. Interchanging Idioms: March 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck and Joaquin Deluz, Colorado Ballet's Maria Mosino Among Stars at 7th Annual Laguna Dance Festival Apr 12-15

Coming to Laguna Beach: dancers and dance companies from across the nation – New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco

Professional dancers from companies spanning the U.S. will perform in the Laguna Dance Festival’s seventh season April 12-15. The festival will offer audiences three distinctly different shows with four performances at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates calls this season “a must-see if you love dance.” River Dance North Chicago’s festival debut will open the festival on Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m., offering audiences a jazz-based, contemporary dance show. On Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia’s BalletX will premiere a newly choreographed piece by Jodie Gates that showcases the company’s modern, athletic style of ballet-based dance. New York City Ballet stars Tiler Peck and Joaquin DeLuz will headline the two Stars of Dance performances on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m.

from a rehearsal this week

In addition to the four theatre performances, the 2012 Laguna Dance Festival includes master classes, pre-performance discussions with dancers and artistic directors, and performances during Laguna's First Thursdays ArtWalk on April 5. Theatre performances will be held at the 420-seat Laguna Playhouse, where every seat provides a choice viewing spot. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.lagunadancefestival.org or at the Laguna Playhouse box office.

Joining Ms. Peck and Mr. DeLuz in the Stars of Dance performances are Maria Mosina (formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet) and Alexei Tyukov from Denver-based Colorado Ballet, and principal dancers Robin Cornwell and Jonathan Dummar from San Francisco-based Smuin Ballet. A fundraising reception at Laguna Playhouse will follow the Saturday night performance; all are invited.

The Sunday Stars of Dance matinee performance will be preceded by a pre-performance discussion with the dancers at 1 p.m.

General admission tickets are $50; student tickets with ID are $35. Tickets for the Saturday night gala are $50 each. For more information regarding the new season, call 949.715.5578 or visit www.lagunadancefestival.org.

Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs offer Classical Music Training for Kids 15-18

Classical Summer Music Program on the campus of Curtis Institute of Music

Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs (JKCP) offers an exciting three-week performing arts experience for high school students in Center City Philadelphia — right on Curtis’ Rittenhouse Square campus and new state-of-the-art living and learning facility, Lenfest Hall. From sectional coaching and private instruction to chamber music rehearsals, you will enhance your technical and musical abilities while learning at the music world's most prestigious conservatory. Young musicians grow with the best this summer as they sample college living and the life of a professional musician and symphony orchestra member. Each day is stimulating playing with other passionate young instrumentalists. With access to resources of the Curtis Institute of Music, they develop their potential and love of music as they prepare for college.

JKCP recognizes the importance of instrumental music education programs and providing teens an opportunity to grow as they sample college living and the life of a professional musician and symphony orchestra member.

High school students sharpen their musical skills at JKCP Classical Summer Music Program at the world's most prestigious conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. From sectional coaching and private instruction to chamber music rehearsals, teens will enhance their technical and musical abilities by playing with other passionate young instrumentalists from around the world (over 35 states and 40 countries in 2011), learning from distinguished Curtis faculty, guest master instructors, alumni and upper level students.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

TRIBUTE opens this Thursday, March 29th in Denver with the Colorado Ballet

Tribute, a collection of contemporary world premieres by three innovative female choreographers will run March 29, through April 1, 2012, at the Newman Center, Denver.

The choreographers premiering their works in this production include Emery LeCrone, Archetypes; Jodie Gates, Embellish; and Amy Seiwert, Traveling Alone. Tribute honors Colorado Ballet’s founders, Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker.

“I am especially proud of this production as it pays homage to Colorado Ballet’s founders, Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker,” said Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs. “These two women had the courage and dream to imagine world-class dance in Denver, and for that we owe them so much. This production is a testament to the vision of Lillian and Freidann and demonstrates the successes of female leaders and artists in ballet.”

At 25, LeCrone has created several prominent works, competed in numerous choreography competitions, and received substantial grants and new commissions for her choreography. She founded her own performance series, The Young Choreographers Showcase, which promotes the creation of new dance works and provides opportunities for young emerging choreographers to create and present their work in New York City free of charge.

"All three works walk the line between the prescribed story style Colorado Ballet is best-known for and new ideas, and the ballet chose a well-rounded group to create them." Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Denver Post

Gates is a 30-year veteran in the professional dance field and has wide-ranging career as a choreographer, director, educator, producer and dancer. She is internationally recognized as a leader in the dance world with her choreographic work for professional companies, the creation of the California-based non-profit organization Laguna Dance Festival, and directing educational programs at the university level.

Wagner’s Complete Ring Cycle Comes to Movie Theaters For the First Time, in the Met’s Cutting-Edge New Production

Screenings of all four operas in Wagner’s epic begin May 9 in the U.S. and Canada

The Metropolitan Opera will present worldwide movie theater screenings of Robert Lepage’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as Wagner’s Dream, a new documentary chronicling the creation of this ambitious new staging. In the United States and Canada , the series will begin May 7 with a screening of the documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, and continue on May 9 with Das Rheingold, the first opera in the cycle. The entire four-part Ring cycle and documentary will be screened in many countries this spring and summer, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

More details on the screenings are below. Please note that showtimes in some markets may vary. Tickets go on sale in the U.S. on Friday, March 30 and in Canada on Friday, April 6. To order tickets or get more information on screening times and locations, please visit www.metopera.org/liveinhd.

Wagner’s Dream
A documentary by Susan Froemke
U.S./Canada Screenings: Monday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. local time
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
The stakes could not be higher as visionary director Robert Lepage, some of the world’s greatest operatic artists, and the Metropolitan Opera tackle Wagner's Ring cycle. An intimate look at the enormous theatrical and musical challenges of staging opera’s most monumental work, the film chronicles the quest to fulfill Wagner's dream of a perfect Ring.

Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold)
Conducted by James Levine
Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer (Freia), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Richard Croft (Loge), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Eric Owens (Alberich), Franz-Josef Selig (Fasolt), Hans-Peter König (Fafner)
U.S./Canada Screenings: Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. local time
Running time: 168 minutes; no intermission
Original live transmission: October 9, 2010
In the first opera in the Ring cycle, the gods of Valhalla clash with underworld dwarves and brawny giants, with disastrous consequences. The evil Alberich steals gold from the Rhine and uses it to forge a ring of unimaginable power. Wotan, the king of the gods, uses magic to steal the Ring, but Alberich places a curse that guarantees misery for whoever wears it. Wotan’s unwillingness to part with the ring leads him to break a contract with the giants who have built the gods’ new castle in the sky, setting in motion a chain of events that will end in his own destruction.

Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Conducted by James Levine
Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Hans-Peter König (Hunding)
U.S. Screenings: Monday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. local time
Canada Screenings: Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m. local time
Running time: 259 minutes, including 1 intermission
Original live transmission: May 14, 2011
The mysterious hero Siegmund finds shelter in the strangely familiar arms of a lonely woman named Sieglinde. Their forbidden love leads Wotan’s daughter, the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, to defy morality and intervene on behalf of the hero. Brünnhilde’s transgression forces her father to choose between his love for his favorite daughter and his duty to his wife, the formidable goddess Fricka. Overcome with grief, Wotan takes away Brünnhilde’s godlike powers and puts her to sleep on a mountaintop, surrounded by a ring of magic fire that can only be crossed by the bravest of heroes.

Conducted by Fabio Luisi
Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (The Wanderer), Eric Owens (Alberich)
U.S. Screenings: Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Canada Screenings: Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m.
Running time: 258, including one intermission
Original live transmission: November 5, 2011
The young hero Siegfried grows up in the wilderness, raised by Alberich’s conniving brother Mime. He puts together the broken pieces of the sword Nothung, uses it to slay the fearsome dragon Fafner, and takes the Ring for himself. To fulfill his destiny, he must overcome one more opponent—Wotan, now disguised as the Wanderer, who knows the world of the gods is coming to an end—and cross through the magic fire to awaken his true love, Brünnhilde.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Conducted by Fabio Luisi
Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Wendy Bryn Harmer (Gutrune), Waltraud Meier (Waltraute), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Iain Paterson (Gunther), Eric Owens (Alberich), Hans-Peter König (Hagen)
U.S. Screenings: Saturday, May 19 at 12 p.m.
Canada Screenings: Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m.
Running time: 287 minutes, including one intermission
Original live transmission: February 11, 2012
Siegfried and Brünnhilde’s love is torn apart by the curse of the Ring. A trio of scheming humans separates the two heroes in a desperate attempt to steal the Ring for themselves. Their villainous plan fails, but they succeed in murdering Siegfried. Heartbroken, Brünnhilde takes the Ring and leaps into the hero’s funeral pyre, causing a global cataclysm and the twilight of the gods.

DEADLINE Looming: Ninth international composition competition "Citta' di Udine"

Closing date: 31 March 2012 - The postmark will be deemed to be the date of submission


Art. 1 TEM - Taukay Edizioni Musicali and Delta Produzioni Associazione Culturale, with the participation of the Presidente della Repubblica Italiana, with the awards of Senato della Repubblica Italiana, of Camera dei Deputati, of Ministro della Gioventù and Fidapa, the patronage of the Rappresentanza Italiana della Commissione Europea, the Italian National UNESCO Commission, the Ministero degli Affari Esteri, the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, the Università degli Studi di Udine, the Istituto Giapponese di Cultura in Roma and with the support of the Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Comune di Udine and the Fondazione CRUP, hereby open the Ninth International Composition Competition “Città di Udine”.

Art. 2 The competition is divided in two sections:
- instrumental compositions for chamber orchestra
- electro-acoustic music.

Art. 3 The competition will accept unpublished compositions by musicians of any nationality and of any age. Previously performed compositions will be accepted. Compositions must be sent anonymously as explained below.

