Sep 2014 | 10:02 am
    The remarkable New Zealand singer-songwriter Peter Jefferies is touring the U.S. for the first time since 1994. I wrote about him in my 1995 survey of New Zealand rock. Update: Sadly, Peter Jefferies has been denied entry to the United States on account of visa issues, and his tour has been cancelled.
  • The voice of the opposition

    Alex Ross
    23 Sep 2014 | 8:57 am
    Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, an investment banker and political operative, struck a chilling tone at the protest against The Death of Klinghoffer yesterday: "You will be made to destroy that set before we're finished. We are going to be back here—everyone here and many, many more—every night of the Klinghoffer opera until the set is burned to the ground." (You can see and hear him in the second video embedded in Michael Cooper's piece, linked above.) In 2011, Wiesenfeld, who has a long history of belligerent pronouncements, drew attention for attempting to block the awarding of…
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  • Outside of music — On the role of the audience

    Steve Layton
    1 Oct 2014 | 2:45 pm
    [Editor's note: Samuel Vriezen is a brilliant Dutch composer, performer, poet, polymath... oh, let's just say the list goes on. I've known Samuel -- online, at least -- for the better part of 15 years now, following his artistic and aesthetic progression, getting into stimulating conversations and sharp smack-downs along the way. Just the other day Samuel approached me with an essay that he'd been working on, that he felt might be ready for a wider audience through a place like S21. Of course I immediately agreed; Samuel has one of the sharpest minds I know, and whatever rolls around and…
  • ensemble: Périphérie – Morris, MN, 9/23/14

    Wes Flinn
    29 Sep 2014 | 8:13 pm
    (image source ensemble: Périphérie) A common theme in my reviews is that new music is what and where you make it. ensemble: Périphérie ascribes to the same philosophy. The group, founded in 2010 by composers Luke Dahn and Joseph Dangerfield, contains performers from all over the United States; they get together a few times a year for a week of intense rehearsals and a short tour. Make no mistake, though; while the rehearsal time may be brief, these musicians are skilled and the performances are high-quality. The group started its Fall 2014 tour at the University of Minnesota Morris, where…
  • Duo Gazzana: Looking Back to Move Forward

    Tyran Grillo
    18 Sep 2014 | 11:28 am
    In 2011, pianist Raffaella Gazzana and violinist Natascia Gazzana, better known as Duo Gazzana, made a quiet, if colorful, splash with Five Pieces, their first record for ECM’s New Series imprint. Navigating a recital comprised of works by Takemitsu, Hindemith, Janáček, and Silvestrov, the Gazzana sisters, in close collaboration with producer Manfred Eicher, demonstrated an acute sense of programming, technique, and integrity. Despite the title of their debut (named for the Silvestrov composition of the same name), which contained only four pieces, Silvestrov’s Hommage à J.S.B. (2009)…
  • Music of Pauline Oliveros in Los Angeles

    Paul Muller
    15 Sep 2014 | 7:39 am
    On Tuesday, September 9, 2014 the Southland Ensemble presented a concert of the music of Pauline Oliveros at Human Resources in the arts-friendly Chinatown district of downtown Los Angeles. The performance space, with its wide open floor and lively acoustics was the perfect place given that the works of Ms. Oliveros typically include a theatrical component. The seating, arranged logically around the perimeter, was completely filled by those attending. The concert opened with Sonic Rorschach (1971) and for this groups of electric fans were arrayed in the corners to provide white noise, as…
  • Some More New on the Proms

    Rodney Lister
    14 Sep 2014 | 3:46 pm
    On August 27, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, in its first appearance at the Proms, included, along with Debussy’s La Mer and the Tschaikovsky Sixth Symphony, Šu, a concerto for Sheng and orchestra by their compatriot Unsuk Chin, with soloist Wu Wei. The sound of the sheng, which is ethereal, if not down right ineffable, dominates the work. Not only does the soloist plays almost continually throughout the work, but the orchestra’s music grows out of the music of the sheng, expanding and amplifying it. Šu, whose title comes from the name of the ancient…
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  • After the Fall: A Look at New York City Center’s Dance Season

    18 Sep 2014 | 3:10 pm
    While the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center may be, as critics have called it, a “dance feast,” with 24 stunning performances that range from ballet to Memphis jookin’, it’s also a kind of amuse-bouche for the dance season to come.
  • Glamour and the Tramp

    16 Aug 2014 | 3:00 pm
    This September the NY Philharmonic performs two contrasting programs that feature film music: one of Italian glamour, the other celebrating Charlie Chaplin�s most enduring creation.
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  • The Girl of the Golden West End

    2 Oct 2014 | 12:53 am
    I wrote this for the Indy's 'Observations' section last weekend, but can't find it online, so here it is in full glory...Puccini's The Girl of the Golden West opens at ENO tonight, with Susan Bullock as Minnie. Enjoy.Sometimes you can wait two decades for a new production of a particular opera, only to find three turning up within a year. Until recently Puccini’s La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) was a relative rarity on these shores. But with stagings this year at Opera North, Opera Holland Park and now English National Opera, where a new one directed by Richard Jones…
  • Day of the Trifonovs...

    1 Oct 2014 | 7:16 am
    Thank you, PIANIST MAGAZINE, for this rather to-the-point image! Attention BIRMINGHAM: he is doing the whole thing again tonight, in the Town Hall...(Update: PIANIST mag tells me this inspired bit of imagery arrived originally from our doughty friend Yehuda Shapiro.)
  • Trifonov scales the Eiger

    1 Oct 2014 | 3:43 am
    Well, the north face of the piano repertoire: Liszt's complete Transcendental Etudes, live in concert. I'm still reeling. Here's my review for The Arts Desk. (Do take out a subscription: it's well worth it, top-notch reviewing for the price of one coffee per month!)
  • Going Sober for October

    30 Sep 2014 | 1:50 am
    I've just signed up to GO SOBER FOR OCTOBER, the charity initiative raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. My mother, father and sister all died of cancer within six years and during this traumatic time the support provided by Macmillan's specialist nurses was simply incredible. I don't know where we would have been without them.So to help raise some cash and awareness, many of us have already elected to join this scheme. It's healthy, it doesn't involve getting on a bike or running unconscionable distances in the rain - and if you bear in mind that I am a >journalist<, you will…

    29 Sep 2014 | 8:26 am
    Tomorrow night Daniil Trifonov is making his Royal Festival Hall recital debut - and if you're in London or within easyish reach of it, you need to get there. His programme is:Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV.542 arr. Liszt for pianoLudwig Van Beethoven: Sonata in C minor, Op.111IntervalFranz Liszt: 12 Etudes d'exécution transcendante, S.139Now, it has been drawn to my attention that this concert hasn't sold terrifically well, and this, dear concert-goers, seems absurd. What's the matter? Have you already committed yourselves to another…
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    Classical Music Features from Minnesota Public Radio

  • Top Score: Singer Lisbeth Scott's rising note

    1 Oct 2014 | 10:01 pm
    Several years ago, a five-minute conversation took Lisbeth Scott from being a part-time singer and musician in a dance studio to performing in a soundtrack for Hans Zimmer, a titan of the industry ... and she didn't know who he was at the time. She only went up from there.
  • LIVE VIDEO: An Opening Night Gala With The Berlin Philharmonic

    1 Oct 2014 | 1:50 pm
    The Berlin Philharmonic and its chief conductor Simon Rattle will open the legendary Carnegie Hall's season Oct. 1. You can watch a live stream of the concert right here on Classical MPR's website on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. CDT.
  • Interview: Penny Dreadful composer Abel Korzeniowski

    1 Oct 2014 | 10:57 am
    Abel Korzeniowski is unique among today's film and TV composers - for a number of reasons. With everything increasingly fast-paced and ever more composers delving into percussion and synths as a starting point, Korzeniowski begins with the strings.
  • New Classical Tracks: Let's Dance!

