Classical Music

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  • Concert pianist is found murdered in Manchester

    Slipped Disc
    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:04 am
    The Russian-born Norwegian pianist Natalia Strelchenko, 38, has been found battered to death in domestic premises at Newton Heath. A man, 48, has been arrested. Natalia, who used the stage surname Strelle, had played recitals at the Wigmore Hall and the Weill Hall at Carnegie. She had management in the UK and Norway and recorded for Arena. Her website reports that she made her debut at age 12 with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. She leaves grieving parents and a child.    
  • Piano Twang: Steven Mayer Plays 'Le Banjo'

    Classical : NPR
    Tom Huizenga
    31 Aug 2015 | 11:30 am
    Music by New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk, America's first musical superstar, is a gumbo of styles including pop and classical.» E-Mail This
  • Review: From Taka Kigawa, a Class on Resonance at Le Poisson Rouge

    NYT > Music
    31 Aug 2015 | 3:10 pm
    Mr. Kigawa plays with a fundamental gentleness, even in intense passages, but he brings a precision to the relentless pricks and bristling repetitions in these pieces.
  • Police ‘arrest husband’ of murdered pianist

    Slipped Disc
    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:42 pm
    The Daily Mail, which gets good police leaks, is reporting that John Martin, husband and manager of the pianist Natalia Strelchenko, has been arrested in connection with her murder. Martin, 48, is a double-bass player. The Mail and other papers vastly inflate the extent of Natalia’s career and Martin’s involvement in it. Read the report here.    
  • Get To Know The ArtsHackers

    Drew McManus
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    It was a weekend of platform updates at and one area that benefitted from a major makeover are the contributor profiles. You can now click through to either individual bio or article archive pages for each author right from the main contributor page. Andy Campbell: bio | articles Ceci Dadisman: bio | articles Jonathan Eifert: bio | articles David J. Loehr: bio | articles Sarah Marczynski: bio | articles Philip Paschke: bio | articles Joe Patti: bio | articles Samantha Teter: bio | articles Drew McManus: bio | articles There’s also an updated Prospective Contributor FAQ…
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    Slipped Disc

  • Police ‘arrest husband’ of murdered pianist

    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:42 pm
    The Daily Mail, which gets good police leaks, is reporting that John Martin, husband and manager of the pianist Natalia Strelchenko, has been arrested in connection with her murder. Martin, 48, is a double-bass player. The Mail and other papers vastly inflate the extent of Natalia’s career and Martin’s involvement in it. Read the report here.    
  • An international baritone has died, aged 85

    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:27 am
    Dan Iordachescu, the leading Romanian baritone who sang opposite Pavarotti and Domingo at La Scala, Paris and Vienna, has died after a long illness. He made more that 1,000 appearances on the international stage.
  • ‘No pianist under forty exerts this level of fascination’

    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:18 am
    My Album of the Week on examines a pianist who gives away less of himself in a concerto than he does in a solo recital. Read the review here.
  • Marin Alsop takes over from teaching legend

    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:12 am
    Peabody Institute in Baltimore has announced the retirement of Gustav Meier, one of the world’s most sought-after conducting teachers. He will be succeeded by a former pupil, the Baltimore Symphony music director, Marin Alsop.    
  • Concert pianist is found murdered in Manchester

    norman lebrecht
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:04 am
    The Russian-born Norwegian pianist Natalia Strelchenko, 38, has been found battered to death in domestic premises at Newton Heath. A man, 48, has been arrested. Natalia, who used the stage surname Strelle, had played recitals at the Wigmore Hall and the Weill Hall at Carnegie. She had management in the UK and Norway and recorded for Arena. Her website reports that she made her debut at age 12 with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. She leaves grieving parents and a child.    
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  • Get To Know The ArtsHackers

    Drew McManus
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    It was a weekend of platform updates at and one area that benefitted from a major makeover are the contributor profiles. You can now click through to either individual bio or article archive pages for each author right from the main contributor page. Andy Campbell: bio | articles Ceci Dadisman: bio | articles Jonathan Eifert: bio | articles David J. Loehr: bio | articles Sarah Marczynski: bio | articles Philip Paschke: bio | articles Joe Patti: bio | articles Samantha Teter: bio | articles Drew McManus: bio | articles There’s also an updated Prospective Contributor FAQ…
  • Win-Win Friday: Elevating Hiring Practices

    Drew McManus
    28 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    It’s no secret that finding qualified applicants for incredibly demanding positions within the ranks of middle and entry level orchestra administration is no simple task but are we making this already difficult task even more difficult thanks to unrealistic expectations or failing to use applicable criteria? Joe Patti posted a terrific article on this topic on 8/24/15 and as it turns out, the topic is fairly popular right now and Patti references posts on this topic from Seth Godin and Vu Le. For the most part, the field spends a great deal of time and effort focused on executive level…
  • Ack! Early-Bird Registration (AND DISCOUNTS) For #NAMPC 2105 End This Friday

    Drew McManus
    27 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    The early bird deadline for the 2015 NAMP Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah is right around the corner; this Friday, August 28th to be precise, so if you haven’t registered already then get in gear or you’ll miss out on those sweet early bird discounts. As mentioned back in May, I’ll be leading a session titled Click. Click. Done. Developing Your Google Analytics Skills along with Google Analytics rock stars Ceci Dadismanand Marc van Bree. It’s going to be a very hands-on type of session where you’ll be able to put lessons into motion in real time and…
  • Stepping Up The Nonprofit CRM Challenge

    Drew McManus
    26 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems seem to be a popular topic this season; in July, 2015, Nonprofit Quarterly ran an article that discussed the rabbit hole that is evaluating and identifying CRM proposals (which we examined here) and the 8/12/2015 edition of published an opinion piece by a CRM CEO lamenting the lack of providers in that field which offer nonprofits solutions they really need (h/t You’veCottMail). The latest article, written by Virtuous Software CEO, Gabe Cooper, blasts mainstream CRM providers for failing to provide solutions that provide…
  • Not Only Will Live Symphonic Music Get You Laid, But Your City Is Crap If You Don’t Have An Orchestra

    Drew McManus
    25 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    In a recent interview with The Evening Standard’s David Smyth, singer-songwriter Ben Folds recently expanded on his previous sentiments that live orchestra concerts are an ideal vehicle to maximize verbing the adjective noun by declaring “there are two kinds of cities: those that have symphony orchestras and those that are crap.” There are two kinds of cities: those that have symphony orchestras and those that are crap.” Ben Folds is on stage addressing the people of San Diego, whose city is not crap. At 48, the musician from North Carolina, known for peppering…
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  • here and there

    Steve Hicken
    18 Aug 2015 | 5:25 pm
    FlowerCarter: Boosey & Hawkes have posted an interview with noted composer and Elliott Carter scholar John Link, who has some important insight on how and why the composer developed his “late late” style. In addition, Mr. Link lives up to his name with several Carter On Sunday evenings at 9 eastern, any interested party may join in a virtual gathering at twitter under “#musochat” to discuss contemporary classical music[1]and related subjects. Even if you…
  • interview: jason eckardt

    Steve Hicken
    9 Jun 2015 | 3:46 am
    I talked (via email) with Jason Eckardt about the music on his new CD Subject and about his music in general. His answers to some pretty specific compositional questions are open and thought-provoking. The interview is up at BurningAmbulance.
  • second place is the first loser, loser

    Steve Hicken
    7 Jun 2015 | 10:13 am
    Over at On An Overgrown Path, the always-thoughtful Bob Shingleton has a post about the current binary cultural paradigm "forces everything - including art - into the dualistic framework of 0 or 1, good or bad". (Links within quotes from Mr. Shingleton are present in the original.) This dynamic is one in which "[a] classical work is either a masterpieces or an also ran, and as a result audiences are denied permission to like unfamiliar music".One of my missions in writing about concert music has been to try to open up the cultural space for our music, especially for new music.
  • jason eckardt - subject

    Steve Hicken
    28 May 2015 | 4:50 am
    Burning Ambulance has my review of Jason Eckardt's new CD, Subject, Since BA doesn't include disc details as a heading, here they are:ECKARDT: Subject; Paths of Resistance; Trespass; Flux; Tongues. Tony Arnold, soprano; Alice Teyssier, Eric Lamb, flutes; Grace Hong, oboe; Andrew McCollum Campbell MacDonald, clarinets; Wendy Everett, bassoon; Danielle Bogacz, horn; Matthew Jenkins, Ross Karre, percussion; Marilyn Nonken, piano; Jordan Dodson, Daniel Lippel, guitar; Erin Ponto, harp; Christopher Otto, Ari Streisfeld, Yuncong Zhang, Jeffrey Young, violin; John Pickford Richards, Hanna Shaw,…
  • just because they say it's music doesn't make it music; but it's not music because i say it's not music!

