. Interchanging Idioms: May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mahler: Symphony No 2, 1st movement (Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra)

YouTube Video of Valery Gergiev conducts the London Symphony Orchestra performing Mahler's second symphony. Recorded in April, 2008. Available from LSO Live on disc and download from lso.co.uk/mahler

In celebration of the release of Bernstein Mahler: The Complete Symphonies by Sony Masterworks, Interchanging Idioms is giving away ONE set of this marvellous collection to one of our readers. For more details click on the button on the upper right.

For more information about Leonard Bernstein visit his website, his MySpace Page or Sony Masterworks information on Leonard Bernstein.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kent Nagano & the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra:
Bruckner Symphony 4 Original Edition

For their debut recording together, Grammy Award-winning conductor Kent Nagano and the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra explore the rarely heard original edition of Anton Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony. The performance showcases the abrupt contrasts and more complex structures of the initial 1874 version of Bruckner’s much-lauded piece. Marrying Kent Nagano’s unique perspective, intellectual clarity and great precision to the BSO’s nearly 200 years of evolving traditions and stylistic flux, this milestone recording allows the listener to experience a musical masterpiece anew.

Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major (WAB 104) is perhaps the composer's most popular symphonies. Written in 1874, it was revised several times through 1888. The symphonies nickname of "Romantic" was used by the composer with several references to program elements indicative of a Medieval style romance rather than one of romantic love.

"In the first movement of the "Romantic" Fourth Symphony the intention is to depict the horn that proclaims the day from the town hall! Then life goes on; in the Gesangsperiode [the second subject] the theme is the song of the great tit Zizipe. 2nd movement: song, prayer, serenade. 3rd: hunt and in the Trio how a barrel-organ plays during the midday meal in the forest." - Bruckner to Paul Heyse (1880)

"In the first movement after a full night's sleep the day is announced by the horn, 2nd movement song, 3rd movement hunting trio, musical entertainment of the hunters in the wood." - Bruckner to conductor Hermann Levi (1884)

There are at least seven versions of this symphony. The 1874 version published by Leopold Nowak in 1975 was finished in November 1874. Although the full version was never performed during the composers lifetime, the Scherzo did get performed in 1909. It wasn't until 1975 that this 1874 version was perform in full by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The first commercial recording of the 1874 version was made in September 1982 by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eliahu Inbal (CD 2564 61371-2).


ANTON BRUCKNER: Symphony No.4 in E Flat Major ‘Romantic’ (Original Version 1874) - Bayerisches Staatsorchester/ Kent Nagano - Sony Classical
    I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell
    II. Andante, quasi Allegretto
    III. Scherzo: Bewegt - Trio: Nicht zu schnell, keinesfalls schleppend
    IV. Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell

Friday, May 29, 2009

Review - Jan Vogler and The Knights Experience: Live from New York

On this latest release, Vogler abandons a typical classical orchestra and teams up with the cutting-edge New York ensemble The Knights. The CD's repertoire centers on the music of Russia's Dmitri Shostakovich – from his Cello Concerto No. 1 to the catchy waltzes he wrote for film scores and jazz suites – but it ends with a surprising take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun.” This eclectic and innovative recording has been garnering accolades in Germany since its recent release.

“…the way Jan Vogler plays the Hendrix-Cello is remarkable. This live recording gives the impression of sparkling freshness…” - Frankfurter Rundschau

Typically, with a lot of “live” albums there is a sense of space, a lack of punch that comes from studio recording. Initially, the first couple of tracks give the impression Jan Vogler and The Knights latest CD may suffer the same fate - not have the punch they could have achieved in the studio. Don’t be lulled into a sense of complacency, however. The opening tracks are an introduction, a prelude to the mastery of their performance – a chance to become accustomed to sound of the ensemble.

By the time they reach Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1 in E flat major there is no deficiency. The intensity, intimacy and immediacy are evident in every note of the Allegretto. Moving into the Moderato of Cello Concerto, Jan Vogler not only sings, he weeps with lyrical beauty created with his cello. The New York Times admires Jan Vogler’s “lyrical intuition”. I was stunned by the splendor. The Knights ensemble was so integrated into the sense of the piece, when they take over the melody the transition is seamless. It is as if they are not an ensemble and soloist, but one soul singing.

When Jan begins the Cadenza (third movement of the concerto) he continues the lovely melodic sense of the piece. However, as the cadenza moves into the more anguished, angular section Jan begins to show why he chose to pair this piece with music by Jimi Hendrix. The cadenza doesn’t go into the extreme distortion we associate with Hendrix’ music, but it is a perfect prelude. There is a crunchy sound that prefaces what's to come. As the Cello Concerto closes with the Allegro con moto there is a return to the intensity of the first movement, amp’d up a couple of notches.

As amazing as so much of this album is, where the album doesn’t quite seem to work is during the Waltz from the film “Michurin”. While it is a lovely piece and played admirably, it comes right before Jimi Hendix “Machine Gun”. The polite applause for the waltz at the end of the track alludes to the audience’s similar impression.

Perhaps I should say I am not a Jimi Hendrix fan. Perhaps I should say I never really understood the loud, distorted sounds of the late 60’s and 70’s. No, I’m not against rock music. I am a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen - somehow they struck a chord with me; I could hear the music through the electronics. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. Jimi Hendrix is deserving of every accolade he’s received. He is a giant in the world of music, and this remake of his music proves he transcends the world of rock.

Why do I say this now? Jan Vogler and The Knights brought “Machine Gun” to life. They didn’t use electronics to achieve the sound and yet are so true to the original it actually shows the virtuosity of both the original and their performance. Numerous classical groups have attempted to duplicate the sound of psychedelic rock. Experience: Live from New York not only captures the force, magic and spirit of Hendrix’ music, it is a reincarnation of the virtuosity of Hendix’ skill. This is a live album that truly feels alive, with all the passion of a live performance and yet all the punch of a studio recording.

Created by brothers Eric and Colin Jacobsen, and conducted by Eric Jacobsen, the New York-based ensemble The Knights seeks to expand the idea of what an orchestra can be through creative programming and a unique atmosphere of camaraderie that treats the orchestra as an ensemble capable of creating the intimacy and immediacy of a much smaller group. In addition to their many and diverse activities in New York, the Knights opened the 2009 Dresden Music Festival in May.

RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz are labels of Sony Masterworks. For email updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, please visit www.sonymasterworks.com.

on Sony Classical June 2, 2009

In honor of Haydn’s Anniversary Sony Masterworks Releases Haydn: Early London Symphonies

with conductor George Szell & The Cleveland Orchestra

2-CD set available may 19
“If I had to choose a single disc of Haydn for my desert island, it would have to be the coupling of (Haydn’s Symphonies Nos. 93 and 94) – irresistible performances in every way.” - GRAMOPHONE on the Szell/Cleveland Haydn recordings (May 1974)

George Szell is one of the most critically acclaimed and revered conductors of the 20th century. He is remembered today for his long and successful tenure as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and for the recordings of the standard classical repertoire he made in Cleveland and with other orchestras.

Szell came to Cleveland in 1946 to take over a respected, but undersized, orchestra which was struggling to recover from the disruptions of World War II. By the time of his death he was credited, to quote the critic Donal Henahan, with having built it into “what many critics regarded as the world’s keenest symphonic instrument.” Through his recordings, Szell has remained a presence in the classical music world long after his death, and in some circles his name remains synonymous with that of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Jan Vogler and the Knights: Experience Live from New York

For two nights in October 2008, The New York club, Le Poisson Rouge rocked to the sounds of Shostakovich and Jimi Hendrix and the result is a live recording of a stunning collaboration that takes Jan Vogler’s trademark “singing-playing” style to new heights. Vogler abandons a typical classical orchestra and teams up with the cutting-edge New York ensemble The Knights. The CD's repertoire centers on the music of Russia's Dmitri Shostakovich – from his Cello Concerto No. 1 to the catchy waltzes he wrote for film scores and jazz suites – but it ends with a surprising take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun.”

