Classical Music

  • Most Topular Stories

  • Rest in Peace, Jennifer Holbrook

    Charles T. Downey
    26 Jan 2015 | 6:10 am
    The news of the tragic death of the gifted young soprano Jennifer Holbrook rippled through the community of singers and musicians who knew her in Baltimore and Washington this past week. Described by her colleagues as "a beautiful and outrageously talented singer and mother" and a "wonderful colleague and friend," Jennifer was an accomplished alumna of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
  • Bavarian Opera goes for same-sex, mixed-race kiss

    Slipped Disc
    norman lebrecht
    27 Jan 2015 | 1:20 am
    This is the arresting cover of the new issue of the Bayerische Staatsoper magazine, Max Joseph. Can’t see it happening at Covent Garden or the Met.
  • Nirvana Hit Gets Piano/Harp Makeover

    D Grant Smith
    25 Jan 2015 | 2:45 am
    The song that launched grunge rock into the mainstream is arguably Nirvana’s 1991 hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. Transforming the Seattle-based rock trio into overnight music superstars, this single became a Billboard #1 song and made Nevermind a platinum release. Now, over twenty years later, the scream rock anthem has found a new voice. Whereas many rock bands and other performers have tried to cover this alt-rock hit, past endeavours have come up short on connecting with music fans. It is a hard track to replicate, with Kurt Cobain’s signature angst-rock style the focal point of the…
  • China’s Cultural Devolution

    The Naxos Blog
    22 Jan 2015 | 8:00 am
    China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76) was a turbulent decade that took no prisoners in sweeping away the ‘Four Olds’ – old customs, old habits, old ideas and old culture. As far as artistic matters were concerned, the dictat meant that western music was suddenly a no-no in the new socio-political order, with practitioners frequently uprooted, relocated and rigorously retrained (often as farmers). Generally speaking, those outside China remain largely in the dark about this period in history, even though musical products of that era have subsequently washed up on their…
  • Perchance to Stream: Alberta Clipper Edition

    Charles T. Downey
    25 Jan 2015 | 10:10 am
    Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio and online video from the week gone by. After clicking to an audio or video stream, you may need to press the "Play" button to start the broadcast. Some of these streams become unavailable after a few days. In a concert from Amsterdam, Ivan Fischer conducts the sixth and seventh symphonies of Beethoven with the Royal Concertgebouw
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    Slipped Disc

  • New York violinist murder: two plead not guilty

    norman lebrecht
    27 Jan 2015 | 2:55 am
    The murder of Mary Whitaker last summer at her home in upstate New York horrified the music community. Mary was a well-loved member of several orchestras, a person with a ready smile for all and no known enemies. Two men, Jonathan Conklin, 43, and Charles Sanford, 30, were swiftly arrested in Buffalo. Their trial has just begun. Both pleaded not guilty. Read more here.
  • Sicklist: Vienna Phil flies in soprano sub from New York

    norman lebrecht
    27 Jan 2015 | 2:39 am
    Genia Kühmeier* has pulled out of a Mozart aria concert this Saturday. So the VPO have called in Marina Rebeka, who is just winding up a month at the Met, as Violetta and Musetta. Toi-toi to her. *(not, as previously reported Diana Damrau)
  • Darkness in Spain as top classical promoter considers bankruptcy

    norman lebrecht
    27 Jan 2015 | 2:14 am
    Ibermusica, the premier Spanish concerts organisation, has disclosed a one million Euro deficit. The family company, which has brought the world’s great orchestras and artists to Spain since 1971, has taken a devastating hit since the Euro debt crash. ‘Until four years ago the season was always sold through subscriptions,’ says the company’s founder, Alfonso Aijón, 83. ‘We reached 4,800 subscribers and had a waiting list. People renewed automatically. But this year we have dropped one-eighth, a hole of nearly one million Euros.’ Read here, and fear.
  • Tragic death of gifted US soprano, aged 30

    norman lebrecht
    27 Jan 2015 | 1:37 am
    The death has been reported of Jennifer Holbrook, an outstanding Peabody graduate whose professional roles included Violetta, Adalgisa, Manon (Massenet) and Leila (Pearl Fishers). Jennifer died in Philadelphia a week ago. No cause of death has been disclosed. She leaves a partner, William Davenport, who is also an opera singer; and their two year-old daughter, Eleanor. Words fail. Fb picture posted Christmas Eve, 2014
  • Bavarian Opera goes for same-sex, mixed-race kiss

    norman lebrecht
    27 Jan 2015 | 1:20 am
    This is the arresting cover of the new issue of the Bayerische Staatsoper magazine, Max Joseph. Can’t see it happening at Covent Garden or the Met.
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  • Broadening The Perspective On Equal Pay For Equal Work

    Drew McManus
    27 Jan 2015 | 12:00 am
    When we started examining the topic of equal pay for equal work as applied to substitute orchestra musicians, otherwise known as parity, we compared the parity rate at US and Canadian orchestras in an article from 2/26/2014. At that time, just over two thirds of Canadian symphonic orchestras maintained parity, which was twice the rate of US ensembles. Unfortunately, I left out one important variable in that examination, the only professional unionized US orchestra that isn’t part of the AFM: the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (SSO). As an aside, in case you aren’t already familiar…
  • Get To Know Your Millennials

    Drew McManus
    26 Jan 2015 | 12:10 am
    I published an article today at that examines an entirely useful infographic from about the marketing and employment habits of Millennials. It’s a wonderfully comprehensive infographic in that it doesn’t gloss over a few key points and instead, focuses on a broader data cross section. At the same time, the data is presented from the value perspective of a typical commercial enterprise but the ArtsHacker post covers a few key excerpts that are uniquely applicable to performing arts orgs, including brand loyalty, influencer-influencee symbiosis, and how to…
  • Labor Unrest Continues To Impact Retention

    Drew McManus
    23 Jan 2015 | 12:00 am
    There’s a fascinating article in the 1/22/2015 edition of by Mark Gresham featuring an interview with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) new Principal Bassoon, Keith Buncke. Prior to winning the CSO audition, Buncke served in the same position with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and when asked about that organization’s recent lockout and history of labor unrest as reason for seeking work elsewhere, Buncke had some intriguing replies. Buncke handled the question with a great deal of poise while simultaneously remaining candid. I think the ASO’s…
  • Apparently A Lot Of People Want To KILL DE WABBIT!

    Drew McManus
    22 Jan 2015 | 12:00 am
    On 1/16/2015, The New York Philharmonic (NYP) posted a video clip on their Facebook page of the Bugs Bunny At The Symphony II show to help promote their events on 5/15 and 5/16. Since then, it’s racked up more than 3 million views, nearly 25,000 likes, over 1,400 comments, and more than 66,000 shares. For patrons, the show is a regular draw and for orchestras and presenters, it has been a steady investment. If you haven’t looked into the show recently as a programming option, I highly recommend doing so. The show’s co-creator, George Daugherty, wrote a wonderful Take A…
  • Three Big Mistakes To Avoid When Negotiating Overscale

    Drew McManus
    21 Jan 2015 | 12:00 am
    Part of my traditional consulting includes providing direct negotiation services and/or providing negotiation counsel and support for musicians, executives, music directors, and boards seeking to create or amend an individual work agreement. For musicians, these are colloquially known as overscale contracts and among those three stakeholders, it isn’t unusual to see a musician inadvertently limit his/her potential earnings due to falling victim to one or more of these three common bear traps. If you aren’t familiar with individual overscale agreements, these are the contracts that…
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  • Blogging from Estonia: Creative Energy and New Perspectives

    Heather Stebbins
    26 Jan 2015 | 6:43 am
    Here in Tallinn, I am under the impression that if one has even the smallest idea for a concert, it will happen with little to no red tape.
  • The 2015 CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and Other New Music at CMA

    Frank J. Oteri
    23 Jan 2015 | 11:54 am
    The 2015 CMA/ASCAP Awards, the "New Music from CMA" commissions’ concert, and the majority of the ensemble showcases at the 37th national conference of Chamber Music America provided a real immersive new music experience—one in which definitions were constantly being expanded and which celebrated diversity and inclusivity.
  • Rugged Individualism Meets the Orchestra—A Snapshot of the 2015 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

    Eugene Birman
    23 Jan 2015 | 7:30 am
    The hall was full, energetic, anxious for the Future Classics concert, the culmination of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. But one must ask the question. If the appetite for new music is so huge here, why aren't more American orchestras doing this?
  • New Music USA Awards $284,250 to 62 Projects

    NewMusicBox Staff
    22 Jan 2015 | 12:00 pm
    New Music USA announced yesterday its third round of project grants awards, totaling $284,250 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The program recognizes and supports the multiple roles composers and contemporary music practitioners play in the artistic landscape and responds to the creative spirit of collaboration between artists […]
  • Meeting of New Music Minds at SF Gathering

    NewMusicBox Staff
    22 Jan 2015 | 9:23 am
    The inaugural New Music Gathering in San Francisco was proof in action that an environment that removes the problems of proximity, competition, and ego can generate an immense amount of collaboration, friendship, and growth.
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    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

  • Who is ... ?

