. Interchanging Idioms: December 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sir Simon Rattle conducts Bruckner and Messiaen with the London Symphony Orchestra

7 March 2011, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Sir Simon Rattle will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony at the Barbican on 7 March 2011. The work is performed alongside Messiaen’s Et Exspecto ressurectionem mortuorum.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs Philip Glass Co-commission, Icarus at the Edge of Time, January 14-16

Host of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Scott Simon narrates

Music director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a Greek myth for our times to be performed on Friday, January 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 16 at 3 p.m. at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, January 15 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Baltimore native Philip Glass and author Brian Greene have teamed up to present a multimedia recreation of Icarus at the Edge of Time, Greene’s board book for children. The host of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Scott Simon will narrate. Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Ceres and John Williams’ Star Wars Suite will also be performed.

Icarus at the Edge of Time retells the classic Greek myth of Icarus in a futuristic context. The story illustrates an interstellar voyage of Icarus and his family, where the young boy is fated to live and die aboard a spaceship, and weaves a tale vividly demonstrating Einstein’s theory of relativity in relation to a black hole. Icarus, despite warnings from his father, flies too close to a black hole and experiences the curvature of space-time. When the boy returns to his father and the spaceship, thousands of years have passed him, and it is too late to reconnect with loved ones.

Greene drew inspiration from his childhood in reconstructing this classic fable. The story works to convey two important messages to young readers: in changing the world, a great scientist may have to cope with the implications of his/her exploration and an understanding that science is a “wonderful, dramatic adventure story” and applicable in our world. The World Science Festival in New York City and London’s Royal Society of Science, two leading scientific organizations, commissioned the work along with the Southbank Centre.

Composer John Williams’ score for the first Star Wars movie won an Oscar, a British Oscar and a Grammy Award. In 2005, it was deemed by the American Film Institute the greatest American movie score of all time. Williams went on to score all six Star Wars films, creating in total some 14 hours of extravagant symphonic music. In order to enhance each movie’s connection to classic myths and tales, Williams and Star Wars creator George Lucas made the joint decision to base the music in tradition, making it emotionally familiar to compliment the unimaginable character of the films in an epic series which touches upon all the great human subjects in life. In the performance, a sequence of seven pieces will be played: four numbers drawn from the first film, two from the prequel The Phantom Menace and one from Attack of the Clones.

Ceres, commonly referred to as the dwarf planet, became an “orchestral asteroid” when British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage was inspired to create the masterful work, Ceres, which musically portrays an asteroid impact. Turnage was fascinated by the apocalyptic aspect of asteroids and the capability they have in destroying this world. “The idea of this piece is that different solid blocks of sound (the first two being a melody with a blooming clarinet accompaniment followed by a syncopated trombone idea) one after another in a thick, climactic passage collide and then separate again,” explains Turnage. The performance, most powerful in nature, comes across almost eerily as cellos playing under the bridge of their instruments create a wistful and chilling ambiance, in which the mind can only imagine blind and wayward solitude in a black abyss

Friday, December 24, 2010

Music From Japan Festival 2011 Presents “Flutes from the East and the West” and “Song from the Spirit of Japan”

NYC (Feb 12-13) and Washington DC (Feb 16)

“For anyone interested in Japan’s distinctive musical culture, Music From Japan has been a valuable resource since 1975.” — Allan Kozinn, New York Times

Music From Japan and its Artistic Director, Naoyuki Miura, are thrilled to announce Festival 2011: a weekend of events in New York City’s Baruch Performing Arts Center (Feb 12 & 13, 2011), and a concert at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC (Feb 16). Now in its 36th season, the festival introduces the worlds of Japanese song and flutes, showcasing the talents of leading exponents of both art forms through traditional and contemporary music, including world premieres of two new Music From Japan commissions. In New York the festival is presented in two programs: “Flutes from the East and the West,” which explores the relationship between these two great musical cultures from multiple perspectives, and “Song from the Spirit of Japan,” which celebrates the nation’s enduring song-setting tradition.

“Flutes from the East and the West” opens Music From Japan’s 36th season at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City on Saturday, February 12, 2011. The concert features Kohei Nishikawa and Elizabeth Brown performing new and traditional music for Western classical flute and three kinds of Japanese flute: the transverse nohkan and shinobue, as heard in Noh, kabuki theatre, and village festivals, and the shakuhachi, the vertical bamboo flute. While Nishikawa hails from Japan and Brown from the United States, the two share similar, boundary-crossing career paths, having initially distinguished themselves within the Western classical tradition before moving on to Japanese flutes. The program features works from the traditional to the contemporary, with contributions from such eminent composers as the late Yoshihisa Taira, alongside the world premiere of a new Music From Japan commission from Elizabeth Brown herself. A recent Guggenheim Fellow, Brown worked closely with Nishikawa to create the new work, an antiphonal duet for nohkan and shakuhachi entitled fragments for the moon (2010).

The second concert in Music From Japan’s 36th-season presentation, also at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, is on Sunday, February 13, 2011. “Song from the Spirit of Japan” marks the first time Music From Japan has programmed a singer as a featured artist; mezzo-soprano Keiko Aoyama is the undisputed “premier performer of Japanese composers’ songs” (Ongaku Gendai [Music Today], Jan 2010). With her regular pianist, Yoshio Tsukada, Aoyama sings settings of traditional folk songs, of songs with traditional Japanese sonorities, and of poems by the popular Hakushu Kitahara (1885-1942), the notable poet and novelist Haruo Sato (1892–1964), and the avant-garde Shoko Ema (1913-2000), one of the few female lyricists of the pre-war period. The featured settings are by composers of the past century ranging from Kosaku Yamada, whose Romanticism reflects the influence of his teacher Max Bruch, to the self-taught film composer Fumio Hayasaka, an advocate of musical pan-orientalism. Aoyama is joined by Kohei Nishikawa on nohkan in the world premiere performance of Norio Fukushi’s Night of the Full Moon (2011). Based on Taketori monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter), the oldest surviving tale in the Japanese language, this new work was commissioned for the occasion by Music From Japan.

The concert on Sunday will be followed by an open forum, offering audience members the opportunity to interact with the artists and share thoughts and questions arising from this convergence of Eastern and Western aesthetics. Taking part in the discussion will be Elizabeth Brown, Prof. Fukushi, and Kikuko Massumoto, some of whose works are also featured in the song recital. Mr. Tsukada will also comment on the Japanese songs that were presented in the program. Sharon Nakazato will interpret and moderate the forum.

The performance at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 will present all four artists in highlights of the two programs, including both new Music From Japan commissions.

Happy Holidays... May your life be filled with music

It's that time of year when the stores are decorated with holiday cheer and everyone is spending more time shopping than they are with their loved ones - all in some attempt to share a bit of joy in the world. If we don't spend enough money the merchants will complain it was a lean Christmas and the economy is stagnant. If we spend too much money, people get in trouble with their creditors in January and the news reports the economy is over extended.

However, as the shoppers are out malls and shops pipe in Christmas tunes, smiles glow as crowds listen to local choirs singing carols or spare change fill the Salvation Army buckets as bell ringers all over the city toll for the less fortunate. Everywhere you go there is music, sounds of the season. At no other time is there more music piped into our worlds, filling the air.

Take a moment (even a short one) and relish the sound of music. Understand the music you hear is a form of celebration and join in that celebration. Whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim or your heart follows some other concept, celebrate a world filled with music.

People say we should try and celebrate Christmas all year long, to share the sense of peace every day. I believe we could achieve a great sense of joy, a world filled with peace if we would just spend a bit more time listening to music, really listening to music. It changes the way we think, the way we feel.

So, this year, share the gift of music. Give those you love something to listen to other than the news. Make a New Years Resolution to listen to more music yourself. This isn't a plea for you to spend more money, or purchase the latest release of one artist or another (although there is a lot of great new music to choose from). This is just a call for everyone to listen to more music (myself included).

May Music Fill Your Life

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Show your passion for Opera Colorado

Act on your love for Opera Colorado - help us meet the $200,000 Challenge!
DONATE NOW

Current generosity, $85,225 of the Challenge has already been matched. We only have $114,775 to raise before the end of 2010!

The Board leadership, working with an anonymous donor, has made a $200,000 challenge to the Opera Colorado family. Any contribution made by December 31, 2010, will be matched by this extraordinary fund.

Coloradans have a passion for opera and for Opera Colorado - they show it each time they attend a performance, participate in an event, or make a contribution. It is this support that will raise the curtain on our upcoming productions of Rusalka, based on the original story of The Little Mermaid, and spring's production of Cinderella, Rossini's classic with a few twists on the Brothers Grimm.

Celebrate the Czech Cultural Arts in the Mile High City

CZECH POINT DENVER is a festival celebrating the Czech cultural arts scheduled for January and February 2011. A cooperative project led by Opera Colorado in conjunction with the company's February performances of the Dvořák opera Rusalka, the festival involves many Denver and Boulder-area non-profit arts and cultural organizations, the festival will include classical music, theatre, visual arts, film, and multimedia experiences.

Learn more at CzechPointDenver.com
A complete schedule of events is available at the Czech Point Denver website. The website also includes informative articles about the rich history of the Czech Republic as well as more about Opera Colorado's production of Rusalka. Like us on Facebook and get daily updates by reading our blog, Czech Mix.

Opera Colorado will also offer special programs for students and educators in conjunction with Rusalka and Czech Point Denver. Additional information is available at OperaColorado.org/education.

Re-broadcast of A Jazz Christmas with Dianne Reeves

Every day is a "Good Day" when you can hear Dianne Reeves

While there are no concerts at Boettcher Hall until 12/29, the Colorado Symphony can still be a part of your Christmas Eve. Catch a re-broadcast of our Marvin Hamlisch conducted, 12/14 performance, A Jazz Christmas with Dianne Reeves, on Denver's KUVO, Jazz 89.3FM at 7:00 p.m.

