Classical Music

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  • Late Sonatas: András Schiff at the Berliner Philharmonie + MORE

    Stars & Catz » Classical Music & Opera Buzz
    Oliver Braithwaite
    25 Mar 2015 | 11:41 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Exclusive leak: Peter Gelb rages at ‘inaccurate’ New Yorker profile – The general manager of the Metropolitan Opera has circulated the following bruised-ego letter, with attachments, to his board, complaining about an essentially pro-Met article: Dear Fellow Members of the Board, As you know, The New Yorker recently […]
  • A Huge List of Famous Music Students, Organized by Teacher

    The Collaborative Piano Blog
    Chris Foley
    18 Mar 2015 | 8:33 pm
    AfricanAmericanPianoLessonvia Wikimedia CommonsMusicians are like Zen masters: it's all about the lineage. Wikipedia's List of music students by teacher is a useful way to understand the delicate strands that are interwoven between the bonds of teacher and pupil throughout the centuries.It's also a great way to settle late-night bets about who studied where and with whom.
  • There’s This Thing Happening: The New York Avant Garde Festival and Its Audience

    Caitlin Schmid
    26 Mar 2015 | 7:30 am
    Composers and performers who participated in experimental music festivals of the 1960s are relatively easy to find and talk to if you want to track them down. After all, many of them went on to established careers in the arts, and they have gigs and websites and email addresses. But audience members? People who just wandered in off the street? That’s a little more difficult. Where do you even start?
  • Sibelius and Wagner, with Paavali Jumppanen

    Classical Performance Podcast
    WGBH Educational Foundation
    2 Feb 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Paavali Jumppanen plays Sibelius and Wagner Sibelius: Impromptu in B minor, Op.5 No.5 Wagner, arr. Liszt: Isolde’s Liebestod Paavali Jumppanen, piano Recorded at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, January 20, 2012 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.

    The Wagnerian
    6 Mar 2015 | 1:21 pm
    It is more difficult than one might first suspect to find good, or indeed interesting, analysis of Tannhäuser. With that in mind, we were more than pleased to find the following three part series of articles dedicated to this very work. Written by the  Karl E. H. Seigfried from a presentation he gave recently on  Tannhäuser at the Lyric Opera of Chicago  and the Wagner Society of America. We present just a brief snippet form part one below. However, the entire three part article can be read in its entirety over at the author website by following thee links below."Wagnerians…
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  • Anonymous 4 With Bruce Molsky: Tiny Desk Concert

    Tom Huizenga
    28 Mar 2015 | 7:40 am
    The a cappella quartet, known for luminous interpretations of medieval pieces, teams up with folk musician Bruce Molsky in music from more modern times — popular songs from the Civil War era.» E-Mail This
  • The Sensuous Radical: Pierre Boulez at 90

    Tom Huizenga
    26 Mar 2015 | 9:49 am
    Claiming total freedom in sound and color — and making outrageous pronouncements — the tough-minded composer and conductor charted a new course for classical music.» E-Mail This
  • Cross The Arctic With The Kronos Quartet

    Anastasia Tsioulcas
    25 Mar 2015 | 7:56 am
    Derek Charke's Cercle du Nord III teems with the sounds of life — modern and ancient — in the Arctic.» E-Mail This
  • First Listen: Missy Mazzoli, 'Vespers For A New Dark Age'

    Thomas Huizenga
    22 Mar 2015 | 8:10 pm
    With secular texts, soaring vocals and electronics, Mazzoli twists the traditional vesper prayer service to reflect our high-tech times.» E-Mail This
  • Detroit's 'Frida' Aims To Build Latino Audiences For Opera

    Veronica Zaragovia
    21 Mar 2015 | 4:11 am
    The opera, based on the tumultuous lives of painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, coincides with a new exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts devoted to the year they lived in the city.» E-Mail This
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    Slipped Disc

  • Two orchestra offers from China

    norman lebrecht
    28 Mar 2015 | 3:44 am
    The Nigerian scammers have a new gimmick: Kun Ming W.W inport and export corporation Dear Manager, Our Co. is a professional import and export corporation in China. The business integrity of our company is well-known in the field.Because of the increased business, we’re going to invite a large orchestra in your company to perform in china .If you are interested in this order , please send us the  price of one time, we can have further discussion. Looking forward to your reply soon. Best regards.   Mr Ma Dong   Here’s another one: Hello Dear your party leadership; We are a…
  • Something for the weekend? The conductor who goes with the flow

    norman lebrecht
    28 Mar 2015 | 3:13 am
    Definitely one for the New York Philharmonic shortlist.
  • Beyond belief: Italian party leader cracks jokes about Germanwings crash

    norman lebrecht
    27 Mar 2015 | 10:28 am
    Beppo Grillo, the 5* movement leader has crossed all bounds of bad taste by repeatedly comparing his prime minister to the co-pilot on the crashed plane. This insensate comedian makes Berlusconi look decent. Poor Italy. Report here.
  • Death of a Swedish legend who played piano every day

    norman lebrecht
    27 Mar 2015 | 9:01 am
    Tomas Tranströmer, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, died today at the age of 83. His poems, translated into 60 languages, have been set to music by some of Sweden’s foremost composers. A passionate pianist, Tomas Tranströmer had to relearn how to play after a stroke in 1990 left him paralysed down his right side. He said that playing the piano every day was the key to saving his life.
  • Reports: Putin gives Gergiev a Pacific opera house

    norman lebrecht
    27 Mar 2015 | 8:45 am
    Russian media are reporting that the Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theatre, opened in October 2013, is to be merged with the Mariinsky Theatre. The decision is said to have been taken personally by President Vladimir Putin. The Mariinsky director, Valery Gergiev, intends to use the Primorsky as his company’s showcase in Asia and the Pacific.  
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  • The Performance Simulator, Now With Realistic Backstage Ambiance!

    Drew McManus
    27 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    WQXR’s Conducting Business podcast with host Naomi Lewin and producer Brian Wise published an episode on 3/26/2015 that examines the Performance Simulator, a facility located at The Royal College of Music that claims to create performance-like conditions in the confines of a regular practice room. The goal, according to the program’s guest, Dr. Aaron Williamon, a professor of performance science at the Royal College of Music who helped to develop the technology, is to “help performers learn to cope with the heightened pressures of a stage environment.” Here’s how…
  • The Venture Platform’s Next Big Thing

    Drew McManus
    26 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    Last month, we crossed the latest threshold in The Venture Platform’s evolution with the release of Venture Event Manager (VEM) 2.5. We’re not content with resting on our laurels following the tremendous growth in 2014 and this upgrade to Venture’s cornerstone functionality is the most profound piece of coding since we launched in 2011; moreover, it reaffirms Venture’s position as the most advanced event management system in a managed website development solution. In order to help celebrate the 2.5 release, we designed a brand new microsite dedicated to everything VEM…
  • What Everybody Ought to Know About Activating Demographics Reporting In Google Analytics

    Drew McManus
    25 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    I published an article today at ArtsHacker that provides step by step instructions on how to activate one of the most important settings anyone with a Google Analytics account should be using. Ironically enough, the setting isn’t activated by default so you do need to pop in and click a single button buried inside an existing Reporting admin panel. The whole thing won’t take more than 30 seconds and if I write anything more, it will spoil the entire process. As such, head over to the post and open up a brand new world of demographics based metrics. Read One Simple Change To…
  • Five Articles People Should Stop Writing

    Drew McManus
    24 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    In the silver age of new media, one might think that the proliferation of new voices and platforms would expand discussions about classical music. By and large, it has done exactly that; at the same time, it has also served as fertile ground for some of the least productive topics to proliferate like a super virus going airborne in midtown Manhattan. To that end, and in the same spirt as the #BanBeloved campaign, here are five topics that should never be written about again. 1. Classical Music Is Dying. It’s been written about for nearly 100 years and it hasn’t happened yet but…
  • Fiber TV Ads Could Be Very Good News For Performing Arts Orgs

    Drew McManus
    23 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    It may have flown under your radar but the 5/20/2015 edition of published an article by Matt Novak that reports on Google’s intent to begin modifying how television viewers using its Google Fiber service. Simply put, Google wants to sell ads directly and make them function more like their successful targeted online ads. Given that Google earns most of its revenue from online ads, it should come as no big surprise that they are interested in adopting similar methods for television viewers. At the same time, this carries some positive potential for nonprofit performing arts…
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  • a thousand flowers

    Steve Hicken
    16 Mar 2015 | 6:49 pm
    Is this one flower or two? Beats me. At any rate, we need at least 998 more.Thanks to the good offices of Will Robin, 21st century orchestra music has taken over Facebook and Twitter, under the hashtag #21cOrch. I've listened to a good bit of this music over the last few weeks, and I have to say that I've been impressed with both the wide stylistic diversity of the music and with its quality. Whether I like a given piece or not (which is one of the least important aspects of writing about music), it's great to take note of the vitality in the field.When I was in school the last thing anyone…
  • miranda cuckson - melting the darkness

    Steve Hicken
    17 Nov 2014 | 1:46 pm
    She knows them all; trust me.My review of Miranda Cuckson's exciting and challenging new disc, Melting the Darkness, is up at Burning Ambulance.
  • gerald cohen

    Steve Hicken
    6 Nov 2014 | 7:12 pm
    Review of clarinet music by Gerald Cohen at Sequenza21.
  • 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:
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  • ASCAP Announces 2015 Morton Gould Young Composer Award Winners

    NewMusicBox Staff
    27 Mar 2015 | 8:37 am
    Selected from an application pool of more than 600 submissions, 28 young composers (plus an additional seven accorded honorable mention) will be recognized at the annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards at Merkin Concert Hall in New York on May 21, 2015. The award-winning composers share prizes of over $45,000.
  • Remembering Tod Dockstader (1932-2015)

    Tom Steenland
    27 Mar 2015 | 7:00 am
    Tod Dockstader’s electronic music composition, for most of his life, was always an avocation, something he did part-time, outside of his day job, earning him little income. Being an outsider without academic credentials, Tod was denied grants and access to the major electronic music centers. Yet fans of his music included Federico Fellini, and Pete Townshend.
  • There’s This Thing Happening: The New York Avant Garde Festival and Its Audience

    Caitlin Schmid
    26 Mar 2015 | 7:30 am
    Composers and performers who participated in experimental music festivals of the 1960s are relatively easy to find and talk to if you want to track them down. After all, many of them went on to established careers in the arts, and they have gigs and websites and email addresses. But audience members? People who just wandered in off the street? That’s a little more difficult. Where do you even start?
  • In search of Musical Integration Between the United States and the Rest of the Americas