Since Jan dedicated himself to his instrument, he has constantly been working on expanding the spectrum of his cello sound and refines his musical language in an enduring dialogue with renowned contamporary composers and interpreters – with passion and the required dose of risk. The New York Times admires Jan Vogler’s “lyrical intuition”, the Gramophone Magazine praises his “spiralling virtuosity” and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung certified him the talent to be able to “let his cello speak like a singing voice”. “From Screaming to singing – Jan Vogler and his cello” was the title of a 2004 Strad issue. In October 2006, Jan Vogler received the European Award for Culture.

The Knights are a group of young musicians from various backgrounds who combine to create a new sense of musical exploration. The New York-based ensemble tries to to expand the concept of the orchestra and what it can do. Through creative programming and a strong sense of fellowship for what they're doing, The Knights create a sense of intimacy and immediacy, generally only achieve by smaller groups. Each individual player helps shape, distill, develop, and amalgamate the overall sound of the ensemble. The sense of honesty, affection and conviction present in their rehearsals translates into an amazing amount of energy, impulsiveness and ecstasy in each performance.

"You had the feeling of being with musicians, not just observing them…" - New York Times

The new Sony Classical recording, Experience: Live from New York, is scheduled for release on June 2, 2009.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Celebrate Legendary Composer Richard Rodgers

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra open the final week of the spring season June 16, 17, and 18 with “A Richard Rodgers Celebration,” honoring the remarkable legacy of one of most celebrated songwriters of all times. Tony Award winner Victoria Clark (pictured) headlines a talented slate of vocalists, including Fellows from the Tanglewood Music Center and members of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, for this program, which draws from Rodgers’ more than 900 songs and 40 Broadway shows, including Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Carousel, and The Sound of Music.

On June 19 and 20, four-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein draws from his latest CD release, The Sinatra Project, for evenings of some of Sinatra’s most memorable songs. The orchestra is led by one of the country’s great pops conductors, Erich Kunzel, in his first appearance with the Boston Pops in twelve years. To close the 2009 Boston Pops season on June 21, Mr. Kunzel will lead the orchestra in the popular swing night “Let’s Dance,” with vocalist Jeffrey Berger. A special dance floor will be cleared for the occasion.

All performances start at 8 p.m. Programs and artists are subject to change. For current program information, dial 617-CONCERT (266-2378). For further information, please call the BSO at 617-266-1492 or visit www.bostonpops.org.

Grammy award-winning eighth blackbird performs world premiere of Slide at Ojai Music Festival, June 12

Chicago-based sextet eighth blackbird plays a great deal of new music, but the double assignment to curate California’s Ojai Music Festival in June and perform a major world premiere as the festival’s highpoint and culmination is something new and different. Steven Mackey and Rinde Eckert’s eagerly-awaited Slide will debut at Ojai on June 12.

Slide is music-theater of a kind that eighth blackbird is well-equipped to perform: the group is famous for playing most of its scores from memory, often moving about the stage freely or in choreographed steps. In Slide, according to librettist Rinde Eckert, the six players will combine to represent a single character – that of a psychologist conducting a strange and strangely stimulating experiment. Eckert and Mackey based Slide on Eckert’s recollection of reading about an experiment in which a psychologist showed subjects out-of-focus slides, and asked them to describe what they saw. Through stages of the experiment, when challenged by a shill and by the psychologist, the subjects were brought to doubt their own experiences but continued to cling to their impressions.

In the Ojai program, composer Steve Mackey describes his first impression of eighth blackbird and his immediate desire to write for the group. He and Rinde Eckert – who has worked with Mackey as writer/librettist/actor on previous occasions – converse eloquently about their new collaborators and their work together, in footage made by eighth blackbird and available on its blog, Thirteen Ways.

Mackey describes the typical eighth blackbird performance of new music as comfortable and unafraid: “There’s no furrowed-brow attitude to the new – [the members of eighth blackbird] are unfettered by music! They are going to present an interesting and exciting array of images and music in Rinde’s psychology experiment.”

Among other things, the video, which includes rehearsal footage as well as a two-part interview with Slide’s creators, is an illustrative introduction to a one-of-a-kind work. More about the work and its creation can be gleaned from KUSC radio’s member-newsletter and from Santa Barbara’s newspaper, the Daily Sound. eighth blackbird’s flutist, Tim Munro, wrote an Ojai introduction for KUSC, describing the invitation to curate Ojai this year as “shockingly, overwhelmingly, nerve-rattlingly unexpected” and having a “kids-in-a-candy-store ... woo-hoo!” effect on the six of them.

“What’s up for the Fest’s 63rd year? Exciting things. New music ensemble eighth blackbird is ‘music director’. Can a string of six Grammy-Award winning musicians agree on a program? Apparently so, and it looks like a great one this year.

“There will be Ives again this year: Piano Sonata 1 performed by pianist Jeremy Denk, along with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Featured composer Steve Reich’s work Double Sextet, which just won a Pulitzer Prize, will be part of the four-hour ‘Marathon Finale’ in three acts... . There are all sorts of neat rehearsals and interviews you can check out ... via www.ojaimusicfestival.com.”
- Leslie Westbrook, Daily Sound

In this, the 63rd season of new music at Ojai, in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of Southern California , audiences are in for a four-day treat at what KUSC titles eighth blackbird’s “Wild Musical Party.”

Two centuries of Romanticism: Mendelssohn, Mahler and Rasch and the London Symphony Orchestra

Sunday 31 May | 7.30pm | Royal Festival Hall
'It is to be hoped that Jurowski will continue such innovative and fascinating programming,' ended one review of the concert on 22 April, which featured music by three living composers, Kancheli, Yusupov and Silvestrov.

This Sunday 31 May you can continue your exploration of contemporary classical music with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Symphony Orchestra. Torsten Rasch's song cycle Mein Herz brennt has its source in the romantic era, but from a twenty-first century perspective. Instead of nineteenth-century heart-rent words by Rimbaud or Rückert, the passionate lyrics of love and loss are taken from poetry by Till Lindemann, lead singer of rock band Rammstein, who has already used them in tracks by his band. Sung, whispered, shouted, accompanied by a stunning spectrum of orchestral sound, Rasch's songs are a mesmerising development of Mahler's late romantic music. René Pape sings the solo bass role in this UK première performance.

Mahler's first completed orchestral piece sets the scene immediately before the interval. Totenfeier was never performed in its original form in Mahler's lifetime, but he revised it only lightly to create the first movement of his Second Symphony. The fierce passion and energy of the opening bars runs deep beneath the surface of evolving delicate, melancholy passages.

The concert opens with Mendelssohn's Symphony 5 (Reformation). This symphony is also a work of contrasts, from serious music that reflects the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (for which it was intended in 1830), to Mendelssohn's uniquely bright joyousness.

Mendelssohn Symphony 5 (Reformation)
Mahler Totenfeier
Rasch Mein Herz brennt (UK première)
Vladimir Jurowski conductor | René Pape bass
Katharina Thalbach reciter | Elisabeth Meister soprano

Book Now | Tickets £9-£55
London Philharmonic Orchestra Ticket Office
020 7840 4242 Mon-Fri 10am - 5pm. No booking fee.
www.lpo.org.uk No booking fee.
Southbank Centre Ticket Office
0871 663 2530 Daily, 9am - 8pm. £2.50 booking fee.
www.southbankcentre.co.uk/lpo £1.45 online booking fee

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Kicks Off Summer Season with Star-Spangled Spectacular

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announces 2nd annual “O, Say Can You Sing Contest”
winner to perform national anthem with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will kick off its 2009 summer season at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md. on July 3 and 4 at 8:00 p.m. with Star-Spangled Spectacular, an all-American salute to our nation’s founding. Guest conductor Damon Gupton will lead the BSO in classical patriotic favorites including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. Each concert will begin with the national anthem led by the winner(s) of the BSO’s “O, Say Can You Sing” competition and end with a dazzling fireworks display. Last season, more than 60 contestants auditioned for the chance to sing the National Anthem alongside the BSO. Nine-year-old Maya Goldman of Columbia and 13-year-old Vibav Mouli of Reisterstown snagged the coveted positions. These gifted youngsters not only performed with the BSO, but were also featured on several local TV and radio programs. Maya has even been invited back to perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” from the classic American film The Wizard of Oz, as part of this year’s Oregon Ridge concerts. The Baltimore Symphony invites another crop of talented singers aged 8-18 to audition on Monday, June 15, 2009 for this prestigious opportunity. Reagan Warfield from the 106.5 FM JoJo, Reagan and the Mix Morning Show will serve as celebrity judge alongside BSO staff members and local vocal experts. For more than 20 years, the BSO at Oregon Ridge has been a Baltimore-area summer tradition, drawing tens of thousands for family fun, music and fireworks in the wooded enclaves of the Cockeysville, Md. park. Concertgoers are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic dinners for a full evening of entertainment with the BSO. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. Patrons are invited to come early and enjoy dinner, drinks and desserts from local venders. Each concert begins at 8:00 p.m. and concludes with a brilliant fireworks display.


