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Showing posts from February, 2009

JN Howard's I Would Plant A Tree Rooted in Film Music

Last Thursday, the Pacific Symphony performed a concert honoring "Hollywood's Golden Age." While there were pieces by Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Miklós Rósza, the concert also branched out into the music of today, giving a World Premiere of a piece written specifically for the occasion by James Newton Howard, I would plant a tree. Timothy Magnan, of the Orange County Register, gave this review of the new work:"Tree" sounds like movie music. It is tonal and melodic and athletically rhythmic and highly decorative (the orchestration is for a large orchestra, including cimbasso, Wagner tubas and lots of trumpets and percussion, especially bells.) It sparkles and scintillates. At 20 minutes, it is also formally secure, describing an arch of beauteous simplicity and wonder through strenuous upheaval and back again. On the other hand, "Tree" sounds so much like other music that it is predictable and lacks a strong identity of its own. St…

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs Video Game Symphony
Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY, June 27

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Arnie Roth to conduct; images from Final Fantasy series projected above the stage.Baltimore, Md. (February 27, 2009)– Grammy award-winning conductor Arnie Roth (pictured)leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY, by Japanese video game composer Nobuo Uematsu on Friday, June 27 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Celebrating the beloved music of Final Fantasy, the program will include compositions from games throughout the series, with video graphics from the popular game projected on a screen above the stage. See below for complete program information.In the summer of 2008, the BSO performed Play! A Video Game Symphony, also under the direction of Arnie Roth, earning rave reviews and the gratitude of local gamers. This concert taps into that enthusiasm once again, bringing what critics include among the best orchestral works written for a video game. Featuring 13 favorite selections, such as “Aerith’s Theme” (VII), “Theme of Lo…

Darin Atwater, Soulful Symphony Cancel April Performances

The Sounds of Motown will be performed as scheduled in May 2009(Baltimore, Md.) – The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra regrets to announce that Soulful Symphony, under the direction of Darin Atwater, will not be performing Soulful Sings, previously scheduled for April 3, 2009 at The Music Center at Strathmore and April 4, 2009 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, due to the weak economy. The final Soulful Symphony concert of the season, The Sounds of Motown, will be performed as scheduled."It's unfortunate that the current economic downturn has affected us in this way,” says Darin Atwater, founder and artistic director of Soulful Symphony. “We are anticipating an exciting evening as we close the season with The Sounds of Motown. Our patrons are resilient and we will do everything possible to keep alive the wonderful performances they have come to love."BSO Vice President and General Manager, Kendra Whitlock Ingram agrees, “We felt it best to focus all of our efforts on Th…

American Symphony Orchestra Plays Works by Composer William Grant Still

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March 22 Concert at Lincoln Center Conducted by Leon Botstein“Revisiting William Grant Still” Presents Still’s Remarkable Darker America, Africa, and Symphony No. 2
Complemented by Edgard Varèse’s Offrandes and George Whitefield Chadwick’s Rip Van Winkle OvertureThe pioneering African-American composer William Grant Still (1895-1978)(pictured) ranks among the greatest composers born and educated in the United States , rivaled only by Leonard Bernstein in the variety of his output. On March 22 the American Symphony Orchestra celebrates his under-appreciated genius with its Lincoln Center concert “Revisiting William Grant Still”. Performing three of Still’s landmark compositions – Darker America, Africa, and Symphony No. 2 – along with works by two of his great influences, George Whitefield Chadwick (the concert overture Rip Van Winkle) and Edgard Varèse (Offrandes), the ASO acknowledges Still’s important position in musical and African-American history. Often referred to as the dean …

Southbank (London) treated to the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra

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Sounds Venezuela - The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra at Royal Festival HallSaturday 18 April 2009, 7.30pmGustavo Dudamel (pictured) conducts the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar (Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, Venezuela's youth orchestra) through Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a piece that shocked audiences when it was first performed, thanks to its intensely rhythmic score and complex musical techniques. The later half of the performance will have a Latin flavor with music from Venezuelan and Mexican composers.Marshall Marcus, Head of Music for the Southbank Centre in London, said "They will sweep aside every preconception people have about classical music. Anyone who ever thought classical music was not for them - this is the one thing they should see. They demonstrate what we've perhaps been missing in Europe - musicians performing out of a sheer, goddam, unbridled desire to live the music."The economist José Antonio Abreu established the orchestra on 12 Feb…