This Week's Top Ticket in Denver: Marin Alsop Conducts Rachmaninoff

The New Year begins with Conductor Laureate Marin Alsop leading the Colorado Symphony in Brahms' hyper rhythmic Hungarian Dances; living composer Michael Daugherty's Time Machine for three conductors and orchestra and Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, whose slow movement was used in the 1970s pop hit, "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again."

MASTERWORKS SERIES
Marin Alsop Conducts Rachmaninoff
January 7 - 7:30 p.m.
January 8 - 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor laureate
Mihaela Cesa-Goje, Taki Concordia Conducting Fellow
Kelly Corcoran, guest conductor

BRAHMS / Hungarian Dances
DAUGHERTY / Time Machine for three conductors and orchestra
RACHMANINOFF / Symphony No. 2

Purchase tickets online
or at the Box Office: 303.623.7876

Monday, December 20, 2010

eighth blackbird takes new “PowerFUL/LESS” program home to Chicago

Long synonymous with creative programming, eighth blackbird headlines its 2010-11 season with the launch of “PowerFUL/LESS”: two contrasting yet equally compelling programs that present the cases for and against Stravinsky’s incendiary claim that “music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all.” The sextet’s hometown audiences in Chicago will be the first to have the chance to hear both programs, which juxtapose the music of Corigliano, Rzewski, and John Luther Adams in “PowerFUL” (Jan 22) with works by Bach and Reich in “PowerLESS” (Feb 5), at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). This being the fourth consecutive season that eighth blackbird presents a special series in its hometown, the concerts will be preceded by a live preview performance and discussion on Chicago’s classical station, WFMT, on January 17.

The “PowerFUL” program on January 22 is inspired by a quote by the novelist Chinua Achebe – “Art for art’s sake is just another piece of deodorized dogshit” – written as a scathing rebuttal to Stravinsky’s notorious assertion. It confronts listeners with passionate musical responses to political issues – the prison system, war, and the environment – by three very different American composers. For his intense musical grenade Coming Together (1972), Frederic Rzewski chose a prescient text by Sam Melville, a political prisoner who was shortly to die in the violent Attica prison riot, while John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man (2000/09) is an affecting and controversial setting of war-soaked song lyrics by Bob Dylan. As when eighth blackbird recently gave the U.S. premiere of the latter’s sextet arrangement in Virginia, Mr. Tambourine Man will feature soprano Katie Calcamuggio, Syracuse Opera’s “Artist of the Year” 2010. A more contemplative piece – The Light Within (2007) by John Luther Adams, a staunch naturalist and recent winner of the 2010 Nemmers Prize – rounds out the program.

How to Listen to Classical Music - a course

New York Times’ Daniel J. Wakin Teaches New Online Course

For those who want to discover classical music or who enjoy it but aren’t sure why, The New York Times presents “How to Listen to Classical Music,” a delightful three-week course designed to help students recognize elements unique to classical music and identify favorite musicians and composers. Not a music theory course, not a music history course, this is a joyful listening tour led by The New York Times’ classical music reporter Daniel J. Wakin.

The course will include a “symphony” of topics, including:

  • An overview of the orchestra repertory and other types of music
  • The individual instruments and sections of an orchestra
  • The role of the conductor (with a guest conductor in live class session)
  • Concert traditions and how to get the most pleasure from a concert
  • Wakin’s “moments of bliss” in classical music

“How to Listen to Classical Music” will run from February 23 to March 15, 2011. To register for this new online course or for more information, click here.

This Program of Study course is part of the New York Times Knowledge Network, which is open to consumers nationwide. Programs of Study courses, developed and taught by New York Times journalists or professional staff, cover a variety of topics and are delivered online. Students can select any number of these courses: to stand alone, or be taken as a sequence.

Curtis Symphony Orchestra Presents NY Premiere of Pulitzer-Winning Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon (’88) with Hilary Hahn (’99) at Carnegie Hall

NY Premiere on Feb 15th

“Hilary Hahn gives a characteristically brilliant performance, mixing clarity, sensitivity, and energy. ... [Higdon’s] concerto itself is a knockout – a canny, evocative, and exciting score that marks a major addition to the repertoire.” — Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

The Curtis Institute of Music presents the New York premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music, at Carnegie Hall on February 15, 2011. The concerto’s dedicatee, Curtis alumna and two-time Grammy Award-winner Hilary Hahn (’99), will perform the work, which was co-commissioned from Higdon, a faculty member and alumna, by Curtis in collaboration with several major American orchestras. The concert by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra also includes Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for brass and strings and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. Juanjo Mena, chief conductor designate of the BBC Philharmonic, will lead the performance.

Now holder of the Curtis Institute’s Rock Chair in Composition, Jennifer Higdon (b.1962) is one of a long line of Curtis graduates to become a major voice in contemporary composition; her fellow alumni include Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and Ned Rorem. One of the most prolific and frequently performed American composers alive today, Higdon is having a momentous year. Two months before becoming only the fourth woman to win the Pulitzer, the nation’s most prestigious classical music prize, her Percussion Concerto was awarded the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition; as the New York Times observed, “Higdon’s vivid, attractive works have made her a hot commodity.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Changing the Facebook of Classical Music

There is a call for Classical Music to change they way they do things. Beyond the numerous posts here on Interchanging Idioms, there are a host of other classical music writers/bloggers who are calling for changing and detailing what that change should look like. Greg Sandow has a blog, Sandow: Greg Sandow on the future of classical music which continually discusses this topic. He's writing a book on the subject and often posts his work in progress.

However, his most recent post talks about the Cleveland Orchestra (often held up as one of the success stories in the orchestral world). In the following quote he highlights what I consider to be a major failing of modern orchestras --a lack of understanding on how to reach a younger audience.

All the plans I've seen outlined are about making access easier -- cheaper (or free) tickets, transportation to concerts. Well, they're also going out into community locations, even bars, to make people aware of the orchestra.

But two things they don't seem to have addressed, yet are programming and presentation. That is, what music will they play for their new, young audience, and how will they present it? Will they play their usual repertoire, in their standard formal dress? Or will they shake things up?

Beyond changing their repertoire, how are they reaching out to the younger audience --going into bars and giving away free tickets? I think there is a much easier way for orchestras to reach out to the under 30 crowd --leverage the power of the internet. While most major orchestras have some sort of Facebook page, how well are they leveraging this media? Facebook accounted for a quarter of ALL internet traffic in 2009. The majority of Facebook users are under 30 (more than 70%). People are turning to Facebook to post their thoughts rather than blogs and it's a great way for orchestras to get their events visible to the under 30 crowd.

However, News and Events are ranked by the number of people attending them. So if an orchestra has their events on Facebook but no one is attending it, or even been invited, it doesn't get any visibility; no one is talking about it. I took a look at the Facebook pages for the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland and the New York Philharmonic. NY Phil was the ONLY one that had any one attend their event and the most they had attending was 7 people at any event. So, there are only seven people in the orchestral playing in the concert?

New York Philharmonic has over 52k likes and only 7 people attending the event. San Francisco has 8k people and no one attending their events. Chicago has nearly 48k likes and no one attending their events. Cleveland has only 42 likes so it's no wonder no one is coming to their concerts (at least not according to Facebook).

Perhaps many of the professional musicians in these orchestras don't have Facebook accounts. Ok, if even a third of them don't have accounts, with a standard orchestra of 90 musicians that still leaves 30 musicians who ought to be attending EVERY event. Beyond that, they should be inviting all their friends (and telling the other musicians who don't have Facebook accounts to get one).

Yes, all of the organizations have a Marketing Department. But, if the musicians won't market themselves, it is difficult for the Marketing Departments to build a ground swell of excitement for the orchestra. Pop groups spend a large portion of their time self promoting their music --until they get to the point of Madonna or Metalica. Last time I checked there isn't an orchestra in the US that can fill an auditorium like major pop names. So, they need to start thinking like the smaller groups and work on their self promotion.

Facebook is an easy way to reach a large audience of just the sort of people orchestras need to get into their concert halls --the under 30 crowd, the Facebook generation. But they aren't going to connect to those people until they start really promoting themselves on Facebook. Orchestras don't need a paid staff member to write the occasional post. They need the orchestra members to get on board and start posting, commenting, attending events and generating chatter to elevate the visibility of the Facebook page with Facebook users.

Colorado Symphony presents "A Night In Vienna" Dec 31st

On New Year's Eve, Spend "A Night in Vienna" with the Colorado Symphony

Let the beautiful artistry of the Colorado Symphony and the music Strauss, Liszt, Chopin and more transport you to the ballrooms of Vienna.

It's time to plan that New Year's Eve "escape" you've always dreamed of – but for this beautiful journey, no passport is required! On Friday, December 31, let the Colorado Symphony and associate conductor Scott O'Neil sweep you away to revel in "A Night in Vienna" and the music that made Vienna's ballrooms famous. Concertgoers at this special New Year's Eve concert will enjoy the music of the "Waltz King," Johann Strauss Jr., including "Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor Waltzes)," "Radetzky March," "Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning Polka)," "On the Beautiful Blue Danube," and of course, the Overture to the quintessential Viennese opera, "Die Fledermaus."

Added delights of "A Night in Vienna" include Dohnanyi's "Wedding Waltz," Monti's "Czardas," and the exhilarating "Pizzicato Polka" of Josef Strauss. For centuries, the ballrooms of Vienna have been the centerpiece of New Year's celebrations as dancers young-and-old sweep across the floor, reveling in polkas, waltzes, and the promise of new beginnings. From the Imperial Ball in Hofburg Palace to the cafés and concert halls, these celebrations have branded the city of Vienna as the town of "bon vivants." The romantic, uplifting music of Vienna's ballrooms has such universal appeal that music lovers now enjoy it on New Year's Eve at concerts around the world.

