. Interchanging Idioms: January 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Milton Babbitt dies at 94

One of the giants of the Avant-garde movement in music, Milton Babbitt passed away Saturday, January 29th, 2011. He was 94.

Composing for more than 60 years, an educator, innovator, founder of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for "life's work as a distinguished and seminal American composer."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein’s first album on Sony Classical Bach: A Strange Beauty

The Only Traditional Classical Artist To Appear on the Billboard Top 200

“Dinnerstein brings out the luminous, off-kilter splendor of this music in a way that is both fearless and sly.” - San Francisco Chronicle

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein’s latest album, Bach: A Strange Beauty (Sony Classical), makes its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart. Dinnerstein is also the only Traditional Classical artist to grace the Billboard Top 200 chart which compiles the entire music industry’s top selling albums. In addition, this week the album is No. 4 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart (new artists across musical genres). Bach: A Strange Beauty also spent time as the No. 1 top selling album on Barnesandnoble.com and No. 2 selling album on Amazon.com, in good company with The Decemberists, Cake, The Black Keys and Bruno Mars. Last Sunday Dinnerstein was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

Bach: A Strange Beauty, which is Dinnerstein’s first orchestral disc as well as her first for Sony Classical, 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. The new album has been featured by classical radio stations across the country and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Simone Dinnerstein’s special affinity to the music of Bach was cemented when her self-funded recording of his Goldberg Variations ranked No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Chart 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.” A second album, The Berlin Concert, also ranked No. 1 upon release in 2008. 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.

Juanjo Mena leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Pianist Sensation Yuja Wang in Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Feb 10-13

Young Chinese pianist Yuja Wang joins forces with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), under the direction of Juanjo Mena, in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto on Thursday, February 10 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, February 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 13, 2010 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. This program will also feature the BSO’s first performance of Bruckner’s Sixth symphony since 1988.

The monstrous solo part and lush orchestral writing of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto has made it one of his most popular works. Rachmaninoff composed this work after a bout with depression following his poorly received first symphony. The success of this work revitalized his composing career and brought him international fame as a concerto composer. The difficult virtuoso solo part finds itself in the capable hands of Yuja Wang, whom Gramophone magazine named the 2009 Young Artist of the Year.

Like other major symphonic composers of the late Romantic era, Bruckner composed either small personal works or works of gargantuan proportions. Bruckner belonged to a new generation of composers in the nineteenth century that continually expanded traditions in musical styles, especially with harmony and form. His Sixth Symphony is no different and shows Bruckner’s maturity as an orchestral composer through its opulent harmonies, complex polyphony and unprepared modulations. Audience favorite Juanjo Mena, who was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, will lead the program.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bernard Labadie Conducts Mozart's Requiem

All-Mozart program showcases the Oboe Concerto - a masterwork of immeasurable beauty featuring Colorado Symphony principal oboist Peter Cooper

January may be one of the darkest months of the year, but the Colorado Symphony's upcoming all-Mozart concerts are sure to diffuse radiance and light throughout Denver. On January 28, 29 and 30, concertgoers will experience three Mozart masterworks, including a rare production of Mozart's illustrious Requiem featuring the Colorado Symphony Chorus, internationally-acclaimed vocalists, and the much-anticipated return of Bernard Labadie - one of today's leading conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire. Featured vocalists include soprano Shannon Mercer, mezzo-soprano Anita Krause, tenor James Taylor and bass Jeremy Galyon. These Colorado Symphony performances also include the Overture to The Magic Flute and the Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314 featuring Colorado Symphony principal oboist Peter Cooper.

For generations of music lovers, Mozart's Requiem represents the composer's genius; its expressive beauty and sublime moments leave concertgoers speechless, imbuing a sense of otherworldliness that is difficult to describe. Critics and concertgoers agree that the experience of a fully-staged live production is a "must" for any music lover. Only through the power and passion of a full production featuring orchestra, chorus and soloists can one feel the candid power of the music and appreciate Mozart's brilliance. The majesty of these upcoming Requiem performances will thrill Denver-area music lovers - whether new to Boettcher Concert Hall or seasoned concertgoers - and without a doubt, convert legions of new generations to become devoted Mozart followers.

In this all-Mozart program, concertgoers will also experience the lovely and splendid Oboe Concerto, arguably one of Mozart's most beautiful concerti and certainly one of the most optimistic and captivating of Mozart's compositions. What sets the Oboe Concerto apart is the translucent beauty of the happy and carefree spirit of the work, making it a personal favorite for millions. Nothing short of exquisite, Mozart's Oboe Concerto featuring Peter Cooper makes this Colorado Symphony concert a must-attend event.

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Bernard Labadie, conductor
Peter Cooper, principal oboe
Shannon Mercer, soprano
Anita Krause, mezzo-soprano
James Taylor, tenor
Jeremy Galyon, bass
Colorado Symphony Chorus / Duain Wolfe, director

MOZART: Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620
MOZART: Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314 (K. 285d)
MOZART: Requiem Mass for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor and Bass Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra in D minor, K. 626 (Completed by Robert D. Levin)

Friday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, January 29 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, January 30 at 2:30 p.m.
Friday: Come early and enjoy a Prelude to the performance with CEO, Jim Palermo and chorus director, Duain Wolfe or stay after for a Talkback session with conductor, Bernard Labadie.
Saturday: Come early and enjoy a Prelude to the performance with conductor, Bernard Labadie and chorus director, Duain Wolfe.
Sunday: Come early and enjoy a Prelude to the performance with chorus director, Duain Wolfe and Metro State College's Betsy Schwarm.

Colorado Symphony Family Series Presents Dvorák Comes To America

Family Series offers music lovers of all ages chance to explore Czech favorites, highlighting works by Dvorák

The Colorado Symphony's acclaimed Family Series continues on Sunday, January 23 with "Dvorák Comes to America." This family-friendly concert features an engaging multi-media exploration of Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World," as well as his Carnival Overture. Parents, grandparents and children alike will enjoy learning about these great masterworks in a welcoming setting amid the excitement of a visit to Boettcher Concert Hall.

The Denver Young Artists Orchestra will join the Colorado Symphony onstage for this "Side-by-Side" concert featuring the musicians of the Young Artists Orchestra, who range in age from eight to 23. In this annual musical collaboration, the Young Artists Orchestra performs alongside the musicians of the Colorado Symphony. Combined, the two orchestras will celebrate Czech favorites together!

Dvorák's ninth and final symphony – popularly known as his "New World Symphony" – is a masterwork that has stirred debate about uniquely "American music," the specific influences on the piece and Dvorák's own Bohemian musical heritage. Most appreciably, Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 is beloved for its idealistic enthusiasm and universality, as well as its uncanny ability to arouse and capture the interest of newcomers to classical music. Composed during Dvorák's tenure as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, the Symphony No. 9 received its premiere in December 1893 and became an immediate and long-lasting success.

The Colorado Symphony Family Series presentation of "Dvorák Comes to America" is a proud partner of the Czech Point Denver celebration, a citywide exploration of Czech arts and culture.

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Scott O'Neil, resident conductor
Denver Young Artists Orchestra

DVORÁK: Carnival Overture, Op. 92
DVORÁK: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 "From the New World"

One performance only! Sunday, January 23 at 2:30 p.m.
A Czech Point Denver Celebration Concert

Leif Ove Andsnes Performs Brahms’s Epic Piano Concerto No. 2 with Jansons/Concertgebouw and Muti/CSO

“One of the most gifted musicians of his generation.”– Wall Street Journal

Following performances with his hometown orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, as part of a season-long residency there, the celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes teams up with Mariss Jansons and the world-renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for concerts at home and on tour. Andsnes will alternately play two concertos – Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor (K. 491) and Brahms’s monumental, four-movement Piano Concerto No. 2 – with Jansons and the orchestra in Amsterdam (Feb 2 & 4) and on a six-city tour with stops in Hamburg, Germany (Feb 6), Copenhagen, Denmark (Feb 7), Oslo, Norway (Feb 8 & 9), Stockholm, Sweden (Feb 11), Luxembourg (Feb 13), and Paris, France (Feb 14). Soon after, Andsnes heads to the U.S. for further performances of the Brahms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and its new music director, Riccardo Muti (Feb 17-19), before returning to Europe for concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic and Bernard Haitink (March 16-18), in the third of Andsnes’s appearances this season as Pianist-in-Residence at the Berlin Philharmonie.