    Álvaro Gallegos
    25 Mar 2015 | 7:45 am
    Today, across South America, one finds dozens of tourists from all over the world (including many from the United States) who wish to explore the richness of the region. But within the world of notated music, the situation is the opposite. In fact, we can no longer talk about Latin American as a single unit, given the lack of information that exists between its different countries.
  • En busca de una integración musical entre Estados Unidos y el resto de las Américas

    Álvaro Gallegos
    25 Mar 2015 | 7:45 am
    En cualquier lugar de Sudamérica uno se encuentra con decenas de turistas de todo el planeta (incluyendo muchos estadounidenses), que buscan explorar las riquezas de la zona. Ya está claro para ellos que no todo es selvas impenetrables, ni pequeños poblados de madera. Pero en el medio de la música de tradición escrita, también debemos hablar a la inversa. Incluso no podemos hablar de Latinoamérica como una entidad unitaria, ya que existe desinformación entre lo que hace un país y otro.
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    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

  • Philharmonie de Paris

    Alex Ross
    27 Mar 2015 | 3:43 pm
  • Boulez at 90

    Alex Ross
    26 Mar 2015 | 2:50 pm
    George Benjamin has a fine appreciation in the Guardian. Previously: Boulez at 70, at 75, at 80, at 85.
  • Miscellany

    Alex Ross
    24 Mar 2015 | 9:00 am
    Symphomania, Will Robin's twenty-four-hour festival of twenty-first-century orchestral music, is under way on Q2. The discovery of the morning has been Georges Lentz's gorgeously hellish Jerusalem (after Blake), a pick by the ever-inquisitive David Robertson.... I'm looking forward to hearing John Adams's latest big piece, Scheherezade.2, at the New York Philharmonic this week. It's billed as a "dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra."... Another beguiling musical fiction from the fertile mind of Jennifer Walshe: Historical Documents of the Irish…
  • The Critic and the Maestro

    Alex Ross
    17 Mar 2015 | 7:04 am
    A rare tribute from a musician to a critic: Riccardo Muti speaks to WFMT's David Polk about the late Andrew Patner, in advance of the Patner Celebration in Chicago tomorrow. Andrew mentioned the music played at the end — Franck's Symphony in D Minor and Bob Dylan's Shadows in the Night — in e-mails to me a couple of days before his shockingly sudden death. We exchanged, on average, three or four messages a day, adding up to tens of thousands over the years. I miss him every morning. Previously: For Andrew Patner.
  • Noted

    Alex Ross
    14 Mar 2015 | 2:49 pm
    Kozinn: "Today, newspapers across the country have reduced their staffs of critics and the space they devote to performance coverage, sometimes drastically, and it is not uncommon to hear the culture editors at even prestigious papers wondering—with no apparent realization that perhaps they should be in a different business—why they are publishing reviews at all, particularly of performances that happen only once."
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  • Ferneyhough Concert in Los Angeles

    Paul Muller
    3 Mar 2015 | 8:16 am
    Art Share LA, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, was the scene of a concert Friday February 27, 2015 entitled Terrain featuring works by Brian Ferneyhough, Brian Griffeath-Loeb and Elizabeth Lutyens. The occasion was the first anniversary of the WasteLAnd ensemble and a nice crowd turned out for an evening of complex music and birthday cake.   The concert began with Recomposition #4 (2012) by Brian Griffeath-Loeb and this featured Mark Menzies as solo violin. According to the program notes “… Recomposition #4 takes Ferneyhough’s iconic violin solo, Intermedio alla…
  • Homecoming: Sir Simon Rattle Named Music Director of LSO

    Jerry Bowles
    3 Mar 2015 | 5:34 am
    The London Symphony Orchestra announced today the appointment of Sir Simon Rattle as its Music Director. He will take up his appointment in September 2017, following in the footsteps of previous Principal Conductors including André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Colin Davis and Valery Gergiev. As Music Director he will be involved in every aspect of the LSO’s work as well as championing the importance of music and music education. At the announcement of his appointment, Simon Rattle said: “During my work with the LSO over the last years, I noticed that despite the Orchestra’s long…
  • Mata Festival Turns 17; Gets Curiouser and Curiouser

    Jerry Bowles
    26 Feb 2015 | 12:08 pm
    MATA Festival celebrates its seventeenth year, Monday, April 13 to Saturday, April 18, 2015, showcasing the wild variety of today’s compositional climate with a sweeping range of original compositions by thirty composers under the age of 40 from seventeen countries around the globe. Curated by the newly appointed Artistic Director, Du Yun, the 2015 Festival received international submissions from nearly a thousand composers—increasing by hundreds each year and confirming MATA’s booming status as the leading international festival for emerging composer talent. Among the…
  • American Modern Ensemble Returns to SubCulture with BLUE

    Garrett Schumann
    25 Feb 2015 | 3:25 pm
    A week from today, the American Modern Ensemble will bring a brand new program to SubCulture‘s stage. Entitled, “BLUE”, this upcoming performance celebrates the release of AME’s latest album, Powerhouse Pianists II, which features pianists Stephen Gosling and Blair MacMillan performing works for two pianos by leading living composers including John Adams and John Corigliano. The program AME will perform at SubCulture will feature an array of the group’s talented players performing works by Margaret Brouwer, George Crumb, Robert Paterson, and Frederic Rzewski,…
  • Synchromy Concert in Los Angeles

    Paul Muller
    23 Feb 2015 | 10:58 am
    The Blue Whale in the Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles was the venue for a concert entitled “The Other Side of Valentines Day” by the group Synchromy – appropriately on Sunday, February 15, 2014. A nice crowd turned out to hear an evening of original new music performed by soprano Justine Aronson, Matt Barbier on trombone and pianist Richard Valitutto. In all, some ten pieces were heard, most of them by Los Angeles-based composers. The concert programs were handed out in envelopes in the manner of a Valentines card – a clever touch that added to the convivial ambiance.
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    Classical Performance Podcast

  • Chopin, with Daniil Trifonov

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    10 Mar 2015 | 10:00 pm
    Chopin, with Daniil Trifonov Frederic Chopin: Etudes, Op. 25 Daniil Trifonov, piano Recorded in WCRB’s Fraser Performance Studio, October 3, 2012 © 2015 WGBH Educational Foundation. Watch video of Daniil Trifonov in our studio Photo credit: Roger Mastroianni
  • Beethoven, with the Concord Chamber Players

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    4 Mar 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Beethoven, with the Concord Chamber Players Beethoven: String Trio in C minor, Op.9 No.3 Wendy Putnam, violin; Karen Dreyfus, viola; Mihail Jojatu, cello Recorded at the Concord Academy Performing Arts Center, September 26, 2004 © 2015 WGBH Educational Foundation. photo of Wendy Putnam courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Arensky, with the new England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    23 Feb 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Arensky, with the New England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra Anton Arensky: Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a NEC Chamber Orchestra Recorded at WCRB’s Fraser Performance Studio, February 14, 2011 © 2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
  • Handel, with Richard Egarr

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    9 Feb 2015 | 9:00 pm
  • Sibelius and Wagner, with Paavali Jumppanen

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    2 Feb 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Paavali Jumppanen plays Sibelius and Wagner Sibelius: Impromptu in B minor, Op.5 No.5 Wagner, arr. Liszt: Isolde’s Liebestod Paavali Jumppanen, piano Recorded at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, January 20, 2012 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
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  • RIP Ronald Stevenson (1928 - 2015)

    28 Mar 2015 | 4:52 am
    The sad news has just reached us that one of the giants of contemporary music in the UK has died. The great Ronald Stevenson, composer and pianist - indeed, composer-pianist - was described by some as a Lisztian figure for our times. A composer outside the mainstream, with Busoni among his most powerful influences, he held true to the integrity of his own voice throughout, was immensely loved and respected, and has been deeply influential - and will remain so for years to come.Learn more about Stevenson and his life and music at the Ronald Stevenson Society, here.Here is an introduction to…
  • Oh, all right then...

    27 Mar 2015 | 9:15 am
    ... it's Friday, it's gone 4 o'clock and it's high time we had a quick look at what Jonas Kaufmann is up to.Singing Walther in Meistersinger in Munich, that's what - on the near horizon. Opening night is 16 May 2016, Kirill Petrenko conducts, Sara Jakubiak sings Eva and Wolfgang Koch is Hans Sachs.It will be Kaufmann's first time in the role on stage - he sang it once before in concert at the Edinburgh Festival - and the Bayerische Staatsoper has issued this trailer in which he and the director David Bösch talk about the challenges that Wagner's glorious opera poses for them both. (With…
  • More workshops for Morley - details

    26 Mar 2015 | 1:21 am
    Morley College has announced the next in its series of workshops for young women music students to try their hands at conducting, led by the conductor Alice Farnham:CONDUCTING WORKSHOPS FOR FEMALE MUSIC STUDENTSIn March 2014 Morley College ran its first Women Conductors weekend workshop. This was developed in response to wide spread media coverage at the time that commented on the lack of female conductors in the industry. It is designed to create more opportunities for young women to try out orchestral conducting, and is led by acclaimed conductor Alice Farnham.With generous funding and…
  • Two opera singers were aboard the doomed Germanwings plane

    24 Mar 2015 | 2:54 pm
    The opera world is in shock at the news that mezzo-soprano Maria Radner and bass Oleg Bryjak were on the Germanwings plane that has crashed in the French Alps. 150 people are believed to have been aboard the flight and it is expected that nobody has survived. Everyone's thoughts and hearts are with those who have lost loved ones in this appalling tragedy
  • Softer, sweeter, finer...

    23 Mar 2015 | 1:55 am
    ...and no, it's not just the cats. I've had a busy weekend's work and here is the latest, therefore, from our Amati Magazine:a) My interview with the brilliant Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen about Gypsy style, classical stye and what it's like to have a bit of both;b) The Monday Newsround, with the latest from London, New York, Norfolk and more.Today I'm doing the Editor's Lunch interview for May. This is nice. I get to take a star to lunch at a wonderful restaurant. This particular star suggested going Italian, so we are - but I'm hoping that the place I've selected will give him a…
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  • Ashton's 'Cinderella' a Disappointment

    Charles T. Downey
    27 Mar 2015 | 9:30 pm
    American Ballet Theater is back in town, with a week-long residency at the Kennedy Center Opera House. After the rare delights of their 1940s triple-bill earlier this week, it was hard not to be disappointed by the main course, a sugar-sweet production of Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, set to Prokofiev's often acidic score. At least for the adult half of the Ionarts reviewing team, that is: for
  • Happy Birthday, Pierre Boulez!

