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Showing posts from September, 2011

The San Francisco Symphony Launches American Orchestra Forum with Six Major Visiting U.S. Orchestras

Michael Tilson Thomas, Gustavo Dudamel, and Alan Gilbert are keynote speakers in free public events in Davies Symphony Hall preceding concerts during American Orchestra Series in SF Symphony’s 2011-12 Centennial Season The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) today announced that it will host a season-long, nationwide dialogue on the 21st century American orchestra, in conjunction with the visits of six other major American orchestras during its Centennial 2011-12 season. San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, and New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert are the keynote speakers for three free events in Davies Symphony Hall during the season. The San Francisco Symphony has also launched an American Orchestra Forum website at www.symphonyforum.org, as a hub for the ongoing conversation, with perspectives from leaders in and outside the orchestra world, as well as the general public, via blogs, podcast…

WQXR Welcomes Stars of the Metropolitan Opera to The Greene Space For a Season Preview on Tuesday, October 4 at 7pm

On Tuesday, October 4 at 7pm, WQXR – the nation’s most-listened to classical radio station – will present a Metropolitan Opera Season Preview, an evening of conversation and performance at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station’s innovative performance studio. The event will feature Met General Manager Peter Gelb with some of the biggest stars in opera, including Anna Netrebko and Deborah Voigt, and is the first in a season-long partnership in The Greene Space between WQXR and the Met, which will continue in December with a preview of the Met world premiere The Enchanted Island. For the event on October 4, WQXR Host Naomi Lewin will welcome the Met’s General Manager, Peter Gelb, for a lively discussion with two of the opera world’s leading divas, Anna Netrebko and Deborah Voigt. Netrebko stars in the Met’s season-opening production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and Voigt sings Brünnhilde in Robert Lepage’s upcoming productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the final tw…

Ebène Quartet Returns with North American Tour, New Mozart Album

“We are fortunate to have a clutch of young, extremely talented string quartets in action today. … But none except the Ebène Quartet can sing four-part harmony on tunes like ‘Someday My Prince Will Come,’ improvise solos on standards like ‘Nature Boy,’ shred with conviction on the surf-rock classic ‘Misirlou,’ and uncover the unique sound world of Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel.” — NPR MusicFrance’s dynamic young Ebène Quartet, whose unique ability to switch seamlessly from core classical repertoire to jazz and pop music has made it one of classical music’s most talked-about ensembles, returns to the U.S. in the 2011-12 season with live performances and master classes, and on two new recordings from Virgin Classics. Fall performances in Pasadena, CA (Oct 2) and Portland, OR (Oct 3 & 4), master classes at the Colburn School in Los Angeles (Oct 5–13), and a concert with the Colburn Chamber Music Society (Oct 9) will coincide with the release on September 27 of Dissonances, an all-Mozart…

13-Week “Song of America” Radio Series, Hosted by Thomas Hampson and Syndicated by WFMT Radio Network

Begins Airing Oct 1 Across U.S“Song of America”, a 13-week radio series hosted by renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson, begins airing on October 1 on radio stations across the country, from KMXT-FM in Alaska and KALW-FM in San Francisco to WFIU-FM in Indiana and WFSQ-FM in Florida. More than 140 stations across the country have already committed to airing the series. Reflecting Hampson’s deep passion and decades-long advocacy for the music of his country, “Song of America” reveals American classic song – poetry set to music by American composers – as a vibrant diary of the American experience. Hampson conceived and developed the series, which is co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago and will be syndicated by the network to public radio stations across the country. The network also makes the series available to members of the European Broadcasting Union and to stations in other countries around the world. Each hour-long program focuses on a…

Anne-Sophie Mutter On The Late Show with David Letterman Tomorrow!

On Friday, September 30th, internationally renowned, four-time Grammy® Award winning violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will be the musical guest on the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. Together with Sir André Previn at the piano, Mutter will perform "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Gershwin's beloved Porgy and Bess from the recent release ASM35: The Complete Musician Highlights , celebrating her extraordinary 35 year career.

Maestro Kurt Masur & Pianist Yefim Bronfman Join Boston Symphony for an All-Brahms Program

FEATURING SYMPHONY NO. 3 AND PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2Performances to take place Thursday, October 20, and Saturday, October 22, at 8 p.m.,
and Friday, October 21, at 1:30 p.m., with an Open Rehearsal Thursday, October 20, at 10:30 a.m.
The Symphony Hall performances October 20-22 mark the return of two familiar BSO guests as eminent German conductor Kurt Masur takes the podium for his first of two programs with the orchestra this season. (He leads Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in February.) Opening this all-Brahms program is the Third Symphony—the most concise and classically reserved of the composer’s four—written in 1883 when Brahms was 50 years old and firmly established as a master. After intermission, always-impressive Russian-born American pianist Yefim Bronfman joins Maestro Masur and the orchestra for the expansive and brilliant four-movement Piano Concerto No. 2.