Art. 4 Section for compositions for chamber orchestra.
Pieces should not exceed eight minutes in length, however consideration will be given to compositions which exceed this length if, in the opinion of the Jury, they are of particular artistic merit. The Jury’s decision on this matter is final.

The instrumental group is made up of:
- a string quartet (2 violins, viola and cello)
- piano / one performer
- flute (piccolo, alto flute, and bass flute) / one performer
- clarinet (clarinet in E flat, clarinet in B flat, clarinet in A and bass clarinet) / one performer
- percussion instruments from the following list: vibraphone, glockenspiel, tom toms (max 5 pieces) suspended cymbals, tam tam, templeblocks, small percussion instruments such as triangle, wood blocks, maracas etc… / one performer

- instruments listed above may be used in any combination
- if desired, just one instrument may be used
- it is possible to use a stereo audio track on CD or digital file of similar quality (or better), in the performance of the chamber orchestra
- six copies of each score must be sent for the section of compositions for the chamber orchestra
- each of the six copies must contain the title of the composition, but must not contain the name of the composer
- the signed entry form and the other information regarding the composer must be placed in a sealed envelope and placed in a folder together with the scores
- should the score be selected for performance, the composer must supply separate parts for individual instruments
- scores will not be returned and will be stored as documentation in TEM – Taukay Edizioni Musicali archive
- alternately it is possible to send the score (one copy) by internet as digital file using the following e-mail address: competition@taukay.it
If the file size to send is more than 2 MegaByte, we suggest to use a file hosting system (more info on www.taukay.it). Again the score but must not contain the name of the composer.
The signed entry form and the other information regarding the composer must be sent in different files together with the score file.
Only the signed entry form, available on www.taukay.it, must anyway be sent by ordinary mail.
- should works contain unknown symbols or marks, the composer must provide explanatory notes in order that the work can be understood correctly.

Art. 5 Electro-acoustic music section
Electro-acoustic musical compositions must have a duration of less than ten minutes and must be presented in stereo on CD or digital file of similar quality (or better). Any multi-channel versions of the composition should be sent along with the stereo version.
- only one copy of each composition need be sent for the Electro-acoustic music section.
- the CD or CD ROM being entered must contain the title of the composition, but must not contain the name of the composer
- the signed entry form and the other information regarding the composer must be placed in a sealed envelope and placed in a folder together with the composition.
- alternately it is possible to send the audio file by internet using the following e-mail address: competition@taukay.it
For the delivery must be used a file hosting system (more info on www.taukay.it).
The signed entry form and the other information regarding the composer must be sent in different files together with the audio file.
Only the signed entry form, available on www.taukay.it, must anyway be sent by ordinary mail.

Art. 6 More than one composition may be submitted.

Art. 7 The Jury will select the winners from a shortlist of finalists and will award the following prizes:
- Best composition in the section “instrumental compositions for chamber orchestra”: one thousand Euro (1000 Euro).
- Best composition in the section “electro-acoustic music”: one thousand Euro (1000 Euro).
- Special prize “Piero Pezzè” (founded by his heirs in memory of the Friulano composer who passed away in 1980): five hundred Euro (500 Euro).
- Special mention with the awarding of the medal offered by the Presidente della Repubblica Italiana for this edition of the event.
- Special mention with the awarding of the medal offered by the Senato della Repubblica Italiana for this edition of the event.
- Special mention with the awarding of the medal offered by the Camera dei Deputati della Repubblica Italiana for this edition of the event.
- Award of the Ministro della Gioventù della Repubblica Italiana to the best composer less than 30 years of age (the postmark will be deemed to be the date of submission)
- Award of FIDAPA to the best female composer to incentivize the female presence in the competition.
- Public performance of 6-8 of the best compositions entered (Udine, October 2012).
- Production of a CD of the concert in October and inclusion of this in the TEM - Taukay Edizioni Musicali CD catalogue.
In certain circumstances, it is possible that an extra CD containing other finalists works will be printed, as it happened in the last competition edition.
The two winning compositions will be broadcast by RAI Radio as part of the national programming of the RAI Radiotre Suite dedicated to contemporary music.
The most interesting electroacoustic compositions will be performed at Computer Art Festival (Padova, Autumn 2012)
TEM - Taukay Edizioni Musicali, following the indications of the Jury and in agreement with the composer, offers to include and make available the most interesting compositions as part of their electronic catalogue of New Music.

Art. 8 Submitted works which include an audio recording of the composition may be included in the programming of Taukay Web Radio. The choice of compositions to be broadcast will be decided in accordance with the editorial direction of the broadcaster (http://radio.taukay.it).

Art. 9 Works should be posted to the competition secretary at:
TEM - Taukay Edizioni Musicali - via del Torre 57/5 - 33047 Remanzacco (Ud) - ITALY
The closing date is 31 March 2012. The postmark will be deemed to be the date of submission.
Should delivery by internet, the postmark on letter containing the signed entry form sent by ordinary mail, will be deemed to be the date of submission.
The final decision of the Jury will be made public by 31st July 2012.

Should delivery using ordinary mail from abroad, please specify that the package contents has no commercial value to avoid added custom charges

Art. 10 The Jury reserves the right to refuse any entry which does not fulfil the indicated requirements.

Art. 11 Each individual composition in each section must be sent together with the receipt for the payment of the entry fee of thirty-five Euros (€35). If multiple compositions are sent, a single payment may be made for the total of the combined entry fees. The fee should be paid in the following ways:

From Italy:
- vaglia postale paid to: Taukay Edizioni Musicali – via del Torre 57/5 – 33047 Remanzacco (UD) – ITALIA
- by credit card using Paypal system and the following e-mail: competition@taukay.it (more info on www.taukay.it)
- by bank transfer using the following banking coordinates: IT 81 P 02008 12325 000040780136
UNICREDIT BANCA - Agenzia Udine del Ledra
Bank charges must be borne by payer.

From outside Italy:
- by credit card using Paypal system and the following e-mail: competition@taukay.it (more info on www.taukay.it)
- by bank transfer using the following international banking coordinates:
International bank account: IT 81 P 02008 12325 000040780136
UNICREDIT BANCA - Agenzia Udine del Ledra
Bank charges must be borne by payer.

It is not possible to pay the entry fee with bank cheque.

- for information about other payment methods please e-mail: competition@taukay.it

Where possible, the “reason for payment” should indicate: Nono Concorso “Città di Udine”.

Art. 12 The file containing the composition must include a sealed envelope containing the following personal information (a printable entry form can be downloaded at: http://www.taukay.it/2011/competition-en.html ):
- name, surname, date and place of birth, sex, nationality, address, telephone number, e-mail address, section being entered, title, date and length of composition.
- a statement certifying that the submitted composition is unpublished
- a statement agreeing to permit the performance of the composition to be broadcast or telecast, archived and used for CD production without compensation
- a statement agreeing to the treatment of personal information in accordance with Italian privacy laws. (D. Lgs. 196/03 - Codice in materia di Privacy).
The following material must also be included:
- curriculum vitae and studiorum (composer biography)
- photocopy of identification document of the composer.
- recent photograph of the composer
- receipt for the entry fee of 35 Euros
- alternately it is possible to send the documents by internet using the following e-mail address: competition@taukay.it
The signed entry form and the other information regarding the composer must be sent in different files together with the participant composition.
Only the signed entry form, available on www.taukay.it, must anyway be sent by ordinary mail.

Art. 13 The Jury’s decision is final.

Art. 14 By entering the competition and submitting the composition, the composer accepts all the above terms and conditions.
Failing to follow the above terms and conditions will result in the forfeiting of any rights deriving from participation in the competition.

Art. 15 The competent court for any dispute is the Court of Udine.
For further information, please visit the TEM - Taukay Edizioni Musicali website at: http://www.taukay.it
Or email us at: competition@taukay.it

Pacific Symphony & Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman Announce 2012-13 Pops Season

Highlights include the “Wicked Divas,” Amy Grant, Kenny G, Gladys Knight, “The Midtown Men,” a night of Gershwin, and a live orchestral accompaniment to the film “Singin’ in the Rain”

27, 2012—Come over to the lighter side of Pacific Symphony, as it launches an exciting 2012-13 Pops season starring big-name guest artists, spectacular shows and some of the most treasured songs and genres of our time. From the “Empress of Soul,” Gladys Knight, to Broadway showstoppers, the “Wicked Divas,” next season’s Pops audiences are in for a special treat! Spend Valentine’s Day with Kenny G, Christmas with Amy Grant and end the season with a little “Singin’ in the Rain”–on the big screen, accompanied by the sumptuous sounds of the orchestra. The Symphony’s Pops season, led by Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, also includes Broadway hits sung by four stars from the original cast of “Jersey Boys,” and an evening devoted to the music of the legendary Gershwin brothers, featuring some of the most popular songs of our time.

Seven-concert subscriptions for Pops range from $170 to $1,050; single tickets are $25-$150 (on sale August 19). For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

“I'm very excited about our 2012-13 Pops season for many reasons,” says Maestro Kaufman. “The programs are extremely varied and our audience will find there’s
something for everyone. Of course, the wonderful musical experience at each of our Pops weekends begins with the ladies and gentlemen of Pacific Symphony—that in itself guarantees an exciting and inspired night of great entertainment.”

The Symphony’s 2012-13 Pops season opens in celebratory style with a wickedly delicious evening packed with Broadway hits sung by some of today’s most captivating voices on Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 15-17, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. “Wicked Divas,” led by Maestro Kaufman, with stars from the smash musical “Wicked”—Alli Mauzey (Glinda) and Julia Murney (Elphaba)—sing all-time favorites from Broadway, Hollywood and other popular music. This includes hits from “My Fair Lady,” “Chicago,” “Titanic,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Phantom of the Opera” and, of course, “Wicked.”