    Steve Hicken
    24 May 2015 | 12:18 pm
    A few days ago, Alex Ross posted a piece by Amadeus Regucera called  obscured-distorted-redacted, performed by the great JACK Quartet. Blogger A. C. Douglas not only took exception to the piece itself, but also to Alex posting it as music. I can think of no non-subjective (or extremely prescriptive) definition of music that Mr. Regucera's composition fails to meet, and Mr. Douglas offers no support for his assertion that that it is not in fact music.As to the piece itself, It's got some very good stuff in it, especially in terms of texture. It may be a little long for what…
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  • New Music Gathering 2016 Schedule Posted

    NewMusicBox Staff
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:27 am
    Taking place January 7-9, 2016, at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, the focus of this year's meeting will be on "Communities."
  • Music After Life: Guiding Lights

    Robert Carl
    27 Aug 2015 | 6:26 am
    One side of the survivability equation is the caution-to-the-wind embrace of a personal vision, fearless of the consequences, no matter how impractical. The other side thinks outside of the individual and looks at the times.
  • Sonic Uprising: Songs for Freddie Gray

    Ruby Fulton
    26 Aug 2015 | 6:48 am
    Creative work in a time and place of crisis is essential to a community coping with tragedy and can become a necessary and powerful agent of change. If we truly believe that black lives matter, it's essential that we commit to hearing what their voices have to say.
  • When Do I Get to Stop Exposing Myself?

    Rachel Peters
    24 Aug 2015 | 6:45 am
    Some companies advertise the pieces we write for free as new commissions. I vote for an immediate end to this practice. By all means, call it a world premiere by the Next Important Composer of Our Time. Phrase it however you need to make it sound sexy and get butts in seats, but it is not a commission. It is unpaid labor from which others stand to gain.
  • Music After Life: Twists of Fate

    Robert Carl
    20 Aug 2015 | 6:12 am
    The reputations of certain composers seem to be actually growing with time, even though conventional wisdom earlier on would have predicted just the opposite. They present one possible answer to the question of how music becomes “survivable.”
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    Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

  • Indeed, he was for real

    Alex Ross
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:50 am
    I'd read about the infamous Columbia Records "The Man can't bust our music" ad,  which appeared in underground newspapers in 1968, but never seen it until Ann Powers tweeted a copy. Like "Mahler Is Heavy," it's a problematic attempt to market classical music with counterculture rhetoric. In the lower-right-hand corner you see the CBS recording of Stockhausen's Mikrophonie I and Mikrophonie II. The copy reads: "The microphone as an instrument with shrieks and cackling. Is he for real?" It may be argued, though, that the Man never entirely…
  • Noted

    Alex Ross
    30 Aug 2015 | 5:58 pm
    Michael Lewanski, on the Yale jazz fiasco: "By invoking the notion of a reified canon . . Blocker is actually undermining the very pieces he’s trying to defend; the Eroica symphony, after all, was meant to be revolutionary, not a bunch of audition excerpts practiced into the ground."
  • Bruckner at the 50-yard line

    Alex Ross
    30 Aug 2015 | 1:40 pm
    The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, sponsored by the village of Rosemont, Illinois, featured the opening of the finale of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony in its 2015 program, "Game On." Then there's a slightly dizzying segue to "Fêtes," from Debussy's Nocturnes. According to the Drum Corps Repertoire Database, the first drums-corps group to play Bruckner was the Guardians, in 2013; their ambitious young director, Johnathan Doerr, has also programmed Mahler, Elgar, Percy Grainger, Copland, and John Adams. YouTube shows that various high-school bands had…
  • God and jazz at Yale

    Alex Ross
    29 Aug 2015 | 8:57 am
    Reading yesterday's New York Times, I came across an article that appeared to date from around the year 1930 — the period in which dunderheaded authorities like Daniel Gregory Mason inveighed against the vulgarity of jitterbugging. In the Times piece, Robert Blocker, the dean of the Yale School of Music, explains why jazz is not a priority for his institution. He is quoted as saying: “Our mission is real clear. We train people in the Western canon and in new music.” This is real bad. Jazz is a monumental art form, its major figures among the most original thinkers in…
  • For Nikolaus Lehnhoff

    Alex Ross
    28 Aug 2015 | 9:49 am
    The sad news came yesterday of the death, at the age of seventy-six, of the opera director Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Lavishly cultured and innately musical, Lehnhoff occupied a middle ground between traditional and radical approaches to directing opera. Schooled in that inexact science by Wieland Wagner, among others, he seldom slavishly followed indications in the libretto, nor did he impose a soundbite-ready concept; he tailored his ideas to the particular dimensions of the work. I was able to see a fair number of his productions live: Salome at the Met in 1990 and 1996, Palestrina at the Lincoln…
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  • BBC Proms–Young and Younger Composers: Yiu, Matre, Firsova, and INSPIRE

    Rodney Lister
    28 Aug 2015 | 1:33 pm
    Raymond Yiu’s Symphony, a sort of Mahlerian song-cycle, which received its first performance on the Prom on August 25 by counter-tenor Andrew Watts and the BBC Symphony conducted by Edward Gardner, is a big piece, ambitiously conceived and handsomely realized. It is some indication of its success that most of the criticism one might have of the piece have to do with appealing aspects of it which one wants more of. It is well timed and beautifully orchestrated and consistently engaging, and, in its final moments particularly beautiful and rather moving, and it very successfully sustains an…
  • BBC Proms–Finnissy and Sibelius

    Rodney Lister
    22 Aug 2015 | 12:08 am
    One of the major themes of this year’s Proms is the commemoration of the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius. The Proms on August 12 and 13 were programmed to put Boulez into a context, offering his music alongside that of his predecessors Ravel, Stravinsky, and Messiaen. The Proms concerts on August 15, 16 and 17, featuring all of the Sibelius symphonies in order over three evenings, additionally projected Sibelius’s influence forward: the only music on those three evenings not by Sibelius was the first performance of a BBC commission from Michael Finnissy.
  • BBC Proms–Boulez, Ravel, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Founds

    Rodney Lister
    18 Aug 2015 | 1:22 am
    As well as being one of the major figures in the music of the second half of the twentieth century, Pierre Boulez has had a long and important relationship with the BBC and with the Proms, so it is not surprising that the celebration of his 90th birthday would be one of the prominent strands of the programming of this year’s Proms season. The Proms concerts on August 12 and 13 presented the first performance at the Proms of a major orchestral work of Boulez’s and placed it in a context of musical and orchestral tradition in which it stands. Figures-Doubles-Prismes, written in 1957-8, and…
  • LSO Live Releases a Pair of 10s–Maxwell Davis and Panufnik

    Jerry Bowles
    14 Aug 2015 | 6:50 am
    LSO Live is (are, if you’re English)  releasing Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Symphony No 10 and Panufnik Symphony No 10, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra on August 28. You can get a 10% discount by pre-ordering before the release. Here’s an interview with Maxwell Davis about his tenth symphony.
  • RighteousGIRLS CD release party

    Jay Batzner
    4 Aug 2015 | 8:48 am
    RighteousGIRLS will be celebrating their new disc gathering blue with a release party at Joe’s Pub at 7 P.M. this Friday, August 7th. Flutist Gina Izzo and pianist Erika Dohi will, of course, be there to throw down with their exciting and inventive program and they will be joined by Kendrick Scott & Andy Akiho as well! RighteousGIRLS collected an exceptional collection of genre-blending works using flute, piano, electronics, guest performers, improvisation, and all the things that make today’s contemporary music engaging and exciting. A video of Pascal Le Boeuf’s piece…
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  • Orphée et Eurydice: grief and catharsis at the ROH

    31 Aug 2015 | 4:53 am
    (This was originally for the Independent's Observations section the other day.)The new season at the Royal Opera House opens with a collaborative effort unusual enough to seem a tad startling. Orphée et Eurydice, by Christoph Willibald Gluck, is an 18th-century classic of the first order, mingling singing, dance and orchestral interludes in the service of a timeless Greek myth. To realise it, the theatre is opening its doors to the Israeli-born, London-based choreographer and composer Hofesh Shechter and his company of 22 dancers; and also to the conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his…
  • 1984: a love story

    29 Aug 2015 | 12:28 am
    The other day I was talking to Northern Ballet's lead dancer Toby Batley about his new role as Winston in Jonathan Watkins's new ballet adaptation of 1984 and what shocked me was that he said people had kept asking him in anxiety if it wasn't going to be all dark and depressing.1984? Of course it's bloody dark, I thought, and why ever not? What's wrong with dancing the dark? How has ballet reached a point at which if it's not all tutus and glitter and fairy-tales, people are anxious?Anyway, dancer, choreographer and composer all told me that actually it's not too dark for ballet. It's a love…
  • Watch Leonidas Kavakos at the Annecy Festival live, here, today, free

    28 Aug 2015 | 1:24 am
    Temirkanov, Kavakos: Beethoven, Prokofiev powered by, the leading online channel for classical music.This concert comes to you live from the Annecy Classic Festival, courtesy of JDCMB is delighted to share this streaming. Leonidas Kavakos playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto promises to be an artistic experience that everyone should sample, and the concert closes with music from Prokofiev's ballet score Romeo and Juliet.Amusingly enough, the concert's programme appears originally to have contained Bruckner's Symphony No.4, according to the Annecy website. I promise…
  • Free Kavakos!