Andsnes calls Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, “an iconic piece for me, a gigantic thing that I have such musical and pianistic respect for,” and he is extremely excited to be playing it with two of today’s most revered conductors. Speaking of his long association with Mariss Jansons, Andsnes observes:

“I know Mariss Jansons from many concerts that we have played together, especially in the late ’80s and ’90s with the Oslo Philharmonic, where he was chief conductor until 2002. He was there for 23 years, and towards the end of this period I started making my career. He was very helpful to me from the start, taking me on important tours. The upcoming performances will be the first time he’s returning to Oslo, which will be an especially emotional experience for him and the audience. We’ll be doing two programs at the relatively new and spectacular opera house in Oslo. We’ll be performing in so many beautiful halls and cities on this tour, but those couple of days in Oslo will be very special. He is one of the greatest conductors, and he has taken an already great orchestra and made it better than ever.”

In January 2008, Andsnes collaborated with Riccardo Muti for the first time, performing Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic. The New York Times called it a “vibrant, brilliant performance,” noting: “Mr. Andsnes, an Apollonian pianist, brought out what could be considered the score’s Italianate qualities. He could not have had a better ally in this than Mr. Muti.” Speaking of his previous performances with the conductor, Andsnes noted:

“I remember how at ease I was working with Muti – it was not something I expected. I was struck by how he balanced the orchestra so perfectly, and how he cared for details in the score – especially dynamics – that other conductors don’t often care about. I was also taken by how he manages to create space within the music. There are lots of opportunities for it with this magnificent score! There was such broad feeling in his interpretation, the music expressed in big breaths – I’m very much longing to have that experience again.”

Andsnes’s first performances of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto in the U.S. took place in October 2007 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Osmo Vänskä. Philadelphia Inquirer critic Peter Dobrin reported, “Andsnes was the author of clean, brightly-articulated playing that, in the last movement, expressed so much technical confidence it came across as deliciously brash.”

Leif Ove Andsnes will return to the U.S. this spring, when he will perform a program of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schoenberg in four cities: Boston, MA (April 1), Chicago, IL (April 3), Champaign-Urbana, IL (April 5), and New York, NY (April 7). In December, Andsnes performed a four-concert residency at New York’s Carnegie Hall with musicians associated with Norway’s Risor Chamber Music Festival. The concerts were the last stop in an extensive tour marking Andsnes’s final season as one of the festival’s two principal artistic directors. Earlier in the fall, EMI Classics released a recording featuring Andsnes performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 with Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra. The release, completing Andsnes’s cycle of the great Russian composer’s four concertos, quickly became a Billboard bestseller and was included in the New York Times holiday gift guide: “Leif Ove Andsnes’s new recording of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto…is just as rippling and brilliant as his 1995 live recording with the Oslo Philharmonic but even more rhapsodic and searching,” noted the Times. “This welcome release includes a bracing account of Rachmaninov’s enigmatic, experimental Fourth Concerto.” The previous installment, featuring Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, won a coveted Gramophone Award in 2006 and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Andsnes has also recorded an album of Schumann’s complete Piano Trios with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and his sister, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff, which is scheduled for release by EMI Classics this spring.

Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein Kicks Off New Year with High-Profile Concerto Engagements

Kirill Gerstein, winner of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award and of lavish praise for his most recent solo recording, launches the New Year with high-profile concerto performances across Europe and the US. The last two weeks of January see the pianist performing Shostakovich’s Second with Esa-Pekka Salonen in Wales, Beethoven’s “Emperor” in Germany, Rachmaninoff’s First with the Baltimore Symphony, and the Shostakovich again with the St. Louis Symphony. Then in February Gerstein plays Brahms’s Second in Iceland and Venezuela, the latter performance under Gustavo Dudamel.

Gerstein’s new solo recital album, released in early November by Myrios Classics, features Schumann’s Humoreske, Liszt’s B-minor Sonata, and the debut recording of contemporary British composer Oliver Knussen’s Ophelia’s Last Dance, which Gerstein premiered at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in May 2010. The New York Times lauded the disc as being “played with exquisite technique, refined musicianship, and engrossing imagination.” A National Public Radio feature singled out the pianist’s take on the Schumann: “Gerstein explains that the Humoresque portrays an ‘intimate tracing of Schumann’s emotional states.’ Throughout the five-movement work, Gerstein deftly interprets those emotions, ranging from light tenderness to virtuosic strength.” The Los Angeles Times described his Liszt interpretation as “thoughtfully lyrical” and the Knussen as “haunting.”

Gerstein in the US

On January 20 and 23, Gerstein performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Baltimore Symphony conducted by Marin Alsop. On January 28-30, the pianist teams up with one of his key collaborators, conductor Semyon Bychkov, to perform Shostakovich’s Second Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony. A celebrated Rachmaninoff interpreter, on February 4-5 Gerstein returns to the composer and his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Columbus Symphony in Ohio. March brings Beethoven in New Orleans; in April, it’s Rachmaninoff’s Second in Milwaukee. In May, Gerstein shares the stage with the Tokyo String Quartet for an all-Beethoven program at New York’s 92nd Street Y, performing the composer’s C-minor Sonata, Op. 111, and the Bagatelles, Op. 119. A complete list of Gerstein’s winter and spring 2011 dates follows below.

Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Kirill Gerstein has been an American citizen since 2003. He was elected into an elite circle of pianists in 2010 when he won the Gilmore Artist Award (previous award-winners include Leif Ove Andsnes, Piotr Anderszewski, and Ingrid Fliter). His recording of Schumann, Liszt, and Knussen follows an esteemed 2004 album of Bach, Beethoven, Scriabin, and Gershwin/Wild, which was released on the Oehms Classics label. Gerstein won First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Israel; according to the Boston Globe, the pianist is “on the fast track to a major career, and he deserves to be.”

Kirill Gerstein: engagements, winter/spring 2011

January 20 and 23
Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra / Marin Alsop
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1

January 28-30
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis Symphony / Semyon Bychkov
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2

February 4-5
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus Symphony / Larry Rachleff
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

February 17
Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland Symphony / Louis Langrée
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2

February 21-27
Caracas, Venezuela
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra / Gustavo Dudamel
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2

March 11-12
New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana Philharmonic / Klauspeter Seibel
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1

April 1-3
Kitchener, Ontario
Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra / Edwin Outwater
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

April 7-9
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville Symphony / Giancarlo Guerrero
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

April 15-16
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra / Gilbert Varga
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1

April 30
San Diego, California
Solo recital

May 7
New York, New York
92nd Street Y
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; Bagatelles, Op. 119

May 13
Semur-en-Auxois, France
Solo recital

May 18-20
Liverpool, UK
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1

May 24-25
Tel Aviv, Israel
with Hagen String Quartet
Brahms: Piano Quintet

May 27
Neumarkt, Germany
with Hagen String Quartet
Brahms: Piano Quintet

May 28
Vienna, Austria
with Hagen String Quartet
Brahms: Piano Quintet

June 5
Stuttgart, Germany
Lieder recital with Robert Hall

June 9
London, UK
Philharmonia Orchestra / Yuri Temirkanov
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

June 12
Ittingen, Switzerland
Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Paganini
Busoni: Fantasia contrappuntistica for two pianos, with András Schiff

June 14
Aldeburgh, UK
Aldeburgh Festival, with Tabea Zimmermann, viola; Jörg Widmann, clarinet

Monday, January 24, 2011

Classical Musicians Need to Commit - to the point they make mistakes

No guts no glory

There are numerous discussions about what's wrong with Classical Music.... and this article is no different - except that what I'm asking Classical Musicians to do is break out of the rut they're in and start making mistakes, big ones, BOLD ones - ones that take them out of the "wasn't that nice" into the "wasn't that amazing."

Greg Sandow wrote an article on the The classical music aura which talks about how some performances of classical music tend to be so "classical" they're off putting. I attend a number of classical music concerts in the Denver area. While the performances are excellently played, there is always an air of caution, an exactness in the performance that keeps it from going over the edge - so precise and technically perfect it's lost something.

Now watch a performance by a pair of young cellists performing a cover of "Smooth Criminal".

There are lots of classical elements in their playing, sul ponticello, left hand pizzicato, upper register and rapid technical moments. Yes, this is pop music and whether you happen to think the music has any quality at all, their performances are committed, over the top, engaging, electric (without the need for amplified instruments). They shred their bow strings - and maybe that's what this performance needs.

I attended a violin masterclass/workshop a while back. The noted professional was there to critique the playing by some rather fine students, offering suggestions as to how they could improve. Pretty much in every case the difference between the professionals performance and the students was that of commitment. The professional made mistakes in what notes were played, but the "performance" was significantly better in terms of energy. Later that week I went to watch the live performance of the same professional. On stage the professional was far more technically accurate and very confident in what they were playing - but there was also a reserve, an element as if to say "this is classical music and needs reverence." This professional is probably a much better violinist than either of the cellists in the above video, but the cellists give a better performance.