Summer Nights: Star-Spangled Spectacular Oregon Ridge Park, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030
Friday, July 3, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.*
Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.**

*Rain date will be July 4th concert.
**Rain date will be “The Music of John Williams” on July 25th.

Damon Gupton, conductor
Maya Goldman, vocalist
“O, Say Can You Sing” competition winner(s)

Advance tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children under 12 at the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 877.BSO.1444 or BSOmusic.org.
If purchased at the gate, tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

“O, Say Can You Sing” contest details:
“O, Say Can You Sing” the National Anthem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra? Capitalizing on American Idol’s appeal among local tweens and teens for the second year, the BSO will host the singing competition, “O, Say Can You Sing.” Auditions will take place on Monday, June 15 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Contestants will vie for the chance to sing the national anthem alongside the BSO in front of thousands at the BSO’s annual Star-Spangled Spectacular concerts held at Oregon Ridge Park, July 3-4. The competition is open to singers age 8 to 18.

Contestants must be able to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in the key of B-flat or A-flat major along with an accompanist provided by the BSO. Contestants will not be allowed to sing without accompaniment. All entrants must be available for both performances. Reagan Warfield from the 106.5 FM JoJo, Reagan and the Mix Morning Show will serve as celebrity judge alongside BSO staff members and local vocal experts. Contestants will be judged on singing ability and stage presence.

Auditions will be by appointment only and parental permission will be required of all contestants under the age of 18. Contestants (or contestant’s parent/guardian) must email singingcontest@bsomusic.org by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, 2009 to register for an audition time. Registration must include the contestant’s name, email address, home and cell phone numbers, audition time preference and a brief paragraph explaining why the contestant would like to sing the National Anthem with the BSO. Audition times will be distributed on a “first come, first served” basis. Visit BSOmusic.org to download an information/waiver form which is required to audition.

Pablo Heras-Casado makes L.A. & Saint Paul debuts

After hearing Pablo Heras-Casado conduct Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in March, critic Alan Rich lamented missing the 31-year-old Spaniard's LAPO debut last December. "He's terrific," Rich wrote on his blog, So I've Heard. "His bio, which has him leading virtually every new-music, experimental-music and youth-oriented organization here and abroad, goes on for days; that document is breathtaking, and so is his work." In his December concerts with the Philharmonic, Heras-Casado, who counts Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös as mentors, led a program of Stockhausen and Ligeti. Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed praised these concerts, stating: "Heras-Casado did a superb job controlling the dramatic gestures and let the [Ligeti] speak for itself."

Last month Heras-Casado made his Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra debut conducting the world premiere of Chinese-American composer Chen Yi's Prelude and Fugue, along with works by Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Richard Strauss, in Saint Paul and Chicago. Under the "batonless young Spaniard of boundless animation," wrote the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the concert "felt like a multi-century symposium on the vitality and viability of the Western classical tradition." This August, Pablo Heras-Casado makes his debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan, conducting Stockhausen's Gruppen for three orchestras.

Although his recent schedule might suggest that Heras-Casado is a symphonic specialist, he is equally at home in the opera pit. The Spaniard has a strong association with the Opéra National de Paris, where he made his full debut in autumn 2008 conducting the world premiere of Marc-Olivier Dupin´s ballet Les enfants du paradis. In the coming seasons, Heras-Casado will return to the Opera National de Bordeaux and Madrid's Teatro Real and make his debuts with the English National Opera and the Canadian Opera Company.

Joshua Roman debuts with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and performs Stock premiere in Seattle

Cellist Joshua Roman is now a familiar figure to YouTube users around the world. The April 15th concert, which featured Roman as a soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, has been viewed more than 1.3 million times in the past month. Roman's solo spot playing Bach at the sold-out event was introduced (on video) by one of his role models, Yo-Yo Ma:

"Occasionally I get to meet an extraordinary young musician. Such is the case with Joshua Roman. ... To me, Joshua is one of the great exemplars of the ideal 21st-century musician. He's deeply grounded in a classical tradition and he is a fearless explorer of our world."

This week the 25-year-old cellist returns to the Seattle Symphony for the world premiere of David Stock's Cello Concerto with conductor James DePreist. Roman has strong ties with the orchestra there: he was appointed principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony at age 22 and held the position for two years.

As well as keeping up a busy concert schedule, Roman has also embarked on his own online video series called "The Popper Project": every week he uploads to his YouTube channel a performance of an etude from David Popper's "The High School of Cello Playing: 40 Etudes". Each performance is unedited and filmed wherever Roman and his laptop happen to be.

Pianist Inon Barnatan Wins Avery Fisher Career Grant

Pianist Inon Barnatan has been awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant, one of the most prestigious honors a young classical instrumentalist can receive. Previous recipients of the $25,000 prize include Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Matt Haimovitz, and Jeffrey Kahane. Barnatan received the award in April, the same month he returned to his native Israel to perform with the Jerusalem Symphony (he has been based in the U.S. since 2006).

The 30-year-old pianist is no stranger to Lincoln Center. With two concerts in May he completed his third season as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two. He will be back in November curating his own three-concert series, ";Schubert Ascending," which he recently presented to sold-out houses at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. The programs feature treasured works from the remarkably productive last year of Schubert's life. A recording of Barnatan playing Schubert's Impromptus, D. 935 and Sonata in B-flat major, D. 960 is available on a Bridge Records release from 2006.

This summer, Barnatan appears at several major music festivals across the U.S. After Fourth of July weekend performances of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony, he will spend July and August playing solo recitals and chamber music at the festivals in Aspen, Vail, Blossom (Cleveland Orchestra), Santa Fe, Rockport and Bridgehampton.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra To Perform 2 Week Run of ¡Música Ardiente? Festival

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will embark on a two-week journey of South American music with conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the ¡Música Ardiente? Festival, May 27-June 6.The festival, presented by CNN en Español, will feature three programs. The first program, May 28 and 30, 2009, entitled Caminos del Inka, will share the rich musical traditions of the Inca Trail. The second program will feature a special presentation on May 29, 2009 of Osvaldo Golijov's cello concerto, Azul, performed by Yo-Yo Ma. The third program, June 4-6, 2009, will celebrate the modern evolution of Latin-American song and dance in a program entitled Tangos, Fados, and Dance, featuring vocalist Luciana Souza and the Rosa Collantes Dancers.

The ¡Música Ardiente? Festival was inspired by the concept and programs of conductor and curator Miguel-Harth- Bedoya's Caminos del Inka Project. The project was created to rediscover, preserve, and disseminate the musical legacy of South America. It is an effort to unearth the forgotten musical gems of the most advanced and complex native civilization in South America, the Inca Empire, and commission new music from these countries by bringing new repertoire and sounds to the concert hall.

The ¡Música Ardiente? Festival was inspired by the concept and programs of conductor and curator Miguel-Harth- Bedoya's Caminos del Inka Project. The project was created to rediscover, preserve, and disseminate the musical legacy of South America. It is an effort to unearth the forgotten musical gems of the most advanced and complex native civilization in South America, the Inca Empire, and commission new music from these countries by bringing new repertoire and sounds to the concert hall.

The creation of ¡Música Ardiente? comes with thanks to valuable partnerships with musicians, composers, organizations, and cultural institutions that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has worked closely with to add shape, community relevance, and artistic excellence to the ¡Música Ardiente! Festival.

