Showing posts from June, 2011

The Maltese Tenor, Joseph Calleja's New Decca Classics Solo Album, Debuts as Vocal Bestseller on German Chart

“The Maltese-born Calleja ... has matured into one of the finest lyric tenors before the public today.” — Associated Press
Joseph Calleja’s third solo album on Decca, The Maltese Tenor, has become an instant bestseller in Germany, debuting high on its classical chart as the top vocal recording. On the new CD, 33-year-old Calleja sings some of the best Italian and French arias in his repertoire, including "E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca, the ballad of Kleinzach from The Tales of Hoffmann, and arias from La bohème, Simon Boccanegra, Faust, Manon, The Pearl Fishers and more. Many of these arias he has sung onstage at the Metropolitan Opera, performances that had the New York Times praising Calleja's "ardor, stamina and poignant vocal colorings." The Maltese Tenor debuted in the number two position on the German chart, surpassed only by crossover star David Garrett’s new release, Classic Romance. The North German broadcasting network NDR made the disc its album…

My Thoughts on Greg Sandow's: A difficult discussion

Catch his post from Greg Sandow on the future of classical music here
Greg makes a series of points about the whether or not orchestras are actively trying to improve their playing. He sites several examples of orchestras who tout on one hand how important quality music is to them and yet on the other hand the near complete avoidance of how to improve this quality when the subject is brought up. The main question: are orchestras really trying to improve or are they leaving improvement up to the individual players?

For my own part I think improvement can be looked at in a variety of ways; Is the orchestra playing technically better or Is the orchestra providing more exciting concerts. Maybe this last one isn't really an internal improvement, but one of external exposure. It does still, however, signify some change in the status of an orchestras performance.

In terms of improving technical ability there is the conundrum of the war between the individual and the ensemble. Certa…

New York, Boston, Chicago and San Fran Get Great Marks for Cities with Classical Music

Travel & Leisure ranks cities in a variety of ways, but the Classical Music scene put these four cities at the topFor more information on what cities rank where, visit:

Deutsche Grammophon & Decca Celebrate Liszt Throughout 2011

Full Scope of Liszt’s Compositional Output is Explored with Both New and Catalog Releases
October 22, 2011 will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer, pianist, conductor and teacher Franz Liszt. The celebrations have already started with a number of concerts and new recordings and they will continue throughout the year. Deutsche Grammophon & Decca pay tribute both with a host of new recordings as well as the revival of many catalog gems. In addition, a number of online resources will launch starting with

Decca started the celebration with Harmonies du Soir, Nelson Freire’s all-new recording of selections of Liszt’s solo piano music. Released on May 17th, the album has already received critical acclaim: “…what he does is so beautiful, he seems the return of some great master, someone like Josef Hoffman, in how he combines an exquisite touch — every note is a drop of gold — with great discipline and muscular solidity.” (Boston Globe) The album incl…

Bass-Baritone Luca Pisaroni Stars as Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo at Glyndebourne and BBC Proms

“Pisaroni exudes complete authority and magnetism.” – Houston Chronicle
Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, who has proven to be an up-and-coming vocal and dramatic draw on both sides of the Atlantic, looks forward to capping his season with a high-profile European summer schedule. He returns to the U.K.’s Glyndebourne Festival to make his role debut as Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo (July 2 – Aug 22), as well as appearing in the same production at London’s world-famous BBC Proms festival on August 25. As Leporello, Pisaroni appears on a new, star-studded EMI Classics DVD of Don Giovanni, recorded last summer at Glyndebourne; anticipating his Metropolitan Opera role debut as Leporello next season, he also plays the part this summer at Germany’s Baden-Baden Festival under Yannick Nézet-Séguin (July 18-24).

Rinaldo was the opera with which Handel made his sensational London debut, as well as being the first Italian opera written specifically for the British stage. Glyndebourne’s first st…

NEW Kristjan Jarvi's Absolute Ensemble Arabian Nights CD - Aug 10th

Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble announces the release of its latest album, Arabian Nights: Live at Town Hall NYC, on Enja Records. The album will be released on August 10 in the US. A sonic journey through Middle Eastern sounds and spirits, Arabian Nights includes music written specifically for Absolute Ensemble by Marcel Khalifé, Dhafer Youssef, and Daniel Schnyder. The program was conceived by Järvi and Schnyder, and recorded live at Town Hall in New York on April 7, 2007, presented by Town Hall as part of its 2007 Not Just Jazz Series. The album was produced by Järvi and engineered by Holger Schwark.
Absolute Arabian Nights was conceived as a post-September 11 memorial concert, and the first performance took place in an airport hangar in Bremen, Germany, presented by Musikfest Bremen. The Absolute Ensemble sought to crash musical genres with the Middle East during one of the most contentious periods in recent political history. The ensemble joined forces with UNESCO Artist for Pe…