The Phoenix Symphony Releases CD, Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio

CD Available in stores and online starting March 31PHOENIX, AZ - The Phoenix Symphony is proud to announce the CD release of Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio on the Naxos label March 31 - the fifth recording for the Symphony and the first CD release since 1994. Recorded live during its sold out world premiere February 7, 2008 at Symphony Hall under the baton of Virginia G. Piper Music Director Michael Christie, the work represents the fusion of Navajo Culture with traditional orchestral art form.In celebration of The Phoenix Symphony’s 60th Anniversary during the 2007-08 Season, the orchestra commissioned the work combining symphonic music with the traditions of the Southwest. The work for chorus, orchestra, and baritone soloist composed by Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Mark Grey explores a contemporary retelling of an ancient but timeless Navajo epic. Incorporating a libretto of Navajo and English-language text by Navajo librettist Laura Tohe, the world-premiere also included the…

North Carolina Symphony recording features Branford Marsalis

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Symphony has released its first commercial recording, but it's a jazz saxophonist, three-time Grammy winner Branford Marsalis, who gets top billing on the classical release. "American Spectrum," a four-work compact disc, features Marsalis the soloist on one performance and his quartet on another. And Marsalis has no airs when it comes to classical music, which he says requires more attention to detail than jazz. "All the music we grow up with in our country, you can have certain little technical quirks or deficiencies, and you can just pass it off as part of your personal style," Classical music "is a different aesthetic completely."Marsalis performs as a soloist on John Williams' "Escapades" and his quartet performs on Ned Rorem's "Lions (a Dream)." Because the jazz band leader had performed with the North Carolina Symphony in the past, symphony music director Grant Llewellyn knew w…

Guildhall School and Royal Academy of Music combine to play Beethoven's 9th

18 March 2009, 7.30pm, The Anvil, Basingstoke
20 March 2009, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall, LondonCombined Orchestra of the Guildhall School and Royal Academy of Music
Combined Chorus of the Guildhall School, Royal Academy of Music and King’s College London Chamber ChoirThe Anvil
Claire Rutter soprano
Charlotte Stephenson mezzo soprano
Thomas Hobbs tenor
David Stout bassBarbican Hall
Claire Rutter soprano
Anne Mason mezzo soprano
Philip Langridge tenor
Alan Opie bassSome of the best musicians currently studying in London perform Beethoven’s monumental final symphony. Sir Colin Davis is international Chair of Conducting Studies at both the Guildhall School and the Royal Academy of Music and both conservatoires are pleased to welcome back renowned alumni as soloists for these performances.Alan Opie, Claire Rutter and David Stout: Guildhall School alumni
Thomas Hobbs, Philip Langridge, Anne Mason and Charlotte Stephenson: Royal Academy of Music alumniThe Guildhall School is provided by the City…

BBC Galapagos Film competition submittion

Over the last week I've been in the process of creating and defining my MySpace page. As a result of this process I've been digging out some old material to post, films I've scored which I don't currently have posted anywhere. Over a year ago, the BBC ran a contest to score a short BBC film clip. The clip was created from images of their Galapagos Island documentary. Scoring the images was an interesting project and, although I was not selected as the winning entry, I do like what I achieve. So, here it is - soon to be available on MySpace.