    Charles T. Downey
    26 Mar 2015 | 7:54 pm
    Pierre Boulez is 90 years old today. The roaring lion of modernism, who once advised the destruction of all opera houses, has reduced his conducting and composing work in recent years. Celebrate his work in both areas with some streaming audio: Matthias Pintscher leads the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris, with soprano Marisol Montalvo, in Boulez's Pli selon
  • American Ballet Theater, 1940s Ballet Triple-Bill

    Charles T. Downey
    25 Mar 2015 | 5:38 pm
    Xiomara Reyes (Cowgirl) and cast, Rodeo, American Ballet Theater Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, heard as a concert work, did not really mean much to me until I saw Martha Graham's choreography live. The same is now true of Copland's Rodeo, thanks to a rare performance of Agnes de Mille's original choreography, from 1942, by American Ballet Theater in the latest of the group's periodic
  • Motets of the Bach Family

    Charles T. Downey
    24 Mar 2015 | 7:43 am
    Motets of the Bach Family, Tölzer Knabenchor, G. Schmidt-Gaden (Capriccio, 2010)Charles T. Downey, Marking Johann Sebastian’s birthday with a tribute to the Bach family (Washington Post, March 24) Johann Sebastian Bach belonged to a large family of musicians spanning two centuries. With a concert of motets by five composers named Bach, the Washington Bach Consort honored its namesake’s
  • Yuliya Gorenman and Russian Composers

    Charles T. Downey
    23 Mar 2015 | 2:10 pm
    Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Y. Gorenman (2010)Charles T. Downey, Pianist Yuliya Gorenman takes on Russian composers at Katzen Center (Washington Post, March 23) Pianist Yuliya Gorenman won fourth prize at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in 1995. Since coming to the United States to continue her studies, she has settled in Washington, teaching and serving as musician-in-residence at
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    The Rambler

  • Encore de la Cour

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    20 Mar 2015 | 2:09 pm
    The first time I encountered Adam de la Cour’s music it smacked me about the face. It was Mark Knoop playing Beat Me, a tsunami of William Burroughs cut ups and Percy Grainger distortions for piano and sampled alarm at a Libra Duo concert at the Warehouse. I remember it being a bit like the beginning … Continue reading →
  • Between the (Y)ears: The London Ear in 2015

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    17 Mar 2015 | 5:04 am
    Regular readers will know that I’m a strong supporter of the London Ear Festival, launched a couple of years ago by Gwyn Pritchard and Andrea Cavallari. The festival was always intended to be biannual, but the first year proved such a success that Gwyn and Andrea couldn’t resist putting one on the following year as well. This year they really are … Continue reading →
  • Radio Rambler – International Women’s Day 2015

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    8 Mar 2015 | 1:39 am
    Today is International Women’s Day, and once again the Radio Rambler playlist has been updated with three hours of contemporary music by women composers. At the risk of making a massive over-generalisation, there are probably fewer women working within the usual channels of contemporary composition (writing music for others to perform, in concert halls and opera houses) than are taking their … Continue reading →
  • Drawing Towards Sound exhibition at Greenwich University

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    2 Mar 2015 | 2:39 am
    An exciting exhibition opens this week at Greenwich University’s Stephen Lawrence Gallery. Drawing Towards Sound showcases contemporary notational practices and other visual/music interactions, starting from Cage/Knowles’ Notations and coming through to present-day work in film and other media. The list of exhibitors looks enticing enough: Hallveig Agústsdóttir / Sam Belinfante / Vicki Bennett / Carl Bergstrom-Nielsen … Continue reading →
  • John McCabe, 1939-2015

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    25 Feb 2015 | 8:18 am
    Earlier this month the British composer John McCabe passed away from a brain tumour. I owe him a debt. When I was a young teen, first exploring my way into 20th-century music, I used to scour my dad’s collection of recordings he had taped off the radio. His tastes ran a little more conservative than mine, … Continue reading →
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    Opera Today News Headlines

  • Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten in Istanbul

    14 Mar 2015 | 1:55 pm
    By Robert Hugill [Planet Hugill] Joseph Haydn’s last oratorio Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons) was conductor Sascha Goetzel's choice for the first oratorio performance by his Borusan Istanbul Phiharmonic Orchestra in the Istanbul Lütfi Kirdar ICEC on Thursday 12 March 2015. Goetzel and the orchestra were joined by soloists Miah Persson, Ian Bostridge and Duncan Rock, and the Salzburg Bach Choir. [More . . . . ]
  • Spring Gala: Cream of the Crop!

    17 Feb 2015 | 9:28 am
    Monday, March 30, 2015, 7pm Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall Hear the stars of tomorrow today in a spectacular gala evening celebrating New York Festival of Song's Emerging Artists programs! Over the past decade, NYFOS has taken a growing interest in mentoring, coaching, and nurturing some of the most promising young vocalists of our era. Many opera programs exist for young artists but there are very few that focus only on the art of song. It is the most exposed and direct kind of performing—no costumes of make-up to mask one's vulnerability—just the musicianship, intelligence,…
  • Get out of the goove! Now Radio 1 bans Madonna, 56, for being 'irrelevant and old' for its teenage listeners

    15 Feb 2015 | 7:24 am
    By Chris Hastings [Daily Mail, 14 February 2015] She has dominated the airwaves during 30 years as a chart-topper, but now Radio 1 has decided that Madonna is an immaterial girl and just too old for its teenage listeners. Despite her determined efforts to look - and sound - youthful, the 56-year-old has been dropped from the station’s playlist that determines which songs are played by DJs during the day. [More . . . . ]
  • Syracuse Opera’s ‘A Little Night Music’ a little too lean

    15 Feb 2015 | 6:59 am
    By David Abrams [CNY Café Momus, 6 February 2015] There’s little point in arguing whether Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music is, at its core, a musical or an operetta. It could be either, depending on the resources put into the production effort. Syracuse Opera chose to trumpet the work as “operetta,” not musical theater, during the weeks leading up to Friday’s premiere. And that label calls into question the company’s use of a chamber-sized pit orchestra. [More . . . . ]
  • A Definitive New Callas

    27 Jan 2015 | 1:33 pm
    By Michael Shae [The New York Review of Books, 24 January 2015] Maria Callas converted me to opera. I am sure I am not unique in this, except in the particulars. In my early college years I immersed myself in recordings of the nineteenth-century symphonic repertory—Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, the Russians—but for a long time I refused to listen to opera, would listen to an overture and then rush to change the record before the singing started. Then one day my roommate put Callas’s 1953 Tosca on the turntable and dropped the needle onto “Vissi…
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    aworks :: "new" american classical music

  • aworks weekly top ten :: mostly cage, dylan & caribou

    8 Mar 2015 | 5:11 pm
    The Unavailable Memory Of. John Cage/Philipp Vandré - Vol. 37: Complete Short Works For Prepared Piano  The Ensemble Chord In C With A Major 7th And A Guitar Base. Duane Pitre - Organized Pitches Occurring in Time  These Shadows. Wooden Shjips - Back to Land  Like a Rolling Stone. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited Souvenir. John Cage/Teodoro Anzellotti  - John Cage: Cheap Imitation, Souvenir & Dream  Highway 61 Revisted. Bob Dylan  - Highway 61 Revisited Desperate Man Blues. John Fahey - The Best of John Fahey 1959-1977 (Remastered)  Melody Day. Caribou - Andorra  Niobe. Caribou -…
  • aworks weekly top ten :: led, glass & bernstein

    1 Mar 2015 | 1:40 pm
    Milly's Garden. Steve Gunn - Way Out Weather  Gathering of Ancient Tribes. Goat - Commune  Over the Hills and Far Away. Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (Deluxe Edition)  Mad Rush. Philip Glass/Bojan Gorišek- Solo Piano Roll with the Changes. REO Speedwagon - The Hits  No Quarter. Led Zepellin - Houses of the Holy (Deluxe Edition)  Amo Bishop Roden. Boards of Canada - Warp20 (Chosen) Orphee's Bedroom. Philip Glass/Bojan Gorišek  - Solo Piano  The Last Time I Saw Your Face. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - A Year With 13 Moons  Symphony No. 2. Charles Ives/Leonard Bernstein - Ives: Symphony…
  • aworks weekly top ten :: robert ashley is the english voice on the radigue tracks.

    22 Feb 2015 | 8:46 am
    Milly's Garden. Steve Gunn - Way Out Weather Song of the Path Guides. Eliane Radigue - Songs of Milarepa  Niobe. Caribou - Andorra Electric Counterpoint. Steve Reich; Jonny Greenwood - Radio Rewrite Until It Blazes. Eve Beglarian - Emanuele E. Forni - Ceci n'est pas une guitare  Symbols of Yogic Experience. Eliane Radigue - Songs of Milarepa  Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings. Alvin Lucier - Theme After Hours. Caribou - Andorra A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Philip of Spain.  John…
  • aworks weekly top ten :: cage, gunn, caribou...

    13 Feb 2015 | 8:55 pm
    The Unavailable Memory of.John Cage; Philipp Vandré - Vol. 37: Complete Short Works For Prepared Piano Milly's Garden. Steve Gunn - Way Out Weather The Ensemble Chord In C With A Major 7th And A Guitar Base. Duane Pitre - Organized Pitches Occurring in Time Dollars and Cents. Radiohead - Amnesiac Melody Day. Caribou - Andorra Desperate Man Blues. John Fahey - Return Of The Repressed Song of the Path Guides. Eliane Radigue - Songs of Milarepa Way Out Weather. Steve Gunn - Way Out Weather Phantom Waltz. Meredith Monk; Ursula Oppens, Bruce Brubaker - Monk: Piano Songs Sundialing. Caribou -…
  • Limbs (2012). Daniel Wohl [8/10]

    1 Jan 2015 | 9:34 pm
    New Amsterdam Records:  ...the original acoustic piano plays in perfect unison with an electrified and transformed version of itself. The result is an utterly dynamic and emotionally-charged work in which the acoustic and electronic sounds seamlessly intertwine to the point of becoming one.
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  • Throwback Thursday: Oleg and Pierre

    26 Mar 2015 | 5:26 pm
    Oleg Bryjak, centerA quick throwback Thursday post on two fronts. Firstly, remembering the bass-baritone, Oleg Bryjak, who was among the 150 passengers on the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday.  I had the chance to sing with Oleg back in 2010 during a production of Rossini's L'Italiana in Algieri at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.  Oleg was a wonderful colleague - smart, funny, and an incredibly strong singer with an impressively agile and powerful voice, he was truly fearless on stage. All of the news about this Germanwings plane is more…
  • Old Lutes

    25 Feb 2015 | 8:35 am
    See how happy he is, playing his lute?The text of the second song in Britten's Songs from the Chinese, 'The Old Lute', which Eliot Fisk and I performed recently at the Menil Collection with Da Camera of Houston, has been nagging at the back of mind since our concert a few weeks ago. The Old LuteOf cord and cassia-wood is the lute compounded;Within it lie ancient melodies.Ancient melodies weak and savorless,Not appealing to present men's taste.Light and colour are faded from the jade-stops;Dust has covered the rose-red strings.Decay and ruin came to it long ago,But the sound that is…
  • Michigan-inspired Serenades