London Symphony Orchestra Celebrates the Music of Hollywood Composer Dimitri Tiomkin

The London Symphony Orchestra celebrates the works of Dimitri Tiomkin performing many of his best-loved soundtracks in the Barbican Hall on Thursday 27 October at 7:30pm. The concert is conducted by renowned film & television music expert Richard Kaufman who is joined by singers Whitney Claire Kaufman, Andrew Playfoot and the London Voices and features soundtracks including High Noon, Wild is the Wind, Dial M for Murder, Strangers on a Train and The Guns of Navarone. Prior to the concert, at 6:45pm on the Barbican Freestage, young musicians from the LSO St Luke’s Fusion Orchestra showcase music that they have created which has been inspired by Tiomkin. On Friday 14 October, the LSO Discovery Lunchtime Concert at LSO St Luke’s focuses on his music, with presenter Rachel Leach and musicians from the Guildhall School. Alongside the LSO’s concert tribute to the composer, the Barbican presents two films, Strangers on a Train on 23 October and Dial M for Murder on 30 October, showcasi…

Sol Gabetta Performs Italian Baroque Cello Concertos

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Although he is best known for his vast work of violin concertos, Antonio Vivaldi also wrote at least twenty-seven concertos for cello. These date from the time when he was working as composer of instrumental music for the orchestra of the girls' orphanage Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta already recorded five of Vivaldi's cello concertos in 2007. Her latest CD, Il Progetto Vivaldi 2, features three more, played on a valuable instrument built in Naples in 1781 by Ferdinando Gagliano. She is accompanied by the Cappella Gabetta, which she founded together with her brother, violinist and conductor Andres Gabetta. The Baroque ensemble consists of hand-picked Early Music specialists she is friends with, taken from groups like the Basel Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Baroque de Limoges and Il Giardino Armonico. In addition to a sonata from the pen of "the red-haired priest", as Vivaldi was known, the new release also contains two concertos …

Experience Faure’s Requiem with the Colorado Symphony

Grammy®-nominated soprano Karina Gauvin promises to shine in Britten's Les Illuminations; conductor Matthew Halls returns to Colorado for three stellar concert performancesThe Colorado Symphony presents a spectacular weekend of uplifting masterpieces as Grammy®-nominated soprano Karina Gauvin and baritone Jonathan Beyer join conductor Matthew Halls and the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Symphony Chorus in three performances of Fauré's Requiem on Friday, October 21, Saturday, October 22 and on Sunday, October 23. A work that speaks to everyone with an open heart, Fauré's Requiem is an intimate work unlike others in its genre – a masterpiece with the power to move rather than impress listeners, a treasure of the choral repertoire. In this concert program, the Requiem is paired with Britten's Les Illuminations featuring Gauvin – a work she recently recorded with Les Violons du Roy that has garnered major critical acclaim. Based on the remarkable works of French poet Arthu…

The Met: Live in HD Enters Its Sixth Season With Largest-Ever Worldwide Distribution

The 2011-12 season of the award-winning series kicks off Saturday, October 15, with Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, starring Anna NetrebkoThe Met: Live in HD, the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning series of live transmissions to movie theaters around the world, has expanded its worldwide distribution to 1,600 theaters in 54 countries, the largest global audience the initiative has ever reached. The newest countries to sign on for Live in HD transmissions include Russia, Israel, China, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Slovenia, and the territory of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Last year, a record of more than 2.6 million Live in HD tickets were sold to opera lovers across the globe, effectively quadrupling the Met’s paying audience (approximately 800,000 people attend performances in the opera house in a Met season). The sixth season of live transmissions begins October 15 with the Met premiere production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, featuring Anna Netrebko in the title rol…

Colorado Symphony Announces Positive Vote from Musicians

After additional negotiation this week with the Colorado Symphony Association (CSA), the musicians of the Colorado Symphony issued a vote to accept changes to the current contract. The changes constitute a total reduction in pay of $530,000. The contract concessions were requested to assist with balancing the FY12 operating budget. Prior to receiving this positive vote from the players, several resignations from the Board of Trustees were received and several were tendered at the meeting for a total of 20 resignations. An overall sentiment of appreciation and love for the orchestra was shared by all of those who issued resignation, and several specifically encouraged the organization to “be bold, be brave, and be different.” The CSA extends heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the departing Board members for their dedication, commitment and generosity on behalf of the entire organization. While approval of the FY12 budget is pending a more complete understanding of cash flow, th…

Boston Symphony Chamber Players Open 2011-12 Season with All-Czech Program

FEATURING WORKS BY DVOŘÁK, JANÁČEK, and MARTINŮThe Boston Symphony Chamber Players begin their 2011-12 season Sunday, October 16, 2011, at 3 p.m. in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, with an all-Czech program featuring the E-major Serenade for strings, Op. 22, by the greatest Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák, as well as Leoš Janáček’s Mládi and Bohuslav Martinů’s Sextet for piano and winds. This all-Czech program is part of the Chamber Players’ region-oriented programming this season: they follow this concert with an all-Viennese concert (Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms) in January, an all-Russian program in March, and an all-English program in April. For further information about the Boston Symphony Chamber Players 2011-12 season, click here. One of the world’s most distinguished chamber music ensembles sponsored by a major symphony orchestra and made up of that orchestra’s principal players, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players feature first-desk string, woodwind, and brass player…

