. Interchanging Idioms: April 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Fagiolini & Robert Hollingworth 1612
 Italian Vespers out on Decca June 5th

Celebrated British ensemble reconstruct 400-year-old lost choral masterpiece for seven choirs and release world-premiere recording of Italian Vespers extravaganza

Following their multi-award winning 2011 Decca debut recording of Striggio’s Mass in 40 Parts from 1566, Robert Hollingworth takes his maverick ensemble I Fagiolini on a new journey unearthing lost works from the High Renaissance and early Baroque. The group’s second Decca album 1612, set for release on June 5th, presents the world-premiere recordings of Viadana’s 4-choir Vesper Psalms, a reconstruction of Giovanni Gabrieli’s 28-voice Magnificat, a reconstitution of his In Ecclesiis and other lost treasures from this glorious period of multi-choir music. 1612 is a majestic and intricate feast of kaleidoscopic color for voices, brass, wind, strings, lutes and organs.

The recording of Gabrieli’s lost Magnificat is the culmination of a musical detective story. Reconstruction of the piece had been considered impossible, with only 8 of the 28 parts existing, until Hugh Keyte (whose new edition of Tallis’ Spem in Alium featured on the Striggio CD) noticed a number of provocative clues. With scholarship fired by imagination, Keyte, Hollingworth and I Fagiolini brought the piece back to life and recorded it for the first time, including full military fanfare. The recording recreates a thanksgiving Vespers in commemoration of the famous Venetian naval victory at Lepanto in 1571, celebrated for over 200 years after the event in a new festival – The Feast of the Holy Rosary.

The title of the album refers to the momentous year of 1612. Gabrieli, the most brilliant of Venetian multi-choir composers, died. Monteverdi was fired from his position in Mantua and shortly afterwards moved to Venice. His former colleague Viadana published a collection of 4-choir Vesper Psalms with a layout considerably more forward-looking than Monteverdi’s 1610 Vesper psalms. Written for more clear-cut groups of soloists, choir and two accompanying ‘choirs’, here realised on cornett, violins, sackbuts, dulcians and organs, the psalms combine delicious invention with massive sonority.

Deutsche Grammophon Releases a New Recording Featuring Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic in Works by Debussy and Ravel

Deutsche Grammophon presents conductor Myung-Whun Chung and his Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra with a new album of Debussy and Ravel. The orchestra, “a world-class ensemble” (Berliner Morgenpost), is setting a new standard for orchestral music in Korea and regularly performs for largely sold-out audiences. In anticipation of the orchestra’s first official North American tour, the Yellow Label releases this album of French masterpieces, available April 10.

Myung-Whun Chung, who has held the position of Music Director and Chief Conductor since 2006, has reinvigorated the Seoul Philharmonic and brought worldwide attention to the ensemble. In 2010 the orchestra made a European tour which drew critical acclaim in cities such as Berlin, Bologna, St. Petersburg and Prague. Now maestro and orchestra come to North America with performances in Vancouver, Seattle, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.

On the tour, as on the new album, the orchestra will perform Debussy’s La Mer and Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye and La Valse. All three works are masterfully orchestrated and give the entire ensemble numerous opportunities to display their virtuosity and refined sound. Of their 2010 performances, the Berliner Zeitung noted “Debussy’s La Mer and Ravel’s La Valse framed the two new works. In the translucency of its layers of sound, its rhythmic subtleties and its gripping sense of overall structure, Debussy’s piece in particular was on a very high level.”

Music Director Myung-Whun Chung began his musical career as a pianist, making his debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at the age of seven. After musical studies in New York he became Carlo Maria Giulini’s assistant in 1979 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and two years later was named Associate Conductor. In 1990 he became an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon and many of his recordings have won international prizes and awards. In 2006 Myung-Whun Chung was named the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic.

Deutsche Grammophon Releases All-New Recording of Daniel Barenboim conducting Bruckner’s Symphony no. 7 with the Staatskapelle Berlin

Universal Classics continues its commitment to conductor Daniel Barenboim with this new release on Deutsche Grammophon of Bruckner’s Symphony no. 7 in E major featuring the Staatskapelle Berlin. Recorded live in the Berlin Philharmonie in June, 2010, this performance was rapturously received by the audience which erupted into 13 minutes of uninterrupted applause. The recording will be available on May 8, 2012.

In June 2010 Barenboim conducted six of Bruckner’s symphonies at the Berlin Philharmonie within a single week, programming the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Symphonies alongside Beethoven’s five piano concertos, with Barenboim himself as the soloist. It was the most monumental project of the concert season, both for the musicians involved and for the audience. The result of this cycle (a favorite practice with Barenboim) was an extraordinarily flexible Bruckner with fluently shifting tempi and an exceptional range of orchestral tone colors. The Staatskapelle strings produced an unusually warm and varied tone, the woodwind and horn solos were like human voices, and the brass provided a solid foundation for the orchestral sonorities, sometimes also gloriously stepping to the fore.