Doctor Atomic Explodes in London

With the rave reviews coming out of Chicago and New York, it is no surprise that the opera Doctor Atomic by John Adams is receiving the same sort of praise in London. Based on the life and memoirs of Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who built and tested the first atomic bomb in July 1945. It's three hours of thought provoking music and words and yet, not so much a history lesson as a look at our own situation of action and consequence.Richard Morrison of the The Times (London) gave this review:"There are fascinating vignettes (much of Peter Sellars’s libretto is drawn verbatim from memoirs) mingled with agonised soliloquies in which characters wrestle with their consciences. There is even a tender love scene in which Oppenheimer (the superb Gerald Finley) soothes the fears of Kitty, his increasingly unhinged wife (the luscious-voiced Sasha Cooke) with sensuous renditions of Baudelaire. ...as the atomic test draws near, Oppenheimer himself disintegrates, singing Donne’s son…

Osmo Vänskä leads the Minnesota Orchestra, but Joshua is the Bell of Barbican

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Jennifer Taylor for The New York TimesJoshua Bell performed with the Minnesota Orchestra under the baton of Osmo Vänskä at the Barbican Centre Tuesday night, starting their European tour on solid ground. London is the first stop on a European tour for the Minnesota Orchestra, continueing on to Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Vienna. Osmo Vänskä lead the orchestra through a thrilling programme of Adams’s Slonimsky’s Earbox, Barber’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven's Eroica. With a sold out crowd, it was a stunning way to start the trip.Both conductor and violist were praised for their performances, but it was Bell who won the night.Neil Fisher of The Times (London) wrote: "America’s favourite preppy violinist was on ravishing form, offering sweetly sustained lyricism that never threatened to teeter into schmaltz. The reward for the audience’s ovations was a fiendish encore (Henri Vieuxtemps’ Souvenir d’Amérique) that flashed virtuosity in all…

Alan Gilbert Returns to Podiums of Boston Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Alan Gilbert’s first season as the new Music Director of the New York Philharmonic doesn’t begin until September 2009, but he’ll be back this spring to lead his hometown orchestra in two programs (Apr 30 – May 5 and May 7–9, respectively) that will include his first performance of a Mahler symphony with the orchestra as well as the world premiere of The World in Flower, a new work by composer Peter Lieberson, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Before those concerts, however, Gilbert will return to the podiums of several major orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Mar 5–10), Hamburg ’s NDR Symphony Orchestra (Mar 27–29), and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Apr 18 and 19). Before returning to New York , he will also make his debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Mar 18–21).In Boston , Gilbert will conduct Charles Ives’s haunting (and daunting) Symphony No. 4, which he conducted to great acclaim with the New York Philharmonic …

Valery Gergiev conducts Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain and Wagner’s Parsifal Act III

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Thursday 12 March 2009, 7.30pm, BarbicanDUTILLEUX Tout un monde lointain
WAGNER Parsifal (Act III)Valery Gergiev conductor (pictured)
Tim Hugh cello
Sergey Semishkur Parsifal
René Pape Gurnemanz
Evgeny Nitkin Amfortas
London Symphony Chorus
Sponsored by Canon Europe The great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich commissioned Henri Dutilleux to write Tout un monde lointain, now an important work in the cello repertoire. Rostropovich gave the world premiere at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in July 1970.Following his success at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, LSO Principal Cellist Tim Hugh has enjoyed an international career as soloist while maintaining his position with the LSO. He has worked as soloist with many of the great conductors including Previn, Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Rostropovich, Menuhin, Harding, Xavier-Roth, Chung and Tortelier. His recordings of Brahms Double and Beethoven Triple with the LSO, Bernard Haitink, Gordan Nikolitch and Lars Vogt are …

Moving on the Web: Music, Video and Networking

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For the past few months I've been providing links to the various artist's sites when they are mentioned in articles I'm posting. I'm not terribly consistent in providing links for every one, but I try to include any I can find. It amazes me how many artists, performing at the professional level, do not have a personal website, a MySpace page or biographical information dedicated to their career. Many artists are listed with their agency (IMGArtists does a nice job of create a bio page for all the artist they represent), but this isn't quite the same as a personal webpage.I know I, too, am lacking a website, but since my career is just beginning, I'm not sure how many people would be looking for my presence on the web. A website is really only good if people are trying to find you. It doesn't really promote you like a newspaper or magazine article does (as a website doesn't go into peoples homes; people have to go looking for it). Still, if you're a …