St Louis Symphony Introduces New Video

Exciting look at musicians, Powell Hall and the concert experience is available to view on-line The St. Louis Symphony is pleased to present a new promotional video designed to tell the St. Louis Symphony story and build excitement for the upcoming 2011-2012 season. Featuring Music Director David Robertson, Concertmaster David Halen and other STL Symphony musicians, the “brandumentary” communicates the power and accessibility of live music at Powell Hall. Captured during the STL Symphony’s performances of Carmina Burana in May 2011, the brandumentary and its accompanying videos are now available to view on-line at www.stlsymphony.org/story After watching the brandumentary in its entirety, viewers will receive a special 2-for-1 ticket offer. The videos were produced by UPBrand Collaborative, a St. Louis-based branding and creative firm. Photography was captured by Rob Durbin with sound/video editing by 90 Degrees West.

Susan Graham starts 2011-12 Season with Canadian Opera Company debut in Iphigénie en Tauride

To kick off the 2011-12 season, Susan Graham – “America’s favorite mezzo” (Gramophone magazine) – makes her much-anticipated Canadian Opera Company debut on Thursday, September 22, headlining the company premiere of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with the role that has become her “calling card” (New York Times). October 30 sees the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano, always “spellbinding” (Wall Street Journal) in Handel, return to the San Francisco Opera in the title role of the Baroque master’s Xerxes, in Nicholas Hytner’s Olivier Award-winning staging. A third title role follows in the new year, when Graham – “everybody’s dream Widow” (Variety) – joins the Paris Opera for Franz Lehár’s popular operetta The Merry Widow, which bows on February 29. Meanwhile, in January she embarks on a North American recital tour with her frequent collaborator, pianist Malcolm Martineau; that tour concludes with her return to Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium on February 1. As the New York Times’s Antho…

Minnesota Orchestra Names Erin Keefe as New ConcertMaster

The Minnesota Orchestra and Music Director Osmo Vänskä announced today the appointment of American violinist Erin Keefe as concertmaster. Keefe, who is known as a renowned chamber musician, will officially begin as concertmaster at the Orchestra’s season opening concerts September 29 to October 1. The Orchestra’s Concertmaster Search Committee said in a statement, “Throughout the past two seasons our 13-member search committee listened to many excellent concertmaster candidates. Erin Keefe’s audition, in which she performed as concertmaster, chamber musician and soloist, captivated us. Her depth, refinement, and exquisite artistry showed her to be a violinist of the highest caliber. As we welcome Erin to the Minnesota Orchestra, we are confident that she brings the wonderful qualities of talent and leadership commensurate with this great orchestra.” Keefe played with the Minnesota Orchestra as guest concertmaster in performances last May. “I’m extremely pleased that we are able …

New CD Sometimes the City is Silent by Meerenai Shim is Delightfully Simple, yet Incredibly Complex

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Meerenai Engages the Listener with Pure Flute Technique and Sound on her Debut Album Flutes are delightfully simple, yet incredibly complex instruments. When you look at the wave form, the sound of the flute is pure and clean. The emotional range and technical possibilities of the instrument are astonishingly diverse. Meerenai's new CD Sometimes the City is Silent seizes all these subtleties, yet proffers them in such a splendidly pure way, we are intrigued by the flute with all of its complexity without being immersed in an overly effected recording.

The opening track “Hamburger” Flute Sonata in G major was written by CPE Bach in 1786. The music is florid and ornate, yet with a sense of regular structure typical of the early classical period. Meerenai captures the mood of the music on her modern Boehm-system flute with a sense of ease. While there are moments the performance doesn't quite flow naturally, we do get a sense of the playful nature of the music.  Accompanied…

Alan Gilbert’s Third Season as Music Director of NY Phil Begins with Televised Barber/Wagner/Strauss Concert with Deborah Voigt TONIGHT

Alan Gilbert begins his third season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic on September 21, 2011, when soprano Deborah Voigt joins him for a program of Wagner, R. Strauss and Barber that will be broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS and on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR. The concert launches an adventurous new season for Gilbert that features world and New York premieres, three Mahler symphonies, a residency at London’s Barbican Centre, tours to Europe and California, and a season-ending musical exploration of space at the Park Avenue Armory that features Stockhausen’s theatrical immersion, Gruppen. Additional highlights for Gilbert’s 2011-12 season include fall concerts with the Munich Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra (where he is Principal Guest Conductor), and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, as well as spring performances of Wagner’s Lohengrin with the Royal Swedish Opera and a performance of Mahler’s Sym…

