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Showing posts from January, 2012

Soprano Angela Meade Receives Seventh Annual Beverly Sills Artist Award

“In the world of talented young singers, there may be none with greater promise.”— Mike Silverman, Associated PressAmerican soprano Angela Meade is having a momentous season. In October she caused a sensation in the title role of the Metropolitan Opera’s premiere production of Anna Bolena, delivering what the New Yorker’s Alex Ross called “as pure a display of vocal power as I’ve heard at the Met in the past few years.” A month later she was honored with the prestigious 2011 Richard Tucker Award, and now – still less than four years since her professional debut – the soprano has been named recipient of the seventh annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera. Muffy Greenough, Beverly Sills’s daughter, presented the award to Meade at a ceremony at the Met this afternoon.

The award, for young singers who have appeared in featured solo roles at the Met, has been given annually since 2006, and with prize money of $50,000 it is the largest of its kind in th…

Robin Ticciati Conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Brahms, Strauss and Mahler w Baritone Christopher Maltman

Robin Ticciati conducts the LSO in Brahms’ 2nd Symphony and Strauss’ Tod und Verklärung on Thursday 15 March in the Barbican Hall. They are joined by baritone Christopher Maltman in a performance of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, completing the programme.

Robin Ticciati was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain when he turned to conducting, aged 15, under the guidance of Sir Colin Davis, LSO President, and Sir Simon Rattle. He is Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Bamberger Symphoniker and from January 2014, Music Director of Glyndebourne.

Ahead of the performance, at 6pm, Guildhall School pianist Ben Schoeman will perform Brahms’ Sonata No 3 in F minor Op 5 and Variations on a theme of Paganini (Book 1), part of the Guildhall Artists at the Barbican series.

Thursday 15 March, 7.30pm, Barbican

STRAUSS Tod und Verklärung
MAHLER Kindertotenlieder
BRAHMS Symphony No 2

Robin Ticciati conductor
Christopher Maltman bari…

Houston Grand Opera Announces Its 2012-13 Season

Including Four New Productions: La bohème, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Show Boat, and Tristan und IsoldeHouston Grand Opera, with Music Director Patrick Summers and Managing Director Perryn Leech, announces its 2012-13 season, headlined by four new productions. The first of these is Puccini’s La bohème, which launches the new season with a new staging by award-winning British director John Caird. To honor 2013’s joint bicentennials of Wagner and Verdi, the coming season juxtaposes Tristan und Isolde – starring Ben Heppner and Nina Stemme in a new contemporary staging by Christof Loy – with a revival of Steven Lawless’s unforgettable take on Il trovatore. British conductor Trevor Pinnock leads a strong international cast in Mozart’s ensemble masterpiece Don Giovanni, while Francesca Zambello’s new production of Kern and Hammerstein’s Show Boat brings together stars of Broadway and the opera house in a celebration of America’s own contribution to the art. For a more intimate experience…

James Gaffigan Returns to North America in 2012 to Lead Performances with Nine Major Orchestras

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Mr. Gaffigan to make his debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition he returns to lead the Minnesota Orchestra and the Baltimore, Dallas, Milwaukee, National and Toronto symphony orchestrasAmerican conductor James Gaffigan returns to North America in 2012 to lead nine major orchestras in engagements which include debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Praised for his passionate and energetic performances as well as his ability to connect with audiences and musicians, Mr. Gaffigan has attracted international attention and has frequently been acknowledged as “one to watch”.

In the summer of 2011, James Gaffigan assumed positions as Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. This season, in addition to his ten weeks with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and four weeks in…

Experience the majestic SAINT-SAËNS "Organ" Symphony with The Colorado Symphony

Colorado Symphony principal harpist Courtney Hershey Bress shines in rare performance of Oberthür's luminous Concertino for Harp and Orchestra
Artists: Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Courtney Hershey Bress, harp

Program:

ROSSINI: Overture to L’Italiana in Algeri (“The Italian Girl in Algiers”)
OBERTHÜR: Concertino for Harp and Orchestra in G minor
SAINT-SAËNS: Symphony No. 3 in C minor, “Organ”

Performances: Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 29 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: Remaining tickets currently start at $19.