    30 Sep 2014 | 10:01 pm
    From a Bach keyboard partita to a sultry Albeniz tango - the pieces on this disc have dance rhythms running through them. It's a brand-new release from young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor.
  • Flicks in Five: Putting music in their mouths

    30 Sep 2014 | 3:50 pm
    Overdubbing is when an actor portraying a part in a musical doesn't do his or her own singing. That doesn't mean the actor can't sing; often there are other factors at work. Lynne Warfel has some stories about overdubbing on this week's Flicks in Five.
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  • Joshua Bell at Union Station

    Charles T. Downey
    1 Oct 2014 | 4:22 am
    We are glad to have this report by author, classical music fan, and Friend of Ionarts Robert Pohl. Joshua Bell in press scrum at Union Station, September 30, 2014 (photo by Robert Pohl) Whenever a concert has been severely under-attended, all responsible try to figure out why nobody showed up and how to rectify this in future. Clearly, Joshua Bell has learned the lesson he learned on January 12
  • Capulets and Montagues at WCO

    Charles T. Downey
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:58 am
    Kate Lindsey (Romeo), Nicole Cabell (Giulietta), Antony Walker (conductor), I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Washington Concert Opera (photo by Don Lassell)Vincenzo Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi is an ideal opera for concert performance, a work that features gorgeous singing but is not all that stage-worthy. In fact, I have heard it live only in concert form, most recently on Sunday evening at the
  • Steven Lin Goes to the Opera

    Charles T. Downey
    29 Sep 2014 | 5:53 pm
    Although Steven Lin did not end up winning the Kapell Competition two years ago, he made quite a splash with the audience. Washington Performing Arts brought the young Taiwanese-American pianist back to the area for a Hayes Piano Series recital on Saturday afternoon, in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. It revealed a musician with often astounding technique, searching for extremes of sound:
  • Folger Consort's Musical Heraldry

    Charles T. Downey
    29 Sep 2014 | 5:47 am
    Charles T. Downey, Folger Consort presents Renaissance pieces (Washington Post, September 29, 2014) Heraldry, the elaborate system of coats of arms that was an expression of family pride in past eras, remains as a tangible emblem of history. One possible musical counterpart, dances and songs written for and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I and her courtiers, was the focus of the Folger Consort’s
  • Perchance to Stream: Start of Fall Edition

    Charles T. Downey
    28 Sep 2014 | 10:39 am
    Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio and online video from the week gone by. After clicking to an audio or video stream, you may need to press the "Play" button to start the broadcast. Some of these streams become unavailable after a few days. Watch the production of Rossini's La Cenerentola, directed by Cécile Roussat at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, starring Marianna
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    The Rambler

  • 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 →
  • Help fund the first Heather Roche composition competition

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    16 Sep 2014 | 2:39 am
    Clarinetist Heather Roche is crowdsourcing a brand new composition competition. Heather is one of the hardest working young players in the business, and most people involved in new music – particularly in central and northern Europe – will know her for her dedication and enthusiasm for creating new repertory, as well as her talents as a player. (If you’re a clarinetist … Continue reading →
  • Wandelweiser’s Minnesota debut

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    15 Sep 2014 | 2:36 am
    Word from Crow With No Mouth promotions that the Wandelweiser group will be making its Minnesota concert debut later this month. Here are the details from the event blog: our wandelweiser festival program will consist of the premiere of nine new pieces, written by nine composers integral to the wandelweiser collective, especially for our weekend. this is … Continue reading →
  • Talking at the RNCM

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    12 Sep 2014 | 1:46 am
    On 1st October I’m going to be presenting as part of the RNCM’s Research Forum series. Mine is the first of this year’s series, and I’m going in big with an attempt to untangle the mess that it is contemporary music history.  If you’re in or around Manchester and fancy a sneak preview of the book, … Continue reading →
  • We Break Strings Kickstarter campaign

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    6 Sep 2014 | 2:06 am
    Earlier in the summer I was approached by the writer Thom Andrewes to be one of a number of interviewees for a new book on London’s alternative classical music scene, to be published to mark the 10th anniversary of Nonclassical. It was fun to do, and the book, called We Break Strings, includes some terrific photos by Dimitri … Continue reading →
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    Opera Today

  • Anna Caterina Antonacci, Wigmore Hall, London
    30 Sep 2014 | 3:54 pm
    Presenting a well-structured and characterful programme, Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci demonstrated her prowess in both soprano and mezzo repertoire in this Wigmore Hall recital, performing European works from the early years of the twentieth century. Assuredly accompanied by her regular pianist Donald Sulzen, Antonacci was self-composed and calm of manner, but also evinced a warmly engaging stage presence throughout.
  • Il barbiere di Siviglia, Royal Opera
    29 Sep 2014 | 10:00 am
    Bold, bright and brash, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s Il barbiere di Siviglia tells its story clearly in complementary primary colours.
  • Monteverdi to Mozart: 1600-1800
    26 Sep 2014 | 7:30 pm
  • Gluck and Bertoni at Bampton
    19 Sep 2014 | 9:43 pm
    Bampton Classical Opera’s 2014 double bill neatly balanced drollery and gravity. Rectifying the apparent prevailing indifference to the 300th centenary of Christoph Willibald Gluck birth, Bampton offered a sharp, witty production of the composer’s Il Parnaso confuso, pairing this ‘festa teatrale’ with Ferdinando Bertoni’s more sombre Orfeo.
  • Purcell: A Retrospective
    19 Sep 2014 | 12:42 pm
    Harry Christophers and The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra launched the Wigmore Hall’s two-year series, ‘Purcell: A Retrospective’, in splendid style. Flexibility, buoyancy and transparency were the watchwords.
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    Opera Today News Headlines

  • Monteverdi to Mozart: 1600-1800

    26 Sep 2014 | 7:30 pm
  • Vienna State Opera live at home

    19 Sep 2014 | 8:24 am
  • In Bruges

    18 Sep 2014 | 8:25 am
    By John Yohalem [16 September 2014, Parterre Box] They say that Boston, despite many cultural distinctions, ain’t no opera town, and for some decades—generations?—this has been true. But tides of change will break, even on the shores of the Hub. There is a baroque opera revival, spawned by the Boston Early Music Festival (a Monteverdi trilogy arriving next spring) and leading to hi-jinks at the region’s many schools, and to Boston Baroque, which gives Handel’s Agrippina in April. The somewhat traditional Boston Lyric Opera presents everything from Lizzie Borden…
  • Elīna Garanča: Meditation

    17 Sep 2014 | 1:40 pm
  • Great Expectations: A New Season Of New Music

    7 Sep 2014 | 8:08 pm
    By Tom Huizenga [NPR Music] Musicologist and pianist Charles Rosen once quipped: "The death of classical music is perhaps its oldest continuing tradition." But it's tough to see much gloom when faced with the diversity of premieres and provocative programming around the country in the 2014-2015 season. [More . . . .]
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    aworks :: "new" american classical music

  • aworks album log :: sept. 29, 2014 #motets #nixon #remixes

    29 Sep 2014 | 8:19 pm
    American Classical: Marcus Creed, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart - America: Copland, Reich, Cage, Feldman, Bernstein, Barber Four Motets by Aaron Copland is a worthy work and new to me. [haenssler CLASSIC] Robert Orth, Maria Kanyova, Etc./Marin Alsop: Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Opera Colorado Chorus - John Adams: Nixon in China, Act 1 [Naxos] Gil Rose, Boston Modern Orchestra Project - Milton Babbitt: All Set Also new to me, but not appealing as these things go. All Set almost sounds jazz-ish. Correspondences is more serious. [BMOP/sound] Beyond: Tinariwen - Remixed 2012 recording; I really…
  • aworks album log :: september 27, 2014 #guitar #notguitar #21stcentury

    27 Sep 2014 | 9:17 pm
    American classical: Guitar in the 21st Century I like the concept and I like several of the works e.g. Sebastien Roux & Kim Myhr's SIX, Mike Vernusky's Nylah, and Duane Pitre's Music for Microtonal Guitars and Mallets. From 2009, this of course is little like traditional guitar, with Keith Rowe's Fragment from a Response to Cardew's Treatment and Jandek's The World Stops the most primitive, bordering on unpleasantly difficult. [Quiet Design Records] Lincoln Trio - Notable Women: Trios by Today's Female Composers I happened to listen to this after watching Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln for…
  • aworks album log :: september 22, 2014 #islands #horizons

    22 Sep 2014 | 9:08 pm
    American classical: Marcus Creed, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart - America: Copland Reich Cage Feldman Bernstein BarberFresh versions of Proverb and Rothko Chapel and some other works.[haenssler CLASSIC] Joseph Kubera - Book of Horizons Michael Byron's Book of Horizons may be a pianistic tour de force. [New World Records] Fifth House Ensemble - Excelsior I like other music from composers like Alex Shapiro, Caleb Burhans and Mason Bates, but on this album, not as much. Burhans' Excelsior seems like minimalism in slow motion, which is intriguing, and the electric guitar adds to the blend of the…
  • aworks album log :: september 21, 2014

    21 Sep 2014 | 10:17 am
    American classical Duane Pitre - Bridges [Important Records] Duane Pitre - Origin [Root Strata] Elodie Lauten - Inscapes from Exile This is surprisingly exotic music. [Felmay Records] Duane Pitre and Cory Allen - The Seeker and the Healer [Students of Decay] Duane Pitre - Feel Free [Important Records] Scott Johnson - Rock/Paper/Scissors This is a recording that might have been better live with a richer, less compressed sound. [Point Music] Beyond Joni Mitchell - Blue I can't decide if her voice sounds dated or I never really liked it. [Reprise Records] Links Music curation is not the answer.
  • aworks album log :: sept 20, 2014 #electric #abstract

    20 Sep 2014 | 12:29 pm
    American classical: Elodie Lauten - Piano Soundtracks [4-Tay, Inc.] Giacomo Fiore - iv: american electric guitars Electric guitar pieces by Eve Beglarian, Larry Polansky and others. [Gflp] Robert Satterlee - Rzewski: Piano Music [Naxos] Beyond: Autechre - Exai This isn't abstract music per se, but it seems more removed from reality than most. Although with song titles like "irlite (get 0)" and "Flep", that should be expected. [Warp Records] Gazelle Twin - Anti Body British art rocker. [Last Gang Records] Laurel Halo - Metal Confection [Hippos in Tanks] Gazelle Twin - The Entire…
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    The Collaborative Piano Blog