    23 Jan 2015 | 7:22 am
    Post-performance shot backstage with the amazing David CooperIn a way, if one thinks about it, much of Britten's music after 1939 is, in a way, inspired by my home state of Michigan.  One night, in a hotel room in Grand Rapids, the relationship between Britten and Pears escalated from a professional friendship to the intense romance that knit the two together for the rest of Britten's life.  A quote from one of Pears' later letters to Britten:"I shall never forget a certain night in Grand Rapids -- Ich liebe dich, io t'amo, jeg elske deg(?), je t'aime, in fact, my little…
  • Pink Elephants

    20 Jan 2015 | 8:50 pm
    A week from tonight, I'll be performing with guitarist, Eliot Fisk, with Da Camera of Houston. The program is comprised of music performed by Sir Peter Pears and the famed guitarist, Julian Bream - who accompanied Pears with increasing frequency towards the end of Britten's life, the period when Britten wasn't anymore able to accompany Pears in recital due to the deterioration of his right hand after undergoing heart surgery in 1973. Bream and PearsThe program opens with a song that I initially thought was just a simple silly song, but has over the past couple of months given me pause.
  • Beginnings / Illuminations

    9 Jan 2015 | 6:24 pm
    So...I only logged in one solitary post here in 2014. The main reason for this is that 2014 was quite simply an incredibly busy year.  I mean that in the sense that it was both incredible and it was busy.  That said, I've not totally abandoned this blogging thing in any way whatsoever.  I simply took a bit of a hiatus.  Hiatus over.I've had the subject of beginnings floating around in my head as 2014 turned into 2015 - it's a topic that frequently occupies my mind around this time each year.  Perhaps that is a large part of why I feel compelled to end this holiday…
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    The Collaborative Piano Blog

  • Wendy Hatala Foley and I Will Be Performing This Saturday at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts

    Chris Foley
    24 Mar 2015 | 11:36 am
    When Wendy and I lived in Vancouver, we performed together all the time. Astonishingly, since we moved to the Toronto area in 2002, we have never yet shared the stage for a concert. Wendy quickly got work in the opera, symphony, and described video fields, while I've been mostly busy with the worlds of contemporary opera and piano pedagogy.Each year, the Oakville Symphony holds several outreach events to introduce younger audiences to the instruments and voices that they will hear throughout the symphony's season. On Saturday, March 28, Wendy and I will be performing two free concerts at the…
  • The 2015 Edition of the Royal Conservatory Piano Syllabus is Now Online

    Chris Foley
    23 Mar 2015 | 8:05 am
    After several years of preparation, writing, performing, producing, finalizing, proofreading, editing, and amending, the 2015 Edition of the Royal Conservatory Piano Syllabus is finally available in pdf form, with the print edition soon to follow in music retail stores across North America.This Piano Syllabus will form the foundation of piano studies in the United States and Canada for thousands of students, teachers, adjudicators, and examiners over the next 7-8 years.It was an honor to have collaborated with so many brilliant individuals in the preparation of this syllabus, and my…
  • A Huge List of Famous Music Students, Organized by Teacher

    Chris Foley
    18 Mar 2015 | 8:33 pm
    AfricanAmericanPianoLessonvia Wikimedia CommonsMusicians are like Zen masters: it's all about the lineage. Wikipedia's List of music students by teacher is a useful way to understand the delicate strands that are interwoven between the bonds of teacher and pupil throughout the centuries.It's also a great way to settle late-night bets about who studied where and with whom.
  • Liz Upchurch Talks About How to Be a Vocal Coach

    Chris Foley
    15 Mar 2015 | 4:51 am
    I'm a big fan of the work of Liz Upchurch and it was a very pleasant surprise to see her interview with Jenna Douglas of Schmopera: Singing from the keyboard, bringing your experience as an instrumentalist to the studio, and respect for the singer's art are all touched on. I hope that a lot of young pianists are inspired by Liz's words.
  • Getting The Most Out Of Your Practice Time

    Chris Foley
    15 Mar 2015 | 4:29 am
    Much of what I tell my students about practicing involves explaining ways of making their work more efficient and rewarding given their often limited time at the keyboard. so it was a pleasant surprise indeed to see Noa Kageyama's 8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently making the rounds on Facebook this week.  A research project at the University of Texas at Austin tested 17 piano majors to see how accurately they could learn a musical passage under controlled conditions. The performance results were then checked against how each pianist had practiced, and the researchers came…
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    parterre box

  • Deception

    28 Mar 2015 | 9:57 am
    On this day in 1917 Puccini’s La Rondine premiered in Monte Carlo. Born on this day in 1890 mezzo-soprano Sabine Kalter Born on this day in 1911 librettist Myfanwy Piper Born on this day in 1914 soprano Clara Petrella Born on this day in 1918 baritone Anselmo Colzani Born on this day in 1925 soprano Hanne-Lore Kuhse Happy 90th…
  • Metro opera

    27 Mar 2015 | 4:40 am
    On this day in 1976 the Washington DC Metro opened. Born on this day in 1822 novelist Henri Murger Born on this day in 1851 composer Ruperto Chapí Born on this day in 1851 composer Vincent d’Indy Born on this day in 1927 conductor and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich Happy 65th birthday mezzo-soprano/soprano Maria Ewing
  • Oh, de’ verdi anni miei

    La Cieca
    26 Mar 2015 | 7:05 am
    “The Met’s revival of Verdi’s Ernani Friday night was every inch a tragic opera, though without being grand in any way. Its grisliest calamity was not the one the composer devised but rather one the production’s star, Plácido Domingo, brought on himself.” [New York Observer]
  • Birthdays are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous

    La Cieca
    26 Mar 2015 | 6:58 am
    To mark the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez, our friends at Opera Depot are offering a free download of excerpts from his epochal 1976 Ring cycle at Bayreuth as well as steep discounts on all other Bouleziana.
  • Woodsman

    26 Mar 2015 | 4:34 am
    On this day in 1955 “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” became the #1 record in the United States. Born on this day in 1894 soprano Viorica Ursuleac Born on this day in 1905 conductor André Cluytens Born on this day in 1921 bass Arnold van Mill
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    The Wagnerian

  • Salome (1923) - from Oscar Wilde's play - silent with English intertitles

    6 Mar 2015 | 2:32 pm
    Not Wagner of course, but would there have been this opera without Wagner? Whatever the answer, Salome, is perhaps one of Strauss' greatest works - if not the greatest opera of the 20th century. This is not the opera of course, but the 1923 Silent movie of Wild's play. More interestingly, this uses a single set based on Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations for the published play.Salomé (1923), a silent film directed by Charles Bryant and starring Alla Nazimova, is a film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name.Salomé is often called one of the first art films to be made in the…

    6 Mar 2015 | 1:51 pm
    ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK AND RICHARD WAGNER Jarmila GabrielováAbstract: The essay deals with the relation of prominent Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) to the personality and work of Richard Wagner (1813–1883). As opposed to the common opinions linking Dvořák’s name with Wagner‘s ideological opponents and placing his ‘Wagnerian’ period in the early phase of his career only, our examination shows that Dvořák’s interest in Wagner and his music was of deep and lasting nature and was significant for him throughout the whole of his life.Today, more than a hundred years…

    6 Mar 2015 | 1:21 pm
    It is more difficult than one might first suspect to find good, or indeed interesting, analysis of Tannhäuser. With that in mind, we were more than pleased to find the following three part series of articles dedicated to this very work. Written by the  Karl E. H. Seigfried from a presentation he gave recently on  Tannhäuser at the Lyric Opera of Chicago  and the Wagner Society of America. We present just a brief snippet form part one below. However, the entire three part article can be read in its entirety over at the author website by following thee links below."Wagnerians…
  • Richard Wagner - Liebestod - Sylvain Blassel

    22 Feb 2015 | 11:29 pm
    Sylvain Blassel (Harp, Arranger) Born: 1976 - France The French harpist, Sylvain Blassel, graduated in 1998 from the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse (Lyon CNSMD) under Fabrice Pierre. Following his graduation Sylvain Blassel was hired as an assistant conductor by the Ensemble Intercontemporai. He works mostly with David Robertson and Pierre Boulez, but also for Péter Eötvös, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Markus Stenz, Jonathan Nott and Hans Zender. This has given him the chance to meet such composers as György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Pascal Dusapin, Emmanuel Nunes, and Ivan…
  • New Wagner Publication: Understanding the Leitmotif: From Wagner to Hollywood Film Music

    13 Feb 2015 | 6:06 am
     Understanding the LeitmotifFrom Wagner to Hollywood Film Music Author: Matthew Bribitzer-StullPublication planned for: April 2015availability: Not yet published - available from April 2015format: Hardbackisbn: 9781107098398  The musical leitmotif, having reached a point of particular forcefulness in the music of Richard Wagner, has remained a popular compositional device up to the present day. In this book, Matthew Bribitzer-Stull explores the background and development of the leitmotif, from Wagner to the Hollywood adaptations of The Lord of The Rings and the Harry Potter series.
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    Naxos AudioBooks New Releases

  • TROLLOPE, A.: Last Chronicle of Barset (The) (Unabridged) (NA0198)

    28 Feb 2015 | 4:00 pm
    In The Last Chronicle of Barset, Trollope concludes his saga of ecclesiastical life. At the heart of the novel is the plight of Josiah Crawley, a proud, impoverished clergyman who faces difficult legal circumstances. Caught amidst poverty, Josiah appears to have stolen a cheque and is forced to stand trial—despite the fact that he cannot remember the cheque’s origins. To make matters worse, his daughter Grace desperately seeks the approval of Archdeacon Grantly, whose son she intends to marry. The Last Chronicle of Barset is a joyful end to Trollope’s series of Barsetshire…
  • PEPYS, S.: Diary of Samuel Pepys (The), Vol. 2 (1664-1666) (Unabridged) (NA0175)

    28 Feb 2015 | 4:00 pm
    The Diary of Samuel Pepys is one of the most entertaining documents in English history. Written between 1660 and 1669, as Pepys was establishing himself as a key administrator in the Navy Office, it is an intimate portrait of life in 17th-century England, covering his professional and personal activities, including, famously, his love of music, theatre, food and wine, and his numerous peccadilloes. This Naxos AudioBooks production is the world première recording of the diary in its entirety. It has been divided into three volumes. Volume II covers some of the most famous passages in…
  • STOKER, B.: Dracula (Unabridged) (NA0190)