This weekend, prepare to be dazzled by masterworks celebrated the world over for their sheer beauty, uplifting themes and charming manner as conductor Mei-Ann Chen leads the Colorado Symphony on Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 29 at 2:30 p.m. at Boettcher Concert Hall. The concerts feature a rarely heard gem of the repertoire, Oberthür’s brillian…

The Colorado Symphony Ball puts the Spotlight on the Orchestra for an evening of music and dance

For the first time in its history, this year’s Symphony Ball will feature the sounds of The Colorado Symphony for both listening pleasure and dancing. The ball, held this year on Saturday, April 28, 2012, will take place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel and begins at 6:00 PM.

The orchestra will be front and center performing music to please ball attendees of all ages from warm pre-dinner background music to a high-energy full orchestra performance to top dance hits spanning decades. “Spotlighting our orchestra at this year’s ball couldn’t be more appropriate considering our newly adopted focus to engage and connect more in our community,” says Colorado Symphony board co-chair, Mary Rossick Kern. “It will be fun and exciting for ball patrons to be up close and personal with members of the orchestra throughout the evening.”

Symphony Ball 2012 is chaired by Colorado Symphony Association trustee and CBS4 general manager, Walt DeHaven, and his wife and president of Aiello Public R…

Q2 Music and The Greene Space at WQXR Present A Preview of Merkin Concert Hall’s ECSTATIC MUSIC FESTIVAL on Wednesday, February 1 at 7pm

An Evening of Performances by Jason Treuting, Angélica Negron, and Jherek Bischoff, and Conversation with Festival Curator Judd GreensteinQ2 Music, WQXR’s online station devoted to the music of living composers, will, for a second year in a row, serve as the exclusive digital venue for the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall. Featuring more than 150 performers and composers from different musical backgrounds who are re-defining music today, the Ecstatic Music Festival has been hailed for putting its finger on the pulse of contemporary “post-classical” music.

On Wednesday, February 1 at 7pm, Q2 Music will kick off the festival with a live concert in The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR, the innovative multiplatform broadcast studio and live event venue. WQXR host Terrance McKnight will welcome a star-studded lineup of this year’s Ecstatic Music Festival composer-performers, including Jason Treuting, Angélica Negron, and Jherek Bischoff. The evening will also incl…

Composer's Dilemma: rhythm, bar lines and readability

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I love rhythm, numbers and odd pairings of the two. They don't always make for obvious bar line choices. A recent piece I've written is for solo violin, The Jig is Up, suggesting this is a jig and yet not.



The music starts with the right concept --a nice little jig in compound time. In the opening example the music could almost be divided into a nice 6/8 pattern, except for the 3rd and 4th measure. Perhaps I could have the G cross the bar line. The tempo is also set to an eighth note equals 252. If I divide that by 3 I could make it a dotted quarter note equals 84 --a much nicer number for most metronomes.



When we get to line 5 the compound time is shot all to hell. Is the first measure in 7 or should it be nice with the final eighth note of the previous line added to the bar? But then that breaks up the almost dividable pattern in line 4. Measure 2 in in 8 and measure 3 is in 9, with measure 4 is in 6. Wait, the piece gets better!



At rehearsal marker 'A', whic…

Nicola Benedetti & Friends Residency at LSO St Luke's in March

BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts
1, 8, 15 & 22 March
All to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3International violinist Nicola Benedetti curates a series of four concerts in which she features as both soloist and chamber musician, performing alongside some of her closest musical colleagues.

Nicola Benedetti is joined by Alexei Grynyuk (piano), Leonard Elschenbroich (cello), Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) and Maxim Rysanov (viola) across four concerts featuring music by Bach, Ravel, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Shostakovich and Ysaÿe. Each concert will be recorded for later broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

2011/12 is the most ambitious BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert season at LSO St Luke’s to date. During September, October and November, over 12 recitals six world-ranking pianists performed a complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, which was received to outstanding acclaim. In February 2012, Britain’s leading chamber ensemble, the Nash Ensemble, is in residence for a series focusing on som…

Interview with Avner Dorman

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The composer discusses some of his works, among them a new encore piece for Hilary Hahn

Israeli-born composer Avner Dorman is yet another person that was a late-starter in the classically-trained world where everyone seemingly starts learning what they do at age 3 or 4, but he's now proven to us again, just as quite a few others have in our journeys here, that age is only a number in this game.