    Alex Ross
    24 Jan 2015 | 9:35 am
    A recent clue on Jeopardy. No one got it.
  • Leaving Midtown

    Alex Ross
    23 Jan 2015 | 8:13 pm
    The New Yorker ends a fifteen-year stint at 4 Times Square.
  • Fogbound hummingbird miscellany

    Alex Ross
    22 Jan 2015 | 5:23 am
    The New York Philharmonic has announced its 2015-16 season. The principal news is that Esa-Pekka Salonen is beginning a term as composer-in-residence, presiding over a Messiaen series in March of next year and introducing a new large-scale orchestral piece the following June, as part of the second edition of the Biennial. Also notable: the première of an Andrew Norman piano concerto on Dec. 10, 2015.... Some meaty offerings at this summer's Lincoln Center Festival: the celebrated MusikFabrik production of Partch's Delusion of the Fury, a Danny Elfman / Tim Burton evening, a…
  • King

    Alex Ross
    19 Jan 2015 | 4:23 pm
  • Gay Berlin

    Alex Ross
    18 Jan 2015 | 9:04 pm
    Berlin Story. The New Yorker, Jan. 26, 2014. Previously: Love on the March, Harry Kessler, Mann in Love.
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  • New Music at the Lincoln Center Festival

    Jerry Bowles
    23 Jan 2015 | 11:40 am
    The Lincoln Center Festival schedule is out and, as usual, it has lots of goodies for new music lovers.  The festival opens with Danny Elfman’s music from the films of Tim Burton, July 6-12.  Expect lots of fans dressed as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorshands and, alas, Batman.  Of more interest to the hardcore, the Queens-based piano and percussion chamber ensemble Yarn/Wire will debut new works from three extraordinary contemporary French composers—Tristan Murail, Misato Mochizuki, and Raphaël Cendo—at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse. For the really hardcore,…
  • ICE Gets $450,000 from Mellon Foundation for OpenICE Initiative

    Jerry Bowles
    22 Jan 2015 | 12:54 pm
    The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) has received a $450,000 award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support OpenICE, a new  initiative, that will yield more than 150 new concerts featuring more than 60 newly commissioned works over the next three years. The concerts will be presented through seasons in ICE’s home cities of New York and Chicago, as well as new seasons in cities and rural areas throughout the United States, and will extend internationally to diverse corners of the world including Greenland and the Amazonas region of Brazil that have little to no access to…
  • Upcoming: American Modern Ensemble at SubCulture on 1/15

    Garrett Schumann
    13 Jan 2015 | 4:48 am
    In two days, the American Modern Ensemble joins forces with Del Sol, JACK and PUBLIQuartet to tackle a dynamic program of premieres and 21st-century stalwarts involving string quartet. Members of AME will start the evening by premiering Jacob Bancks‘ String Theory, for string quartet, and return to deliver premieres of Sidney Boquiren‘s in a mirror dimly, for string quartet and harp, and Robert Paterson‘s I See You for string orchestra and “tape”. Del Sol will play Chinary Ung‘s Sprial X “In Memoriam”, which violinist Charleton Lee describes as,…
  • New Music at Spoleto USA 2015

    Jerry Bowles
    9 Jan 2015 | 1:52 pm
    Next to the early and unlikely appearance of Mr. Eliot’s cruelest  camellias, the most anticipated January event for many of us wintering in the Low Country is the arrival (in the other mailbox out by the street) of the annual printed Spoleto USA program. For those of you who may not know much about it, Spoleto USA is one of the world’s major arts festivals–bigger and better, for example, than the annual summer Lincoln Center Festival, whose programming is similar.  It is safe to say that Spoleto USA has been a key factor in making Charleston, SC–also blessed…
  • Best New Music 2014

    George Grella
    22 Dec 2014 | 11:33 am
    Cross-posted from my home site, The Big City, here are my lists for top new music recordings of the year, in a few different categories: Best 2014 Albums of New Classical Music: Dan Becker, Fade. Not just a set of excellent compositions, but a rarity in classical music, a set that is thought-out and made to work as an album. Becker’s music shares some of the hints of pop sensibility with that of Michael Torke, but has a tougher, more abstract edge. Terrific chamber pieces, played b y the Common Sense and New Millenium Ensembles, are interspersed with Diskclavier realizations of…
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    Classical Performance Podcast

  • Debussy, from the Borromeo Quartet

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    19 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Borromeo String Quartet plays Debussy Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 Borromeo String Quartet: Nicholas Kitchen, violin; William Fedkenheuer, violin; Mai Motobuchi, viola; Yeesun Kim, cello Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio, June 28, 2002 © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation (photo by Eli Akerstein)
  • Xiang Yu Plays Mozart and Dvorak

    WGBH Educational Foundation
    12 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu plays Mozart, Dvorak and Massenet *** Mozart: String Duo No. 1 in G Major for Violin and Viola, K. 423 Angelo Xiang Yu, violin; Kim Kashkashian, viola Dvorak: Sonatina for Violin and Piano Angelo Xiang Yu, violin; Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, piano Massenet: Meditation, from “Thais” Angelo Xiang Yu, violin +++ Recorded at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation
  • From the Steinway Society Piano Competition: Angelique Scully

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

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

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

    26 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    How do dancers create something new in every performance of The Nutcracker?
  • Making "Merry"

    25 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Star and director of the Met's new production of The Merry Widow spoke with Matt Dobkin about the enduring charms of Lehár's enchanting operetta.
  • Birth of the American Orchestra

    24 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Winston Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra delve into the Birth of the American Orchestra.
  • Celebrating Ailey's Women

    23 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Jacqueline Green remembers the first time she saw an Ailey dancer up close.
  • Reclaiming Bel Canto

    23 Jan 2015 | 8:00 am
    Filled with vocal pyrotechnics, infectious melodies, and riveting drama, bel canto operas like Rossini's The Barber of Seville have delighted audiences for more than 200 years.
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  • WAM. Wunderlich.

    27 Jan 2015 | 4:43 am
    It's Mozart's birthday. I'm on a bit of a Mozart high at present - doing a talk about him last night at the Wigmore Hall has left me a bit tearful and giddy and lovestruck, even though this is music I've known for more than four decades. It's so easy to take him for granted. We shouldn't. He's a miracle. And for those of you who were at the Wigmore last night - the more I think about it, the more I really believe that he was indeed the first Romantic.Here's the great tenor aria from Die Zauberflöte, sung in 1965 with piano accompaniment by Fritz Wunderlich.
  • Tax relief for orchestras: the small print...

    23 Jan 2015 | 8:03 am
    Please note: orchestras haven't actually got tax relief yet. But a government consultation is beginning to explore the proposal. Here is the Incorporated Society of Musicians' latest statement on the matter, pointing out some small print that needs a little attention.Good news for musicians as orchestral tax relief consultation begins‘Consultation on tax relief is good news’ say professional musicians, ‘but don’t forget to respond to the consultation to make it even better.’Professional musicians have welcomed the Government’s consultation on a proposed tax relief for…
  • Next few days...