Currently in his eighth season as Music Director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Miguel Harth-Bedoya is one of this country's most exciting and sought-after conductors. Recently released recordings of the Fort Worth Symphony include an all-Tchaikovsky CD and the first-ever bilingual recording of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf featuring narrations in Spanish and English with Michael York. Sentimiento Latin, with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flores (Decca) and Alma dell Perú, a recording of Peruvian traditional music with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Lima (Filarmonika) are also available.

An active guest conductor, Mr. Harth-Bedoya has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Boston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Utah Symphony, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In Europe, hehas conducted the London BBC Symphony, Berlin Symphony, Birmingham Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Madrid National Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra/Hamburg, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, WDR Orchestra/Cologne, and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, among others. Festival appearances include Adelaide, Aspen, Avanti (Helsinki), BBC Proms, Blossom, Hollywood Bowl (for which he received an Emmy), Interlochen, Oregon Bach, Ravinia and Tanglewood.

Remarkable Debut Recital from Award-Winning Russian pianist Anna Vinnitskaya

“Vinnitskaya is a true lioness at the keyboard, devouring the most difficult pages of music with adamantine force.”– Washington Post

For her debut recording on ambroisie, the young Russian pianist Anna Vinnitskaya – winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Belgium in 2007 – pays tribute to the Russian piano sonata with a thrilling recital featuring Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (1931), Gubaidulina’s Chaconne (1962), Medtner’s Piano Sonata “Reminiscenza” Op. 38, No. 1 (1918-20), and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 83 (1942).

Following performances of the featured repertoire in September 2008, a critic for the Washington Post reported, “She seemed almost to relish the technical thickets, never rushing, never banging, maintaining control of wildly different simultaneous textures (in the Gubaidulina Chaconne) and pacing long buildups with unswerving focus. In this literature, she has everything a top-level artist needs.”

In a booklet essay with the title “Old forms, new masters,” André Lischke observes,

“After going through a period of pronounced disfavor in the second half of the 19th century, the piano sonata enjoyed a veritable renaissance from the start of the 20th, which was due in large measure to Russian composers. Following in the footsteps of Alexander Scriabin, a number of virtuoso pianist-composers, Nikolai Medtner, Sergei Prokofiev, Samuel Feinberg, and to a lesser extent Sergey Rachmaninov, paid homage in their different ways to a genre that was already more than two centuries old, and now permitted the most varied forms, aesthetics, and messages.”

Anna Vinnitskaya was born into a musical family on August 4, 1983 in Novorossiysk , in the south of Russia on the Black Sea . She began her piano lessons at the age of six and played her first full solo recital at the age of nine. In 1995, her family moved to Rostov-on-Don, where she studied with Sergey Ossipenko at the Sergey Rachmaninov Conservatory. Since October 2001, she has been studying at the Academy for Music and Theatre in Hamburg (Germany) with Ralf Nattkemper, then Evgeni Koroliov. Vinnitskaya’s many prizes include the Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 2008, besides the 44th Jaén International Piano Competition in Spain (2002), the Mauro Paolo Monopoli International Piano Competition in Barletta , Italy (2004), and the International Youth Competition in Moscow (1996). In addition, she was twice honored with the Audience Award (Jaén and Barletta ), and at Jaén she also received a special award for the best performance of Spanish music. Anna Vinnitskaya is also laureate of the International Ferrucio Busoni Competition (Bolzano , Italy , 2005) and the Rina Salo Gallo Competition (Monza , Italy , 2000).

François-Frédéric Guy completes Beethoven Concertos cycle

François-Frédéric Guy completes his cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the direction of Philippe Jordan with a new recording featuring Concertos No. 2, Op. 19 and No. 3, Op. 37.

“This performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with pianist François-Frédéric Guy and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Philippe Jordan , is notable for its elegance and rhythmic springiness. This is not a heavily Romantic reading; the performers emphasize the concerto’s Classical delicacy and briskness, with special attention given to the integrity of the individual lines. Both pianist and orchestra approach the first movement with crisp precision, but their performance is rhythmically limber and never stiffly mechanical or reserved. There is plenty of passion here, and the cadenza is effusively lyrical. The contrast between the piano and orchestra in the dialogue in the second movement is especially dramatic, as the piano seductively draws the orchestra, with its brusque interjections, down to its own level of serenity and intimacy; it’s a surprisingly sensual effect.” - Stephen Eddings, All Music Guide
Available in the U.S. on May 26 from naïve

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Anne-Sophie Mutter honours Mendelssohn with New Recording

To mark the bicentenary of Mendelssohn's birth, Anne-Sophie Mutter is honouring the composer with a very personal tribute combining symphonic music and chamber works on CD and DVD: The Violin Sonata in F major of 1838, the Piano Trio in D minor op. 49 that was completed in 1839 and the Violin Concerto in E minor of 1845, a work which even today has lost none of its fascination.

Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg on 3 February 1809, the son of a wellto-do Jewish banker, but grew up in Berlin. A brilliant pianist, he was also a conductor and an impassioned chamber musician. Not infrequently he himself gave the first performances of his own works, and this was also the case with his Piano Trio op. 49. Anne-Sophie Mutter admires Mendelssohn for a number of reasons:

"He was a man of many parts, but also one with many obligations and duties who showed great commitment to all that he did. His importance to the history of music is clear not least from the fact that he played a significant part in the Bach Revival. He was the baptized Jew who 80 years after Bach's death reintroduced the St. Matthew Passion to the whole of Europe and ensured its lasting popularity. Another of his great merits was his pronounced sense of social responsibility. It was in his keenness to ensure that a musical education was not just the luxurious preserve of members of the upper classes that he helped to set up the Leipzig Conservatory. He was also an eminent man of letters, with a fluent command of Italian, English and Latin, and, finally, he was a magnificent painter, who produced some wonderful watercolours."

The E minor Violin Concerto received its first performance in Leipzig in 1845, when the soloist was the Gewandhaus Orchestra's concertmaster, Ferdinand David. The work was written with David in mind, and the solo part was in fact substantially influenced by him. Anne-Sophie Mutter first recorded this work in 1980, at the start of her career, with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Herbert von Karajan. For her second recording she travelled to Leipzig, the scene of the work's first performance, where Ferdinand David led the Gewandhaus Orchestra for more than 30 years. Even though the original Gewandhaus building no longer exists, there is still a Gewandhaus Orchestra that can look back on a long and distinguished tradition and that worked regularly with Mendelssohn between 1835 and his death in 1847. More recently, its music director was Kurt Masur, whose 26-year tenure is fondly remembered by Anne-Sophie Mutter. In particular she recalls "the transparency and elegance of the sound and the understanding of the need for an inner balance", for the musicians "not only play together, they also feel together and breathe together". Her work with Kurt Masur is "a bit like flying", a comment prompted by an experience that the virtuoso violinist recently had with Masur and the New York Philharmonic: "We were recording the Beethoven Violin Concerto and had reached a passage in which the orchestra needs to listen and accompany. Masur said: 'Just let her fly!', which is exactly what I feel when I play Mendelssohn, for example, with Kurt Masur. Especially in a concerto that involves so much tempestuous and propulsive passion."

For Anne-Sophie Mutter, this "Sturm und Drang" element in Mendelssohn's music is extremely important, not least in the Violin Concerto: "It is striking that the performance marking appassionato occurs very often in Mendelssohn's output, not only in the opening movement of the Violin Concerto but also in the final movement of the Piano Trio." This sense of urgency and vitality also inspired her interpretation of the slow movement of the Violin Concerto, an interpretative decision for which she received decisive encouragement from Kurt Masur, who drew her attention to the Venetianisches Gondellied op. 57 no. 5 of 1842: the same accompanying figure is found in the piano part here as in the orchestral writing in the concerto. "Central to the gondolier's song is his wish to flee with his lover, it is all about burning desire and this youthful sense of impulsiveness", placing considerable demands on the interpreter, who is required "to combine purity of expression with the impatience of Mendelssohnian passion". The violinist regards the concerto's final movement as "entirely typical of Mendelssohn", a kind of elfin dance similar to the one that he devised for his Octet op. 20 of 1825 and that he repeatedly used in his later quick movements and scherzos. "This scurrying, gossamery, ghostly element is enormously virtuosic, its lightness of tone representing a real challenge for the interpreter." Anne-Sophie Mutter believes that the success of the Violin Concerto is grounded in the music itself, "which combines everything that constitutes great music: passion, virtuosity, purity of expression, depth of emotion and an unconditional surrender to the musical expression. It is a stroke of genius, and this music is immortal."