    27 Aug 2015 | 6:21 am
    Yuri Temirkanov (left) and Leonidas Kavakos (right) can be heard live from Annecy right here, tomorrowFree Kavakos? Why are they holding him?OK, just kidding. But you can indeed watch and listen to the fabulous Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos for free on JDCMB tomorrow. We are live-streaming a concert from the Annecy Classic Festival, in a webcast shared exclusively with us by Kavakos is playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Yuri Temirkanov conducts the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. The second half consists of something rather special that may surprise regular…
  • Magic mountains 2: Into the woods, with the Strausses

    17 Aug 2015 | 6:43 am
    A double-bass player walks to work in the TaiswaldI started to go to Pontresina with my parents at the age of 12, more years ago than it's seemly to admit. This mountain resort in the Engadin, south-east Switzerland, with its open, sunny aspect and jaw-shattering scenery became their favourite summer haunt; over the decade that followed I must have been there with them for at least six or seven summers. But I hadn't gone back since 1988 and both my parents are long dead.This being a slightly difficult, landmark, stock-taking sort of year, I had an attack of nostalgia and wanted to visit once…
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  • Classical Month in Washington (November 2015)

    Charles T. Downey
    31 Aug 2015 | 9:18 am
    November is just as chock full of good concerts as October, so Washingtonians have to make some difficult choices. While there are more than ten options in this month's picks, many of them conflict on the calendar. I have listed them all, and readers will have to choose. KEYBOARD: Several big names are coming to the venues of the Washington area this month, beginning with Maurizio Pollini, who
  • Perchance to Stream: End of August Edition

    Charles T. Downey
    30 Aug 2015 | 8:43 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. Listen to Alan Curtis conduct Claudio Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea, with Carmen Balthrop, Carolyn Watkinson, and Il
  • Dip Your Ears, No. 206 (Bach-Busoni and Heiden’s Heiland)

    29 Aug 2015 | 7:30 am
    J.S.Bach, “Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland”, Excerpts from the WTC: Bk.I & Chorales, Edna Stern ZZT 090104 (65:40) Bach, the Keyboard Vocalist Great music intelligently put together and terrifically played; the latest Bach recording on the ZigZag Territories label was all but assured a spot among my favorite recordings of that year*. If Edna Stern, a Krystian Zimerman and Leon Fleisher
  • Quirinale Boxer Coming to Washington

    Charles T. Downey
    28 Aug 2015 | 6:45 am
    We are looking forward to an exhibition, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, currently at the Getty in Los Angeles, which will come to the National Gallery of Art in December. Ingrid D. Rowland has a beautiful consideration of this show and others (The Grandest Art of the Ancients, August 13) for The New York Review of Books: The other statue, from the third century BC, a
  • Briefly Noted: E.T.A. Hoffmann, Composer

    Charles T. Downey
    27 Aug 2015 | 10:08 am
    E.T.A. Hoffmann / F. Witt, Symphonies / Overtures, Kölner Akademie, M. A. Willens (released on February 10, 2015) cpo 777208-2 | 61'39" E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) is likely familiar to most readers as a writer, especially through the musical works his stories have inspired. He was also a talented music critic, artist, and composer. Although I was aware that Hoffmann had actually composed music
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    The Rambler

  • Book update

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    25 Aug 2015 | 7:00 am
    Yesterday I emailed 115,000 words of manuscript to my editor at University of California Press. Not the completed book – there are a few gaps and things that need sorting out, and I have to produce the appendices too – but enough to send for peer review and advance to the next stage of the process. Am … Continue reading →
  • Female composers and “the new complexity”

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    3 Aug 2015 | 4:00 am
    Yesterday I had an interesting conversation on Twitter about the representation of female composers under the banner of “new complexity”. Or, rather, why it’s hard to think of any and who decides these things anyway. This is not, I should add, a conversation about the artistic merits of complexism, or about its usefulness as a … Continue reading →
  • Programme for Music We’d Like To Hear, 2015

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    18 Jun 2015 | 2:43 am
    Quickly reposting here, for those who may not have seen yet. As always, a fantastic programme. All three concerts look pretty unmissable. music we’d like to hear 2015 three concerts on three fridays curated by two composers this edition supported by the RVW Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts I … Continue reading →
  • BBC SO’s 2015-16 season

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    17 Jun 2015 | 8:08 am
    The BBC SO’s season brochure has just arrived at the door. I’ve griped about the apparent ongoing demise of the orchestra’s Total Immersion days at the Barbican – days devoted to the work of a single contemporary composer through (usually) two or three concerts, some talk, a film and one or two other items. But this … Continue reading →
  • Save our Sounds at the British Library

    Tim Rutherford-Johnson
    19 May 2015 | 10:48 pm
    Email received today from the British Library: On the 12th January, the British Library launched a new initiative titled Save our Sounds.  One of the key aims of this programme is to preserve as much as possible of the nation’s rare and unique sound recordings, not just those in the Library’s collections but also key … Continue reading →
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    Opera Today

  • Santa Fe: Secondary Mozart in First Rate Staging
    30 Aug 2015 | 2:04 pm
    Impresario Boris Goldovsky famously referred to La finta giardiniera as The Phony Farmerette.
  • Regimented Daughter in Santa Fe
    30 Aug 2015 | 1:24 pm
    At Santa Fe Opera, Donizetti’s effervescent The Daughter of the Regiment can’t quite decide what it wants to be when it grows up.
  • Santa Fe’s Celebratory Jester
    30 Aug 2015 | 12:37 pm
    Santa Fe Opera noted a landmark two-thousandth performance in their distinguished history with a stylish new production of Rigoletto.
  • Sibelius Kullervo, BBC Proms, London
    30 Aug 2015 | 9:12 am
    Why did Jean Sibelius suppress Kullervo (Op7, 1892)? There are many theories why he didn't allow it to be heard after its initial performance, though he referred to it fondly in private.
  • Aïda at Aspen
    28 Aug 2015 | 3:18 pm
    Most opera professionals, including the individuals who do the casting for major houses, despair of finding performers who can match historical standards of singing in operas such as Aïda. Yet a concert performance in Aspen gives a glimmer of hope. It was led by four younger singers who may be part of the future of Verdi singing in America and the world.
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    aworks :: "new" american classical music

  • Words Without Music (2015). Philip Glass #links

    8 Aug 2015 | 5:32 pm
    "And he didn’t even apply for grants because he didn’t like that they imposed terms." DAN WANG "This rich artistic personality is what informs his memoir Words Without Music." SPECTRUM CULTURE "The next rollicking 300 pages detail, in masterful prose, the rise of Glass as a musician/composer/entrepreneur and simultaneously the avant-garde art scene that exploded in New York City in the ’50s and ’60s, where Glass was the red-hot epicenter of the music world." LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS '"Music Without Words” is an album of music by Philip Glass chosen by Orange Mountain Music as…
  • aworks top ten :: today's listening #perchance #modularsynth

    14 Jun 2015 | 10:00 pm
    William Tyler - Man of Oran. Deseret Canyon Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal. Immunity Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld - And Still They Move. Never Were the Way She Was The Modern Jazz Quartet - Bags' Groove. The Modern Jazz Quartet (Bonus Track Version) Judd Greenstein / Now Ensemble - City Boy. Dreamfall Gloria Coates / Susan Allen - Perchance to Dream. Postcard from Heaven. Not quite typical harp music. Steve Flato - I'll Never Be Able to Afford a Modular Synth. Poverty Electronics. The artist"is concerned with impurity, taking processes and concepts and freely interchanging them without the…
  • aworks top ten :: today's listening #possibility #difficulty #railroad

    13 Jun 2015 | 9:38 pm
    Aidan Baker - Doors as Possible. Souvenirs of the Eternal Present EP David Lang - The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. A new and interesting recording from Cantaloupe Music.  Modern Jazz Quartet - Bag's Groove (Live). The Complete Modern Jazz Quartet Prestige & Pablo Recordings Steve Gunn - Dive for the Pearl. Melodies for a Savage Fix Steve Gunn - Topeka AM Melodies for a Savage Fix Atheus - Deploy. Occult Symphony (Unmixed) Steely Dan - Do It Again. Can't Buy a Thrill Charles Ives / Stephen Drury - The Celestial Railroad. Faith, The Loss of Faith, And The Return of Faith. The album…
  • aworks top five of the day :: ssingggg, cat people

    27 Apr 2015 | 9:34 pm
    Ssingggg Sschlllingg Sshpppingg. Charlemagne Palestine Musica de Palladium. Dan Román Retrospectos. Dan Román Sometimes I Feel So Deserted. The Chemical Brothers Cat People (Putting Out Fire). David Bowie Palestine: I may have mistyped that name above but apparently this is a new recording, on the idiosyncratics label although Google only returns six results when searching. In any case, this is a noisy, creative 51 minute stream, if not river, of music and beyond. Román: A native of Puerto Rico, the composer writes lyrically and rhythmically. Innova calls it "post-minimalism with the…
  • aworks weekly top ten :: mostly cage, dylan & caribou

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

  • Appalling Reality: A Summing Up

    A.C. Douglas
    31 Aug 2015 | 9:45 pm
    (Since the inception of S&F in 2004 the subject of Regietheater and Regietheater Wagner in particular has been something of an idée fixe here. It's...
  • Ave Atque Vale, Oliver

    A.C. Douglas
    30 Aug 2015 | 7:41 am
    [NOTE: This entry has been updated (1) as of 11:55 PM Eastern on 30 Aug. See below.] When asked at age 5 what he liked...
  • Use Of The Word "Transcendence" A "Wagnerian Cliché"?