    23 Jan 2015 | 2:46 am
    Tomorrow (24th) I am at the Richmondshire Subscription Concerts in North Yorkshire for a welcome reunion with Bradley Creswick (violin) and Margaret Fingerhut (piano) in Hungarian Dances, the Concert of the Novel. Do come along for Gypsy-style virtuoso thrills, gorgeous repertoire and a roller-coaster narrative from the book. Here's the link: Monday evening (26th) I'm doing a pre-concert talk at the Wigmore Hall at 6.15pm about MOZART. The Hagen Quartet are continuing their Mozart Odysseyand Monday's concert features the second three of his "Haydn" Quartets.
  • Urgent: Birmingham Music Library under imminent threat

    21 Jan 2015 | 7:47 am
    It's been drawn to my attention that the scandal of the Library of Birmingham - a fabulous new building which the city has opened, only to find it cannot now afford to keep it open more than 40 hours a week - extends to the likely imminent closure of the Birmingham Music Library, a major, award-winning, invaluable resource for professionals, students and community alike. Please read the communication below, which I reproduce as received, and take whatever action you are able.Opening day at the Library of BirminghamYou may have seen the recent announcements in the Press concerning severe…
  • Essex man: Benjamin Grosvenor does the 10 Questions

    21 Jan 2015 | 1:11 am
    I put 10 Questions to Benjamin Grosvenor for The Arts Desk ahead of his recitals this week in Birmingham Town Hall (tonight), Oxford's St John the Evangelist (tomorrow) and the Barbican (his recital debut there, on Friday). Here the brightest of young British pianists, from Southend-on-Sea, tells us why he loves historical recordings, why he enjoys playing Baroque music on the piano and why the "gladiatorial combat" of international competitions is just not for him. Read it here (£).More info and links to book for the various concerts are at Grosvenor's website, here.
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    Classical Music Features from Minnesota Public Radio

  • Teacher Feature: Cheryl Henningsgaard

    26 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
    Classical MPR's Teacher Feature highlights the lives and work of music teachers throughout Minnesota. This week, we meet Cheryl Henningsgaard, Early Childhood Music Faculty Member at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis.
  • Conductors: What are they thinking?

    26 Jan 2015 | 12:00 pm
    As a novelist, Cinda Yager tries to get inside her characters' heads. When she decided to make one character a conductor, it caused her to wonder: what, exactly, are conductors thinking as they raise their batons?
  • Learning to Listen: Barton Pine and Mozart, Part 2

    26 Jan 2015 | 9:20 am
    Violinist Rachel Barton Pine returns to Learning to Listen to chat about (and play!) Mozart's Violin Concerti.
  • Morning Glories: Big-Name Birthdays

    25 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
    It's a week of big-name birthdays in the musical world. On Morning Glories, we'll have a weeklong party for some of these musical notables of past and present.
  • Feeling the vibe: Leigh Kamman kept jazz alive

    24 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
    Twin Cities musicians gather Sunday to celebrate the late broadcaster Leigh Kamman. They'll honor a consummate professional who interviewed jazz greats -- and inspired local artists to keep jazz alive.
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  • Rest in Peace, Jennifer Holbrook

    Charles T. Downey
    26 Jan 2015 | 6:10 am
    The news of the tragic death of the gifted young soprano Jennifer Holbrook rippled through the community of singers and musicians who knew her in Baltimore and Washington this past week. Described by her colleagues as "a beautiful and outrageously talented singer and mother" and a "wonderful colleague and friend," Jennifer was an accomplished alumna of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
  • Perchance to Stream: Alberta Clipper Edition

    Charles T. Downey
    25 Jan 2015 | 10:10 am
    Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio and online video from the week gone by. After clicking to an audio or video stream, you may need to press the "Play" button to start the broadcast. Some of these streams become unavailable after a few days. In a concert from Amsterdam, Ivan Fischer conducts the sixth and seventh symphonies of Beethoven with the Royal Concertgebouw
  • Ionarts-at-Large: Two Concertos for the Price of One!

    24 Jan 2015 | 9:26 am
    Kirill Gerstein & James Gaffigan in Vienna If the Konzerthaus presents the cream of the crop among orchestras in its own orchestral cycle, the Jeunesse concert organizer—active in all of Austria but incidentally based out of the Konzerthaus—brings that second tier that has less clout with the finicky Viennese concert-goers but means no necessary decrease in quality and often a considerable
  • Dip Your Ears, No. 191 (Corelli Concerti Grossi)

    24 Jan 2015 | 6:08 am
    A.Corelli, Concerto Grossi (complete) A.Beyer / Gli Incogniti Zig-Zag Territoires The Mother of Concerti Grossi All twelve Concerti Grossi of Arcangelo Corelli—plus two unpublished rarities—from the freewheeling, rollicking Gli Incogniti with Amandine Beyer are bound to attract any baroque lover’s attention. The group and soloist’s playing fits right into the currently and happily
  • NSO's Drab Tchaikovsky-Fest

    Charles T. Downey
    22 Jan 2015 | 9:30 pm
    If you looked at this week's underwhelming program from the National Symphony Orchestra and wondered if it would be worth hearing, don't bother. Fans of Tchaikovsky, who is the sole composer represented this week and next week, will not be dissuaded by anything I write, nor will those who want to hear the ensemble's fine concertmaster, Nurit Bar-Josef, take the platform as soloist. For those who
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    The Rambler

  • Some thoughts on globalization and new musical aesthetics

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    7 Jan 2015 | 3:25 am
    Happy New Year, Ramblers! Through December, I wrote a four-part series for NewMusicBox on the subject of the effects of globalization on the aesthetics of contemporary music. The last of those posts went online yesterday, and you can get to them all through these links: Part 1: Silk Road and global collaborations In which I … Continue reading →
  • Music Since 1989 – end of year progress report

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

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

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

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

  • alt folks at home
    26 Jan 2015 | 12:27 pm
  • LA Opera Presents Figaro 90210
    26 Jan 2015 | 9:52 am
    Figaro 90210 is Vid Guerrerio’s modern version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo DaPonte’s 1786 opera, The Marriage of Figaro.
  • Tristan und Isolde at the Wiener Staatsoper
    26 Jan 2015 | 9:27 am
    David McVicar’s production of Wagner’s seminal music drama runs aground on the Cornish coast.
  • Songs of Night and Travel, Wigmore Hall
    22 Jan 2015 | 2:27 pm
    The coming of ‘Night’ brings darkness, shadows and mystery; sleep, dreams and nightmares; fancies, fantasies and passions.
  • Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera
    21 Jan 2015 | 10:54 am
    Umberto’s Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, now at the Royal Opera House, is no more about history than Jesus Christ Superstar is about theology.
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    Opera Today News Headlines

  • alt folks at home

    26 Jan 2015 | 12:27 pm
    By John Yohalem [Parterre Box, 25 January 2015] Operamission, a scrappy little company that performs music from all sorts of eras and styles in venues all over town, is in fact its Kapellmeisterin, Jennifer Peterson. Her latest brainstorm was to give A Countertenor Cabaret, starring no fewer than 14 of these once-rare songbirds, in the cabaret space of the Duplex on Sheridan Square, and to live-stream the entire event, with translations of the remarkably varied musical fare. [More . . . . ]
  • The Met’s ‘La Traviata’ lean on glamour, rich in insight

    20 Jan 2015 | 3:08 pm
    By David Abrams [CNY Café Momus, 17 January 2015] Beyond the austere set and surreal visuals, Willy Decker’s controversial 2010 Met production probes deeply into the heroine’s psyche. [More . . . . ]
  • La belle au bois dormant, Théâtre de l’Athénée, Paris

    19 Jan 2015 | 12:57 pm
    By Francis Carlin [FT, 19 January 2015] Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936) was Italy’s answer to Ravel as far as orchestration is concerned and best known for a trio of tone poems on Rome. He also completed nine operas, none of them on today’s performance radar. [More . . . . ]
  • Why bother?

    17 Jan 2015 | 7:11 pm
    With news that The Metropolitan Opera is having financial problems -- again -- now a dispute is brewing over the assets of the defunct New York City Opera with a view to reviving the company. Why bother? [More . . . . ]
  • Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Metropolitan Opera, New York

    16 Jan 2015 | 2:37 pm
    By Martin Bernheimer [FT, 14 January 2015] Bartlett Sher’s interpretation of Les Contes d’Hoffmann was a mess at its Met premiere back in 2009. The sets, designed by Michael Yeargan, looked gaudy, the narrative seemed confused, and the stage remained chronically overpopulated. [More . . . . ]
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    aworks :: "new" american classical music

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

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

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

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

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

    18 Mar 2014 | 9:30 am
    A post from Mark Twain today (thank you to my FB friend for posting it and drawing my attention to it) - I couldn't agree more...Image source is here.
  • Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth

    28 Dec 2013 | 4:17 pm
    "…when I find the singing itself more moving than the truth which it conveys, I confess that this a grievous sin, and at those times, I would prefer not to hear the singer."- St. AugustineWords I can get behind.
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    The Collaborative Piano Blog

  • Live-In Opera Coach?