For those looking for a warm, uplifting new way to enjoy the holiday season, American-music icon and six-time Grammy-Award winner Amy Grant makes her debut with the Symphony in “Christmas with Amy Grant.” Grant’s artistry has resonated with audiences since she first hit the national spotlight a couple decades ago as a fresh-faced teen with a guitar. She now brings her fresh voice, engaging personality and talent for erasing the lines between genres to the Symphony for a perfect-for-the-family holiday program that includes a mix of cherished standards and newer seasonal fare. Led by Kaufman, this Christmas extravaganza takes place Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 13-15, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Romance is in the air when the Symphony is joined by the quintessential sultan of jazz—saxophone superstar Kenny G—for a Valentine’s Day weekend celebration on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 14-16, 2013, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Maestro Kaufman leads this special evening of stirring, silky-smooth sounds, “Valentine’s Day with Kenny G,” featuring the best-selling instrumental musician of the modern era, as he makes his debut with the Symphony. With global sales totaling more than 75 million albums, over the decades, Kenny G has mixed elements of R&B, pop and Latin to his smooth jazz foundation—solidifying his reputation as the premier artist in contemporary jazz. In 1997, he set a Guinness world record for longest saxophone note—45 minutes 47 seconds!

The audience won’t want to leave when the iconic music of George and Ira Gershwin takes the spotlight for “The Gershwins: Here to Stay,” featuring renowned Gershwin interpreter and pianist Kevin Cole, vocalists Sylvia McNair and Ryan VanDenBoom, and guest conductor Albert-George Schram, on Thursday-Saturday, March 14-16, 2013 at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. This new concert is more than just great music—it’s also a multimedia event with family photos, rare audio and video footage, artwork, privately held manuscripts and new musical arrangements. Performances include “The Man I Love, “I Got Rhythm,” “Strike up the Band,” “They All Laughed,” “’S Wonderful” and many more! A widely admired American pianist, Cole is regarded as the foremost interpreter of George Gershwin compositions.

A Knight to remember! Next up for Pops is a special appearance by the “Empress of Soul,” seven-time Grammy winner and current “Dancing with the Stars” contender Gladys Knight, appearing with the Symphony for the very first time on Thursday-Saturday, April 18-20, 2013, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Led by Kaufman and accompanied by the orchestra, Knight—who has recorded nearly 40 albums featuring her soulful voice, scoring chart toppers in pop, R&B and adult contemporary music—sings a number of her signature hits, including “Every Beat of My Heart,” “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Following on the heels of the 2011-12 sold-out presentation of “Casablanca,” next season the Symphony performs the score to the American-made classic film “Singin’ in the Rain”—for an all-new symphonic night at the movies! Led by Maestro Kaufman, the live orchestral soundtrack accompanies a beautifully restored version of the 1952 musical starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, shown on the big screen in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Taking place Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11, 2013, at 8 p.m., “Singin’ in the Rain’s” comedic depiction of Hollywood and its transition from silent films to “talkies” is regarded as one of the best musicals ever made, topping the AFI’s 100 Years of Musicals list and ranking fifth in its updated list of the greatest American films.

An electrifying, one-of-a-kind concert experience revisiting the music that defined the 1960s rounds up the Pops season with “The Midtown Men,” reuniting four stars from the original cast of Broadway’s long-running hit “Jersey Boys.” Joining the Symphony on Thursday-Saturday, June 13-15, 2013, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, “The Midtown Men” includes Tony-Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony-Award nominee J. Robert Spencer. Conducted by Kaufman, this “jump-to-your-feet” show features top hits from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Four Seasons and more.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra to tour North America in April 2012

"Richard Tognetti and his badass classical band, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, don’t play New York nearly often enough. But, on the rare occasion that they do come in from Down Under, they leave an indelible mark on the city’s music scene." Time Out New York

This April, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Director and Lead Violin Richard Tognetti, will travel to North America for a 10-stop tour. The ensemble will hit major cities in the US and Canada with the final date of the tour culminating at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Joining them will be world-renowned soprano (and recent Ojai collaborator) Dawn Upshaw and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

The program for the tour features the works of modern masters, contemporary composers, arrangements of chamber works for string orchestra and small orchestral pieces. Mahler’s "Adagietto" from Symphony No. 5, a veritable song without words, opens the tour with its haunting beauty and serenity. A featured piece on the tour is Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider’s "Winter Morning Walks," composed for Upshaw and the ACO. The work saw its US premiere last summer at the Ojai Festival and will be recorded for ArtistShare in New York at the close of the tour. It is inspired by poetry by poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner Ted Kooser, whose walks in the winter mornings during his cancer treatments led to a series of postcards to a friend in which he transforms common things and daily events into well-timed and expertly sculpted poems.

The ACO also presents the innovative interweaving of four movements of George Crumb’s “Black Angels” with Anton Webern’s “Five Pieces for Orchestra”, a juxtaposition described by the Los Angeles Times as “American angst stood its own against Viennese angst.” String quartets find themselves in string-orchestra form as the orchestra performs Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major in a transcription by Tognetti and Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor. The Grieg is also featured on the ACO's new BIS recording being released on March 27th in time for the tour. Baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes is the featured artist on Richard Rodney Bennett’s “Songs for Sleep,” a work consisting of six poems, all taken from the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. At concerts with Dawn Upshaw, the soprano will perform lieder by Schubert and Schumann.The ensemble also presents works by Elgar, Saxton, an early piece by Shostakovich and Schoenberg’s monumental Transfigured Night.

American Conductor James Gaffigan Appointed as the First-Ever Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne

The Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne , Germany today announced that U.S. conductor James Gaffigan will become its first Principal Guest Conductor at the start of the 2012/13 season. In addition to annual concerts, this newly created position will entail CD recording projects and conducting opera productions with the Opera of Cologne Oper Köln.

This is the third European appointment for 33-year-old Mr. Gaffigan who assumed the positions of Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011. Throughout the current season, Mr. Gaffigan has made numerous prominent U.S. orchestral debuts and he makes his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this week, on Friday, March 30 at 8:00PM at Walt Disney Concert Hall, leading a program of Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano, Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite and Grieg’s Piano Concerto with André Watts.

Mr. Gaffigan says he accepted the Gürzenich Orchestra invitation without hesitation: “There are few orchestras that are equally skilled at playing both concert and operatic repertoire - the Gürzenich Orchestra is one of them. Their operatic playing gives them a flexibility that excites me and inspires me as a conductor and collaborator. I felt an instant chemistry with this group from our first meeting and I anticipate being able to develop a musical relationship with them.”

Mr. Gaffigan made his debut as a fill-in guest with the Gürzenich Orchestra in the 2007/08 season, conducting a French program. In the 2009/2010 season he made a lasting impression with such works as Shostakovich’s 1st Symphony and Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture. Markus Stenz, the Gürzenich Orchestra’s Music Director and General Music Director of the City of Cologne , has welcomed Mr. Gaffigan’s acceptance of the post: “I am delighted that another international conductor will now be working regularly with the Gürzenich Orchestra. During his previous performances in Cologne , he has created enormous enthusiasm with his skilful and highly energetic conducting of the orchestra. He conveyed his passion not just to the orchestra, but to the audience as well. A Principal Guest Conductor can build on and deepen such experiences, which is hugely productive in terms of musical quality. James Gaffigan is well-versed both in opera and on the concert platform. This means he can take on projects in all areas of the Gürzenich Orchestra’s activities: symphonic concerts, CD recordings and opera productions. James Gaffigan is thus an ideal person for the newly created position of Principal Guest Conductor with the Gürzenich Orchestra.”

Interview with Michael Tilson Thomas to Air Today on Fresh Air with Terry Gross Broadcast on NPR

An interview with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas by Terry Gross will air today on Fresh Air, produced by WHYY-FM and broadcast nationally on NPR stations. Please check here for your local broadcast schedule.

This interview precedes the broadcast of two programs featuring Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) on PBS's Great Performances this week. The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater, a musical celebration of Yiddish theater pioneers Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky who were MTT's grandparents, will air nationally on Thursday, March 29 at 8PM (check local listings).

Recorded in April 2011 at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center in Miami Beach, this performance of The Thomashefskys is hosted and conducted by MTT 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. In the Fresh Air interview, MTT talks about this production and the legacy of his grandparents.

The following evening, concert footage from the San Francisco Symphony's Centennial Season gala concert held in September at Davies Symphony Hall and featuring Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang is presented alongside historical documentary footage in San Francisco Symphony at 100, hosted by Amy Tan. This airs nationally on PBS Great Performances on Friday, March 30 at 9PM (check local listings).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

American Pianists Association, Now Represented by 21C Media Group, Announces 2013 Classical Fellowship Award Finalists on April 24

21C Media Group is pleased to announce that it now represents the American Pianists Association (APA), recognized by the New York Times for offering “profound early-career assistance” to world-class young American classical and jazz pianists. Over the coming season, the APA will present the finalists for the 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship Award. The Fellowship offers one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes, valued at over $100,000, awarded every four years to a classical pianist at the conclusion of a unique 13-month-long competition process. The names of the five finalists for the 2013 award, selected from America’s foremost young pianists ages 18-30, will be announced on April 24 at a media event in New York’s Steinway Hall – to be recorded for future broadcast on WQXR and other classical radio stations.

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote, and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists. Since its founding in 1979 the organization has supported 43 Fellows. The 2009 Classical Fellows are Adam Golka, also a Gilmore Young Artist, who impressed the Washington Post with his “combination of brilliant technique and real emotional depth”; and Grace Fong, the “positively magical” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition. Among the previous Classical Fellows are Spencer Myer (2006), Christopher Taylor (2000), Frederic Chiu (1985), and Sara Davis Buechner (1981).