Like the E minor Violin Concerto, the F major Violin Sonata of 1838 was written for Ferdinand David. This demanding three-movement work by the mature composer is notable for the impassioned and raptly triumphal tone of its outer movements, while its central Adagio is a captivating dialogue between violin and piano. The work's genesis suggests in fact that Mendelssohn struggled long and hard to resolve various compositional and, above all, technical details in the violin part. Although he played through the piece with Ferdinand David, he made little progress on revising it, his alterations being limited to the opening movement. Possibly his manifold artistic obligations as a soloist and conductor and his often extended and exhausting concert tours simply left Mendelssohn with no time to undertake a final, thorough revision of the piece. As a result, there is no authorized version of the sonata, which remained unpublished during its composer's lifetime. Not until 1953 did Yehudi Menuhin publish a version based on the initial draft and on the revisions to the opening movement, and this remains the only edition of the work. It is also the one used by Anne-Sophie Mutter: "There's no doubt that it's an authentic piece, but one that was not fully revised by Mendelssohn. Many other great works, including the 'Italian' Symphony, for example, suffered the same fate. It would be an immeasurable loss if these works were not performed."

Completed in 1839, the Piano Trio in D minor op. 49, conversely, was not only published during Mendelssohn's lifetime but was also held in high regard. It was first performed in Leipzig on 1 February 1840, when the performers were the composer himself on the piano, Ferdinand David on the violin and Carl Wittmann on the cello. A profound and substantial piece, it was described by Robert Schumann as "the master trio of the present day", a work that "will delight our grandchildren and great-grandchildren". Anne-Sophie Mutter shares Schumann's enthusiasm: "For some time I have been absolutely wild about Mendelssohn, and this is palpable in the Trio."

The opening movement is an animated and elaborate Molto allegro that is followed by a songlike Andante and by what Anne-Sophie Mutter describes as a "breathtakingly virtuosic Scherzo that strikes a note both elegant and playful", its scurrying elfin strains recalling the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. The work ends with a thrilling rondo finale.

The first of Mendelssohn's two completed piano trios, the present piece is notable for its successful balance between melody, harmony and translucency. The piano part is clearly more weighty and more independent than the parts for the two string instruments, with which it acts as a foil: the writing in general aims not to create a sense of integration between the three instruments, as is the case with Beethoven's piano trios, for example, but to establish a sense of contrast between the piano on the one hand and the strings on the other. In André Previn's hands, the independent piano part, bearing the weight of the musical argument, is contrasted with the interplay of equals between Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell, a partnership typified by "spontaneity and a multiplicity of tone colours". All three players achieve a sense of balance by dint of a premise that is by no means self-evident: "We trust each other, listening to one another and performing as of one mind."

Susanne Schmerda

Summer Music: There is a lot to enjoy...

The San Jose Mercury News published a list of events in the San Francisco Bay area for folks to enjoy, everything from San Francisco Opera to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, with the Midsummer Mozart Festival and the International Russian Music Piano Competition also on the docket.

Travel a bit further south and you have the Ojai Music Festival in June. Down in Los Angeles there is the Hollywood Bowl or the Ford Amphitheatre, both which host summer concerts not to be missed. You can also enjoy the outdoors at the Huntington Main Art Gallery with their Summer Festival at the Huntington.

The Denver Post published a list of FREE concerts hosted by the Colorado Symphony. There is also the Colorado Music Festival in late July and August the Aspen Music Festival where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of Aspen Colorado and some of the worlds best musicians, or the Bravo! Vail Music Festival featuring the Dallas & Philadelphia Orchestras and the New York Philharmonic.

Chicago has ChicagoClassicalMusic.org which has a calendar to keep you updated with what events are happening in and around the area. Detroit Symphony is performing their Tchaikovsky Spectacular! in late July and August over in Rochester, Michigan for the Meadow Brook Music Festival.

Over on the East Coast the Boston Globe published a list of what's happening in the arts, perhaps the most popular is the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music in July. Associated Content published their list of must see events in the Philadelphia area for the summer. New York is always filled with options (too numerous to mention here). Although, that said, perhaps the Bard Summerscape 2009 up by the Catskills is worth mentioning simply because of the vast amount on offer.

If you're traveling about Europe perhaps you'll want to check out Time's article on Summer Music Festivals.

In Prades (June 7-20), the Casals Festival will offer Beethoven chamber music (top visiting artist: Rudolf Serkin). At Amsterdam, The Hague and Scheveninge (June 15-July 15), visiting conductors will lead the Concertgebouw, The Hague Residentie and BBC symphonies. At Bayreuth (July 22-Aug. 22), Wagner's two grandsons will mount seven of the master's music dramas. Salzburg (July 25-Aug. 30), as usual, will specialize in Mozart, but will also include the world premiere of Penelope, a new opera by a contemporary Swiss composer, Rolf Liebermann. At Edinburgh (Aug. 22-Sept. 11), six orchestras from five countries will lead the festivities, which include opera, ballet, theater, films and art displays.

Regardless of where you are, there is music to be heard. Don't miss out on the vast opportunities available this summer.

Listen: Life with Classical Music, America’s New Classical Music Magazine, Looks at East Coast/West Coast Maestros

The May/June issue of Listen: Life with Classical Music spotlights legendary pianist Arthur Rubinstein on its cover, and features Alan Gilbert and Gustavo Dudamel in “East Coast/West Coast”, a story about the two young conductors taking over the podiums of the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras this fall. These are just two of the highlights in the second issue of the new bimonthly print magazine published and distributed by the online classical music retailer ArkivMusic, The Source for Classical Music™.

Russian maestro Valery Gergiev is profiled by Listen’s editor-in-chief Ben Finane. Pulitzer Prize–winning author James B. Stewart muses about the piano in his writer’s life. “Beethoven, Scholarship, and Mystery on Broadway” introduces the recent hit play by Moisés Kaufman, 33 Variations, which puts Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations center-stage with Tony-nominee Jane Fonda and pianist Diane Walsh. Artists featured in the May/June issue include violinists Hilary Hahn, Daniel Hope, Anne Akiko Meyers and Arnold Steinhardt and the vocal ensemble Anonymous Four; the 200th anniversary of Josef Haydn’s death is also observed in this month’s issue. A special bonus for Listen readers is the chance to win an Essex grand piano, designed by Steinway & Sons. There’s much more, including recommendations of new CDs and books about classical music.

“I am especially pleased with the cover [photo of Arthur Rubinstein], featuring one of my all-time favorite artists. To me, it perfectly captures the essence of Listen. I don't think this photo, unearthed from the vaults several floors beneath the Sony building in Manhattan , has ever been published before.” - Eric Feidner, ArkivMusic president and Listen publisher

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Francisco J. Núñez Receives the Victor Herbert Award

ASCAP’S 10th Annual Concert Music Awards

Francisco J. Núñez, founder and artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, was presented with ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Award on May 21 for his “commitment to music education, to the enrichment of the choral repertory, and his dedication to musical excellence.“ The award was presented by composer Michael Gordon at ASCAP’s 10th annual Concert Music Awards event hosted by Peter Schickele at The Times Center. The awards recognize the achievements of ASCAP’s 2009 Concert Music Honorees who “represent the diverse aesthetic spectrum of the concert music world.”

The other 2009 ASCAP award recipients are composer and educator Jason Beeson, So Percussion, and Kristin Lancino, vice president of G. Schirmer, Inc. Also announced were the recipients of he 2009 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, as well as grants from The ASCAP Foundation Jack Amy Norworth and Morton Gould Funds. The 2009 ASCAP composer/judges were: Samuel Adler, Eve Beglarian, Steven Burke, Daniel Felsenfeld, Charles Fussell, Michael Gordon and Melinda Wagner.