  • Help the Collaborative Pianist Guild Become a Professional Advocacy Group for our Profession

    Chris Foley
    11 Sep 2014 | 3:45 am
    Although collaborative pianists are known for their ability to work with others, as a group they can often be marginalized and sometimes have difficulty identifying with a professional organization.The Collaborative Pianist Guild aims to change all that. Starting off as an accompanist directory, they eventually plan to become a full-fledged advocacy group for the entire profession. With that purpose in mind, CPG President Susan Brown and VP Rachel Fogarty have created a Rockethub campaign in a bid to raise $5,000. Here's the statement from their Rockethub page:The Collaborative Pianist Guild…
  • Time for Three Takes on Bullying with Stronger

    Chris Foley
    21 Aug 2014 | 11:37 am
    Time for Three is a string trio originally from the Curtis Institute but now in residence with the Indianapolis Symphony. Their unique style blends first-rate playing with some imaginative arrangements and video concepts. Their video for Stronger looks at the important issues of music education and bullying in the schools: You can check out the backstory for Stronger here. Time for Three are:Zach De Pue, violinNick Kendall, violinRanaan Meyer, double bassBTW one can't mention bullying and classical music in the same sentence without this famous Bizarro comic coming to mind.
  • Ask the Readers: Which Collaborative Piano Programs Are Best for a Student from China?

    Chris Foley
    19 Aug 2014 | 5:39 am
    eugenephoen / ccA few days ago, a reader posed this question on the long-running discussion of the Degree and Diplomas in Collaborative Piano post:I'm helping a Chinese friend search for the best US university for an MM in Collaborative Piano. If you could offer some advice that'd be great. Thanks for the comment and important question! That's one of the central issues for the increasingly large influx of pianists coming from China looking for collaborative piano degrees at the Master of Music level. The choices of these pianists won't just be about choosing the most famous teacher, but…
  • What I've Been Up To Lately

    Chris Foley
    17 Aug 2014 | 7:41 pm
    The exam room in Calgary SW last week. How appropriate!This summer is one of those times where so many projects are in development and coming up to completion that it can be difficult to take stock of exactly how things fit in perspective. Here's a short list of my current and recent projects:Finishing up a tour of duty examining in southern Alberta this month, after previous trips to Vancouver, Surrey, Trail, and Nelson in BC this June. Working as Artistic Consultant alongside producer Anton Kwiatkowski for the recordings for the upcoming 2015 Piano Syllabus of the Royal Conservatory.
  • Uncovering a Hidden Gem: Joseph Szulc's Clair de Lune

    Chris Foley
    6 May 2014 | 7:33 am
    One of the most beautiful things about exploring the art song tradition is that every so often you uncover a song by an unknown composer that speaks with such elegance and beauty that you're astonished not to have heard it before.While preparing for a Vocal Lit class at the Glenn Gould School last week I found just one of those buried treasures: a 1907 setting of Verlaine's Clair de lune by Polish/French composer and conductor Joseph Szulc. Although the Fauré and Debussy settings are far more well known, Szulc's setting has an undoubtedly French intimacy and sensuality that stands up to the…
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    parterre box

  • Sanity clause

    1 Oct 2014 | 11:12 pm
    Born on this day in 1890 Groucho Marx, American comedian, actor, and singer. Born on this day in 1929 bass Giorgio Tadeo Born on this day in 1933 tenor Guy Chauvet Happy 78th birthday tenor William Johns Happy 68th birthday baritone Jonathan Summers Happy 65th birthday baritone John Brandstetter
  • Grand hotel

    30 Sep 2014 | 11:21 pm
    On this day in 1907, the Plaza Hotel opened in New York. Born on this day in 1865 composer Paul Dukas Born on this day in 1901 tenor Marcel Wittrisch Born on this day in 1903 pianist Vladimir Horowitz Born on this day in 1926 tenor Gerhard Stolze Happy 79th birthday Julie Andrews
  • Blind advancement

    La Cieca
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:21 am
    What retired executive might be on the cusp of fulfilling a lifelong dream?  And which opera company is on the brink of replacing an administrator (now in his golden years) with another of the same vintage?
  • It’s a life of smiles and a life of tears

    29 Sep 2014 | 9:05 pm
    On this day in 1908, Maurice Maeterlinck‘s play L’Oiseau bleu premiered in Moscow. Born on this day in 1852 composer Charles Villiers Stanford Born on this day in 1919 soprano Patricia Neway Born on this day in 1923 tenor Giuseppe Campora Born on this day in 1924 writer Truman Capote Happy 62nd birthday baritone Andrew Shore
  • Context unbecoming

    La Cieca
    29 Sep 2014 | 8:21 pm
    Actual contextual advertising served with an anti-Klinghoffer screed. Click to embiggen.
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    The Wagnerian

  • Why Bernd Weikl Doesn't Want To Ban Wagner.

    1 Oct 2014 | 11:37 pm
    Confused? All will become clear tomorrow when we publish a recent conversation with the great Mr Weikl, Let us just say that for one of the late 20th century's most successful  Hans Sachs there is certainly Wahn, oh too much Wahn  but just not of the kind that we - and many others -  assumed back here.Stay tuned"There has to be an end to this horrible devastation being done upon our composer and his work" Bernd Weikl
  • Bernd Weikl: Why Richard Wagner needs to be banned in Germany

    1 Oct 2014 | 4:23 pm
    UPDATE HEREBernd Weikl, yes the baritone well known for his Wagner roles, argues that Wagner's work not only should but must be banned in Germany. Why? Well, it seems that after a very, financially, successful career performing Wagner, he has just discovered that Wagner was anti-Semitic [must have come as a surprise that, after all these years - Ed]. And not only was Wagner anti-Semitic but, according to Weikl, so are his dramas and operas [One hopes certain Wagner specialists - and the odd second rate Wagner conductor and opera director - are proud of themselves - Ed]. Indeed, so convinced…
  • The Reinvention of Genius: Wagner's Transformation of Schopenhauer's Aesthetics in “Beethoven

    1 Oct 2014 | 12:51 pm
    Originally published: postgraduate journal of aesthetics. Vol 4The Reinvention of Genius: Wagner's Transformation of Schopenhauer's Aesthetics in “Beethoven”Menno BoogaardABSTRACTWagner's treatise Beethoven (1870), written to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven's birth, is one of his most influential theoretical works. His main concern in this text is to bring his theory of opera into line with his recent 'conversion' to Schopenhauer's philosophy. Commentaries often give the general impression that Wagner leaves Schopenhauer's philosophy largely intact, merely adapting his own ideas to…
  • Parsifal Archetypes.

    23 Sep 2014 | 3:26 am
    Carl Jung, began his career as a follower of Sigmund Freud. Eventually he felt that Freud's vision of the "unconscious" was too negative and too limited. Jung saw the unconscious as broad, deep, and shared humanity. He referred to it as the "collective" unconscious and explored the archetypes, which he said inhabited it. Literary scholars have and have not accepted the collective unconscious, but they have heartily welcomed the concept of archetypes to explain themes and motifs in all forms of artistic works.In her biography of Jung, Clare Dunne observes that the psychologist was convinced…
  • The Wagner bio film: Magic Fire

    23 Sep 2014 | 2:38 am
    UPDATE: Sadly, it seems that this has now been deleted from Youtube. However, there is some good news. A number of kind readers have pointed out that the film is available on DVD. If only on Amazon in Germany. This version (available in Region 2) has two soundtracks - one in German and one in English. It can be ordered directly from Amazon Germany by using the following link . Alternatively, it can be found on Amazon UK by following this linkThere have been a few, often greatly fictionalised, films claiming to present Wagner's life. One oft less mentioned is Republic Pictures not…
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    Naxos AudioBooks New Releases