"A Night in Vienna" also presents a moving debut as the Colorado Symphony welcomes Christina Lan, the winner of the Jeff Bradley Young Musician's Award, in performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, finale. To make the evening complete, guest conductor Maestro Michael Gundzik leads the orchestra in a special performance celebrating music at its best. Maestro Gundzik won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conduct the Colorado Symphony at the 2010 Symphony Ball – complete with his own baton and conducting lessons. The honor of conducting the Symphony is one of many intriguing and brilliant prizes to-be-won at the upcoming 2011 Symphony Ball at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel on Saturday, May 7.

Your wonder-filled "Night in Vienna" begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends just in time for you to stroll down the 16th Street Mall for fireworks and festivities.

San Francisco Symphony Announces 2011-12 Centennial Celebration

Orchestra Celebrates 100th Season with Distinctive Artistic Events and Innovative Education and Media Initiative

The San Francisco Symphony will celebrate its Centennial in 2011-12 and today announced highlights for the Orchestra’s milestone year. Presenting an ambitious season of concerts, programs, and events, expanded education programs and Centennial media initiatives, the Orchestra’s 100th season celebrates the American orchestra and its vibrant role within its community as an artistic leader and civic institution. Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony will break new ground with a two-week American Mavericks Festival both in San Francisco and touring the country; an unprecedented presentation of the most distinguished major American orchestras in one series, in one season; unique concerts and heritage events celebrating the period of the Symphony’s founding; artist and composer residencies featuring world premiere commissions; expanded music education programs including instrument training for public schools and an amateur music program for adults; and a variety of media projects that explore the living heritage of the Orchestra and its role within its community.

"In marking the Orchestra's first hundred years, this season is the moment to define what this Orchestra will be for its next hundred," said John D. Goldman, President of the San Francisco Symphony. "We celebrate the role our Symphony plays, not just in the lives of those who enjoy our distinctive brand of music-making here at home, but in sharing this great art form with the world and in celebrating its impact on all of our communities."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Resurrecting Classical Music

Recently I wrote "How do classical music organizations attract a younger audience" and today the Kyle MacMillan in the Taipei Times wrote: "Can classical rise from the dead?". Much of what Mr MacMillan is saying is along the same lines --"coolness might rest in the eye of the beholder, but an undeniable consensus coalesces around certain classic notions of what is cool and what is not."

We need to find new ways to market classical music, take more risks and approach the youth of today in the same manner as other successful entertainers. Classical Music is cool and has a lot to offer. We don't tend to market it that way. The result is a general drop in attendance.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the YouTube Symphony II is in the throws of the final phase of auditions. The success of the first YouTube Symphony is evident with more than half of their live audience under the age of 30. Musicians from 26 different countries are vying for a shot with the next orchestra. This are musicians in the modern age, willing to video their audition and familiar with the internet. Is the YouTube Symphony a success? - no doubt!

More and more writers are calling for Classical Music Organizations to re-image the marketing of classical music. Some organizations are listening and succeeding!

Minnesota Orchestra's Beethoven Piano Concertos 4 & 5 Released by BIS

Yevgeny Sudbin performs the Fourth and Fifth (Emperor) Concertos;
Osmo Vänskä conducts; Album available in stores and at minnesotaorchestra.org

The Swedish label BIS Records has released the first recording of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Beethoven piano concertos series, featuring the composer’s final two piano concertos, the Fourth and Fifth (Emperor), conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and featuring Russian soloist Yevgeny Sudbin at the keyboard. The disc, the newest chapter of the highly-acclaimed collaboration between BIS , Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra, is now available through the Orchestra’s website at minnesotaorchestra.org. It will also be available in stores and as a download on major internet music sites.

Mr. Vänskä, Mr. Sudbin and the Orchestra recorded the concertos at Minneapolis ’ Orchestra Hall in sessions during January 2009 and June 2010. The BIS team, led by producer Rob Suff, recorded the album as a Super Audio CD (SACD), using surround sound recording technology to reproduce the sound of the concert hall as faithfully as possible. BIS Hybrid SACDs are playable on all standard CD players.

Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra have earned high praise for their prior recording projects together, including a five-disc Beethoven symphony cycle with BIS that The New York Times wrote “may be the definitive [cycle] of our time”; the recordings earned honors including a Grammy nomination for the Ninth Symphony CD and a Classic FM Gramophone Award nomination for the disc of the Second and Seventh. In addition to the Beethoven piano concertos project, the Orchestra will record the complete Sibelius symphonies for BIS , beginning in June 2011.

The Minnesota Orchestra, founded as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, issued its first recording in 1924, and has since recorded more than 450 works.

Opera and Vocal Releases Featuring Netrebko, DiDonato, Jaroussky, and Mattila Highlight EMI Classics and Virgin Classics December Releases

As music lovers enter the final lap of their holiday shopping marathon, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics offer some high-profile releases that are perfect recommendations for last minute gifts. Opera and vocal enthusiasts have multiple offerings to choose from, including an all-star performance of Rossini’s Stabat Mater conducted by Antonio Pappano and featuring Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee, and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo on EMI Classics; French superstar countertenor Philippe Jaroussky singing opera arias by Antonio Caldara on Virgin Classics; and Luc Bondy’s controversial season-opening production from 2009-10 of Puccini’s Tosca from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, with Finnish soprano Karita Mattila in the title role, also on Virgin Classics. Other highlights this month include Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang playing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, and The Very Best of Nigel Kennedy, both on EMI Classics.

San Francisco Opera to Present Heart of a Soldier World Premiere September 10, 2011

A true story of military combat, love, friendship and heroism culminating with the devastating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center

San Francisco Opera today announced details of Heart of a Soldier, a new opera by composer Christopher Theofanidis with a libretto by Donna DiNovelli, starring baritone Thomas Hampson, tenor William Burden and soprano Melody Moore. Commissioned by San Francisco Opera, Heart of a Soldier is based on the critically acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart and the life stories of Susan Rescorla, Rick Rescorla and Daniel J. Hill. The announcement was made at a press conference by San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley and members of the opera’s creative team, including Christopher Theofanidis, Donna DiNovelli, Patrick Summers, Francesca Zambello, James B. Stewart and Susan Rescorla.

Heart of a Soldier will premiere on Saturday, September 10, 2011—the eve of the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks—as part of the Company’s 2011–12 repertory season. Six additional performances will be presented through September 30 at the historic War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Opera Artistic Adviser Francesca Zambello will direct this world premiere production and San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers will lead the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The production team includes set designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Jess Goldstein, lighting designer Mark McCullough, projection designer S. Katy Tucker, movement director Rick Sordelet and company chorus director Ian Robertson.

Gil Shaham's concerto engagements include Mozart, Bartók and Walton

Gil Shaham’s Concerto Engagements Include Mozart with San Francisco Symphony and Tilson Thomas This Winter

Gil Shaham’s winter line-up – featuring high-profile orchestral collaborations, intimate solo recitals, and repertoire ranging from the time-honored to the 20th-century – typifies the versatility and dedication that help make him “one of the era’s star fiddlers” (Los Angeles Times). Four dates playing Mozart’s Fifth (“Turkish”) Concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony headline Shaham’s winter season (Dec 8-11). In the New Year, he also resumes two longterm projects: his all-Bach solo recitals, and his exploration of the “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” with upcoming performances of Bartók’s Second at the Seattle Symphony and Walton’s Concerto with orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, “Turkish” – the last concerto the composer would write for the instrument – is a favorite of Shaham’s. In October, he performed it for his conductorless engagement with the Chicago Symphony, directing from the violin and delighting the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein with “the combination of sweet, soaring tone, stylish phrasing, and ebullient vigor one has long associated with his playing.” Likewise, after Shaham’s account of the concerto at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival in August, the New York Times’s Allan Kozinn observed:

“Mr. Shaham’s playing was both sweet-toned and trim, every phrase crisply articulated and, in the first two movements, thoughtfully shaped. In the finale,…the demand is for zest rather than thoughtfulness, and Mr. Shaham gave it all the vigor it wants with no sacrifice in clarity or shape. His choice of cadenzas – he played Joseph Joachim’s – suited the subtle virtuosity of his approach to the work as a whole.”

Now Shaham reprises the work for four dates (Dec 8-11) with the San Francisco Symphony and its Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, with whom his recent Carnegie Hall collaboration was deemed “absolutely electrifying” (San Francisco Chronicle). Complementing the concerto are two 20th-century American works – John Adams’s Harmonielehre and Henry Cowell’s Synchrony – that round out the program.

The ongoing “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project was conceived when, as David Mermelstein describes in the Los Angeles Times, “Shaham began musing about his favorite 20th-century violin concertos at the turn of the millennium. He found to his surprise that most were written in the 1930s.” As Barbara Jepson reports in a Wall Street Journal feature,

“In the 1930s, horrific developments in Europe ultimately swept more than 50 countries into the most destructive global conflict ever known. Coincidentally during that decade, at least 14 significant composers wrote violin concertos, many for the first time.”

Although, as Shaham admits, he initially undertook the project as an excuse to play his favorite music, he points out that “there’s something about a great work of music that’s like a sculpture. It doesn’t matter which angle you choose to look at – you can learn from it.”

William Walton’s Concerto (1938-39), which the violinist confesses wanting to revisit “again and again and again,” features prominently in his winter programming. For three dates (Feb 3, 5, & 6, 2011), Shaham takes the concerto to the Houston Symphony and Hans Graf. Later that month (Feb 23-25), Shaham makes three appearances playing Walton with Zurich’s Tonhalle-Orchester under David Zinman, with whom the violinist’s countless collaborations have included recording Elgar’s Violin Concerto, and two more with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony (March 11 & 12).