Among the evening’s presenters were Derek Bermel, Steven Burke, John Corigliano, Stephen Paulus, Peter Schickele, Suzanne Vega, and ASCAP's John A. LoFrumento, Frances Richard, Cia Toscanini and Michael Spudic.

Born in New York City of Dominican descent, Francisco J. Núñez is a composer, conductor, a leading figure in music education, and a visionary, whose strongly held ideas have resulted in the critical and popular success of the award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ (YPC), a chorus of more than 1,100 young people ages 7 through 18 of all ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds, which he founded in 1988. As a result, Mr. Núñez was invited to give a keynote speech on the development of multicultural urban choirs at the national conference of Chorus America in Washington, D. C. in 2006, and he is frequently called upon by choirs throughout the country for help in replicating the YPC success. Mr. Núñez also leads the University Glee Club of New York, the New York University Singers and NYU Women’s Chorus and is often invited as a guest conductor and master teacher for choral workshops, demonstrations, all-states and festivals nationwide. Mr. Núñez is responsible for expanding the repertoire of choral compositions through the Transient Glory® series of concerts, CDs, and publications, which are published by Boosey & Hawkes — where Mr. Núñez is an editor — in association with G. Schirmer and Chester Novello. For his exemplary work with children, Mr. Núñez has been presented with numerous awards, such as the Child Champion award from Child magazine, a Liberty Ambassador medal from the New York Post, a Luminary Award from Casita Maria, and the New York Choral Society’s Choral Excellence award. He has also been honored as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine, a “man of achievement” by Hispanic magazine, and selected for GMC’s advertising campaign as an unsung Hispanic hero doing great work in the community.

Peter Pastreich Appointed Executirve Directory of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra San Francisco

Veteran orchestra leader Peter Pastreich has been appointed executive director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra [PBO] effective June 1, 2009, it was announced today by Paul Sugarman, President of the Board. Pastreich’s four-decade career as an orchestra leader includes executive positions with the San Francisco Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and, most recently, a successful international consulting and teaching practice.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the board of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for their strong commitment to this institution and congratulate the members of our search committee for a job well done. All of us on the Board are tremendously excited about Peter’s wealth of experience and his tremendous love of music. We know great things are ahead for PBO and we are pleased to welcome him to the Robert A. Birman Executive Director Chair.” - Paul Sugarman, President of the Board

Peter Pastreich served as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony during its period of most dramatic growth, from April 1978 to April 1999 – a tenure of 21 years marked by numerous historic accomplishments and working partnerships with music directors Michael Tilson Thomas, Herbert Blomstedt and Edo De Waart. He represented the San Francisco Symphony in the planning and construction of Davies Symphony Hall, which opened in September 1980, and in the successful acoustical and architectural renovation of the hall in 1992. Under his leadership, the orchestra dramatically increased its budget, income from ticket sales and endowment, resulting in an unprecedented sixteen consecutive years of balanced budgets. Highlights of his tenure include the founding of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, the launch of the Symphony’s acclaimed Adventures in Music education program, numerous recording contracts and the release of forty recordings, syndicated radio broadcasts on over 450 stations across the country, and a significant touring program throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

From the beginning of his career in orchestra management, Pastreich has been passionately devoted to education and to mentoring young professionals in the field. For the past ten years, Pastreich has served as a leader in this area organizing and directing the “Essentials of Management” seminar for the League of American Orchestras. In addition, he developed an international consulting practice that included clients such as the Berlin Philharmonic, London’s South Bank and The Detroit Symphony, among others.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1938, Pastreich graduated from Yale University in 1959. He studied the trumpet at Yale and in Paris and began his management career as a student by organizing and managing the Yale University Band's European Tour of 1959, the first such tour ever made by an American college band. In 1999, he was made a chevalier des arts et des lettres by the French government and was awarded the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton Award.

Under the direction of Music Director Nicholas McGegan, PBO has been described by the New York Times as “an early music orchestra as fine as any in the world today,” and was named “Ensemble of the Year” for 2004 by Musical America. Writing about that award in Musical America, the San Francisco Chronicle’s music critic Joshua Kosman said, “This adventuresome band has carved out a niche as the nation’s liveliest purveyor of period performances. The uncommon brilliance of its instrumental playing infuses the historical-performance enterprise with a vitality and zest that are worlds removed from dull conformity to the dictates of scholarship.”

“I’m delighted that Peter Pastreich will join me in leading this wonderful institution. After an international search, we found the perfect candidate – one recognized as the dean of American orchestra leaders – right in our own hometown. In Peter, we’ve found an enormously experienced and insightful orchestra manager who has always made the music central to his leadership vision. I look forward to what will surely be a very rewarding partnership.” - Music Director Nicholas McGegan

Dedicated to historically informed performances of Baroque, Classical and early Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981, PBO offers a subscription season of 32 concerts in four Bay Area cities, regularly tours the United States and Europe and is among the most recorded period-instrument orchestras in the world.

Friday, May 22, 2009

London Symphony Orchestra presents Summer Nights

4 June – 30 July 2009

Highlights include:
4 June Roby Lakatos Ensemble and the LSO
7 June British Film Composer George Fenton and the LSO
11 June Yan Pascal Tortelier, Susan Graham and the LSO
17 June Sir Colin Davis conducts pianist Paul Lewis in Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5
21 June Sir Colin Davis 50th Anniversary conducting the LSO concert
25 June Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Yuja Wang in Ravel Piano Concerto in G
30 June Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Yuja Wang in Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3
2 July James MacMillan conducts Nicola Benedetti in UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica, ‘From Ayrshire’
5 July Daniel Harding conducts Frank Peter Zimmermann in Sibelius Violin Concerto
9 July Valery Gergiev conducts the LSO in Bruckner’s Symphony No 9

The London Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Nights series features an eclectic mix of inspiring, enjoyable, momentous and moving concerts at the Barbican, LSO St Luke’s and St Paul’s Cathedral. This eight-week long series has something for every taste and offers some welcome musical treats during the long summer nights including music performed by the world’s greatest artists and our own community groups showcasing their talents.

On 4 June, virtuoso Gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos and his fantastic Ensemble are welcomed back to the Barbican to perform their unique and dazzling mix of classical, jazz and their own Hungarian folk music together with the LSO. The fiery programme will include Monti’s Csárdás, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 and many other favourites to show off the talent of these truly astounding musicians.

On 7 June British film and television composer George Fenton joins the LSO for the first time to conduct and present music from his myriad of scores. Fenton has written music for over 70 feature films, collaborating with some of the most influential directors of the late 20th century. The programme includes a world concert premiere of music from the BBC TV series Planet Earth, Cry Freedom and the unforgettable music from his award-winning score The Blue Planet.

Yan Pascal Tortelier, who conducts the LSO for the concert on 11 June, has worked with some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Here he joins one of today's foremost opera stars, Susan Graham in an exciting programme of Ravel and Debussy.

The LSO’s President Sir Colin Davis will be conducting two very special concerts as part of the series. On 17 June the pianist Paul Lewis, one of the most sought-after artists of his generation, will join him in a concert featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 and Brahms’ Symphony No 3. On 21 June Sir Colin will conduct his LSO 50th Anniversary Concert, which will feature Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G minor and Piano Concerto No 2 by Brahms played by Grammy-award-winning pianist Nelson Freire. 50 years ago, on 21 June 1959, Sir Colin conducted his first concert with the LSO, a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Concerto for Bass Tuba and Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements. There began a relationship that has grown and thrives to this day. Sir Colin was Principal Conductor from 1995 to 2006, the longest-serving in the Orchestra’s history.

The 22 year-old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang makes her debut performance with the LSO on the 25 and 30 June 2009. Recently signed to Deutsche Grammophon, she is widely recognised for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. Principal Guest Conductor of the LSO, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts both concerts.

On 5 July Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Harding will conduct an interesting programme of Schumman’s Overture: Manfred, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto and Brahms’ Symphony No 2. The prodigious violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann is the soloist for this concert.