If you click on his website, you'll see that he already has a variety of great works and has been premiering even more as we speak, including one of the Hilary Hahn Encores (EDITOR'S NOTE: I couldn't not ask him about that, and believe it or not, he hasn't even heard this piece played yet. Huh?) and a narrated orchestral work titled Uzu and Muzu from Kakamaruzu premiering in March with the Stockton Symphony.
Avner had a few minutes to hang with me via Skype and discuss.

Colorado Symphony Celebrates a special evening of passion, love and lust with Valentine Classics

Just in time for the most passionate day of the year, the Colorado Symphony presents a Valentine's-inspired evening of romantic classics. Prepare to be swept away by the romance, power and ardor that only a symphony orchestra can deliver.

MASTERWORKS SERIES
Valentine Classics

SAT 2/11 - 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall

Selections include:

TCHAIKOVSKY / Selections from Swan Lake
BIZET / Selections from Carmen
MASSENET / Thaïs: Médiation
DEBUSSY / Clair de Lune

Vladimir Spivakov and Olga Kern US Recital Appearances February 2012

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Internationally Acclaimed Violinist and Pianist Visit Boston, NYC, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco to Perform Repertoire of Brahms, Stravinsky, Pärt, Franck, Schnittke and ShostakovichIn February 2012, violinist Vladimir Spivakov and pianist Olga Kern will embark on a rare joint recital tour in the United States, visiting top concert halls in Boston, New York City, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. This is the powerful duo’s first ever joint recital tour outside of Europe, and they have created a dynamic program of works by Brahms, Stravinsky, Pärt, Franck and Schnittke. At the Carnegie Hall concert only, Spivakov and Kern will be joined by celebrated cellist and 2012 Musical America Artist of the Year, David Finkel of the Emerson String Quartet for a special performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2. (complete repertoire list below).

Throughout his career, spanning nearly four decades, violinist Vladimir Spivakov has been praised by critics for his deep insight into compos…

Anne Akiko Meyers: Air - The Bach Album out on eOne Valentine's Day

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Bach Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 plus Bach Concerto for Two Violins featuring Meyers on both parts Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers’ newest recording for eOne entitled Air – The Bach Album will be released on Valentine’s Day, 2012. This is Anne Akiko Meyers’s first orchestral album for eOne and features the English Chamber Orchestra with Steven Mercurio conducting. The album includes Bach’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, the Double Concerto for Two Violins, and arrangements of Bach’s “Air”, “Largo” from the Harpsichord Concerto in f minor, and the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria.”

After her recent acquisition of the “ex-Napoleon/Molitor” Stradivarius violin from 1697, Meyers decided to become the first violinist to record both solo parts of the Double Concerto on two different violins. Meyers joked that this was the first time she agreed with all of her “partner’s” musical ideas.

Meyers believes the golden purity of the tone of the ‘ex-Molitor/Napoleon’ Strad, contrasts beautifully with the …

Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony release recording of John Adams' 'Harmonielehre'

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ON SFS MEDIA MARCH 13, 2012
Exclusive pre-release download from iTunes available February 15Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release a hybrid SACD recording of works by John Adams in conjunction with its month-long American Mavericks Festival in March 2012. Self-produced on the Orchestra’s SFS Media label, the recording features the SFS commission Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine, a work commissioned by MTT. The recording will be available for pre-release by download exclusively from Apple’s iTunes Music Store beginning February 15, the composer’s birthday. The San Francisco Symphony’s e-store is currently accepting pre-sale orders for the Adams recording at sfsymphony.org/store and on February 15 it will become available at the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall. National and international retail release for the recording will be March 13. On March 15, MTT leads the SFS in world premiere of Absolute Jest, a new work by Adams com…

Cellist Johannes Moser releases new CD: Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1 & Britten: Cello Symphony

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“One of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists” (Gramophone)On January 31, 2012, Hänssler Classic releases the latest album from the charismatic young virtuoso, Johannes Moser. Following his extraordinary recording of concertos by Martinů, Hindemith and Honegger released in May of 2011, Moser returns with a stunning new release featuring two distinguished cello concertos of the mid-20th century: Dimitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 from 1959 and Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony premiered in 1964.