Shaham’s recording of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto (1937-38) with Boulez and the Chicago Symphony was greeted by Time magazine’s Terry Teachout as a “soaring interpretation, at once fiery and nobly lyrical,…a near perfect realization of a modern masterpiece”; Teachout went on to style him “the outstanding American violinist of his generation.” Now Shaham returns to the verbunkos-style work with the Seattle Symphony and Gerard Schwarz, who celebrates his 26th and final season there as Music Director (Jan 5-8).

Shaham also resumes his all-Bach solo recital project in the New Year, with performances in Genoa (Feb 21) and Baltimore (March 20). As he explains,

“Playing solo Bach is a long-term project for me. …It’s an incredible thing for me to spend an hour alone with my violin and Bach’s music. When I practice it I give myself an hour, but when the time is up I immediately want to continue my work, adding 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes – it’s very hard to stop.”
His efforts haven’t been in vain; when Shaham played Bach’s Unaccompanied Sonata No. 2 in the Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers” series, he impressed the New York Times’s Steve Smith with his “understated solemnity in the opening movement [that] set the stage for a powerful, lucid account of the astonishing fugue that followed. The dancing Andante came as a sigh of relief.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Upcoming NYC and NJ CD Release Concerts for the Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble

"A little bluegrass, a little rock-n-roll, a little scat, a turn at tango. How does "Galactic Diamonds" offer such a genre-bending sound? - try the diversity of the players” - Aural States

The Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble (www.SteveHudsonMusic.com), led by composer Steve Hudson - piano/melodica, and featuring Zach Brock – violin, Jody Redhage - cello/voice, and Martin Urbach - cajon/percussion, plays two CD release events for their newly released album “Galactic Diamonds” – on Saturday, December 18th, 7:30pm, at Mo Fiddles (www.mofiddles.com), 4260 Town Center Way, Livingston, NJ (Admission is $15, (973) 994-1083 for more information) and on Sunday, December 19th from 7:30-9:30 pm, at Miles Café (www.milescafe.com), 212 E. 52nd St. 3Fl. (b/2nd & 3rd Ave. - E/V train to 53rd St./Lexington, 6 train to 51st St.), New York, NY ($10 admission with $10 drink/food minimum).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

James Conlon Honored by USC and Wagner Society of So. California

James Conlon, LA Opera’s Music Director, was honored with two awards in Los Angeles over the weekend. On Friday, December 10, the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music presented Mr. Conlon with the prestigious Thornton Legacy Award at the 24th Annual Charles Dickens Dinner, a black-tie fundraising gala for the school held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The award recognizes Mr. Conlon’s outstanding career and deep commitment to fostering the next generation of musical artists. The Thornton School of Music also inaugurated the Maestro James Conlon Music Scholarship, awarded to student Marina Harris, a mezzo-soprano. Founded in 1884, the Thornton School of Music is the oldest continuously operating cultural institution in Southern California and one of the oldest music schools in the country.

On Sunday, December 12, after conducting LA Opera’s final performance of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, James Conlon was presented with the inaugural Sherwin Sloan Tribute Award by the Wagner Society of Southern California at a gala dinner ceremony held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The award is named in honor of the beloved founding chairman of the Wagner Society of Southern California, who died earlier this year. Mr. Conlon was also bestowed with an honorary membership in the Society, marking his third such honorary membership; he is also an honorary member of the Wagner societies of Cologne and Paris . In his five seasons with LA Opera, Mr. Conlon has conducted seven different Wagner operas, including the Company’s first Ring cycles.

Ariama.com Announces Partnership Agreements with Key Classical Institutions

Carnegie Hall, London Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, WQXR, and WFMT Join Current Site Partners Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine

Ariama.com, the groundbreaking new online classical music store from Sony Music Entertainment, today announces that it is joining forces with a number of leading names in classical music performance and radio to improve the ways classical listeners in the US can discover and purchase music on the web.

Carnegie Hall, the nation’s foremost presenter of classical music, London Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, leaders on the global and national stages, as well as both Classical 105.9 WQXR in New York and WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network, two of the pre-eminent names in classical broadcasting, will curate and promote special programming and features on Ariama.com. Through a series of strategic partnerships with Ariama, they will each have their own dedicated areas within Ariama.com to spotlight artists, recommend performances and highlight music from on-air programming. In addition, Ariama will serve as a sponsor of programs and features with each partner.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Carnegie Hall, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, WQXR and WFMT to develop unique editorial features and recommendations for Ariama users built around the very best in classical music performance and programming,” said Leslie Cohen, Senior Vice President, New Products and Services, Global Digital Business, Sony Music Entertainment. “Ariama’s relationships with these venerable institutions further demonstrates its leadership in offering powerful discovery tools designed to meet the specific needs of classical music consumers.”

Ariama‘s collaborations with these new partners will include the following initiatives:

Carnegie Hall: Ariama.com will feature recommended recordings of upcoming Carnegie Hall performers, spotlights on Carnegie presentations, and interviews with artists playing on its stages. Carnegie Hall will offer its audiences discounts and special deals from Ariama.com.

London Symphony Orchestra (LSO): London Symphony Orchestra performances and presentations will be profiled on Ariama.com. LSOLive.com will offer buy links for the Orchestra’s recordings through Ariama.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: Ariama will feature recommendations from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and his Atlanta School of Composers – Mr. Spano’s commitment to nurturing and championing music defining a new generation of American composers. The collective includes Jennifer Higdon, Michael Gandolfi, Osvaldo Golijov, Christopher Theofanidis, and Adam Schoenberg – as well as releases from ASO Media, the Orchestra’s new recording label, which launches in February 2011.

WQXR: Popular WQXR programming elements, including its “Album of the Week” feature, selections from on-air playlists, and music picks from on-air hosts will be highlighted on Ariama.com. WQXR.org will offer buy links for featured music through Ariama.

WFMT: WFMT-FM in Chicago will have its own programming highlights page within Ariama.com. Ariama also will sponsor WFMT’s pledge drive and the Network's Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin, which is heard in over 200 markets throughout the country.

“Carnegie Hall is excited to partner with Ariama,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. ”We believe it will provide an excellent forum to connect music lovers with artists, in ways that complement Carnegie Hall performances and deepen people’s engagement with great music.”

"We are pleased to be partnering with Ariama.com to offer classical music lovers a new way to connect and engage with all the great musical experiences, composers, and artists associated with our Orchestra," said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Stanley E. Romanstein, Ph.D. "We are proud to continue sharing the music of our Atlanta School of Composers, especially now with the launch of our new label, ASO Media. We are confident our fans, both new and steadfast, will find Ariama a great resource and asset to the classical music community."

“For almost 75 years, WQXR has been introducing generations of New Yorkers to classical music through hallmark recordings, live presentations, and engaging hosts” said Graham Parker, Vice President, WQXR. “We are delighted that Ariama will provide our listeners with a one-stop source for the recordings that we feature on-air and online. Creating greater access to these works will enrich the experience of both new listeners and seasoned fans, and extend the service public radio provides to the classical music genre.”

“WFMT and the Network strive to provide the best and broadest selection of classical music and fine arts programming heard in the country,” says WFMT’s Executive Vice President Steve Robinson. “Ariama’s unique retail platform is a perfect complement to WFMT’s broadcast offerings and a natural partner for us.”

Looking Ahead January at the Royal Festival Hall

The Mahler anniversary celebrations continue with performances of his Fifth and Sixth symphonies and Vladimir Jurowski conducts Das klagende Lied with soloists including Christianne Stotijn and Christopher Purves. Our Principal Guest Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin makes his season début with two concerts - the second of which includes Fauré's well-loved Requiem with soloists Sally Matthews and Gerald Finley.

Click here for full details for our concerts in January and beyond

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

Saturday 22 January 2011
Franck Symphony in D minor
Fauré Requiem
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor
Sally Matthews soprano
Gerald Finley baritone
London Philharmonic Choir

Wednesday 26 January 2011
Peter Eötvös Shadows (UK première of the orchestral version)
Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2
Zemlinsky Lyric Symphony
Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Alexander Markovich piano
Melanie Diener soprano
Thomas Hampson baritone

Saturday 29 January 2011
Ligeti Lontano
Bartók Violin Concerto No. 1
Mahler Das klagende Lied (original version)
Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Barnabas Kelemen violin
Melanie Diener soprano
Christianne Stotijn mezzo soprano
Michael König tenor
Christopher Purves baritone
London Philharmonic Choir

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

41 Original Songs Queue for 2010 Oscar

Beverly Hills, CA – Forty-one songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 83rd Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today. The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by film and song title:

  • "Alice" from "Alice in Wonderland"
  • "Forever One Love" from "Black Tulip"
  • "Freedom Song" from "Black Tulip"
  • "Bound to You" from "Burlesque"
  • "Welcome to Burlesque" from "Burlesque"
  • "You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque"
  • "There’s a Place for Us" from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"
  • "Coming Home" from "Country Strong"
  • "Me and Tennessee" from "Country Strong"
  • "Despicable Me" from "Despicable Me"
  • "Prettiest Girls" from "Despicable Me"
  • "Dear Laughing Doubters" from "Dinner for Schmucks"
  • "Better Days" from "Eat Pray Love"
  • "If You Run" from "Going the Distance"
  • "Darkness before the Dawn" from "Holy Rollers"
  • "Sticks & Stones" from "How to Train Your Dragon"
  • "Le Gris" from "Idiots and Angels"
  • "Chanson Illusionist" from "The Illusionist"
  • "Never Say Never" from "The Karate Kid"
  • "To the Sky" from "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole"
  • "What If" from "Letters to Juliet"
  • "Life during Wartime" from "Life during Wartime"
  • "Made in Dagenham" from "Made in Dagenham"
  • "Little One" from "Mother and Child"
  • "Be the One" from "The Next Three Days"
  • "If I Rise" from "127 Hours"
  • "When You See Forever" from "The Perfect Game"
  • "I Remain" from "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"
  • "Dream Big" from "Pure Country 2: The Gift"
  • "How I Love You" from "Ramona and Beezus"
  • "Darling I Do" from "Shrek Forever After"
  • "Noka Oi" from "Six Days in Paradise"
  • "This Is a Low" from "Tamara Drewe"
  • "I See the Light" from "Tangled"
  • "Rise" from "3 Billion and Counting"
  • "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"
  • "Eclipse: All Yours" from "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
  • "Nothing" from "Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too"
  • "A Better Life" from "Unbeaten"
  • "Shine" from "Waiting for ‘Superman’"
  • "The Reasons Why" from "Wretches & Jabberers"

On Thursday, January 6, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees. A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. A mail-in ballot will be provided.