The press said of the concert: “[Barenboim’s] Bruckner is conceived and performed very theatrically, like an opera without words” (Der Tagesspiegel). In the mighty orchestral build-ups, the effect is hair-raising, “like watching a Gothic cathedral arise in time lapse” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). This release coincides with performances of the Bruckner in Berlin, London, Paris and Vienna.

Daniel Barenboim, one of the outstanding musical figures of our time, was born in Buenos Aires to parents of Russian-Jewish descent. He began piano lessons at the age of five with his mother, continued musical studies with his father, and gave his first official concert in Buenos Aires when he was seven. From the mid-1960s, Barenboim began to devote more time to conducting. From 1975 to 1989 he was Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris. He made his opera debut in 1973 at the Edinburgh Festival and his Bayreuth Festival debut in 1981. In 1991, he succeeded Solti as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony and in 2006 was named “honorary conductor for life”. In 1992, he became General Music Director of Berlin’s Deutsche Staatsoper and in 2000, the Berlin Staatskapelle appointed him “chief conductor for life”. In 2006 he began a close relationship with La Scala. Currently he is in the midst of conducting a new Ring cycle in both Berlin and Milan. He also appears regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is there Still Interest in Playing with a Symphony Orchestra? TwtrSymphony Says YES

From the first conversations in early March to the end of April, queries from musicians wanting to join the ranks of TwtrSymphony have poured in.

The demand for opportunities to play in a symphony orchestra is obviously strong world wide. TwtrSymphony is a volunteer orchestra. At this early stage we are unable to pay musicians and composers anything for their talents or hard work. We don't have a concert hall to publish pretty pictures of our ensemble on stage. We don't have any of the trappings of a normal symphony orchestra. What we do have is the chance to play music with an orchestra. But even that is limited as all the musicians are recording their own parts in remote recording sessions. So, we don't even have the thrill of hearing the entire ensemble play together. And yet...

Within the first week we had so many requests from musicians wanting to join TwtrSymphony, we had to hold auditions. By then end of the first month over 250 musicians had applied, where a core group of 53 were finally accepted. The trend didn't stop there. All through the month of April we've been approached by musicians wanting to play in our ensemble. Over a hundred new musicians asked to be a part of the process in April, even though we don't have anything to show for our efforts yet. Our first track is still in the process of mixing the parts together, with the second movement of the symphony just getting to the musicians.

So, what's the enticement?

Part of the thrill is getting to work with musicians from around the world.

"The primary reason I play in the TwtrSymphony is the ability to connect with musicians who share my interest in a new way to perform and a new way to reach audiences." - Sarah Richardson

TwtrSymphony is all about connecting musicians regardless of location. Not only are they making music together, but many of them have become Twitter friends, sharing thoughts and ideas on other projects as well. A couple of our musicians met in person and are playing together this weekend.

"As soon as I heard about the opportunity to play great music and connect with musicians from all over, I jumped on board. It's so exciting that we are creating art in the virtual world, and one musician at a time records and forms an entire orchestra." - Manoela Wunder

The technology is also interesting for a number of the musicians.
"I am really interested in the possibilities presented with the concept of a remote orchestra - Something that wouldn't have been technologically possible five or ten years ago. Music is meant to be heard and @Twtrsymphony is a creative approach to getting good music performed and better yet, heard." - Sean Greene

We are creating a sound that is 100% live and yet, 100% virtual. The process we're using is still in the infant stages of development, as we're making changes all the time to try and get a more cohesive sound, while allowing musicians the flexibility of location and working around their other commitments. While the first two tracks were recorded using a midi generated click track, the third will likely use a live drummer creating the initial pulse. The fourth and final movement is still under discussion as to how it will be approached, in an attempt to get a more responsive feel to the music.

Some musicians are using the process to stay in shape. Performing to a click track is demanding as precision is imperative. Recording yourself is also very revealing. All the little flaws come glaring out in a recording. Many of the musicians have commented on how illuminating the recordings have been in terms of improving their day to day playing.
"These days I make mostly electronic dance music, so this orchestra is a way for me to keep my chops in shape, and also have fun." - Robert Perlick-Molinari

"...anybody claiming to play the first take correctly is pulling your leg." - Matt Erion

TwtrSymphony is a lot of work. Though some of the musicians can accomplish their recordings in one day; no one gets through it with just one take. The music is challenging with mixed meter and odd time signatures, but it's more than that. The precision required by remote sessions means several musicians have been asked to redo one section or another because of slight timing issues. There have been no complaints. Everyone has been the consummate professional about the process, jumping right in to re-record wanting to get the music right. It wouldn't be worth all the pain if it wasn't also fun.
"The main reason is that I love to play, and the music represents a leading part of my life." - Ettore Rivarola

If you want to know more about our musicians and what they're staying about TwtrSymphony follow this Twitter List.