    A.C. Douglas
    16 Aug 2015 | 10:50 am
    In the closing graf of a thoughtful, well-considered, 1500-word 2001 New York Times piece written by (now) chief classical music critic for The Washington Post...
  • Not Your Garden-Variety Lieder Recital

    A.C. Douglas
    14 Aug 2015 | 7:34 am
    The following video is quite astonishing and deeply touching. The surgical nurse monitoring the recumbent tenor is worth her weight in gold. (Our thanks to...
  • The Complete 2015 Bayreuther Festspiele Tristan On YouTube

    A.C. Douglas
    12 Aug 2015 | 2:42 am
    [NOTE: This entry has been edited as of 11:04 AM Eastern on 13 Aug to clarify and sharpen language and add remarks unintentionally omitted.] Courtesy...
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    Bass Blog

  • Cannon Fodder

    8 Aug 2015 | 10:17 am
    Last week, either by design, or like so many things in this profession, by accident, the {redacted}SO at Ravinia explored the quintessence of our summer music festival experience. During the span of three concerts we performed a Zemlinsky Tone Poem, a pair of war-horse concertos (which both turned into white knuckle affairs), a Gala concert, that most American of summer staples – an all Tchaikovsky Spectacular, and, where we finally reached a kind of Waterloo, (insert Sad Trombone sound here) a film night performance of the movie Gladiator. About the only things missing were a major…
  • A Fantastic Fingering

    27 Jul 2015 | 2:54 pm
    Seeing a noted soloist return as a conductor is not often cause for high hopes, whether the transformation occurs after age has taken its toll on the playing, or in mid career, ennui, or an inflated ego has inflamed the desire to conquer a higher musical mountain. Although but a few steps, the journey between the soloist's spot at the footlights and the podium is a perilous road which has buried many a neophyte beneath an avalanche of overwhelming details, thrown many an overeager yet unprepared dilettante down into a hidden crevasse, or left many a dabbler dawdling along the crisscrossing…
  • Pray for Rain

    14 Jul 2015 | 10:34 am
     Since no summer of Bass Bloggery can go by without commentary on the season at Ravinia, it is time to take on the festival. “What are you doing home on a Saturday night?” one of my neighbors who knows what I do for a living asked during a recent impromptu front porch gathering, calling attention to the fact that in years past the rigors of my profession often forced me to eschew the warm weather social scene on our block. Happily, I could inform my neighbor since the {redacted}SO would only have three Saturday performances all summer, my attendance at future gatherings would be…

    8 Jun 2015 | 1:29 pm
    “Well, I'm back.” – Sam Gamgee   Sorry for the lengthy hiatus. For some of the time, I have a good excuse for not posting – I was away on sabbatical for a year – and for the rest of it, I have an even better one – general malaise, with a side of laziness. Thanks to those kindly who inquired as to the fate of the blog, and even in a few rare instances, my own well-being. The requests to have the blog start up again were all greatly appreciated and truly touching. Any fellow creeping along a high ledge, hearing the crowd below encouraging him to 'jump!' would be…
  • Return to Mordor

    14 Jul 2013 | 11:36 am
     A pattern seems to be evolving at Ravinia; begin the truncated summer session with a week of Christoph von Dohnányiand end with a week of Lord of the Rings. I'm not sure how many years the eighty-three-year-old maestro has left, but now that the LOTR folks have turned The Hobbit into a trilogy of films, we have five more to go. (If they tackle The Silmarillion, I'll probably throw myself under a train. If Ravinia ever makes us play LOTR, the musical, I might self immolate in the parking lot.)  Sometimes it feels as if Sauron himself takes a hand in scheduling during the summer…
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    parterre box

  • And another thing!

    La Cieca
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:03 am
    After 11 years during which she has written, edited and/or presided over more than 20,000 stories, weekend TV shows and radio segments on the arts, architecture, books and music, science, travel, the Nazis and Hamlette the micropig, Manuela Hoelterhoff is retiring from Bloomberg News.   The sharp-tongued doyenne intends now to complete her book Hitler’s Summer Seasons: Backstage With the Führer and to spend quality time with the aforementioned Hamlette.
  • Tanks a lot, but no tanks

    Poison Ivy
    31 Aug 2015 | 8:15 am
    Bayreuth’s most recent production of Tannhäuser was set to be retired. So of course they captured the 2014 performances for posterity and released it on video. The DVD has the typical Bayreuth package—it’s well-filmed, with a fairly steady camera that often pans out to full-stage shots instead of the using the new HD technique of constant close-ups. Good job, Bayreuth film crew. The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is however the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess. The first clue that the director might have been a little too high on…
  • Cherubino jumps the shark

    John Yohalem
    31 Aug 2015 | 7:17 am
    Homer, inspired by many a muse, sang not of sequels to his Iliad, and his own, the Odyssey, is so different in focus that many readers, then and now, have suspected another author of being responsible. But many other poets wrote sequels to Homer, and their addenda filled many a volume, most of them (perhaps happily) lost. As long as copyright laws were in their infancy, the ailment of other authors trying to expand upon unforgettable inspirations was endless.   Beaumarchais, author of The Barber of Seville, fell victim to this authorial addiction. He even yielded to it himself, once (The…
  • Stage beauty

    Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin
    31 Aug 2015 | 6:47 am
    Since the 1916 version of Ariadne auf Naxos which we all know and love had its premiere at Wiener Staatsoper, it seems most appropriate to bring you this 1967 performance from the same venue, with a legendary cast at its zenith.   Karl Böhm, a dear friend of Richard Strauss, is on the podium leading a cast which includes the much-discussed Leonie Rysanek in her prime, fresh from her Met triumph in Die Frau ohne Schatten, James King, and—oh yes—a 29-year-old American mezzo named Tatiana Troyanos.  It doesn’t get any better than this. Richard Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos Wiener…
  • Throne for a loop

    31 Aug 2015 | 5:00 am
    On this day in 1056 Empress Theodora became ill, dying suddenly a few days later, without children to succeed the throne, ending the Macedonian dynasty. Born on this day in 1834 composer Amilcare Ponchielli Born on this day in 1912 tenor/baritone Ramón Vinay Born on this day in 1937 baritone Leif Roar Happy 54th birthday tenor Neill Archer
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    The Wagnerian

  • The Wagnerians, 2015 - The Results

    30 Aug 2015 | 5:19 pm
    We admit this has taken some time. Indeed, it is now nearly two years since we asked you to vote in the first semi finals - where we reduced the number of entries down from 18 to 8 in some categories. Why so long? We won't bore you with the technical difficulties, identifying and removing those voters who followed the maxim, "vote early and vote often (you know who you are) and other problems. All you really need to know its here and we have learnt how to simplify things in future years - we hope. And of course we apologise for the long wait, while at the same time thanking everyone of the…
  • The Wagner Scrapbook - 2nd Edition

    30 Aug 2015 | 12:34 pm
    Note: Because people asked, you should now be able to download this as a PDF -  should you want. To Download Click HereWe spent a surprising amount of time trying to think what we could do for 2013. It seemed that every idea that came to us had already been developed or done in a similar way. But then by chance, we  went back to the origins of the Wagnerian. How, we thought,  would we have produced something like this during Wagner's first centenary? Without electronic media it seemed impossible. But then, an idea came to us. A very, very basic way of reproducing some of the…
  • Wagner The Anti-semite - A Complex Relationship

    30 Aug 2015 | 12:13 pm
    Taken from "Think Classical"'s essay Richard Wagner: Supreme Annihilator of the German War GodsThe Berlin anti-Semitic unrest of 1879-81 is mentioned in Know Thyself published in February of 1881, where Wagner dismisses it as "dunkel und Wahnvoll"—"sinister and steeped in delusion". Wagner also obliquely mentions an anti-Semitic pastor referred to only as "unsere Herren Geistlichen ... in ihrer Agitation gegen die Juden" (our dear clergymen in the agitation against the Jews). He was referring to pastor Adolf Stöcker who founded a party called the Christian-Social Workers Party, later…
  • Why Defending History is More Important Than Defending Wagner

    30 Aug 2015 | 11:55 am
    Out of the ashes came a very different Wagner & a very different history?Originally published, at Think Classical 19 August 2015 Slightly modified in our version When I first started writing on the Wagner controversy several years ago, I started out as a kind of amateur lawyer acting on his behalf. Part of this was driven by the fact that in retrospect I was rather naive about the sheer complexity of the subject. Things only gained clarity when I started to read major authoritative accounts of the history of the Dritte Reich and the origins of the Final Solution. At that point I…
  • Editorial: Barenboim Banned From Playing In Iran By Just about Everyone

    30 Aug 2015 | 10:51 am
    Last week, we noted protests from seeming racists in Israel - notably Miri Regev, Israel’s culture minister, who once called Black Africans a cancer in our body,” - to Barenboim conducting in Iran. However, it seems she need not have worried, for her equally, seemingly, racist counterparts in Iran have also said he will not be allowed to conduct there, according to the Fars news agency, because of his Israeli citizenship. It's difficult, for a rational person, to sometimes imagine that such immature and frankly childish psyches manage entire nations and have access to weapons that could…
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    Iron Tongue of Midnight

  • The Rats Begin to Chew the Sheets.