Both works were originally composed for the great Mstislav Rostropovich who was the teacher of Moser’s own teacher David Geringas. “The Shostakovich is very precious to me,” Moser says, “so in a way, I feel like I am continuing the family line. The Shostakovich Concerto has been my most important musical companion since my teenage years. I played it at most of the defining, often competitive moments in my early career.” Those moments included the Jug…

Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces Its 2012-13 Season

Lyric’s 58th Season Features Nine Operas: Elektra, Simon Boccanegra, Werther, Don Pasquale, Hansel and Gretel, La bohème, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Rigoletto, and A Streetcar Named Desire, October 6, 2012 Through April 6, 2013Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announced yesterday the repertoire, principal singers, conductors, directors, and designers for Lyric’s 2012-13 season. This was Freud’s first news conference since becoming Lyric’s general director on Oct. 1, 2011. Joining Freud for yesterday’s announcement was Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director, and Renée Fleming, Lyric’s creative consultant (via Skype).

Lyric’s 58th season features 68 performances of nine different operas: Elektra, Simon Boccanegra, Werther, Don Pasquale, Hansel and Gretel, La bohème, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Rigoletto, and A Streetcar Named Desire. The season runs from October 6, 2012 through April 6, 2013 at the Civic Opera House, an art deco landmark in Chicago. L…

Michael Tilson Thomas featured in two PBS Great Performances on March 29 & 30

CONDUCTOR MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS FEATURED IN TWO
PBS GREAT PERFORMANCES BROADCASTS TO AIR NATIONALLY ON MARCH 29 & 30Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, will be featured in two new Great Performances presentations in March to be broadcast nationally on PBS. Both programs are productions of THIRTEEN for WNET , one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

On Thursday, March 29 Great Performances will present The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater at 8:00PM (check local listings). Recorded in April 2011 at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center in Miami Beach , the performance of The Thomashefskys is written and hosted by Michael Tilson Thomas and stars Judy Blazer as Bessie Thomashefsky and Shuler Hensley as Boris Thomashefsky. It also features Ronit Widmann-Levy and Eugene Brancoveanu and the New World Symphony, and is directed…

San Francisco Opera Announces 2012-13 Season

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SAN FRANCISCO OPERA ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR THREE WORLD PREMIERES IN 2013:
NOLAN GASSER/CAREY HARRISON’S THE SECRET GARDEN (MARCH 2013)
MARK ADAMO’S THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE (JUNE–JULY 2013)
TOBIAS PICKER/J.D. McCLATCHY’S DOLORES CLAIBORNE (SEPTEMBER 2013)San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley today announced the Company’s 2012–13 repertory season, guest artists and performance schedule, in addition to three world premiere commissions slated for 2013 by Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison (The Secret Garden), Mark Adamo (The Gospel of Mary Magdalene), and Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy (Dolores Claiborne). Gockley also announced the extension of his contract to lead San Francisco Opera through the 2015–16 Season along with the extension of contracts for the artistic leadership team of Music Director Nicola Luisotti, Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers and Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi.

The Company’s 90th season opens Fri…

Delve into Mozart's fascinating world as Inside the Score returns to the Colorado Symphony

Join resident conductor Scott O'Neil and the Colorado Symphony for an intimate look at Mozart's life, relationships and music. If you think you know Mozart, think again!Think you know Mozart? Think again. The Colorado Symphony and resident conductor Scott O'Neil will unveil a different, lesser-known side of Mozart at this weekend's Inside the Score concert, simply titled Letters From Mozart. The concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 20 won't simply showcase a "greatest hits" of Mozart. Rather, it aims to explore his early life before his days in Vienna, through both music and letters: Letters both to, and from, his closest friends and relatives, including his father, wife and sister. According to O'Neil, there is a surprising amount of humor and spice that comes through in the letters, which prove that Mozart's father was indeed the master of guilt trips.

Letters From Mozart presents a poignant selection of music from Mozart's oeuvre and feat…

There is a Reason I don't Use Apple Products

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Apple's new iBookstore is a nightmare waiting to happen to the music industryHolly Lisle recently blogged about the new Apple iBooks on her blog "Holly Lisle: Official Author Homepage." She removed her books from iBookstore because of a little clause: "if they reject your work you cannot sell it in the format the software created anywhere else."

Whoa! WTF? If you use their software to create your "book" then you have to sell it on their bookstore - and if they don't like it you can't sell it anywhere??? Ah, NO!