As a composer, I'm thrilled to be working with TwtrSymphony. While I have pieces being performed around the world, I seldom get the chance to compose for a specific group of this size --a full orchestra.
"Composers today face the challenge of getting their music played, I want to be a part of this." - Elyssa Gilmar
Orchestra commissions are rare as symphony orchestras are pressured to play the classics for a bulk of their concert season. TwtrSymphony was created to explore new orchestral music. Right now my music is being featured. The future is wide open and I hope what we create with TwtrSymphony can eventually benefit composers around the world the same way it is now benefiting musicians.

Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Blythe to Host Seventh Annual Opera News Awards, Sunday, April 29 at The Plaza in NYC

On Sunday, April 29, the seventh annual Opera News Awards will be presented at 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. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who sings Fricka in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Ring, will host the awards. Among the special guests for this year’s festivities are conductor James Conlon (a 2005 Opera News Award-winner), who will present the award to Ms. Silja; legendary baritone (and 2008 Opera News Award-winner) Sherrill Milnes, who will present the award to Mr. Hvorostovsky; bass-baritone Eric Owens, another star of the Met’s Ring, who will present to Mr. Sellars; Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, who will present to Ms. Mattila; and soprano Deborah Voigt, a 2007 Opera News Award-winner and the Met’s current Brünnhilde, who will present the award to Mr. Mattei. The guest list will also include Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine of Sweden, who will attend to watch her countryman, Peter Mattei, be honored. Her Excellency, Ambassador Ritva Jolkkonen, Consul General of Finland in New York, will also be a guest at the festivities, honoring Ms. Mattila.

Created in 2005, the Opera News Awards recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala—which will feature the presenters speaking about the awardees, as well as performance video clips—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 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. Tributes to the five awardees feature prominently in the just-published April 2012 issue of Opera News.

F. Paul Driscoll, Editor-in-Chief of Opera News, comments: “We have been enormously pleased with the response that the opera community has had to the Opera News Awards. The gala gives the opportunity for opera fans and professionals alike to celebrate the art form they cherish, as well as to allow friends throughout the opera community to come together for an evening that is filled with inspiration, laughter and the recounting of many vivid memories. As in previous seasons, this year’s honorees represent the very best that opera has to offer: they are all artists of prodigious skill, dedication and character, and we are proud to pay tribute to them.”

Colorado Symphony Celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a Weekend of Mariachi

Mariachi Cobre debuts with the Colorado Symphony plus 10th anniversary of free community concert.

Music and cultural enthusiasts alike should prepare for a weekend of magnificent performances when Mariachi Cobre, all the way from Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World, joins the Colorado Symphony in celebration of Cinco de Mayo on Friday, May 5 at Boettcher Concert Hall. Then on Sunday, May 6 the Colorado Symphony will host a FREE concert with Mariachi Sol De Me Tierra at the Greek Theatre stage in Civic Center Park. Tickets for the May 5 performance at Boettcher Concert Hall are on sale now and start at $25. To learn more about these concerts and the Colorado Symphony, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.

“We are thrilled that this season represents the 10th year of collaboration between the NEWSED Community Development Corp., the Mexican Consulate's Office, the Colorado Symphony, and many local members of the community,” said Anthony Pierce, VP of Artistic Administration with the Colorado Symphony. “This is the first time we've collaborated with Mariachi Cobre at Boettcher Concert Hall, but we continue with our 10th program on May 6, 2012 in Civic Center Park collaborating with Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra. We're also very thrilled to announce that we're going to present to the community a concert to celebrate the independence of Mexico in September!”

