Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daniel Hope Returns to New York for Baroque Program at Lincoln Center, Recital with Pianist Wu Han, and Brahms’s Double at Carnegie Hall

“Adventurous and brilliant.”– New York Times on Daniel Hope

When violinist Daniel Hope returns to New York for two performances of Baroque works with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Dec 10 & 12), the program features material from his latest Deutsche Grammophon album, Air, a baroque journey. Between the two concerts, Hope heads downtown for a duo recital with pianist Wu Han in the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts series (Dec 11). For his final New York appearance this December, Hope joins cellist Paul Watkins for Brahms’s Double Concerto with the New York String Orchestra under Jaime Laredo at Carnegie Hall (Dec 28).

At Carnegie Hall on December 28, Hope performs Brahms’s Double Concerto with cellist Paul Watkins and the New York String Orchestra led by Jaime Laredo. Hope’s U.S. presence will continue into 2011. He and his frequent collaborator, pianist Jeffrey Kahane, will tour North America, starting in San Francisco on February 10 and continuing to Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Orono, ME, before concluding in Purchase, NY on February 20. In 2011, Hope will serve his eighth season as associate artistic director of Georgia’s multi-genre Savannah Music Festival, where he will perform in a series of chamber and orchestral concerts, one of which features the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony, from March 24 to April 5.

New Year; new Mahler

In the first concerts of 2011 we arrive at an important turning point for Mahler. Gone are the folk tunes that dominate the first four symphonies; in their place is a thrusting rhythm, a demonic drive and an argumentative edge - all heard through an enlarged, empowered orchestra.

Friday 14 January 2011 Syzmanowski Violin Concerto No. 2 Mahler Symphony No. 6 Jaap van Zweden conductor Leonidas Kavakos violin Wednesday 19 January 2011 Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) Mahler Symphony No. 5 Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor Nicholas Angelich piano

Tickets £9-£38, Premium Seats £55 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ticket Office: 020 7840 4242 (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm) www.lpo.org.uk [No booking fees]

Southbank Centre Ticket Office: 0844 847 9920 (Daily 9am-8pm) www.southbankcentre.co.uk [Booking fees apply]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Open the 2010 Holiday Season, Wednesday, December 8

One of Boston’s greatest holiday traditions, the Holiday Pops season, under the direction of Keith Lockhart, opens on Wednesday, December 8, with a program that combines favorites of the holiday season with exciting new arrangements of some much loved Christmastime classics. The program ranges from seasonal music such as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah,” “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” and the Gospel favorite, “My Lord What a Morning,” featuring singer Renese King, to a Christmas Is For Children Sing-Along featuring “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and beloved Holiday Pops arrangements including “Frosty All the Way” and “The Christmas Song.” Always a highlight of the Holiday Pops programs, the critically-acclaimed Tanglewood Festival Chorus will join the orchestra for the entire season of 37 performances, December 8-26. In addition, Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance at each of the Holiday concerts, which take place at Symphony Hall, festively decorated to evoke the unique magic of the holiday season.

Baltimore Ballet Joins Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in The Nutcracker, Dec. 4

Rheda Becker narrates Act II in this family concert program

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and dancers from Baltimore Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall led by guest conductor Emil de Cou on December 4 at 11 a.m. Join the BSO and the Baltimore Ballet as excerpts from this holiday classic come to life. Rheda Becker will narrate this special event. Treat your family (ages 5 and up welcome) to the timeless tale of The Nutcracker and delight in some of the season’s most memorable melodies.

The Nutcracker

For children ages 5 and up and their families

Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 11 a.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Tchaikovsky: Overture and Act II from The Nutcracker

Emil de Cou, conductor

Rheda Becker, narrator

Baltimore Ballet

Tickets range from $12 to $20 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

Amateur Musicians Invited to Participate in Baltimore Symphony's 2nd Annual BSO Academy, June 2011

BSO connects with new audiences through interactive experiences like BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced today its second annual BSO Academy. This immersive summer music program gives approximately 100 amateur adult musicians the opportunity to perform alongside a top professional orchestra. The BSO Academy will convene in Baltimore, Maryland for seven days—from Sunday, June 12 to Saturday, June 18, 2011. Daily sessions of performance and educational activities will be held at the BSO's primary venue, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) located just a few blocks from the Meyerhoff.

In addition to orchestra rehearsals, sectionals, master classes and personal lessons, the Academy also includes chamber music rehearsals and enrichment classes led by BSO musicians, activities with Maestra Alsop and lectures led by local experts. Chamber music groups created at the beginning of the week with Academy participants and BSO musicians will perform in an intimate concert on Friday, June 17 at Falvey Hall on the MICA campus. The following day, Academy participants and BSO musicians will perform Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, movement one, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnole, and Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis together at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in a finale concert on Saturday, June 18. Leadership support for the BSO Academy from 2010-2012 is generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Get $10 Tickets to Rusalka with Opera Colorado

Order your Rusalka tickets early and save $10 on Dvorák's hauntingly beautiful fairytale.

Experience the story of Rusalka, the water sprite who falls in love with a human prince. Rusalka gives up her voice to be with her love, but can the prince be faithful? Love and tragedy collide under the moonlight when Opera Colorado presents its first Czech opera.

Click here to purchase online Use special offer code PRINCE

This offer is good for Price Classes 1, 2, 3 and 4 for any of the four performances. It will only be available online. So act now before this offer expires on January 14, 2011

Click here to see a map of seating locations.

This offer is valid until Friday, January 14. All sales final. Discount not applicable on previously purchased tickets and cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid for Price Classes 1, 2, 3 or 4 only. Ticketmaster convenience fees apply. No refunds or exchanges on purchased tickets.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Announces 2011 Summer Season at Tanglewood - June 28-Sept 4

The 2011 Tanglewood season offers a kaleidoscopic array of many of the world’s great musicians performing an impressive range of music from classical to jazz, pop, and rock, with performances virtually each and every day of the summer, June 28-September 4, at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed summer home located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills, between Lenox and Stockbridge, MA. 2011 Tanglewood season details are available at www.tanglewood.org.

From an all-Italian Opening Night Boston Symphony Orchestra program under the direction of James Levine on July 8, four appearances by living legend Yo-Yo Ma (6/28 & 29, 8/13 & 14), a Boston Pops Cole Porter tribute led by Keith Lockhart (7/17), and the incredibly popular Film Night with John Williams (8/20), to the welcome returns of Itzhak Perlman (8/27) and Christoph Eschenbach (7/30 & 31, 8/2) and special appearances by favorite artists Joshua Bell (7/10), Stephanie Blythe (8/10 & 14), Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (8/5, 12 & 14), Christoph von Dohnányi (8/13), Kurt Masur (7/15), and Peter Serkin (7/30) to the closing BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the direction of Lorin Maazel (8/28), Tanglewood 2011 brings classical music lovers and Boston Pops fans a wonderfully wide-ranging selection of artists and repertoire.

Tanglewood 2011 also presents some of the best from the worlds of jazz, pop, and rock, including four extraordinary appearances by singer/song writer legend James Taylor (6/30, 7/1, 3 & 4) and the first Tanglewood performance by Grammy Award-winning Train (8/8), to the annual Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion program (7/2) and the season-ending Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival (9/2-4).