“The level of pianism in the U.S. is high, as evidenced by the finalists soon to be announced; the long list of APA Classical and Jazz Fellows over the past three decades; and the laureates of the other competitions around the country,” stated Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the Indianapolis-based organization. “What distinguishes the APA, however, is the innovative and unique way in which we conduct our competition by presenting finalists in a variety of genres in multiple venues throughout the concert season. In so doing, we actually mirror the professional world through our competition format.”

The competition process for the Classical Fellowship Award takes place in three stages. At the Preliminary Round in March 2012, a distinguished panel of judges screened recordings to select the five finalists. In September 2012, all five will attend a career workshop in preparation for the Classical Premiere Series, whereby each finalist in turn is invited to Indianapolis, home of the APA, for an expense-paid week of activities – including a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, an adjudicated public solo recital, and a three-day high-school residency – complete with a $5,000 stipend. The five finalists return to Indianapolis in April 2013 for the third and final stage, Classical Discovery Week (April 15-20). The adjudicated events include solo, chamber music, new music, and song performances, plus a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow – a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life – will then be named.

This winner will receive a $50,000 cash award – one of the largest available to classical pianists – and begin a two-year fellowship with performance and recording opportunities, publicity, and career support, valued at a further $50,000. Thanks to Steinway’s sponsorship of the 2013 Fellowship, the Classical Fellow will issue a solo recording on the Steinway & Sons label, for distribution by ArkivMusic. Performance opportunities during the fellowship period include appearances with the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Tucson; re-engagements with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and solo recitals. Previous winners have been presented at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Dame Myra Hess Series, Chopin Foundation of America, in various recital series nationwide, and on tours overseas.

Unlike any other major piano competition, the APA focuses equally on both classical and jazz pianists. Since 1992, the Association has offered Jazz Fellowships, with a similar cash award of $50,000 – the largest available in the jazz piano world. The 2011 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz is Aaron Diehl, hailed by the New York Times as a “revelation”; former Fellows include Dan Tepfer (2007) and Aaron Parks (2001). The next Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz will be named in April 2015.

The APA will announce the five finalists for the 2013 Classical Fellowship Award on Tuesday, April 24 at Steinway Hall in New York City (5:30-7:30pm). This special media event will be recorded by WQXR for broadcast on May 16 as part of the McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, with Robert Sherman as host.

French Pianist Alexandre Tharaud Previews New Virgin Classics Release in Rare NYC Recital – April 9 at Le Poisson Rouge

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud makes a rare New York appearance when he performs at Le Poisson Rouge, Manhattan’s popular downtown music club, on Monday, April 9. The program includes excerpts from Book 1 of Debussy’s Preludes, selections from Tharaud’s recent Virgin Classics release, Scarlatti: Sonatas (one of NPR’s 50 favorite recordings of 2011), and works from his upcoming jazz-inspired album, Le Boeuf Sur le Toit (The Ox on the Roof), which pays tribute to the swinging 1920s in France with a number of special guests and a captivating mix of repertoire. The new album, scheduled for release this fall, takes its name from a historic cabaret where Parisian classical musicians discovered jazz (it’s also the title of a surrealist ballet by Jean Cocteau based on a score by Darius Milhaud).

Alexandre Tharaud is increasingly recognized as one of today’s most inventive pianists, traversing a wide variety of repertoire – from Baroque masterpieces to contemporary compositions – with musicianship of arresting originality. Critical and popular response to his recordings, first for Harmonia Mundi and now Virgin Classics, for whom he records exclusively, has been overwhelmingly positive. London’s Guardian called Journal Intime, his debut release for Virgin Classics featuring works by Chopin, “altogether breathtakingly beautiful.” His March 2011 album of keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti was widely acclaimed, with Time Out New York observing that the CD “takes its place amid a distinguished recorded legacy, but Tharaud holds his own alongside" pianists like Clara Haskil, Vladimir Horowitz, and Mikhail Pletnev. In fall 2011 Tharaud released a recording of J.S. Bach keyboard concerti, performed with the Quebec-based ensemble Les Violons du Roy under its director, Bernard Labadie.

Le Boeuf Sur le Toit promises to be Tharaud’s most ambitious and surprising recording to date, a collection of 1920s classics of bohemian Paris displaying an astonishing blend of influences from late European Romanticism to Harlem jazz. The album, featuring solo works as well as collaborations with an intriguing line-up of guest stars, showcases works and arrangements by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, W. C. Handy, Jean Wiener, Darius Milhaud, Clément Doucet (works inspired by Chopin, Wagner and Liszt), and Walter Donaldson (“Yes sir, that’s my baby,” one of the era’s signature pop songs). Guest artists include French singer-songwriter Bénabar, soprano Natalie Dessay, pianist Frank Braley, French actor Guillaume Galliène, tenor Jean Delescluse, and American-born jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux, as well a colorful array of instrumentalists performing on banjo, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, percussion, and more.

Berliner Philharmoniker Releases Bach's St Matthew Passion Conducted by Sir Simon Rittle & "Ritualized" by Peter Sellars on DVD and Blu-Ray

The Berliner Philharmoniker is releasing today their live recording of the St Matthew Passion, in a semi-staged “ritualization” by director Peter Sellars, on DVD and Blu-ray. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, who called these performances “the single most important thing we ever did here,” the production was called “the most moving concert and music theatre event of the season” by the Berliner Zeitung. The St Matthew Passion was recorded live at the Philharmonie in Berlin on April 11, 2010; the last of five sold out performances. The DVD and Blu-ray will be released on The Berliner Philharmoniker’s own label available exclusively at the Berlin Philharmonie shop and the Berliner Philharmoniker online shop at www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/shop.

Soloists for the performance were soprano Camilla Tilling, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, tenor Topi Lehtipuu, tenor Mark Padmore, baritone Thomas Quasthoff, baritone Christian Gerhaher with the Rundfunkchor Berlin (Berlin Radio Chorus) with chorus master Simon Halsey, and the Staats- und Domchor Berlin (boy’s choir of the Cathedral of Berlin) with chorus master Kai-Uwe Jirka.

Bach’s St Matthew Passion is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music. Though an oratorio, the performances have often been staged as theatre. The Berliner Philharmoniker’s performances, mounted by Peter Sellars in the Berlin Philharmonie’s 360 degree auditorium, were conceived as a “ritualization” that incorporated two choruses and two orchestras facing each other in a “musical cross,” thus creating a community that engages with itself. The soloists and chorus members memorized their parts, leaving them free to move throughout the theatre within the ritual and present the audience with a series of dramatic, powerful images. “It’s not theatre,” says Peter Sellars about the St Matthew Passion, “it is a prayer, it is a meditation.”

The performances were praised by the German daily Die Welt as “Simon Rattle’s Easter miracle,” and the Guardian wrote “I challenge you not to be an emotional wreck by the end of it: the singers, especially Mark Padmore as the Evangelist, give the performance of their lives; Sellars sensitively connects the Passion story with the performances and the audience, without distorting Bach’s drama; and Rattle and his players are collectively raised to spooky, spiritual levels of inspiration.”

Both the DVD and Blu-ray editions contain booklets with introductory texts, biographies and photos. Bonus footage includes an in-depth conversation between Peter Sellars and Simon Halsey, conductor of the Berlin Radio Chorus. The price is approximately $ 32.00 USD (25 Euros) for the DVD and $38.00 USD (30 Euros) for the Blu-ray (plus shipping).

Andrew Litton and Pacal Rogé Join Colorado Symphony

Colorado Symphony welcomes conductor Andrew Litton and pianist Pascal Rogé in performance of Mozart's illustrious Piano Concerto No. 21; Tchaikovsky's Fourth and Brahms' Academic Festival Overture round-out idyllic Colorado Symphony Masterworks weekend

he Colorado Symphony welcomes acclaimed conductor Andrew Litton and celebrated pianist Pascal Rogé for two beautiful concerts featuring masterworks by Brahms, Mozart and Tchaikovsky on Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14 at Boettcher Concert Hall. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and promise to charm concertgoers with a program of music that is both joyful and resplendent, spotlighting one of the most venerated works in the repertoire: Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.

Rogé, who makes his much-anticipated return to the Colorado Symphony stage in these concerts, promises to shine in the performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, one of the most popular and well-known of Mozart's 27 piano concerti. In recent history, the Concerto has gained the moniker of the "Elvira Madigan Concerto" from its use in the soundtrack to the award-winning 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan.

Recognized as a towering achievement in classical music, Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony – a work inspired by his tumultuous personal life and inner struggles – was dedicated to his benefactress and confidante, Nadezhda von Meck. Its sense of a powerful "force of destiny" reflects Tchaikovsky's deep understanding of the nature of the human experience – and his unique capacity for "translating" emotions into music. The Fourth Symphony represents not only a turning point in Tchaikovsky's life, but a turning point in his artistry as well.

Perfecting this Masterworks program is Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, which Brahms composed as a musical "thank you" to the University of Breslau upon receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Brahms, who never had the opportunity to go to university, utterly captures the youthful and high-spirited atmosphere of campus life in this endearingly popular work.

To learn more about the history of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony and this concert program, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Honor of Netrebko's Performance with the Met, Manon de fantasie, Violin Fantasy sheet music is available for download for a limited time

The great music of Jules Massenet's Manon is available for the first time in the form of a violin fantasy, Manon de fantasie. The arrangement by Chip Michael is available for a limited time free for the duration of Netrebko's performance at the met in the title role.

For more information and a sample of the violin fantasy, click here.

Anna Netrebko Stars in Met’s New Manon, Opening March 26 and Live in HD April 7

In honor of this event, I am offering free downloads of my violin fantasy, Manon de fantasie based on the music of the opera.