    28 Feb 2015 | 4:00 pm
    For a century Bram Stoker’s Dracula has reigned supreme as the undisputed masterpiece of horror writing. We have all grown up beneath the shadow of the elegant Count, at once an attractive, brutal and erotic creature of the night. In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote a story expressing the most persistent nightmare of the human condition. Take this opportunity to dream again…
  • VIRGIL: Aeneid (The) (Unabridged) (NA0196)

    28 Feb 2015 | 4:00 pm
    The masterpiece of Rome’s greatest poet, Virgil’s Aeneid has inspired generations of readers and holds a central place in Western literature. The epic tells the story of a group of refugees from the ruined city of Troy, whose attempts to reach a promised land in the West are continually frustrated by the hostile goddess Juno. Finally reaching Italy, their leader Aeneas is forced to fight a bitter war against the natives to establish the foundations from which Rome is destined to rise. This magnificent poem, in the modern translation by Cecil Day-Lewis, is superbly read by David…
  • KIPLING, R.: Puck of Pook's Hill (Unabridged) (NA0202)

    28 Feb 2015 | 4:00 pm
    Kipling’s charming Puck of Pook’s Hill takes the listener on a journey through English history with a series of short, fantastical works. When two children happen across an ancient shrine, they unintentionally summon an impish sprite named Puck—also known as Robin Goodfellow. To their wonderment, the fairy conjures up the past, taking them on ten magical adventures: they visit Roman Britain and the legion guarding Hadrian’s Wall, the thirteenth-century court of King John, and Old England from the time of William the Conqueror. Here are stories of lost treasures, epic…
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    Kenneth Woods- conductor

  • CD Review- Gramophone Magazine on Franck, Falla and Turina Concertante works for Piano with KW, Valerie Tryon and the Royal Philharmonic

    Kenneth Woods
    12 Mar 2015 | 6:41 am
    Critic Bryce Morrison writes in the Gramophone:  Throughout her long and distinguished, if insufficiently acknowledged career, Valerie Tryon has remained true to her own lights. Virtuoso teasers such as Balakirev’sIslamey and Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit fell effortlessly within her grasp and here in Franck’s Symphonic Variations, sandwiched between two Spanish favourites of the repertoire, she commences a series of recordings for the Somm label. Accompanied by a ringing endorsement from Somm’s Siva Oke (‘Valerie became the yardstick by which I measured most other pianists over the…
  • KW Too many records in March International Record Review

    Kenneth Woods
    4 Mar 2015 | 3:30 am
    From the current issue of International Record Review. A wonderful magazine every music lover should subscribe to. Condolences to everyone there on the death of Barry Irving, the magazine’s founder and publisher, who died last month after a short illness                  
  • Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO- The right conductor, but for the right reasons?

    Kenneth Woods
    3 Mar 2015 | 1:20 pm
    Congratulations are most certainly in order to both Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony on the occasion of Sir Simon’s appointment as the LSO’s next Principal Conductor. I can scarcely imagine better news for either party or for music lovers across Britain. Given the importance of today’s announcement for British music making, I’m going to bend my rule against discussing the work of living colleagues here [Note- I seem to be one of the very few professional musicians in the UK who has never met or worked with Simon Rattle. Hopefully we can remedy that situation some day]. It…
  • Classical Music Magazine- Meet the Maestro (KW)

    Kenneth Woods
    1 Feb 2015 | 7:27 am
    The current issue of Classical Music Magazine includes a nice feature piece from critic and essayist, Rick Jones. On sale now!    
  • CD Review: Birmingham Post on Psalm- Contemporary British Trumpet Concertos

    Kenneth Woods
    26 Jan 2015 | 3:57 pm
    PSALM- CONTEMPORARY BRITISH TRUMPET CONCERTOS £12.00 Add to cart SIMON Desbruslais demonstrates his virtuosity in four fresh, vigorous and varied works by three British composers. In Deborah Pritchard’s Skyspace he plays the piccolo trumpet, an instrument familiar through baroque works – famously in Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos – but seldom heard in contemporary music. It suits the soaring lines of Pritchard’s work, the seven sections of which portray varying colours of the sky. The two outer movements of John McCabe’s concerto La Primavera bustle…
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    Iron Tongue of Midnight

  • Berkeley DZR is Relocating!

    27 Mar 2015 | 11:03 am
    That's both physically and temporally:New address:7512 FairmountEl Cerrito, CAThis is across the street from Fat Apple's restaurant, up the hill from El Cerrito Plaza BART, El Cerrito Plaza, and San Pablo Ave.New class times, starting Tuesday, April 7:Tuesdays & Thursdays7 p.m. to 9 p.m.Contact info: 510-842-6243 / lhirsch@gmail.comThere are still openings for my intro to jujitsu class, which will be in the Sawtooth Building in Berkeley.
  • London Friday Photo

    27 Mar 2015 | 12:01 am
    Identifying Plaque, London, May 2014
  • Laid to Rest

    26 Mar 2015 | 2:43 pm
    King Richard III, last Plantagenet king of England, has been laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral, not far from the car park where his remains spent the last 520 years or so.
  • All Publicity is Not Good Publicity

    26 Mar 2015 | 9:04 am
    The Italian-American Museum in NYC owns several buildings on Mulberry Street in the area still called Little Italy - even though there are hardly any Italian Americans living there. Like the rest of Manhattan, it is gentrified and apartments are extremely expensive.One of the few remaining is 85-year-old Adele Sarno, who has lived in the same apartment since the mid-1960s. She was born in the area and has lived there for most of her life.The museum is trying to evict her so that they can raise the rate from the current rent of $820/mo to market rent, which would be $3500 to $4500. The…
  • Oleg Bryjak and Maria Radner, RIP

    25 Mar 2015 | 7:46 am
    Bass-baritone Oleg Bryjak and contralto Maria Radner died in today's GermanWings plane wreck in France. The two had just sung Alberich and Erda, respectively, in the Gran Teatro Liceu's Siegfried production, according to tweets sent by the opera house.Update, Wednesday The NY Times follow-up on the crash contains the following:The baritone sang at the prestigious Bayreuth Festival last year and was expected to perform there again in August. Ms. Radner, a rising star of Wagnerian opera, made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in “Götterdämmerung” in January…
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    Musical Assumptions

  • In Praise of Now

    27 Mar 2015 | 8:07 am
    I always remind my students that when we play we are always thinking about where we are, where we have been, and where we are going at the same time. In order to make for a meaningful performance, we have to be aware of where a phrase started and where it is heading. In order to make meaningful musical moments we need to set them up and release them. We need to be aware of the structure of the music we are playing, and we need to be hyper aware of what we happen to be doing at any given moment and where that action is taking us musically. Since no two turns around the fishbowl are identical,…
  • Birthday Greetings to JSB

    21 Mar 2015 | 7:47 am
    Dear Mr. Bach,I'm writing this letter in the form of a blog post so that it can be seen everywhere in the world on the same day. That concept might seem odd and impossible from where you lived during the 17th and 18th centuries, but that is nothing compared to the number of musicians in every country of the world who spend much of their lives playing the instrumental music you wrote for Prince Leopold, the keyboard music you wrote for your children, and the choral and vocal music you wrote for your church.Your music for solo violin and for solo cello has been in my ear since I was born.
  • Seymour Barab's Complete Philip Marshall on Vimeo

    18 Mar 2015 | 8:32 am
    Margie King Barab just let me know that a video of Philip Marshall, Seymour Barab's Civil War opera, is available to watch on line. This work would certainly be appropriate to revive during this Sesquicentennial observance of the end of the Civil War. Here's an excerpt from E. Thomas Glascow's review in Opera News of the first performance in 1974.ON JULY 12 came the world premiere of Seymour Barab's Philip Marshall, a timeless, engrossing drama (libretto by the composer) about a Civil War veteran who, on returning home, finds life irrevocably altered by the conflict. Sandwiched between a…
  • "More Greek Myths" on YouTube!

    17 Mar 2015 | 2:11 pm
    A performance of "More Greek Myths," a piece I wrote in 2007 for Susan Nigro, is now on YouTube!Here are some program notes:I. Apollo (begins at 0:01)II. Artemis (begins around 2:15)III. The Labors of Heracles (begins around 3:45)IV. Aphrodite (begins around 5:56)V. Dionysus (begins around 8:09)The basic idea of this set of pieces is a progression from the Apollonian to the Dionysian. Apollo, the god of the sun, represents the ideas of individuality, critical reason, the artistic possibilities of human beings, and the concept of perfection. He is cerebral while Dionysus, who ends this set of…
  • Marshall's Memorial Service

    13 Mar 2015 | 6:41 pm
    It was a beautiful service. Organist Joseph Fort, who is also a terrific pianist, played a bunch of pieces from the WTC and finished with the E-minor Fugue from the second book, which was Marshall's fugue (he claimed ownership, and nobody else was permitted to play it). My father and I played the slow movement from the Mozart g-major duo (the only other time I have played the violin part was with Marshall playing Viola), and Susan played a Celtic harp piece at the end. Grethen Grimshaw gave a most personal and moving account of her experience with Marshall, and my mother, father, and I each…
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    eighth blackbird » Blog

  • Bogotá

    7 Mar 2015 | 3:42 pm
    Ceiling of concert hall Lisa and Doug rehearsing onstage the wonderful granadilla fruit backstage hall of fame view of Bogota from Montserrate strange implement for holding corn cobs lunch in the charming Restaurante Casa Santa Clara from the steps of the church street art sugar cane extractor cutest capuccino ever gold art depicting the ritual of El Dorado - it would fit in your palm pre-Colombian thinker warrior gold-leafed conch shell poporo chieftain's body adornments getting directions to go up that mountain   We had a great time in Bogotá last week. Even though it was a long day…
  • Sofia Gubaidulina

    3 Mar 2015 | 4:50 am
      Last Sunday we had the privilege of premiering Die Pilger by Sofia Gubaidulina for Contempo, and we were doubly honored by her presence in Chicago and at our rehearsals. With several timpani, a gazillion gongs, glock, vibes and marimba, we had both Matthew and Doug manning the percussion. There was an initial snafu because the bass part is written for solo tuning, which wasn’t prominently noted on the part. This required Collins to take off his extension and put on a nut, as well as change all his strings, and it required me to transpose his part a step up because the violin and…
  • Paradise Picturebook

    23 Feb 2015 | 8:33 am
    Maui sky First sunset in Maui Aerial views of Honolulu Aerial views of Maui Chickens at the airport. Wild chickens were everywhere. The Grand Wailea waterfall. Getting leied Enjoying our first beach sunset in Maui Michael wondering whether the ubiquitous pay phones have dial tones. They do. Inland view from Diamond Head Crater View of Waikiki from Diamond Head Crater Even the airport gets rainbows in Hawaii. Above the clouds at Haleakala summit Another view above the clouds at Haleakala Cinder cones and wild colors inside the Haleakala crater Another view of Haleakala from the Sliding Sands…
  • From Winter Storm Linus to the Pineapple Express