  • HEYER, G.: Cousin Kate (Unabridged) (NA0182)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    When young and beautiful governess Kate Malvern finds herself unemployed, she is taken in by Minerva Broome, the aunt she has never met, and whisked away to the majestic country home of Staplewood. However, things are not as they seem: strange things start to happen in the manor and Staplewood soon turns from an inviting stately house to a cold and gloomy mansion with a dreadful secret! One of Georgette Heyer’s later novels, Cousin Kate sees the author take a more experimental turn as she blends the Regency romance genre with the suspenseful style of Gothic horror.
  • HARDY, T.: Under the Greenwood Tree (Unabridged) (NA0173)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Under the Greenwood Tree is an affectionate and youthful portrait of a world Hardy knew well—village life in ‘Wessex’—in which a romantic tale is set against changing circumstances. The traditional feature of local music-making performed by the village band and choir is challenged by the modern innovation of organ and organist providing music in the church. Fancy Day, the new, comely school mistress is also an accomplished organist, and these qualities create conflict in the village, especially when the unmarried young vicar and Dick Dewy, a member of the Mellstock…
  • DUMAS, A.: Man in the Iron Mask (The) (Unabridged) (NA0188)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    The Man in the Iron Mask continues the adventures of the dauntless heroes of The Three Musketeers—Aramis, Athos, Porthos and d’Artagnan. In old age their swashbuckling ought to have been replaced by a more gentle way of life, but the veteran warriors find themselves at the centre of a plot in which both hearts and heads are broken, and the very throne of France is at stake.
  • GIBBON, E.: Memoirs of My Life (Unabridged) (NA0191)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Edward Gibbon (1737−1794) was an English historian and Member of Parliament known for his monumental series The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, which chronicled the dissipation of the Roman dynasties in a lofty, majestic style unique to its author. Memoirs of My Life, published posthumously in 1796, wholly unveils the character of the world’s greatest historian in full candour and openness. We follow him from birth, through to his education at Oxford, to his time in Switzerland where he met Voltaire and fell in love with a Swiss girl. We accompany him on his travels through…
  • GIBBON, E.: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (The), Vol. 6 (Unabridged) (NA0130)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always maintained its initial appeal to both the general public and scholars alike. Its sheer scale is daunting, encompassing over a millennium of history, covering not merely the Western Empire from the days of the early emperors to its extinction in AD 476, but also the Eastern Empire, which lasted for another thousand years until the Turks vanquished it in 1453. But Gibbon’s style, part historical fact and part literature, is enticing, and the sheer honesty of the man, who endeavours to be scrupulously impartial in his presentation,…
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    Kenneth Woods- conductor

  • “Hey buddy! Does that there sarrusophone have a volume knob on it?” or “Can wind players do dynamics?”

    Kenneth Woods
    28 Sep 2014 | 8:56 am
    This Friday I’m conducting the winds of the English Symphony Orchestra in a program of wind ensemble masterpieces by Hans Gál, Mozart and Dvorák. You should come- it’s going to be fantastic! It’s no secret I’m a cellist, so I have grown up outside the wind ensemble tradition (although the wonderful Dvorák Wind Serenade actually has a significant cello part, which I’ve played many times). In spite of this, I absolutely LOVE (love!!!!!) conducting wind ensembles. I still remember the first time I conducted an all-wind group. It was the Stravinsky Octet for Winds. WOW! The…
  • Explore the Score- Shostakovich (arr. Barshai): Chamber Symphony, opus 110a

    Kenneth Woods
    9 Sep 2014 | 8:29 am
    Ken will be conducting this work with the musicians of the English String Orchestra on Saturday, the 13th of September, 2014 in Christ Church, Malvern. The ESO will be repeating this work on their concert at Elgar Concert Hall in May 2015, and will be recording the complete Shostakovich Chamber Symphonies for Avie Records for release in 2016.   Dmitri Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony opus 110a, an arrangement for string orchestra of his String Quartet no. 8 in C minor, opus 110, was the first of five orchestral transcriptions of his string quartets by his friend, the violist and…
  • Slatkin at 70- Happy Birthday, Leonard

    Kenneth Woods
    31 Aug 2014 | 9:09 pm
    I’m sorry- there’s simply no way that Leonard Slatkin is 70 years old. Shhh…. don’t tell them I’m not still 45. For many, many American conductors and orchestral musicians of my generation, Leonard was the first superstar conductor who seemed of our time and of our culture. Before Leonard, conductors were mostly mute, brooding, enigmatic figures with accents and capes. Even that other famous Leonard seemed more a product of an already distant golden age.  I first encountered Leonard Slatkin via the Saint Louis Symphony’s syndicated weekly radio broadcasts. In…
  • CD Review- Music and Vision Daily on Philip Sawyers- Orchestral Music

    Kenneth Woods
    19 Aug 2014 | 9:54 am
    A new review from Music and Vision Daily for Philip Sawyers’ Cello Concerto, Second Symphony and Concertante for Violin, Piano and Strings on Nimbus Records. Click here to read the whole thing (subscription required). A short sample follows: Philip Sawyers- Symphony no. 2, Cello Concerto, Concertante for Violin, Piano and Strings £12.00 Add to cart “….And now here is Philip Sawyers with an effortless demonstration that the history of music can proceed in an unbroken line and that music of yesterday can easily accommodate the best products of today. As an…
  • Explore the Score- Brahms, Serenade No. 1 in D major (reconstruction of original version for nonet)

    Kenneth Woods
    17 Aug 2014 | 3:40 pm
    Schoenberg- Verklärte Nacht, Brahms Serenade no. 1- Original Chamber Versions £12.00 Add to cart [Click here to Explore the Score of the companion work on this CD, Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht] The Brahms-Wagner rivalry was largely an affair of the press, whipped up by critics like the Brahmsian Eduard Hanslick and his pro-Wagnerian rivals. Brahms actually professed great admiration for Wagner’s music on many occasions. Nonetheless, there was a time when the two men were perceived as embodying irreconcilable aesthetic approaches. In the end, it was Arnold Schönberg who succeeded in…
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    Iron Tongue of Midnight

  • Oy Vey

    29 Sep 2014 | 10:18 pm
    Peter Gelb, June 2014, in a Met press release:“I’m convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic,” said the Met’s General Manager, Peter Gelb. “But I’ve also become convinced that there is genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.” He doesn't say "we think showing Klinghoffer will increase anti-Semitism," but the statement is phrased to imply that he is saying that. Instead, he is agreeing with nameless others…
  • As If

    29 Sep 2014 | 9:53 pm
    Bill Clinton reminds you of exactly the chances that the Met will succeed in silencing the Jews:If you must read the Commentary article, it's here. If their report is accurate, I own that Peter Gelb can and should be handling this situation better.
  • Say Bye-Bye, Stanley! Bye-Bye!

    29 Sep 2014 | 6:15 pm
    ASO PhotographHe's probably not smiling quite this much right now.Stanley Romanstein - excuse me, Dr. Stanley Romanstein, Ph.D. - has resigned as CEO of the Atlanta Symphony. The ASO's statement says this:“I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO’s musicians,” Romanstein said in an ASO statement.You bet, Stan. Er, Dr. Romanstein.* It's likely a good thing that you are departing within weeks of the stupid and damaging lockout you instituted, rather than the nearly two years it took for Michael Henson to…
  • Nelsons in Boston

    28 Sep 2014 | 10:28 pm
    Andris Nelsons has begun his tenure as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, three years after James Levine resigned on account of his health problems. His first concert was last night, and the reviewers were there.Anthony Tommasini, NY TimesJeremy Eichler, Boston GlobeDavid Wright, Boston Classical ReviewLee Eiseman, Boston Musical IntelligencerKeith Powers, Westford Eagle
  • I have a Beef with the NY Times Hogwood Obit

    26 Sep 2014 | 11:12 pm
    I have more than one beef with the obit, actually.Author Vivien Schweitzer can't be blamed for the terrible, terrible headline; someone else came up with "Christopher Hogwood, Early-Music Devotee, Dies at 73."Devotee? Really? That makes Hogwood sound like someone who buys dozens of early music records and attends early music camp every summer*, not a world-famous professional musician who worked in the field for nearly 50 years and made an outsized impact.But let's get to my problems with what Schweitzer did write. She mentions Hogwood's Mozart records, but there's not a word about his…
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    Musical Assumptions

  • Tipping Point (Cyber and Otherwise)

    1 Oct 2014 | 10:28 am
    On the bottom of my blogger screen is a little tab that reads "Complaints," so I'm using this moment to register some of my complaints about what seems to have turned into a life as a targeted consumer.I usually look at my email first thing in the morning. I used to engage in lengthy correspondence with friends from near and far, but now my email experience consists of deleting sale notices from stores where I happen to have shopped once and notices about musical events far removed from my realm of interest and my location. Sometimes I find a message from a friend, colleague, or family…
  • It was 30 years ago today . . .

    30 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Happy Anniversary, Michael![Michael actually drew this shortly before our wedding.]
  • The Humor (and Surprise!) of Music

    28 Sep 2014 | 5:17 pm
    Michael and I spent some time in the University library today. I love mindlessly and randomly pulling one or two books from the music section off the shelf and taking them home, because you never know what you might find you don't know (or wouldn't otherwise know). In today's handful was a slim volume from 1971 called The Humor of Music by Humphrey.The title page told me it was by Laning Humphrey, who was the (sole) publicist for the Boston Symphony for decades.Laning Humphrey (1896-1988) was also the father of my elementary school music teacher, Patricia Frederick who, along with her…
  • Elnora's Violin

    27 Sep 2014 | 6:18 am
    Our fourth grade teacher read installments of The Secret Garden out loud to us during class. I wanted to read ahead (and I guess I couldn't find a copy in the library) so I went up to the box of my mother's old books in the attic and found a book by Gene Stratton Porter called The Magic Garden, and I started reading it. I soon forgot about The Secret Garden, and became obsessed with the Magic one. The novel is about a girl who called herself "little hungry heart" because neither of her parents, who were very rich but no longer loved one another, seemed to love her. She did what any rich…
  • Oh Dear!