World-Premiere Recording of Virtually-Unknown Vivaldi Opera La Fida Ninfa

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all-star cast including Sandrine Piau, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, and Philippe Jaroussky led by Jean-Christophe SpinosiAntonio Vivaldi: La fida ninfa
Lorenzo Regazzo, Veronica Cangemi, Philippe Jaroussky, Sandrine Piau, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Topi Lehtipuu, and Sara Mingardo
Ensemble Matheus / Jean-Christophe Spinosi
CD and downloads available February 24 from naïve“The [Ensemble Matheus] gives a crisp and exciting performance under the direction of Jean-Christophe Spinosi … . Vivaldi’s delectable arias, with their unexpected curves, jagged, irregular phrases, and gleaming string colors, reflect the seductive light and rhythm of Venice, his water-ringed home town.”
– New Yorker review of Spinosi’s recording of GriseldaJean-Christophe Spinosi leads his Ensemble Matheus with an all-star cast in the world-premiere recording of Antonio Vivaldi’s La fida ninfa, which was originally premiered during the Verona carnival of 1732 at the Teatro Filarmonico. The work was composed to help celebrate th…

Five:15 Returns - Scottish Opera & Five 15 min Operas

Following the overwhelming success of Five:15 in 2008, Scottish Opera returns with a brand new set of five, specially commissioned, fifteen-minute operas from Scottish writers and composers."The whole project was ingenious"
The Herald, March 2008

"I came away from Five:15 thrilled, stimulated and, yes, moved"
Financial Times, March 2008The first performances happened this last weekend in Glasgow with strong reviews. Sarah Urwin Jones of TimesOnline wrote:Two short-story adaptations opened the night, with varying success. Where the librettist and lecturer Amy Parker's take on Herman Melville's The Lightning Rod Man, an all-American allegory, is florid and a little dated, David Fennessy and Nicholas Bone's clean adaptation of Peter Carey's Happy Story fades alluringly in and out of introspection, despite the ultimately daft decision to work in five scene changes in 15 minutes.

...the most successful offering of the night, Remembrance Day, written by…

New Approach to a Classical Instrument

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There is an article by Zack McMillin in Commercial Appeal, an online paper in Memphis, which talks about violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). I love finding gems like this because it gives me an opportunity to listen to, to discover someone news in the industry - and potentially hear new sounds. DBR is all about new sounds.He was named one of "The New Faces of Classical Music" in the May 2008 issue of Esquire Magazine. In February 2008, he was featured Interview Magazine as one of the most "Notable Harlemites" alongside Marcia Gay Harden and others. He appears in the November 2008 issue of ZINK magazine in the article "The Perfect Score." MUSO Magazine, Vanderbilt Magazine, New York Radio WNYC have all feature DBR as well. He's making noise of all the right kinds.Listening to his Voodoo Violin Concerto (below) he is looking at the orchestra and violin and the way they make music in new ways. He starts the performance playing the violin like a mando…

Pacific Symphony's Ninth American Composers Festival Explores The Composers And Music That Belonged To "Hollywood's Golden Age"

Orange County, Calif. — Dec. 20 — This season, Pacific Symphony's 2009 American Composers Festival (ACF) looks at the differences between composing for concerts and composing for film and how the two styles have evolved into what we hear today—all the while celebrating the art of film music, past and present. This ACF is particularly relevant, considering that film music has been an integral part of Southern California culture since the inception of the movie industry; plus, it has strong connections to the world of "classical" concert music. Once disregarded by the modernist school of composition, film music has now come into its own as a fully recognized art form. And, of course, this recognition is not just academic. Millions of filmgoers have been exposed to—and delighted by—orchestral music through the movies. For tickets or more information on the ACF, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org/ACF."Hollywood's Golden Age," led by Music Dire…