This week's Top Ticket in Denver: Idina Menzel

Symphony on the Rocks with Idina Menzel and the Colorado Symphony
Broadway powerhouse Idina Menzel – the Tony award-winning "Elphaba" from international blockbuster Wicked – returns by popular demand for one-night-only at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with the Colorado Symphony. With a diverse repertoire of classic pop, musical theater favorites (including hits from Wicked, Rent and Glee) as well as songs from her album "I Stand," Idina Menzel demonstrates why she is one of the great vocal performers of our time.

Tickets are available online at or call the box office at 303.623.7876.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Opens Tonight at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival

Don't miss Conductor Jaap van Zweden and the DSO performing an all Beethoven concert with special guest soloists
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs tonight, 6:00 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater with an all Beethoven concert including Egmont Overture, Triple Concerto and Symphony No. 7. Special soloists Ida Kavafian, Peter Wiley and Anne-Marie McDermott join the DSO in performing the Triple Concerto. Come early for a FREE pre-concert lecture with Author, Composer and Puzzle Master Bruce Adolphe at 5:00 p.m. in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Tickets start at $24 and lawn seats are FREE for children 12 and under.

Getting Heard: Making Noise in a Digital World

This is part two of the #GettingHeard series

The first was posted here: Getting Heard: What it means in a Modern Digital World
Classical Music Critics used to (and to some extend still do) speak through newspapers. Alex Ross (NY Times), Anne Midgette (The Washington Post), Kyle MacMillan (Denver Post) and Mark Swed(Los Angeles Times) are just a few of the really big names across the US that publish classical music news and reviews in their regional newspapers. Newspapers used to be the only way to get heard. 50 years ago it was the primary way people got their daily updates. If you wanted to publicize your classical music event, you posted an article or a full color spread in the local paper (Orchestra's still do this, but it's not the only way they are getting the word out now). TV attempted to challenge the power of the printed press, but it never really captured the readership that newspapers held --in terms of news, particularly classical music news. Newspapers ruled th…

Dallas Symphony Orchestra at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with all Beethoven Concert - June 29

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra opens its six concert residency at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with Beethoven's beautiful Egmont Overture. Going from strong to stronger, with Ida Kavafian on violin, Peter Wiley on Cello and the new music director of the festival Anne-Marie McDermott on piano, Maestro Jaap van Zweden is tackles the brilliant Triple Concerto. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra then continues the Beethoven theme, "Architect of Humanity: Great Works for Orchestra" for the opening concert with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92.

Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead the Dallas Symphony on July 1st with "Three Broadway Divas," featuring Debbie Gravitte, Jan Horvath and Christiane Noll. You'll experience the glitter of Broadway as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and three incredible Broadway Divas dazzle you with a spectacular blend of Broadway favorites.

Jaap van Zweden then returns to the podium on July 2nd for the "Hammer Blows of …

The Golandsky Institute’s 2011 Summer Symposium and International Piano Festival Takes Place from July 9th – 17th in Princeton, N.J.

The Golandsky Institute has announced the performers for its 2011 International Piano Festival, to be held at Princeton University for its eighth consecutive summer, July 9th – 17th. The Festival will feature six recitals by acclaimed professionals from the classical and jazz piano music worlds. The Festival celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of Franz Liszt with performances of his music and lectures by scholars, Scott Burnham of Princeton and Elena Sorokina of the Moscow Conservatory.

On Sunday, July 10th at 8:00 p.m., From Moscow, pianist Pavel Nersessian, widely acknowledged to be one of the most remarkable Russian pianists of his generation, will perform for the opening night of the festival. Program includes Chopin Waltzes, Mauzurkas, 4th Ballade, Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op. 37, and Liszt: 12th Hungarian Rhapsody. Performance will be held at Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall, Princeton University.