    9 Feb 2015 | 5:49 pm
    We were so traumatized by the deep freeze of Chicago that even the torrential rains of the Pineapple Express delighted us.  I very reluctantly left my winter coat at home and shivered my way to O’Hare, only to step out at Sea-Tac to discover that we had basically brought all our snow with us, only it was melting over the city. Well, at least it was a balmy fifty degrees. The entire van ride from the airport was filled entirely with Tim and Michael whining about why they can’t get paid to live in Seattle. I haven’t spent as much time there as they have, but I’m…
  • digging out

    3 Feb 2015 | 8:22 am
    Halfway through Winter Storm Linus Monday's WOD: clear this car without blocking in the cars on either side. You can see I already took a shovel-full off the hood and am nowhere near touching paint.   I was feeling pretty smug watching New Englanders (my dad) get hit last week with 30 inches in some places, but then we got our comeuppance in a major way. The past couple days brought the fifth-largest blizzard to ever hit Chicago, with over 19 inches of snow in one day. Of course, the blizzard chose to hit on the one rare weekend we had to rehearse, so we were braving white-out conditions…
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    an unamplified voice

  • Met Council Finals 2015

    24 Mar 2015 | 6:10 am
    The program is above. Singers discussed below in order.Deniz Uzun (mezzo, 26)This German (by way of Indiana University) singer, like most of this year's lineup, showed a quite promisingly expressive timbre, solid from top to bottom (where she directed a number of her elaborations) with threads of quick vibrato. The performance, though, was a bit herky-jerky, both in body -- it seemed that most of the singers had decided to flap their limbs around on stage -- and, more worrisomely, in phrase. The Rossini just seemed uncoordinated, phrases going hither and thither, but the Carmen aria suggested…
  • Eva outside Paradise

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

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

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

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

  • Music beyond the Western straitjacket of twelve notes

    26 Mar 2015 | 9:29 am
    That photo was taken in Sidi Ifni during my recent travels in southern Morocco. Prominent on my playlist during those travels were recordings by Ensemble Al Kindi and its founder Julien Weiss. After a period on the fringes of the counterculture, French born Julien Weiss converted to Islam in 1983 and took the name Jâlal. In 1995 he made his home in a 14th century Mamelouk residence in Aleppo, which is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and was, until the recent terrible civil war, an important cultural center. Latterly Julien Weiss was based in France, appearing with Ensemble Al…
  • Think on these things

    1 Mar 2015 | 12:38 am
    Do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjecture or with logical inference or with weighing evidence or with liking for a view after pondering over it or with some else’s ability or with the thought 'The monk is our teacher'. When you know in yourselves: 'These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness', then you should practice and abide in them.With those words of the Buddha from the Kalama Sutta and a photo from my…
  • If there is a paradise, it is here, it is here

    27 Feb 2015 | 12:57 am
    The area of experience that 'mystical' and 'spiritual' refer to is often not empirically verifiable, that is, a camera can't photograph it, a scale can't weigh it, nor can words do much to describe it. It is not physical, emotional or mental, though it may partake of those three areas. Like the depths of our loving, mystical experience can be neither proven, nor deniedThat quote comes from Coleman Barks' introduction to his book The Soul of Rumi. I bought my copy last year in the estimable Full Circle Bookstore that is part of Café Turtle in Nizamuddin East Market near the shrine of the Sufi…
  • There could be worse ways to start a career

    26 Feb 2015 | 1:51 am
    In Amati magazine Jessica Duchen interviews the prodigiously talented young composer and conductor Duncan Ward. In the interview much is made of how Duncan Ward was "appointed as the first conducting scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie on the recommendation of Sir Simon Rattle", how he is working as assistant to Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic, and how the young composer is writing a piece for Rattle and his wife the mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená to perform. The interview comprehensively documents Duncan Ward's very impressive career to date but omits one fact: he…
  • Unsurpassed Haydn

    25 Feb 2015 | 12:56 pm
    The recent sad death of John McCabe cannot be allowed to pass without a mention of his recording of the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas for Decca in the 1970s. His account has never been surpassed and probably never will be surpassed. If somebody had told me ten years ago that I would now listen to more Haydn than any other composer I would have laughed at them. Which just goes to show that my world and my music are never one and the same.No review samples used in this post. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of…
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    The Naxos Blog

  • Sounds unusual

    27 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    There’s nothing unusual about any musical instrument to the person who is its master. But if you look at those commonly played by concerto soloists, there’s only a handful that have a repertoire of hundreds of works at their disposal. When asked to think beyond the many famous examples for violin or piano, for example, other masterpieces spring much less readily to mind, even from amongst the most familiar orchestral sections. Interestingly, the Holland Festival has announced an initiative to ‘Save the Bassoon’ in its 2015-16 season and use eight short world première…
  • Podcast: Poised purity. Poulenc’s choral settings.

    20 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    Raymond Bisha introduces the latest Naxos recording of the Elora Festival Singers in performances of Poulenc’s unaccompanied choral works. Transcending a backcloth of geopolitical and personal turmoil, these gems marry a delicacy of form with harmonic pungency, described by conductor Noel Edison as “like putting a stained glass to song.” Album details… Catalogue No.: 8.572978
  • Podcast: A forgotten founding father

    12 Mar 2015 | 9:00 am
    Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein – names such as these are familiar friends. But what constituted the musical bedrock from which they sprang? In this week’s podcast, conductor JoAnn Falletta discusses with Mark Simmons the vital contribution that composer John Knowles Paine made to the burgeoning roots of American music in the run-up to the twentieth century. Album details Catalogue No.: 8.559748
  • Podcast: A prodigious grasp. The music of Alan Hovhaness.

    6 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    There’s certainly something impressively expansive about the American composer Alan Hovhaness. The numbers alone command respect: having lived for almost 90 years, he notched up 434 compositions, including 67 symphonies. Conductor Gerard Schwarz weighs in with an equally admirable discography of more than 350 recordings, nine of them thankfully dedicated to Hovhaness’ music. In this week’s podcast Raymond Bisha surveys the latest recording from this artistic pairing, travelling space and time between the art of fugue, the soprano saxophone and a vision of Andromeda. Album details……
  • Oxymoron for Orchestra

    27 Feb 2015 | 12:00 am
    When is a concerto not a concerto? We’re all familiar with the term when it implies a soloist in a tug-of-tunes display, riding atop a generally subservient orchestra; and works such as the Brahms Double Concerto and the Beethoven Triple are a self-explanatory extension of that arrangement. The Baroque concerto grosso also neatly reflects the notion of a group of soloists being to the fore of the accompaniment. But the title ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ seems self-contradictory at first sight: who accompanies whom, and who gets to strut their stuff? It’s a convenient…
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    Classical CD Reviews

  • Strauss Feuersnot Schirmer

    Gavin Dixon
    18 Mar 2015 | 7:17 am
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  • Bruckner Symphonies 6 7 Jansons

    Gavin Dixon
    3 Mar 2015 | 1:40 am
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  • Der fliegende Holländer Nelsons Concertgebouw

    Gavin Dixon
    22 Feb 2015 | 2:18 am
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  • SCHNITTKE Concerto for Piano and Strings Proshayev

    Gavin Dixon
    8 Feb 2015 | 7:12 am
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  • Der Rosenkavalier, Welser-Möst, Kupfer

    Gavin Dixon
    25 Jan 2015 | 5:04 am
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  • 6 Light & Expressive Piano Pieces for The “Easy Days”

    Grace Miles
    26 Mar 2015 | 12:45 pm
    If you’re like me, a state of busy-ness doesn’t keep you away from music. In fact, it might turn you towards music for slight refuge. Today, I’d like to share some light and expressive piano pieces I’m itching to play this summer, plus my first composition in a long time (really, it’s more of a […]
  • If you’re having a bad day, read this.

    Grace Miles
    13 Mar 2015 | 6:43 pm
    My piano teacher would pretend to barf when I botched a piece of music. She’d say that Beethoven would rise from his grave to strangle me, her favourite question being all variations of, Why? Why would you play the rhythm this way? Why are you crying? She was in her fifties and was to undergo surgery for those large, glaring eyes. We’d clap sonata […]
  • 12 Pretty Chinese Piano Solos

    Grace Miles
    3 Mar 2015 | 10:13 am
    Asian music was based on the pentatonic scale. This was true for Chinese music, at least. I spent hours copying characters in Chinese school, and although the same pen strokes require more effort now, I can look back to that time of utter dedication for filling the square boxes with unending characters. It was like drilling music. On […]
  • 30 Second Social Hack: How to Be More Interesting

    Grace Miles
    17 Feb 2015 | 7:14 pm
    We can all be the life of the party– But what if it’s no party? Perhaps you’re in a one-on-one meeting and dressed impeccably, as far as your style allows (camo-style pleated pants are my favourites at the moment). Whether you’re pitching your skills or company, here’s a quick social hack that makes you more interesting. […]
  • Simple Rhythm Hacks for Musicians

    Grace Miles
    30 Jan 2015 | 6:51 am
    Rhythm can be frustrating. Sometimes it will come naturally, or not at all (you’ll know when it doesn’t). Over the years, I’ve built a sense of rhythm from the ground up. Here are the biggest activities that helped me master rhythm in music. Copy a jazz pianist If you still find yourself decoding rhythm after years of Classical music […]
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    Grand Piano Passion™

  • Creating the Layers of an Intricate Painting

    Guest Writer
    16 Mar 2015 | 2:00 am
    Contributing Artist Annika Connor uncovers the process of how her painting Augustus was created, from outline to filling in negative space to adding color.
  • Debussy’s Sarabande from Pour le Piano in Video

    Guest Writer
    2 Mar 2015 | 2:00 am
    Playing the Sarabande from Debussy's Pour le piano is like losing yourself in an Impressionist painting. Shirley Gruenhut performs the piece in this video.
  • Bach French Suite No. 4 Amplified

    Michael Brazile, Contributing Editor
    16 Feb 2015 | 2:00 am
    The Bach French Suite No. 4's Allemande is relatively short, making its contrapuntal demands on the player manageable; get tips on how to play the piece.
  • Nancy’s Piano Practice Notes: Tempo Rubato

    Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor
    2 Feb 2015 | 2:00 am
    The push and pull of tempo rubato is a tricky concept for this adult piano student, until she comes to understand rhythm through the poetry of Mary Oliver.
  • Faking It with My Hearing Loss

    Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor
    26 Jan 2015 | 2:00 am
    Faking is routine for those with hearing loss; Nancy M. Williams relies on the Bert and Ernie letter songs to overcome her tendency to fake conversation.
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  • Another day, another free worksheet. LMTA Rally Prep A free worksheet.