    Chris Foley
    14 Jan 2015 | 11:12 am
    As seen on Craigslist:Seeking live in Opera Coach to help soprano prepare music for auditions and concerts. Must be good with romance languages, especially french. Looking to put together a concert or production too. Play on a grand piano. Please send resume and samples of your work. Please include experience with specific operas and language ability. Must be willing to accompany/play some parties and events. Transportation to and from New York is possible and will be discussed. Interviewing now. Singer's goal is to perform at an international opera house so please let us know how you think…
  • Help the Collaborative Pianist Guild Become a Professional Advocacy Group for our Profession

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

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

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

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

  • And that’s snow business

    La Cieca
    26 Jan 2015 | 11:34 am
    “Due to the road closures and likely cancellation of public transportation because of tonight’s adverse weather conditions, this evening’s performance of Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle has been cancelled. Audience members will be contacted and offered refunds or alternative performances.” So says the Met press office.
  • A boy’s best friend

    26 Jan 2015 | 8:00 am
    On this day in 1833 Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia premiered in Milan. Happy 92nd birthday actress Anne Jeffreys Born on this day in 1927 mezzo-soprano Frances Bible
  • My one and only

    Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin
    26 Jan 2015 | 5:00 am
    Today’s program documents the only time Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti performed La traviata together at the Met.  It is Pavarotti’s third complete performance with the company (he cancelled midway through his second, a La bohème in 1968), the first of the three times he sang Alfredo there, and the first time he sang with Sutherland in the house.   Giuseppe Verdi: La traviata Metropolitan Opera Richard Bonynge, conductor 22 October 1970 In-house recording Violetta – Joan Sutherland Alfredo – Luciano Pavarotti Germont – Sherrill Milnes Flora – Frederica von Stade…
  • Alt folks at home

    John Yohalem
    25 Jan 2015 | 7:00 pm
    Operamission, a scrappy little company that performs music from all sorts of eras and styles in venues all over town, is in fact its Kapellmeisterin, Jennifer Peterson. Her latest brainstorm was to give A Countertenor Cabaret, starring no fewer than 14 of these once-rare songbirds, in the cabaret space of the Duplex on Sheridan Square, and to live-stream the entire event, with translations of the remarkably varied musical fare.   The upstairs theater was packed and the program ran overtime. This delayed the weekly everybody-sings-Broadway Sondheim Cabaret, celebrating its tenth anniversary…
  • Ufa the top

    La Cieca
    25 Jan 2015 | 2:53 pm
    Here’s the winners of the Ildar Abdrazkov Quiz, Bluebeard and Krunoslav!   The lucky winners will please email La Cieca so she can arrange to have tickets to the bass-baritone’s Carnegie Hall recital on January 29.
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    The Wagnerian

  • Opera North Announce 2016 Ring Cycle Dates & Locations

    22 Jan 2015 | 10:26 am
    After four years of individual performances of each part of Der Ring des Nibelungen in concert - although semi-staged - ON have now announced the dates and locations of the full cycle, to be performed in 2016.Leeds Town Hall: Cycle 1: Sat 23 April 2016 - Sat 21 May 2016Cycle 2: Tue 24 May 2016 - 29 May 2016 Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham:Mon 6 June 2016 - Sat 11 June 2016 The Lowry, Salford Quays:13 June 2016 - Sat 18 June 2016 Southbank Centre, London:Tue 28 June 2016 - Sun 3 July 2016Sage Gateshead:Tue 5 July 2016 - Sun 10 July 2016 - See more at:…
  • Win Two VIP Tickets To Meistersinger in London

    20 Jan 2015 | 11:48 am
    This year,  during February and March, will see the London premiere of Richard Jones’s acclaimed staging of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.  Conducted by Edward Gardner, with a fine cast that includes Iain Paterson performing his first Sachs, Andrew Shore making his stage role debut as Beckmesser and the wonderful Rachel Nicholls performing Eva (you can read an interview with Rachel we conducted earlier in her Wagnerian career, here). Full details can be found below.While it would be difficult to imagine anyone not attempting to attend, two readers of the Wagnerian will be able…
  • Watch Now: Siegfried Act 1.

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

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

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

  • PEPYS, S.: Diary of Samuel Pepys (The), Vol. 1 (1660-63) (Unabridged) (NA0174)

    31 Dec 2014 | 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 I covers the opening years of the Restoration…
  • IRVING, W.: Rip Van Winkle (Unabridged) (NA0206)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    Kindly Rip Van Winkle, loved by all, lives a quiet existence in a small village at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. One day, travelling in the mountains, he somehow falls asleep; upon waking, he finds that twenty years have passed! For adults and children alike, Rip Van Winkle paints a charming picture of rural life before and after the American War of Independence. It is counted among the earliest examples of American fiction. The collection also contains The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving’s story about the headless horseman, which explores the nature of legend, The Pride of the…
  • TROLLOPE, A.: Framley Parsonage (Unabridged) (NA0178)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    In Framley Parsonage, the fourth novel of Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire, the author leaves the confines of Barchester and looks to the countryside, where he relates the moral difficulties of Mark Robarts, the young clergyman who has recently been appointed Vicar of Framley. Desperate to keep up with the local aristocracy, the country parson is persuaded to underwrite the debts of Sowerby, a well-respected peer. However, when the debts are called in, Robarts finds himself in a serious predicament. Written with acute insight, together with a great deal of warmth and humour towards…
  • IRVING, W.: Rip Van Winkle (Unabridged) (NA0163)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    Kindly Rip Van Winkle, loved by all, lives a quiet existence in a small village at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. One day, travelling in the mountains, he somehow falls asleep; upon waking, he finds that twenty years have passed! For adults and children alike, Rip Van Winkle paints a charming picture of rural life before and after the American War of Independence. It is counted among the earliest examples of American fiction. The collection also contains The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving’s story about the headless horseman, which explores the nature of legend, and The Pride of…
  • HUGO, V.: Hunchback of Notre Dame (The) (Unabridged) (NA0159)

    30 Sep 2014 | 5:00 pm
    In the grotesque bell-ringer Quasimodo, Victor Hugo created one of the most vivid characters in classic fiction. Quasimodo’s doomed love for the beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda is an example of the traditional love theme of beauty and the beast. Yet, set against the massive background of Notre Dame de Paris and interwoven with the sacred and secular life of medieval France, it takes on a larger perspective. The characters come to life: the poet Gringoire, the tormented priest Claude Frollo, the upright, fun-loving captain Phoebus and above all Quasimodo and Esmeralda themselves. It is a…
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    Kenneth Woods- conductor

  • 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…
  • CD Review- Gramophone Magazine on Psalm: Contemporary British Trumpet Concertos

    Kenneth Woods
    26 Jan 2015 | 1:19 am
    Reviewed in the February 2015 issue of Gramophone Magazine buy Guy Rickards “Four vibrant, attractive concertos…. by three of Britain’s brightest and best, and performed with dazzling virtuosity and musicianship by Simon Desbruslais and the Orchestra of the Swan…A hugely enjoyable disc, strongly recommended” PSALM- CONTEMPORARY BRITISH TRUMPET CONCERTOS £12.00 Add to cart Read the whole thing here      
  • Explore the Score- Hans Gál: Idyllikon

    Kenneth Woods
    22 Jan 2015 | 3:21 am
    Hear it live for the first time in 25 years on the 31st of January here.  Idyllikon Four movements for small orchestra, Opus 79, (1958) Serenade, Badinerie, Sarabande, Villanelle Duration: 29” First performance: Vienna Radio, Aug. 1960 (Orchester des österreichischen Rundfunks/Etti) Hans Gál- The Four Symphonies £18.00 Add to cart Hans Gál was born in the small village of Brunn am Gebirge, just outside Vienna. He studied with some of the foremost teachers in Vienna, including Richard Robert for piano (teacher of Rudolf Serkin , Clara Haskil and George Szell) and Eusebius…
  • 10 Things Every Musician Should Know About Intonation

    Kenneth Woods
    12 Jan 2015 | 2:34 am
      10- The tuning slide allows a trumpet player to adjust how sharp he or she is to the rest of the orchestra. 9 – Violinists invariably play sharp when they’re under pressure, which is always. This is why they tune their open strings higher than the rest of the string section. 8- High C is a very flat note on almost every oboe, which is why they don’t adjust it unless you ask them to. 7- Bassoonists are faster at adjusting pitch than anyone else in the woodwind section because they never have to worry whether they’re sharp or flat, only how sharp. 6- When playing cello in an…
  • The official, definitive guide to the greatest D minor Symphonies of all time

    Kenneth Woods
    9 Jan 2015 | 6:51 pm
    It’s been hailed as “the saddest of all keys.” Andras Schiff called it “Beethoven’s key of existential struggle.” It was Brahms’s Tragic key- the world of his brooding First Piano Concerto and his Tragic Overture- both quite symphonic works. Yet Brahms never wrote a D minor symphony- maybe the thought of writing a whole symphony in the saddest of all keys was just too scary to contemplate for even so dark a chap as Brahms. In fact- one of the striking commonality on this list is how few D minor symphonies end in D minor, and the list includes several of the most inspirationally…
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    Iron Tongue of Midnight