Some friends played a new string quartet of mine last quarter. After their first performance I made a few edits and they gave a second performance. Technically the first was better, but even after listening to recording numerous times (where I can actually notice the mistakes) the second performance is considerably better. I almost wish they'd perform it a dozen more times with that same intensity --not only would the technical get better but I think the intensity would improve as well.

THIS is what classical music needs - Intensity! Performers still need to work on the technical but they need that extra commitment to push the performance beyond the technical and into the frenetic. Live performances of music should be alive.

Val Tidone International Music Competitions Announced

In 2011 five International Music Competitions will be organized:

- "Val Tidone" Young Talents Competition
    Sections: Piano, Accordion, Strings, Chamber Music
- "Silvio Bengalli" Piano Prize
- "Contessa Tina Orsi Anguissola Scotti"
    Chamber Music Prize
- "Carlo Civardi" Accordion Prize
- "Egidio Carella" Composition Competition

Besides that, a Special Prize for Folk Music will be assigned.

We will offer money prizes and concerts in Europe and Asia (2011 edition total prizes amount: euro 26.000,00 + 10 concerts), publication and performance of the selected scores.

The Val Tidone International Music Competitions require high professional standard. Therefore a prize obtained in those contests represents a valuable passport toward an international career.

For more information visit www.valtidone-competitions.com

Second Annual Rusty Musicians Event with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announced for April 14 at Strathmore

Amateur conductors invited to participate in a master class with Music Director Marin Alsop

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announces the return of “Rusty Musicians with the BSO” on Thursday, April 14 from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Amateur musicians are invited to join members of the BSO on stage to rehearse and perform Sibelius’ Finlandia and Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave led by BSO Music Director Marin Alsop. The evening will include two 60 minute sessions, beginning at 8 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. Previous Rusty Musician events offered 40 minute sessions. This new format responds to qualitative feedback from previous Rusty Musicians requesting more time on stage to collaborate and perform with the BSO musicians and Marin Alsop. Registration for “Rusty Musicians” is now open at BSOmusic.org/rusty. Concert attendance is free and open to the public.

Also new this session, the BSO will offer a one hour-long master class with Music Director Marin Alsop for twelve amateur conductors. The conductors’ master class precedes the Rusty Musicians event, running from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. on April 14 at the Music Center at Strathmore. The master class will be run in a “piano rehearsal” format, with each participant preparing five minutes of the Rusty Musicians repertoire to practice and conduct with piano, coached by Maestra Alsop. Conductors will also be provided premium box seating to observe both Rusty Musician sessions. This event is closed to the public; all other rules, deadlines and fees apply as per registration for orchestral instrumentalists.

To Apply: Visit http://www.BSOmusic.org/rusty and fill out the application form. Acceptance is limited to the first 200 applicants. Participants must pay a $50 registration fee online upon acceptance into the program to confirm their participation.

Sony Classical Presents CD's and DVD's from the Met


Sony Classical, in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera, proudly presents the first in a line of CD and DVD releases drawn from both the storied Met broadcast archive and the acclaimed series "The Met: Live in HD." On January 25, 2011, Sony Classical issues four multi-disc sets that represent the first official release on CD of historic Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts from 1947 to 1962, with complete live opera performances freshly remastered from the original sources. All-star vocal greats like Licia Albanese, Carlo Bergonzi, Jussi Björling, Franco Corelli, Giuseppe di Stefano, Lily Pons, Leontyne Price, and Bidù Sayão at the height of their careers. Also on January 25, Sony Classical releases four DVDs capturing some of the most acclaimed and requested recent productions from the award-winning, groundbreaking series "The Met: Live in HD": Puccini's Madama Butterfly, John Adams' Doctor Atomic, Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, and Richard Strauss's Salome, each featuring some of today's top opera talents, including Plácido Domingo, Karita Mattila, Patricia Racette, and Gerald Finley.

“Opera lovers should be very pleased to have these historic gems available, as well as some of our most recent high definition transmissions,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager. “We are committed to serving our public with the greatest possible range of operatic artistry.”

Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical said: "The Met broadcast archive is one of the ultimate treasure troves of recorded music. We're happy to be able to make some of its most legendary tapes available for the first time in the way they should be presented. Today, the Met's work of course gets preserved in a much different way, and so we also look forward to releasing some of the most spectacular recent productions in glorious HD video."

For more information on the Metropolitan Opera, please visit www.metopera.org.

Unsuk Chin's Cello Concerto Receives U.S. Premiere

New York's Talea Ensemble Presents Unsuk Chin Composer Portrait Unsuk Chin's Cello Concerto (2009) will receive its U.S. premiere with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Susan Mälkki with cellist Alban Gerhardt on February 10-12, 2011. The concerto, for which Chin received a British Composers Award, is dedicated to Gerhardt and was commissioned by the BBC Proms. It is Chin's fourth instrumental concerto to date, following her Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto. The U.S. premiere follows a hugely successful world premiere at the BBC Proms in August 2009 by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Of that performance, the Sunday Times (London) wrote: "The greatest compliment you can pay a new work is the desire to hear it again, as with Unsuk Chin's Cello Concerto... (It) is surely destined for the repertoire." The work will also have German and Korean premieres in 2011.

Chin describes the work as "antithetical to (her) other concertos." She continues, "While in my concertos for violin, piano and percussion I was seeking to merge a solo instrument into a virtuoso super-instrument, here it's all about the competitive approach between cello and orchestra… In my cello writing, I often ask the soloist to become a kind of illusionist, disguising the nature of this instrument. However, I feel also strongly that the cello has a kind of intrinsic emotional character, which can't be denied."

Friday, January 21, 2011

"STREETCAR JOURNEY" CD Release on Feb. 5 features original Alex North Soundtrack to 1951 Film Classic

Pianist Chie Sato Roden & chamber jazz ensemble Fire in July celebrate the release of their CD "Streetcar Journey," featuring the music of beloved American film composer Alex North (1910-1991) and his magnificent, jazz-inflected score to the 1951 classic "A Streetcar Named Desire." The concert takes place on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm at the Tenri Cultural Institute (www.tenri.org), located in New York’s Greenwich Village on the ground floor of 43A West 13th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Admission is free. Call 646-338-7456 for more information.

The performance will feature Chie Sato Roden, piano, and Fire in July: (Jody Redhage cello, voice, compositions, arrangements; Alan Ferber trombone, compositions; Ken Thomson clarinet, bass clarinet; Tom Beckham vibraphone; Fred Kennedy drums & percussion)

Chie Sato Roden, (www.chiesatoroden.com) a passionate proponent of new American and Japanese solo piano repertoire, was investigating potential new pieces to program when she happened upon a 30 minute suite of sequences from Alex North’s “Streetcar” film score, arranged for solo piano by North himself. Roden fell in love with the suite of nine sequences—this was moody and evocative music, in turn languid and gritty, and remarkable as the first major film music to pull heavily on the jazz sounds of the south. Roden formulated a vision to expand the 30-minute solo suite to an evening-length performance of varied textures and instrumental colors, by having arrangements of the solo piano sequences made for chamber ensemble, as well as commissioning original compositions inspired by North’s film score and Tennessee Williams’ play as interludes between the North movements. Roden, and composers Alan Ferber (www.alanferber.com) and Jody Redhage (www.jodyredhage.com) have worked together to collaboratively create the concert-length project Streetcar Journey, performed live as a multi-media event with projected still images from the classic movie starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Evoking in turn lazy southern afternoons and languid romance, versus the grit, intensity, and struggle of urban and industrial life in the mid-twentieth century deep south, Streetcar Journey celebrates the genius of one of America’s most beloved playwrights and one of America’s most beloved film score composers, re-imagined through the lens of 21st century chamber jazz performance.

Chie Sato Roden, who "pushes contemporary music beyond the confines of a restricted genre" (Japanese music critic, Yuji Numata), received the Ibla Contemporary Performance Award in 1998 and she now serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Ibla Foundation. She has issued two CDs, featuring the works of contemporary Japanese and American composers, under the ALM label in Japan.

Called an "adventurous cello songstress" by Time Out NY, and now a member of Grammy nominated Esperanza Spalding’s band, Jody Redhage (cellist, composer, and vocalist) has a passion for setting 20th and 21st century American poetry into art song, and she principally composes for her ensemble Fire in July. Redhage's compositions meld the detail and finesse of chamber music with the energy and drive of jazz improvisation and more popular genres. With tinges of Medieval chanson and hints of Weill, Redhage creates a captivating blend of genres that comes across as her unique voice.