Classical 105.9 FM WQXR Gives Listeners New Way to Tune In: Mobile App

Launch Coincides with Broadcast of NY Phil’s Season-Opening Concert Tonight Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, the nation’s most listened-to classical music station, extends its reach even further with the launch of a new mobile app, available today. This technological advance will give listeners a new way to tune in to the station’s vibrant music programming as well as granting access to WQXR’s wealth of digital-only features. In keeping with the station’s programming hallmark of broadcasting and streaming live from New York City’s concert halls and performance spaces, the app debut coincides with the station’s live broadcast of tonight’s season-opening concert by the New York Philharmonic.
The mobile app will give audiences direct access to the broadcast on 105.9 FM and on Q2 Music, WQXR’s online contemporary music stream. The app will also offer all the rich content and features found on www.wqxr.org, including:
· real-time and archived radio playlists
· archived episodes of destination…

This week's Top Ticket in Denver: Grammy® nominee, David Nail

Lastest single "Let it Rain" is in the top 20David Nail performs with the Colorado Symphony on October 8th. Growing up in a small southeastern Missouri town, it was music that called David Nail’s name. His baseball coach said, ‘David, you need to decide where you’re going to school,’ and out of the blue David said, ‘Do you know anybody in Nashville?’” The rest is history. The recent Grammy® nominee for Best Male Vocal Country Performance for his hit “Turning Home” will make his first orchestral appearance with the Colorado Symphony. This is history in the making.

Effectively Using Social Media to Improve Your Outreach to Fans beyond your current base

Classical Music Organizations need to find new audiences, to reach out to people who aren't currently attending their concertsSocial Media is a great way to connect to people outside your current circle of influence. Facebook and Twitter are especially effective at this because tweets can be re-tweeted, reaching into areas of exposure you never imagined. However, in order to get the most of these "tools" effective use is important. Most arts organizations have a facebook page and many a twitter account. Unfortunately, if the orchestra has any budget for social media at all, it's generally pretty small, which means they end up getting a newly graduated college student in as an intern. These students may have their own twitter and/or facebook account, but the chances of them really knowing what to do to market an arts organization is slim. But, what they don't know they can learn. So, I've created a few touch points that might help. FACEBOOK
1 - post someth…

Live Recording of Dvorak's Rusalka by Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra - available Sep 27

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Opera recorded during Cleveland Orchestra’s sold-out performances at the 2008 Salzburg Festival A live audio recording of Dvořák’s Rusalka performed by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera Chorus, and an international cast of soloists at the Salzburg Festival in August 2008 has been released by the Orfeo label. The CD will be available through retailers and available for download online in the United States on September 27, 2011 . It is now available in the Cleveland Orchestra Store at Severance Hall. These performances of Rusalka marked the first time that The Cleveland Orchestra presented an opera production and played from the orchestra pit at the Salzburg Festival. The five sold-out Rusalka performances were part of a Festival residency that also included Franz Welser-Möst conducting the Orchestra in three different concert programs. Prior to the staged Salzburg performances, Franz Welser-Möst led The Cleveland Orchestra in con…

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein Named a 2011 MacArthur Fellow

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein was today named a 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellow. The prestigious award carries a prize of $500,000 of “no strings attached” support over the next five years and has been dubbed the “Genius Award”. In a letter advising her of the honor, the MacArthur Foundation outlined that the fellowships are given in recognition of the recipient’s “originality, creativity, self-direction, and capacity to contribute importantly to society through your work.” New York-based Ms. Weilerstein, 29, was performing in Jerusalem when she received the news about being made a MacArthur Fellow: “This is an incredible and unexpected honor and completely overwhelming. My first response was an expression of total shock and amazement and I still cannot believe it.” Ms. Weilerstein has attracted widespread attention worldwide for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. She has appeared with all of the major orches…

Deborah Voigt’s Two New Brünnhilde Debuts at Met

Deborah Voigt launches her 2011-12 season on September 21 when she joins the New York Philharmonic in its season-opening gala in a performance to be broadcast live on public television’s Live From Lincoln Center. Soon after, she makes much-anticipated role debuts as Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the final two installments of the Metropolitan Opera’s new “Ring” cycle, directed by Robert Lepage. In spring 2012 Voigt will also sing Brünnhilde in performances of three complete Ring cycles at the Met. Among Voigt’s other new season highlights are a Broadway concert at Washington National Opera; solo recitals in Mexico City, Fort Worth, TX, and Sydney, Australia; and concerts with the Montreal Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the season, Voigt will make further appearances as both performer and host in the “Met: Live in HD” series, including hosting duties at the Met’s gala season-opening performance on September 26, which w…

Houston Grand Opera Takes First Mariachi Opera Across Atlantic

Having commissioned the world's first Mariachi opera and premiered the work to great acclaim last season, Houston Grand Opera crosses the Atlantic with its pioneering creation for season-opening performances September 23-27 at the illustrious Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) features music by composer and writer José “Pepe” Martínez, with lyrics by Broadway director and author Leonard Foglia. To showcase the vibrant score–which ranges from plaintive, folk-like balladry to rousing Latin dance rhythms–a live recording from the Houston premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna will be released on CD by Albany Records on October 1.