  • Met Cancels Tonight's Iolanta / Bluebear Performance

    26 Jan 2015 | 11:36 am
    On account of the weather, road conditions, and public transit closures:Due to the road closures and likely cancellation of public transportation because of tonight’s adverse weather conditions, this evening's performance of Iolanta/Bluebeard's Castle has been cancelled.  Audience members will be contacted and offered refunds or alternative performances. The performance on Thursday, January 29 will now be the production premiere of our new staging ofIolanta/Bluebeard's Castle.For further updates please visit
  • Probable Intinerary

    26 Jan 2015 | 7:46 am
    Trip planning is hell for some people, but not for me.SFO -> Munich (Lufthansa, which flies the route nonstop)Visit DachauVisit Schloss NeuschwansteinVisit Schloss HohenschwangauVisit Schloss LinderhofOther sites in & around Munich? Suggestions welcome!NuremburgMosey up to BayreuthSit on my naturally well-padded backside for seven out of eight days in Bayreuth (but I am bringing a cushion too)Back to MunichHomeAnd while I'm away, take lots of pictures, drink excellent German beer, eat excellent German sausage, etc. I like German wines, too!Planned reading: Doktor Faustus,…
  • Compare & Contrast 29: Wong, Berg, Brahms

    23 Jan 2015 | 1:30 pm
    Joshua Kosman, Chron, enthusedKalimac, Kalimac's LiveJournal, disliked the Wong & Berg and the Brahms performance as well.John Marcher, A Beast in a Jungle, mostly enthusedI have a ticket for tonight and I'm hoping to be well enough to use it.
  • My Summer Vacation

    21 Jan 2015 | 9:17 am
  • Canadian Opera Company 2015-16 Season Announcement

    17 Jan 2015 | 10:14 am
    Canadian Opera Company's 2015-16 season includes a Canadian opera! And also Christine Goerke:October 8- November 6 2015 : La Traviata, Verdi; Guardarini/Siurina/El-Khoury, Castronovo/Haji, Kelsey/WestmanOctober 20- November 7 2015: Pyramus and Thisbe/Combatimento/Lamento, Feldman, Monteverdi; Debus/Szabo, Addis, McCauslandJanuary 23- February 14 2016: Siegfried, Wagner; Debus/Vinke, Goerke, Radner, Held, Ens, Ablinger-Sperrhacke, PurvesFebruary 4-27 2016: Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart; Debus/de Souza/ Wagner, Archibald, Wall, Braun, FonsApril 12- May 15 2016: Carmen,…
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    Musical Assumptions

  • How Classical Music Changed my Life

    26 Jan 2015 | 7:07 pm
    This piece of paper, a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, spent the past 30 years in one of Michael's bookcases. The photocopy of the original came from my harpist friend Carrie Kourkoumelis, who, armed with a Xerox machine, used to send random clippings through the mail to people who might appreciate them. I did. I saved. And I am now sharing it here.I am also transcribing:The other day at Ma Maison, as I was waiting for the attendant to retrieve my chocolate brown 450 SLC, the Saudi prince I'd been noshing with said, "Say, Bill, how did an unassuming guy like yourself come to be so…
  • Math, Music, and Intuition

    21 Jan 2015 | 8:59 am
    In my last post about math I mentioned that I didn't think that math and music had much to do with one another, but now that I have spent the past week spending at least an hour a day on sixth-grade math (I'm 39% through the 6th grade over at the Khan Academy), I can honestly report that doing math and understanding what I am doing when I am doing it has a positive influence on the way I practice and the way I think when I'm playing.I have had a physical aversion to math since the sixth grade. Part of the physicality of my aversion had, no doubt, to do with the fact that I had become…
  • Concert in Rhinebeck, New York

    16 Jan 2015 | 6:44 am
    I was very excited to learn this morning that some musicians (flutist Eugenia Zukerman, pianist Babette Hierholzer, and soprano Kimberly Kahan) will be performing one of my pieces in Rhinebeck, New York this Sunday. Here's a screen shot of the article, and here's a link to it. I imagine they will be performing either "Asleep in the Deep," "Bird in a Gilded Cage" or "In the Gold Room." These are pieces in a series I refer to as "new tunes for old songs."
  • Math

    14 Jan 2015 | 8:46 am
    By the time my children reached the sixth grade I could no longer help them with math. Sixth grade was that time in my life where I tried to "fit in" with the kids around me, and I lost a lot of ground making stupid mistakes. I stopped playing violin, and I no longer took the academic work of school seriously. I suppose that you could say it was a time of rebellion, but I recall that prior to the beginning of sixth grade, most of my interest in things having to do with learning and music was self directed. Nobody made me practice or made me do homework. When I did do homework, I used a…
  • Scenes from EMMA will be Performed in New York on May 13, 2015

    11 Jan 2015 | 7:13 pm
    I'm very excited to let you know that Leonard Lehrman and Helene Williams will be performing some scenes from my 2008 opera EMMA as part of a seminar about Jewish Opera. The seminar series, which begins next week, will be held at the Community Church, 40 East 35th Street, in New York City.
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    eighth blackbird » Blog

  • awesome, funny, and different

    19 Jan 2015 | 8:01 am
    We were at University of Michigan for the past few days, giving talks and seminars and hanging out with students. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a bigger school – the campus was overwhelming and the sheer amount of people dizzying. But all that humanity, at least the humanity we encountered, was super-engaged and inspiring and they certainly held our feet to the fire. We had a couple of Q&A sessions, one about the business of chamber music and one for the composers. The composer seminar, moderated by Michael Daugherty, consisted of anonymously submitted questions which…
  • Interlochen

    15 Jan 2015 | 9:23 am
    Interlochen campus Another view of the campus Us and Interlochen dancers (nicely posed) Us and Interlochen dancers (not quite ready) Dancers recording us for their future rehearsal use Interlochen dancers working on choreography to Nico's piece This dryer sheet will keep rodents away. Please leave it in the piano! (Never heard of this before - is this a thing??) In -17 degree weather, even violas need beanies Traverse City Airport takes every opportunity for marketing   Our first travels of the new year took us to Matthew’s old stomping grounds, Interlochen Center for the Arts,…
  • From Hardanger fiddles to In C

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

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

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

  • Philip Glass meets the Pope

    25 Jan 2015 | 10:54 am
    Well not quite: but during recent travels I came across the double CD seen above in a splendid shop selling monastic artefacts in the medieval city of Troyes. Dominique Fauchard (b. 1968) trained as a classical organist, but branched out into jazz. Ex Sermonibus is a sequence of variations on Gregorian themes for piano. But, fear not, there is none of the Marian piousness of Charles Tournemire and the other Gregorian extemporisers. Instead it is more Philip Glass meets Ludovico Einaudi and Keith Jarrett during Mass. No, it's not the Hammerklavier Sonata, but it is all done with a beguiling…
  • Music with something important to say to our cynical times

    24 Jan 2015 | 12:27 am
    Nonetheless, I maintain hope that Rubbra’s time will come. There is too much quality in his work, in its craftsmanship and its distinctive voice, for it to forever remain in the shadows. He just needs a champion of suitable standing to bring his symphonies back to Britain’s concert halls. Even if you don’t share Rubbra’s religious faith (and I don’t) the essential goodness in his music surely has something important to say to our cynical times: its patient optimism, beautiful organic patterning and deeply felt spirituality are a welcome antidote to much of modern life. I was pleased…
  • Classical music must go on a diet to survive

    22 Jan 2015 | 12:58 am
    In a comment on my post about orchestras touring China and the United Arab Emirates longtime reader Joe Shelby argues: "Better an orchestra with occasional trips to places we'd rather they not go, then no orchestra at all". I don't want to take Joe's comment out of context, because he quite rightly advocates more activism by musicians. But the view that classical music has to turn to ethically challenged destinations and also to ethically challenged funding to survive needs challenging.During a much reported presentation in 2013, Universal Music ceo Max Hole told orchestras they must change…
  • Occultism, farce and Milton Babbitt

    20 Jan 2015 | 6:30 am
    Despite inhabiting the twilight zone between occultism and farce, my recent post on why live classical music sounds better than recordings attracted a gratifyingly large readership. The Rudolf Steiner inspired explanation came from Joscelyn Godwin's provocative book Harmonies of Heaven and Earth. It is very easy to dismiss a book with chapters titled 'Kepler's Planetary Music', 'Tone Zodiac', and 'Gurdjieff's Law of Octaves', as New Age babble. But that is a dualistic viewpoint. As another quote from this eclectic volume shows:Milton Babbitt [seen above]... admits that totally serial music is…
  • Inconvenient truths about classical music and free speech