Under Academy rules, a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.

To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Joshua Bell Performs Tchaikovsky at 2010 Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm, and Mendelssohn in Paris

Both Available at www.medici.tv

World-renowned American violinist Joshua Bell performed Tchaikovsky’s unabashedly romantic Violin Concerto in D at the annual Nobel Prize Concert, held on December 8 at the Stockholm Konzerthuset. That concert was recorded live and will be available for free streaming beginning Friday, December 10 at www.medici.tv. Sakari Oramo conducts the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in a program that features Sibelius’s craggy, majestic Symphony No. 5. The 2010 Nobel Prize Concert will also be available for 60 days of free streaming-on-demand at www.medici.tv.

Soon after, Bell will be featured on another program at www.medici.tv, once again playing a great masterpiece for violin and orchestra. The concert on December 17 from the Cité de la Musique in Paris will be webcast live (and available soon after for video-on-demand streaming) and features Bell performing Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 – complete with Bell’s own cadenza, written for the occasion – with Vladimir Jurowski conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The program, which also presents a waltz by Glinka and Schubert’s Third Symphony, can also be watched at the website citedelamusiquelive.tv.

Thomas Hampson Continues Mahler Odyssey with New Recording and Performances with Alan Gilbert at New York Philharmonic

Thomas Hampson’s decades-long championing of the music of Gustav Mahler reaches new heights in the coming weeks with the release of his new recording with the Wiener Virtuosen of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn on Deutsche Grammophon (Dec 21). Music-lovers worldwide will have the chance to preview the new release when it is available for streaming in its entirety as part of NPR Music’s popular “First Listen” series (Dec 13-21, at www.npr.org/series/98679384/first-listen). Soon after, Hampson heads to New York to sing the composer’s Kindertotenlieder in three concerts with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Alan Gilbert (Jan 6-8). While in New York, Hampson will perform and discuss songs by Mahler – as well as music by Schubert, Schumann, and some American composers – in a front of a live studio audience at the the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR (Jan 10). This will be broadcast live at 7pm on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR and www.wqxr.org and available as a live video webcast at www.thegreenespace.org. The music of Gustav Mahler, who was born 150 years ago and died a century ago next May, is the centerpiece of Hampson’s 2010-11 season, when the baritone will perform Mahler’s music in 50 recital and concert programs with the world’s greatest orchestras and leading conductors. A film crew has been following Hampson throughout his Mahler odyssey, preparing a documentary about Mahler’s life and music that will be broadcast this spring in Europe.

The shortlist is in for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011

Videos From 336 Finalists from 46 Countries Are Posted on www.YouTube.com/Symphony

Let the voting begin . . . YouTube™ invites the public to choose their favorite audition videos of musicians hoping to perform in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011. Now, with 336 finalists selected from Finland to New Zealand, Austria to Vietnam, it's time for YouTube users to cast their votes for those they think should play in the online collaborative orchestra's March concerts at Australia's famous Sydney Opera House.

During the next five days, the YouTube community is invited to go to youtube.com/symphony and help decide which of these talented musicians will be packing up their trombones, violas, timpani or other instruments to head for the Sydney Opera House on March 14-20, 2011 to perform in concerts that will have a global audience.

YouTube users, who can vote once per video, once a day until 23:59 EST on December 17, will help conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra's artistic director, to cull the 300+ shortlist hopefuls down to a final list of 96 musicians who will play in the Sydney concerts. The YouTube community’s votes are also needed to help choose four solo improvisers. Mason Bates, composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, wrote Mothership especially for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011.

Blown away by all the talent and determination manifested in the audition videos, YouTube congratulates all the musicians still in the running, as well as everyone who submitted an audition. More than 25 million people have now visited the YouTube Symphony Orchestra channel, which provides a platform for musicians of all ages to flourish, to share their creativity, and to broadcast themselves.

Bridge of Waves by W.A. Matheiu a Journey to Re-Discover Music

A book for anyone who listens to music

Bridge of Waves is the latest book by W.A. Matheiu, written by a musician for anyone who listens. It is a journey in re-discovering music and the effects music has on us as humans.

While there are numerous books on the topic, ranging from everything about how the synapses of the brain fire while listening to music to the psychological responses of patients undergoing music therapy, Bridge of Waves is more a journey along the lines of Illusions by Richard Bach. Bridge of Waves isn't a story, but it does take the reader on a journey, exploring what music is and the effect it has on the world.

As an educated musician there are parts of the book where Matheiu is explaining the physics of music in laymen terms. Still, the way he describes them and the little exercises he has the reader explore are eye opening, as if looking out the window in your home and seeing the vista in a whole new light.

It's not a quick read, even though the language is easy to understand and the concepts are presented in such an intuitive way as if the writer and reader were walking on a beach rather than climbing a mountain. The stroll through the pages are delightful and illuminating coming to the conclusions for each chapter in surprising yet wholly obvious ways.

I found myself re-reading sections to re-explore elements of the music within the book. It is rather like listening to your favorite song (or symphony) and discovering new nuances you'd never heard before.

This book is for anyone who listens to music, to gain an appreciation for how very integral music is to our world, how it shapes not only how we think but how we perceive the world around us - how it is the world around us.

Composer Lisa Bielawa's Chance Encounter Available

On Tuesday, December 14, 2010, Orange Mountain Music releasef composer Lisa Bielawa’s Chance Encounter, featuring acclaimed soprano Susan Narucki and The Knights chamber orchestra, and produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Adam Abeshouse.

Chance Encounter comprises songs and arias constructed of speech overheard by Bielawa and Narucki in transient public spaces. These spaces included airports around the world, sidewalks and streets, parks and cafes, and public transportation. The 35-minute piece is written for Narucki and a migrating ensemble of 12 instruments, and is meant to be performed in a public place. A project of Creative Capital, Chance Encounter has captivated audiences in Manhattan parks, at New York's Whitney Museum, outside the Zaha Hadid-designed MAXXI museum in Rome, on the banks of the Tiber River, in Vancouver, and at the Venice Architectural Biennale.

Bielawa explains, “In 2006, I began carrying a notebook with me everywhere, jotting down utterances that begged to be proclaimed, sung. I noticed over time that people often say things in transient spaces that help them locate themselves in space and time. Susan and I collected hundreds of such utterances, many of them in Lower Manhattan where the piece was premiered. I have organized the text into categories – Topos Nostalgia; Drama/Self-Pity; Nothing; Aimlessness Song – and have created free-form arias or songs that animate the particular mood of each collective topic.”

Here is a video:

Soloists from the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform at London's Wigmore Hall, Dec 20th

On Monday 20 December a merry band of musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, along with Julian Rowlands on bandoneón, will play chamber works by Debussy, Bax, Vaughan Williams, Puccini and Piazzolla in the glorious acoustics of London's Wigmore Hall - just the tonic after a busy day Christmas shopping or in the office!

Book Now! Tickets £12 - £26
London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office 020 7840 4242 (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm)
Wigmore Hall Box Office 020 7935 2141 (Daily, 10am-5pm)

Sir Mark Elder Conducts Elgar with the London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder's Elgar

30 January, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

The London Symphony Orchestra will perform Elgar’s oratorio The Kingdom with Sir Mark Elder on 30 January in the Barbican Hall. They are joined by soloists Cheryl Barker, Sarah Connolly, Stuart Skelton and Iain Paterson and the London Symphony Chorus. Mark Elder is widely-regarded as one of our great Elgar conductors.

Decca Releases All-New Recording of Mitsuko Uchida Performing Schumann

Uchida is, simply, Uchida – an elegant, deeply musical interpreter who strikes an inspired balance of head and heart in everything she plays – Chicago Tribune

More than fifteen years since her last recording of works by Schumann, Dame Mitsuko Uchida returns to the composer for her all-new recording, to be released on Decca on January 11, 2011. The recording, in a deluxe package prestige edition, features Davidsbündlertänze op.6 and Fantasie in C major, op.17 as well as a bonus disc of Uchida speaking with James Jolly about Schumann and demonstrating on the piano.

Mitsuko Uchida’s last recording of Schumann (on Philips and featuring Carnaval and Kreisleriana) was released just over 15 years ago and went on to receive considerable critical and popular acclaim. Returning to Schumann once again, Uchida records both works for the first time. Written after Schumann was reconnected with his beloved, Clara – whose father determined she should never marry him – the Davidsbündlertänze are at once an outpouring of Schumann’s feelings for her and a struggle between the two sides of the composer’s own musical nature. Fantasie is a deeply introspective soliloquy, beautifully reflected through the emotional complexity of Mitsuko Uchida's pianism.