    18 Mar 2015 | 6:41 pm
    In Louisiana, there is a great program that gives piano students the opportunity for an end-of-year test. It’s called Rally. The students enter 4 separate parts geared toward their grade level: written test, sight reading, musicianship, performance. The Louisiana Music Teacher’s Association (LMTA) provides a syllabus to help students prepare for Rally. For the first level, Prep A, the written test requires that students be able to do the following: Ear Training: Recognize highness and lowness of pitch using wide intervals. Recognize melodic direction (up, down, same). To help my…
  • Freebie Friday! Easy piano arrangement of Mardi Gras Mambo

    30 Jan 2015 | 3:41 pm
    It’s that time of year. The first (and arguably the best) parade of the Mardi Gras season is happening this weekend, so, as a personal celebration, I decided to create and share an easy piano version of the Mardi Gras classic “Mardi Gras Mambo.” You can hear it below as performed by The Hawketts: As with all New Orleans’ music, the rhythm is the only thing that might be a little tricky for beginners. The music uses the triads C, F, and G , and G7  in the positions as below as shown in cadence: C major cadence (using G7 chord) It also includes dotted quarter notes, 8th…
  • Free Piano Concert at Tulane this Friday

    28 Jan 2015 | 11:09 am
    Tulane Classical Piano Series Presents             Alexander Korsantia        Friday, January 30, 8:00 pm         Dixon Hall, Tulane University                 Free admission, open to public Alexander Korsantia Program: Fifteen Variations with the Fugue in E flat major, Op 35                  L. V. Beethoven Sonata Op 7 in E flat major                                                                   L. V. Beethoven Allegro molto e con brio Largo, con gran espressione…
  • Helping Your Music Student Practice – 10 Tips for Parents

    22 Jan 2015 | 9:05 pm
    image via One of the things that teachers might forget is that a beginning music student needs to learn how to practice – a process that takes some many years. When the student is young and under a parent’s care, help from a parent is vital in helping the student in that process. Unless the student’s parents took lessons themselves, parents need a little help helping their student. And even parents who took as children might need a refresher. So here’s a easy guide that you can point your parents to. 1.  Practice area should be free from…
  • Happy Friday! Watch this 6 year old play Boogie Woogie with Count Basie

    16 Jan 2015 | 5:30 pm
    As a Capitol Records recording artist, circa 1950. (via wikipedia) Sadly, he is not one of New Orleans’ native sons. But you can’t win ‘em all. Quite a talent though! From Wikipedia: Frank Isaac Robinson (born December 28, 1938),[1] known in his early career as a musician as Sugar Chile Robinson, is anAmericanblues and boogie-woogie pianist, singer, and later psychologist, whose career began as a child prodigy. Robinson was born in Detroit, Michigan. At an early age he showed unusual gifts singing the blues and accompanying himself on the piano. According to contemporary…
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    Classical Music Headphones

  • Best Headphones under $200

    28 Feb 2015 | 11:57 pm
    Best Headphones under $200 We’ve had a round up of the best headphones under $100, and the best headphones under $300, so it’s ridiculous that we haven’t had a round-up of headphones in the $200 price range. When you invest $100-$200 on a pair of headphones, you expect great sound and great build quality. All The post Best Headphones under $200 appeared first on Classical Music Headphones.
  • Best Headphones Under $300

    Matthew Simpson
    28 Feb 2015 | 8:55 pm
    Welcome to our round up of the best headphones under $300!. Headphones in this price range are generally known as mid-range headphones, but in fact they are my favorite type of headphones. They hit the sweet spot: they are a monumental improvement over the under-$100 range headphones. But the sound improvements you find in ‘high-end The post Best Headphones Under $300 appeared first on Classical Music Headphones.
  • The 5 Best Laptop Headphones

    Matthew Simpson
    28 Feb 2015 | 7:23 pm
    Now that I work from home, the headphones I use for my laptop have suddenly become very important to me. As our laptops (and portable devices like the iPad) becoming our new ‘offices’, having a pair of comfortable, noise-isolating laptop headphones has become an essential productivity tool. So if you work in an office, at The post The 5 Best Laptop Headphones appeared first on Classical Music Headphones.
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    Classical Commentary: Barry Lenson's Classical Music Blog

  • Did George Gershwin Orchestrate his Own Compositions? And Should We Care?

    Barry Lenson
    18 Mar 2015 | 8:40 am
    Back when I was in conservatory, I heard lots of students and faculty members dismiss George Gershwin (1897-1938) on the grounds that, “He couldn’t even orchestrate his own compositions.”I was reminded of that opinion the other day when I was listening on my car radio to “Catfish Row,” an orchestral suite from Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Boy, are those melodies wonderful. Boy, is that orchestration good. But I was unsettled to realize that the orchestration of that work simply sounds a lot different from that of An American in Paris,which has been getting a lot of air time…
  • Buy Your Tickets Today for the Chicago Bach Project’s St. John Passion on March 20

    Barry Lenson
    24 Feb 2015 | 7:11 am
    A year ago I encouraged my readers in Chicago to reserve tickets early for an upcoming performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion that took place at the Harris Theater. Some Chicagoans did just that and told me afterwards that the performance, conducted by John Nelson, was exceptionally inspiring.  Apparently John von Rhein, the music critic at the Chicago Tribune, agreed. In his review of Maestro Nelson and that performance, he wrote . . ."He led a splendid team of soloists, chorus and orchestra in a fervent, moving account of one of the great monuments of Western music. This was the…
  • Carl Orff, Hockey Composer

    Barry Lenson
    5 Feb 2015 | 1:57 pm
    I went to see the New Jersey Devils play the Pittsburgh Penguins last week, and I have a piece of advice to offer you. If you are a musician or a music-lover who values your hearing or your sanity, you should never attend a professional hockey game.  The volume of sound is cranium-cracking. The hair-curdling music and organ-playing and midi files pause only momentarily while the game of hockey – remember that was why you attended? – is actually taking place.  When play is not happening, there is not one second when fans are not being manipulated or motivated or marketed to with…
  • Why Does Music Sound Like Music the Way It Does? Part II: Modes

    Barry Lenson
    27 Jan 2015 | 12:37 pm
    “Mode” can be defined as the arrangement of notes within a musical scale – the sequence of whole tones and half tones within an octave. In ancient times, both Plato and Aristotle believed that music that had been composed in different modes would cause listeners to feel different emotions. Later, in the 6th century, a Roman philosopher/theorist named Boethius attempted to reconstruct what those Greek modes were. Then a few centuries after that, early church musicians used the modes identified by Boethius to define modes that could be used to write Christian liturgical music.Different…
  • The Darker, Druggier Side of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker

    Barry Lenson
    8 Jan 2015 | 8:28 am
    Last December, like all Decembers, was “Nutcracker month” again.I was fascinated to read a review of the New York City Ballet’s production by Anthony Tommasini, the venerable music critic of The New York Times.  (“A Classic Retains its Power to Enthrall," December 26, 2015.) Mr. Tommasini offers an unusually valuable perspective on the work: that of someone who is just a little bit surprised to rediscover something of great and unusual merit in Nutcracker.   I urge you to take a look at his review. He wrote:I was impressed anew by the mix of intelligence and charm…
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    Stars & Catz » Classical Music & Opera Buzz

  • Reports: Putin gives Gergiev a Pacific opera house + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    27 Mar 2015 | 12:41 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   ASCAP Announces 2015 Morton Gould Young Composer Award Winners – Selected from an application pool of more than 600 submissions, 28 young composers (plus an additional seven accorded honorable mention) will be recognized at the annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards at Merkin Concert Hall in New York on […]
  • 'Jeux' people play: Classical music inspired by sports + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    26 Mar 2015 | 12:10 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Wang Triumphs in Shostakovich and Gershwin –  Britten, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Colin Matthews, Gershwin: Yuja Wang (piano), Philip Cobb (trumpet), London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor), Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco. 22-23.3.2015 (HS) Program 22 March Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No… Continue […]
  • Late Sonatas: András Schiff at the Berliner Philharmonie + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    25 Mar 2015 | 11:41 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Exclusive leak: Peter Gelb rages at ‘inaccurate’ New Yorker profile – The general manager of the Metropolitan Opera has circulated the following bruised-ego letter, with attachments, to his board, complaining about an essentially pro-Met article: Dear Fellow Members of the Board, As you know, The New Yorker recently […]
  • Ernest Tomlinson: Sweet & Dainty + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    24 Mar 2015 | 11:11 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Five Articles People Should Stop Writing – In the silver age of new media, one might think that the proliferation of new voices and platforms would expand discussions about classical music. By and large, it has done exactly that; at the same time, it has also served as […]
  • Uplifting Lunchtime Beethoven from the Signum String Quartet + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    10 Mar 2015 | 12:54 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   MusicUNTOLD postrpones Musa Ngqungwana’s booksigning of ODYSSEY OF AN AFRICAN OPERA SINGER to Fall 2015 when he will perform in LA Opera’s MOBY DICK –    Odyssey Of An African Opera Singer:From Zwide Township To The World StageMusa Ngqungwanawww.musangqungwana.comJohn Malveaux of writes:MusicUNTOLD will  reschedule Musa Ngqungwana ODYSSEY OF AN OPERA SINGER booksigning […]
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    The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical Music News Source

  • Finalists Announced at 2015 Seoul International Violin Competition

    27 Mar 2015 | 6:10 am
    The 6 Finalists have today been announced at the 2015 Seoul International Violin Competition in Seoul, Korea. The 2015 Finalists are: 28 year old Xiao Wang from China 17 year old Ayana Tsuji from Japan 19 year old Stephen Kim from the United States 27 year old Petteri Iivonen from Finland 20 year old Christine Seohyun Lim from the United States 27 year old Suliman Tekalli from the United States The final round will be held on the 28th and 29th of March, with this year’s 1st prize winner to receive US $50,000 and a number of international engagements. This year’s jury comprises:…
  • American Violin Dealer Charles Magby Jr Handed 8 Year Suspended Jail Sentence

    26 Mar 2015 | 1:06 pm
    Connecticut luthier and fine instrument dealer Charles Magby Jr has today been handed down an 8-year suspended jail sentence, in a US Superior Court – and forced to repay almost US $400,000 to former customers. Magby Jr, of the now defunct Charles H. Magby Jr Fine Violins, was convicted on three counts of first-degree larceny – but entered a plea agreement arranged by prosecutors, the victims and his attorney, hinged on his ability to repay $379,000. One consigner, who entrusted Magby with her Lorenzo Ventapane cello, testified Magby sold the instrument in 2012 for $165,000…
  • MEET THE PROS | VC ‘Young Artist’ Stephen Waarts – ‘VC 20 Questions’ [VIDEO]