Monday, July 11th at 8:00 p.m., Richardson Chamber players, Anna Lim, violin and…

Gabriel Kahane to Perform at Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival on July 19 and 20, named Composer-in-Residence

Much has been made over Gabriel Kahane's ability to transcend rigid genre classifications. His compositions--which range from probing classical song cycles to joyous theater pieces to raucous indie hits--are far more concerned with exploring his musical potential than fitting in with a particular market niche. This summer, Kahane will be featured as the Composer-in-Residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, a six week long concert series known for its diverse programing and wide range of musical offerings. The two are a perfect fit.

As the Composer-in-Residence, Kahane will perform two nights of music and premiere a new commission, a short cycle of songs called Come on All You Ghosts. On July 19, he will present one of the Festival's four "Soirées", at which audience members can enjoy food and drink while Kahane entertains from the piano. The program, entitled "An Evening with Gabriel Kahane: Music for the Ear, Intellect and Soul", will highlight in…

'Lady Blunt' Strad Fetches $15.9 Million

The first time the 1721 Strad violin, named 'Lady Blunt' was sold at auction, in 1971, it fetched 84,000 pounds. But yesterday, auctioned online by Tarsio, it broke the world record for a Strad violin by fetching 9.8 million pounds, or $15.9 million.

The owner of the instrument was the Nippon Foundation, which bought it just three years ago for about $10 million.The new owner wishes to remain anonymous. Nippon will pass the full $16 million on to Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami left almost 23,000 dead or missing and destroyed more than 200,000 homes, according to a National Police Agency statement. The government has estimated the disaster's cost in damages to be as high as 25 trillion yen ($312 billion).

For more on this violin read: Lady Blunt Reuning

Award-Winning Documentary Film Pianomania, featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Now Playing in US Theaters

“A captivating film, not just for pianomaniacs!”– Time Out London
Grammy Award-winning pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is one of the stars of Pianomania, a new film that has captivated audiences and film festival juries in Europe and the US – including the San Francisco International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Gate Award for Best Feature Documentary. Directed by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis, Pianomania is a must-see for music-lovers, revealing a world where passion and the pursuit of perfection collide with artistic obsession and a touch of madness. The film arrives in the United States this summer, opening at selected theaters in Boston and Chicago on June 24; it then heads to other cities around the country, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Widely heralded as a key figure in the music of our time and as an important interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard has been described as “one of those rare pi…

Violinist Christian Tetzlaff’s Performance at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival to be Broadcast On Live From Lincoln Center, Tuesday August 2

Mr. Tetzlaff will perform Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major for violin and viola
with Antoine Tamestit and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra conducted by Louis Langrée
German violinist Christian Tetzlaff will perform in the opening night concert of Lincoln Center ’s Mostly Mozart Festival at Avery Fisher Hall, to be broadcast nationwide on PBS’s Emmy award-winning Live from Lincoln Center Tuesday, August 2 at 8:00 pm (check local listings for date and time).

Led by conductor and Festival Music Director Louis Langrée, Mr. Tetzlaff will perform Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major for violin and viola with French violist Antoine Tamestit, who will make his Mostly Mozart debut, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. The all-Mozart program also includes the Overture to Le nozze de Figaro, Donna Anna’s aria “Crudele?...Non mi dir, bell’idol mio” from Don Giovanni and the concert aria “Bella mia fiamma…Resta, o cara,” both sung by soprano Susana Phillips, and Symph…

Best Of Beethoven with the Colorado Symphony

Colorado Symphony Summer Seasonings presented by PCL concerts open with Best of Beethoven; enjoy alfresco dining before the concert
The Colorado Symphony's Summer Seasonings at Boettcher Concert Hall presented by PCL concerts open with the return of Best of Beethoven at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8. Summer Seasonings presented by PCL, a trio of concerts showcasing both popular music and composers, also offers the opportunity to dine alfresco on the Galleria before heading indoors to enjoy the concert. Best of Beethoven is an encore performance of one of the Colorado Symphony's most popular Inside the Score concerts of the 2010/11 season.

Led by resident conductor Scott O'Neil, Best of Beethoven presents an emblematic banquet of Beethoven's greatest works – each introduced by O'Neil in a welcoming and relaxed setting. Delve into Beethoven's world and learn about his "Titan-esque" struggles with the limitations of aristocratic society, the impact of faile…

Why are Classical Music Concerts so Relaxed in the Summer (and so Stuffy in the Winter)???