From a world premiere performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group (6/28 & 29), two all-Ravel solo piano programs by Jean-Yves Thibaudet (7/20 & 21), a concert version of Handel’s Orlando (8/16), and a recital by Stephanie Blythe (8/10) to the debut of the Mark O’Connor String Quartet (7/7), and mid-season jazz appearances by Brad Mehldau (8/25) and John Pizzarelli’s Radio Deluxe (8/21), the Ozawa Hall schedule offers concertgoers a rich variety of performances in the intimate surroundings of this acclaimed concert setting.

Nurturing and presenting the best of the future of classical music, Tanglewood 2011 brings the debut of 26 important new artists, a Festival of Contemporary Music program under the esteemed direction of Charles Wuorinen (8/3-7), and a wide variety of orchestral, operatic, and chamber music performances by the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s world-renowned music academy for young professional musicians.

St Louis Symphony Announces New members of the Board of Trustees

The St. Louis Symphony announced the appointment of three new members of the Board of Trustees at the Annual Meeting on November 19, 2010: Robert G. Clark, Dr. David Fischoff, and Nancy Galvin.

Robert G. Clark is Chairman and CEO of Clayco, Inc., one of the nation's largest, privately owned real estate, architecture, engineering, design, and construction firms. He is a member of board of directors of LaBarge, Inc. Robert is also a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Louis University and Board of Managers for the Central Institute for the Deaf and a member of the St. Louis Airport Commission. In February 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him as a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.

Dr. David Fischoff holds a bachelors degree in Biology from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Rockefeller University . He is Vice President, Technology Strategy & Development, and Chief of Staff for the Technology division at Monsanto Company, is the inventor on key patents related to insect resistant plants, an author of more than 25 scientific publications, and an invited speaker at numerous national and international symposia. He is a Nidus Strategic Technology Council member and a fellow with the Academy of Science–St. Louis. In April 2010, David was the co-recipient of the James B. Eads Award for outstanding achievement in technology or engineering from the Academy of Science–St. Louis.

Nancy Galvin is a longtime community volunteer. She is currently the Board Secretary of the American Red Cross and Co-Chair of their Tiffany Circle . Nancy is also a member of the board for the Arts and Education Council, Dance St. Louis, St. Louis Internship and is a member of the Leading Ladies Committee for The Repertory Theatre. Nancy has also Chaired and Co-Chaired several campaign and event committees for a number of St. Louis institutions.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ever-Irrepressible Joyce DiDonato Continues Her 2010-11 Season as Strauss’s Octavian in Madrid

It's already been a red-letter autumn for the American mezzo-soprano, with DiDonato winning two prestigious 2010 Gramophone Awards – "Artist of the Year" and "Recital of the Year", as well as Germany’s 2010 Echo Klassic “Singer of the Year” Award. She continues her illustrious 2010-11 season with a December full of performances in another of her key roles, that of Octavian in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, at Madrid's Teatro Real. On her debut as Octavian in 2007 at San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Chronicle extolled her vocal art and dramatic verity: "The evening’s signal triumph belonged to Joyce DiDonato, undertaking Octavian for the first time and turning the role into something tender and strong. Her singing was robust and full of feeling, and she brought the technical precision and alertness of her finest Rossini and Handel performances to this very different stylistic strain. . . The result was a performance that seemed to breathe, displaying all the headstrong charm and mutability of this 17-year-old aristocrat still finding his way through the worlds of love and honor in 18th-century Vienna."

DiDonato began the season by making her house debut at Berlin's august Deutsche Oper with an October run in her signature role of Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Typifying the love affair the press has with DiDonato, the New York Post praised to the skies her Metropolitan Opera performances of Rosina last season: "Best in show was Joyce DiDonato as the rebellious ingenue Rosina. Not only did she nail every musical curlicue, she added intriguing variations of her own, modulating her sleek mezzo-soprano with subtle shifts of color and tempo. Just three months after fracturing her leg doing this opera in London, she scampered around the stage with the madcap verve of a young Bette Midler."

A year in CDs from the London Philharmonic Orchestra - the perfect Christmas gift!

Struggling for Christmas gift ideas?

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is offering a unique CD subscription which would be ideal for your music-loving friends and family. We will send the latest CD on the LPO label each month, so that they always have something new to listen to. For months where there is no new release, a recording from our back-catalogue will be issued. CDs will be dispatched before they are available in the shops and we can send the first disc to you so that you can give it in person or send a card with your personalised greeting.

£79.99 - 10 CDs (worth at least £100)
£44.99 - 5 CDs (worth at least £50)
No CD is issued in July or August

Click here for more details & to buy online or call the London Philharmonic Orchestra Ticket Office: 020 7840 4242 (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm)

New on the LPO Label
Bach Cantata 63
Mendelssohn Vom Himmel hoch
Vaughan Williams The First Nowell

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Lisa Milne soprano
Ruxandra Donose mezzo soprano
Andrew Staples tenor
Christopher Maltman baritone
London Philharmonic Choir

This recording of festive choral music includes one of Bach’s richly scored cantatas and Mendelssohn’s Christmas song Vom Himmel hoch which was inspired by his admiration for the music of Bach. Vaughan Williams’s nativity play The First Nowell incorporates arrangements of many traditional English carols.
BUY NOW £9.99 Just click here to buy online or call 020 7840 4242

Musical Instrument Drive to Benefit Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids, Nov. 29- Dec. 17

Music retail store Music and Arts to repair donated instruments at no cost

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announces a Musical Instrument Drive, which runs from November 29 to December 17, 2010. The BSO invites the community to donate musical instruments in good to fair condition to benefit OrchKids, the BSO’s after-school music program that serves youth in West Baltimore. Music & Arts will provide instrument repair on donations when necessary at no cost. A one hundred instrument goal has been set for this holiday season.

Each Holiday season, for the four weeks following Thanksgiving, WMAR TV sponsors a Toy Drive. The call for musical instruments to benefit OrchKids is a new component of this annual event. WMAR TV will team up with WEAA FM (88.9) to promote the Drive on the air and on their websites over the four weeks as well as serve as drop off sites.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Minnesota Orchestra Launches Innovative Microcommission Project

Orchestra will seek many donations to fund creation of a new symphonic work; Judd Greenstein announced as composer; Premiere targeted for March 2012

The Minnesota Orchestra today announced the launch of the Musical MicroCommission project, inviting music fans to donate sums supporting the creation of a major new orchestral work by New York-based composer Judd Greenstein. Unlike standard commissions, which are usually funded by one or several large donations, the MicroCommission aims at drawing hundreds of “micro” donations of $5, $10, $20, $50 or more to support the project. The premiere of Mr. Greenstein’s symphony-length piece, slated for March 2012, will be the culminating event of the Orchestra’s 2011-12 Inside the Classics series, which is conducted by Principal Conductor of Pops and Presentations Sarah Hicks and hosted by Orchestra violist Sam Bergman. Full information on the project and a link to donate are available at insidetheclassics.org.

“The idea behind the MicroCommission project is to open the world of commissioning to everyone with an interest,” says Mr. Bergman. “We want as many people as possible to be a real part of bringing this music to life by helping fund the commission on whatever level is comfortable for them.”

The Orchestra’s fundraising goal for the MicroCommission is $20,000. All donations will go directly toward paying Mr. Greenstein for his work and toward the cost of preparing and printing the musical score and individual parts.

As the project progresses, donors and followers will have many opportunities to connect with Mr. Greenstein through the Orchestra’s Inside the Classics blog at insidetheclassics.org as well as live webchats, audio and video features, other online events and personal appearances in the Twin Cities. For the March 2012 premiere, Mr. Greenstein will join Ms. Hicks and Mr. Bergman onstage to illuminate various aspects of the piece in the concert’s first half; the program’s second half will feature the work’s world premiere.