    31 Aug 2015 | 12:13 am
    ]Klaus Florian Vogt (Lohengrin) and Annette Dasch (Elsa)Hans Neuenfels's remarkable Lohengrin production got its very last performance the other day, and I am lucky to have seen it. Popularly known as the Rat Lohengrin, that performance got the biggest ovation I have ever heard for any performance. Somewhere around Klaus Florian Vogt's fourth or fifth curtain call, people started standing up, and by the time the whole cast came out for their fourth or fifth curtain call, the unison clapping had started. The ovations went on for maybe 15 or 20 minutes after the last chords.Vogt's…
  • Tristan und Isolde: Longer Version

    30 Aug 2015 | 10:56 pm
    Some bullet points:Production emotionally very dark, which can mostly be justified. Yes, trapped in a maze of sorts for Act I worked very well.Act III staging of Tristan's sick-bed hallucinations was ghostly, beautiful, and effective. Excellent use of a scrim, too.Kinda dubious about the Act II torture chamber.Portraying Marke as an evil torturer is contra everything in the libretto and score, though K. Wagner mostly made it work.My traveling companion thought he had died and then been resurrected by the attention of his friends (Kurwenal, the Shepherd, and a third unidentified character),…
  • Castorf Ring: Siegfried and Goetterdaemmerung

    30 Aug 2015 | 1:47 pm
    Bullet points:Petrenko's conducting did not improve in any substantive way, despite the very exciting Walkuere Act 3, those these operas were, I admit, better than the truly boneless Rheingold. He remained pedestrian, without an instinctive feel for the shape and process of these great works and without much feel for their sound-world, too.One example of where he fell down is the beautiful chords that accompany Bruennhilde's awakening, which reappear at the beginning of Goetterdaemmerung and again during Siegfried's narrative, when he is dying and finally remebers her. These chords must be…
  • London Friday Photo

    28 Aug 2015 | 12:01 am
    London EyeMay, 2014
  • SF Opera Magic Flute Cast Change Announcement

    27 Aug 2015 | 1:16 am
    Received from SF Opera communications:San Francisco Opera today announced a cast change for its upcoming Company revival of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Mexican-American baritone—and 2015 Adler Fellow—Efraín Solís will make his role debut as Papageno beginning  October 20, in lieu of previously announced Philippe Sly who has withdrawn from the production citing personal family reasons. Solis has been terrific on stage, stealing a scene or two from the likes of Dolora Zajick, and I am sure he will be a terrific Papageno. Wishing Mr. Sly the best.
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    Musical Assumptions

  • Music in Willa Cather's The Best Years

    31 Aug 2015 | 11:43 am
    Though there is not yet any direct mention of music in Willa Cather's The Best Years, which can be found in the out-of-print set of Cather stories published in 1948 as The Old Beauty and Others (Michael and I read half of The Best Years today), there is such music in Cather's prose. Here's one example: The horizon was like a perfect circle, a great embrace, and within it lay the cornfields, still green, and the yellow wheat stubble, miles and miles of it, and the pasture lands where the white-faced cattle led lives of utter content. All their movements were deliberate and dignified. They…
  • Practice Mirror "Hack"

    22 Aug 2015 | 12:08 pm
    Practicing with a mirror is extremely helpful for string players. My ideal practice space has a large window that takes up much of the wall. When I hang a mirror the normal way, the hook makes the mirror tilt towards the floor. I decided that the best remedy for this problem would be to prop the bottom of the mirror up so that it tilts ever so slightly towards the ceiling, which allows me to see the position of my bow in the space between the fingerboard and the bridge.I made a set of two tilting "machines" from things I found in my desk drawer:THE COMPONENTSTHE PROCESSTHE OUTCOME
  • Rambling Onward

    16 Aug 2015 | 4:41 pm
    I have always worked my way through grief through cleaning and through playing Bach. I made it through the grief I had during the time of my brother's death last August by organizing his music and the paintings and family memorabilia from my mother that he was transporting to his home in Memphis. I also spent time every day playing Bach on the piano. I have been making my way through the grief I feel for my father-in-law by getting my own house in order. Marie Kondo refers to cleaning and de-cluttering as "tidying," which is a nice tidy word for a new way of thinking creating order with the…
  • Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Exhibit at the Library of Congress Website

    15 Aug 2015 | 9:03 am
    I believe that Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge was the most important American patron of chamber music performance and chamber music composition in the 20th century. The exhibition devoted to her life and work at the Library of Congress website has letters, photographs, compositions, and recordings that I have never seen or heard before.You can read some Musical Assumptions posts about Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge I have made over the years here.
  • Beautiful Reason Sung by Our Beautiful Children

    14 Aug 2015 | 4:32 pm
    . . . and a bunch of cicadas!
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    eighth blackbird » Blog

  • Happy Trails, Tim!

    25 Aug 2015 | 3:34 pm
    all-time favorite shirt: the gleefully masochistic watermelon Our parting gift: a solo flute piece by fellow Aussie Brett Dean. What's he doing here? Your guess is as good as mine. Tim as Harlequin   The time has come for us to officially say goodbye to our beloved Tim. Though he’s traipsing the world doing Tim-fabulous things, he will still call Chicago home, which is an immense relief to us. We’ll all be keeping close tabs on him over at Bookmark it. Memorize it. Tattoo it on your palm. There are too many things we will miss about Tim, most of all his…

    Annie Higgins
    30 Jul 2015 | 2:06 pm
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  July 2015 Media Contacts:  Elena Grotto 312.397.3828 Karla Loring 312.397.3834 Images:  EIGHTH BLACKBIRD NAMED MCA ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE  September 2015 – June 2016  Building on a long-standing and rich history of working with eighth blackbird, the Museum of…
  • eighth blackbird announces 2015-16 SEASON

    Peter McDowell
    29 Jul 2015 | 2:23 pm
      July 29, 2015 | | t. 718.344.3690 | eighth blackbird announces2015-16 SEASONNEW FLUTIST NATHALIE JOACHIMALBUMS: ‘FILAMENT’ & ‘HAND EYE’ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE @ MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ARTEXTENSIVE TOUR + PREMIERES IN AUSTIN, CHICAGO, DC, AND NYC20th ANNIVERSARY IN 2016 “The blackbirds are examples of a new breed of super-musicians. They perform the bulk of their new music from memory. They have no…
  • Hand Eye premiere and recording

    20 Jul 2015 | 7:45 am
    Taking a break in the IV Lab lounge   We headed to Great Lakes a few weeks ago to finally premiere the full acoustic version of Hand Eye on the closing concert of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. Ted Hearne, Jacob Cooper, Andrew Norman, and Christopher Cerrone were able to be there with us and offer valuable feedback (and last-minute changes) during our rehearsals. After playing it through at home in our studio, we decided that it needed an intermission, and that intermission perhaps necessitated a slight change in the order of the pieces. If you ever wondered how the six of us in…
  • Olagon

    16 Jul 2015 | 10:22 am
    Last month we had another fun and productive workshop week for Olagon. Dan and Iarla joined us in the studio with some new music and mockups to try out. We were missing Michael, who was on the other side of the world playing with Hong Kong Philharmonic, but our new flutist Nathalie was able to fly in for the week and spitball with us while juggling apartment searching appointments. Dan had fleshed out some earlier sketches, adding sections and filling out the orchestration. I had brought my older Olagon materials from our last workshop, and it was fascinating to see the evolution of thought…
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    an unamplified voice

  • The retro moderns

    23 Aug 2015 | 4:43 pm
    Written on Skin - Mostly Mozart Festival, 8/15/2015Purves, Hannigan, Mead / GilbertThere was a lot of hype in Mostly Mozart's marketing of this US (staged) premiere. Not a shock, of course, but the degree to which George Benjamin's music and Katie Mitchell's staging lived up to this hype was both surprising and gratifying. Martin Crimp's libretto was the sticking point, though not a fatal one.The strength of Crimp's contribution is its dual-time setting: as Benjamin's interview in the program notes suggests, this framing/distancing element releases the characters and action from the…
  • Apollo

    15 Jul 2015 | 9:03 pm
    Daphne - Cleveland Orchestra, 7/15/2015Hangler, Schager, Ernst, Maultsby, Anger / Welser-MöstRemember the city's last notable concert presentation of Strauss, wherein Andris Nelsons and the Vienna Philharmonic brought not only a triumphant account of Salome, but revelatory new soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin in the title role? Well, this show wasn't really like that. An excellent night at the opera? Yes. Instant stardom? Not for the soprano, anyway...Regine Hangler isn't, mind you, bad: in fact she has just about the right voice for Daphne, a sort of oversized clearish lyric instrument that…
  • Off topic: the sleeping prince's awakening

    25 Jun 2015 | 1:34 pm
    It's been five years since I wrote more than a line here about this publication's official off-topic topic: ABT's Veronika Part.In that time, all too many of Part's lead performances have been dragged down by the use of New York native and recentish (2011) principal Cory Stearns as her primary ABT partner. As absent as she was present, as callow as she was wholly formed, Stearns -- whose actual steps and jumps, to be fair, have certainly gained focus -- left the balletic tragedienne little-or-nothing to work with. Most of her successes have been in her irregular pairings with Gomes, Bolle, et…
  • Hvorostovsky has a brain tumor

    24 Jun 2015 | 8:55 pm
    This sounds very bad. Let's hope for the best.
  • A Verdi soprano

    17 Apr 2015 | 4:50 pm
    I wanted to wait until I finished a full review of the several Don Carlo performances I've seen in the past weeks, but that may take a while to get to. So, a quick word on Wednesday night's house debut of Lianna Haroutounian.Simply put, she is a real Verdi soprano -- already the most exciting and appropriate in these middle-weight parts besides Sondra Radvanovsky (who has other mountains to climb next season). Haroutounian is not yet (and may never be) the tragedienne Barbara Frittoli is and was as Elisabetta, but from start to finish the scope and physical thrill of her voice was revelatory,…
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    On An Overgrown Path

  • Awesome, what are you listening to?