Enthusing over last December's sold-out premiere run in Houston, the Houston Chronicle called Cruzar la Cara de la Luna "a bold first-time fusion" that "succeeded on all fronts." The newspaper added, "Kudos to [former] HGO general director Anthony Freud . . . for taking a cha…

London Philharmonic Orchestra Premieres New Works in their 2011-12 Season

This season features several new works by leading contemporary composers Alexander Raskatov, Matthias Pintscher, Kalevi Aho and our own Composer in Residence Julian Anderson.

On 21 September the premieres begin with Alexander Raskatov's homage to Mussorgsky A White Night's Dream, a world premiere.  Modest Mussorgsky created some of the most novel music of the nineteenth century. No painstaking craftsman, Mussorgsky wrote in fitful episodes of white-hot inspiration, exemplified by the hair-raising audio-cinematography of hisNight on a Bare Mountain. Here his works are placed alongside twentieth and twenty-first century creations that will reveal just how forward-looking Mussorgsky’s music was. To end there’s the chillingly vivid realm of Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death – a series of narrative songs shot through with deception and darkness, the composer’s myriad textures and creeping lines portraying a humanity confronted with the pitiful inevitability of life’s end.

Matt…

René Pape Kicks Off 2011-12 with Faust at Covent Garden (Sept 18) and Met (Nov 29)

"A mix of seductive lyricism and awesome power." -- Chicago Sun-Times on René Pape's MéphistophélèsPeerless bass René Pape – honored last season as a “Mastersinger” by the Metropolitan Opera for such triumphs as his universally acclaimed Boris Godunov – launches his 2011-12 season on September 18, when he stars as Méphistophélès in the all-star David McVicar production of Gounod’s Faust at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The Covent Garden Faust runs until October 10, with the September 28 performance to be beamed live into cinemas around the world. Already lauded in Europe as “unquestionably magnificent” (Guardian, UK), Pape’s latest Deutsche Grammophon solo album, titled Wagner Arias, will be released in the U.S. on October 4. And the German singer crosses the Atlantic to play the Devil again in another starry production of Faust, this time at the Metropolitan Opera, in the Des McAnuff staging that runs from November 29 to January 19.

Cellist Matt Haimovitz & Pianist Christopher O'Riley Release Shuffle.Play.Listen – Blurs the Boundaries Dividing Classical and Pop – on Sep 27

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Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O'Riley have made one of the year's true event recordings with Shuffle.Play.Listen, which blurs the often artificial, outmoded boundaries that divide classical and popular music. The double-album CD set will be released Sept. 27 by Oxingale Records, teaming the groundbreaking, Grammy-nominated Haimovitz with O'Riley (host of the popular NPR and PBS weekly program "From the Top"). Shuffle.Play.Listen juxtaposes 20th-century classics by Stravinsky, Janácek, Martinu, Piazzolla and Bernard Hermann with art-rock songs – by the likes of Radiohead and Arcade Fire – and the jazz-rock of John McLaughlin in boldly imaginative cello-piano arrangements by O'Riley.

Whether playing the standard repertoire or contemporary works, both Haimovitz and O'Riley – in addition to being classical virtuosos of the highest order – have shown intrepid flair for finding kindred spirits in the rock world: Haimovitz with his blazing v…

Leah Kardos: Feather Hammer - a journey into new worlds of what music can be

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Classical music is so much more than dead white composers. Leah Kardos is living proof of what it not only can be, it moves toward what is may be in the years ahead. The music is a mixture of styles and influences from Debussy to Tavener, Shostakovich to Bryars with pop elements from Bowie, Brian Eno and The Flaming Lips. From this rich tapestry we are given a sonic-scape that transports us into a distant world of colors, shapes and sounds like nothing I've heard before. At times the music is opaque and difficult to see clearly all that's happening, while at other times there is a clear lyric glide to the musical lines that float over the listener with utter beauty.


Feather Hammer begins with "The Waiting" and an ethereal strumming of the strings within the piano. Eventually, the effects of distant "steps" appear as we wait and wonder where we are, who is coming and what will happen. This isn't the music of Psycho where we dread the next scene, bu…