    19 Jan 2015 | 5:00 am
    Following the terrible Paris shootings classical music has, quite rightly, has thrown its weight behind the freedom of speech movement, So it is worth noting that next week's Association of British Orchestras conference includes a session titled 'Touring China' which explains how orchestras can exploit the lucrative Chinese market. China is now a regular destination for top orchestras and in the last few weeks both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra have been touring the country. The standard measurement of press freedom is the World Press Freedom Index…
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    Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog

  • Bass: Learn, Make, Listen – PATTERNROOT

    3 Jan 2015 | 11:19 am
    Here’s a cool site called Patternroot I just discovered from bassist Gahlord Dewald: Three things for this site — getting better at playing bass instruments, helping composers use bass instruments well in making new music, sharing and promoting contemporary art music. via Bass: Learn, Make, Listen – PATTERNROOT.
  • Pennsylvania Philharmonic

    2 Jan 2015 | 8:32 am
    Check out this cool new orchestra in the Philadelphia area, featuring longtime blog contributor John Grillo! Pennsylvania Philharmonic. If you haven’t checked out John’s contributions to the blog before, you can find several of them below: Ed Barker interview The State of the Orchestra Differences in Opera and Orchestra Playing Opera Excerpt Breakdown Orchestral Excerpt Breakdown Owen Lee interview Max Dimoff interview Dan Krekeler interview Ranaan Meyer interview Lawrence Hurst interview Jack Budrow interview Barrie Kolstein interview John Grillo Recital Showcase John Grillo…
  • US Airways refuses to transport double bass – YouTube

    19 Nov 2014 | 6:22 pm
    US Airways refuses to transport double bass – YouTube.
  • Classical orchestra eating the worlds hottest chili peppers … – YouTube

    1 Nov 2014 | 9:41 pm
    Classical orchestra eating the worlds hottest chili peppers … – YouTube.
  • Jason Moran’s collaboration with Chicago’s Kenwood Academy

    3 Oct 2014 | 9:27 pm
    This is a wonderful documentary from the Chicago Tribune about important musical happenings in Chicago jazz and the Kenwood Academy–well worth a viewing:
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    The Omniscient Mussel

  • Watch Pierre Boulez’ 90th Birthday Concert

    Miss Mussel
    19 Jan 2015 | 11:33 am
    Pierre Boulez turns 90 on 26th March. Where has the time gone. Miss Mussel has always had a soft spot for M. Boulez due in large part to his resemblance to Grandpère Mussel. Aside from that claim to fame, he’s...
  • Watch Ensemble Intercontemporain at Paris Philharmonie

    Miss Mussel
    16 Jan 2015 | 6:30 am
    If you prefer turtlenecks to waistcoats, this is your stream. L’Ensemble Intercontemporain comes live from the new Philharmonie in Paris. The very first piece ever played in the hall was Varèse’ Tuning Up, followed by Dutilleux’ violin concerto, so the...
  • Watch: Les Arts Florissants at the Paris Philharmonie

    Miss Mussel
    16 Jan 2015 | 6:21 am
    Les Arts Florissants, directed by William Christie and now in its 35th year is one of the three resident ensembles at Paris’ new Philharmonie. Program is: Charpentier – Te Deum H.146 Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville – Motet In exitu Israel`...
  • Watch Lang Lang at the new Paris Philharmonie

    Miss Mussel
    15 Jan 2015 | 9:11 am
    The stream goes live tonight at 8:30 Euro time, 7:30 in the UK, 2:30 in NYC and 11:30 in LA. Aussies, tragically, it’s 6:30am tomorrow. Program is: Borodin – Polovtsian Dances Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No.1 Berlioz – Symphony Fantastique...
  • Watch Opening Concert At Paris Philharmonie

    Miss Mussel
    14 Jan 2015 | 11:37 am
    © Miss Mussel for The Omniscient Mussel, 2015. | Permalink | No comment | Add to Post tags: Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh
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    Naxos New Releases

  • Guitar Music (Colombia) - MEJÍA, A. / MONTAÑA, G. / SABOYA, L. / GONZÁLEZ, H. (Escobar) (8.573059)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    Colombia’s thriving cultural heritage derives from Spanish, African and Amerindian elements. The rich blend of colour and rhythmic vitality found in the synthesis of dance forms and styles, notably the sharply accented Andean bambuco (‘pursuit dance’), the flowing, graceful pasillo and the traditional, rhythmic guabina, recurs throughout this programme. Poignant expressiveness and intricate virtuosity are features of Montaña’s two Suites. Saboya’s Suite Ernestina includes characteristically South American melodies and rhythms, while Caribbean rhythmic…
  • ARGENTUM ET AURUM - Musical Treasures from the Early Habsburg Renaissance (Ensemble Leones, Lewon) (8.573346)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    The period of the early Habsburgs, from c.1340 to c.1520, saw the development of a richly diverse musical culture in the Austrian region. This pioneering selection, the product of an extensive research project conducted at the University of Vienna, presents an overview of music in everyday life, in many cases in première recordings performed by Ensemble Leones. The music is sacred and secular, allowing the listener to eavesdrop on Tyrolean palaces, dance halls and bourgeois homes, and on the singer-poets who travelled the country where old local styles fused with the latest…
  • SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Symphony No. 3, `Organ` / Danse Macabre / Cypres et Lauriers (Warnier, Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) (8.573331)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    To celebrate the inauguration of the newly restored former organ of the Palais du Trocadéro and Palais de Chaillot in Paris, the Orchestre National de Lyon and their organist-in-residence, Vincent Warnier, present two major works for organ and orchestra by Camille Saint-Saëns. Both are historically linked with the great Cavaillé-Coll organs, and are performed here together with an arrangement for solo organ of his famous Danse macabre.
  • BACH, J.S.: Well-Tempered Clavier (The), Book 2 (Beauséjour) (8.570564-65)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    When Luc Beauséjour recorded Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier [8.557625–26] he was hailed by International Piano for ‘his instinct for discovering exactly the right tempo; his playing is so natural’. He turns now to Book II of the Preludes and Fugues in all twenty-four keys, assembled for publication in 1742. A number of the pieces survive in earlier versions from previous decades, which Bach revised or transposed. Together with Book I, this constitutes one of the pinnacles of Western music.
  • MORENO TORROBA, F.: Guitar Concertos, Vol. 1 - Concierto en flamenco / Diálogos (Pepe Romero, V. Coves, Málaga Philharmonic, M. Coves) (8.573255)

    31 Dec 2014 | 4:00 pm
    An outstanding figure in the history of modern Spanish music, Federico Moreno Torroba is best known for his guitar works, his traditional style embracing the folklore and character of Spain. The Concierto en Flamenco requires an exceptional soloist, and Pepe Romero is justly famous for his masterful interpretations in both classical and flamenco genres. The playful Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta adds the luminous sonorities of harp and celesta to its colourful orchestration. Aires de La Mancha is evocative of this distinctive region in central Spain, while the Suite castellana…
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    The Naxos Blog

  • China’s Cultural Devolution

    22 Jan 2015 | 8:00 am
    China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76) was a turbulent decade that took no prisoners in sweeping away the ‘Four Olds’ – old customs, old habits, old ideas and old culture. As far as artistic matters were concerned, the dictat meant that western music was suddenly a no-no in the new socio-political order, with practitioners frequently uprooted, relocated and rigorously retrained (often as farmers). Generally speaking, those outside China remain largely in the dark about this period in history, even though musical products of that era have subsequently washed up on their…
  • Podcast: Spanish soul

    15 Jan 2015 | 8:00 am
    In this week’s podcast, Raymond Bisha introduces a disc of Spanish guitar music that goes to the heart of that nation’s musical culture, presenting four works by the prolific Madrid-born composer Federico Moreno Torroba. This new release is the first of two volumes devoted to the composer’s complete works for guitar and orchestra. It features performances by Pepe Romero, one of the foremost figures in Spanish guitar royalty, and his star student Vicente Coves. Together, they blend classical and traditional flamenco styles with consummate artistry. Album details Catalogue No.: 8.573255
  • The Boston Pops (and one Mom)

    8 Jan 2015 | 8:00 am
    The Boston Tea Party, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Red Sox – all are well known internationally. It’s likely, however, that for many outside the United States, talk of the Boston Six will raise a puzzled look. They were pioneering composers, five men and one woman, mostly trained in Europe, who fostered the unprecedented musical growth in the US during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Among their number were Arthur Foote, George Chadwick, Amy Beach, Edward MacDowell and Horatio Parker. The most senior figure in the group was John Knowles Paine (1839-1906), the…
  • Podcast: Saint-Saëns and the King of Instruments