There are a lot of great things Apple has done for the computing industry. Put an iPhone next to an Android phone and the functionality, speed and operation is faster, slicker and all around smoother experience. Put a Mac next to a PC and generally what you attempt to do will be more intuitive (although, I find Mac OS frustrating as I'm used to the bass-akwards way Windows works). Music applications (my life's blood) inter…

Los Angeles Master Chorale Presents First Major Bruckner Choral Work Ever Performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Sunday, February 12, 2012, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Music Director Grant Gershon Conducts Brucker’s Mass in E minor
and Stravinsky’s Symphony of PsalmsLos Angeles Master Chorale continues the season with Bruckner’s full-scale choral masterpiece Mass in E minor on Sunday, February 12, 2012, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert marks the first time any of Bruckner’s major choral works have been performed in Disney Hall. To complement the expressive and poignant masterwork, Music Director Grant Gershon also conducts Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, a contrasting but equally compelling piece filled with both ritual and fireworks, and Brucker’s motet Os Justi.

Bruckner, born to Austrian peasants and a musical protégé from an early age, completed the Mass in E minor for eight-part chorus and wind orchestra in 1866. It is a work that illustrates more than any of his others the composer’s unique style – a mix of romantic fully Brucknerian harmony with blending and contra…

LA Chamber Orchestra's Baroque Conversations featuring Violinist Allan Vogel

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) enlightening five-concert “Baroque Conversations” series showcasing exceptional Baroque music launches its sixth year with a program of Bach and Biber on Thursday, January 26, 7 pm, at Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Special guest Elissa Johnston, soprano, joins LACO Principal Oboe Allan Vogel, who leads the program in celebration of his 40th anniversary with LACO, Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, Principal Cello Andrew Shulman, Principal Flute David Shostac, Flute and Soprano Janice Tipton and Principal Keyboard Patricia Mabee. The concert opens with Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s Courente from Mystery Sonata No. 12, “The Ascension,” and also features pieces by Bach, ranging from Toccata in D minor, BWV 913, and Trio Sonata in G major, BWV 1038, to such arias as “Schafe können sicher weiden” (“Sheep may safely graze”) from Cantata No. 208 and “Bist du bei mir” (“If you are with me”), BWV 508, a work lost in the Second World War and r…

Following Two Years of Exponential Growth, Mark O'Connor's Third Instructions Book of "The O'Connor Method" out Feb 14

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Mark O'Connor will unveil the third book in The O'Connor Method, his original and rapidly growing new approach to string instrument instruction, in February. Method Book III will teach students the traditional songs and O'Connor compositions found on the accompanying CD, 'American Classics,' a collection of new recordings arranged for violin and piano and performed by O'Connor and pianist Rieko Aizawa. 'American Classics' will also be released February 14 as a stand-alone album on O'Connor's own label OMAC Records. This is O'Connor's first collection comprised solely of traditional American tunes and songs he has released since 'Soppin’ the Gravy,' from his teenage years.

The O'Connor Method, which The New Yorker calls, "an American grown rival to the Suzuki method," includes great folk songs, fiddle tunes and classic themes culled from 400 years of traditional American violin playing. It pulls from all regions of N…

Writing for an Audience: composing music on request

Part 2 (?) of "Commercial Music" I wasn't really planning on writing a series for this topic, but I've been working on a project for my daughter --a theme song for her "late night" television show project she's doing at work. The idea of the show is to create a 'talk show' like episode to illuminate what their department does. They needed an opening theme so I wrote one.

Living This Life by Chip Michael

However, my daughter and her boss wanted it to be more up-beat, less "minor mode." Interesting request since I wrote the piece in Dorian mode, not really major or minor. But, I gathered what she meant, so I made some minor edits.



Did I sell out? While I like the first version better, the music wasn't written for me. It was written for a specific audience. They wanted to hear something which the first version didn't quite capture. They like the second version much better. In terms of music complexity, the first version has…

London Philharmonic Orchestra offers more Prokofiev plus a live broadcast tonight and free concert streaming

Prokofiev: Man of the People?
13 January - 1 February 2012
Our Prokofiev festival is underway and the next performance, featuring his Fifth Piano Concerto with soloist Steven Osborne, will take place at London's Royal Festival Hall this evening. If you're unable to join us in person, tune in to BBC Radio 3 for a live broadcast of the concert from 7.30pm.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra's April Highlights

Following a performance in Bilbao, Spain (26 March), the SCO and Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati head into the studio to make their second all-Berlioz recording together. Sessions begin on 2 April, just two weeks before the release of their first collaboration on Linn Records. Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique was recorded following the Opening Concerts of the Orchestra’s 2011/12 Season, which included performances of the work, and is released on 16 April. The second disc features the composer’s Les Nuits d’été and La Mort de Cléopâtre, and reunites Ticciati and the SCO with Scottish mezzo soprano Karen Cargill, who has performed both of these works with the Orchestra in live performances during the 2009/10 and 2011/12 Seasons.