Mojca Erdmann's Mozart’s Garden out on Deutsche Grammophon October 4th

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The soprano Opera News calls “a ray of sunlight” is launched by Deutsche Grammophon on October 4thOn October 4th, Deutsche Grammophon will release the debut album of young German lyric soprano Mojca Erdmann. Entitled Mozart’s Garden, Erdmann showcases her “spirited, impeccably tuned soprano” (Gramophone) in an album that sheds new light on Mozart’s universal genius. Erdmann is joined by worthy colleagues: Andrea Marcon and the period instrumentalists of La Cetra Baroque Orchestra Basel. Mozart’s Garden is an album that avoids the well-worn paths of the standard repertory and introduces listeners to arias from the early-Classical and Classical periods combining a variety of Mozart’s best loved arias with cannily chosen works by his contemporaries such as J. C. Bach, Holzbauer, Paisiello. “Mozart has accompanied me all my life,” Erdmann says. “For me there is nothing to beat singing Mozart. You know exactly how it should sound, but it’s insanely difficult to achieve this.”No one …

WQXR Classical Comedy Contest Seeks Funny Musicians and Musical Comedians

Deadline for Submissions is October 10; Winner to Perform a Second Set During New York Comedy FestivalThe tradition of mixing classical music and comedy is long and grand – really! From Victor Borge’s musical slapstick and Danny Kaye conducting orchestras to Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd singing Ride of the Valkyries and Adam Sandler’s “Opera Man” skits, comedians have found humor in a genre better known for its high-brow seriousness than its comic potential. Classical 105.9FM WQXR and legendary comedy club Carolines On Broadway have come together for the WQXR CLASSICAL COMEDY CONTEST, a one-of-a-kind talent contest for performers of all shapes and sizes who combine classical music and humor. Think of Flight of the Conchords headlining Carnegie Hall, or The Lonely Island meets Yo-Yo Ma. This is a singular opportunity for all those comedians with classical music training, or classical musicians who tell a mean joke, or simply for comedians who find classical music funny, to show off …

Stephen Costello’s 2011-12 Season Begins With Met Opening Night, in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena

“A prodigiously gifted singer whose voice makes an immediate impact.” — Associated PressOn Monday, September 26, just a few days before his 30th birthday, Stephen Costello will sing the role of Lord Percy at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in the company’s first production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena (twelve performances through Feb 4). The performance – Costello’s second appearance in an opening night at the Met – begins an exciting new season for the fast-rising Philadelphia-born tenor described by Opera News as “a first-class talent.” Among the highlights of Costello’s 2011-12 season are his company role debut as Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and his debut at Los Angeles Opera, where he will sing Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème alongside his wife, soprano Ailyn Pérez, who portrays Mimì. He also returns for the second season running to the Vienna State Opera, where he will perform Nemorino in Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore. The …

Getting Heard: Finding a NEW Audience

There are 100 million people on Twitter but many are just lurkingA recent article by Dick Costolo in Fortune magazine (linked above) talks about the vast number of people on twitter who are just lurking, listening in, but not actually tweeting. He also mentions topics that create a lot of chatter on Twitter and about promoted tweets. But ultimately, what this points out is how ineffective tweeting a marketing message can be. Promoted Tweets ONLY go to people who already follow the business, so if you're buying promoted tweets, your preaching to the choir. If your tweets are just marketing-spiel and not being copied or re-tweeted by your fans (followers), again, you're just preaching to the choir. The only way to get beyond the people who already know and love you, is to engage in conversation OUTSIDE your current sphere of influence. Example If your an orchestra and you're bringing in Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (they're a popular item this year), are you going out to…

Renée Fleming Unveils Lyric Opera of Chicago’s New Collaboration with Merit School of Music

Collaboration Benefits Teens, Offering New Opera and Musical Theater Solo Voice MajorLyric Opera of Chicago Creative Consultant – and star soprano – Renée Fleming revealed details of a new collaboration between the world-renowned opera company and Chicago’s Merit School of Music in a media conference at the school on Monday, September 12. This collaboration – part of Lyric’s Renée Fleming Initiative – will benefit teenagers in a new Opera and Musical Theater solo voice major at Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. Other Merit students will also participate in Lyric offerings. Joining Fleming were Lyric President and CEO Kenneth G. Pigott, who also serves on the Merit board; Lyric General Director Designate Anthony Freud; Ryan Opera Center Director Gianna Rolandi; and Merit President Duffie Adelson. Since Lyric announced the Renée Fleming Initiative, plans have solidified for the long-term collaboration between Lyric Opera and the highly regarded community music …

San Francisco Symphony Launches Online Interactive History Timeline

Media-rich site features video, archival audio and rarely seen photos and documents from the San Francisco Symphony’s first 100 yearsINTERACTIVE HISTORY TIMELINE AT SFSYMPHONY.ORG/TIMELINEIn the second week of its celebratory 100th season, the San Francisco Symphony has launched a web-based interactive history timeline at sfsymphony.org/timeline, where Symphony and history fans can explore the Orchestra's major milestones and accomplishments. This media-rich site features video excerpts from the new documentary San Francisco Symphony at 100, premiering on KQED 9 Public TV Friday,September 16 at 9 pm and airing in repeat broadcasts throughout the month, archival audio recordings, short excerpts from the new book Music for a City, Music for the World by Larry Rothe, and rarely seen photos and documents from the San Francisco Symphony’s archives. Together these elements tell the story of the birth, growth and success of one of the country’s top orchestras and its place in San Francis…