    25 Sep 2014 | 12:56 pm
    From a post on Barry Lenson's Classical Music Blog with the title "A Very Smart Bluffer's Guide to Classical Music":The Fifth Brandenburg Concerto is remarkable because Bach inserted a puzzling chord in the middle of the first movement. In common practice, a harpsichordist improvises a long cadenza around it and then the orchestra rousingly enters.
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    eighth blackbird » Blog

  • Pattycake en masse

    27 Sep 2014 | 7:33 am
    Who doesn’t know how to play Pattycake?? It’s one of those things that all children seem to do in the schoolyard – elaborate hand clapping routines with a partner accompanied by rhyming chants or songs. I certainly knew a whole bunch of them and loved playing them with my sisters and friends. I don’t remember how I learned them; they just seemed to come naturally. Lisa, Matthew, Nick, and I are learning Sean Griffin’s Pattycake for this year’s acoustic program. It’s a boisterous and theatrically satisfying clapping piece that anyone can do. Well, anyone with good rhythm and…
  • Colombine Redux

    26 Sep 2014 | 7:19 pm
    We remounted our staged production Colombine’s Paradise Theatre two weeks ago for two shows only: one at our beloved MCA in Chicago and the other as a season opener for the Miller Theatre in New York. Ellen McSweeney writes in New Music Box: “Only a mind-boggling amount of labor—memorizing the score and learning elaborate physical staging and choreography—could have produced such a performance.” Tell me about it. It was somewhat easier the second time around, but Mark took the opportunity of our already knowing the music and movement to push us harder and refine bad habits, all of…
  • World Premiere of John Luther Adams’ SILA: The Breath of the World

    michael joyce
    15 Sep 2014 | 10:59 am
    Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Luther Adams has released the video to his latest performance, called Sila: The Breath of the World. On July 25th 2014, a crowd of over two thousand people gathered in Lincoln Center’s Hearst Plaza to watch the pulitzer prize winners latest performance, which included eighty musicians mostly from the New York area.   Drawing heavily on nature for inspiration, John explains the title of his latest piece: “In Inuit tradition the spirit that animates all things is Sila, the breath of the world. Sila is the wind and the weather … Sila…
  • New Digs!

    18 Aug 2014 | 4:34 pm
    Windows!! A view of our rehearsal setup. The meeting room/lounge. Eeek! Building those mega-shelves took several people and multiple props. Ahhhh. Everything up on shelves and organized. Plenty of room for dancing now. Matthew's organized chaos. More organized chaos.   It’s finally happened. After years of talking and searching, we officially moved into our new studio space last week and spent the better part of the week getting it organized and functioning. We’re not that far from our former Ravenswood studio, but we’ve traded our former concrete box with nail salon…
  • Sila at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

    28 Jul 2014 | 11:20 am
    Photo by Benjamin Norman for the New York Times   We took a break last weekend from our regularly scheduled vacation to descend upon Lincoln Center Plaza for the world premiere of John Luther Adams’ Sila.  The experience of tuning in (literally) not just to faraway pitches, but to my breath and the breath of so many other people, both restless and rapt, and to the surprising presence of nature in middle of New York City (bird poop on my music, spiders on my bow, and a dragonfly parked on my stand) was truly soul-broadening. It was an extraordinary journey for all the…
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    an unamplified voice

  • 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.
  • Day one

    22 Sep 2014 | 1:14 pm
    Although I've been snarky about the latest news, the announcement last month that the labor talks threatening to derail the season had successfully concluded pleased me rather more than I'd expected.It should not, perhaps, be news that an institution is determined to function, that it's set on carrying out its mission despite the human failings of its management, employees, performers, audience, supporters, and critics - Ich selber exkludier' mir net! - but given the endless parade of counterexamples that now greets the eye - not least in the opera-free zone across the plaza - it apparently…
  • "Finally! Now people working in high paying jobs can score these tickets!"

    12 Sep 2014 | 7:25 pm
    What a friend (in a high paying job) said upon seeing this story on the death of the rush ticket line. (Replacement: more lotteries.)There has, in fact, been an issue over the last few years with some professional line-sitters abusing the system for profit. But this seems rather ill-judged even if it does kill that business.
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    On An Overgrown Path

  • Why classical radio must change or die

    30 Sep 2014 | 10:09 am
    Reaction to Alan Davey’s appointment as controller of BBC Radio 3 has been predictably facile. The Guardian fulfilled its role as part of the BBC PR machine with a sycophantic piece by arts editor Charlotte Higgins titled Alan Davey: why Radio 3 have hired well in this former punk enthusiast. It takes a lot to reduce me to tears of laughter, but Ms. Higgins assertion that “Within the BBC itself, audience figures are not the main priority for Radio 3” certainly had tears of mirth rolling down my cheeks; as did her assertion that Alan Davey’s appointment was justified by the size of his…
  • Thought for the future

    26 Sep 2014 | 12:07 am
    When one comes to think of it one cannot help feeling that nearly half the misery of the world would disappear if we fretting mortals knew the value of silence. Before modern civilisation came upon us at least six to eight hours of silence out of twenty four were vouchsafed to us. Modern civilisation has taught us to convert night into day and golden silence into brazen din and noise. What a great thing it would be if we in our busy lives could restore into ourselves each day for at least a couple of hours and prepare our minds to listen to the Voice of the Great Silence. The Divine Radio is…
  • When classical music danced to the rhythms of Mother India

    24 Sep 2014 | 2:35 am
    Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Kaikhosru Sorabji and John Foulds may seem unlikely bedfellows. Elgar and Holst have achieved global recognition if not acclaim, Sorabji has a small but select cult following, but Foulds lingers in the twilight zone between cultism and global acclaim. However, as recounted in an earlier post, the four composers are brought together in Nalini Ghuman's newly published Resonances of the Raj: India in the English Musical Imagination,1897-1947, because they share the cultural influence of colonial India. The accompanying photos capture the exotic and esoteric mysticism…
  • In concert halls expectation and experience must diverge

    21 Sep 2014 | 11:58 pm
    That header image comes from Fritz Lang's 1943 film Hangmen Also Die! which was scored by Hanns Eisler. My recent observation that classical music needs to see the light attracted a lot of interest. A useful perspective on that exploration of how in an increasingly multi-sensory age, classical concerts remain a mono-sensory experience, is provided by R. Murray Schafer's observation that to plot a sensory experience such as classical music accurately, the use of two senses is necessary. To date the laudable experiments with adding a visual component to classical music have focussed on making…
  • Doggie mandala

    20 Sep 2014 | 8:08 am
    Photo was taken by me at the Tibetan Buddhist Hemis monastery in Ladakh. The visual link to Jonathan Harvey's Body Mandala can be found here and the esoteric link to Le Sacre du Printemps can be found here. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2014. Also on Facebook and Twitter.
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  • Channeling a countermelody

    Roger Bourland
    1 Oct 2014 | 10:44 am
    Many of my faithful readers know that I channel dead composers from time to time. Well, not really, I pretend to and it makes for a good read. But something eery happened recently that was very likely channeling something or someone. And I have a witness. Conductor, Scott Dunn sat with me for several days going over the orchestration of my opera [on my computer using notation/playback software called Sibelius] with meticulous detail. While going over part of Act 2, I heard an amazing countermelody. I tried to not say anything. I scrolled to look at the horn part as the countermelody was in…
  • Sketches for the scenery

    Roger Bourland
    29 Sep 2014 | 11:14 am
    The first sketch is for the opening of Act 1 where the opera company is boarding the S.S Newbern. The second sketch is for the opening of Act 2 where the mazatlecos welcome Ángela Peralta to their city.
  • Sets are being made

    Roger Bourland
    28 Sep 2014 | 1:59 pm
    It’s exciting to see an opera come to life, bit by bit. Raúl Rico has been sending me pictures of the opera in progress: here is a shot of the set from Act 1 being built. I’m fairly sure it’s going to be a boat!
  • Biography of Ángela Peralta

    Roger Bourland
    27 Sep 2014 | 6:17 pm
    Ángela Peralta (6 July 1845, Mexico City – 30 August 1883, Mazatlán) (baptised María de los Ángeles Manuela Tranquilina Cirila Efrena Peralta Castera) was an operatic soprano of international fame and a leading figure in the operatic life of 19th century Mexico. Called the “Mexican Nightingale” in Europe, she had already sung to acclaim in major European opera houses by the age of 20. Although primarily known for her singing, she was also a composer as well as an accomplished pianist and harpist. Biography Ángela Peralta was the daughter of Manuel Peralta and Josefa Castera…
  • Interviews with Roger Bourland on MazatlánLife

    Roger Bourland
    27 Sep 2014 | 5:51 pm
    MazatlánLife is a useful website for people going to Mazatlán to hear our opera. They also did several interviews with me last year which can be heard on their website.
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    Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog

  • Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland – YouTube

    Jason Heath
    15 Sep 2014 | 8:13 pm
    Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland – YouTube.
  • All About That [Upright] Bass