San Francisco Symphony's Project San Francisco Concerts Feature Composer John Adams

Adams to lead Orchestra in semi-staged production of his El Niño oratorio December 2-4

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Orchestra in Adams’ Harmonielehre December 8-11, to be recorded for release on SFS Media

For two weeks, December 2-12, 2010, the San Francisco Symphony’s Project San Francisco shines the spotlight on the work of renowned American composer and Bay Area resident John Adams, building on the more than 30 year relationship between the composer and the SFS. In the two-week collaboration, the Orchestra will perform two of John Adams’ San Francisco Symphony (SFS) commissions, El Niño and Harmonielehre; an all-Adams chamber music concert; and present a post-concert Off the Podium, Q&A session with the artists. The performances of Harmonielehre will be recorded for future release on the Orchestra’s in-house label SFS Media.

On December 2-4 Adams will conduct the Orchestra in his San Francisco Symphony commission El Niño, a bilingual English and Spanish retelling of the Nativity story drawn from such diverse sources as Rosario Castellanos, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Gabriela Mistral, and Hildegard von Bingen. The semi-staged, super-titled performances will feature sopranos Dawn Upshaw (Dec 2 & 4) and Jessica Rivera (Dec 3), mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Steven Rickards, and bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu, as well as the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. The staging of El Niño is directed by Kevin Newbury in his SFS debut with costume design by Paul Carey and set design by Daniel Hubp. Hubp’s previous SFS credits include the 2004 production of Fidelio and the 2003 stage design for The Flying Dutchman. El Niño was jointly commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and Paris ’s Théâtre du Châtelet.

The SFS performed the U.S. premiere of El Niño in 2001 in a semi-staged production under the baton of Kent Nagano. Soprano Dawn Upshaw and countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Steven Rickards were also part of the SFS’s 2001 performances. Dawn Upshaw can be heard on the Nonesuch recording of El Niño along with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. In December 2009, Upshaw, Michelle DeYoung, and the three countertenors from the SFS production performed it with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the baton of John Adams at Carnegie Hall. The Project San Francisco concerts mark the first time the Orchestra has performed El Niño since its 2001 U.S. premiere.

On December 8-11 at Davies Symphony Hall, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leads the Orchestra in performances of Adams’ SFS commission Harmonielehre. The SFS performed the world premiere of Harmonielehre in March 1985 under the direction of then-Music Director Edo de Waart, who conducted it again in October 1988. Michael Tilson Thomas led the Orchestra in Harmonielehre during his first season as SFS Music Director in December 1995, and then again in February 2000, both at home at Davies Symphony Hall and on tour with the Orchestra in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. Harmonielehre translates to “Theory of Harmony” and echoes the title of a textbook by Arnold Schoenberg. A recording of the SFS’s world premiere of Harmonielehre is currently available from Nonesuch records. The Project San Francisco performances of Harmonielehre will be recorded for future release on the SFS’s in-house label SFS Media. Also in these concerts, violinist Gil Shaham performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, and MTT leads the Orchestra in Cowell’s Synchrony.

On December 12 at Davies Symphony Hall, musicians of the San Francisco Symphony will perform a concert of chamber works by John Adams, including Hallelujah Junction for two pianos, Shaker Loops, and Road Movies. The St. Lawrence String Quartet will perform String Quartet, a work Adams wrote expressly for the group.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

St Louis Symphony Associate ConcertMaster Heidi Harris Named First Recipient of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair

The St. Louis Symphony announced today that Associate Concertmaster Heidi Harris is the first recipient of The Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair. The newly created chair announced in July 2010 was established with a $2 million endowment gift from the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation, and is awarded based on merit for a period of five years to a musician of the St. Louis Symphony who demonstrates both excellence in artistry and leadership within the orchestra and the community. The award may be granted to a tenured orchestra member and carries a one-time stipend to support professional development.

Mabel Purkerson, Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Trustee, said: “Mabel Reeder, my godmother, loved the St. Louis Symphony and was extremely generous to it. We at the Foundation felt that we could both further her legacy and support the wonderful music-making of the St. Louis Symphony with an award that recognized the individual efforts of the musicians themselves. This award not only acknowledges artistic talent, but so many other things that go into being a valued member of this orchestra, which includes a commitment to the St. Louis community.”

Violinist Heidi Harris won her first orchestra job in the St. Louis Symphony during her senior year of college at the New England Conservatory. A few years later she left the St. Louis Symphony to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where she remained for three seasons. In 1998 she returned to the St. Louis Symphony as Assistant Concertmaster, and shortly thereafter earned her current position as Associate Concertmaster. Harris began her musical studies on the piano at age three, and began studying the violin at age four. At age 13 she made her solo debut with the Utah Symphony under the baton of Joseph Silverstein, returning again to solo with the same orchestra at ages 15 and 19. After graduating high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy , Harris went on to earn her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, attending under full scholarship. Harris also served as an extra in the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, participating in recordings with Bernard Haitink, as well as touring with the BSO while still in school. Harris has soloed extensively, as well as given recitals in the U.S. and Europe in such venues as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston , and the Mozarteum in Germany . Her most recent concerto appearances have been with Leonard Slatkin conducting, in performances of Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and with David Robertson conducting, in performances of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4, both with the St. Louis Symphony. As well as recital and solo performances, Harris has served as guest concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony and the Phoenix Symphony. All of Harris’ solo and recital performances benefit Livada Orphan Care. Heidi Harris performs on a G.B. Guadagnini violin, dated 1753.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gorecki dies at 76

Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki passed away

"We are sorry to confirm the news that Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki has passed away," said Beata Jankowska-Burzynska, an official with Polish Radio's National Symphony Orchestra in the southern city of Katowice.

Gorecki was born December 6, 1933 in Czernica, near Poland's gritty coal-mining city of Katowice. He was orphaned at the age of two when his mother, a pianist, died.

He studied music at the Katowice Music Academy, where he went on to hold a professorship and became its rector from 1975-1979.

Known for his trademark simple yet monumental musical style, Gorecki was regarded as being at the forefront of Polish avant-guard classical composers through the 1950's to 1970's, exploring Polish folk music and medieval themes.

Focused on motherhood and the ravages of war, Gorecki's Symphony No 3 or Symphony of Sorrow Songs, gained critical acclaim and worldwide popularity after its 1992 re-release featuring American soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Having topped the charts in both Britain and the United States, it sold more than a million copies worldwide, becoming one of the world's best-selling pieces of contemporary classical music.

Divided into three movements, the monumental work is inspired by a 15th century lamentation, a Polish folksong and words scrawled by a prisoner held by the Nazi German Gestapo on the wall of a cell in the southern Polish mountain town of Zakopane.

"Gorecki's work is like a huge boulder which lies on our path and forces us to make a spiritual and emotional effort," Professor Eugeniusz Knapik, Gorecki's friend and current head of the Katowice Music Academy said, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency.

More recently Gorecki also composed works especially for the US string ensemble, the Kronos Quartet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Violinist Mark Fewer - from Pandolfi to Brahms to Jazz

Canadian violinist Mark Fewer has a tremendous array of concerts and events this season, including a recording of rare music by Giovanni Pandolfi with the Smithsonian and a concert in Washington DC, two world premieres – by Phil Dwyer and Serge Arcuri - and more in Montreal, chamber music in Los Angeles, appearances in Edmonton and Halifax, and much more.