Known internationally as a jazz trombonist and composer, Alan Ferber is a member of the Asphalt Orchestra and leads four of his own ensembles: the Nonet, Nonet with Strings, his Big Band, and a Quartet. His new recording, Chamber Songs, received four stars in Downbeat and was included in their "Best of 2010" list. Alan has recorded and toured with a vast array of artists including Charlie Hunter, Don Byron, Kenny Wheeler, Sufjan Stevens, and Toshiko Akiyoshi, and is on faculty at the Peabody Conservatory and Montclair State University.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Joins Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and on Tour

It was with the Cleveland Orchestra that Pierre-Laurent Aimard launched the current season, releasing his landmark all-Ravel album with the ensemble this past October. The partnership proved, as it has in the past, to be a winning one: BBC Music magazine pronounced the disc “utterly sublime,” Cleveland’s Plain Dealer deemed it “glorious,” and the Los Angeles Times and Chicago’s WFMT were among those that included it in their “Best of 2010” lists and holiday gift guides. Now Aimard rejoins the orchestra under its music director, Franz Welser-Möst, for three weeks of concerts, crowned with a Carnegie Hall appearance on Saturday, February 5. In New York, as at the orchestra’s Miami residency (Jan 28 & 29) and on tour in Ann Arbor (Feb 1) and Newark (Feb 6), the pianist will perform Schumann’s sole Piano Concerto (1845). Additionally, for three concerts at the Cleveland Orchestra’s Severance Hall home (Jan 20-22), at its Indiana University residency (Jan 25), and on tour at Chicago’s Symphony Center (Feb 2), Aimard will play Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto (1930-31); according to the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini, “the concerto would be a staple if it were not so fiendishly difficult. But without any facade of virtuosic showiness, the intensely focused and technically prodigious Mr. Aimard played it with ease.”

Aimard’s relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra goes back many years. Since his 1996 debut with the ensemble, their frequent appearances together have included US and European tours, and for two seasons – 2007-08 and 2008-09 – Aimard served as its Artist-in-Residence. Under Welser-Möst’s direction, he and the Clevelanders gave the world, US, and New York premieres of George Benjamin’s most recent orchestral work, Duet for piano and orchestra (2008), at Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, and Carnegie Hall, respectively. To have had three such opportunities, to present an important new work like Benjamin’s to as many new audiences, is the kind of honor bestowed nowadays on only the most esteemed performers, and to have done so always with the same forces speaks to the depth of the rapport Aimard has developed with the conductor and orchestra. The upcoming Carnegie Hall and other US dates offer precious opportunities to hear this rare partnership in action.

The pianist can also currently be seen in Pianomania (2009), a nominee for Best Documentary at the European Film Awards. By following piano tuner-to-the-stars Stefan Knüpfer, the film offers a behind-the-scenes look at four of today’s leading concert pianists, Aimard among them. The Boston Globe reports that “the film devotes a large portion of its 93 minutes to the year he [Knüpfer] spends perfecting a piano for the French musician Pierre-Laurent Aimard”; the Guardian judged the results to be “an excellent film.”

The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst’s first Indiana University Residency to take place January 24-26

Groundbreaking residency will involve every principal musician of the Orchestra teaching and the IU Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra musicians sharing the stage in rehearsal

Centerpiece of the residency is a concert by The Cleveland Orchestra led by Franz Welser-Möst on January 25 with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist at the IU Auditorium

Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra’s first residency at Indiana University will take place January 24-26 in Bloomington, Ind , with the scope of activities providing students with unprecedented access and exposure to one of the country’s major Orchestras over three days.

On Monday, January 24 all 17 of The Cleveland Orchestra’s principal musicians will lead orchestral repertoire master classes with students from the Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music. Musicians in the IU Orchestra will also have the rare opportunity to sit side-by-side with Cleveland Orchestra players in a shared rehearsal led by The Cleveland Orchestra’s Assistant Conductors, James Feddeck, and Sasha Mäkilä.

Music Director Franz Welser-Möst will lead the IU Philharmonic in a coaching session of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 on January 24 and will meet with IU conducting students. He will also lead an open rehearsal on Tuesday, January 25 for the centerpiece of the residency, a performance by The Cleveland Orchestra that evening at 8:00 p.m. at the IU Auditorium. The program for this concert is the Overture to Wagner's Tannhäuser, Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben ("A Hero's Life"), and Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist.

In addition to the teaching and performance activities, the residency will include chamber performances by principal musicians, a visit to Fairview Elementary School and an arts administration seminar. (Full schedule follows.)

The Indiana University Residency is the latest initiative by The Cleveland Orchestra to diversify its activities beyond Cleveland . This month the Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst will return to Miami for its fifth residency, including concerts at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County January 28 and 29. In July the Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst will begin the first of a biennial residency in New York as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Internationally, the Orchestra has ongoing biennial residencies at the Lucerne Festival and at the Musikverein in Vienna .

Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson describes the groundbreaking intensity of the residency: “I believe the concentrated nature of our residency at Indiana University is unprecedented in The Cleveland Orchestra’s history. In just two days, there will be 30 events ranging from orchestral repertoire classes, a visit to a local elementary school, and three orchestras including IU students rehearsing with Cleveland Orchestra musicians, all in addition to a Cleveland Orchestra concert and a collaborative chamber concert with IU faculty, students, and Cleveland Orchestra musicians. Franz Welser-Möst and the Orchestra’s musicians are dedicated to teaching and coaching the next generation of this country’s professional musicians.”

“We are extremely pleased to welcome the renowned Cleveland Orchestra to Indiana University ,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “Our partnership with this magnificent ensemble will provide our students with opportunities to learn from and interact with some of the world's top classical musicians, who promise to deliver an exciting and memorable performance at IU Auditorium.”

Monday, January 24, 4:00 p.m., IU Auditorium
IU Philharmonic reading session led by The Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.
Note: Entry to this event requires ticket to January 25 IU Auditorium event.

Tuesday, January 25, 8:00 p.m. IU Auditorium
The Cleveland Orchestra & Franz Welser-Möst
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
WAGNER Overture to Tannhäuser
BARTOK Piano Concerto No. 2
R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben

San Francisco Opera Announces 2011-12 Season

San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley today revealed repertory plans, casting and productions for the 2011–12 Season, the Company’s 89th season. Nine operas will be presented: Heart of a Soldier, a world premiere commissioned on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks; three Company repertory premieres of Lucrezia Borgia, Xerxes and Nixon in China; two new San Francisco Opera production premieres—Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute; a new co-production of Attila with Teatro alla Scala; and Turandot and Carmen, revivals of two classic productions popular with San Francisco audiences. Seventy-four opera performances will be presented at the War Memorial Opera House beginning Friday, September 9 with a gala opening of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot.

Throughout the season, San Francisco Opera will present some of the world’s leading singers including Renée Fleming, Francesco Meli and Vitalij Kowaljow (Lucrezia Borgia); Melody Moore, William Burden and Thomas Hampson (Heart of a Soldier); Susan Graham, David Daniels and Sonia Prina (Xerxes); Iréne Theorin and Marco Berti (Turandot); Lucas Meachem and Ellie Dehn (Don Giovanni); Kate Aldrich, Thiago Arancam and Paulo Szot (Carmen); Ferruccio Furlanetto, Oksana Dyka, Ramón Vargas, Quinn Kelsey and Samuel Ramey (Attila); Heidi Stober, Alek Shrader, Nathan Gunn, Albina Shagimuratova and Kristinn Sigmundsson (The Magic Flute); and Brian Mulligan, Maria Kanyova and Simon O’Neill (Nixon in China).

Conducting the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti (Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen and Attila), Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers (Heart of a Soldier and Xerxes) and Assistant Music Director Giuseppe Finzi (Turandot and Carmen). Making their Company debuts are conductors Riccardo Frizza (Lucrezia Borgia), Rory Macdonald (The Magic Flute) and Lawrence Renes (Nixon in China). The San Francisco Opera Chorus is directed by Ian Robertson .

The creative teams featured in the 2011–12 Season comprise many of the most respected directors and designers in the field: San Francisco Opera Artistic Adviser Francesca Zambello and set designer Peter Davison (Heart of a Soldier); celebrated Italian film director Gabriele Lavia and designer Alessandro Camera (Don Giovanni and Attila); critically acclaimed English director and designer John Pascoe (Lucrezia Borgia); Olivier Award-winning film and stage director Nicholas Hytner, production designer David Fielding and revival director Michael Walling (Xerxes); Japanese-American ceramic artist and painter Jun Kaneko, production designer and director Harry Silverstein (The Magic Flute); the Company debuts of director Michael Cavanagh and designer Erhard Rom (Nixon in China); director Garnett Bruce and designer David Hockney (Turandot); and director Jose Maria Condemi in a production by the late director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (Carmen).