    Jason Heath
    10 Sep 2014 | 10:39 pm
    All About That [Upright] Bass – Jazz Meghan Trainor Cover ft. Kate Davis – Postmodern Jukebox – YouTube.
  • Alexander Hanna Interview – YouTube

    Jason Heath
    1 Sep 2014 | 8:48 pm
    Alexander Hanna Interview – YouTube.
  • Everything you need to know about tennis elbow for the bass

    Jason Heath
    7 Jul 2014 | 6:50 pm
    The International Society of Bassists (@ISB_World) recently put out a post featuring Randy Kurtz talking about tennis elbow for bassists.  This is something that affects a great number of bassists, and this video is well worth a viewing for a better understanding of the condition. Video Link
  • Bassist Matt Heller named as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People

    Jason Heath
    2 Jul 2014 | 1:16 pm
    It makes me incredibly happy to see double bassist Matt Heller named as one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people!  Matt and I go way back–we did the American Russian Youth Orchestra ad Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival together in the late nineties, and we have kept in touch during his time in Chicago and now Canada as a bassist in the Calgary Philharmonic. Matt is an active writer and has served as president of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians.  He also appeared on a Contrabass Conversations episode several years ago.  He’s a great guy and is a great…
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    Naxos New Releases

  • SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 11 - Symphony No. 13, `Babi Yar` (Vinogradov, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko) (8.573218)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 13, Op. 113 in 1962. The climax of his ‘Russian period’ and, in its scoring for bass soloist, male chorus and orchestra, among the most Mussorgskian of his works, it attracted controversy through its settings of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (the ‘Russian Bob Dylan’ of his day)—not least the first movement, where the poet underlines the plight of Jews in Soviet society. The other movements are no less pertinent in their observations on the relationship between society and the individual. This is the final release in Vasily…
  • PINHO VARGAS, A.: Requiem / Judas (Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra, J. Carneiro, Eldoro) (8.573277)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Much decorated by his native country, António Pinho Vargas, originally best known for his jazz performances, is now one of Portugal’s leading classical composers. His instrumental and film music has won numerous awards, and his chamber works have been performed by some of the world’s leading ensembles. In turning to the sacred, Pinho Vargas has crafted music of moving declamatory power. He has organised Judas into five specific scenes with an epilogue, whilst the Requiem is a very personal and powerful reply, in the composer’s words, ‘to a history of numerous…
  • CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M.: Evangélion (A. Marangoni) (8.573316)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was Jewish by culture but regularly composed on Biblical themes. A meditation on stories from the New Testament in music of tender simplicity, moving lyricism and potent drama, the epic but rarely heard Evangélion starts with The Annunciation and concludes with The Last Words and The Resurrection. Composed in 1947 soon after the death of the composer’s father, the work was possibly conceived after a visit to the Acolman Convent in Mexico. This is its first complete recording. Alessandro Marangoni can also be heard in Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s two Piano…
  • PAULUS, S.: Three Places of Enlightenment / Veil of Tears / Grand Concerto (Nashville Symphony, Guerrero) (8.559740)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    Describing himself as ‘a composer who can satisfy all kinds’, Stephen Paulus possesses a remarkable versatility and gift for the dramatic. Concertos for string quartet and orchestra are a rarity, and Three Places of Enlightenment is both a journey of discovery for the listener and a spectacular showcase for the principal strings of the Nashville Symphony. Both this concerto and the reflective Veil of Tears are considered by the composer among his most significant works. Employing hymn fragments, the Grand Concerto is a work of sweeping gestures and melodies as well as wide…
  • Cello Music (Canadian) - COULTHARD, J. / WEINZWEIG, J. / GUERRERO, A. / ARCHER, V. (When Music Sounds) (J. Harrison, Keillor) (9.70126)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    This selection of undeservedly neglected Canadian works for cello and piano is framed by the music of Jean Coulthard, her 1946 Sonata establishing a personal voice while building on the influence of Debussy, the later When Music Sounds exemplifying her lyricism and sensitive treatment of both instruments. John Weinzweig’s Cello Sonata fascinatingly combines serial technique with Jewish melodic shapes, expressing national joy and the struggles of creating the new state of Israel. Remembered as the teacher of Glenn Gould, Alberto Guerrero’s Chants oubliés extend the…
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    The Naxos Blog

  • The devil’s in the detail

    25 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” … or something along those lines. The exact quotation and its source have long been the subject of speculation. But the devil certainly has attracted the attention of many fine composers who have etched him (or maybe her) into the musical annals as vividly as visual artists have done down the ages. My own first brush with a spooky chill down the spine happened at a production of Weber’s 1821 opera Der Freischütz in which the devil makes his dramatic midnight appearance at the end of the Wolf’s Glen Scene to claim the soul of…
  • Podcast: Out of character

    18 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    Richard Strauss, Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi are all remembered as famed composers of operatic masterpieces. But they also contributed to the string quartet repertoire with a handful of works that are immediately attractive, yet relatively unknown. Raymond Bisha unveils these skilfully crafted rarities. Album details… Catalogue No.: 8.573108
  • Vocal clout

    11 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    Tomorrow, 13 September, is the occasion of the famous Last Night of the BBC Promenade Concerts, renowned for the fervour of its patriotic singing by some 6,000 voices in the audience and, no doubt, millions more joining in from home. Last year’s occasion was also noted for the relatively small voice of the conductor who took to the rostrum for the event, yet made an equally big impact: Naxos artist Marin Alsop was the first female director in the festival’s 188-year history to take the spotlight and lead the Prommers in their enthusiastic singing. The power of massed voices has…
  • Podcast: The romantic Bartók

    4 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    A new release this month from JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra presents a lesser known side to the Hungarian nationalist composer Béla Bartók. Serving as his passport to the vast new world of orchestral music prevailing at the beginning of the 20th century, all the works on the disc reveal a young composer on the threshold of greatness. The romantic spirit is felt both in the inspiration Bartók took from Richard Strauss‘ ground-breaking tone poems, and in the real-life romantic ups and downs the composer was experiencing at the time. Peter Hall discusses here…
  • Craftsman’s art and music’s measure

    28 Aug 2014 | 9:00 am
    Most music is referred to as ‘absolute music’. It simply comprises notes that combine to weave melodic charm. Most Haydn symphonies serve as an example. At the other end of the composing spectrum lie artefacts – physical objects other than conventional instruments – that are used solely for the compositional process. Here, the craftsman’s art becomes the starting and finishing point for realising the composer’s measured creation – one which you certainly won’t find yourself singing in the shower. Everyday objects such as rubber bands, champagne corks and…
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    Anne Midgette: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • 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 >>
  • The NSO’s ‘Fantasia,’ a critic’s guilty pleasure

    Anne Midgette
    31 May 2014 | 10:17 am
    Putting together a picnic, and sitting on the lawn with friends, sipping warm white wine out of plastic cups, a couple of which inevitably develop hairline cracks from being sat on or squashed in the car on the way over, while a balloon bobs over your picnic basket to make it easier for your other friends to find you in the crowd, until the person behind you protests that the balloon blocks her view and the usher comes over to tell you to get rid of it, and you wish you could let it drift up in the sky, like some of the other freed balloons, rising over the grounds and perhaps signaling to…
  • The audience of the future responds to “The Magic Flute.”

    Anne Midgette
    3 May 2014 | 8:39 pm
    My review of the Washington National Opera’s “The Magic Flute,” which opened on Saturday night, will appear on line on Sunday, and in print in Monday’s paper. I was, however, accompanied by a friend who was so eager to report that he took notes during the show, returned home and produced an overnight review on the spot. Here, then, is a ten-year-old’s initial assessment, as told to me (with minimal editing), of “The Magic Flute.” Read full article >>
  • Music review: A double delight from Anne-Sophie Mutter and the NSO

    Anne Midgette
    16 Feb 2014 | 7:34 pm
    Concertos are generally presented as highlights of an orchestral concert — they add another dimension to the experience of hearing a large instrumental ensemble. And though it’s rare to hear two works involving a soloist on the same program, the National Symphony Orchestra has been spoiling its audiences lately. Read full article >>
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  • yMusic’s Balance Problems: Unveiling the Intimacy of Chamber Music

    Amanda Cook
    30 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    In the introduction to her 2013 book Chasing Sound, author Susan Schmidt Horning states: “The evolution of music recording from the art of capturing a performance to the art of engineering an illusion changed the sound of music…and ultimately, reversed the historic relationship between live and recorded music.” If ever there were a contemporary classical [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • This week: concerts in New York (September 29 – October 5, 2014)

    Sam Reising
    29 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    Music For Heart and Breath | Ear Heart Music Ear Heart Music opens its third season at Roulette with a concert of Richard Reed Parry’s highly acclaimed new Deutsche Grammaphon CD, Music for Heart and Breath. The yMusic Ensemble and composer/performer Nico Muhly join Parry (most widely known from Arcade Fire) to comprise the all-star [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • Kettle Corn Hosts Sandbox Percussion

    Aaron Holloway-Nahum
    25 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    The first thing that strikes you when attending a Kettle Corn Concert is the atmosphere.  The popcorn is sweet; the beer and wine, free.  The DiMenna Center in New York is a beautiful, intimate and yet informal venue.  It’s layout—there’s no ‘backstage’ and the ‘stage’ itself isn’t raised—encourages audience members and musicians to mingle together. [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • Dublin Guitar Quartet Performs Glass on Guitars

    Norman Cahn
    23 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Founded by students of the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama in 2001, the Dublin Guitar Quartet has since become a stalwart ensemble, dedicated to the interpretation and performance of contemporary classical music. Indeed, in timbre alone, the quartet’s transcription of Philip Glass’s four string quartets (excluding his first) gives new-found warmth and precision to [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
  • This week: concerts in New York (September 22 – September 28, 2014)

    Sam Reising
    Da Capo Players: Shulamit Ran Sharing the excitement of Shulamit Ran’s music on the occasion of her 65th anniversary year, Da Capo offers a wide range of her chamber works, from 1978 to the present, including her now classic Mirage (written for Da Capo’s 20th Anniversary in 1990). Monday, September 22 at 8:00 PM Tickets [...] Visit I CARE IF YOU LISTEN's Blog to read more!
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  • How to Ignite a Passion That You Thought Was Dead (Plus a Giveaway!)