Also in the works are recordings of music by American avant-garde composer George Antheil, music inspired by Stéphane Grappelli, and a new children`s book and concert, “Jake and the Musical Zoo.”

All Music Guide says that the new CD allow[s] listeners to savor every note, every chord, every subtly of Brahms' writing … Fewer's interpretation is one of graceful, unfettered simplicity.”

The Cleveland Orchestra appoints director of artistic planning

Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson announces the appointment of Cristina Rocca as director of artistic planning. Ms. Rocca will be responsible for managing all aspects of artistic planning and programming at The Cleveland Orchestra, including managing all artist relations, programming, and presentations at Severance Hall and the Blossom Festival. She will begin her duties with the Orchestra on January 3, 2011.

Gary Hanson said, “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Cristina Rocca. Her extensive global experience in artistic administration and her long-term relationships with artists of international stature will make her a valuable member of our team.”

Cristina Rocca comes to Cleveland from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg in France , where she has served as artistic manager since April 2006. In this role, she has been responsible, in collaboration with music director Marc Albrecht, for the programming and artistic administration of the concert season promoted by the OPS, including symphonic and chamber music concerts and recitals, education concerts, and operas in concert version. Her role also includes negotiating with Radio France regarding broadcasts, working with the record label PentaTone, and negotiating national and foreign tours. Prior to the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Ms. Rocca held positions including head of concerts and programming for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the United Kingdom, working with conductors Yakov Kreizberg and Marin Alsop; head of artistic programming for the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, working with principal conductor Daniele Gatti; and assistant to music director Myung-Whun Chung at the Paris Opera.

Celebrating Its Diamond Anniversary, Metropolitan Opera Guild Remembers Its Pioneering Founder, Eleanor Belmont (1878-1979)

As the Metropolitan Opera Guild prepares to celebrate its diamond anniversary with a star-studded gala luncheon at New York’s Waldorf=Astoria on December 7, it is time to reflect on the Guild’s illustrious founder. Eleanor Robson Belmont (1878-1979) was one of the most remarkable and influential figures of her day, and her pioneering approach to fundraising helped save the Metropolitan Opera from closure during the Depression. Today, the Guild remains vital in supporting the Met and cultivating wider public interest in opera. From her birth in northern England to a career as a Broadway leading lady, marriage to one of the wealthiest men in the world, and revolutionizing of arts fundraising, Belmont led a colorful, one-of-a-kind life. She made a tremendous difference for the causes she believed in, and she did so decades before women were taken seriously in the business world.

Belmont’s success in arts fundraising and management owed little to her beginnings. Born into a theatrical family in Wigan, Lancashire in 1878, she moved to America at the age of seven so that her mother could pursue an acting career. When young Eleanor left school, she too went on the stage, working in stock companies from Honolulu to Milwaukee before making her New York debut in 1900. Her London debut came four years later, and it was there that she caught the attention of George Bernard Shaw, who wrote the play Major Barbara for her (although, being committed to another production, she was unable to take on the title role). Her career as a leading Broadway actress lasted ten years, ending with her retirement in 1910, when she married August Belmont, Jr. – an American banker best-remembered for financing and building New York’s first subway system, as well as Belmont Park racetrack and the Cape Cod Canal.

Eleanor Belmont adapted to her new life with ease, mingling with some of the most exciting luminaries of the day (these would come to include Houdini, Charles Lindbergh, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and – like many women in her new social sphere – entering into charity work. Her enterprise, level of commitment, and flair for leadership, however, went far beyond the norm. When the First World War broke out, she became one of the top fundraisers for the American Red Cross and made frequent trips to Europe as a Red Cross inspector, even when the journey was considered most dangerous.

Nor did August Belmont’s death in 1924 diminish his widow’s efforts. Before the war, the couple had been regular patrons of the Metropolitan Opera, and during the Depression Eleanor was instrumental in raising the funds necessary to save the Met from financial ruin. She concentrated on soliciting small donations, an approach previously unknown within the arts, and succeeded in raising $300,000. As a result, she was grudgingly admitted to the company’s formerly all-male Board of Directors, where her further fundraising efforts soon saw her admitted to the Board’s Executive Committee. In 1935, when the Met’s financial position once again became critical, she returned to the still-groundbreaking practice of raising “small gifts from large numbers,” and thus, at her proposal, the Metropolitan Opera Guild was born. By means of entreaties on the radio by herself and others, the Guild signed on 2,239 members in its first year. As Belmont would put it, “democratization of the opera had begun.”

Anne-Sophie Mutter Begins Concert Tour

Ms. Mutter Performs in Multiple Cities and is Artist-In-Residence at The New York Philharmonic for the 2010 | 2011 Season

Acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has just embarked on a tour performing chamber music and will arrive in New York City shortly to begin her tenure as Artist-In-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, beginning with a chamber concert on November 14, 2010. Many of the violinist’s activities highlight aspects of her wide-ranging career as she looks forward to the 35th anniversary of her stage debut in 2011.

Ms. Mutter performs concerts of Beethoven String Trios with violist Yuri Bashmet and cellist Lynn Harrell in San Francisco (11/7), Costa Mesa (11/10) and New York City (11/14). On November 13th, Ms. Mutter will perform the three Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Lambert Orkis in Washington DC. The two artists have just released their all-new recording of these sonatas on Deutsche Grammophon on both CD and DVD. Click here to learn more, watch video of the two in performance and interview and hear excerpts.

Following these chamber music concerts, Ms. Mutter will lead the New York Philharmonic in performances of three of Mozart’s Violin Concertos and also give the world-premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s Lichtes Spiel (conducted by Michael Francis). This progression from chamber music concerts to leading an orchestra from the violin to premiering a complicated 21st-century work is indicative of everything that guides and informs Ms. Mutter’s career. According to Ms. Mutter this “is very much my life philosophy: you can only be a good musician if you are a good musician with the others together. It’s as much about the listening together and the inspiring the other person and bringing each other to a very different and hopefully much higher level of music making.”

Ms. Mutter will return to the New York Philharmonic two more times over the course of the 2010 | 11 season and give the NY-premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s In Tempus Praesens, additional chamber performances including the world-premiere of another work by Wolfgang Rihm and the US-premiere of a work by Krzysztof Penderecki, and another set of orchestral concerts that will include Beethoven as well as the world-premiere of Time Machines by Sebastian Currier.

This style of program is able to balance the traditional canon of repertoire with news works in a way that provides a bridge for the audience. Ms. Mutter has long been a champion of commissioning new works and performing contemporary compositions and has regularly included them in her concert schedule as well as taken them into the recording studio. For Deutsche Grammophon she has recorded Rihm’s Gesungene Zeit (paired with Berg’s Violin Concerto), works by Witold Lutoslawski (Partita and Chain 2), Krzysztof Penderecki’s Violin Concerto no. 2, Norbert Moret’s En reve, George Henry Crumb’s Four Nocturnes, André Previn’s Violin Concerto Anne-Sophie and much more.