Baltimore Symphony Musicians provide Holiday Serenade and Toys for Children at Kennedy Krieger Institute

On Wednesday, December 15 at 10:30 a.m., the Kennedy Krieger Institute—a nationally renowned children’s rehabilitation hospital—will be visited by Santa and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians and receive hundreds of toys generously donated by the musicians of the BSO. Now in its fifth year, the BSO Toy Drive is one of the highlights of the holiday season for the patients and staff of the Institute. As in past years, a chamber brass ensemble will serenade those in attendance with holiday music. At about 10:45 a.m., an oboe-playing Santa will make his appearance accompanied by a selection of the hundreds of toys that have been collected. After the musicians leave, all remaining toys will be left at Kennedy Krieger so future patients can enjoy the donation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TWO FOR ONE PRICING on premium seating at Too Hot To Handel!*

For twelve consecutive seasons Colorado crowds have smiled, cheered, and danced in the aisles to this R&B, jazz, and gospel reworking of Handel's Messiah. Sold-out audiences are still swinging to Too Hot To Handel. Come experience what everyone is still talking about.

Too Hot To Handel
12/17 - 7:30 p.m.
12/18 - 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor laureate
Cynthia Reneé Saffron, soprano
Vaneese Thomas, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Young, tenor
Clifford Carter, piano
Bob Christianson, organ
Clint De Ganon, drums
Colorado Symphony Chorus / Duain Wolfe, director

Tickets for Too Hot to Handel and our Holiday Series are available online at www.coloradosymphony.org or call the box office at 303.623.7876.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Colorful Christmas Concert in Colorado

Colorado Symphony Performs their 27th Colorado Christmas to a Greatful Crowd

This was not your typical stuffy orchestral concert of classical music, where the audience sat in silence with the musicians playing some masterpiece technically perfect with polite applause at the end. No, there was singing and dancing, standing ovations, audience participation and copious amounts of laughter throughout the hall. This was a typical Colorado Christmas, one of joy and holiday spirit.

Scott O'Neil conducted the concert with his flair for connecting with the audience. The Colorado Symphony is extremely fortunate to have such a talent, effusive associate conductor. It's one thing to conduct a concert of diverse pieces ranging from traditional Christmas favorite like "Joy to the World" or variations of the classics like Ellington's swing rendition of "Sugar Rum Cherry" as well as classic pieces from Handel to Vaughn-Williams. But O'Neil's real talent lies in his warm personality that radiated Christmas cheer and infected the entire concert hall, from performers to audience members.

The best moment of the concert was a new piece written, Chorale on a Medieval Melody" by Colorado Symphony's own Principal Timpanist William Hill. The ethereal opening with a Celtic violin solo performed by Claude Sim set the mood for mediation about peace. The Colorado Symphony Chorus joined in to create a sense of contemplation and reflection. I sincerely hope Colorado Symphony keeps this piece as a regular part of their Christmas concert.

Kim Robards Dance provided a dancers for selections from The Nutcracker as well as adding visual color to pieces throughout the night. Christie Hagelman's sweet, lyrical voice added warmth and affection to Flaherty's "Once Upon a December" and Berlin's "White Christmas." Colorado Children's Chorale rounded out the performance with singing (and dancing) in "My Dancing Day, On Christmas Night." Add to all this lighting effects you typically don't get in a classical music concert, audience sing-along sections and a general feeling of festive holiday cheer and you come pretty close to getting a glimpse at the what the Colorado Symphony's Colorado Christmas concert was like.

Colorado Christmas is one of the Family Series of concerts by the Colorado Symphony and a tradition here in Colorado from the past 27 years, one that only seems to grow stronger each year. If you haven't ever been, there is still one more performance on Sunday Afternoon (Dec 12th) at 2:30. Start your own tradition catching the spirit of the season with the Colorado Symphony.

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein first album on Sony Classical due out Jan 1

“an utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation” – The New York Times

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein will release her first album on Sony Classical, Bach: A Strange Beauty, in January 2011. The new release, which is Dinnerstein’s first orchestral disc, sees the pianist return to Bach, this time combining three transcriptions of his Chorale Preludes with one of his English Suites and two of his Keyboard Concerti.

Interchanging Idioms reviewed her concert in Denver of the Bach Goldberg Variations:

"held the audience enwrapt for nearly an hour and a half, working her way meticulously through the 32 variations originally published in 1741. Her grace and fluidity throughout the program were ever present, but it was her mastery of shifts in style and interpretation that really held the audience captive.

Simone Dinnerstein’s special affinity to the music of Bach was cemented when her self-funded recording of his Goldberg Variations took the US Billboard charts by storm upon its release in 2007. Dinnerstein’s unique playing garnered impressive reviews. The New York Times chose the disc as one of the best of 2007, and reported it “An utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation.”

Her intense and expressive style as well as her individual approach to Bach’s music is also revealed in her debut on Sony Classical. The mixed program offers a range of sonorities and textures – the solo piano, piano with orchestra, the piano mimicking other instruments, and even the piano evoking a soloist with orchestra, as it does during the English Suite.

The title Dinnerstein has chosen for her album comes from a quote from the writer and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon about beauty: “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” She feels this exemplifies the way she experiences Bach’s music. Seemingly built around patterns, symmetry and logic, Bach’s music upon further exploration deviates constantly from the expected patterns, altering the rhythmic stress and creating something mysterious and unexpected.

Dinnerstein also draws parallels between the magical peculiarity in Bach’s music to the visual arts, and in particular realist painting. She says, “ ‘Strangeness in some proportion’ is what I like in all of the arts. My father is an artist and I grew up discussing this with him as it applies to the fine arts. I prefer Van Eyck’s mystical realism to Gerard David’s cold perfection. This certainly affects the way I want to play the piano. I have no interest in neatness and regularity as ends in themselves. I want to be able to create the effect of speech as much as possible, with all of its irregularities and minute fluctuations.”

For her first orchestral recording Simone is joined by members of one of Berlin’s most venerable institutions – Kammerorchester Staatskapelle Berlin, with Stephan Mai as concertmaster. Grammy-Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse, who produced Dinnerstein’s Goldberg Variations disc and her follow-up album The Berlin Concert, returns to recapture her distinctive sound on Bach: A Strange Beauty.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Valery Gergiev explores Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra

LSO Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev explores Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with the Orchestra from 18 & 23 January 2011 with performances of the First Symphony ‘Winter Daydreams’, performed alongside Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 2, with soloist Sergey Khachatryan. Gergiev will return to conduct the Second Symphony ‘Little Russian’ on 23 & 24 March, alongside Shchedrin’s Lithuanian Saga and Shostkovich’s Violin Concerto No 1 with Leonidas Kavakos. On 12 & 15 May, pianist Yefim Bronfman joins Gergiev and the LSO to perform the Shostakovich Concerto for Trumpet, Piano and Strings, and the composer’s Second Piano Concerto. Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony ‘Polish’ completes the programme. Gergiev will continue his survey of Tchaikovsky Symphonies in the Orchestra’s 2011/12 season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sony Classical releases Black Swan score by Clint Mansell

Sony Classical is pleased to announce the release of the original motion picture soundtrack of Black Swan, featuring an original score by Clint Mansell. Black Swan opened December 1 in the U.S., and is one of the most highly anticipated films of the fall.

Black Swan, a psychological thriller by visionary director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) is set in the world of New York City ballet. The film opened the 2010 Venice Film Festival, was part of the Official Selection of the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, was closing night of the 2010 AFI Film Festival and is receiving rave reviews in addition to four 2011 Independent Spirit Award nominations.

The score for Black Swan is by frequent Aronofsky collaborator Clint Mansell (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) and contains extracts of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Challenged when creating this score, Mansell mused, “How do you expose something new and exhilarating, born out of the original work, that can then support and enhance a totally new story that also has its roots in the original?” The result is a haunting and ephemeral musical experience.

Mansell won a BMI Film Music Award in 2006 for Sahara, was nominated for a 2007 Golden Globe® for Best Original Score and won a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for The Fountain.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Available From Sony Classical

Original Score Composed By Grammy Award Winner David Arnold

Return to the magic and wonder of C.S. Lewis' beloved world via the fantastic Narnian ship, the Dawn Treader. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is composed by Grammy® Award winner David Arnold (Independence Day, Casino Royale) is available from Sony Classical. The film arrives in theaters everywhere on December 10.

Arnold’s score follows the hugely successful soundtracks from the two previous entries in The Chronicles of Narnia motion picture franchise: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Incorporated in Arnold’s stirring new score are the beloved themes from the earlier films composed by Harry Gregson-Williams.

David Arnold has scored numerous films and is best known for composing the music for five James Bond films: Casino Royale, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day and Quantum of Solace. Arnold won a Grammy® for his score to Independence Day and was Grammy®-nominated for the Casino Royale theme song, “You Know My Name.” He also maintains a career as a successful record producer and song writer, having worked with a wide range of artists including Pulp, Iggy Pop, Garbage, Massive Attack, Natasha Bedingfield, George Michael and Damien Rice.

Jane Krakowski and Melinda Doolittle Join Keith Lockhart and the Botson Pops for the 27th Annual "A Company Christmas at Pops" - Dec 15th

On Wednesday, December 15, at 8 p.m., Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart will lead the 27th annual “A Company Christmas at Pops,” one of the BSO’s most important annual fundraising events. Tony award-winner Jane Krakowski of NBC’s “30 Rock” will headline the concert, which will also feature “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle on the first half of the program.
(Photo Credit: Michael Lutch)
This year’s holiday fundraiser has already raised more than its $900,000 goal to benefit the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, and represents support from nearly 100 New England companies. William F. Achtmeyer of The Parthenon Group and Richard F. Connolly, Jr., of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney are co-chairs of this event. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a festive pre-concert reception, followed by a gourmet boxed dinner and the concert in the hall. “A Company Christmas at Pops” is part of the Holiday Pops season, which takes place December 8-December 26, at Symphony Hall.

“A Company Christmas at Pops” is a unique holiday gala that celebrates the extraordinary partnership between the corporate community and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since its inception in 1984, “A Company Christmas at Pops,” an annual holiday tradition for area business leaders and their guests, has raised nearly $19 million for the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras. The revenue raised through this event helps support the BSO’s Youth and Community Outreach programs throughout the year.