The new season is also highlighted by two orchestral concerts showcasing the San Francisco Opera Orchestra led by Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti in co-presentations with Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley on October 28, 2011 and June 3, 2012. In addition, a tribute concert Celebrating Frederica von Stade, the internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano and one of the music world’s most beloved figures, is planned for the Herbst Theatre on December 3, 2011. Celebrating Frederica von Stade is presented in association with San Francisco Performances, Cal Performances, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

“The Company’s 89th season offers a nice balance of repertory, with a healthy mix of debuting and returning artists,” said General Director David Gockley. “I am particularly pleased that despite these continuing hard financial times, seven of our nine productions will be new to the War Memorial Opera House stage.”

“I look forward to returning to San Francisco Opera for my third season and I am very happy to continue my association with this wonderful company,” commented Music Director Nicola Luisotti . “I have the great privilege of conducting Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen and Attila with wonderful international singers and the great San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The whole season is going to be very special with so much beautiful music, so many new productions, so many extraordinary singers and two fantastic concerts with the Orchestra.”

The 2011–12 Season features the Company debuts of many leading artists, including sopranos Oksana Dyka (Odabella/Attila), Serena Farnocchia (Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni), Susan Foster (Turandot/Turandot), Maria Kanyova (Pat Nixon/Nixon in China), Hye Jung Lee (Madame Mao Tse-tung/Nixon in China), Lisette Oropesa (Romilda/Xerxes), Albina Shagimuratova (The Queen of the Night/The Magic Flute) and Iréne Theorin (Turandot/Turandot); mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey (Zerlina/Don Giovanni); tenors Topi Lehtipuu (Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni), Francesco Meli (Gennaro/Lucrezia Borgia), Simon O’Neill (Mao Tse-tung/Nixon in China), Nathaniel Peake (Tamino/The Magic Flute) and Diego Torre (Foresto/Attila); baritones Paulo Szot (Escamillo/Carmen), Chen-Ye Yuan (Chou En-lai/Nixon in China) and Hyung Yun (Ping/Turandot); bass-baritone Wayne Tigges (Ariodates/Xerxes, Zuniga/Carmen); and basses Morris Robinson (The Commendatore/Don Giovanni) and Marco Vinco (Leporello/Don Giovanni).

Many acclaimed singers will be returning to the War Memorial Opera House, including sopranos Ellie Dehn (Donna Anna/Don Giovanni), Renée Fleming (Lucrezia Borgia/Lucrezia Borgia), Melody Moore (Susan Rescorla/Heart of a Soldier) and Heidi Stober (Atalanta/Xerxes, Pamina/The Magic Flute); mezzo-sopranos Kate Aldrich (Carmen/Carmen), Elizabeth DeShong (Maffio Orsini/Lucrezia Borgia), and Susan Graham (Xerxes/Xerxes); contralto Sonia Prina (Amastris/Xerxes); countertenor David Daniels (Arsamenes/Xerxes); tenors Thiago Arancam (Don José/Carmen), Marco Berti (Calaf/Turandot), William Burden (Daniel J. Hill/Heart of a Soldier), Greg Fedderly (Monostatos/The Magic Flute), Walter Fraccaro (Calaf/Turandot), Alek Shrader (Tamino/The Magic Flute) and Ramón Vargas (Foresto/Attila); baritones Nathan Gunn (Papageno/The Magic Flute), Thomas Hampson (Rick Rescorla/Heart of a Soldier), Quinn Kelsey (Ezio/Attila), Lucas Meachem (Don Giovanni/Don Giovanni) and Brian Mulligan (Richard Nixon/Nixon in China); bass-baritones Patrick Carfizzi (Henry Kissinger/Nixon in China), David Pittsinger (The Speaker/The Magic Flute) and Christian Van Horn (Timur/Turandot); and basses Raymond Aceto (Timur/Turandot), Ferruccio Furlanetto (Attila/Attila), Vitalij Kowaljow (Alfonso d’Este/Lucrezia Borgia), Samuel Ramey (Pope Leo I/Attila) and Kristinn Sigmundsson (Sarastro/The Magic Flute).

Alberto Veronesi Conducts Giordano’s Fedora On a New Recording to be Released by Deutsche Grammophon on Tuesday, January 25

Alberto Veronesi conducts Umberto Giordano’s Fedora featuring Angela Gheorghiu in the title role of Princess Fedora Romazov, Plácido Domingo as Count Loris Ispanov, and the Orchestre symphonique et Chœurs de la Monnie, on a new recording to be released in the U.S. on Tuesday, January 25 by Deutsche Grammophon. In an early review of the recording, The Times (London) wrote: “Veronesi, with the orchestra and chorus of La Monnaie in Brussels, lavishes affection on Giordano’s score.” The album also features soprano Nino Machaidze as Countess Olga Sukarev and baritone Fabio Maria Capitanucci as De Siriex.

Fedora is Mr. Veronesi’s sixth album in an ongoing collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon of recordings of lesser known works of the Italian verismo operatic repertoire. Previously released albums in the series include the critically acclaimed complete recording of Puccini’s early opera Edgar with Plácido Domingo in the title role (2006); an album of original editions and alternative versions of famous Puccini arias, ensembles, and rare orchestral compositions with Mr. Domingo, soprano Violeta Urmana, and the Vienna Philharmonic titled Puccini Rediscovered (2009); a live performance of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz starring Ms. Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna at Deutsche Oper Berlin (2009); La Nuit de mai, an album of Leoncavallo songs and arias performed by Mr. Domingo, pianist Lang Lang and the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna (2010); and the first-ever commercial recording of Leoncavallo’s I Medici with Mr. Domingo, baritone Carlos Álvarez, soprano Daniela Dessi and mezzo soprano Renata Lamanda with the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2010).

Decca Signs Exciting Polish Soprano Aleksandra Kurzak

Decca Classics has signed an exclusive recording contract with the young Polish soprano, Aleksandra Kurzak, who, as one of the most exciting young singers on the international opera stage, has been thrilling press and public alike with performances in Europe and the US.

Aleksandra Kurzak’s debut recording with Decca – which will be released in Autumn 2011 – will be a showcase of contrasting lyric and coloratura arias. Just recorded with the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, conducted by its dynamic young Music Director Designate Omer Wellber, the album will focus on roles which she has either performed or is preparing to sing on stage: Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, bel canto roles from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Bellini’s I Puritani and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, plus the First Act scena from La Traviata, which showcases Kurzak’s effortless agility as well as the full, warm intensity of a Verdi lyric soprano. The disc also acknowledges the soprano’s roots with the key soprano aria from Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor) – perhaps the greatest Polish opera of the 19th Century.

Aleksandra Kurzak will also feature on the latest Decca album from Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja – to be released in Fall 2011 – in which she sings duets from Puccini’s La Bohème and Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles.

Aleksandra Kurzak first came to international attention in the 2004-05 season, with debuts at the Met (Olympia) and Royal Opera (Aspasia in Mitridate), followed by notable appearances at the Royal Opera in L’elisir d’amore (Adina) and Don Pasquale (Norina). She rose to international prominence in 2008 when she triumphed in the title role of Rossini’s Matilde di Shabran, also at the Royal Opera, opposite Decca tenor star Juan Diego Flórez. As The Guardian critic wrote “Flórez’s sparring partner here is Aleksandra Kurzak, his equal in technique and vocal glamour.” She returns to Covent Garden on January 18th, singing Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) with the Royal Opera.

Decca’s Paul Moseley said, “It is always a big moment when we welcome a new soprano to Decca, the singers’ label. I am convinced that Aleksandra is the new star we were seeking. Her warm, flexible voice records beautifully and above all she is a true musician as well as a phenomenal actress and singer.”

Aleksandra Kurzak said, “For me to sign a contract with a record company is a dream come true. And to be the part of the Decca family with such great singers as Pavarotti, Freni, Sutherland, Tebaldi, Bartoli and Fleming is a huge honor and happiness for me. It makes me particularly proud to be the first Polish singer to sign an exclusive contract with such a legendary company.”

In the current season Aleksandra Kurzak recently triumphed in her debut as Lucia in the new production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in Seattle, sings Violetta (La Traviata) in Hamburg, Warsaw and Turin, Adina (L’elisir d’amore) in Valencia and Vienna (Staatsoper), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Covent Garden and Susanna in the new production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in Madrid. She will also give a recital at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Denver's Top Ticket: Mozart's Requiem

Bernard Labadie makes a triumphant return after highly successful Mozart concerts last season, this time with three other Mozart masterpieces: Overture to The Magic Flute; the Oboe Concerto with Principal Oboe Peter Cooper; and Requiem, featuring the magnificent Colorado Symphony Chorus.

Tickets available online at www.coloradosymphony.org or call the box office at 303.623.7876.