Brandi Carlile and the Colorado Symphony

Brandi Carlile's ethereal, melancholy ballads reflect her love for old-school country but she is definitely of today. "I get all sorts of comparisons but never to one person," she says. "It's more like, 'Sheryl Crow meets Patsy Cline,' which makes me feel good." A string of recent orchestral engagements have solidified this talented singer's reputation as one of the most exciting artists of her generation. "Its not easy to categorize Brandi Carlile's genre-straddling music, but its not hard to zero in on what makes her such a standout talent: that electrifying voice." -Philadephia Inquirer "...her swirling guitars and brushed drums are so charming, it's tempting to forget the emotions Carlile is laying bare. But then there's a song like "Dreams," the album's single, where she belts out "I have dreams" with a conviction that verges on desperation. Suddenly her pain is all too real, her songs all too beautiful to forget."-Seattle Weekly NOV 13 (SAT 7:30) BRANDI CARLILE – Contemporary Pops Series Scott O'Neil, associate conductor Brandi Carlile

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Arild Remmereit debuts with the Colorado Symphony

Norwegian conductor Arild Remmereit debuts in a program of virtuoso works: Martinu's Symphony No. 1; Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto celebrating the return of Horacio Gutierrez; and Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite, including "Morning Mood" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King."

Grieg's Peer Gynt 11/20 - 7:30 p.m. 11/21 - 2:30 p.m. Boettcher Concert Hall Arild Remmereit, conductor Horacio Gutierrez, piano MARTINU / Symphony No. 1 BEETHOVEN / Piano Concerto No. 4 GRIEG / Suite from Peer Gynt

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Composer Michael Hersch Presents World Premiere of His Two Pieces for Cello and Piano

For composer Michael Hersch, the summer brought two important world premieres: his monumental Third Symphony, whose “granitic force” (Financial Times) “impresse[d] with sheer sonic weight and intensity” (San Jose Mercury News) at the Cabrillo Festival, and his unaccompanied violin work, in the snowy margins, which Grammy Award-winner Peter Sheppard Skaevard debuted at the Dartington Festival in England. It was Sheppard Skaevard’s repeat performance on September 23 at the British Museum that launched Hersch’s new season, in which the composer also looks forward to the release of his new CD, the second volume of his complete works for solo strings, due November 23 from Vanguard Classics; the world premiere of his Two Pieces for Cello and Piano, for which he will accompany veteran Hersch specialist Daniel Gaisford in Washington DC on November 7; and further performances in New York City and Nashville TN early in the new year.

This coming Sunday, November 7 sees Hersch’s first world premiere of the season, when he joins cellist Daniel Gaisford to perform his Two Pieces for Cello and Piano (2010) at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, the nation’s first modern art museum. Hailed as “America’s greatest unknown cellist” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Gaisford is the dedicatee of the new work; Hersch explains:

“While I have written several solo cello works for him, Daniel has asked over the years if I might write some new works especially for us to perform together. Although it took almost ten years, these two pieces are the result and are dedicated to him.”

Gaisford also gives the Washington premiere of Hersch’s Sonata No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello on the same program; after his world premiere performance of the work, the New York Times praised Hersch’s “extraordinarily communicative music,” and continued:

“Hersch’s music speaks for itself eloquently. ... [The first] Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello [is] an arching 35-minute work that amply repays the considerable demands it makes on a cellist’s technique and interpretive imagination. Daniel Gaisford’s spectacular performance was particularly gripping in the work’s extroverted finale.”

It was Gaisford’s recording of the demanding Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 for Unaccompanied Cello that made up the critically prized first installment of Vanguard Classics’ three-disc survey of the composer’s music for solo string instruments. Now, on November 23, the label releases the second volume – the wreckage of flowers – featuring Miranda Cuckson in Hersch’s complete violin works. All world-premiere recordings, the new album comprises two works for unaccompanied violin – Five Fragments (2004) and Fourteen Pieces after texts of Primo Levi (2007) – and the wreckage of flowers: 21 pieces after poetry and prose of Czeslaw Milosz (2003), on which the violinist is joined by pianist Blair McMillen. According to Cuckson, “a brilliant young performer who plays daunting contemporary music with insight, honesty, and temperament” (New York Times):

“Hersch’s music forms a unique world; one highly recognizable as his own and difficult to associate closely with stylistic movements. He uses spare materials to grippingly visceral effect, packing the utmost expression into very simple bits of material.”

The new title is Vanguard’s fifth recording of Hersch’s works, a rare honor for a composer not yet 40. His second disc for the label was selected by both the Washington Post and Newsday as one of the most important recordings of 2004-05, while his fourth – the first volume of the present series – was glowingly reviewed by the New York Times:

“The riveting piece [Sonata No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello] [is] given a gripping performance by Daniel Gaisford. … The intensity and communicative power of this sonata, at times an anguished lament, is typical of much of Mr. Hersch’s work. … The reflective second movement, a showcase for Mr. Gaisford’s rich, penetrating tone and searing musicality, ebbs and flows into the harmonically rich final movement, with its virtuoso challenges and almost brutal intensity. Mr. Gaisford… offers a mesmerizing performance of Mr. Hersch’s seven-movement Sonata No. 2.”

The third and final disc in the series, due for future release by Vanguard Classics, will comprise Hersch’s music for viola and double bass.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Early Music Ensemble BaroQue Across the River plays music from France & Italy

Brooklyn, New York-based early music ensemble BaroQue Across the River (www.baroqueacrosstheriver.com) will perform “Elegance & Extravagance: Cantatas and Solos from France & Italy” on December 3-4, 2010. The December 3 concert will be held at 7:30pm at Brooklyn Friends Meeting House, 110 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn (718.643.4608, www.nyym.org/brooklyn); The December 4, 8:00pm concert will be held at Tenri Cultural Institute, 43A West 13th Street, in Manhattan (914.633.0758, www.tenri.org.). Tickets are $20.00 (suggested donation) at door for both concerts.
Two rival styles dominated European music in the late 17th - early 18th Century -- the delicate and demure French style favored elegant melodies in contrast to the more passionate, virtuosic and extravagant style of Italian music. In “Elegance & Extravagance: Cantatas and Solos from France & Italy” BaroQue Across the River offers selections of this exuberant contrast with music by Rameau, Clérambault, Scarlatti, Couperin, and Vivaldi.
BaroQue Across the River (www.baroqueacrosstheriver.com) is dedicated to bringing unique programming of 18th century masterpieces to a 21st century audience, performing on original instruments in historic settings around the greater Metropolitan area as well as touring. The ensemble consists of founder/director Kathleen McDonald, flute; Michèle Eaton, soprano; Lisa Terry, violoncello and viola da gamba; and Jennifer Griesbach, harpsichord. Concert venues have included museums, historical societies, mansions, churches, colleges, and early music concert series. Since 2003, they have partnered with the Brooklyn Historical Society (www.brooklynhistory.org) offering public concerts in conjunction with their exhibits and celebrations. They were among a select group of artists chosen as New York’s finest early music ensembles performing at the New York Times Center, as part of GEMS Early Music/Early Season series (www.gemsny.org). They have performed for ARTEK’s Midtown Concert Series (www.midtownconcerts.org), Mount Vernon Museum, the Bruce Museum, Music on the Heights at the famed Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, The Wyckoff House Museum, Akwaaba Mansion, Lefferts House in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Borough Hall. In addition to returning for a concert on the Midtown Concert Series, the group’s 2010-11 season will include concerts at Brooklyn’s Quaker Meeting House, Tenri Cultural Institute, and the Fullerton Friends of Music series in Los Angeles, California, in celebration of Early Music America’s 25th Anniversary.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Johannes Moser’s North American Orchestral Dates Include Dvorák’s B-Minor Cello Concerto for Pittsburgh Symphony Debut

The season opened auspiciously for Johannes Moser, “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists” (Gramophone), when his Hänssler CLASSIC album of sonatas by Britten, Bridge and Bax was named “Recording of the Month” by MusicWeb International, which advised, simply: “Don’t miss this.” Now the German-Canadian cellist turns to the instrument’s orchestral repertoire, undertaking two of the finest examples with North American orchestras. First he performs Dvorák’s B-minor Concerto for his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony (Nov 26 & 28), as well as with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra (Nov 18 & 19) and LA’s American Youth Symphony (Nov 21), before tackling Schumann’s Cello Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony (Dec 4).