    31 Aug 2015 | 3:20 am
    When I was a kid, one of my favorite pastimes was listening to music. Seriously, whenever a friend would call and ask what I was up to, more often that not I would say, “Listening to music.” and the response would invariable be, “Awesome, what are you listening to?” and the conversation would go from there. It seems as though listening to music as a ‘thing’ has lost its way. I’m noticing more and more these days that music has been relegated to background noise while cooking or cleaning or working.That extract is from an article on White Noise which echoes sentiments that have…
  • I maintain that music is a pathless land

    28 Aug 2015 | 1:21 am
    I maintain that music is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any new technology, by any celebrity. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Music, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be made a commercial property; nor should any commercial corporation be allowed to control access to music. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to turn music into a mass market product. Music is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If…
  • The answer, my friend, is sitting on your shelf

    27 Aug 2015 | 3:02 am
    All the parties involved in music streaming are rapidly coming to the conclusion that it is no more than a short term fix that will not cure the record industry's long term problems. Record companies are realising that streaming means losing control of their precious intellectual property to predatory intermediaries such as Apple Music. Musicians are realising that streaming makes them wage slaves to the same corporate intermediaries. And consumers are expressing their disaffection by remaining loyal to legacy formats that, according to industry dogma, should now be extinct. Yes, streaming…
  • Why embracing diverse musical traditions is so important

    26 Aug 2015 | 1:14 am
    My essay in the programme book for the Salzburg Summer Festival's celebration of Hindu music and dance contained this little piece of nuanced mischief alluding to a surfeit of Mahler in the mainstream festival: Indian musician Gita Sarabhai declared "the purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influences"; ragas remain devoted to this purpose, whereas Western classical music has increasingly become a way of expressing existential angst.But, in a powerful example of instant karma, since I wrote that a felicitous dusting of bluesy existential angst…
  • Composers lost and found

    25 Aug 2015 | 12:14 am
    Audiences need permission to like unfamiliar music. So the typo in that headline is particularly appropriate.
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    The Naxos Blog

  • From winding stairs to whippoorwill

    28 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    Anyone who was born in a church tower, squandered opportunities for music education as a naughty teenager, lived through two world wars, rose to be one of his country’s greatest composers, and left footprints either side of the Atlantic gets my attention. I was reminded that today marks the death, on 28 August 1959, of Bohuslav Martinů who assumed the mantle of the leading Czech composer of the twentieth century, following the death of Leoš Janáček in 1924. Born in the small town of Polička in 1890, Martinů’s life divided into spells in Prague, Paris, the United States and a return…
  • Podcast: Gordon Chin – a graphic account of his Cello Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No. 3

    21 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    Dramatic tension is never far from the surface in Gordon Chin’s music, exemplified by this new recording of two of his formidable orchestral works. Literary inspiration for the Cello Concerto No. 1 came from the pens of Shakespeare, Pascal and Samuel Johnson, while the disturbed history of Chin’s native Taiwan formed the bedrock of his Third Symphony. Raymond Bisha explores the works’ emotional ride. Album details… Catalogue No.: 8.570615
  • Lost chords, new-found technology

    14 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    The year under the spotlight is 1888. The date, the same as the publication of this blog: 14 August. The featured inventor is Thomas Edison, to whom companies like Naxos owe their very existence. The new technology: the phonograph. Not brand spanking new, though. Edison had got his ground-breaking invention out of the blocks eleven years earlier, almost to the day. But it was on 14 August, 1888 that the phonograph’s latest model was paraded before a press conference held in London. The machine had metamorphosed from the prototype to the New Phonograph, the Improved Phonograph and, finally,…
  • Podcast: Jean Sibelius – a journey beyond the symphonies

    7 Aug 2015 | 12:00 am
    Raymond Bisha dips into the latest Naxos recording of works by Jean Sibelius that have been obscured by the popularity of his symphonies and the violin concerto, including many pieces he wrote to complement stage works. Although these might be termed incidental and occasional, they belie such labels by constituting an extraordinary treasure house of the most charming and melodically rich pieces from Finland’s first internationally recognised composer. Album details… Catalogue No.: 8.573301
  • Summer seasoning

    31 Jul 2015 | 12:00 am
    As July turns to August many of us will be enjoying the sunshine and thinking of vacations past and present. For music lovers, few melodies conjure the languid spirit of the season as effectively as Summertime by George Gershwin, from his 1934 opera Porgy and Bess (8.110287-88) which is, paradoxically, a tale of hardship and suffering: Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high, Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good-lookin’, So hush little baby, don’t you cry. Here’s a reminder of the melody in an arrangement for clarinet quartet (8.557407).
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    Anne Midgette: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Glimmerglass season shines with vibrant vocal performances

    Anne Midgette
    23 Aug 2015 | 6:45 pm
    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Stage direction is the most controversial element of today’s opera world. And stage direction divided opinions about the just-concluded 40th season of the Glimmerglass Festival — fittingly, since the festival is run by a stage director, Francesca Zambello. Read full article >>
  • Into the woods of musicals’ sounds: Two critics on what sings on stage and screen

    Anne Midgette, Nelson Pressley
    19 Dec 2014 | 9:53 am
    The impending opening of “Into the Woods” prompted music critic Anne Midgette and theater critic Nelson Pressley to compare notes on their very different takes on the last major movie of a Sondheim musical, Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” and on what makes a movie musical work.Read full article >>
  • Into the woods of musicals’ sounds: Two critics on what sings on stage and screen

    Anne Midgette, Nelson Pressley
    19 Dec 2014 | 9:53 am
    The impending opening of “Into the Woods” prompted music critic Anne Midgette and theater critic Nelson Pressley to compare notes on their very different takes on the last major movie of a Sondheim musical, Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” and on what makes a movie musical work.Read full article >>
  • Into the woods of musicals’ sounds: Two critics on what sings on stage and screen

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

    Anne Midgette
    4 Nov 2014 | 2:35 pm
    In 2010, I wrote a review of a recital at the Kennedy Center by the pianist Dejan Lazic. In 2014, he wrote the Washington Post and asked us to take it down.Neither of us expected that our words would have the effect they did.Read full article >>
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  • What to Do Before Leaving Your Friends (and Music Students)

    Grace Lam
    24 Aug 2015 | 8:48 pm
    I’ve become intrigued about leaving the place called home. At what point does the homesickness kick in? My piano student, Kayla, has been with me for years. I’ve never been a big-party kind of girl but I wanted to see my friends and everyone that mattered before I left. “I’ll plan your going away party,” my sister said. “Really?” I said. “I want it by the beach.” Thirty-odd people came, and everything I thought mattered did not matter. The weather, for example– we packed tarps and considered moving the party to Sunday because of the…
  • Shortcut to reinventing yourself

    Grace Lam
    11 Aug 2015 | 8:50 pm
    I was about to become homeless in Hong Kong, during my first visit to Asia. My housing agreement didn’t pan out. But then I lost my passport returning from Seattle (where I saw dead people), and turned my backpack inside out for the next few days. If I put the passport by the food in my bag, I might’ve noticed it slipping out– but I couldn’t decide which sugary cereal to get at the rest stop before the bus driver marched us back, so I had nothing to put the passport beside anyways, and remained starved and half asleep on the way home. This morning, my friend David told me to…
  • The fastest way to start a music event

    Grace Lam
    6 Aug 2015 | 9:37 pm
    To see people come together for a vision you’ve pieced together in your head is one of the best presents you can give yourself. Here are some of the highlights to producing my latest event– I had two months to pull this off, in the middle of summer. I didn’t cough blood this time. 1. Something is missing. I used to teach piano in public schools. many musicians were talented and passionate, but they tended to practice in their rooms, alone for hours, so I wanted to create a stage for the everyday musician to share their music with an audience. At the highest level, I needed…
  • Please Don’t Start

    Grace Lam
    11 Jun 2015 | 10:02 am
    Please don’t tell me I’m strong. I can’t believe it when dishes are cluttering up the sink, clothes are strewn around my room, 30 urgent emails go unanswered, and I’m not talking to one of my best friends. I can’t help dwelling on that one negative comment even when there are a hundred positive ones on my blog. At a coffee shop, I am scrolling through Facebook for someone to hire. I need help. Two weeks before launching my event, someone begged me to stop. It was poison for a girl who was coughing up blood. I’ve thought about slipping to spaces where music is…
  • 6 Summer Jazz Piano Songs

    Grace Lam
    3 May 2015 | 10:02 am
    “Why are you wearing sandals?” “I’m dressing for what I want the weather to be,” I say. “Not what it is.” Megs and I inch our umbrellas closer to cross the street. I’ve collected some lazy summer songs, inspired by a cabaret-style performance I recently attended. These are great for jamming with a friend (or sister, in my case) as there’s piano and vocal, and most are easy to learn. Oh, I’ve been ready for summer, for weeks.   Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding Sheet Music An easygoing, summer-type…
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    Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont | Pianist

  • Pierre-Arnaud reveals Artwork & Track List of the Bach album

    12 Aug 2015 | 4:30 am
    Pianist Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont has unveiled the artwork and track list of his upcoming Bach album recorded in Flagey Studio 4 in Brussels, Belgium last October. The album will be released this fall via ZeD Classics. The album features 2 partitas and a toccata by the German composer. Check out the full track list and the official artwork below. Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 1. Un poco Allegro ­ Adagio ­ Fugua. Allegro. Partita No.1 in B♭ major, BWV 825 2. Prealudium 3. Allemande 4. Corrente 5. Sarabande 6. Menuet 1 ­ Menuet 2 7. Giga Partita No.6 in E minor, BWV 830 8. Toccata 9 Allemanda…
  • The Beethoven album has a new face and gets re-released!