Building on a beloved 27-year tradition, 200 youngsters from children’s service organizations throughout greater Boston will be invited as special guests to this year’s event. Children’s service organizations participating this year include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Blue Scholars, Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, Camp Harbor View, Catholic Charities, The Home for Little Wanderers, Inner-City Catholic Schools, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps, and Tenacity. The “A Company Christmas at Pops” Children’s Program will take place at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Children will enjoy dinner, visits from Santa and costumed characters, and goodie bags provided by a variety of in-kind donors. Silver Fox Motorcoaches will provide buses to transport the children from the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel to Symphony Hall.

Bravo! Festival Awarded Education Grant for 2011 Season

Bravo Receives National Endowment for the Arts, Access to Artistic Excellence Award

The Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival was awarded $12,500 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with a 2011 grant award: Access to Artistic Excellence.

The grant will support Bravo's 2011 efforts to expand and diversify music opportunities and education programs including community outreach concerts, open rehearsals, public workshops, the Young Professionals-in-Residence, and the Music Matters education programs. This is Bravo's eighth year as a recipient of an award from the NEA. "We are honored to receive this level of recognition and support from the NEA," says John Giovando, executive director of the Bravo Festival. "This grant is an investment in Bravo and the Vail Valley as the funds will support our mission to foster family and community unity through increasing awareness and appreciation for classical music and the arts."

A total of four Colorado Festivals were awarded this national grant including the Aspen Music Festival, Greeley Jazz Festival, and the National Repertory Orchestra.

The NEA, established in 1965, supports artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. It is the largest annual funder of the arts in the United States.

Celebrating 24 seasons June 26 through August 3, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival presents the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and Big Music for Little Bands, under the direction of newly appointed artistic director and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Decca re-signs exclusive recording contract with Riccardo Chailly

Decca Classics is proud to announce the renewal of its longstanding exclusive recording contract with the great Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly.

Projects under discussion in the new five-year agreement include a new cycle of Brahms symphonies to be toured throughout Europe in 2013, the Konzertmusik by Hindemith and the Verdi Requiem. Decca has also signed a new agreement with the Gewandhausorchester where Chailly has been Kapellmeister since 2005.

Paul Moseley, General Manager of Decca Classics, said: “Maestro Chailly has been an important part of the Decca family for a very long time but renewing with him is genuinely rejuvenating for all of us. Every project he takes on is re-conceived from first principles and his partnership with the great Leipzig orchestra is recognized worldwide as simply electrifying. We can’t wait for his Beethoven cycle and realizing our other new plans together over the coming years.”

Riccardo Chailly said: “Over nearly 30 years together I always felt Decca was ready to follow me not only in the core repertoire but with new adventures and risks. Our new contract will see a happy continuation of this philosophy.”

2011 will see the release of a major new cycle of all nine Beethoven symphonies to coincide with the Gewandhaus’ European tour in Autumn 2011, which will see the complete symphony cycle performed in Leipzig, Vienna, Paris and London.

Minnesota Orchestra Announces 2011-12 Classical Season Plans

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra today unveiled plans for their ninth season together—the final season at Orchestra Hall before the venue’s $45 million renovation takes place. Highlights of the season include a two-week “Bravo Brahms” series spotlighting an array of the composer’s symphonies, concertos and choral works; performances of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel marking the centennial of the Orchestra’s Young People’s Concert series; appearances by acclaimed guest soloists including violinists Midori and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianists Stephen Hough and Peter Serkin and soprano Deborah Voigt; a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall and a five-city Florida tour; a recording of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 with soloist Yevgeny Sudbin; and the launch of the Common Chords outreach project including week-long festivals in Grand Rapids and Willmar, Minnesota. In addition, the Orchestra is now announcing a major multi-year initiative to record the complete Sibelius symphonies, which will begin in June 2011 and continue in May 2012.

Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra will launch the ensemble’s 109th season on Thursday, September 29, 2011, with a jazz-themed program that includes Ravel’s Boléro and the premiere of the Paulus work –the latter featuring the composer’s son, professional trumpet player Greg Paulus, as a member of the jazz group. Mr. Vänskä will lead 12 subscription programs, concluding with June 2012 performances of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony and Strauss’ Final Scene from Salome performed with soprano Deborah Voigt. In addition, Mr. Vänskä will conduct a gala program on June 14 and 15, 2012, celebrating highlights of Orchestra Hall’s history and marking the final performances in the Hall before it closes for renovation.

In May 2012, Mr. Vänskä, the Orchestra and Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin will record Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 for the Swedish-based label BIS , which will be released in a future season as part of a series that includes all five Beethoven piano concertos. At the same sessions, the Orchestra will record Sibelius’ First and Fourth Symphonies, also for BIS . The complete cycle of the seven Sibelius symphonies will be recorded by 2015, marking the sesquicentennial of the composer’s birth.

On October 27, 2011, Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra, accompanied by pianist Stephen Hough, will perform a concert at New York ’s Carnegie Hall; the same program will be reprised at Orchestra Hall on November 1, 2011. In March 2012 the Orchestra, Mr. Vänskä and violinist Midori will undertake a five-city Florida tour—performing works of Brahms, Sibelius and Beethoven in Sarasota, Fort Meyers, West Palm Beach and Miami. A date in Orlando features an all-orchestral program without soloist Midori.

Among the Orchestra’s outreach efforts in 2011-12 is the Common Chords Project, a multi-year initiative designed to create partnerships between the Orchestra and participating Minnesota cities, culminating in a celebratory festival week that features performances and dozens of activities that reflect the interests, diversity and heritage of each community. Launched with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Common Chords will present its first festival week in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in October 2011; a second partnership in Willmar, Minnesota, will culminate in May 2012.

Continuing a long-time partnership with Minnesota Public Radio, the Orchestra’s Friday evening classical concerts will be broadcast live regionally on MPR stations; they can also be heard via streaming audio atclassicalmpr.org. The Orchestra’s concerts are also featured in American Public Media’s national programs,Performance Today and SymphonyCast. In addition, the Music on Demand program will continue, with selected works recorded live in concert by MPR and made available for paid download atwww.minnesotaorchestra.org/musicondemand starting the week after the performance.

The Orchestra will offer a season preview concert for audiences interested in sampling 2011-12 repertoire on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Tickets can be reserved online at www.minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling Minnesota Orchestra Ticket Services at (612) 371-5656. Admission to these concerts is $25 (free for renewed 2011-12 subscribers).>

The 2011-12 season will be the Orchestra’s final season in Orchestra Hall before the building’s one-year closure for a $45 million renovation and expansion. During the 2012-13 season, the Orchestra will perform in the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium, located just blocks from Orchestra Hall at 1301 Second Avenue South in downtown Minneapolis . The grand re-opening of the renovated Hall is scheduled for June 2013.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

www.medici.tv Provides Gift of Free Music This Holiday Season

With each live webcast at www.medici.tv, more music lovers around the world learn how to experience superlative classical music and opera performances in the comfort and intimacy of their own homes. Now, as the holiday season shifts into high gear, three remarkable – and free-of-charge! – musical offerings provide a glimpse of the riches available at www.medici.tv: Giorgio Strehler’s legendary production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro from the Opéra National de Paris (available for streaming through Dec 31); Serge Baudo conducting Berlioz’s luminous oratorio, L’enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ), which will be webcast live from the Auditorium de Lyon on December 16 (and available afterwards for streaming on demand); and a complete cycle of Mahler’s nine symphonies conducted by Christoph Eschenbach (available until June 2011).

Giorgio Strehler’s production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro debuted 37 years ago in Paris. The current revival of the production – filmed by Don Kent – was broadcast on French TV network France 3 in early November, when it met with great success. Conductor Philippe Jordan, Music Director of Opéra de Paris, leads a superb cast including Ludovic Tézier as Count Almaviva, Barbara Frittoli as Countess Almaviva, Ekaterina Syurina as Susanna, Luca Pisaroni as Figaro, and Karine Deshayes as Cherubino. The program debuted at www.medici.tv on November 22 and is available for free-of-charge streaming there, and at www.operadeparis.fr, until December 31.

For the Mahler-lover, there can be few greater gifts this season than the complete cycle of the great Austrian composer’s world-embracing symphonies, available for free streaming at www.medici.tv. Marking the twin occasions of the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth and the centenary of his death, as well as Christoph Eschenbach’s 70th birthday, www.medici.tv’s Mahler cycle features Eschenbach, one of the world’s pre-eminent Mahler conductors, leading the Orchestre de Paris in performances recorded over the past three seasons. From the hushed and portentous sounds of nature that open the First Symphony, to the heart-wrenching leave-taking in the finale of the Ninth, Eschenbach’s Mahler cycle is an unforgettable musical and spiritual journey. Mahler’s Nine Symphonies are available for streaming at www.medici.tv, as well as at www.christoph-eschenbach.com and www.orchestredeparis.com, until June 2011.

Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) is perfect holiday listening, especially for those who prefer to forego the season’s ubiquitous performances of Handel’s Messiah (gorgeous though it is). Conductor Serge Baudo conducts the Choir and Soloists of Lyon-Bernard Tétu in a performance webcast live at www.medici.tv on Thursday, December 16 at 6:30pm, which will be available afterwards for streaming on demand. Described by Berlioz as a “sacred trilogy,” the work for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra is based on the story of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. Unlike so many of the French composer’s works, L’enfance met with great success at its premiere in Paris in 1855. Some commentators were relieved to hear a Berlioz score free of bombast, and congratulated the composer on his radically new style. Berlioz rejected the notion, however, explaining, “The subject naturally lent itself to a gentle and simple style of music, and for that reason alone was more in accordance with their taste and intelligence.”