Mozart's Requiem

1/28 - 7:30 p.m
. 1/29 - 7:30 p.m.
1/30 - 2:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall

Bernard Labadie, conductor
Peter Cooper, principal oboe
Shannon Mercer, soprano
Anita Krause, mezzo-soprano
James Taylor, tenor
Jeremy Galyon, bass
Colorado Symphony Chorus / Duain Wolfe, director

MOZART / Overture to The Magic Flute
MOZART / Oboe Concerto
MOZART / Requiem

Music From Japan Festival 2011 Celebrates Japanese Flutes and Song in NYC and Washington DC

Music From Japan and its Artistic Director, Naoyuki Miura, are thrilled to present 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,” at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 12, features Kohei Nishikawa and Elizabeth Brown performing new and traditional music for Western classical flute and three kinds of Japanese flute: the nohkan, shinobue, and shakuhachi. The program comprises works from the traditional to the contemporary, including 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).

At the same venue on Sunday, February 13, “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 sings settings of traditional folk songs, of songs with traditional Japanese sonorities, and of poems by Hakushu Kitahara (1885-1942), Haruo Sato (1892-1964), and Shoko Ema (1913-2000). The settings are by composers of the past century ranging from Kosaku Yamada, a student of Max Bruch, to the self-taught film composer Fumio Hayasaka. Aoyama and her pianist, Yoshio Tsukada, are joined by Kohei Nishikawa on nohkan in the world premiere performance of Norio Fukushi’s Night of the Full Moon (2011), which is based on the oldest surviving tale in the Japanese language. The concert will be followed by an open forum.

The Dallas Opera Is Proud to Announce “Tragic Obsessions” – Its Third Season in the Winspear Opera House

The Dallas Opera is pleased to announce the five darkly dazzling operas that comprise the company’s 2011-12 season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. With opening night on Friday, October 21, 2011, the 55th international season – “Tragic Obsessions” – will showcase compelling works by Donizetti, Janácek, Wagner, Verdi, and Mozart, and will include an outstanding Dallas opera-in-concert, important debuts, and some of the company’s most renowned productions. Each opera will feature the superbly talented Dallas Opera Orchestra and Dallas Opera Chorus and will be performed in its original language, with English translations projected above the stage at every performance. Exclusive subscriber extras include “A Cabaret Evening with Patricia Racette” and a fun-filled family concert starring soprano Ava Pine and the Dallas Opera Orchestra.

Denver's Ellie Caulkins Opera House Free and open to all

This month, you're invited to be part of the excitement as opera's future stars compete for a chance to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions begin with Preliminaries on Friday, January 21 at 9:30am. District Finals follow Saturday, January 22, at 12:30pm, and the Rocky Mountain Regional Finals will be held Saturday, January 29 at 1:30 pm. All auditions will be held at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 950 13th Street. They are free and open to the public.

Winners of the Regional competitions advance to the National Finals on the Metropolitan Opera stage in March 2011 where they compete for a $15,000 prize. Approximately 100 former participants in the National Council Auditions appear on the Met roster every season and nearly half of those are National Winners. Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Deborah Voigt, and many other opera luminaries were winners of the Met Auditions.

Simone Dinnerstein returns to Bach on her first orchestral disc


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

Simone Dinnerstein’s first album on Sony Classical Bach: A Strange Beauty 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.

Simone Dinnerstein’s special affinity to the music of Bach was cemented when her self-funded recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations took the US Billboard charts by storm on its release in 2007. The album drew intense critical acclaim and Dinnerstein’s unique playing garnered such impressive reviews as that from The New York Times "An utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation".

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

The title Simone 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 on further delving, deviates constantly from the expected patterns, altering the rhythmic stress and creating something mysterious and unexpected.

Juanjo Mena leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, January 27-29

Guest violinist Augustin Hadelich makes BSO debut

Violinist Augustin Hadelich makes his Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) debut, under the direction of Juanjo Mena, in a performance of Brahms’ Violin Concerto on Thursday, January 27 at 8 p.m. and Friday, January 28 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, January 29 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Audience-favorite Juanjo Mena will also lead the BSO in Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4, commissioned by the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 85, “La Reine.”

Johannes Brahms composed his violin concerto at the peak of his career, to be performed by his good friend, Joseph Joachim, who premiered the work in 1879. The concerto was a product of these close colleagues’ collaboration, with Brahms frequently conferring with Joachim about figurations and orchestral balance to compliment the violin. The piece finds itself again in able hands, performed by young virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, hailed by The New York Times for his “dazzling technique” and “gorgeous tone.”

Decca Releases World-Premiere DVD Recording of Halévy’s Clari Featuring Cecilia Bartoli

Famed mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli recreates the 1828 triumph of the legendary Maria Malibran – original star and dedicatee of Halévy’s “tragi-comedy”, Clari – in this newly recorded DVD from Decca. Bartoli’s fascination with Malibran is well documented, most dramatically with the mezzo’s recording project, Maria, from 2007. This now forgotten opera received the star treatment from Bartoli and the Orchestra ‘La Scintilla’ of the Zurich Opera in this new production.

Tenor Joseph Calleja Reprises His Star-Making Role in Rigoletto, January 11-27

Joseph Calleja, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 as Verdi’s Duke of Mantua, returns to the role at the Met in a January 11-27 run of Rigoletto. This season sees Calleja as a fixture at the great New York house; he began with performances as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème in December, inspiring the Associated Press to remark that he had “a voice unlike anyone else on the operatic scene today” and that there was “an alluring sweetness” and “irresistible tenderness” to it. After Rigoletto, the Maltese tenor returns to the Met in February and March to sing Edgardo opposite Natalie Dessay in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which will be transmitted live on March 19 to movie theaters around the world, as part of the “Met: Live in HD” series. In addition to Calleja’s stage performances, January sees the U.S. release of EMI Classics’ DVD of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra from Covent Garden, starring Plácido Domingo in the title role and Calleja in his role debut as Gabriele Adorno.

Joseph Calleja was only 28 years of age when he made his Met debut as the Duke in 2006, prompting the New York Times to note his “rich and expressive” voice. Now 32, the Maltese tenor “has matured into one of the finest lyric tenors before the public today,” according to a recent Associated Press review of Houston Grand Opera’s season-opening new production of Madama Butterfly, which starred Calleja as Pinkerton. The cast of the Met’s current revival production of Rigoletto features Nino Machaidze as Gilda and Giovanni Meoni in the title role, besides Calleja as the Duke. Paolo Arrivabeni conducts.

On January 11, the same day as the premiere of Rigoletto at the Met, EMI Classics releases a DVD of Elijah Moshinsky’s production of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House, starring Plácido Domingo in the title role and Joseph Calleja in his role debut as Gabriele Adorno. The critical response to the summer 2010 performances at Covent Garden was unanimous. The Financial Times called Calleja “a thrilling Adorno,” and the Evening Standard described how “his ringing high notes...won the hearts of the audience.” Times music critic Neil Fisher wrote: “The fabulous Joseph Calleja…made me think not of his elder co-star but more of a young Pavarotti,” and went as far as to say: “In his care, the future of tenor singing looks pretty rosy.” According to the Guardian, it was Calleja who merited “the biggest cheer during the actual performance,” for singing “with an ardent intensity that caps anything else he has done here.” The Independent wrote: “Calleja almost steals the show,” and the Stage added that he “supplie[d] the most exquisite singing of the evening.” WhatsOnStage.com described the singer’s portrayal of Adorno as “peerless” and stated that his bright tenor was “reminiscent of the young Jose Carreras.” In the Financial Times’ recent review of the new DVD, which has already been released in Europe, Andrew Clark gave the release a five-star rating.

Iceland Symphony Orchestra Names Ilan Volkov Music Director Designate

Assumes Music Director and Chief Conductor Post in 2011–2012 Season

Iceland Symphony Orchestra announced today the appointment of Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov as Music Director and Chief Conductor. He will assume the role at the beginning of the 2011–2012 season with an initial three-year contract. The 2011-2012 season will also be the orchestra’s first in the brand new Harpa concert hall, a landmark building in Reykjavík’s waterfront area.

During Volkov’s first season as Music Director and Chief Conductor in 2011–2012, he will conduct a minimum of six weeks during the regular concert season. He will conduct a minimum of nine weeks each season through to the end of his initial contract in 2014. In addition, the orchestra is planning international touring with Volkov during the contract period. Volkov will also curate an annual festival of contemporary music in Harpa concert hall, the first taking place in March 2012.