Following her star turn as the title character in the Metropolitan Opera’s season-opening production of Anna Bolena last fall, Anna Netrebko now returns to Lincoln Center to headline her second new production of the season, this time presenting her signature portrayal of the ill-fated Manon in Massenet’s eponymous opera for the first time in front of New York audiences. “Netrebko’s Manon has them in the palm of her hand, her control underlined by her formidable vocal delivery,” reported the London Evening Standard when the Russian soprano sang the role last season at Covent Garden in this new staging by director Laurent Pelly, which transfers to the Met for a nine-performance run beginning March 26. On April 7, the matinee will be transmitted live to more than 1,700 movie theaters around the world as part of the Met: Live in HD series, as well as broadcast live via the Toll Brothers–Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

At the Metropolitan Opera, as in London, the innovative staging will feature Chantal Thomas’s scenic design with lighting by Joël Adam and costumes by Pelly himself. In his role debut as the ardent Chevalier des Grieux, Netrebko’s co-star – as in previous Met productions of La bohème and Lucia di Lammermoor – will be tenor Piotr Beczala. Both making house role debuts, Tony Award-winning baritone Paulo Szot will sing Manon’s cousin Lescaut and bass-baritone David Pittsinger the Chevalier’s father, the Comte des Grieux. On the podium, the Met’s Principal Conductor, Fabio Luisi, will lead his first Manon for the company. In addition to the Met: Live in HD transmission on April 7, four performances – including the opening night’s – will be broadcast live on Sirius XM radio.

The upcoming production marks Netrebko’s second engagement at Lincoln Center this month. Just named one of Newsweek’s “150 Fearless Women in the World,” the soprano sang at the third annual Women in the World Summit at Koch Theater, appearing as part of a three-day series of events that also featured Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, and a host of other prominent leaders and activists from around the globe. Watch a video of the performance here.

Manon also represents Netrebko’s first Met appointment since proving herself an “undisputed superstar” (New York Post) in the company’s season-opening, premiere production of Anna Bolena, which, according to the New York Times, “may well be the defining moment of her career so far.” Later in 2012, Netrebko returns to New York to headline her second consecutive season-opening gala at the Met, when she makes her house role debut as Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in a new staging by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TwtrSymphony: Working through the Recording and Editing Process

Musicians have been fast and furious getting their auditions to me - which also means I've been working overtime trying to get notes back to the musicians in regards to any problems in their tracks before the final process is complete.

Playing to a click-track is challenging. We have upped that challenge by throwing in a mix of different hardware platforms, file types, transmitting those files over the internet and then attempting to sync them up on the other end. TwtrSymphony has taken the recording process through the rabbit hole into a technical wonderland. The process would be different if the various musicians were recording their remote sessions in dedicated recording studios around the world. At least then we could make some sort of standard: exact file types and bit-rate we want to the files to be in when they get to the mixing studio. However, since we're dealing with musicians around the world using materials they have on hand we have more of a hodge-podge approach. Some work with Mac's, others on iPhones, some with zoom recorders, still others with PC laptops. The file types I've been receiving run the full gambit from Apple aiff, to Microsoft wave, from mp3's to ma4's. One person even recorded their track to a CD and send me the cda audio form file.

Since these are all digital formats, you might believe there is no degradation in sound quality. But, every time you move from one system to another, convert a file from one type to another there is some sound loss. In one particular case, there was a pretty dramatic tempo shift. The audition recording arrived in my inbox and I put it next to the original click track only to find the tempo of her audition was quite a bit slower than the click track. What ensued was a number of emails between the musician and myself and a fair number of hours trying to figure out why the problem occurred. She was convinced she played it at tempo. Was it the click-track on her end played slower? Was there a problem in translating the file from her zoom to the mp3 format she sent me? After a fair number of emails I eventually received the original zoom file and her performance matched up perfectly!

It is possible to adjust the timing of notes here and there, but the more accurate the original track is, the less time I have to spend editing the time and the more time I can spend on getting the final piece ready. Perhaps the TwtrSymphony needs to conquer these technical demons!

Moving Forward:
While I can handle a variety of different types of files, ma4, aiff and wave are the best quality. Recording at 44100 (CD quality) is the most common, but I can accept up to 192000. I can also work with 64 bit files, but 16 bit is standard CD quality. Let's establish a standard when possible:
Recording at 44100, 16 bit
Files in ma4 or aiff (if at all possible)
no click audible on the final recording

Obviously, I'll continue to try and incorporate what ever formats you can work with, but, there will be less hair-pulling for all of us if you aim for this standard.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Ever Wedding at Lincoln Center During a Concert - After Groom Performs!

Billy and Randall said “I do” to a crowd of surprised audience members and fellow singers as they became the first couple to get married during an actual concert at New York’s Lincoln Center. The concert was presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY).

Billy, part of Distinguished Concerts Singers International, had just finished a sublime performance of Mozart’s Requiem. As intermission began, a brass quintet caught everyone’s attention in the lobby, and the audience, along with members of the chorus, became instant wedding witnesses and guests and joined in celebrating the happy couple.

Billy Hurbaugh and Randall Day met on the steps of St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue 21 years ago. Randall, who worked for Canterbury Cathedral in DC, was visiting New York when he caught the eye of Billy, a born and raised New Yorker, walking down Fifth Avenue. Randall, who was on his way to services, thought he would have to abandon the chase when, to his surprise, the young man turned to enter the church. The ushers at St. Thomas directed Billy to a pew and placed Randall directly behind. When Billy heard Randall’s beautiful singing voice, he had a reason to turn around and start a conversation with a compliment, and the two continued their chat on the church steps afterwards. Meeting friends for lunch, Billy announced that that he had “met the man I'm going to marry." This outburst drew a round of laughs, not only because it was 1991 and same sex marriage wasn’t in consideration, but because Billy did not know the fellow’s name.

Nevertheless, Billy remembered when Randall worked and tracked him down in DC. Randall came to New York three months later for a visit and the two have been together ever since.

The couple now lives in glorious California wine country where Billy is a member of the Santa Barbara Choral Society and Randall is the priest at St. Marks-in-the-Valley church, located just a couple of miles from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

Both gentleman are thrilled to return to New York, and this beautiful concert, to make their partnership legal. Billy’s parents were at the ground-breaking for Lincoln Center in 1959, an event also attended by President Eisenhower. (The couple’s Bichon Frisée, “Ike,” will attend the reception.) Additional special guests included Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox, Gary Newman and his wife Jeanne Newman, an entertainment lawyer who represents Mad Men among other shows, friends of the couple.

This concert of sacred music from DCINY brought the two back to the sacred music that first brought them together. For the second half of the concert – a new Requiem by composer René Clausen – the two gentlemen returned to Avery Fisher Hall to sit side-by-side as a married couple.

Jeremy Denk Is on NPR’s All Things Considered Today

“Formidable technique and a fine combination of intellectual rigor and emotional depth.” — The Chicago Tribune

As part of the final leg of the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks U.S. tour, pianist Jeremy Denk returns to his home turf as part of this innovative festival celebrating our nation’s musical pioneers. Denk’s first New York performance takes place live and online, as part of An Evening of Music and Conversation with Michael Tilson Thomas on March 26, Q2 Music’s live video webcast exploring some of the groundbreaking American composers that have inspired American Mavericks. At the end of the week, on March 30, Denk will join members of the symphony during the tour’s final concert at Zankel Hall, performing Lukas Foss’s Echoi as part of an extraordinary evening of revolutionary chamber music. Additionally, Denk will fill out the week at WQXR’s Q2 Music, where he’ll offer his unique take on cutting-edge piano repertoire on the piano-centric show Hammered! (March 26–30). This afternoon Denk talks to NPR’s All Things Considered about the Goldberg Variations in this, Bach’s birthday week. The conversation will be available online later this evening at http://www.npr.org/programs/all-things-considered/.

Part of the San Francisco Symphony’s centennial celebration, American Mavericks kicked off on March 8 in San Francisco, where Denk performed works by Henry Cowell, including the composer’s Piano Concerto, which was recorded for release by the orchestra’s SFS Media label. Denk will also participate in a performance of Foss’s Echoi during the Ann Arbor stop on March 22.

Of his rendition of Cowell’s Piano Concerto on March 10 – the first time Denk ever performed the work – Richard Scheinin of the San José Mercury News wrote, “Denk joined the San Francisco Symphony and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas in a performance of Cowell's Piano Concerto that sizzled. It ought to put the piece on the map. At last… The pianist's climactic windmill passages—blurred, two-handed palmings, resounding once more like bells—capped a blockbuster performance.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Husband and Wife Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez Headline La Bohème at L.A. Opera, Opening May 12

When Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello came together to sing Puccini’s ill-fated lovers in Cincinnati Opera’s La bohème, it was a match made in opera heaven. The Enquirer called Pérez’s Mimì “radiant” and Costello’s Rodolfo “wonderfully sung,” and praised the “warmth of tone and effortless high notes” of their duet; likewise, Music in Cincinnati reported: “The two singers made an attractive and emotionally appealing couple, with fresh young voices that soared. … The chemistry between Costello and Pérez was potent.” Now – in the first of three collaborations together this spring – the lyric soprano and tenor dubbed “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” (Associated Press) reprise the same roles at Los Angeles Opera, where they headline the company’s signature production of Puccini’s masterpiece. Marking Costello’s house debut, the revival opens for six performances on May 12.

“I feel very comfortable with Ailyn on stage and that allows me to be more intimate in love scenes,” Costello explains. “I also think she is a singer who takes chances when given and that means I have to take chances in order to hold my own on stage.” He adds: “Bohème is very special because we both sang it for the first time together and that is when we started dating.”