    18 May 2015 | 4:30 am
    Released in 2014 initially under Resonus Classics, Pierre-Arnaud’s album dedicated to 3 pivotal Beethoven sonatas opp 27 and 28 gets re-released this Monday by the pianist. Back after a few weeks of disappearance, the critically acclaimed recording is available again on major platforms with a new artwork and booklet. The new artwork is a picture by Arnout Willems taken in October 2014 in Flagey Studios during the recording sessions of Pierre-Arnaud soon to be released album. Here is a list of links where you can find the album: Bandcamp – iTunes – Google Play Those who…
  • Pierre-Arnaud now on Bandcamp!

    21 Apr 2015 | 4:30 am
    Find now Pierre-Arnaud’s albums on Bandcamp at ! From, you’ll be able to stream and download albums in various format (including HD, if available), buy CDs and other products released by Pierre-Arnaud. Introducing Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, the pianist first album, is already available here and very soon the Beethoven album will appear on Bandcamp in a new version, stay tuned! Originally posted on Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont | Pianist. Get in touch with Pierre-Arnaud on Twitter, Facebook or Google +.! Related posts: What do Beethoven and a…
  • Dablemont to premier two pieces in a rare recital in York

    16 Feb 2015 | 4:45 am
    Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont will premier composer Marc Yeats‘ cycle for piano The Magical Control of Rain and David Dies‘ Arqueología de la razón de los sueños this spring as part of the official program of the York Spring Festival of New Music 2015. The pianist will appear on the stage of the National Centre for Early Music in York for a rare recital (the last was in 2012 in France) composed exclusively of works written after 1957 by Luboš Fišer, Olivier Messiaen as well as two world premiers by David Dies and Marc Yeats. This concert will be live streamed. The recital will take…
  • The new Beethoven album is out!

    1 Jul 2014 | 3:38 am
    Resonus Classics and Pierre-Arnaud are proud to announce today’s release of the pianist’s second album dedicated to Beethoven! The first Beethoven album finally hits the digital shelves and is available on all major platforms like iTunes, Google Play, AmazonMP3… You can download a CD quality or High Resolution (24bit/96kHz) version from Resonus Classics website . These lossless formats are also available on Linn Records website, Quobuz, and many others! So head to your favorite online music service and get it now! Originally posted on Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont…
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    Classical Commentary: Barry Lenson's Classical Music Blog

  • Why Pari Dukovic’s Photo of Joyce DiDonato Is the Greatest Classical Music Headshot of the Last 100 Years

    Barry Lenson
    12 Aug 2015 | 4:49 am
    Joyce DiDonato by Pari Dukovic. Used with permissionWhat can you say about the publicity photo that photographer Pari Dukovic took of Joyce DiDonato? You can say it is iconoclastic, fascinating, engaging, glamorous, and funny.  But there is a lot more to it than simply piling up adjectives. When I first saw this photo I thought, “This is the greatest classical music headshot that I have ever seen.”  And indeed it was. And it is. So today I am trying to understand why. It Tells Us at Once Who the Artist Really IsThis is the big thing.There is only one other photo of a…
  • Remembering Jon Vickers

    Barry Lenson
    16 Jul 2015 | 10:00 am
    So much has been written about the titanic tenor Jon Vickers since he died a few weeks ago. What can I possibly add to everything that has been said about him?I’m not sure that I can add any new insights about this monumental artist, except to offer some personal reflections about times that I saw him perform.A Concert Performance of Fidelio in Montreal When I was a student in Montreal in the early 1970s, I went to a concert performance of Fideliowith the Montreal Symphony.  The cast was made up of very capable local singers from Quebec. They accorded themselves very capably in the…
  • Getting Opinions Out of My Ears . . . or how I stopped thinking and enjoyed Wagner

    Barry Lenson
    11 Jun 2015 | 6:24 am
    “ If you wish to see truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything. The struggle of what you like and what you dislike is the disease of the mind.” - Hsin Shin Ming, “The Great Way”A few days ago I sat down to write a post about Richard Wagner. I planned to write something like this:Wagner’s early operas grew out of the German supernatural operas of Marschner and Weber . . . Wagner’s operas Tannhuser, Lohengrin and die fliegende Hollnder are in a line with those earlier works . . . at a certain point, Wagner got infatuated with the writings of Schopenhauer and Kant and…
  • Unlimited Music Online vs. My Old Record Collection

    Barry Lenson
    23 May 2015 | 5:05 am
    I promise that I am not going to write a post today about how wonderful things used to be when I was young and how awful they are today.  You wouldn’t want to read that kind of BS and frankly, I’m not interested in writing about it either.What I do want to write about, however, is how today’s streaming and video access to classical music – all we could want, anytime – is changing the way people encounter classical music for the first time. And of course, how they continue to interact with it over the course of their lives. Is the “new order” better or worse than the old? I…
  • Earth, Wind & Fire and Baroque Performance Norms

    Barry Lenson
    13 Apr 2015 | 9:24 am
    A while ago I really enjoyed Les Intouchables, a charming French sidekick movie about an unlikely friendship that develops between a wealthy quadriplegic man and Dris, his African-born physical therapist. The theme music for the film is “September,” a song by the band Earth, Wind & Fire. And then later in the movie comes a feel-good scene when Dris leads a group of staid Parisians as they dance to "Boogie Wonderland," another song from Earth Wind & Fire. It’s fun, right? I have to admit that until I saw that movie, I had hardly heard of Earth Wind & Fire.  I guess that…
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    Stars & Catz » Classical Music & Opera Buzz

  • Anna behind bars + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    31 Aug 2015 | 2:43 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   New Mexico Philharmonic: Marcelo Lehninger Conducts N.M. Phil & Pianist Awadagin Pratt in Brahms & Beethoven Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, 6 PM, Popejoy Hall – Awadagin Prattwww.awadagin.comNew Mexico PhilharmonicSaturday, October 10, 2015, 6pm, Popejoy HallBrahms, Beethoven & PrattMarcelo Lehninger conductorAwadagin Pratt pianoJohannes Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 6 in […]
  • Precision, Clarity and Sustained Focus as the Bergen Philharmonic Visits the Proms + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    30 Aug 2015 | 2:14 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   The Magic Flute Pays Homage to the Era of Silent Films –        Edinburgh International Festival 2015 (21) – Mozart, The Magic Flute: Komische Oper Berlin, Kristiina Poska (conductor), Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 28.08.2015 (SRT)   Cast Pamina – Adela Zaharia Tamino – Jussi Myllys Queen of […]
  • Harlem Chamber Players 2015-2016 Season: Celebrating Our 8th Year! Season Opening Concert Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 4 PM + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    29 Aug 2015 | 1:45 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   How Franz Schmidt became the composer that history forgot – The radiant music of Austrian composer Franz Schmidt, once feted by the Nazis, is haunted by its past. Ahead of the Proms premiere of his Symphony No 2, Gavin Plumley explains why it is time to listen afreshFranz […]
  • Classical & Opera Listings for Aug. 28-Sept. 3 + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    28 Aug 2015 | 1:43 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   Win-Win Friday: Elevating Hiring Practices – It’s no secret that finding qualified applicants for incredibly demanding positions within the ranks of middle and entry level orchestra administration is no simple task but are we making this already difficult task even more difficult thanks to unrealistic expectations or failing […]
  • Georgia Spiropoulos + MORE

    Oliver Braithwaite
    27 Aug 2015 | 1:15 am
      Today’s News & Buzz   John Malveaux: MusicUNTOLD sent an invitation to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, to attend the FREEDOM CONCERT – Ban Ki-MoonJohn Malveaux of writes:MusicUNTOLD will present Free FREEDOM CONCERT to celebrate the 150th anniversary of 13th amendment to the United States Constitution-ABOLISH SLAVERY on November 21, 2015, […]
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    The Violin Channel | World's Leading Classical Music News Source. Est 2009.