“I am delighted to be taking up the post of Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony at a time of an exciting shift in the history of music making in Iceland,” remarked Ilan Volkov. “The extremely interesting and vibrant music scene in Iceland creates unique artistic opportunities. Having enjoyed working with the orchestra on a number of occasions, I am very much looking forward to a close association with the players and presenting adventurous and challenging programmes. I am particularly excited about creating an annual new music festival in which we will collaborate with contemporary composers, non-classical musicians and artists.”

eighth blackbird takes Manhattan, with return to Carnegie Hall and launch of new “Tune-In” festival

“eighth blackbird is so good it’s dangerous.” – Boston Globe

eighth blackbird’s last New York appearance in May moved New York Times critic Steve Smith to “env[y] a composer’s opportunity to challenge these versatile, expressive performers.” It is an opportunity that many of today’s most important composers are taking. On January 31, the Grammy Award-winning sextet returns to New York with further examples of the wealth of new music it has inspired, commissioned, and premiered, including Stephen Hartke’s Pulitzer Prize finalist Meanwhile, when it takes the playful and popular “Still Life” program to Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Then, still in the city on February 16-20, eighth blackbird helps launch the new “Tune-In” festival at the Park Avenue Armory, not only as performers but also – following its success as the collective music director of the 2009 Ojai Music Festival – as Tune-In’s curator. Festival highlights include the New York premieres of the group’s new, two-part “PowerFUL/LESS” program and of John Luther Adams’s monumental Inuksuit. Meanwhile the sextet’s recent recording of Steve Reich’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet was selected for numerous “Best of 2010” lists, and a new disc, showcasing 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon’s new concerto On a Wire, is due for February release. Both works were commissioned expressly for eighth blackbird; as Gramophone magazine concluded, in a January 2011 profile of the group, “clearly the ensemble is thriving.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, January 21-22

Concert part of the BSO's conversational Off the Cuff series

Music director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony to be performed on Friday, January 21 at 8:15 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, January 22 at 7 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall as part of the BSO's Off the Cuff series. Alsop walks the audience through a time of political unrest in 1930's Russia that ultimately influenced Dmitri Shostakovich's epic Symphony No. 5. In this program, the Fifth symphony, allegedly subtitled, "the creative reply of a Soviet artist to justified criticism," vividly portrays Shostakovich's triumph over adversity. The BSO's Off the Cuff series offers a fresh take on classical music by exploring the lives of the composers, making the performances fun and engaging for music enthusiasts of any level. Please see below for complete program details.

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his fifth symphony at a time when he feared for his life. For the majority of his career, Shostakovich worked to balance his brilliant artistic ability and the regulatory dimensions imposed on him by the reign of Joseph Stalin. Millions of Soviet citizens, including many Soviet artists, lost their lives between 1934 and 1938 in a time known as the Stalinist purges. After the vehement disapproval Stalin conveyed for Shostakovich's 1934 daring new opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Shostakovich was convinced that he was doomed the Soviet fate. In place of death however, the composer existed as an outcast in society until 1937 when he was given the opportunity to redeem himself. Shostakovich wrote a piece unlike any of his previously composed, a suitably exultant symphony for Leningrad's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. The new work is consonant and tonal, and more melodic and pleasing in its instrumental sonorities than many of his previous works. Symphony No. 5 vibrantly expresses fierce drama in the first movement, followed by biting sarcasm in its second, an emotionally wrenching sorrow in its third and a complex "triumph" in its finale.

Opera Colorado presents the Rocky Mountain regional premiere of Dvorák's fairytale opera Rusalka

Opera Colorado presents Antonín Dvorák's rarely-performed masterpiece Rusalka for four performances only, February 12 through 20 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

This dynamic and visually compelling production will be the first time the opera has been performed in Colorado and the company's first opera performed in Czech.

Rusalka will star soprano Kelly Kaduce in the title role. Opera News praised her work, writing, "Kaduce sings with a bell-like purity and silvery sweetness, and she suspends her legato with an effortless, sensual spin. A born actress, Kaduce is also a masterful illuminator of text."

Rusalka is the story of a water sprite who longs to become human so she can be with the mortal man she loves. Rusalka sings the haunting "Song to the Moon," begging the celestial orb to tell the Prince of her love. The witch Jezibaba makes Rusalka's dreams come true. But when the Prince she loves is unfaithful, there are tragic results for all.

Rusalka is also the centerpiece of a citywide cultural celebration of Czech arts called Czech Point Denver. Spearheaded by Opera Colorado, the festival includes classical music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, history and more. A complete schedule of events is available at the festival's website: www.czechpointdenver.com

The Airborne Toxic Event Joins Forces With Colorado Symphony For Rare, Unforgettable Concert Experience

"Nothing short of amazing," Airborne crosses musical boundaries with symphony collaboration

The Airborne Toxic Event "Poetry you can dance to...nothing short of amazing." – Los Angeles Times
"The best debut CD of 2008." – The Boston Herald
"Occasionally you get lucky and stumble across a band at the very moment they ignite the engines and blast off into the heavens. The Airborne Toxic Event just gets louder and richer until the music practically bursts at the seams and spills its steaming guts across the stage." – NME
"Profoundly uplifting songs...a slice of Springsteen-sprinkled, classic indie rock." – Q

On Saturday, January 22, Indie rock heroes The Airborne Toxic Event will join the Colorado Symphony for a rare collaborative performance at Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall. For one night only, concert-goers will undoubtedly learn that – contrary to popular belief – symphony orchestras can rock the house.

The Colorado Symphony, led by associate conductor Scott O'Neil, has teamed with Airborne to present a unique symphonic experience featuring orchestral arrangements of songs from Airborne's upcoming new album and their self-titled first release. On January 22, there's no doubt that Airborne will reveal exactly why The Boston Herald named their debut CD the best of 2008 and why the Los Angeles Times describes them as "nothing short of amazing." Don't miss this rare blend of indie rock and the power of a live symphony orchestra as the Colorado Symphony and Airborne join forces for what promises to be one of the most exciting concerts of the year!

Named after a section of the book White Noise by Don DeLillo, The Airborne Toxic Event is an American rock indie band founded in Los Angeles. From their early beginnings on the Eastside L.A. indie rock scene, Airborne has quickly developed a reputation for cathartic, no-holds-barred live shows. Since the release of 2008's self-titled The Airborne Toxic Event and years of fervent touring, they have grown a dedicated worldwide fan base and perform to sold out shows regularly. In January 2010, Airborne made their symphony debut with the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky – a concert that Airborne fans and symphony patrons are still raving about today.

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Scott O'Neil, resident conductor
The Airborne Toxic Event
Mikel Jollett, vocals, guitar, keyboards
Steven Chen, guitar, keyboards
Noah Harmon, bass, backing vocals
Daren Taylor, drums
Anna Bulbrook, viola, keyboards, tambourine, backing vocals

One night only! Saturday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Sondra Radvanovsky and Dmitri Hvorostovsky Release Verdi Opera Scenes Disc This February

Any other startling secrets you’d like to share?
Sondra Radvanovsky: We are both goofballs. Every show of Trovatore, he’s done something to me onstage.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky: Anything, you know, to make her laugh in front of the audience.
S.R.: He blacked out a tooth. He painted a devil the size of a fist on his chest—and right when I’m singing to him, he pulls his shirt open and shows it. I lost it.
D.H.: Eyeballs!
S.R.: Oh, yes, he drew eyeballs on his eyelids. I mean, seriously.

"True Verdi soprano" (Opera News) Sondra Radvanovsky and Dmitri Hvorostovsky--"the Verdi baritone of our time" (Los Angeles Times)--will release an album of Verdi Scenes with encores digitally on February 1, 2011 and physically on February 22, 2011. Fresh from their respective solo disc triumphs, Radvanovsky and Hvorostovsky are thrilled to come together for this project.

Verdi Scenes will be available before its official release at the Metropolitan Opera gift shop during a signing with the two singers on January 27, 2011 at 2 p.m.. Both artists' solo albums will also be available for purchase during this signing as well.

"It's hard to keep up the lament about the dearth of great, or even just interesting, opera singers today when you encounter American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky," wrote Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun. The electricity between the two is palpable in the fervent duet scenes from Verdi's Il Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera and Simon Boccanegra presented on this disc. The album also includes a set of encores performed on their joint tour last season: Hvorostovsky sings a favorite among his signature arias, “O Carlo, ascolta,” from Don Carlo and Radvanovsky performs a memorable glimpse of her Tosca in “Vissi d’arte.” The disc was recorded with the Philharmonia of Russia under the baton of Constantine Orbelian and will be released by Delos.

Radvanovsky and Hvorostovsky will sing Il Trovatore together at the Metropolitan Opera, complete with HD telecast, in April 2011. This month, Radvanovsky currently stars in Tosca and Hvorostovsky in Simon Boccanegra at the Met.

Members of YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Announced Today

101 Musicians from more than 30 Countries will perform for a global audience at Sydney Opera House in March, 2011

YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 is a partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Sydney Symphony, and other leading institutions of the classical music world.