Bass-baritone Ildebrando d’Arcangelo debut album Mozart is now available

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From the start of his career, D’Arcangelo has been the pre-eminent Mozart man in his vocal range. Hailed by critics for his magnificent voice and stage presence, Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo has been called “a complete knock-out” by the Independent and “an ideal Figaro” by the Guardian. For his all-Italian Mozart album under Gianandrea Noseda, he delivers arias both famous and rare that brim with vocal distinction and interpretive panache. D’Arcangelo’s Don Giovanni (“Champagne Aria”) and uproarious Leporello (“Catalog Aria”) establish his wide emotional range. Excerpts of his Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and his notable Figaro highlight other facets of D’Arcangelo’s command as a Mozartian. His previous appearances on Deutsche Grammophon include a Figaro opposite Anna Netrebko’s Susanna in the new Salzburg Festival production (released by Deutsche Grammophon on CD and DVD) in 2007. Aleksandra Kurzak and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo appear at the Los Angeles Opera in Cosí …

Solo Album by Aleksandra Kurzak Gioia! is available NOW

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Decca releases the debut album of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak. Entitled Gioia!, the album features arias by Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, Strauss II, Puccini, Verdi, Bellini and Moniuszko. Aleksandra Kurzak says that the title of her new recording Gioia! – in English, “joy” – was actually her agent’s spontaneous idea: “He said that he can see the joy on my face when I’m singing. I’ve also heard from fans that listening to me sing makes them smile, because they can tell how much I enjoy performing. On this album, there is also joy in the music and in the words. This notion of “gioia” comes up in many arias, like Violetta’s and Susanna’s, which I sing and love. And this is just what I’ve been feeling about this recording. The joy in the music and my enjoyment of singing go hand in hand.”


Gioia! is released on the heels of several stellar turns in opera houses around the world including Royal Opera House, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera for which Kurzak has been unanimously pr…

Virtuoso's appear in all forms of music, not just Classical

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Many of my friends are not classical music enthusiasts. They are very supportive of my career choice (crazy as they find it) and go to great lengths to critique each of my compositions. Still, when it comes to attending a concert, many would prefer to take in a contemporary "commercial" ensemble rather than join me at the symphony. When I speak to them about classical music and the virtuosity involved by many of the performers, my friends often speak about the other virtuoso's in the world --people playing music that isn't "classical" but still displaying unbelievable skills. The other day, the following video was played for me and my jaw dropped. The music, the performance, everything about this short piece by the Sleepy Banjo Boys is virtuosic! Fortunately enough, their skills have not gone unnoticed. Here they are on David Letterman earlier this year. Watch out Mark O'Connor, one is a mean fiddle player, and Chris Thile, the youngest is o…

Cypress String Quartet The American Album: Music by Dvořák, Griffes, and Barber

The Cypress String Quartet (Cecily Ward, violin; Tom Stone, violin; Ethan Filner, viola; and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello) is pleased to announce the release of its latest recording, The American Album, featuring music inspired by America. The new album will be available from all major retailers on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, through the Cypress’ own label. The American Album includes Antonín Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96 (“American”), Charles Tomlinson Griffes’ Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes, and Samuel Barber’s String Quartet in B Minor, Op. 11.

With The American Album, the Cypress Quartet celebrates these composers’ efforts to define and develop an American sound. Dvořák wrote his String Quartet No. 12, nicknamed the “American,” in Spillville, Iowa in 1893 while visiting a small Czech farming community. Influenced by the music he encountered there, he incorporated Native American and African American themes into the work. Of his time in Spillville, Dvořák late…

Steve Reich's 75th Birthday Celebrated by the London Symphony Orchestra, Oct 12 & 15

The London Symphony Orchestra celebrates Steve Reich’s 75th Birthday, performing two concerts in October. A chamber group made up of LSO players performs a selection of Reich’s works at LSO St Luke’s on 12 October. The UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica concert includes Reich’s seminal Different Trains which won a Grammy Award for best Contemporary Classical Composition in 1990, Music for Pieces of Wood, Nagoya Marimbas, Violin Phase and Sextet.

UBS's support for the rich and diverse UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica series at LSO St Luke’s offers audiences the chance to experience world-class artists working at the cutting edge of contemporary style, crossing classical, jazz, folk, pop and world music.

On 15 October there will be a Performance Demonstration on Steve Reich’s Different Trains and Violin Phase by LSO violinists Roman Simovic and David Alberman. They will perform and discuss the inner workings of Reich’s Different Trains and Violin Phase with students from the Guildhall School …

Internationally Renowned Pianist Lang Lang Celebrates Franz Liszt's 200th Birthday with Philadelphia Orchestra

Over 100,000 people will have the unprecedented opportunity to experience internationally acclaimed pianist Lang Lang in a special event to be broadcast live to movie theaters across the country. Sony Classical is proud to announce that on Saturday, October 22, 2011, Lang Lang will celebrate Liszt’s 200th anniversary on his exact birthdate with a special, live concert featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra. A re-broadcast of the performance will take place on Monday, October 24th in select movie theaters. Event and ticketing information will be announced in September.