Pérez expands on her very operatic love story with her husband now of four years:

"Stephen and I were studying at the Academy of Vocal Arts together. We had worked together in the past, singing opposite each other in La traviata and L'elisir d’amore, but Bohème is what brought us together. We had always been friends, but it was during rehearsals for Bohème that we started dating. I lived alone in a tiny little attic around the corner from Stephen, where he lived with a few other guys - just like Mimì and Rodolfo! After rehearsals we liked to blow off some steam, and Stephen asked me out dancing to the salsa club across the street from where he lived. My response was 'you don't salsa!', but surprisingly enough, he can! He tried to kiss me on the way home, but I turned him down. That didn't last long though, and over the next few months we fell in love. A lot of couples fall in love over Bohème, and lots of them have a line from the opera that is special to them. My favorite line is 'Sempre tua per la vita' [‘always yours, for life’], which Mimì tells Rodolfo in their Act III break-up scene.”

Originally created by iconic film director Herbert Ross, the L.A. Opera’s La bohème has been credited with “maintaining the work’s charm, while breathing vitality into its characters and supplying imaginative new action” (Variety). Conducted by Patrick Summers, music director of the Houston Grand Opera, and featuring a strong supporting cast, the new revival is staged by director Gregory A. Fortner.

Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein performs works by Ronn Yedidia on a CD to be released by Naxos on March 27

Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein performs works by contemporary composer and pianist Ronn Yedidia in a recording to be released by Naxos Records on Tuesday, March 27 as part of Naxos’s American Classics Series. The recording features works for clarinet and piano including Impromptu, Nocturne and World Dance, Farewell, Nathaniel, and Poème performed by Mr. Fiterstein and Mr. Yedidia; and Concertino, a work for clarinet, piano and string trio, performed by Mr. Fiterstein, Ronn Yedidia, violinist Arnaud Sussmann, violist Melissa Reardon, and cellist Nicholas Canellakis. The album will be available on Amazon.com, Arkivmusic.com, and iTunes.

Alexander Fiterstein was introduced to Ronn Yedidia’s music in 2006 through friend and pianist Alon Goldstein who was then performing one of Mr. Yedidia’s piano works in recital, and the following year Concertino was commissioned for Mr. Fiterstein. Concertino began as a clarinet and piano piece but quickly became a larger and more ambitious work that grew to include a string trio. Mr. Fiterstein explains that the work “rapidly shifts from one mood to the next and has many different musical elements; European 'chanson,' Mediterranean and Balkan dance, and klezmer music are all formative components of the piece. Concertino is a large scale work, in one continuous movement and quite symphonic in parts.” The work was premiered by Mr. Fiterstein in 2007.

Farewell, Nathaniel is dedicated to Ronn Yedidia’s colleague, Dr. Nathaniel Amadeus Yangco, who lost his life in a tragic scuba diving accident. It is scored for clarinet and piano in honor of Nathaniel’s father, Dr. Bienvenido Yangco, who is a clarinetist. The work was premiered at New York ’s Merkin Concert Hall in the spring of 2008 by Alexander Fiterstein .

Dealing with Irregular Beats in the Music of Chip Michael

Performers sometimes glance over my music, find it really straight forward and fairly simple. That is until they start to get into actual rehearsal when they find the irregular beats quite challenging. Here are a few tips on why the music "feels" and "looks" straight forward yet is challenging to count. Here is how to approach it in rehearsal.

When we studied music we learned the basics of counting duple and complex meter. We might have even had advanced courses on how to approach divisions of five or seven. All of the basic subdivisions, two and three, were pretty easy. Our brains could grasp the concept of one beat being divided into two parts --one and two and. Three was a bit trickier --one ee ah, two ee ah. Still, these divisions don't cause much problem.

It was more of a struggle when we were asked to beat on the desk in three while we spoke in two (or the double division of four, two divided by two). Yet, by the end of the semester we were able to grasp the basic concepts of subdividing beats. My music is no different, with the complication that it doesn't follow subdivisions consistently. When working one of my compositions, you can't divide a beat into three and just repeat that over and over. The divided parts are the same, but the beat changes.

A pianist once told me the key to understanding difficult music is to find the patterns, so let's look at the patterns in my music:

For example:

In this 9/8 bar, the beats are not divided into three, three and three, but rather three, two, two and two. If you think about this bar in four, you have one slow beat and three faster ones -- one.... two, three, four, one.... two, three, four.

The 10-8 bar isn't a 5/4 bar, divided into two-three-two-three, or three-two-three-two. Rather begins like the 9-8 bar, three, two and two, but adds a hesitation to the final beat changing the two into a three, creating a three-two-two-three bar. The sensation is still four beats to the bar. Now it is long, short, short long.

Still in the same piece of music we move to a sympatico section -a shifting of the beat. It normal tango music this would just be a change of stresses within the measure. Here, I extend the final long even more, creating a three-two-three-three bar. This shift in the music gives a sense of the dancers 'milking' the passion of the final two beats, drawing out the flourish to emphasize what they're doing before returning to the first beat of the next bar.

The divisions throughout the music are simply dividing the beat by twos or threes, or rather grouping the eighth notes into twos or threes. The patterns are there, repeating over and over to create a sense of 'normal' rhythm even though they are broken up into irregular beats. When you've mastered that concept the rest should fall into place.

The music is written where the 8th note is the division of the meter, but the actual beat is mutable, constantly changing throughout the music. Standard Tango music is written in 4/4, but the pulse is long-short-short-long. Tango musicians often take liberties with the rhythm creating a sense of hesitation or impetuous toward the beat, shaving off bits of the beat here and adding bits there. For Flown the Coop I have taken this same sentiment and put an underlying consistent pulse to it. In this piece, the underlying pulse is the eighth note, in other pieces I use sixteenth and thirty-second notes. Regardless of what the underlying pulse is, grasping the over-arching beat is important. The sensation of the expressive beat on a foundation of the "true pulse" is what I want the listener to feel.

Flown the Coop - a dance in irregular meter

Scottish Chamber Orchestra announces 2012/13 Season

Highlights include:

- Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati opens his fourth Season with the SCO with concert performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte
- Celebration of Benjamin Britten centenary
- Three of the world’s finest pianists play Mozart: Maria João Pires, Piotr Anderszewski and Robert Levin
- Ticciati pays homage to the musical city of Vienna over two weeks in March
- A salute to the Age of Romanticism throughout the Season, with a particular focus on Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Weber and Mendelssohn
- Premieres of works by Lyell Cresswell, Einojuhani Rautavaara and James MacMillan
- European Tour with Robin Ticciati and Maria João Pires
- SCO Season debuts by soloists Veronika Eberle, Rachel Frenkel, Nelson Goerner, Matthias Goerne, Adam Plachetka, Swiss Piano Trio, Laura Tatulescu and Markus Werba, and conductors David Afkham, Adam Fischer and Thomas Rösner
- SCO and RSNO continue collaborative Aberdeen Concert Series for second year

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra today announced details of its 2012/13 Season of concerts throughout Scotland between October 2012 and May 2013. Despite the difficult financial climate, the Orchestra is successfully maintaining its excellent standards of performance and programming; it has just completed a tour of Germany with Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati, the first SCO/Ticciati recording – of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique – is due for release in April, and its current (2011/12) Season is enjoying great success, with ticket sales up by 12% on last year’s equivalent.

“We may be in financially challenging times but we are also in the Year of Creative Scotland and the new SCO Season declares innovation, quality and exceptional creativity. The Season has the SCO hallmarks of a huge range of repertoire along with superb guest artists, including both regular partners and those making their SCO debut, and a sense of adventure which in recent years has beguiled our steadily growing audiences.” - Roy McEwan, SCO Chief Executive

Bookings for SCO subscription packages for the Concert Seasons in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews can be made from 21 March 2012.

Single tickets are on sale from 7 May 2012.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WQXR Invites The Knights for Second Term as Ensemble-in-Residence Apr 3-4

Includes Found Sound Contest, Launched Today and Culminating in The Knights’ Performance of John Adams’s Christian Zeal and Activity

After successfully presenting The Knights as its inaugural ensemble-in-residence last fall, WQXR – the nation’s most-listened-to classical music station – is inviting them back for a second residency on April 3 and 4. This time, the heart of the residency is an exciting interactive experience with listeners.

On Wednesday, April 4, The Knights will perform a concert that will include John Adams’s Christian Zeal and Activity, using sounds submitted by listeners. Christian Zeal and Activity, the hymn-like central movement of Adams’s longer work American Standard (1973), instructs its conductor to incorporate within it “sonic found objects.” Fittingly, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer’s own recording of the work featured a segment of a call-in radio show.

Beginning today, WQXR and The Knights invite listeners – whether educated composers, young garage band buffs, or amateurs – to submit audio samples to their Found Sound Project competition on Indaba Music, the online music creation site, by March 16. Additionally, Indaba will invite its community of more than 650,000 musicians to participate. The Knights selection panel – which includes WQXR Vice President Graham Parker and Knights musicians – will select one winning entry for inclusion in the work’s April 4 performance. If possible, an interview with the winner will accompany the concert broadcast. Further information can be found at www.wqxr.org/theknights.

The concert on April 4 will be performed at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR, the station’s intimate and acoustically superior live event space, and will be broadcast live on 105.9 FM and wqxr.org.

Gustavo Dudamel Conducts An American In Paris


This past Sunday fans across the country enjoyed the movie theater broadcast of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2011-12 Season Opening Night Concert which included some of Gershwin's best-loved works.
FREE for one week in the U.S., download the video for An American in Paris with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, available only on iTunes!

Click here to download the video right now!

Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces 2015-16 World Premiere of Bel Canto

Commissioned as part of Lyric’s Renée Fleming Initiative; Music by Composer Jimmy López, Libretto by Playwright Nilo Cruz, Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Directed by Stephen Wadsworth; Based on Ann Patchett’s Best-Selling Novel; Soprano Danielle de Niese Stars in Central Role

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, today announced details of its new world premiere. Bel Canto, by the gifted young Peruvian composer Jimmy López, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, is based on the best-selling novel by Ann Patchett. To premiere in Lyric’s 2015-16 season, the new opera, commissioned as part of Lyric’s Renée Fleming Initiative, will be conducted by Lyric music director Sir Andrew Davis and directed by Stephen Wadsworth.

Both the 2001 book and the new opera are inspired by the Lima Crisis of 1996-97, when members of a revolutionary movement in Peru held hostages at the Japanese ambassador’s house for 126 days (Dec. 17, 1996-April 22, 1997). Central to the story is the fictional famed American soprano Roxanne Coss, who will be portrayed by Australian-born American soprano Danielle de Niese. Like the novel, the opera will explore the tensions and unexpected alliances that develop when a group of culturally disparate strangers – the terrorists and their hostages – are confined in close quarters for months.

Bel Canto will be the seventh world-premiere opera that Lyric Opera of Chicago has commissioned for its main stage since 1961. Joining Freud for the announcement were López, Cruz, Fleming, Patchett, Davis, and Wadsworth.

“The creation of new work is a fundamental, vital part of a major opera company’s activity,” Freud said. “I couldn’t be more excited at the start of my tenure here that Lyric is embarking on its latest mainstage commission.”

As Lyric’s creative consultant, Fleming is curator for this world premiere, which is a keystone of the company’s Renée Fleming Initiative. Fleming selected the book Bel Canto as the subject for the commission because she was moved by it and found it “opera-worthy. It’s about terrorism on one level, but it’s also about what happens when people are forced to live together for a long time, and how art can raise their level of humanity as a group,” Fleming said. “Most of us crave a cathartic emotional experience when we’re at the theater, and I believe Bel Canto has the components to do that.”

Fleming researched more than a hundred composers for the commission, coming up with a short list that she and Sir Andrew Davis further distilled in consultation with Anthony Freud. The composer they chose, Jimmy López, has a unique intimacy with the story’s setting and source material that will help to inform his work.

Charles Curtis- Bach: An Imaginary Dance out on eOne March 27

Electrifying New Arrangements of Three Bach Cello Suites With Naren Budhakar on Tabla and Anthony Burr on Organ

On March 27, 2012, eOne will release Bach: An Imaginary Dance, an electrifying recording of three of Bach’s cello suites. Cellist Charles Curtis along with producer Robert Sadin have crossed space and time to bring into the studio one of the most ancient sources of rhythm – the tabla drum – along with additional organ colors in their re-interpretations of Bach’s C Major Suite, E Flat Suite and G Major Suite. Together, Curtis and Sadin bring a respectful yet fresh look at some of music’s most beloved works.

The inspiration behind these new arrangements resides in the essential wellspring of dance. Bach took Baroque dance forms as the template for his sublime abstractions, spinning webs of music that have entranced, mystified and exalted the spirits of musicians and audiences for hundreds of years.

It is safe to say that there has never been an interpretation of the suites like this one, an energizing acoustic embellishment that makes these pieces truly sparkle on an almost otherworldly scale. “I'm fairly certain that Bach never heard or saw a tabla; and the instances of percussive instruments in his music are limited to kettle drums in a handful of orchestral moments, to my knowledge,” declares Curtis. Though an unusual combination, it is not unusual to hear Bach reimagined with different sounds. Bach was flexible in his instrumentation, both casting the solo violin and cello works for lute and leaving the keyboard instrument for the continuo unspecified. The composer has been the object of such extensive and varied adaptation, from Mozart on through to Mendelssohn and Schumann, the later Romantics, and Schoenberg, Webern, Berg and Stravinsky, as if Bach had himself left the door a little ajar.

These well-known, solo suites are simple, if austere, pieces of beauty. "We hoped to re-discover a quality of pleasure - even indulgence - of the unaccompanied suites," says Curtis. The addition of the more colorful instruments brings in the Baroque period’s love of excess and extravagance. The elaborate interpretation also focuses on the spirit of the dance embodied in the pieces - the dizzying abandon of the Gigue, the solemn momentousness of the Sarabande, the seductiveness of Menuets and Bourrées. Though it’s unlikely that Bach’s music was danced to, it is through these unique interpretations that the listener hears differently and perhaps feels the dance rhythm anew.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TwtrSymphony: Advice to those wanting to Audition

As a number of audition pieces have arrived and others have written struggling with one issue or another, I felt it worthwhile to let the musicians gain from each other's experience.

The poor flutists were first out of the block. They were given a piece that is playable, but challenging, melodic and yet rhythmically different, (as were all the musicians auditioning for TwtrSymphony). Here are some of the problems they needed to think about when preparing for the auditions:
  1. It is important to play WITH the click track.
    While a number of musicians find this off-putting, your metronome may not exactly match the click track. Therefore, don't leave it to chance. Even slight variations in the tempo can lead to drastic difference in the placement of notes later on in the music.
  2. Tuning!
    Even if you think you are in tune, try recording it several times and playing back all tracks at the same time. You may find you waver here and there in terms of notes being in tune. When the tracks are compared with others via my computer, the slight variations can become rather dramatic. At such time as we try to get the entire ensemble to play together, these little tuning variations can be a nightmare to try and fix after the fact.
  3. Know your equipment
    Don't leave the recording to the last few days. You may find your equipment doesn't record they way you thought it would or it doesn't sound as good as you think you did while playing. Resolve these issues long before you try and record your audition. The last thing you want when you're trying to play with a click track is stress, wondering if it's going to work.
If you have the chance to get equipment that allows you to play back multiple takes at the same time, I highly encourage it. Hearing what you sound like from one take to the next will be very illuminating. The more precise you can make your recordings the better player you will be in the long run. Record two or three tracks and play them back in sync. Any flaws will be immediately apparent.

I have nearly a dozen audition recordings returned at this point. Individually, they all sound pretty impressive. Much of what I've said here is really picky, but, the part of the reason this idea of a 'remote' orchestra hasn't been done before is the challenge of getting all of these disparate elements to come together. The pickier we are about getting the best from our auditions, the better our pieces will be when it comes time for the "real" thing.

Metropolitan Opera Guild Spring Events Include “Met Mastersingers” Tribute to Thomas Hampson March 22

The Metropolitan Opera Guild and Opera News, the award-winning magazine published by the Guild since 1936, will present two notable events this spring. On Tuesday, March 22, the Guild honors Thomas Hampson, one of today’s foremost singers, in its “Met Mastersingers” series at New York City’s Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The great American baritone – who is making his company role debut as Verdi’s Macbeth at the Met this month – will engage in an informal conversation with Paul Gruber, the Guild’s Executive Director of Program Development. The evening program will also showcase video excerpts of Hampson’s most celebrated performances; a new video biography created for the occasion; and the honoree performing songs by Liszt, Barber, and Porter (program subject to change). On Sunday, April 29, the seventh annual Opera News Awards will be presented in a gala celebration in the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza in New York City, paying tribute to five extraordinary artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars.

“Met Mastersingers: Thomas Hampson” is the third installment in a series that began in February 2010 with an event honoring soprano Renée Fleming; in the fall of 2010, the German bass René Pape was celebrated. Gruber has had conversations with a “who’s who” of great artists at many Guild events over the years, including such luminaries as Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto and James Levine.

Created in 2005, the Opera News Awards recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala evening on April 29 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Always a night of extraordinary star-power and glamour, the Opera News Awards celebration will once again bring together a bevy of New York’s cultural and social luminaries. The corporate sponsor is BNY Mellon Wealth Management; the event has also received support from American Airlines and Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

TwtrSymphony -Week 2: Lessons learned about playing to a click track

At the end of week two and audition recordings have started coming in. There are some fine musicians on Twitter!

The audition process for TwtrSymphony sounds pretty simple on paper (or over a Tweet), but musicians are finding it's a lot easier to tweet than to attempt.

I wrote a 30-45 second audition piece for each instrument of the orchestra --you can see some examples here. With each piece I included a click track sub-dividing the beats into two. So, a 4/4 measure would have 8 clicks, with the first beat getting an accented click. Since the time signatures change frequently, even though the timing does not, the musicians have to maintain a sense of the music while keeping a rigid sense of time.

Add to this, computers and metronomes are not really accurate. Several musicians have commented their metronomes didn't match with the metronome marking on the music in relation to the click track. However, because all the musicians of a given instrument were given the same click track, and the click track has a midi realization of the part they are to play, the field is level. It comes down to how well the musicians can play to a recorded click track. Not so easy, I promise you.

As each recording comes in, I am comparing it to the "computer generated" version in terms of timing. If TwtrSymphony is to succeed, it will be important the musicians play "together" even through they are miles (and sometimes continents) apart. The click track is the only way to ensure all the musicians are playing in the same tempo. Accuracy isn't the only factor in the audition, but it's an important one.

With other similar projects I've worked on, one musician creates a base track for the rest of the musicians to play along with. I thought about doing a similar sort of thing --creating a midi base track. However, with an orchestra, which track do I use? In the music I write there isn't necessarily one instrument that plays throughout.

Another option is to create listening tracks minus one musician,(the one to play). When it comes to the actual pieces, I think this variation has a lot more promise. Musicians can "sense" when they're to play in because of the overall sound they're listening to.

The difficulty with the click track is there is nothing, other than click to gauge timing. If you're used to playing with a metronome, you'll probably do pretty well with a click track. Otherwise, it's a whole new process to learn.


Another learning process in the auditions, is the time it takes to process all the requests. The flutists are the first deadline, March 20th. I've started to get auditions from cellists, violinists as well as flutes. Overall there are 250+ musicians who've asked to participate. That's a lot of music I have to download, put into a track to compare with the "original" midi. Then there's the "blind" judging to take place, four judges listening to the various recordings and offering their ranking of the auditions.