Richard Egarr, recently announced as Associate Artist with the SCO, returns following his popular performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra in December 2011. He takes the dual roles of conductor and harpsichordist in a programme featuring mu…

London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gerfiev are joined by Soloists Denis Matsuev and Sarah Chang in Performances of Russian Music

The London Symphony Orchestra performs an all-Russian programme with its Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev on 21 February. Acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Matsuev is the soloist in Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, written during a summer trip to Brittany. Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture and Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5 complete the programme.

On 23 February violinist Sarah Chang will perform Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with the LSO. The concert opens with Britten’s ‘Four Sea Interludes’ from his opera Peter Grimes, and Gergiev conducts the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Sixth (‘Pathetique’) Symphony as part of his cycle of the complete symphonies.

The LSO follows its concerts at the Barbican with a tour to China, in partnership for the first time with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd with four concerts in Beijing and Shanghai in March 2012. The orchestra also travels to Korea for two concerts in Seoul in February 2012.

Tuesday 21 February 7.30pm, Barbican

Violinist Nicola Benedetti Makes Her Decca Classics Debut with Italia, Available January 24

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Recorded in Edinburgh, Italia celebrates Benedetti’s Scottish-Italian heritage as she plays virtuoso Italian masterpieces, accompanied by the leading chamber orchestra of her native Scotland, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Italia will be released on January 24, 2012, followed by a concert at New York’s (le) poisson rouge on January 30th where she will be joined by New York-based baroque ensemble, REBEL."...a journey into the very heart and soul of the Italian Baroque." - Interchanging IdiomsBenedetti’s all-encompassing musical curiosity has led her to become one of the most versatile performers today. Not only does she regularly perform with orchestras and give solo and chamber recitals, but she frequently travels specifically for the purpose of music education, especially for El Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise project, which is partnered with Venezuela’s famous program. In addition, Benedetti recently joined Andrea Bocelli for his concert with the New York Philharmonic in …

Soprano Danielle de Niese Triumphs with her new Decca Album and with Performances at the Metropolitan Opera

The “brilliant” (New York Times) soprano Danielle de Niese has triumphed again at the Metropolitan Opera in the new Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island. The Associated Press describes de Niese as “a live wire whose extroverted show-biz personality perfectly suits the production. She deservedly stops the show with her final aria, a rapid-fire celebration of her newly gained freedom sung to music from Vivaldi's ‘Griselda.’” Performances continue throughout January at the Met including a Live in HD broadcast on January 21.

Danielle de Niese continues to explore Baroque music with her third solo album for Decca, Beauty of the Baroque, accompanied by leading European Baroque orchestra, The English Concert under Harry Bicket. The album, released on January 10, features de Niese in arias and songs by a range of composers including Dowland, Handel, Purcell, Monteverdi, Pergolesi and JS Bach. She is joined by fellow Decca recording artist countertenor Andreas Scholl for ravishing du…

Ebène Quartet Is Named NPR “Best of 2011” and Returns to North America for Nine-City Tour in March

“France’s Ebène Quartet has fast become one of the hottest chamber groups in the world, with excellent reason: The youthful group’s warmth, vitality, deep curiosity and musical intelligence has carried it far already.” – NPR MusicThe thrilling, young, and award-winning Ebène Quartet – described by the New York Times as “a string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band” – added more accolades to an already impressive list when NPR named Fiction, the quartet’s 2011 Virgin Classics release, one of their 10 Favorite Classical Albums of 2011 as well as one of their overall 50 Best Albums of the year. Ebène takes repertoire from that album as well as from September’s all-Mozart album Dissonances on the road in the United States and Canada in March. Performances begin in San Diego (March 2), and include stops in San Francisco (March 8), New Orleans (March 14), and New York City, where they will make their Carnegie/Zankel Hall debut (March 18). Ebène continues its devotion to music edu…

Commercial Music: Is it Selling Out or a Different Kind of Talent

Writing Commercial Music, music that sells well in today's market place is tougher than you thinkCharlie Brooker recently posted an article in the Guardian, "How to save the British film industry, David Cameron style." It's all about how David Cameron thinks the British film industry ought to focus on commercial movies (according to Mr Brooker). Add to this a recent CD I received for review which is the soundtrack for a web based television show and you'll understand why this is the topic of my post today!