    Grace Miles
    13 Sep 2014 | 8:40 pm
    There are many reasons we phase out of doing something we love, and often we don’t notice how far we’ve strayed until we’re long gone. I was in the garden, watering, when my neighbour’s piano-playing filtered through like the ghost of an old friend. This neighbour and I had never met, but we’d shared the same taste in piano music and […]
  • How Comfortable Are You With Your Wild Side? Here’s a Quiz.

    Grace Miles
    4 Sep 2014 | 7:40 am
    Being wild isn’t the same as being comfortable in your own skin. A pianist can be wild in the practice room but uncomfortable displaying this onstage. We have so many names for this– nerves, performance anxiety, butterflies. I’ve interviewed performance experts around the world, and so many of them suggest that the playing must push […]
  • Favourite Moments of Spring/Summer

    Grace Miles
    29 Aug 2014 | 6:01 am
    Before we welcome the fall season, let’s look at how the past few months were enjoyable, interesting, and most of all, worth anticipating. Starting the Design Lab course was one of my major experiments this summer. I like that it was a difficult project, that sometimes I ignored my guts and slapped my forehead afterwards, that I was […]
  • How to Make Music So That People Want to Listen

    Grace Miles
    19 Aug 2014 | 10:11 am
    Do you believe in Steinways– legendary hand-made pianos? Whatever type of instrument you love, there’s a way to make music so that people want to listen. This summer, I am taking intensive ballet classes. During a break, I step into a Tom Lee music store in downtown Vancouver. I ask the saleslady to tell me about the grand pianos–because, […]
  • Creating Systems to Get More Done (Better)

    Grace Miles
    12 Aug 2014 | 6:00 am
    I’m going to share one strategy I’ve used to get more done in music, and different areas of life. This is especially effective when you’re working on a new piece of music, or teaching. I started keeping a timesheet recently– I spend a lot of time producing blog posts that never get published. Last week, on a mild summer’s […]
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    Grand Piano Passion™

  • Piano Keys: Theory, History, and Secrets Unlocked

    Jay Alan Zimmerman, Contributing Writer
    8 Sep 2014 | 2:00 am
    Learn the history of how our modern piano keys came to be, and what they represent, from sound frequencies and mathematical relationships to music theory. Jay Alan Zimmerman, Contributing Writer The full article Piano Keys: Theory, History, and Secrets Unlocked is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • A Listening Profit from My Hearing Loss

    Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor
    2 Sep 2014 | 9:55 am
    Nancy M. Williams looks back on how she used to hide her hearing loss, but realizes she draws strong listening skills and musicality from her hearing loss. Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor The full article A Listening Profit from My Hearing Loss is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Top 10 Warning Signs You May Be a Piano Nerd

    Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor
    25 Aug 2014 | 2:00 am
    An adult piano student has detected an unintended consequence of her passion for piano: becoming a piano nerd. Here's a list of the top 10 warning signs. Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor The full article Top 10 Warning Signs You May Be a Piano Nerd is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Paying Attention at a Classical Piano Performance

    Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor
    11 Aug 2014 | 2:00 am
    An adult piano student admits she doesn't know how to listen attentively at a classical piano concert. She embarks on an experiment with Beethoven Sonatas. Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor The full article Paying Attention at a Classical Piano Performance is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Women Composers Celebrated in Classical Piano Recital

    Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor
    14 Jul 2014 | 2:00 am
    AmateurPianists organized a recital featuring piano works by all women composers during Women's History Month. Amateur performers share what they learned. Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor The full article Women Composers Celebrated in Classical Piano Recital is on Grand Piano Passion™.
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  • 15 Things You Need to Know About Supporting Your Child Learning to Play the Piano

    15 Sep 2014 | 9:33 am
    suede5402:Has some really great insights. Especially nos. 3, 5, and 9. I may print this out and distribute to students! Originally posted on Elissa Milne: This list was first published in It Takes Two Generations at the end of 2013.  If you’re a parent who has no background in playing a musical instrument it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of things the piano teacher accidentally takes for granted along the way. Don’t be overly worried about this – the teacher won’t have enough time in each lesson to fill in all the gaps and still keep your child engaged and enthused about…
  • Moving!

    4 Jun 2014 | 10:18 am
    We are jumping ship from our present wordpress home and putting our blog where it belongs – on our regular website.  Find future posts (and old ones as soon as we migrate them) here!
  • Free treble clef note reading worksheet

    31 Mar 2014 | 8:07 pm
    I’ve added a new worksheet that you can download for free. In order to get it, you’ll need to like my Facebook page. Once you’ve done that, find the tab that says Fan Freebies and follow the links.  You can see a preview of the worksheet below.  Let me know if you have any trouble downloading it. The worksheet itself is a treble clef note ID worksheet.  It uses C position, Middle C position, and G position notes (or C4 through D5).  As a little lagniappe, there are some vocabulary questions at the end. PS.  This worksheet was created using the VexTab Music Notation…
  • File fixed! Iko Iko sheet music should work now

    16 Mar 2014 | 8:43 pm
    Hi everyone.  A couple of commenters have pointed out to me that the file I shared awhile back for the Carnival classic “Iko Iko” was corrupt, so I’m going to re-upload it.  Let me know if this one doesn’t work. Link follows the gratuitous puppy pic: Just for fun. My pup Petunia dressed up for Mardi Gras Get the music.
  • New Google Doc Add-on Vex-Tab Music Notation + Free Worksheet

    11 Mar 2014 | 2:39 pm
    I was browsing on reddit as I am sometimes wont to do, and I learned about the new and exciting music notation tool for Google Docs.  For those of you not familiar with Google Docs, think of it as basically a free version of Microsoft Office provided by Google.  One significant difference between Google Docs and Office though is that Docs automatically backs up your documents online (not saved on your computer). Anyway, enough about Docs.  The important news is that you can now use an add-on with Docs to notate music (for free!)  VexTab enables you to code music into your document and…
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    Classical Commentary: Barry Lenson's Classical Music Blog

  • 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…
  • A Very Smart Bluffer’s Guide to Classical Music

    Barry Lenson
    4 Sep 2014 | 7:18 am
    I recently wrote an article “Twelve Musical Works that Every Student Should Know,” for the Classical Archives Newsletter.In the weeks since then, I’ve been thinking about cultural literacy, which can be roughly defined as a person’s knowledge about the most important stuff that ever happened.   I don’t know about you, but I have come to know many people who have graduated from college – even very prestigious ones – who don’t know a dog-eared thing about some of the most important cultural milestones ever.  Here are some examples, which don’t pertain only to…
  • Toscanini Genius: The 1954 Ballo Broadcast

    Barry Lenson
    19 Aug 2014 | 6:11 am
    I grew up listening to recordings of Toscanini performances on LP. Mostly, I played a boxed set of Wagner orchestral excerpts so often that the LPs were practically playing both sides at once. I also spent a lot of time listening to the 1947 Toscanini recording of Otello with Ramon Vinay, Herva Nelli and Giuseppe Valdengo. They were great recordings, but I now realize that they lacked punch. Perhaps the engineering and analog vinyl format submerged the immediacy of the actual performances.  That could be why I find a YouTube audio of Un Ballo in Maschera to be so extraordinary and…
  • What Is the Right Way to Play Chopin?