A look at what "dressing for success" really means in the classical music world
Did you ever notice the general mode of dress of concert goers at Tanglewood, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Olympic Music Festival, Ojai Music Festival, Cabrillo New Music Festival and ... the list goes on? The general public is dressed down, relaxed and comfortable. There are some (I've noticed anyway) in the more expensive seats at Bravo & Aspen who are dressed expensively, but the style of clothing (albeit Ralph Lauren, or Calvin Klein) is more relaxed than the dress coat and tie, or evening gown, which is what they'd be wearing if the concert were in Boettcher, Carnegie, or Symphony Hall. The orchestras also dress more casual, wearing white coats, rather than white tie and tails.

Yes, it's Summer time, and the rule of the day is to wear more casual clothing. But have you noticed the patrons who are attending the events? They&…

2011-12 Season Celebrates Curtis’s Rich Heritage, Forward Momentum, Global Influence, and Local Relationships

The Curtis Institute of Music announces a season-long celebration, “Appassionato,” highlighting the renowned conservatory’s storied past, its innovative future, and its indelible impact on music in Philadelphia and the world. As Curtis carries its rich musical traditions into the future, it remains a magnet for the finest international talent. Frequent student performances are at the heart of the school’s unique, time-tested “learn by doing” philosophy, which has produced so many leading musicians. In more than 130 public performances each season, Curtis annually offers Philadelphians an unmatched gift of music. In 2011-12, the “Appassionato” celebration ventures further, with an expansion of international touring, new and ongoing collaborations with cultural partners in Philadelphia and beyond, and a stepped-up schedule of artist residencies and faculty recitals. Curtis hosts guest artists and composers from the uniquely eminent body of Curtis alumni, and offers frequent celebra…

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces New BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellow: Lee Mills

Lee Mills to conduct FREE BSO concert as part of Artscape festivities, July 16
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced today that Lee Mills, 24, a talented American conductor will be the third recipient of the BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship. This one-year program is designed to support the musical and leadership development of today’s young conductors. Beginning in September 2011, Mr. Mills will begin a one-year artist diploma program, receiving a full tuition scholarship to the Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Mills will also receive personal instruction from BSO Music Director Marin Alsop, who actively shapes the program.

A native of Montana, “promising young conductor” (The Baltimore Sun) Lee Mills recently completed a graduate performance diploma from the Peabody Institute. During that time, he served as the assistant conductor of the Peabody Concert Orchestra, the Peabody Singers and the Peabody-Hopkins Chorus. A new music enthusiast, he has premiered se…

Sarah Mclachlan To Make Orchestral Debut With Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks

Multi-platinum recording artist and singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan debuts new orchestra show with Colorado Symphony, led by Scott O'Neil
GRAMMY® Award winner and multi-platinum recording artist Sarah McLachlan will make her symphony orchestra debut on Sunday, July 10, 2011 with the Colorado Symphony at the majestic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. McLachlan joins the Colorado Symphony, led by resident conductor Scott O'Neil, for a captivating night under the stars as she celebrates her orchestral debut and latest CD release, Laws of Illusion.

All-new orchestra charts are commissioned for this extraordinary concert showcasing McLachlan's artistry and beautiful vocals, seamlessly blended with the power and splendor of the 79-member Colorado Symphony. Many of McLachlan's most recognized songs are included in the set list, including the GRAMMY® Award-winning "Building a Mystery" and "I Will Remember You." Concertgoers can also look forward to McLachlan's p…

Soprano Nino Machaidze Releases Debut Album of Romantic Arias

Available June 28th

Sony Classical is proud to announce the release of the debut solo recording from young Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze on June 28, 2011. Romantic Arias includes Ms. Machaidze's personal selection of music she describes as “my world, my successes to date and my hopes for the future.”

Gounod's great lyric role of Juliette is among the highlights of the new recording. The part, in which Ms. Machaidze made her career-defining Salzburg debut in 2008, is represented by the two beautiful arias, “Ah! je veux vivre” and “Amour, ranime mon courage,” popularly known as the “Poison Aria.” Manon, a more recent addition to the singer's repertoire, is represented with the melancholy “Adieu, notre petite table.”