In addition to these and many more free offerings, www.medici.tv offers an extraordinary catalogue of video-on-demand programs featuring a host of legendary artists in concert, recital, and opera performances, documentaries, and portraits – all for the exceptionally low price of $10 per month and $99 for an entire year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Do Classical Music Organizations Attract a Younger Audience? II

Previously I've spoken on thinking about the under 30 crowd as the audience to attract, and how the concert experience needs to be more like what this younger audience is familiar with and wants in terms of live entertainment. In the first in this series I mentioned types of artists pop concerts could bring in to attract a younger audience. Now let's talk about changing the concept of the pops concert.

What about Rap Artists? Numerous rappers use classical-like themes as backing for their vocals, why not bring this live to the stage?

Terry Riley's "In C" is popular with chamber ensembles, but not the only way to create a dynamic ensemble performance. What if this piece (or something like it) was performed with the conductor making the choices as to when sections moved, rather than leaving it up to the individual. The Playground in Denver does a performance called "sound painting" where the conductor guides the ensemble through the performance making decisions as to where the music is going. This same concept could be done in the concert hall with a full orchestra. The under 30 crowd is going to see this type of performance as a unique experience. They are open to new ideas and willing to experiment.

Film and Game music is hugely popular. People under 30 make up more than half of the film going audience. Films (and now video games) are leveraging their music as additional forms of revenue. People associate their fond memories of the film with the music and love reliving those moments in the concert hall. John Williams and Howard Shore have their music regularly performed by symphonies around the world, to sold out audiences. But there are many more film composers than just these two.

Composers (like myself) are writing new music all the time, but are (sometimes actively) discouraged from writing for the orchestra because orchestras don't typically play a great deal of new music. More than 90% of a classical concert season is taken from the existing canon of music from more than 100 years ago. Premieres of new works happen only once or twice a year and often those are from fairly established composers. This composer will often be from another city, and be a stranger to the local audience. In addition, hearing one work one time does little to help an audience grasp a composer's voice. New composer's remain unknown quantities to audiences.

Younger people are used to knowing details of the lives of their favorite musicians. They watch 'behind the music' TV, read interviews and interact with their musical heroes on a level that just doe not occur in classical music. Orchestras could leverage the time of new composers by having the composer speak before (and after) the concert and getting them on local talk shows and on the internet -- make them someone your audience is going to want to meet and that audience will come to the concert.

Baltimore Symphony does a concert where non-professionals get to perform along side the professionals. What a great idea! Professional sports teams often have "feeder" teams. What about having a local orchestra of college students which perform their own concerts but then perform a couple of concerts as part of the major symphony? You'd not only be encouraging better performances out of the younger performers, but you'll get all their family and friends wanting to attend and more interested in the parent organization as well.

Again, the idea is to think outside the box in ways that are focused on the under 30 crowd. Program music they listen to, program new music they haven't heard but is conceptually something they would be interested in, and get them involved in your organization.

53rd Annual Grammys Nominations (Classical & Film Music) are...

The 53rd Annual Grammys will take place on February 13, 2011 on CBS at 8pm ET.

Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current legitimate motion picture, television show or series or other visual media.
Alice In Wonderland - Danny Elfman, composer - [Walt Disney Records]
Avatar - James Horner, composer - [Fox Music/Atlantic Records]
Inception - Hans Zimmer, composer - [Reprise/WaterTower Music]
Sherlock Holmes - Hans Zimmer, composer - [WaterTower Music]
Toy Story 3 - Randy Newman, composer - [Walt Disney Records]

Best Instrumental Composition - A Composer’s Award for an original composition (not an adaptation) first released during the Eligibility Year. Singles or Tracks only.
Aurora - Patrick Williams, composer (Patrick Williams The Big Band)
Battle Circle - Gerald Clayton, composer (Clayton Brothers)
Box Of Cannoli - Tim Hagans, composer (The Norrbotten Big Band)
Fourth Stream…La Banda - Bill Cunliffe, composer (Temple University Symphony Orchestra)
The Path Among The Trees - Billy Childs, composer (Billy Childs Ensemble)

Best Engineered Album, Classical - An Engineer’s Award.
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina
Have You Ever Been…?
Mackey, Steven: Dreamhouse
Porter, Quincy: Complete Viola Works
Vocabularies

Producer Of The Year, Classical - A Producer’s Award.
Blanton Alspaugh - Corigliano: Violin Concerto ‘The Red Violin’
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2
Tower Of The Eight Winds – Music For Violin & Piano By Judith Shatin
Tyberg: Symphony No. 3; Piano Trio
Wind Serenades
David Frost Britten’s Orchestra
Chambers, Evan: The Old Burying Ground
Dorman, Avner: Concertos For Mandolin, Piccolo, Piano And Concerto Grosso
The 5 Browns In Hollywood
Mackey, Steven: Dreamhouse
Meeting Of The Spirits
Two Roads To Exile
Tim Handley Adams: Nixon In China
Debussy: Le Martyre De Saint Sébastien
Dohnányi: Variations On A Nursery Song
Harris: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6
Hubay: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 And 2
Messiaen: Poèmes Pour Mi
Piazzolla: Sinfonía Buenos Aires
Ries: Works For Flute And Piano
Roussel: Symphony No. 1
Shchedrin: Concertos For Orchestra Nos. 4 & 5
Stamitz: Flute Concertos
Strauss, R: Josephs-Legende; Rosenkavalier; Die Frau Ohne Schatten
Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin Brubeck: Songs Of Praise
Cascade Of Roses
Gnattali: Solo & Chamber Works For Guitar
If I Were A Bird
Kletzki: Piano Concerto
Porter, Quincy: Complete Viola Works
Rubinstein: Piano Music (1852-1894)
Rubinstein: Piano Music (1871-1890)
20th Century Harp Sonatas
James Mallinson Mahler: Symphony No. 2
Prokofiev: Romeo And Juliet
Shchedrin: The Enchanted Wanderer
Strauss, R: Ein Heldenleben; Webern: Im Sommerwind
Strauss, R: Eine Alpensinfonie
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations; Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante
Wagner: Parsifal

Best Classical Album - Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s) if other than the Artist.
Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina
Mackey, Steven: Dreamhouse
Sacrificium
Verdi: Requiem

Best Orchestral Performance - Award to the Conductor and to the Orchestra.
Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 - Mariss Jansons, conductor (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina - Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Terrence Wilson; Nashville Symphony)
Mackey, Steven: Dreamhouse - Gil Rose, conductor; Rinde Eckert (Catch Electric Guitar Quartet; Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Synergy Vocals)
Salieri: Overtures & Stage Music Thomas Fey, conductor (Mannheimer Mozartorchester)
Stravinsky: Pulcinella; Symphony In Three Movements; Four Études Pierre Boulez, conductor (Roxana Constantinescu, Kyle Ketelsen & Nicholas Phan; Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording - Award to the Conductor, Album Producer(s) and Principal Soloists.
Berg: Lulu
Hasse: Marc' Antonio E Cleopatra
Saariaho: L'Amour De Loin
Shchedrin: The Enchanted Wanderer
Sullivan: Ivanhoe

Best Choral Performance - Award to the Choral Conductor, and to the Orchestra Conductor if an Orchestra is on the recording, and to the Choral Director or Chorus Master if applicable.
Bach: Cantatas
Baltic Runes
Haydn: The Creation
Martin: Golgotha
Verdi: Requiem

Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) - Award to the Instrumental Soloist(s) and to the Conductor.
Daugherty: Deus Ex Machina
Dorman, Avner: Mandolin Concerto
Kletzki: Piano Concerto In D Minor, Op. 22
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24
Porter, Quincy: Concerto For Viola & Orchestra

Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra) - Award to the Instrumental Soloist.
Chopin: The Nocturnes - Nelson Freire
Hamelin: Études - Marc-André Hamelin
Messiaen: Livre Du Saint-Sacrement - Paul Jacobs
Paganini: 24 Caprices - Julia Fischer
20th Century Harp Sonatas - Sarah Schuster Ericsson

Best Chamber Music Performance - Award to the Artists.
Beethoven: Complete Sonatas For Violin & Piano - Isabelle Faust & Alexander Melnikov
Gnattali: Solo & Chamber Works For Guitar - Marc Regnier (Tacy Edwards, Natalia Khoma & Marco Sartor)
Ligeti: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 - Parker Quartet
Porter, Quincy: Complete Viola Works - Eliesha Nelson & John McLaughlin Williams Schoenberg: String Quartets Nos. 3 & 4 - Fred Sherry String Quartet (Christopher Oldfather & Rolf Schulte)

Best Small Ensemble Performance - Award to the Ensemble (and to the Conductor.)
Ceremony And Devotion – Music For The Tudors
Dinastia Borja
Trondheimsolistene – In Folk Style
Victoria: Lamentations Of Jeremiah
Whitacre, Eric: Choral Music

Best Classical Vocal Performance - Award to the Vocal Soloist(s).
Ombre De Mon Amant – French Baroque Arias - Anne Sofie Von Otter
Sacrificium - Cecilia Bartoli
Turina: Canto A Sevilla - Lucia Duchonová
Vivaldi: Opera Arias – Pyrotechnics - Vivica Genaux
Wagner: Wesendonck-Lieder - Measha Brueggergosman
Track from: Wagner: Wesendonck-Lieder; Preludes & Overtures

Best Classical Contemporary Composition - A Composer’s Award. (For a contemporary classical composition composed within the last 25 years, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year.) Award to the librettist, if applicable.
Daugherty, Michael: Deus Ex Machina
Henze, Hans Werner: Appassionatamente Plus
Lindberg, Magnus: Graffiti
Pärt, Arvo: Symphony No. 4
Shchedrin, Rodion Konstantinovich: The Enchanted Wanderer

Best Classical Crossover Album - Award to the Artist(s) and/or to the Conductor.
Meeting Of The Spirits
Off The Map
Roots – My Life, My Song
Tin, Christopher: Calling All Dawns
Vocabularies