    2 Jan 2015 | 5:16 am
    This month’s new Naxos High Definition Audio Disc features the recently-restored Cavaillé-Coll organ which is now housed in the Lyon Auditorium. It’s played here by Vincent Warnier in an all-Saint-Saëns programme. Dating back to 1878, this huge instrument was relocated, re-built and then lovingly restored to its original glory in 2013. Saint-Saëns enjoyed a long and loyal relationship with the Cavaillé-Coll firm and its organs. An organist himself, he wrote skilfully for the instrument, as witnessed here in the three featured works – both for solo organ and with orchestra. In this…
  • Paper chase

    25 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    The Day after Christmas Day, Boxing Day, St Stephen’s Day, the Day of the Wren. Wherever you are, and whatever event you may yourself celebrate on 26 December each year, I personally always try to spare a thought for the discarded and dispossessed. I’m thinking, for a change, not of the unfortunate condition of swathes of humanity, but of all those bits of glitzy wrapping-paper used in the Christmas gift-giving production line, unceremoniously ripped to shreds by children eager to get to their annual booty, or carefully put to one side for re-use by those who aren’t yet…
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  • To Practice More Efficiently, Try to Stop Practicing

    Grace Miles
    22 Jan 2015 | 9:06 am
    Sometimes, the most simple solutions are the most ingenious. When I first started a music blog, most people were looking for “practice strategies.” Now, everyone wants a “hack” to fix their life. Case in point: an increasing number of Twitter bios of young-ish entrepreneurs who have track records describe themselves as growth hackers, whom you can […]
  • The 3 Biggest Mistakes that Beginner Pianists Make

    Grace Miles
    13 Jan 2015 | 10:00 am
    I tend to focus on the psychology of practicing piano efficiently on Artiden. But it doesn’t matter how many psychology tactics you’re solidifying bad habits and hurting your body in the long run. Readers often ask about how to play more efficiently, the correct posture, and how to be a better piano teacher. When I […]
  • Is your new year’s resolution too wimpy?

    Grace Miles
    6 Jan 2015 | 8:43 am
    We start the year determined to become a better version of ourselves, often slipping back in a few months. Most resolutions are set in the wrong direction. For example, people shouldn’t “go on diets”. They should “change their diets”– eating healthy is a lifetime affair. The following questions will get you thinking about whether resolution is too wimpy. 1. Is it […]
  • Grace’s Best of 2014

    Grace Miles
    31 Dec 2014 | 6:49 pm
    Here is my best content from the past year, that had the most readers and that I enjoyed writing the most. How to Start a Group Music Class Teaching group classes means understanding that your influencers, the two people brave enough to set trends in a small group of people, will decide the fate of the class. The key is […]
  • What should you give to your favourite person in the world?

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

  • 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. Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor The full article Faking It with My Hearing Loss is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Nancy’s Piano Practice Notes: Trills

    Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor
    12 Jan 2015 | 2:00 am
    The piano trills in the Bach Invention No. 1 trip up Nancy M. Williams in this next installment of her piano practice notes. Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor The full article Nancy’s Piano Practice Notes: Trills is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Best of 2014: Pianists with Hearing Loss, Listening to Music with Cochlear Implants, and More

    Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor
    29 Dec 2014 | 2:00 am
    Our top 5 articles of 2014 on music and hearing loss: playing piano with hearing aids, listening with cochlear implants, using auditory memory, and more. Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor The full article Best of 2014: Pianists with Hearing Loss, Listening to Music with Cochlear Implants, and More is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Best of 2014: History of Piano Keys, a Chopin Prelude, How to Memorize, and More

    Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor
    22 Dec 2014 | 5:30 am
    Our top 10 posts of 2014 for piano students of all ages: Bach Inventions, benefits of music lessons, how to memorize, understanding piano keys, and more. Nancy M. Williams, Founding Editor The full article Best of 2014: History of Piano Keys, a Chopin Prelude, How to Memorize, and More is on Grand Piano Passion™.
  • Grandpa’s Gift

    Guest Writer
    16 Dec 2014 | 2:00 am
    This amateur pianist received a valuable life lesson from her concert pianist grandfather, but his words didn't sink in until many years after his death. Guest Writer The full article Grandpa’s Gift is on Grand Piano Passion™.
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  • 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…
  • Freebie Friday: Another round of free sight reading exercises!

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

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

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

  • 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…
  • In Praise of “I Hear You Calling Me”

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

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

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

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

  • Silvia Belfiore to perform Godwin Sadoh’s piano works ‘Three Dances’ & ‘Moonlight Dances’ in Concert Tour in Abuja, Lagos, and Kwara State from Feb. 1 to 16, 2015 + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    26 Jan 2015 | 3:53 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Lydia Teuscher’s Upcoming SFS Debut – Soprano Lydia Teuscher (pictured left) is having her San Francisco Symphony debut this Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 2pm with performances on the following two days at 8pm. She will be singing "Al desio, di chi t'adora" from Le nozze di Figaro, […]
  • Pazzo son, guardate! + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    25 Jan 2015 | 3:23 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Perchance to Stream: Alberta Clipper Edition – Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio and online video from the week gone by. After clicking to an audio or video stream, you may need to press the "Play" button to start the broadcast. Some of […]
  • Mrs Doubtfire musical in the works + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    24 Jan 2015 | 2:53 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Classical Music News – Revolution of Forms – ‘Cubanacán: A Revolution of Forms’ – the first Cuban opera in almost fifty years, begins the 2015 Havana Biennale Continue Reading On » Royal Academy Opera scenes – Photo: Royal Academy of Music Gwilym Bowen (A novice) and […]
  • French song in Wandsworth + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    23 Jan 2015 | 2:23 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   ArtsBeat: New Issue for One City Opera Bidder: A Borrowed Name – A group bidding for the assets of the bankrupt New York City Opera is using a name that already belongs to another opera company. Continue Reading On » Ligeti Contra Scelsi – That’s all, […]
  • Enterprising and Excellent Concert from Hazlewood And Welsh Sinfonia + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    22 Jan 2015 | 1:54 pm
      Today’s News & Buzz   Saint-Saëns: Symphony No 3 ‘Organ’ etc CD review – a fine version played on the organ it was written for – Warnier/Orchestre National de Lyon/Slatkin(Naxos) Continue reading… Continue Reading On » Apparently A Lot Of People Want To KILL DE WABBIT! – On 1/16/2015, The New […]
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    The Violin Channel | The World's Leading Violin, Strings & Classical Music News Source

  • Nude Violinist Files $1.1 Million Lawsuit Against Portland Police

    25 Jan 2015 | 11:03 am
    An American violinist has filed a $1.1 Million lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau claiming he was dragged, injured and taunted following a naked street recital last year. Portland police have made claim Matthew T Mglej, 25 was the source of several complaints after he was playing the violin unclothed outside the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse on May 24, 2014. It is understood Police will argue Mglej, 25 was arrested after being advised public nudity violated city code – and was physically restrained only after refusing to dress and walk to the patrol car unaided. Mgley pleaded…
  • 2nd Round Candidates Announced at Goldstein International Violin Competition

    25 Jan 2015 | 9:19 am
    The 14 2nd round candidates for the 2015 Boris Goldstein International Violin Competition, in Bern, Switzerland, have just minutes ago been announced. They are: Benjamin Baker (24, New Zealand/United Kingdom) Mizuki Chiba (18, Japan) Soo Jin Hannah Cho (19, South Korea) Mone Hattori (15, Japan) Alexander Kuznetsov (24, Russia) Furong Li (24, China) Sofija Nikoska (23, Macedonia) Kana Ohashi (21, Australia/Japan) Alexander Read (27, Canada) Arsenis Selalmazidis (24, Greece/Russia) Aleksey Semenenko (26, Ukraine) Stefan Tarara (28, Germany) Shiori Terauchi (24, Japan) Arata Yumi (22, Japan)…
  • New UK Government Tax Relief to be Introduced for British Orchestras

    24 Jan 2015 | 2:02 pm
    British Cabinet minister, George Osborne has today announced details of a new UK government tax relief plan designed to support the long-term fiscal viability of British orchestras. The new initiative, set to come into effect in April 2016, will facilitate a reduction in corporation tax credits on orchestral rehearsal costs, player fees and venue hire and will provide additional incentives and benefits for orchestral touring projects. ‘As part of the government’s long term economic plan, we are backing our creative industries,” Minister Osborne has said, “ … I want to make…
  • Esa-Pekka Salonen Appointed New York Philharmonic Composer-In-Residence

    24 Jan 2015 | 12:52 pm
    Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen has been announced as the new Composer-In-Residence for the New York Philharmonic. Salonen, 55 will commence his 3 year residency at the beginning of the 2015/16 season – with the orchestra scheduled to premiere at least 3 new major works during his stay. “Esa-Pekka Salonen is a truly compelling composer whose music the orchestra has embraced in the past with commitment and enthusiasm,” New York Philharmonic Music Director, Alan Gilbert has said. Previous composers to hold the title include Christopher Rouse and Magnus Lindberg. Salonen…
  • Juilliard School Gets $5 Million to Help Prepare Students For the Real World

    23 Jan 2015 | 10:09 am
    It has been announced that New York’s Juilliard School has received a $5 Million grant from trustee Michael and Carol Marks to develop a new student business-skills and entrepreneurship program. To be called the ‘Alan D Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship’, the program will include the development of a compulsory entrepreneurship course for all first-year students and a number of seminars and training programmes on financial planning, public speaking, networking and concert programming. The Centre will also award a number of annual grants of up to US…
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    Stephen P Brown

  • What makes me tick?