    Barry Lenson
    8 Aug 2014 | 8:07 am
    Over the years, the question of how to play Chopin “correctly” has become a riddle wrapped within an enigma. The usual charge leveled at pianists who play it “wrong” is that they are playing too sentimentally, wallowing in ritardandos and bending rhythms in self-indulgent ways. The One Sure Thing . . . Arthur RubinsteinMost listeners, pianists, and piano pedagogues seem to agree that Arthur Rubinstein’s way of playing Chopin was right. But what does that mean exactly? Fortunately for us, we have his extraordinary recordings and videos, like this one of a mixed group of Chopin…
  • Remembering Carlo Bergonzi

    Barry Lenson
    28 Jul 2014 | 7:08 am
    Carlo Bergonzi, one of the greatest Italian tenors of the last 100 years, just died at age 90. There are a lot of obituaries for him all over the Internet today. If you want to know the story of his extraordinary life, I’d encourage you to read a few of them.On my blog today, I just want to say how lucky I was to hear him sing in a performance of Aida at the Metropolitan Opera back in the 1970s.  It was a performance that I will never forget – impassioned, cultivated, vocally beautiful and secure, and stylistically impeccable too. He was in every way an aristocratic Italian tenor –…
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    Stars & Catz » Classical Music & Opera Buzz

  • Bill Doggett: Russell ‘Thomas is the first Black Tenor to sing a Principal Tenor Role in recent years at San Francisco Opera’ + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    1 Oct 2014 | 11:54 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Sergio A. Mims: Among the standouts of new production of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ by Lyric Opera of Chicago was baritone Michael Sumuel as Masetto – Michael A. Mims writes:Last night I saw a fantastic new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni kicking off the 60th season of the […]
  • It can be done + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    30 Sep 2014 | 11:23 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Famous violinist plays the DC Metro, again – Acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell brought Bach back to a train station Tuesday, as he did in 2007, but this time Washington noticed. (Sept. 30)          Continue Reading On » U. Shrinivas, Indian Mandolin Virtuoso, Dies at 45 – […]
  • San Diego Union-Tribune: "Review: With time, ‘Joplin’s New Rag’ will catch on" + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    29 Sep 2014 | 10:54 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Sketches for the scenery – The first sketch is for the opening of Act 1 where the opera company is boarding the S.S Newbern. The second sketch is for the opening of Act 2 where the mazatlecos welcome Ángela Peralta to their city. Continue Reading On » […]
  • PROM 75: Welcome Return to Penultimate Proms Night of  Beethoven’s Ninth + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    28 Sep 2014 | 10:24 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Offenbach's Fantasio – Offenbach Fantasio; Sarah Connolly, Brenda Rae, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Mark Elder; Opera Rara Reviewed by Robert Hugillon Sep 13 2014 Star rating: 5.0Charming and enlightening account of Offenbach’s late, romantic operettaOffenbach’s Fantasio can be seen as something of a missing link, coming […]
  • Gifted humans + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    27 Sep 2014 | 9:52 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Figaro up close and personal – Opera Up Close returns with a new small scale production, what is promised to be a lively updating of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Directed by Sarah Tipple the new production has just started a run at the King’s Head in Islington […]
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    The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical Music News Source

  • Joshua Bell Does Washington Subway Station Performance Do-Over

    30 Sep 2014 | 7:23 pm
    Violinist Joshua Bell has today returned to perform at Washington’s Union Station, as he famously did in 2007 – but this time, the 46 year old virtuoso was anything but ignored. JOSHUA BELL | BACH | VIOLIN CONCERTO IN A MINOR | 1ST MVT | UNION STATION, WASHINGTON | 2014 Hundreds of music fans today packed the central Washington train station to hear Bell perform works by Bach and Mendelssohn – alongside 8 young musicians he is mentoring for an upcoming HBO documentary. Seven years ago, Bell famously performed incognito for $32.17, in tips at the same subway stop – a social…
  • Chetham’s Professor Wen Zhou Li Charged with Student Rape Offences

    29 Sep 2014 | 5:38 am
    Chetham’s School of Music Violin Professor, Wen Zhou Li has been charged, by  Greater Manchester Police with 1 count of rape and two charges of indecent assault – relating to the alleged abuse of a teenage girl in the 1990s. The offences are alleged to have occurred between March 1996 and May 1997 – whilst the alleged victim was a student at the Chetham’s School of Music. Originally from China, Wen Zhou Li, 59 joined the faculty of the Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College in 1996 as a Violin Professor and Principal Violin Tutor. He will appear in…
  • English Conductor Christopher Hogwood Has Died After a Long Illness – Aged 73

    24 Sep 2014 | 7:15 pm
    English conductor, harpsichordist and musicologist Christopher Hogwood has passed away – aged 73. A graduate of Cambridge University, Maestro Hogwood was the founder of the Academy of Ancient Music – a period instrument ensemble specialising in the performances of Baroque and early Classical music – and served during the 1980s and 1990s as Artistic Director of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Our condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues. The post English Conductor Christopher Hogwood Has Died After a Long Illness – Aged…
  • MEET THE PROS | JinJoo Cho, Indianapolis Competition 1st Prize – VC ’20 Questions’ [VIDEO]

    22 Sep 2014 | 12:34 pm
    The Violin Channel recently caught up with 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis Gold Medalist, violinist JinJoo Cho. We sat the 26 year old South Korean-born virtuoso down for a spirited game of VC ’20 Questions’ – to help gain some funny and fascinating insight into the woman behind the win. JINJOO CHO | VC ’20 QUESTIONS’ | 2014 INDIANAPOLIS INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN COMPETITION GOLD MEDALIST A student of Paul Kantor and Jaime Laredo, 26 year old JinJoo Cho, from South Korea is a former 1st prize winner at the Montreal, Buenos Aires, Schoenfeld and…
  • Jury and Special Prizes Awarded at the 2014 Indianapolis International Violin Competition

    21 Sep 2014 | 3:58 pm
    The 10 Jury and Special Prizes have just minutes ago been awarded at the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis Closing Ceremony. The ‘Best Performance of a Bach Work’ was awarded to this year’s Gold Medallist Jin Joo Cho, from South Korea. The ‘Best Three Performances of a Paganini Caprice’ were awarded to: 1st: Nancy Zhou, from the United States 2nd Ayana Tsuji, from Japan and 3rd Jin Joo Cho, from South Korea. The ‘Best Performance of an Encore Work’ was awarded to VC ‘Young Artist’ Suyeon Kang, from Australia. The…
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    Stephen P Brown

  • #PsalmQuest 28 – “But As For Me” for Tenor and String Quartet

    27 Sep 2014 | 5:54 pm
    Psalm 55 lends itself to a verse/ chorus song format. This is good news as I’ve been looking for some material suitable for a tenor and string quartet combination. The reason is, one of my friends who is a Bible scholar likes them! I asked a handful of folk who … Give me more... →
  • KEEP CALM t-shirt craze

    26 Sep 2014 | 3:56 am
    Buy this t-shirt because I'm donating 50% to charity (via Worldvision), specifically to a little village in Romania, a place still dear to my heart after... Give me more... →
  • #PsalmQuest 27 – “Mirror 5″ for viola cello and percussion

    8 Sep 2014 | 5:04 am
    It's a short piece I think you'll enjoy, especially the dance-like middle section. "Mirror Form" is not new but it's the term I am giving to a reflective structure... Give me more... →
  • Identity vs. Isolation

    4 Sep 2014 | 2:33 pm
    I have still yet to find any experience that affects me more than being in a room with other people who are making music - living, breathing, emotional human be-ings. Give me more... →
  • Consuming Classical Music

    2 Sep 2014 | 3:55 am
    It seems education remains the key to any meaningful experience of anything. Classical music of any sort... Give me more... →
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  • CONCERT REVIEW: Britten Sinfonia/Thomas Adès

    1 Oct 2014 | 6:09 am
    Britten Sinfonia/Thomas Ades (piano/director), Nicholas Daniel (oboe/director)Milton Court Concert Hall, London, 29 September 2014Rating: **** The late John Tavener was sufficiently prolific to leave a number of pieces unperformed at his death last year, and the Britten Sinfonia gave the world premiere of the largest, Flood of Beauty, in the…
  • CONCERT OF THE WEEK: Australian Chamber Orchestra

    29 Sep 2014 | 3:45 am
    We look ahead to an unmissable event over the next seven days Australian Chamber Orchestra, Steven Osborne (piano)Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 5 October The ever-adventurous Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) hits Birmingham this Sunday afternoon, midway through a European tour that takes in eight cities in the space of two weeks. Artistic…
  • NEWS: Enescu competition string results announced

    26 Sep 2014 | 8:28 am
    The strings component of the multidisciplinary George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest concluded last Sunday with the cello finals. South Korean 25-year-old Eun-Sun Hong took the €15,000 first prize after her performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. Second and third prizes went respectively to Americans Tony Rymer and Sarah…
  • NEWS: Jinjoo Cho wins Indianapolis violin competition

    24 Sep 2014 | 3:41 am
    Seoul-born violinist Jinjoo Cho won the $30,000 top prize at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, which ended on Saturday. The 26-year-old, who played the Korngold Concerto in the final round, also receives four years’ worth of career management, plus the loan of the 1683 ‘Gingold’ Stradivari violin for the…
  • NEWS: VSA competition winners announced

    22 Sep 2014 | 8:24 am
    The winners of the 21st Violin Society of America (VSA) makers competition have been announced in Indianapolis. The biennial international contest, one of the biggest of its kind for luthiers and archetiers, attracted 542 entries from 312 makers in 26 countries. At the conclusion of the intensive judging process, in…
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