    26 Mar 2015 | 10:41 am
    The Violin Channel recently caught up with VC ‘Young Artist’, violinist Stephen Waarts – on the eve of his prestigious New York City, Merkin Concert Hall recital debut. We sat the 18 year old Menuhin Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions 1st prize winner down, for a fun game of ‘VC 20 Questions’ – to help gain some fascinating insight into the man behind the music. MEET THE PROS | VC ’20 QUESTIONS’ | VC ‘YOUNG ARTIST’ STEPHEN WAARTS | YOUNG CONCERT ARTISTS   The post MEET THE PROS | VC ‘Young Artist’…
  • VC BUZZ | *** World First *** Eric Silberger, Paganini 24th Caprice Layered Variations [VIDEO]

    26 Mar 2015 | 9:04 am
    American violin virtuoso Eric Silberger performing Paganini’s 24th Solo Caprice, with all variations layered – for the first time in history. Produced and shot by Lara St John. ERIC SILBERGER | PAGANINI | SOLO CAPRICE 24 | LAYERED VARIATIONS | WORLD FIRST   The post VC BUZZ | *** World First *** Eric Silberger, Paganini 24th Caprice Layered Variations [VIDEO] appeared first on The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical Music News Source.
  • Dancing Violinist Lindsey Stirling Honoured at YouTube Music Awards

    25 Mar 2015 | 8:14 pm
    American electric dance violinist Lindsey Stirling has been announced today as 1 of 50 global artists recognised at the 2015 YouTube Music Awards, in Los Angeles. Awarded based on growth in Youtube video views, number of subscribers and engagement over the past 6 months, Stirling shared the accolade with luminaries including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Beyonce. LINDSEY STERLING | CRYSTALLIZE | DUBSTEP VIOLIN ORIGINAL SONG “The 50 artists selected were viewed more than 47 billion times and collectively have more than 164 million subscribers,” YouTube have said in a statement. Stirling has…
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    Stephen P Brown

  • How to make a remarkable impact during a concert

    27 Mar 2015 | 4:38 am
      Smile a lot. That’s it! It is not a difficult strategy, but it seems to be one that eludes most classical music performers across the globe. And it is a strategy! You may be fooled into thinking that a performer showing a facial expression during a concert is a reaction, and sometimes it can be, but 98% of the time smiling is a result of a choice you make. A very simple choice that, without it, is preventing you from filling your concert halls and having your audiences return again and again. The specific choice I am talking about is not the one in which you decide to enjoy your…
  • #PsalmQuest 41 progress 4: double stopping

    27 Mar 2015 | 4:00 am
    Click on the picture to enlarge Once you start, you can only stop once. Right? So why is there a string playing technique called double-stopping? It’s an easy concept to understand: Think of a length of string pulled tight between two chairs. Pluck it in the middle with one hand and watch it vibrate. With the other hand, hold the string about one-third of the way along. Pluck the string in the middle of the longer section. Watch the plucked side vibrate whilst the shorter side does not. That is “stopping” the string. If you clip pegs or tie balloons on the strings between…
  • #PsalmQuest 41 progress 3: Retro is in!

    26 Mar 2015 | 4:00 am
    Click on the picture to enlarge. Something else you may have noticed in yesterday’s picture (repeated above)… Especially if you read music. Retrograde. That is a musical term for “moving backwards.” It is a composition technique to play music [sort of] backwards. Look closely at the patterns in the first eight bars, and see them repeated in reverse in the next eight bars. They are not an exact mirror, although some composers do that, but the essence is the same. Just… backwards! 1980 parachute pants and big hair That’s a good thing because in the USA, the…
  • #PsalmQuest 41 progress 2: Know when it is time

    25 Mar 2015 | 4:00 am
    Click on the picture to enlarge. Funny this is happening now… Do you notice anything spectacularly different in the picture above compared to yesterday’s picture? Apart from the fact that the music in today’s score is completely different, it is also missing a bunch of instruments. I have decided to return to my original plan and write a piece for solo violin. Instead of a Wedding “Suite” it will now be simply a Wedding “Song.” It is important to know when to quit, but far more important to actually do so. Right now I am dealing with the negative…
  • #PsalmQuest 41 progress 1: Too much ambition

    24 Mar 2015 | 4:00 am
    Click on the picture to enlarge   I may have bitten off more than I can chew. #PsalmQuest 41 was supposed to be a little suite of mini-pieces – a set of six pieces to reflect the different elements of a wedding. And that kind of ambition can lead to trouble: paralysis. As the exit music is usually the most remembered musical element of a wedding,  I decided to start at the end and write the triumphant, joyful, energetic march first. After three attempts I still only have a couple of bars and am not convinced. What followed was devastating. I couldn’t write anything! Several…
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    The Amati Magazine

  • NEWS: Top violinist weds top critic

    Jessica Duchen
    27 Mar 2015 | 1:55 am
    Alina Ibragimova. Photo (c) Sussie Ahlburg Our social secretary reports that star violinist Alina Ibragimova and Tom Service, presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters and music blogger for The Guardian, have tied the knot. The bride wore a white gown with layers of draped tulle and the groom full Scottish kilted regalia; and the cake was a thing of magnificence, tier upon tier of individually wrapped and flounced fruit gateaux. Huge congratulations to a much-loved couple who roundly demolish the notion that artists and critics must be at loggerheads. The Amati Magazine wishes them…
  • Richard III – a surprise musical tribute

    Jessica Duchen
    26 Mar 2015 | 6:57 am
    Today in Leicester the bones of Richard III are being interred in the cathedral with a great deal of pomp and circumstance, complete with Benedict Cumberbatch reading a poem. Despite longing for a musical stage work to match Shakespeare’s artistry with musicianship – “An opera, an opera, my kingdom for an opera?” – it turns out that the story of Richard III is not in fact a stranger to musical adaptation. Big thanks to Amati contributor Richard Bratby, who is famed for his knowledge of rare and extraordinary repertoire, for alerting us to the 1858 symphonic…
  • Contemporary Strings: Pierre Boulez’s Anthèmes II

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    25 Mar 2015 | 11:00 pm
    Pierre Boulez, the seismic, divisive genius who has virtually defined contemporary music since the end of World War II, is 90 today. To celebrate, Tim Rutherford-Johnson takes a look at his extraordinary work for solo violin and digital electronics, Anthèmes II   Boulez in action. Photo: Philippe Gontier/DGG Ever since the late 1980s, when computers became fast enough to keep up with live performance, composers have written for acoustic instruments augmented with digital electronics. Pierre Boulez is no exception. As the first director of Paris’ IRCAM research centre…
  • CONCERT OF THE WEEK: Christian Tetzlaff/London

    Peter Somerford
    25 Mar 2015 | 9:31 am
    A stand-in with a difference: Christian Tetzlaff Photo (c) Giorgia Bertazzi Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, 26 March As stand-in violinists go, the Southbank Centre struck lucky with Christian Tetzlaff, who replaces an ill Midori this Thursday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Japanese-born star would have been playing a selection of Bach sonatas and partitas – music with which Tetzlaff is intimately acquainted, having twice recorded the complete set and more than once performed all six works in a single concert. For this recital, the German…
  • NEWS: BBC features restoration of Gaza piano

    Jessica Duchen
    24 Mar 2015 | 3:32 am
    Claire Bertrand begins the regulation of the piano, watched by Tim Whewell The BBC’s reporter Tim Whewell has been watching the restoration of Gaza’s only grand piano, following many years during which blockade and bombardment against the rule of Hamas has reduced swathes of the densely populated strip of land to rubble. This week, in extensive coverage on both radio and TV, he tells the story of how Gaza’s only grand piano is being given a new lease of life, and of how music, for so long played behind closed doors, is being reintroduced to school children. The destroyed…
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  • The 18 Weirdest And Funniest Craigslist Ads For Musicians

    Liviu Craciun
    28 Mar 2015 | 6:33 am
    You can always count on Craigslist for some highly questionable listings but we all know the free online classifieds site has a reputation for publishing some unusual, funny or just plain strange ads. Most musicians who post an ad on Craigslist are just looking to start a band, find a gig or sell an instrument. But then there are the others. 1. Husband wants a rusty trombone for his birthday 2. Harpist and Idiot 3. High Fives For Any Musical Instrument 4. Acoustic Western “Guiter” 5. “Speekers” For Sale 6. Itzhak Perlman, the Violinist 7. Nude Musicians Needed 8.
  • The Brooklyn Duo plays Downton Abbey

    Jordan Smith
    26 Mar 2015 | 10:32 am
    The Brooklyn Duo are a piano and cello collaboration founded in 2014. But already within the first year of their existence, they’ve made quite a name for themselves by giving popular music a classical twist. They’ve reworked a range of music, from Tailor Swift’s Blank Space to their latest video published on Youtube, the theme from the television series Downton Abbey. Patrick Laird, who is the cellist in the duo, has already won a reputation for combining classical music with more popular styles. He founded the cello rock group Break of Reality, and he is their main songwriter. As well…
  • A Fascinating Piano Transcription of Ysaÿe’s Solo Violin Sonata No. 3 “Ballade”

    Tom Head
    26 Mar 2015 | 9:30 am
    It is self-evident that Eugéne Ysaÿe (1858-1931) wrote his own Violin Sonata No. 3, but he might not have considered himself its only author; he dedicated it to his younger contemporary, the Romanian composer George Enescu (1881-1955), and wrote it as an homage to Enescu’s style. Ysaÿe did something like this for all six of his violin sonatas, dedicating each of them to the work of a contemporaneous European composer, each hailing from a different country, each in possession of a distinctive sound. I personally would not have recognized Enescu in Ysaÿe’s third violin sonata if I…
  • These Four Little Swans From Japan Will Bring A Smile To Your Face

    Liviu Craciun
    26 Mar 2015 | 6:01 am
    ‘Pas de quatre’ is a French term referring to a dance in ballet among four people, literally translating as “step for four.” One of the most famous pas de quatre is the dance of the four little swans, or the “pas de cygnets” in the second act of Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This famous dance is very recognizable and it usually shows the four female dancers with their arms interlinked, performing quick steps in unison.   Dance World Made in Takane entertains the audience at the Tanzolymp International Dance Festival with their innovative and…
  • Can You Name These Latin American Composers? Take the Quiz!

    Tom Head
    25 Mar 2015 | 10:23 am
    The post Can You Name These Latin American Composers? Take the Quiz! appeared first on CMUSE.
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