Valery Gergiev will conduct the LSO on 9 July at St Paul’s Cathedral, as part of the City of London Festival. The concert will feature Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and Bruckner’s Symphony No 9, which is his last and greatest work - an image in sound of the soul’s epic journey towards God. This is music composed on a scale that is mirrored in the great surrounding spaces of St Paul’s itself.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Rachmaninov and Dvorak

Yannick Nézet-Séguin joins the London Philharmonic Orchestra next Wednesday to conduct symphonies by two nineteenth century composers loved for their lively, tuneful music. Mendelssohn's Symphony 4 (Italian) opens the programme, reflecting the composer's impressions of his journeys in Italy as well as Mendelssohn's own prodigious energy and vitality.

The concert ends with Dvořák's Symphony 7. The emotional depths that Dvořák explored in this piece generate rich and satisfying music, in which tension, melancholy and doubt are eventually relieved by brave themes in the finale. We look forward to a passionate and committed performance from Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the orchestra, whose concerts of Mussorgsky, Bruckner and Brahms earlier this season were outstanding.

Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto 2 is the centrepiece of the programme, with soloist Aldo Ciccolini.

Tickets £9-£55
London Philharmonic Orchestra Ticket Office
020 7840 4242 Mon-Fri 10am - 5pm. No booking fee.
www.lpo.org.uk No booking fee.

Southbank Centre Ticket Office
0871 663 2530 Daily, 9am - 8pm. £2.50 booking fee.
www.southbankcentre.co.uk/lpo £1.45 online booking fee

Julia Fischer to Perform in San Francisco

Julia Fischer and Yefim Bronfman join the San Francisco Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas in exploring the world of Franz Schubert and Alban Berg through works such as Berg's Lulu Suite, songs of Schubert and Berg, and four-hand piano music by Schubert.

June 3-4
San Francisco - Davies Symphony Hall
Franz Schubert - Trio für Violine, Cello und Klavier Es-Dur, D 929
Franz Schubert - Fantasie für Klavier zu vier Händen f-Moll

June 5-6
San Francisco - Davies Symphony Hall
Alban Berg - Kammerkonzert für Klavier und Geige

Special pre-concert recital by Michael Tilson Thomas and Yefim Bronfman begins one hour prior to each concert.

Hilary Hahn Continues to tour Jennifer Higdon's new Violin Concerto

Since Hilary Hahn premiered Jennifer Higdon's Violin Concerto in February, she has performed the new work in a variety of different settings. At the end of May she will appear with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with Vasily Petrenko as conductor, her second performance of Higdon's Concerto in Europe. Hilary then returns to Baltimore to work with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony for a spate of concerts in the Maryland area.

After her concerts in Baltimore Hilary rejoins with Valentina Lisitsa on piano for a tour of South America.

May 28
Liverpool, UK - Philharmonic Hall
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Higdon: Violin Concerto

June 4
Baltimore, MD - Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Higdon: Violin Concerto

June 5
Baltimore, MD - Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Higdon: Violin Concerto

June 6
North Bethesda, MD - Strathmore Music Center
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Higdon: Violin Concerto

June 7
Baltimore, MD - Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Higdon: Violin Concerto

June 14
New York, NY - Town Hall
Valentina Lisitsa, piano

June 16-17
São Paolo, Brazil - Teatro Cultura Artistica
Valentina Lisitsa, piano

June 19
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Sala Cecilia Meireles
Valentina Lisitsa, piano

June 22
Montevideo, Uruguay - Teatro Solis
Valentina Lisitsa, piano

June 25
Lima, Peru - Auditorio Santa Ursula
Valentina Lisitsa, piano

Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra celebrate 50 year anniversary

17 & 21 June 2009, 7.30pm, Barbican

[of] concerts given by Davis and the orchestra…there are qualities that are guaranteed – impressive ensemble, strong orchestral playing and a tough resilience to the artistic vision" - Financial Times, January 2009

On 21 June 1959, Sir Colin Davis conducted his first concert with the LSO, a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Concerto for Bass Tuba and Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements; John Addison and Malcolm Arnold conducted the remainder of the programme. There began a relationship that has grown and developed, and thrives to this day. Sir Colin is President of the LSO and was Principal Conductor from 1995 to 2006, the longest serving in the Orchestra’s history. Sir Colin has conducted the LSO in peerless concert performances of opera, which have included Berlioz’s The Trojans, Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah and Verdi’s Falstaff. His festivals of the music of Sibelius, Elgar, Berlioz, Czech music, Tippett and Beethoven have been dramatic highlights of the LSO’s artistic achievements under his leadership. Sir Colin Davis has been awarded international honours by Italy, France, Germany and Finland. He was named a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2001. Sir Colin’s recent releases on LSO Live include Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time. Sir Colin’s recording of Sibelius’s Kullervo Symphony received a BBC Music Magazine Award in April 2007. In the 2009/10 season, Sir Colin and the LSO will launch a cycle of Nielsen Symphonies and works by Sibelius.

Paul Lewis is now well established as one of the most sought after artists of his generation, appearing regularly in recital, chamber music, and as a concerto soloist at the world's major musical venues and festivals. His career has taken him all over Europe, Australia and the US, and he has performed at all of the UK's major concert venues and festivals. In recent seasons he has appeared at the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, the La Roque d'Antheron Festival in France, and both the Risor and Vancouver Chamber Music Festivals and at the Last Night of the BBC Proms.

Born in Brazil, Nelson Freire began piano studies at the age of three with Nise Obino and Lucia Branco, who had worked with a pupil of Liszt. Nelson Freire was nominated "Soloist of the Year 2002" by French Victoires de la Musique and received in January 2005 a special "Honours Award" for his career. His Chopin recording was nominated by Grammy Awards 2006. His Brahms Concertos with Riccardo Chailly were nominated by Grammy Awards 2007 and announced as "Record of the Year" and "Winner of the Concerto Category" by Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2007.

17 June 2009, 7.30pm, Barbican
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No 5 (‘Emperor’)
BRAHMS Symphony No 3
Sir Colin Davis conductor
Paul Lewis piano

21 June 2009, 7.30pm, Barbican, Sir Colin Davis 50th Anniversary Concert
MOZART Symphony No 40 in G minor
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No 2
Sir Colin Davis conductor
Nelson Freire piano

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cliburn Piano contest has a Strong Asian Participation

Angela Brown of the Associated Press reported from Fort Worth, Texas, fifteen of the twenty-nine competitors are from Asian countries. There are six competitors from China, four from from Korea, three from Japan and two who have dual citizenship with the US (one from China and one from Japan). There was one more pianist from China, but had to withdrawal due to a hand injury. The contest which runs from Friday through June 7th.

"These countries have developed an uncanny affinity for this classical music from the West, and it has become an art form of great prestige. And they are incredibly hard workers and self-disciplined, which are necessary to become a concert pianist." - Richard Rodzinski, president and executive director of the Cliburn Foundation
The trend of Asian musician started in 2005 when organizers noticed 10 of the 35 competitors were from Asian countries. That year Joyce Yang was the second place winner.

Concert & Broadway Star Linda Eder sings songs of Judy Garland with the Boston Pops

Buzz Aldren joins Lockhart and the Pops to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Contemporary songstress Linda Eder joins Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops on June 9 and 10 for a program celebrating the extraordinary musical legacy of Judy Garland. Drawing from her acclaimed 2005 CD By Myself, the versatile Eder lends her expressive vocals to songs the legendary Garland made famous, such as “The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song,” and the unforgettable “Over the Rainbow.” Week six of the Pops’ spring season continues June 11-13 with a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Lockhart and the Pops commemorate the triumphant achievement with an evening of stirring music, a the premiere of a new moon-themed sing-along, and a newly commissioned film created especially for the occasion with music by John Williams. The program also includes excerpts from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, set to high-definition videos produced and directed by Emmy-nominated astronomer and visual artist Dr. José Francisco Salgado of the Adler Planetarium. On June 11, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the work’s special guest narrator.