    26 Jan 2015 | 6:48 am
      This does. In SO many ways. Enjoy. And afterwards, tell me what you think of it (especially if you want to hear my observations and opinions!). Did you even get through the entire video?   Share Your Passion I’d also love to hear what makes you tick. Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Hundreds of passionate people visit my sites for weekly insight and inspiration, so thank you in advance for adding your voice to the conversation. Comments   Oh, and this does, too. (Funny – conductor of the Mahler composed this piece!?)
  • Do you remember when?

    22 Jan 2015 | 6:34 pm
    Think back. Way back. To the time you first time heard an audience applaud you. Were you in a band, an orchestra or a choir? Or were you a soloist at a student recital? When you finished playing and stood up, listening to that applause, how did it make you feel? Good, right? Maybe that’s one reason you wanted to continue sharing music with others, because of the applause. For whatever reason, though, applause does make us feel good, and it is the easiest way for audiences to let us know they liked what we did for them. There are lots of people around us who say they don’t perform…
  • You Cott me thinking

    20 Jan 2015 | 8:06 am
    This started out as an email to Thomas Cott. I know he appreciates the “we’re all in this together” perspective, so… It got published instead, for all to see! Thomas Cott is an intrepid and reliable informer of movements in the Arts, including museums. You should sign up for his email at so you don’t miss out, and at least we will be on the same page when we have discussions like this one. Anyway, today Thomas summarized this post and used former NEA Chairman Robert Landesman’s quote “The arts are finally at the…
  • It’s easy to be Smarter

    15 Jan 2015 | 9:26 pm
    Do you consider yourself successful? Do you know how you know you’re being successful? Last week we identified your top three dreams or goals, so let’s make sure you have the greatest opportunity to achieve them. During my college years a friend at a different London music conservatory did not take his piano lessons very seriously – it was his secondary instrument, after all – but about ten years later Geoff’s career as a music teacher was suffering. Many of the advanced fundamental techniques he could have learned in his formative years were lacking and now he…
  • This makes me so angry

    14 Jan 2015 | 8:02 am
    Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published another year’s worth of audience attendance analysis. OK, so audiences are still declining for a whole variety of reasons, primarily: Lack of time Inaccessible venues Couldn’t find someone to go with. These are all things that performers can deal with. What got my goat this morning was this statement by Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research and Analysis at the NEA: “Highly educated Americans are going (to arts events) at much lower levels than they did 10 years ago.”   My response: Highly educated in WHAT? For…
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    Amati Auctions, News, Reviews and Magazine - Amati Instrument Auctions - Amati Instrument Auctions

  • CONCERT REVIEW: Brodsky Quartet with Robert Smissen (viola) and Richard May (cello)

    26 Jan 2015 | 3:00 am
    King’s Place, London, 30 November 2014 ★★★★☆ One outcome from the centenary celebrations of Andrzej Panufnik has been the focus on a regrettably small but characteristically fastidious area of his work, that for string quartet. Two new recordings have produced contrasting perspectives on the three quartets and their journey from…
  • NEWS: London Viola Day

    26 Jan 2015 | 2:54 am
    Los Angeles has its Primrose Competition, and the Isle of Man has hosted the Lionel Tertis Festival for a good many years. Time for London to get in on the viola act. What better place than its home of chamber music, the Wigmore Hall, which on 29 November will host…
  • FEATURE: The Amati Monographs

    26 Jan 2015 | 2:45 am
    It’s amazing what you can learn by just using your eyes.  That’s what John Dilworth and I have been discovering again as we sit in a quiet room and enjoy the privilege of studying some of the world’s great stringed instruments.  With violins it is extraordinary how much you can discover…
  • FEATURE: Teaching and learning safely, part 2

    26 Jan 2015 | 2:32 am
    The first half of this article focused entirely on physical contact in teacher-pupil relationships, because it’s arguably the area most open to abuse and misinterpretation (as well as conflicting opinions). But of course it’s not the only aspect to think about in how instrumental teachers and their students should interact…
  • THE GREAT CONCERTOS: Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.26

    26 Jan 2015 | 2:01 am
    ‘It’s a damned difficult thing to do,’ Max Bruch once despaired. ‘Between 1864 and 1868 I rewrote my G minor violin concerto at least half a dozen times!’ Even after the much-revised first version had been premiered in 1866, he sought the expert opinion of both Ferdinand David (who had…
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  • Lisztomania: How Franz Liszt Became Music’s First Panty-Dropper

    Maureen Holland
    27 Jan 2015 | 3:32 am
    In 1820, at age nine, Franz Liszt performed at his first public concert. Like Mozart, he went on to amaze audiences across Europe with his prodigious talent. His youth and his skill drew many comparisons to Mozart. Alphonse Louis Dieudonne Martain-ville, writing for Le Drapeau blanc, went so far as to declare himself a believer in metempsychosis: “I am convinced that the soul and spirit of Mozart have passed into the body of young Liszt.” (Source: Ernst Burger’s Franz Liszt: A Chronicle of his Life in Pictures and Documents) In his late twenties, Liszt embarked on an eight-year…
  • Mozart’s Midnight Masterpiece: The Composition of “Don Giovanni’s” Overture

    Eric Esposito
    27 Jan 2015 | 1:44 am
    Despite a few drinks in his system, or perhaps because of them, Mozart managed to compose a masterful overture the night before “Don Giovanni’s” premiere. As is often the case with Mozart, his ability to compose works of genius seems to defy the laws of human nature. The story goes like this: Mozart was out drinking with friends October 28th, 1787, the night before “Don Giovanni’s” premiere, when one friend remarked that Mozart had not written the overture for his opera yet. At around midnight, Mozart went to his room and composed this work within about three hours that night,…
  • 12-Year-Old Joshua Bell Masterclass With Ivan Galamian

    Liviu Craciun
    26 Jan 2015 | 5:15 am
    This video of young Joshua Bell playing for famous teacher Ivan Galamian gives a great lesson to students, teachers and parents. It shows us that we don’t precisely know what our child is going to turn into. In this footage from the 80’s Bell makes a lot of mistakes and sounds, well, like a student. Ivan Galamian was one of the most influential violin teachers of the Twentieth Century and during his life taught hundreds of students. Not all are famous soloists and many played better than Bell did at the same age. But it turned out that only a few years later the young violinist was…
  • 100 Flutists Join Philadelphia Orchestra For Unique Performance

    D Grant Smith
    26 Jan 2015 | 3:12 am
    The dynamic impact of music in communities is illustrated brilliantly by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Their PlayINs allows instrumentalists to join the orchestra in unique exhibitions of performance not exhibited in other parts of the world. Here, 100 flutists in the community joined flutists of the orchestra for a special invitation at the Verizon Hall. The effect of this form of collaboration is unity in a more powerful illustration than what many classical music performers have the opportunity to experience. “Music-making transcends all barriers.” -Elizabeth Hainen, Principle Harp A…
  • Nirvana Hit Gets Piano/Harp Makeover

    D Grant Smith
    25 Jan 2015 | 2:45 am
    The song that launched grunge rock into the mainstream is arguably Nirvana’s 1991 hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. Transforming the Seattle-based rock trio into overnight music superstars, this single became a Billboard #1 song and made Nevermind a platinum release. Now, over twenty years later, the scream rock anthem has found a new voice. Whereas many rock bands and other performers have tried to cover this alt-rock hit, past endeavours have come up short on connecting with music fans. It is a hard track to replicate, with Kurt Cobain’s signature angst-rock style the focal point of the…
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