This isn't a process to eliminate players, necessarily, but rather to provide me with a sense of what the ensemble can handle. If timing is an issue, then the music I write will have to be less adventurous rhythmically.

I'm also hoping to have smaller ensemble recordings beyond just the full orchestra. There's already a flute choir in the works as well as a string orchestra piece. I can see creating a piece for French Horns or Woodwind quintet as well. We just have to get through the audition process to see what our capabilities really are. Of course, as players get more familiar with playing to a click track, and I get accustomed to what works best for the various musicians, the sky is the limit.

All in all, it's been an interesting second week and I am very excited for the future of TwtrSymphony!

NYC Opera: Christopher Alden's "Così" at John Jay College, March 18-24

“If City Opera gives us an Alden production a year, it'll be an extraordinary gift to our cultural life." — New York Observer

New York City Opera presents the second installment in director Christopher Alden's Mozart/Da Ponte cycle for the company with Così fan tutte, March 18-24 in the intimate space of the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at Manhattan's John Jay College. After his visionary staging of Don Giovanni for NYC Opera in 2009, Alden brings similar daring to his production of Così, Mozart's bittersweet meditation on the ever-thorny issues of loyalty and commitment, attraction and desire. Covering his Don Giovanni, the New York Observer declared that Alden creates “the most consistently vibrant operatic theater in the city. . . If City Opera gives us an Alden production a year in perpetuity, it'll be an extraordinary gift to our cultural life."

Così fan tutte will be enlivened by a vibrant, talented cast, including Jennifer Holloway (Dorabella), Allan Clayton (Ferrando) and Rod Gilfry (Don Alfonso) in their NYC Opera debuts, along with returning artists Sara Jakubiak (Fiordiligi), Marie Lenormand (Despina) and Philip Cutlip (Guglielmo). The performances will be conducted by Christian Curnyn. The sets are designed by Andrew Lieberman and costumes by Terese Wadden, with lighting design by Aaron Black.

Christopher Alden, a native of New York City and a veteran of New York City Opera – his first production for the company was Rossini’s Le comte Ory in 1979 – returns to directing for NYC Opera after his 2010 production of A Quiet Place. The New York Times, in an autumn feature story on Alden's preparations for Così fan tutte, wrote, "Mr. Alden’s work has always been thoughtful and provocative, but it has lately taken on an even greater elegance and subtle power. His recent productions for City Opera – Don Giovanni in 2009 and Bernstein’s A Quiet Place last year – revealed new depths in two very different operas." The article described the Così production as "set in a park as night falls and envelops the characters in darkness as they play out the plot’s cruel game: Two men, egged on by an older friend, disguise themselves to test their fiancées’ fidelity, a test both fail."

Bach Guild Relaunches -- Big Bach Set for a Buck on Bach's B-day March 21st

On March 21th, 2012 eOne Music relaunches the storied Bach Guild label with Big Bach Set – 120 tracks of Bach’s works, equaling NINE hours of music. In celebration of Bach’s birthday, March 21st, Big Bach Set will be sold for 99 cents at Amazon.com’s MP3 store. On March 22nd, the price will be $9.99 for the collection, available for download at all digital retailers.

Big Bach Set will include a cross section of J.S. Bach’s most beloved works including the entirety of the Mass in B Minor, the Harpsichord Concerti, Orchestral Suites and all six Brandenburg Concerti. Artists include Joseph Szigeti, Anton Heiller, Paula Robison, Kenneth Cooper and András Schiff. Conductors include Johannes Somary, Antonio Janigro and Felix Prohaska.

The Big Bach Set is the cornerstone of the return of The Bach Guild, a label devoted to Bach and the music of the baroque era. With the revival of the imprint, the classic recordings of the Bach Guild catalog will be made available, many of them for the first time in digital format, while new recordings of the great master are also a priority. Five additional new releases from the original Bach Guild will also be released on March 21st. The Bach Guild will continue to evolve on eOne with new recordings and releases, first with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers’ chart topping Air: The Bach Album, and cellist Charles Curtis’ genre bending Bach: An Imaginary Dance, due for release on March 27, 2012.

Daniel Hope Curates and Performs at 2012 Savannah Music Festival

“The playing of the British violinist Daniel Hope…is not just distinguished by its tonal beauty, but by its compelling rhetorical quality.” — The Wall Street Journal

For his ninth season as a performer and his eighth as Associate Artistic Director at the Savannah Music Festival (March 22-April 7), Daniel Hope has curated an extraordinary array of concerts that make up the classical portion of Georgia’s largest cross-genre musical arts festival. As a violinist, Hope will make nine appearances during the 2012 Savannah Music Festival (SMF), primarily as part of the Daniel Hope & Friends series, presented in the dramatic Rotunda of Savannah’s Telfair Academy. Highlights include Hope’s recital of the complete Brahms violin sonatas with Sebastian Knauer; an evening with old friend and Beaux Arts Trio colleague Menahem Pressler; three performances with keyboard star Kristian Bezuidenhout and the period chamber orchestra l'arte del mondo (which makes its U.S. premiere at SMF 2012); and two ensemble evenings with violinist Lorenza Borrani (concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe) and others. When he’s not performing, Hope will oversee the balance of the festival’s classical programming. This year’s classical lineup welcomes, among others, the Takács Quartet, the Emerson Quartet, pianist Yefim Bronfman with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the trio of David Finckel, Wu Han, and Philip Setzer. After a recent contract renewal with the festival, Hope's work as Associate Artistic Director will continue at least until 2015, marking his tenth year in the position. Other artists performing at this year’s SMF include Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Pace de Lucia, Marcus Roberts, Zakir Hussain and Lyle Lovett.

For two weeks each spring, the Savannah Music Festival fills Georgia’s most beautiful city with a celebration of the musical arts. Its programs explore a range of styles: From jazz to world, classical to Americana, the festival reflects this vibrant southern city and the myriad of people who make up its diverse, colorful culture. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Hope remarked, "Savannah's hallmark is its cultural diversity, and on any given day our programs range from, say, the Baroque to Brahms to Edgar Meyer, from Fauré to Portuguese Fado, from Béla Fleck to Chris Thile. It's a celebration of music in all its many forms."

Hope makes his first SMF 2012 appearance on March 24 in Daniel Hope & Friends: Menahem & Dvořák, which reunites Hope with one of his most beloved musical partners, pianist Menahem Pressler, founder of one of the chamber music world’s most legendary groups, the Beaux Arts Trio (with which Hope played for the ensemble’s final six years). Other SMF veteran players round out the roster for this all-Dvorák program.

One of SMF’s 2012 undeniable highlights will be Hope’s March 25 program, The Brahms Violin Sonatas: Daniel Hope & Sebastian Knauer. Musical colleagues who have regularly worked together for almost 20 years, the violinist and pianist tackle all three Brahms violin sonatas in a concert marking Hope’s first SMF recital in a number of years.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Plays Debussy, Kurtág, Liszt, and Schumann on Four-City U.S. Recital Tour

“Aimard has an ingenious knack for juxtaposing old and new works to tease out fascinating resonances.” – Anthony Tomassini, New York Times

After making “riveting” (New York Times) appearances with the Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, French pianist and musical luminary Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns to the U.S. for a four-city recital tour in late March. This sees the pianist’s debuts in Denver, Co (March 22) and Santa Barbara, CA (March 26), as well as performances in Detroit, MI (March 24) and San Francisco, CA (March 27). One of the most celebrated interpreters of contemporary music, Aimard has been called “the composers’ favorite pianist” (Economist); his tour program features works by one of his frequent collaborators, György Kurtág, alongside Debussy’s complete Préludes, Book II, and music by Schumann and Liszt. Following the tour, Aimard presents a pair of recitals at New York’s Lincoln Center (April 21 & 22), with repertoire from his recent Deutsche Grammophon double album, The Liszt Project. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the UK’s Independent were among those that cited The Liszt Project as one of 2011’s best recordings.

On tour, Aimard performs selections from three collections of miniatures: Schumann’s evocative Bunte Blätter (“Colored Leaves”), juxtaposed with Játékok (“Games”) and Szálkák (“Splinters”), both by Hungarian composer György Kurtág, “perhaps the most widely revered figure in contemporary European music” (Alex Ross, New Yorker). The pianist, whose way with Debussy has been described as “revelatory” (NPR), follows these selections with a complete traversal of the French composer’s second book of Préludes, and two late pieces by Lizst: Jeux d’eau de la Villa d’Este (“The Fountain of the Villa d’Este”) and the dark and forward-looking Unstern! Sinistre, disastro (“Dark Star! Sinister, Disastrous”).

Liszt is the primary focus of the pianist’s two recitals at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Aimard marked last year’s bicentennial of the great composer-pianist’s birth with The Liszt Project, which offers more than two hours of music, not only by Liszt but by those who influenced and were influenced by him. Aimard’s New York programs showcase this repertoire, presenting music by Liszt alongside that of Wagner, Scriabin, Ravel, Berg, Bartók, Messiaen, and Marco Stroppa.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, upcoming engagements

March 22–27
U.S. recital tour

Kurtág (b. 1926): selections from Játékok and Szálkák
Schumann: selections from Bunte Blätter
Lizst: Unstern! Sinistre, disastro; Jeux d’eau de la Villa d’Este
Debussy: Préludes, Book II (complete)

March 22: Gates Concert Hall, Denver, CO (debut)
March 24: Seligman Performing Arts Center, Detroit, MI
March 26: Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA (debut)
March 27: Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

April 21 & 22
New York, NY
Recital: Lizst, Wagner, Scriabin, Ravel, Berg, Bartók, Messiaen, and Stroppa
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center