One of the most gifted and versatile contemporary vocalists on the scene today, Linda Eder joins Keith Lockhart and the Pops for an evening celebrating the extraordinary musical legacy of Judy Garland. Drawing from her acclaimed 2005 CD By Myself, Eder brings her distinctive artistry to some of the songs the legendary diva made famous, such as “You Made Me Love You,” “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” and the unforgettable “Over the Rainbow.” Her band features pianist John Oddo, bassist David Fink, and drummer Clint de Ganon. The program opens with the suite from Stravinsky’s landmark The Firebird, followed by excerpts from Michael Daugherty’s Spaghetti Western for English horn and orchestra, featuring Pops’ principal English horn player Robert Sheena. Taking inspiration from the old Hollywood westerns of Sergio Leone, this colorful concerto casts the English horn as “The Man with No Name” moving through a series of musical landscapes.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, Keith Lockhart and the Pops celebrate the triumphant achievement with an evening of stirring music, including the opening fanfare from Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, a set of moon-themed selections, and a new sing-along of songs about the moon, from “Moon River” to “Fly Me to the Moon.” Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin narrates The Planets, a video suite produced by Dr. José Francisco Salgado, which integrates awe-inspiring NASA and European Space Agency footage with historical illustrations from the Adler Planetarium’s Collection of Works on Paper set to Gustav Holst’s colorful orchestral classic. The program also includes a newly commissioned film by Susan Dangel and Dick Bartlett created especially for the occasion and set to “Space and Technology,” from John Williams’ American Journey. This evening is the culmination of MIT’s Giant Leaps Symposium honoring the Apollo Program's achievements and exploring how to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, biologists, politicians, doctors, writers, artists, musicians, and others who have changed the world.

Keith Lockhart and the Pops celebrate the monumental achievement of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with a program that features the opening fanfare from Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, excerpts from Gustav Holst’s colorful The Planets with film and a Moon Medley sing-along. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor, contributes a set of stirring patriotic songs followed by a newly commissioned film by Susan Dangel and Dick Bartlett created especially for the occasion and set to the music of John Williams. The program on June 12 also includes a set of tunes from the Pops’ new Red Sox Album, including a new arrangement with film of The Dropkick Murphy’s “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” The Navy Band Northeast, Lt. Carl Gerhardt, conductor, joins Keith Lockhart and the Pops for “Navy Night,” on June 13.

Tickets for the 2009 Boston Pops are priced from $20 to $89 and may be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org or by phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (with a $5.50 handling fee for each ticket ordered online or by phone). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Symphony Hall box office, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 1 p.m. through the first concert intermission on concert dates. Most major credit cards, personal checks, and cash are accepted at the box office. For Group Sales of 25 or more, please call 617-638-9345 or 800-933-4255.

Mahler: ADAGIETTO Symphony 5 -Bernstein & Wiener Phil. 2/2

YouTube Video of Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 5 Adagietto Part 2 Bernstein and Wiener Philharmoniker

In celebration of the release of Bernstein Mahler: The Complete Symphonies by Sony Masterworks, Interchanging Idioms is giving away ONE set of this marvellous collection to one of our readers. For more details click on the button on the upper right.

For more information about Leonard Bernstein visit his website, his MySpace Page or Sony Masterworks information on Leonard Bernstein.

Barry Douglas performs Brahms Piano Concerto No 2 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Italian maestro Carlo Rizzi returns to Liverpool to conduct Barry Douglas in Brahms’ extended masterpiece, the second Piano Concerto. A work that demands not only great technical abilities from the pianist, but also a chamber-music-like sensitivity to the piano part’s interaction with the orchestra, the concerto appeals directly to Douglas’s proven qualities as a reflective virtuoso. The orchestra completes the programme with a performance of Saint-Saëns’ best known symphony, the mercurial Third, which is remarkable in its use of both piano and organ as part of the enhanced orchestral fabric. The resulting ride is at once both seductive and exceptionally exhilarating.

Barry Douglas continues to enjoy a major international solo career which has developed since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow. In 1999, he formed Camerata Ireland an all Irish chamber orchestra, with players from both Northern and Southern Ireland to celebrate "the wealth of Irish musical talent" where he remains Artistic Director. He also continues as Artistic Director of the Clandeboye Festival, Ireland and the International Piano Festival, Manchester.

This season as soloist, Barry will return to Seattle Symphony, Hallé, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Radio Sinfonie Orchestra, Berlin, Melbourne Symphony, Singapore Symphony and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Philharmonic Hall, 3 June 2009, 7.30pm
Philharmonic Hall, 4 June 2009, 7.30pm
Malvern Theatre, 6 June 2009, 7.30pm

BRAHMS Piano Concerto No 2
SAINT-SAËNS Symphony No 3 'Organ' Symphony

Mahler Symphony No. 5 Adagietto Karajan Part 1

YouTube Video of Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 5 Adagietto Part 1 Herbert von Karajan Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

In celebration of the release of Bernstein Mahler: The Complete Symphonies by Sony Masterworks, Interchanging Idioms is giving away ONE set of this marvellous collection to one of our readers. For more details click on the button on the upper right.

For more information about Leonard Bernstein visit his website, his MySpace Page or Sony Masterworks information on Leonard Bernstein.

Conductor James Conlon receives three awards:

In the span of one month, conductor James Conlon has received three awards including two honorary doctorate degrees and an award from the Music Institute of Chicago.

Mr. Conlon received the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brandeis University in Waltham , MA , where he was a special guest at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 17, 2009. Brandeis University honored Mr. Conlon for his distinguished accomplishments as the pre-eminent conductor of his generation, and for his extraordinary efforts in reviving works suppressed by the Nazi regime through his multi-year “Recovered Voices” project at LA Opera. This year’s other honorary degree recipients include opera singer Marilyn Horne, Newark , NJ Mayor Cory Booker, Indian environmentalist Rajendrea K. Pachauri, choreographer Bill T. Jones, Holocaust survivor and scholar Israel Gutman, and Israeli entrepreneur and industrialist Stef Wertheimer. Mr. Conlon and the other recipients, join a distinguished group of individuals who have received honorary degrees from Brandeis University including Marian Anderson, Marc Chagall, Wynton Marsalis, Arthur Miller, Jessye Norman, and André Watts, among many others.

Mr. Conlon was also awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Arts honoris causa, from Chapman University in Orange, CA, also in recognition of his accomplishments as a conductor and his contributions in the field of music, particularly his role in to recovering music suppressed during the Nazi era. Mr. Conlon was honored April 20, 2009 at Chapman University’s annual “Evening of Holocaust Remembrance” event presented by Chapman University’s Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education.

Mr. Conlon was also presented with the Dushkin Award from the Music Institute of Chicago in recognition of his artistry and passion as a performer, educator, and mentor, and for sharing his knowledge and experiences with young musicians. Past artists who have received the award include Leon Fleischer, Midori, Renée Fleming, Sir Andrew Davis, Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Christoph Eschenbach, Pierre Boulez, Zarin Mehta, and Placido Domingo, among others. The Dushkin award was established 25 years ago in memory of the Music Institute of Chicago’s founder David Dushkin. The Music Institute of Chicago was established in 1931, and is now one of the largest independent community music schools in the United States.

James Conlon is Music Director of Los Angeles Opera, Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and celebrates his 30th Anniversary as Music Director of the Cincinnati May Festival in 2009. He has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire, and developed enduring relationships with the world's most prestigious symphony orchestras and opera houses through 35 years of conducting.

Mr. Conlon’s awards in the recent past include two Grammy Awards, Best Classical Recording and Best Opera Album, for conducting LA Opera’s Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny released on DVD, the Medal of the American Liszt Society in recognition of his distinctive performances of the composer’s works, Italy’s Premio Galileo 2000 Award for his significant contribution to music, art and peace in Florence, and an honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Juilliard School, which he received in 2004. He was named an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1996, and in September 2004 he was promoted to Commander—the highest honor awarded by the Ministry of Culture in France. In September 2002, he received France ’s highest distinction from the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac—the Légion d’Honneur. For more information visit www.jamesconlon.com.

Mehta conducts Mahler: Symphony 5: mvt. 5 (Finale) 1/2

YouTube Video of Zubin Mehta conducting Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile. 2001.

In celebration of the release of Bernstein Mahler: The Complete Symphonies by Sony Masterworks, Interchanging Idioms is giving away ONE set of this marvellous collection to one of our readers. For more details click on the button on the upper right.

For more information about Leonard Bernstein visit his website, his MySpace Page or Sony Masterworks information on Leonard Bernstein.