The recording also includes arias from two signature roles that have showcased Ms. Machaidze's outstanding talent for comedy: Marie from Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment, which she will perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera in the 2011/2 season, and F…

Baltimore Symphony’s Star-Spangled Spectacular Kicks-off Independence Day Celebrations, July 2-3

BSO to perform at Germantown Glory in Montgomery County on July 4
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra continues its tradition of performing the all-American holiday celebration Star-Spangled Spectacular with conductor Bob Bernhardt and featuring baritone Daniel Narducci on Saturday, July 2, 2011 and Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 8 p.m. at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md. The patriotic program opens with the winners of this year’s “O, Say Can You Sing?” competition singing the National Anthem and also features other patriotic classics, such as Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes. The evening will culminate in a display of fireworks. For more than 20 years, the BSO at Oregon Ridge has been a Baltimore‐area summer tradition, drawing tens of thousands for family fun, music and fireworks in the wooded enclaves of Oregon Ridge Park. Patrons are invited to arrive early with lawn chairs, blankets and picnic dinners or purchase food and drink from onsite ven…

Party "All Night Long" With Lionel Richie When He Performs On Cbs's "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular," Monday, July 4

Academy Award And Grammy® Award-Winning Superstar Lionel Richie To Perform On The "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular," An Entertainment Special Hosted By Emmy Award Winner Michael Chiklis Andfeaturing The Boston Pops Led By Keith Lockhart, To Be Broadcast Live
Monday, July 4, On The Cbs Television Network
The BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR, now in its 38th year, is the orchestra's annual free outdoor Fourth of July concert and is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Group, one of America's leading insurers, offering auto, home and life insurance for individuals and families, as well as a variety of insurance products and services for businesses. The entire concert will be broadcast in HD (high definition), courtesy of Liberty Mutual Group. In addition, the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Group.

An international superstar whose career has spanned more than 40 years, Lionel Ri…

Amazing Performance, Amazing Composition: Cellist Maya Beiser & Steve Reich's Cello Counterpoint

In March, cellist Maya Beiser had the privilege of appearing at the prestigious TED conference in Long Beach, California, which brings leading artists and thinkers together to exchange "ideas worth spreading." Other presenters included Bill Gates, Bobby McFerrin, Julie Taymor, Morgan Spurlock, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and Roger Ebert. Maya's presentation consisted of two pieces for multi-tracked cello and video: Steve Reich's Cello Counterpoint with video by Bill Morrison and David Lang's World to Come with video by Irit Batsry, with remarks by Maya in between the works.

Her performance was captured in a stunning three-camera video produced by TED, which was streamed live to conference attendees around the world. It's by far the handsomest and most sophisticated video document of Maya in concert to date. I hope you'll take a few moments to watch, and post it to your site or feed. FYI, the above image and others from her performance are available on reque…

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival Free Recital Sunday! Wine, Appetizers and Beethoven Monday, Tuesday

Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott performs a free recital to open the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado, Sunday, June 26th. This complimentary concert is presented free of charge as a gift from Anne-Marie to the community. The recital program includes works by Bach, Gottschalk, Chopin, Schumann and Grunfeld.

Then on the 27th & 28th discover Beethoven's brilliance with two exclusive pre-concert receptions with presentations by composer, author and puzzle-master Bruce Adolphe. Enjoy cocktails and passed appetizers from Vail Catering Concepts accompanied by a discussion with renowned composer Bruce Adolphe. Each evening includes a half hour presentation about Beethoven and his work followed by performances of Beethoven's Trios for Violin, Cello and Piano: Parts I and II.


June 27 & 28

5:00 p.m. - Reception, Wine and Passed Appetizers

5:30 p.m. - Lecture

6:30 p.m. - Concert
Monday, June…

Getting Heard: What it means in a modern digital world

or a composers quest to be performed
Recently, I've been writing a series of posts entitled "What kind of Classical Music Should I Write?" Part of the reason for this series is to better understand the quest to be heard. Putting black dots on a piece of paper isn't music unless those dots get transformed into something audible.

In this digital world, where anyone can post a YouTube video, or put their music up on a music sharing website it's easier than ever to get music into the hands (or ears) of listeners. Classical Music is seeing a boom in online sales by virtue of the virtual world.  There are few composers I know that don't have some sort of musical presence on the internet - and justifiably this is just one way for them to market themselves. My own website,, has gotten me more than one performance by allowing a way to get samples and pdf scores into the hands of potential performers as part of the consideration process. But before any of…