Commercial music is music which focuses on what an audience wants and delivers it. "Serious" composers often put down commercial music as selling out, trying to make money rather than writing music - but I'm not sure they are presenting an honest picture of what it takes to write commercial music. Yes, there is certainly a fair amount of derivative crap in commercial music; bubble gum pop is churned out by the thousands because it's so form…

The Colorado Symphony offers 72-Hour Sale from January 16-18

Discounted tickets available for all regular series concertsThe Colorado Symphony is offering discounted tickets to all of their remaining 2011/12 regular series concerts in a special 72-Hour Sale from January 16-18. Tickets to all Masterworks and Pops concerts are $29, Inside the Score concerts are $19 and Family concerts are $9. The sale begins Monday, January 16 at 12:00am and ends Wednesday, January 18 at 11:59pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.coloradosymphony.org, by phone at 303.623.7876 and in person at the Boettcher Concert Hall box office. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm and Saturday from 12pm-6pm.

“This sale is a great way for people to try out the symphony at a low cost,” stated Samantha Teter, the Symphony’s Director of Marketing & Sales. “We have some really exciting concerts coming up yet this season that should interest just about everyone – from Mozart to Beethoven, from Flamenco to Mariachi Cobre, from Jim Brickman to DeVotchKa. This truly…

CoLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe Call For Submissions

Submission Deadline: March 15, 2012, 5 PMACO announces CoLABoratory: Playing it UNsafe, a research and development laboratory for the creation, development, workshopping, and performance of experimental new music by American composers. The goal of the program is to encourage composers to experiment and stretch their own musical sensibilities by developing new works (or works-in-progress) that expand the range of possibilities for orchestral music. The program will include an extended series of rehearsals and public workshop/readings over a six-month period during the 2012-13 season, culminating in a performance in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 5, 2013, conducted by ACO music director George Manahan. ACOs artistic staff members Robert Beaser and Derek Bermel, as well as Morton Subotnick, serve as mentor-composers.

For more information, submission guidelines and form click here.

USB Soundscapes: LSO Artist Portrait - Anne-Sophie Mutter Continues with André Previn, Daniel Müller-Schott and Yuri Bashmet

Feb 19-21 UBS Soundscapes: LSO Artist Portrait Anne-Sophie MutterAnne-Sophie Mutter performs André Previn’s Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra with violist Yuri Bashmet and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer, on Sunday 19 February in the Barbican Hall. John Harbison’s Symphony No 3 and Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite complete the programme.

On Monday 20 February, André Previn and Anne-Sophie Mutter are joined by cellist Daniel Müller-Schott for a chamber recital in the Barbican Hall. They perform Mozart’s Piano Trio No 2 in B-flat major, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 1 in D minor and Previn’s own Piano Trio. The following day there is the rare opportunity to witness students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in a masterclass with André Previn, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Daniel Müller-Schott at LSO St Luke’s at 2pm. The masterclass is part of Centre for Orchestra, the ground-breaking initiative in orchestral training which is part of a unique edu…

Boulder Symphony concert “Heroism Reborn”, featuring the World Premiere piece Invisible Heros by composer Chip Michael

Boulder Symphony, the Community Orchestra of Boulder County, is proud to present our fourth concert of the 2011-2012 season, “Heroism Reborn” at 7:00 pm Friday, February 17 at First Presbyterian Church, Boulder. Boulder Symphony music director Devin Patrick Hughes will conduct the orchestra in the World Premiere piece Invisible Heros by composer Chip Michael; Handel’s "Ch’io mai vi possa" from Siroe; Gabrieli’s Sonata piano e’ forte; Shostakovich’s Concerto no. 2 in F Major featuring the winners of the Colorado State Music Teachers Association Concerto competition; and the magnificent "Eroica" Symphony No. 3 by Beethoven.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Additional information is available at www.bouldersymphony.org or at 970-577-1550.