British Violinist Daniel Hope Returns to U.S. for February Concert

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Performances at NYC’s Alice Tully Hall and Savannah Music FestivalHope’s New Vivaldi Concertos Album for DG, Released This Month in U.S. , Is Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”Daniel Hope’s three-concert residency this season with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMSLC) culminates on February 27 at the newly-reopened Alice Tully Hall, with the U.S. premiere of a special project that he himself conceived. The program, “War and Pieces”, is a concert blending military-themed music with poetry and texts about war and peace, including Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale in a new translation by Paul Griffiths. Hope commissioned the young German composer Jan Müller-Wieland to transcribe Beethoven’s Egmont Overture for the same jazz/cabaret-style instrumentation as the Stravinsky work. Beethoven’s overture is linked to a recitation of “Long Live War!”, a monologue from Goethe’s Egmont, to be performed by Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer (Mephisto, Out of Africa) who will also feature as …

Boston Pops Spring Season 2009: Tickets go on Sale Today, February 23

Season Includes Special Appearances
By Barbara Cook, John Williams, Michael Feinstein And Linda EderOther Highlights Include Special Tributes To:
Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, The Apollo 11 Moon Landing, Ballets Russes, Richard Rodgers, Benny Goodman, Billy Joel, Harry Ellis Dickson, And America’s National Pastime, Baseball.Tickets for the 2009 Spring Pops season go on sale Monday, February 23. In his 15th year as Conductor of the Boston Pops, Keith Lockhart returns to the podium for the orchestra’s 124th season, May 6-June 21. In commemoration of the Pops’ brand-new Red Sox Album, produced in conjunction with the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball and scheduled for release April 6, the season’s theme is America’s Favorite Pastime. Music from the CD and baseball-themed segments will be featured in programs throughout the season.TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets may be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org by phone through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200 or in person at the Symphony Hall…

Julia Fischer to Performer Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

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Julia Fischer with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
and Mariss Jansons at Carnegie Hall Sunday March 15 at 2:00pm.German violinist Julia Fischer (pictured) will perform Prokofiev’s first violin concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, March 15 at 2:00PM. The concert will be Ms. Fischer’s first New York City performance since the release in January of her debut Decca recording of Bach concertos recorded with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields which was the highest-selling classical debut in iTunes history. The Carnegie Hall concert follows concerts in ten U.S. cities this month leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on its 50th Anniversary tour. Following the current tour, Ms. Fischer will make numerous U.S. appearances in coming months with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (April 16-18), Los Angeles Philharmonic (May 22-24), Philadelphia Orchestra (May 28-31) and the San Francisco Symphony (June 3-7). In add…

Anna Netrebko or Angela Gheorghiu featured in Gramophone’s March 2009 Issue

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The March 2009 issue of Gramophone features two beautiful and enormously talented sopranos on its cover: Anna Netrebko (right) and Angela Gheorghiu (left). The question posed by the magazine’s cover story is simple: which of these two “dueling divas” is today’s true Prima Donna? As James Inverne explains in his monthly editorial, he “grew up with tales of singers pitted against each other by possessive record companies … [So,] as this month sees major Italian opera sets from each, it seemed as good a moment as any to assess their relative merits.” Mike Ashman charts the history of the diva wars in a four-page article while critics John Allison and Anne Midgette make the case for Gheorghiu and Netrebko respectively. Gramophone also reviews both Netrebko’s new recording of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (DG) and Gheorghiu’s new recording of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (EMI Classics). Other highlights for Gramophone’s March 2009 issue: The magazine’s monthly Diary page is from c…

Symphony No 1 - Figuratively Speaking

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There have been a number of requests to hear the symphony so I've put together this player of the entire work.
Warning: it's 55 minutes in length. So, unless you're got some time to listen to the entire thing you might want to just listen to the 3rd movement (what most consider my best movement in the symphony) - although I tend to favor the 4th movement.This symphony, along with other compositions of mine, are available on MySpace.com/Chip_MichaelFiguratively Speaking is an orchestral metaphormet-a-phor ( m t-fôr ,-fr) n. one thing conceived as representing another; a symbolMetaphor (from the Greek: μεταφορά - metaphora) is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. In the simplest case, this takes the form: "The [first subject] is a [second subject]." More generally, a metaphor is a rhetorical trope that describes a first subject as being or equal to a second subject in some way. Thus, the first subject can be economically described because i…