  • Gramophone Award Winner Forced into Retirement with Rheumatic Disease

    31 Aug 2015 | 3:50 pm
    It has been announced today that British cellist David Watkin will be forced to give up his performance career – due to a chronic auto-immune rheumatic disease. The 49 year old period-virtuoso was just last week awarded the winner of the coveted Gramophone Magazine ‘Best Baroque Instrumental Recording of 2015’ – for this acclaimed recording of the Bach Cello Suites. Watkin has indicated he has been diagnosed with scleroderma, a systemic sclerosis and chronic connective tissue disease causing blood vessels to break under pressure – including when he is pressing on a…
  • Speed and Drugs Blamed for Aspen Festival Student’s Road Deaths

    31 Aug 2015 | 3:18 pm
    Police have today indicated that drug use and speed are being investigated as contributing factors in the road deaths of Aspen Music Festival students, Alexander Greene and Benjamin Darneille, in Wyoming last Monday evening. Police had indicated the 23 year old trumpeter and 21 year old tuba player were driving in the oncoming traffic lane, of the U.S. 191 highway when hit head-on by a semi-truck pulling two trailers. “Drug use and driver inattention are being investigated as contributing factors in this crash,” a statement by the Wyoming Highway Patrol has said. Alexander, a student at…
  • Marin Alsop Appointed Head of Conducting at Peabody Institute

    31 Aug 2015 | 3:01 pm
    Conductor Marin Alsop has today been announced as the new Director of Graduate Conducting at the Peabody Institute of Music, in Baltimore – replacing Gustav Meier, who will retire from the role after 20 years. “Marin’s bold vision and innovative approach will further enhance our conducting program,” Peabody Dean Fred Bronstein has said, “ … our students will benefit tremendously from this increased opportunity to work with a conductor of her caliber.” Alsop, 58 currently also serves as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony, the Sao Paulo Symphony and the Cabrillo…
  • Husband and Manager Charged with Norwegian Pianist’s Murder

    31 Aug 2015 | 2:49 pm
    Police have today arrested and charged John Martin, the husband of Russian-Norwegian concert pianist Natalia Strelchenko, with her murder – on the early hours of Sunday morning. Its understood Police and paramedics were called to the couple’s family home, in Manchester, United Kingdom at 12.45am on Sunday – following reports that a woman had been badly assaulted. A number of attempts were made to revive the 38 year old concert pianist at the scene – but she died a short time later. Martin, a 48 year old professional double bass player also acted as the pianist’s…
  • ASK THE PROS | Sarah Chang – Help Me With ‘Running Passage Articulation’

    31 Aug 2015 | 9:00 am
    The Violin Channel member Hannah Buckley, from Sydney, was desperate to know: ‘Why when I’m playing rapid, slurring semiquavers do the notes sometimes seem fluffy or squashed, even when I’m being conscious of a non-sluggish left hand and mindful of smooth string crossing?’ VC threw Hannah’s plea over to Korean-American virtuoso Sarah Chang: ‘Hi Hannah, Articulation in the left hand is vital. Not only is it important you land each finger down on the fingerboard accurately, but it’s also just as important to lift that same finger quickly and decisively…
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    Stephen P Brown

  • Sir Richard Branson’s 5 inspiring tips for balancing a quality life

    27 Aug 2015 | 4:00 am
    Three articles that could help us maintain a healthy work/ life balance, including the dangers of 'switching off' and the importance of allocating dedicated time.
  • 10+ Simple Ways to Avoid Wasting Time

    19 Aug 2015 | 5:00 pm
    We look at three articles that explore time management techniques, including a secret from Greg McKeown, 10 tips Entrepreneur magazine, and sage advice from Belinda Gadd.
  • #PsalmQuest 49 planning

    14 Aug 2015 | 3:42 am
    It makes me wonder if our modern proverb "toot your own horn" is somehow rooted in this psalm. In any event, let's be tremendously cheesy and write something that...
  • #PsalmQuest 49 research

    13 Aug 2015 | 4:24 am
    It is definitely not for those who like the "feel good" kind of Christianity prevalent in today's world. Or, as Mr. White puts it: "morally and emotionally feebler."
  • #PsalmQuest 48 research

    27 Jul 2015 | 6:28 pm
    "Praise constitutes the key motif," say Longman and Garland, but they also state that the heart of the psalm is the "contrast between God's anger and his favor." This contrast, and multiple other storied transitions, could prove useful when planning the composition.
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    The Amati Magazine

  • REVIEW: Amati goes to…Gstaad

    Jessica Duchen
    31 Aug 2015 | 8:42 am
    As Yehudi Menuhin’s centenary approaches, Jessica Duchen explores his legacy at the magical festival he founded in Gstaad, Switzerland A panorama of Gstaad. The festival tent is the white blob right of centre The year 2016 marks the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin’s birth. With anniversary celebrations already gearing up in plentiful locations, it seemed a fine moment to visit the festival he founded in Gstaad to see how his legacy has left its mark on the Swiss Alps. Yehudi Menuhin in his prime Gstaad sits at the convergence of a collection of gorgeous and navigable mountains, famed for…
  • NEWS: Meet the 3DVarius

    Jessica Duchen
    31 Aug 2015 | 1:08 am
    This is it: the world’s first fully playable electric violin created by a 3D printer. The creator of the ‘3DVarius’ – the first one is named ‘Pauline’ – is Laurent Bernardac, a French violinist and performer on electric instruments. His website declares that the printed violin is modelled after a Stradivarius and combines ‘the precision and power of 3D-printing with ancient violin-making skills’. In the video below he demonstrates the process of making this instrument: Drawing; Design and optimisation; Printing by stereolithography…
  • NEWS: Gramophone Award winner must retire from the cello

    Jessica Duchen
    27 Aug 2015 | 11:21 pm
    The distinguished British cellist David Watkin, whose recording of the complete Bach cello suites has just been announced as the Gramophone Award winner in the Baroque Instrumental category, is being obliged to retire from cello performance. This recording – for which Amati’s critic hailed him as a  ‘visionary musician’ – has therefore proved to be his last. Watkin is reportedly suffering from an autoimmune condition called scleroderma, which causes blood vessels to break under pressure, including when he presses on the cello strings. The Bach…
  • YOUNG ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Mayuko Katsumura, violinist

    Amati Q&A
    26 Aug 2015 | 10:00 pm
    Mayuko Katsumura is about to give the world premiere in London of a new concerto by British composer Benjamin Ellin – on a beautiful yet oddly mysterious violin…   Mayuko, how did you first get interested in music and begin to play the violin? My grandparents on my mother’s side were huge classical music fans. Because of that, my aunt was an amateur violinist, and my mother used to take me to concerts. I grew up listening to recordings of great violinists like Oistrakh, Perlman and Kogan. So it was only natural for me to say to my parents that I wanted to play the…
  • NEWS: Mullovas, mother and son, release albums on same day

    Jessica Duchen
    26 Aug 2015 | 1:30 am
    The young British-born double bassist, composer and arranger Misha Mullov-Abbado releases his debut album, New Ansonia, this Thursday, 28 August – on the same day as his mother, the violinist Vikoria Mullova, sees the issue of her new CD of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.2, Solo Sonata and Sonata for Two Violins (Onyx Classics).Misha Mullov-Abbado Musical pedigrees don’t come much stronger than being the son of the conductor Claudio Abbado and Mullova, and it seems little wonder that Mullov-Abbado is already making waves, described by the London Jazz News as ‘a…
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  • R. I. P. Oliver Sacks, author of Musicophilia

    Angelica Frey
    31 Aug 2015 | 6:48 am
    Oliver Sacks, the acclaimed British neurologist who extensively studied the effects of music on the brain died on August 30th after battling cancer for the second time. He was 82 years old. Beside being a neurologist, he was also a prolific writer, and his books deal with clinical tales involving fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) the manifestations of migraine (Migraine), epileptic reminiscence (An Anthropologist on Mars), hallucinations (Hallucinations), to name a few. His writings have been known for having great scientific rigor…
  • Have you ever had a skin orgasm to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2? You’re not alone.

    Maureen Holland
    31 Aug 2015 | 6:29 am
    It’s Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor for me. But for psychologist Psyche Loui, it’s Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2. “It,” of course, being the music that hijacks your brain’s reward system and provides a pleasurable sensation akin to that of sex or drugs. In “Thrills, chills, frissons, and skin orgasms: toward an integrative model of transcendent psychophysiological experiences in music,” Loui and graduate student Luke Harrison attempt to explore this sensation from an academic perspective. Their first order of business is naming it, and a substantial section of the…
  • Famous Musical Siblings: 5 Tales of Blood, Success, and Disappointment

    Maureen Holland
    31 Aug 2015 | 5:45 am
    Johannes and Friedrich Brahms Johannes was the golden child. Two years older than Friedrich, he was quickly marked for greatness by his piano teachers. Wanting to following in the footsteps of his brother rather than his father (an orchestral musician), Friedrich took piano lessons with the same teachers as Johannes. Though “reasonably bright and talented,” according to Jan Swafford, Friedrich could not be measured by the same standards as his brother. This was not lost on Johannes, who wasted no energy on brotherly love. “Most of the time,” Swafford writes, “Johannes simply ignored…
  • 5 Artists Who Should Be On Your Radar

    D Grant Smith
    30 Aug 2015 | 5:48 am
    Every day there are new music artists who are emerging from the woodwork, all with new music. With so much content being created and shared, it’s very difficult for folks like us who are fans of interesting, engaging and great music to keep up with everything. Yes, it’s difficult for me too and I sample new music daily for a living. With that in mind, I want to share with you 5 music artists that are worth your time and energy in listening to, musicians who should absolutely be on your radar. I did say there is new music being released daily, and on this list are a few artists who…
  • Sir Simon Rattle Marks Triumphant Return To Birmingham

    D Grant Smith
    30 Aug 2015 | 5:03 am
    The Classical music world sits in eager anticipation for the return of one of its greatest names to present once again in September. Sir Simon Rattle marks a triumphant return to Birmingham on September 8th at Symphony Hall. The concert event will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Birmingham International Concert Season at Symphony Hall, the performance is a celebration of the city’s musical heritage. Sir Simon will lead the Vienna Philharmonic in this historic performance of Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius’. This piece by Elgar, the historic Birmingham composer, is noted as his best…
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