BBC Radio 3 To Premiere Newly Discovered Brahms Piano Piece

We wanted to share with you some very interesting news about the discovery of a rare, unpublished piece of music:

BBC Radio 3 has uncovered a fragment of new music by Johannes Brahms which is being unveiled in a short film to be broadcast on Saturday 21 January at 12:15 (GMT), with celebrated pianist András Schiff playing the piece and discussing it with music journalist Tom Service.

We are hoping you can help spread the word on this exciting news, covering it on your website and posting it to your social media channels.

Further details in the press release below. Additionally, embeddable video content will available from Radio 3’s YouTube channel next week.

LA Chamber Orchestra performance features Violinist Nigel Armstrong

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), noted for discovering and showcasing stellar young artists early their careers, presents the dynamic and uniquely talented 21-year-old violinist Nigel Armstrong in a Mozart (Mostly) program led by LACO Principal Cello Andrew Shulman, in his LA conducting debut, on Saturday, January 21, 8 pm, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and Sunday, January 22, 7 pm, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Armstrong, a finalist in the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, held every four years and considered “classical music's equivalent of the Olympics” (Los Angeles Times), has been hailed as “gifted” and “blazing” (Chicago Tribune). The California native and recent graduate of The Colburn School Conservatory of Music performs Mozart’s stunning Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216. This is the fist time Armstrong has performed publicly in California since being named a finalist in the prestigious competition and marks his LACO debut.

In addition, Shulman conduc…

Mozart's romantic comedy The Marriage of Figaro Opens just in time for Valentine's Day

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Mozart's comedy The Marriage of Figaro has been praised by critics for centuries as "the perfect opera." An extraordinary balancing act between a screwball comedy and a touching drama of redemption, the masterpiece opens Opera Colorado's 2012 season with four performances at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House, February 11 through 19.

Maestro John Baril makes his debut as conductor of the production as he leads the Opera Colorado Orchestra and Chorus. Baril's other conducting credits include many productions with Central City Opera where he is Music Director as well as Opera Delaware, Nashville Opera, and many others.
Stage director David Gately returns to Opera Colorado to lend his comic hand to the staging. Gately's direction of the Rossini opera The Barber of Seville was a smash hit at Opera Colorado in 2009. The Rossini opera is "prequel" to the Mozart opera and includes all the same characters, so hopes are high that Gately's staging will strike…

Deborah Voigt's Acclaimed Brünnhilde Returns to the Met for Götterdämmerung, the Climax of Wagner’s Ring Cycle

"Style, gutsiness and passion" – New York Daily News on Voigt's BrünnhildeReigning American dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt once again brings Wagner's warrior-goddess Brünnhilde alive at the Metropolitan Opera when she stars in Götterdämmerung, the climactic chapter of the composer's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen tetralogy. The January 27-February 11 run of Götterdämmerung, in the new Robert Lepage production, follows her acclaimed performances as Brünnhilde in the cycle's preceding operas at the Met, Die Walküre and Siegfried. This Götterdämmerung will be transmitted to movie theaters worldwide on February 11 as part of the Met's popular Live in HD series. The four Ring operas return to the Met in April for three complete cycles (April 7-May 12), with Voigt’s Brünnhilde taking center stage.

Impressed by Voigt as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times said that he had "seldom heard the role sung with such rhythmic accuracy a…

American Composers Orchestra Releases Second Digital Album - 5 World Premiere Recordings

World Premiere Recordings by Kati Agócs, Michael Gatonska, Fang Man, Clint Needham, and Gregory Spears
Release date: February 14, 2012American Composers Orchestra (ACO) announces the February 14 release of its second digital download album, Emerging Composers Series: Vol. 1. Following the March 2011 release of the orchestra’s inaugural digital album (Playing It UNsafe), this new album features world premiere recordings of music by rising-star composers performed between 2006 and 2009 as part of Orchestra Underground, ACO’s cutting-edge orchestral series at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. By making available never-before-recorded orchestral music, ACO goes beyond the concert hall, reaching new listeners and gaining greater exposure and visibility for the young composers it showcases in this series. ACO will release two additional digital albums this spring – an album of new works for extended instruments with the orchestra, and an album of multimedia works.

Emerging Composers Series: Vol.…