Dvorák was initially reluctant to even attempt his Cello Concerto in B minor (1894-95), believing that “as a solo instrument” the cello was too quiet in its middle register to be “much good.” However, his solution – saving the cello for the orchestra’s quieter moments – helped establish his only completed cello concerto as one of the undisputed masterpieces of the genre, and moved Brahms, famously, to exclaim: “Why on earth didn’t I know that one could write a cello concerto like this? Had I known, I would have written one long ago.” Moser has already proved “an accomplished soloist” in his interpretation of the work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, playing with “robust, vital attack, brilliant technique, and outsized passion (Los Angeles Times). Now the cellist takes his interpretation to three more American orchestras, starting with two performances in Ottawa with Pinchas Zukerman’s acclaimed National Arts Centre Orchestra and guest conductor Julian Kuerti, former assistant to James Levine at the Boston Symphony (Nov 18 and 19). Then, following an appearance at the Annual Gala Celebration of the American Youth Symphony under music director Alexander Treger (Nov 21), Moser makes his much-anticipated Pittsburgh Symphony debut, joining Austrian maestro Manfred Honeck for two traversals of the Dvorák as part of the orchestra’s Thanksgiving Weekend celebrations (Nov 26 & 28).

A profound influence on Dvorák’s composition was Schumann’s Cello Concerto (1850), which was the first to eschew the flashy pyrotechnics of the traditional 19th-century virtuoso concerto for a more subtly expressive sound-world. The cellist and conductor Pablo Casals called the concerto “one of the finest works one could wish to hear – sublime music from beginning to end,” and, according to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald:

“One could scarcely find a better embodiment of the creative spirit than cellist Johannes Moser, whose beautifully pitched performance of Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129, pushed ideas to the boundaries so that each thought was characterized with insistent individuality. Moser played Schumann’s expansive opening melody as a narrative of singular troubled passion, full of intense shades. He would seize low notes as though suddenly possessed of a darkened thought and play the excited passage work of the coda as though on a reckless downhill ride.”

For his performance of the Schumann on December 4, Moser reunites with Julian Kuerti, who will take the helm of the Vancouver Symphony.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard looms large in U.S. this season

From Liszt to Ligeti and Carnegie Hall to Cleveland, Pierre-Laurent Aimard Looms Large in U.S. This Season

In a season that also takes him from London to Tokyo and Moscow to Milan, Pierre-Laurent Aimard looks forward to a full program of North American engagements. He launched the new season with the release of his landmark all-Ravel album with the Cleveland Orchestra, which, besides the two Piano Concertos, features Miroirs, “whose poetry and liveliness Aimard relays like an oracle” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer). This haunting solo piano suite also forms the centerpiece of Aimard’s high-profile December U.S. recital tour, in Los Angeles (Dec 1), Philadelphia (Dec 3), Chicago (Dec 5), and Carnegie Hall (Dec 8). The pianist soon returns again to the historic New York venue, rejoined by the Cleveland Orchestra under its music director, Franz Welser-Möst; after three performances of Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto in Cleveland (Jan 20-22), Aimard joins the orchestra on tour in Bloomington (Jan 25), Miami (Jan 28 & 29) Ann Arbor (Feb 1), Chicago (Feb 2), Carnegie Hall (Feb 5) and Newark (Feb 6). Back in New York the following month, Aimard makes four appearances as soloist in Ligeti’s Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen (March 10-15), before embarking on his second North American recital tour of the season, with performances in Princeton (May 3) and Atlanta’s Spivey Hall (May 7).

As the UK’s Independent newspaper observes, “It is hard to imagine a pianist better qualified to play works by Ravel…than Pierre-Laurent Aimard.” The centerpiece of the pianist’s forthcoming U.S. recital tour, Miroirs (1904-5) comprises five movements, each of which Ravel dedicated to a different member of the French impressionist group “Les Apaches”; each movement was intended to evoke in sound its dedicatee’s reflection as seen in the mirror. For his December recital program, Aimard juxtaposes Miroirs with works by Chopin and with Messiaen’s Préludes, as featured on his 2008 album Hommage à Messiaen. As a Messiaen Competition winner and former piano student of Yvonne Loriod, the composer’s wife, Aimard has championed Messiaen’s music throughout his career, and was described by the New Yorker’s Russell Platt as “one of the composer’s supreme interpreters.” The December tour takes Aimard to Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (Dec 1), Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center (Dec 3), Chicago’s Symphony Center (Dec 5), and, in the “Keyboard Virtuosos I” series, New York City’s Carnegie Hall (Dec 8).

Aimard’s relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra goes back many years. He recently served as its Artist-in-Residence for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, besides recording Ravel’s piano concertos under Boulez’s direction for his most recent CD release. Now Aimard reunites with the orchestra, this time with its music director, Franz Welser-Möst, for three performances of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (1930-31) at Cleveland’s Severance Hall (Jan 20-22). After Aimard’s account of that work at Lincoln Center last year, the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini remarked: “The concerto would be a staple if it were not so fiendishly difficult. But without any facade of virtuosic showiness, the intensely focused and technically prodigious Mr. Aimard played it with ease.” Aimard then joins the orchestra on tour, playing Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bloomington (Jan 25) and Chicago (Feb 2). For the rest of his tour with the Cleveland Orchestra, Aimard performs Schumann’s Piano concerto in Miami (Jan 28 & 29), Ann Arbor (Feb 1), Newark (Feb 6), and at New York’s Carnegie Hall on February 5.

The pianist’s next New York appearance is on the other side of town at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, where he gives four performances of Ligeti’s Piano Concerto – “a signature work for Pierre-Laurent Aimard” (John von Rhein, American Record Guide) – as part of the New York Philharmonic’s “Hungarian Echoes” festival, with festival conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (March 10, 11, 12, & 15). Aimard’s recording of the composer’s Études for Sony Masterworks won a 1997 Gramophone Award, and indeed, it was Ligeti who described Aimard as “today’s leading interpreter of contemporary piano music,” citing his “masterful technique, the depth of his sensitivity, and the many nuances of his music, as well as…his absolute identification with the spirit of every single work he plays.”

In a characteristically full season of recitals – in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, and Tokyo, to name but a few – Aimard returns to North America for a second recital tour in the first week of May. First stop is at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center (May 3), where Aimard explores the work of Liszt, Bartók, Ravel, Messiaen and contemporary composer Marco Stroppa. At Aimard’s next performance, sonatas by Wagner, Berg, and Scriabin prepare the way for that of Liszt, with whose epic B-minor Sonata Aimard closes the program at Atlanta’s Spivey Hall (May 7).

Beyond America, the pianist’s orchestral engagements are also manifold; highlights include Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto with Milan’s Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala and Gustavo Dudamel; Ravel with Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra and Charles Dutoit and with Paris’s Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with Myung-Whun Chung; and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on a six-city European tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Robin Ticciati. Yet this intense schedule is just the sort on which Aimard thrives; he is, after all, “one of the most brilliant and distinctive pianists before the public today” (Boston Globe).