YouTube today announced the 101 musicians who have been selected to form YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at Sydney Opera House. The announcement was made after a global audition held online at YouTube.com/Symphony. The winning musicians will be flown to Sydney for a week of rehearsals and concerts from March 14-20, 2011, with a final performance on March 20 that will be live-streamed around the world.

The 97 members of YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 come from more than 30 countries, and range in age from 14 to 49 years old. They include amateur and professional musicians, students and teachers, and include some who have never set foot outside their home country. In addition, four soloists have been selected to perform an improvisation to a piece composed specifically for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra by American composer Mason Bates. Invited to audition on the instrument of their choice, the selected soloists performed on electric guitar (Brazil), violin (USA), the guzheng (China), and electric double bass (Australia). For more information on the orchestra members and soloists, visit YouTube.com/Symphony.

“The applicants for this year’s YouTube Symphony Orchestra have been truly outstanding,” noted Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor and Artistic Advisor. “It has been inspiring to listen to such excellent music-making by people from all over the world, and to see the great reaction from the online community to the auditions. I am looking forward to getting together with everybody in March and creating a fine orchestra.”

After an online audition period on YouTube last fall, a panel of experts selected more than 300 finalists from 46 countries based on skill and technique. Nine orchestras around the world participated in the judging, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, and Sydney Symphony. During a week of online voting in December, the YouTube user community gave their input on the finalists. Online votes were then taken into consideration by Michael Tilson Thomas in selecting the final orchestra.

In March, 2011, the musicians will be flown to the iconic setting of Sydney Opera House to participate in a week-long classical music summit with Grammy Award-winning conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and leading performers in the field, culminating in a final performance on March 20, 2011, which will be live-streamed on YouTube. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 focuses on celebrating musical education, offering online master classes with orchestras around the world and classes for Australian musicians during the summit week.

YouTube Symphony Orchestra is one of several collaborative efforts by YouTube to push the boundaries of music, art, and film. Along with the film project Life in a Day, and YouTube Play, a collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum, YouTube Symphony Orchestra is an example of the convergence of online video with more traditional art forms.

Colorado Symphony Appoints Scott O'Neil Resident Conductor

Colorado Symphony associate conductor O'Neil renews contract through 2012/13 season

DENVER – January 10, 2011 – The Colorado Symphony is honored to announce the appointment of Scott O'Neil as resident conductor. O'Neil, who currently serves as the Symphony's associate conductor, has renewed his contract through the 2012/13 season. In his expanded role as resident conductor, O'Neil will focus on artistic leadership in programming, with particular emphasis on the Symphony's new Inside the Score series, in addition to leading performances throughout the season.

"Scott O'Neil is an integral part of the Colorado Symphony and we're delighted that he will have the opportunity expand his role in artistic planning and program development as resident conductor," said James W. Palermo, president and CEO of the Colorado Symphony. "Scott has the wonderful combination of conducting talent and visionary leadership in developing programs. He also has an unbridled zest for music education. These assets will certainly serve the symphony well in upcoming seasons."

O'Neil has been a highly-valued member of the Symphony family since 2006, and his work is equally admired by musicians and concert-goers alike. His performances are celebrated for their energy, enthusiasm and excellence, making him a Boettcher Concert Hall favorite. In particular, O'Neil is admired for his focus on enhancing each individual's full concert going experience.

During the 2010/11 season O'Neil leads the Symphony in every series, including educational concerts and appearances on each of the Symphony's Masterworks , Family Series and Pops Series, as well as Inside the Score. In addition to his work with the Symphony, he is the founder and music director of the Rosetta Music Society, a group of chamber players that present interactive concerts at the Englewood Arts Center.

Concert-goers recently had the opportunity to experience and enjoy several concerts during the holidays with O'Neil, including the magical Denver premiere of Disney in Concert and an uplifting A Night in Vienna on New Year's Eve.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tenor Joseph Calleja, a Fixture at the Met This Season, Reprises His Star-Making Role There: The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto

Joseph Calleja, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 as Verdi’s Duke of Mantua, returns to the role at the Met in a January 11-27 run of Rigoletto. This season sees Calleja as a fixture at the great New York house; he began with performances as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème in December, inspiring the Associated Press to remark that he had “a voice unlike anyone else on the operatic scene today” and that there was “an alluring sweetness” and “irresistible tenderness” to it. After Rigoletto, the Maltese tenor returns to the Met in February and March to sing Edgardo opposite Natalie Dessay in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which will be transmitted live on March 19 to movie theaters around the world, as part of the “Met: Live in HD” series. In addition to Calleja’s stage performances, January sees the U.S. release of EMI Classics’ DVD of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra from Covent Garden, starring Plácido Domingo in the title role and Calleja in his role debut as Gabriele Adorno.

Joseph Calleja was only 28 years of age when he made his Met debut as the Duke in 2006, prompting the New York Times to note his “rich and expressive” voice. Now 32, the Maltese tenor “has matured into one of the finest lyric tenors before the public today,” according to a recent Associated Press review of Houston Grand Opera’s season-opening new production of Madama Butterfly, which starred Calleja as Pinkerton. The cast of the Met’s current revival production of Rigoletto features Nino Machaidze as Gilda and Giovanni Meoni in the title role, besides Calleja as the Duke. Paolo Arrivabeni conducts.

Explore Dvorák's "New World" with The Colorado Symphony's "Inside The Score" Series

DENVER – January 7, 2011 – The Colorado Symphony's exciting new Inside the Score series continues in 2011 with "Dvorák's New World," an exploration of Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World" on Friday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. During the first half of this Inside the Score concert led by Scott O'Neil, concertgoers experience a multi-media journey through this engaging masterwork, from its context in history to how it fits into the composer's output of works to the details of Dvorák's life that influenced its creation. During the second half, concertgoers experience the sparkling orchestration and melodic gifts of the full Symphony No. 9.

Dvorák's ninth and final symphony – popularly known as his "New World Symphony" – is a masterwork that has stirred debate about uniquely "American music," the specific influences on the piece and Dvorák's own Bohemian musical heritage. Most appreciably, Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 is beloved for its idealistic enthusiasm and universality, as well as its uncanny ability to arouse and capture the interest of newcomers to classical music. Composed during Dvorák's tenure as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, the Symphony No. 9 received its premiere in December 1893 and became an immediate and long-lasting success.

The Colorado Symphony's presentation of "Dvorák's New World" is a proud partner of the Czech Point Denver celebration, a citywide exploration of Czech arts and culture. The Colorado Symphony continues the celebration on Sunday, January 23 in its Family Series with "Dvorák Comes to America." Czech favorites, highlighting works by Dvorák, form the centerpiece of this annual "Side-by-Side" concert collaboration with the Denver Young Artists Orchestra.

One night only! Friday, January 21, 2011
A Czech Point Denver Celebration Concert

Colorado Symphony
Scott O'Neil, associate conductor

DVORÁK: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World"

Experience "The Four Seasons" With The Colorado Symphony

Masterworks by Bach and Vivaldi create a perfect Denver evening with the Symphony

DENVER – January 7, 2011 – Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," one of the most loved masterworks of all time, is the centerpiece of three must-attend concerts with the Colorado Symphony on January 14, 15 and 16. Vivaldi's masterpiece of charm and warmth will fill Boettcher Concert Hall with pure musical delight as acclaimed violinist Jennifer Koh and conductor Matthew Halls join the Colorado Symphony for a concert of undoubted Baroque favorites. Two Bach masterworks complete this beautiful program: Bach's Suite from the Easter Oratorio and Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major – both long heralded as works of genius and inspiration that are an undoubted pleasure for audiences and musicians alike.

The evening begins with Bach's joyous celebration of Easter. Triumphant in rich orchestration and breathtaking energy, the Orchestral Suite captures the spirit of the Easter Oratorio. It's no surprise that it became one of the most popular and celebrated masterpieces of the Baroque era. The enjoyment continues with Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major; replete with dance movements that perfect this playful, charismatic masterwork. Then, concertgoers will be amazed by the beauty of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." Whether this is their first or twentieth time experiencing this masterwork performed live by a symphony orchestra, no concertgoer will be disappointed. Intuition, eloquence, brilliance and emotion are words that music lovers use to describe "The Four Seasons." This January, experience "The Four Seasons" with the Colorado Symphony and hear the brilliance come alive.

Friday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, January 16 at 2:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: Come early and enjoy a Prelude to the performance.
Sunday: Come early and enjoy a Prelude to the performance or stay after for a Talkback session with Matthew Hall.

Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Matthew Halls, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violin

J.S. BACH: Suite from the Easter Oratorio, BWV 249
J.S. BACH: Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069
VIVALDI : The Four Seasons for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 8, Nos. 1-4