Radical New Social Music Service Gives the Listener Complete Control

Radical.FM, Inc. ( announced today the invitation-only private beta launch of Radical.FM, it’s new, personal internet radio service. Building and expanding on experience gained from, an early 21st century Swedish/American pioneer of internet radio, Radical combines user tailored music radio stations (like Pandora™ and Slacker™) with on-demand playlist functionality (like Rhapsody™ and Spotify™), and adds social networking and personal broadcasting capabilities. For the first time all of these functions will be available in one integrated service. Radical.FM will initially offer free personal radio services, with full Play-On-Demand functionality for a paid Premium subscription tier available at a later date. In addition, the patent pending LiveShare™ feature permits personal music streams to be shared in real-time and DeeJay™ allows a user to speak to all who are listening to their LiveShare stream. Bona fide music and technology journalists & b…

What Sort of Classical Music Should I Write? - Part 2.1

There's a wonderful article in the LA Times by Chloe Veltman, Eric Whitacre soars beyond world of choral music. Chloe quickly talks about the "popularist" stance of Eric Whitacre with a focus on ear pleasing sounds, although he definitely has a style all his own.

This article brings to mind my concept of accessibility in music. Whitacre's music has melody and often recognizable chords, but doesn't always move in traditional ways. There is something about the various lines that feel familiar and yet seem new and fresh.

Accessibility doesn't mean popularist. It means audiences can understand the music, grasp a sense as to what the music is attempting to do, even though a deeper sense of the music may take years to really understand. Britten's Cello Symphony is one such piece, beautifully written and on first hearing able to grasp elements of the structure and flow of the music. But only through analysis can the heart of the music be understood. B…

Welcome Dr Nick Vasallo to Interchanging Idioms

Dr Nick Vasallo has joined interchanging idioms! (loud applause)
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Nick Vasallo began music in high school where he picked up the electric guitar and eventually formed Antagony, an influential extreme metal band in the underground. At the ripe age of 23, Vasallo decided to begin formal music training at Cal State East Bay where he obtained his Bachelor degree in 2007. As a Chancellor's Fellow at University of California Santa Cruz, Vasallo completed his Masters in 2009 and subsequently went on to finish his Doctorate in 2011 as a President's Fellow.

His music reveals an eclectic array of influences: Metal, Ambient, Taiko, Gamelan, Noise and has been internationally performed by world renowned groups such as Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea, Del Sol String Quartet, San Francisco Choral Artists, Atlanta Schola Cantorum, and Watsonville Taiko just to name a few.

In 2010, Vasallo was the recipient of the President's Dissertation-Year Fellowship Aw…

Milton Babbitt: an elegy gone awry pt. 1

New Music Lover #1: Milton Babbitt, a giant in American classical music passed away today. 1916-2011 - RIP. New Music Lover #2: To describe Babbitt, a lovely man indeed, who was very tiny, as a "giant" made me smile. He was not a giant in any way, but a charming, provocative, and puckish elf of a man who was very kind to his students and more open-minded than most people assumed. NMM#1, "giants" are all too often pompous bores, but Babbitt was never a bore and never pompous. New Music Lover #1: By "giant" I meant dominant that more representative? New Music Lover #2: Well, he was never that either, NMM#1, outside of New York and Princeton -- he had virtually no influence on the West Coast avant-garde, and the Europeans scarcely knew who he was. He had a decided influence as a theorist, and wrote that one essay, "Who Cares if You Listen," but he can't be compared to Elliott Carter, for example, whose influence has been much more …

Applause to Magdalena Kozená and her performance at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 10

Sir Simon Rattle came out on stage to announce to the audience at the 64th Aldeburgh Festivalhis wife, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená will ill. She still intended to sing, but should her voice give out an alternate was driving down from North England, over 250 miles away --just in case.

Kozená was able to finish Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. While there was an evident struggle in her voice, but the performance was still amazing, creating a night the people of Birmingham will not soon forget.

What Sort of Classical Music Should I Write? - Part 2

Should be it be Innovative (or avant-garde) or Accessible

a follow up for What Sort of Classical Music Should I Write?
An on going series of posts into what sort of composition is "good" classical music
As I mentioned in the previous post, there are numerous styles of Classical music, and camps of people who favor one over another. In this week's post I want to talk about innovative music vs accessible music, or music that pushes the bounds of what music is as opposed to music "joe blow" on the street might be willing to listen to - more than once.