Vinyl Box Set of San Francisco Symphony's Complete Mahler Project Planned for Release

Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony(SFS) plan to release a limited edition 22 LP set of their seven-time Grammy® award-winning Mahler Recording Project on SFS Media. The records will be manufactured on 180G virgin vinyl and have an estimated delivery date of April 2011.

The box set includes an exclusive bonus 45 rpm recording of Susan Graham and MTT performing the piano version of the Rückert-Lieder from a private session on stage at Davies Symphony Hall not available separately. Excerpts of footage from this session will also be included in Season 3 of the SFS’s national PBS television series, Keeping Score, dedicated to the music of Mahler and airing in spring 2011.

The Mahler cycle will be sold on vinyl in this 1,000 copy limited edition set provided a sufficient number of pre-orders are secured by the end of the year. The complete Mahler Project vinyl box set retails for $749 including shipping and orders are now being taken at the San Francisco Symphony’s eStore at sfsymphony.org/mahlervinyl. A pre-order with a $75 deposit secures a copy. SFS Media will also release a standard CD box set of the complete Mahler Recording Project in 2011.

Retailers interested in carrying the vinyl box set should contact distributors Harmonia Mundi in North America (excluding Canada ), SRI Canada in Canada , or Avie internationally.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Colorado Symphony Youth Concerts Open to the Public

Música Latina: A Symphonic Celebration of the Americas

The Colorado Symphony announces today that its Youth Concert program, Música Latina: A Symphonic Celebration of the Americas will be open to the public on Friday, November 12, 2010 at 9:50 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. as a part of Visit Denver's Arts Week. Come "See the Music" in this symphonic celebration of music from Central and South America. Featuring characteristic Latin rhythms and lush melodies, Música Latina is guaranteed to thrill. From Mexico's Silvestre Revueltas comes Sensemayá about an eerie and ominous snake, to the lush romanticism of Brazilian composer Villa Lobos' Bachianas Brazileires No. 5, the sights and sounds of the southern hemisphere come to life in this colorful one hour program.

All are welcome to attend this season's Youth Concert, Música Latina: A Symphonic Celebration of the Americas, which will entertain and educate students of all ages in Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The complete program will include Alberto Ginastera's "Los trabajadores agricolas" and "Malambo" from Estancia, Heitor Villa-Lobos' Aria from Bachianas Brazileires No. 5, Silvestre Revueltas' Sensemayá, Arturo Marquez's Danzon No. 2 and José Pablo Moncayo's Huapango.

"This season's youth concert program is the most exciting program produced in my twelve years as Director of Education," says Nora Robinson. "Students, teachers and parents will leave Boettcher Concert Hall knowing the important contribution made to the symphonic repertoire by composers from the Americas, having experienced some of the most important and exciting works of the 20th century. Additionally, this concert will broaden students' world-view and present avenues for continued exploration. The Música Latina concert is a bold step for the Colorado Symphony that will have positive impact on future programs."

Tickets are available to the general public as a part of Denver Arts Week for these youth concerts for $10 per person, and are available through the Colorado Symphony's Box Office or online at www.coloradosymphony.org. Tickets will also be available at the door at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, November 12. For more information, contact the box office or Education Director Nora Robinson, 303.308.2466.

Colorado Symphony subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased online at www.coloradosymphony.org or through the Colorado Symphony Box Office, located at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 90 minutes before each performance. All season performances are held in Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis Street unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Deutsche Grammophon Celebrates with All-New Box Sets of Treasured Artists and Recordings

DG111 Adds a 56-CD Box Set and 111 Track Set to the Birthday Party

Deutsche Grammophon ends its year-long 111th birthday celebrations with a new selection of releases to celebrate the Yellow Label’s long and illustrious past as well as the vibrant and healthy present and future. Though DG will turn 112 years-old on December 6, 2010, the popularity of last year’s celebration (the 55-CD set sold-out in mere weeks) has prompted the new box sets. This new, 2nd edition features more artists than before and stretches back even further in time to 1911 and then right up to the newest albums today. The entire selection, including all sets from 2009, will be available on November 9, 2010.

Though anniversaries and birthdays have occasionally been celebrated too often, the history of Deutsche Grammophon and the landmark recordings the label has produced warrant not only celebration but also intense scrutiny. The more one searches and listens the more one finds. Deutsche Grammophon is Universal’s oldest active label and for over 111 years has been a market leader and innovator with a roster of the world’s greatest musicians. With the purpose of recording great artists performing great music, DG records Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart as well as Boulez, Gubaidulina, Nono and Stockhausen.

It has not only been with artists and repertoire that DG has excelled but also in the technical demands of recording. DG pressed the first test-CD ever produced (Strauss’ Eine Alpensinfonie with the Berlin Philharmonic led by Karajan) and has continued with such projects as the development of the DG Web Shop and by offering the first full-length classical music video for sale via iTunes. Since Emil Berliner began pressing gramophone records in 1888 Deutsche Grammophon has never stopped pursuing perfection in both performance and production.

Deutsche Grammophon has compiled two new sets: The Collector’s Edition 2 and 111 More Classic Tracks. The 56-CD Collector’s Edition 2 compliments the 55-CD set from 2009 and combined the two have a total of, fittingly enough, 111 CDs. The 6-CD set of 111 More Classic Tracks is a counterpart to 2009’s edition and includes completely different tracks and extends back in time to 1911 (Chaliapin with R. Strauss on the piano) thus presenting a span of 100 years in just one set.

Jeremy Denk Plays Prokofiev and Grieg on Six-State US Tour with Moscow State Symphony and Pavel Kogan

Jeremy Denk kicked off the new season with the release of his long-anticipated first solo album, Jeremy Denk plays Ives, and successful concerts at both Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls. Next he embarks on a six-city US tour with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, one of Russia’s most esteemed ensembles, under its music director and chief conductor Pavel Kogan, winner of the National Prize of the Russian Federation (and son of violinist Leonid). Appearing in La Crosse, WI (Nov 5), Naperville, IL (Nov 6), Notre Dame, IN (Nov 7), Morgantown, WV (Nov 10), Louisville, KY (Nov 13), and West Palm Beach, FL (Nov 17), Denk performs Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, one of the most technically formidable examples of the genre, and Grieg’s Piano Concerto, to which, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, he recently “brought the right dose of suaveness…while keeping a keen emphasis on clarity and rhythmic exactitude and not trying to oversell it” (Denver Post).

Denk’s most recent orchestral engagement was also with the Philadelphia Orchestra, when he played Liszt’s First Piano Concerto with Charles Dutoit at Carnegie Hall (Oct 12), showcasing his trademark combination of pianistic chops and intelligent musicianship:

“Mr. Dutoit set the tone with an opening passage that leaned on Liszt’s dramatic dissonances and demanded an assertive pianistic response. Mr. Denk supplied that, along with a sparkling, powerhouse sound. But, typically for Mr. Denk, his reading never threatened to be matter over mind. Every phrase was fluid, shapely, and thoughtfully etched. He made Liszt seem, at least in passing, as if he were as deep and revolutionary a thinker as Beethoven.” — Allan Kozinn, New York Times

A week later, it was Denk’s talent as a chamber musician that New Yorkers could enjoy, at the first of two “Folk Traditions Concerts” with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall. Inspired by his passion for the music of Central Europe, Denk was behind the planning and programming, as well as performing in Dohnányi’s Piano Sextet and Dvorák’s Piano Quartet in D. The New York Times’s Vivien Schweitzer praised Denk’s “thoughtful music-making” and “finely crafted phrasing,” noting that “throughout the evening the standard of playing was impressive.” The second concert is scheduled for March 15.