Lang Lang, will perform Liszt’s famed Piano Concerto No. 1 with additional selections from Liszt’s well-known repertoire in conjunction with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Charles Dutoit. The performance will also feature unique footage from this summer‘s iTunes Festival in London, including behind the scenes interviews, commentary and exclusive musical performances.

The Event will be offered i…

Vittorio Grigolo's Second Release on Sony Classical Arriverderci - Available Sep 20

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Makes West Coast Operatic Debut At LA Opera on November 6Hailed by the Independent as “the most exciting young male talent in opera today,” Vittorio Grigolo follows up his Sony Classical debut album, The Italian Tenor, with his second release, Arrivederci - a fresh and personal take on Italy’s exceptional musical heritage, available September 20. Also on November 6, Vittorio will also make his west coast operatic debut at the LA Opera, starring as Roméo in Shakespeare’s classic, Roméo et Juliette. While The Italian Tenor was devoted to a purely classical operatic repertoire, Vittorio’s new album, Arrivederci, combines his selection of beautiful arias with songs from the past century that are steeped in the Italian tradition. Recorded with Pier Giorgio Morandi conducting the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma, the album is a deeply personal homage to the music with which the great tenors of the past have thrilled generations of music lovers for years. Vittorio chose the title Arri…

Review: The Music of Nicholas Vasallo

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There is a current trend in thinking for some modern composers where live musicians are simply not capable of performing the music intricacy with the precision composers are putting into their music. Electro-acoustic music takes samples and distorts them in ways which are simply not possible during live performances. New Complexity provides music for live performers, but includes too much information for an actual performer to play live, so choices have to be made for performance.  Nicholas Vasallo take a new direction, using machines to play organic instruments.  Although the reasoning is similar to electro-acoustic music, the results are remarkably different. With electro-acoustic the sound can become less organic and highly effected, unnatural and at times (for me) video game-ish.  Nick's music is alive and vibrant with the organic instrument.

The music in let the machines do it for us still has the rich sound because it's created by organic instruments.  On this album th…

New CD by Leah Kardos – Feather Hammer available online Sept 19

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Feather Hammer is a collection of short pieces that explore the composerʼs relationship with the piano, her first instrument, as a source of familiarity, expressing warmth, pain, repetitive stress injuries, muscle memory, and a way to communicate with the outside world. The music crosses genre boundaries between contemporary classical, folktronica and ambient styles, and has been constructed from acoustic and prepared piano sounds and location recordings, making special use of the unique strummed, plucked, ambient and percussive tones of the instrument. Leah Kardos is an Australian composer and producer working in Bedford, England. Her past projects include film scores, chamber work commissions, collaborations with bands and a trip-hop tribute to David Bowie. Feather Hammer is the first album project that she has released under her own name as the sole composer, performer and producer. The album bears the marks of Leahʼs diverse influences; from the tiny, intimate, percussive beauty…

Tickets Go On Sale for 2011 Boston Pops Holiday Season Monday, September 12

Tickets will go on sale for the Boston Pops Holiday Series on Monday, September 12. Continuing one of Boston’s most beloved traditions, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops open the 2011 series on Wednesday, December 7, and the 37 concert series will run until Saturday, December 24. A complete Holiday Pops concert schedule appears at the end of this release. Holiday Pops tickets, ranging in price from $28-$127, depending on date and time, will go on sale at 8 a.m. on Monday, September 12, online at bostonpops.org. Starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 12, tickets may be purchased by phone at SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, and through the Symphony Hall Box Office, located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue. THE 2011 HOLIDAY POPS SEASON, DECEMBER 7-24
This year’s holiday series runs December 7-24 and includes 37 pre-Christmas evening and matinee concerts. The season also includes five special kids’ matinee concerts on Saturday, December 10 (11 a.m.); Sunday, December 11 …

Performing Arts Against AIDS Strikes Up the New Season with “Up Our Alley 13” on September 19

Classical music and performing arts industry professionals will descend on Greenwich Village’s hallowed Bowlmor Lanes on Monday, September 19, for what promises to be an evening of great fun, embarrassment, and goodwill for Up Our Alley 13: Classical Action's Annual Benefit Bowling Bonanza. The event attracts scores of worker-bees from New York City’s music professionals, including arts presenters, service organizations, and management and publicity firms, who will try to keep their minds uncharacteristically out of the gutter and help Classical Action raise funds to fight AIDS and other critical illnesses. Since its inception in 1999, Up Our Alley has raised more than $1.2 million dollars for Classical Action and its parent organization, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. In the weeks leading up to the event, participants have worked hard to persuade friends, family, and non-participating colleagues to sponsor their once-a-year attempts at physical activity – all in the spirit…