There are plenty of quotes from major composers of the 20th century who take the camp of "I don't care what the audience thinks" or "It's better if they don't like my music at first. It means I'm really doing something new." (both paraphrased, but you get the idea.) The attitude of these avant-garde composers implies the audience has no real value to them. Music is the higher goa…

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival Opens on June 26 with a Free Solo Recital by Newly Appointed Artistic Director Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott

On Sunday, June 26, the Vail Valley Music Festival opens with a free solo recital played by the festival’s newly appointed Artistic Director, the beloved pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. For six weeks from June 26 to August 3, three world-class orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra – will set up residence in the magnificent Colorado Rocky Mountains. Programming highlights for 2011 include explorations of the musical titans Beethoven and Mahler; two thematic series respectively showcasing American music and programmatic orchestral works; chamber music, jazz, and pops; and New York’s Gabriel Kahane as this season’s composer-in-residence. The impressive guest-star roster presents such conductors as Alan Gilbert, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Stéphane Denève, Jaap van Zweden, and Bramwell Tovey, and more than 50 soloists, including pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, and Kirill Gerstein; violinists Gil Shaham, Nadja Salerno-Sonn…

Mozart Under Moonlight With The Colorado Symphony

Sparkling, luminescent Mozart masterworks create enchanted evening with Colorado Symphony at the Arvada Center
The Colorado Symphony presents Mozart Under Moonlight at the Arvada Center for one-night-only on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Resident conductor Scott O'Neil leads the orchestra, joined by oboist Peter Cooper, in delightful program including the Oboe Concerto in C Major, Overture to Don Giovanni, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and Symphony No. 29 in A Major. Tickets are on sale now.

The great Austrian conductor Karl Bohm is attributed with saying that Mozart's music "has the effect of a fountain of youth." While the accuracy of this quote is uncertain, there can be no doubt that it perfectly captures the feelings that Mozart's music inspires in all listeners. The works featured in Mozart Under Moonlight embody this sentiment and without a doubt, will inspire concertgoers to dance in their hearts and minds throughout the evening.

The Oboe Concerto is among the lesser k…

Franz Welser-Möst To Receive Bruckner Medal Of Honor

At a recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Bruckner Society of America chose Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra and the General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera, to receive the Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor.

The Kilenyi Medal of Honor was created by Julio Kilenyi (1885-1959) especially for the Bruckner Society of America. The first medals were given out in 1933 to Arturo Toscanini, Serge Koussevitsky, and Bruno Walter. Ever since those first awards were presented, the Society has continued to present them to conductors, scholars, and musicologists who have helped to further the understanding and appreciation of Anton Bruckner’s life and work.

It is for Franz Welser-Möst’s understanding, advocacy, and dedication to Bruckner’s music that the Board of Directors has chosen to present this special recognition to Franz Welser-Möst during his upcoming series of performances with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Lincoln Center Festival. The award will be…

Glad Tidings From Glyndebourne: Critics Praise Stephen Costello’s Debut

Philadelphia-born tenor Stephen Costello made his Glyndebourne Festival debut on June 9 as Nemorino, the love-crazed country bumpkin in Donizetti’s brilliant bel canto comedy L’elisir d’amore. Critics have widely praised the “glowing revival” (Guardian), both for its “appealing staging” (The Stage) and “as fine a cast as you could wish for” (The Arts Desk), with one critic from The Express calling Costello’s Nemorino the “truly outstanding” performance of the evening and “a revelation.” Audiences will have the chance to hear Costello and his colleagues sing 14 more performances of Glyndebourne’s hit (June 17 – August 4). Opera-lovers lucky enough to be in Vienna this fall will hear Costello reprise the role when he returns to the Vienna State Opera for his second consecutive season.

The Arts Desk praised the singing of all of Glyndebourne’s principals but gave Costello’s Nemorino its highest marks: “The central quartet etched out their relations and respective psychologies economically…

LLŶR Williams Living Music and Breathing Beethoven

“… Williams is a consummate Beethovenian…For all the verbiage about the trace elements of Mozart and Haydn, every note, every phrase, and every turn of mood are authentic Beethoven.”
The Herald/Michael Tumelty
Authenticity, acute sensitivity and intellectual rigour are qualities that Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams brings to all his work as soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. Fast becoming one of the great Beethovenians of his generation, he embarks this August on an epic two-week season at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh (12-26 August) where he will play the complete cycle of
Beethoven’s piano sonatas in daily concerts, beginning with the Pathétique and ending with the Hammerklavier. This marathon follows his rather more leisurely, and highly acclaimed, performance of the same cycle during 2010 in Scottish and Welsh concert halls; after the last three Sonatas in Cardiff The Guardian wrote: ‘his commanding technique, cool grasp of the vast intellectual span of the music and sense of w…