After the iTunes launch of Denk’s first solo recording, Gathering Note observed, “There isn’t a pianist today who understands [Charles] Ives’s music like Denk.” His recital programs have long featured not only the great American iconoclast’s famous and monumental “Concord” Sonata but also the far less familiar Sonata No. 1, impressing critics with “thrilling performances” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times) that offer “an entire world” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post). Now his celebrated Ives interpretations have finally been committed to disc; on October 12, Jeremy Denk plays Ives was issued on CD by the pianist’s own Think Denk Media label. The new album has also inspired much media interest, with features appearing in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal; the latter offered a survey of reviewers’ attempts to describe Denk’s artistry, singling out “‘intelligence,’ ‘lyricism,’ ‘attention to detail,’ ‘chops,’ and ‘breadth of color’ [as] just some of the words they have used.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baritone Thomas Hampson Receives Living Legend Award

The Library of Congress honored baritone Thomas Hampson with its Living Legend medal during a concert yesterday evening in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium. Hampson, with pianist Wolfram Rieger, celebrated the birth anniversaries of Samuel Barber and Gustav Mahler, as well as offering a selection of American favorites.

“I am deeply honored and grateful to receive this award. As an American artist, it is humbling to be acknowledged and appreciated in this way by the Library of Congress and to contribute to the great and passionate dialogue of arts, humanities and performing arts in the United States,” said Hampson.

The Library’s Living Legend award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to America’s diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage. The first awards were given in 2000 in connection with the Library’s bicentennial celebrations, to honor Americans whose creative contributions to American life have made them living legends. Hampson, who has already been honored by the Library with the title of “Special Advisor for the Study and Performance of Music in America”, will be the 101st recipient of the award.

Other recipients of the award include artists, writers, filmmakers, physicians, entertainers, sports figures, public servants and musicians, among them Madeleine Albright, Katharine Graham, B.B. King, John Werner Kluge, Alan Lomax, I.M Pei, Sally Ride, Martin Scorsese, Pete Seeger and Yo Yo Ma.

“I cannot think of a more qualified, accomplished, or passionate ambassador for the Library of Congress, or a more deserving recipient of the Library’s 101st Living Legend award, than Thomas Hampson,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Hampson has performed nearly 70 roles, including the title roles in Don Giovanni, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Guillaume Tell, Macbeth, Simon Boccanegra, Eugene Onegin, Massenet’s Werther, Busoni’s Doktor Faust, Szymanowski’s King Roger and Britten’s Billy Budd. He has taken the stage at the Metropolitan Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and many other leading opera houses of the world.

Hampson’s honors include a Grammy, the Grand Prix du Disque, a Lifetime Achievement Award Edison Prize, Gramophone and Echo Klassik Awards, an Opera News Award for distinguished achievement, and Musical America’s “Vocalist of the Year”. In 2009 he received the Atlantic Council’s Award for Distinguished Artistic Leadership, and he was recently elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also Artistic Director and Founder of the Heidelberg Lied Academy in Germany and Distinguished Visiting Artist at Manhattan School of Music.

In 2005, Hampson worked with the Library of Congress to launch the “Song of America” concert tour, with a second season opening in 2009. Drawing on the unparalleled collection of American songs housed at the Library, Hampson presented a unique series of recitals, educational activities, exhibitions, recordings, webcasts and interactive online resources. Since the launch of “Song of America,” Hampson has performed the concert repertoire in 22 of the 50 United States and in 13 nations across Europe, including a world-premiere performance and the first televised broadcast from Spaso House in Moscow, the famed residence of the U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Jonathan Biss to Join Curtis Institute Piano Faculty

The Curtis Institute of Music announces the appointment of Jonathan Biss to its piano faculty, beginning with the 2011–12 school year. A Curtis alumnus who is highly regarded for his artistry and deeply felt interpretations, Mr. Biss has won international recognition for his orchestral, recital, and chamber music performances on four continents and for his award-winning recordings.

“At Curtis, we have enjoyed a long tradition of distinguished and active performers teaching our students,” said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. “We are thrilled that Mr. Biss, at the height of his performing career, is so committed to sharing his artistry with our students.” Mr. Biss will begin teaching at Curtis in Fall 2011, and along with the rest of the school’s distinguished piano faculty, will hear auditions in Spring 2011. Applications for the 2011–12 school year are due December 15 and more information is available at www.curtis.edu/admissions.

“I'm tremendously honored to be joining the faculty at Curtis,” said Mr. Biss. “My years there as a student played a huge role in shaping me as a musician and a person, and I have no doubt that in coming back as a teacher, I will learn just as much. And to be joining a faculty which includes so many of my teachers and mentors is humbling indeed.”

Mr. Biss graduated from Curtis in 2001, having already launched a successful performing career with a New York recital debut and New York Philharmonic debut. In the intervening years he has repeatedly returned to Curtis for residencies and master classes. “Mr. Biss is a superb artist whose insights have been especially enlightening not only to our piano students, but also to the chamber groups he has coached,” noted Curtis Vice President and Dean John Mangan. Mr. Biss will continue to work with student chamber groups in his new position.

Nocturnes for Night Owls - pianist Lara Downes performs gorgeous nighttime music for kids

Nocturnes For Night Owls TRITONE MUSIC | RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 1, 2010

Acclaimed classical pianist Lara Downes has delighted audiences around the world with her “breathtaking virtuosity" and "unique blend of musicianship and showmanship" (National Public Radio). Now, she embraces young listeners with her luminous new release Nocturnes for Night Owls: Classical Treasures for Sweet Dreams. This charming collection of beloved classical masterpieces and little-known gems features quiet-time music of timeless beauty that both children and their parents will love.

Nocturnes for Night Owls includes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Schumann’s Dreaming, Erik Satie’s hypnotic Gymnopedie #3, Debussy’s Reverie, Ravel’s Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty, elegant Nocturnes by Chopin, Poulenc and Aaron Copland and more delightful music to lull little ones to sleep.

"In my house, good music for bedtime is essential,” says Lara, a mother of two young children, based in Northern California, “As a mom, I am always searching for lovely new music to share with my own children and, as a musician, I love to discover new treasures to share with my audiences everywhere. These are gorgeous, night-time-inspired pieces that I have loved playing both at home and onstage over the years. I believe that children should have the chance to discover all the beautiful things the world has to offer them, including great music!” Coming from the heart of one of our generation’s most exceptional artists, Nocturnes for Night Owls is an affectionate gift for children everywhere.

Steinway Concert Artist LARA DOWNES is one of the most exciting and communicative young pianists of today's generation. She has won over audiences at the world's most prestigious concert venues, from the Vienna Konzerthaus to Carnegie Hall. Her debut CD, Invitation to the Dance, was called “a magical little recording” by NPR, and her CD American Ballads was ranked by Amazon.com among the four best recordings of American music ever made. She is currently Artist in Residence at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis, where she is the host and co-curator of the Studio Classics series. Lara is Founder and President of the 88 KEYS® Foundation, a non-profit organization that fosters opportunities for music experiences and learning in America's public schools by providing pianos and music education programming in K-12 classrooms. Lara is also Founder and Artistic Director of the Rising Stars of California program, a statewide initiative that showcases California’s most gifted young musicians.