Tickets: Remaining tickets for the May 5 performance of Mariachi Cobre at Boettcher Hall currently start at $25. Tickets are on sale now at www.coloradosymphony.org, the Colorado Symphony Box Office: (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979 or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

Community Concert: The Colorado Symphony
May 6 at 11:30 am Dr. Greg Onofrio, guest conductor
Greek Theatre Stage Ervin Lucero, baritenor and master of ceremonies
at Civic Center Park Miguel Espinosa, flamenco guitar

Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra, Juventino Romero, director
Dancing Across Cultures Dance Company,
Janelle Ayon, artistic director and choreographer
Bryant Webster School Mariachi Juvenil, Pamela Liñan, director

Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni to Be Streamed Live from Heidelberger Frühling Opera Gala on April 29

On Sunday, April 29, Germany’s Heidelberger Frühling festival presents its first live video stream, offering a program of opera highlights from two world-class singers: baritone Thomas Hampson and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni. Accompanied by the WDR Rundfunkorchester under Massimo Zanetti, they will perform to a sold-out audience; the concert marks the last night of the 16th Heidelberger Frühling, which has – since its opening on March 23 – been showcasing internationally renowned artists in the picturesque setting of the city known as “the cradle of German Romanticism.” The April 29 live stream, sponsored by the German consulting firm MLP, will be available free of charge on www.thomashampson.com, www.lucapisaroni.com, and www.mlp-heidelberger-fruehling.de at 12 noon EDT (6 pm CET). The stream will also be available on demand until May 6. Meanwhile, New Yorkers can watch Hampson in an interview with Paula Zahn when he is profiled on THIRTEEN’s NYC-ARTS show, to be broadcast tonight at 8 pm EDT; fans outside the New York area can see the segment online at www.nyc-arts.org.

Hampson and Pisaroni’s program on April 29 will include duets from operas such as Verdi’s Don Carlos (“Restate!”) and Bellini’s I puritani (“Il rival salvar; Suoni la tromba”) and arias from their respective repertoires, which – put together – comprise an extensive and wide-ranging collection of more than 100 roles. Combining Pisaroni’s dark, powerful bass-baritone with Hampson’s famously lyrical baritone, the duo offers a unique blend of strength and subtlety, rich imagination and consummate musicianship.

Hampson, who was recently seen by TV audiences worldwide in CNN’s “Fusion Journeys” series, announces the live stream (in German only) in a short trailer on YouTube. He is particularly pleased to share the stage with his son-in-law, Pisaroni, who recently starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s new productions of Don Giovanni and The Enchanted Island and “whose career lately is in the sharply ascendant,” according to the New York Times. “Luca will be the next great bass-baritone, I’m sure,” says Hampson. “It is a great pleasure to work with such an exceptional artist.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

@TWTRSYMPHONY - An Online Orchestra helps Mother Musician Stay Home with Sick Child


by Anna Rose
Too often, the demands of a professional music career are at odds with the demands placed on us by our families. I am used to juggling my time between my music and my children. All four of my children were due to be born on holidays—Nathan (New Year’s) just returned from an international tour with his rock band and is now working on a third solo project of his own compositions. Jessica (Saint Patrick’s Day) joined the Musician’s Union as a harpist when she was age 16 making her the youngest member. James (Easter) studies voice with Norm Boaz and piano, and creates beautiful origami, and Mark (Valentines Day) is an artist working on his third book of artwork.

Mark, age 7, is our miracle baby. He started life in the NICU, and has trips back to the hospital. Sometimes when other children are at play dates, birthday parties and at the park Mark is at home recuperating. Because of this, Mark has spent much of his life reading books and drawing, which he just loves to do. One of Mark’s books “Imagination Machine” was recently chosen to be set as a play by a group of traveling actors and performed before the whole school during their tour. You can download Mark's books, "Skeleton Pirates" and “Monsters and Sharkshere.

I am proud of my kids, and jealous to guard my time with them. That is a big reason why, as a professional violinist, I am excited to be playing with the @TwtrSymphony - an orchestra that owes its creation to conversations on the social networking site Twitter.

The driving idea behind @TwtrSymphony is for musicians living in all different parts of the world, from Germany, Britain, the United States and Austrailia to get a chance to make music together. Each musician is responsible for recording their individual parts of music and sending them to the maestro, who then compiles them to create a Symphony Orchestra recording. The music is written by 21st Century composer Chip Michael (pictured). His music is known for unique and unusual rhythms which creates a very distinctive orchestral sound.

I find this quite an interesting project to be involved with because I can be home with my sick child by my side and still show up for work at the “recording studio” (I record from my home studio). I can be an active mother and still play in the Symphony - it is the best of both worlds.

Watch Mark’s Play from "Skeleton Pirates"

About the writer, Violinist Anna Rose: Rock and Classical Albums available on iTunes and Rinaldistrings.net. Played for more than 75 celebrities including Presidents of the United States, Josh Groban, Mannheim Steamroller, American Idol Clay Aiken, America's Got Talent winner Jackie Evancho, appeared in People Magazine and played on the soundtrack for Oscar Winning Movie Usual Suspects. @Rinaldistrings

Conductor Substitution for St Louis Symphony May 4-6 2012 Concerts

The St. Louis Symphony announced today a change to its May 4-6, 2012 performances at Powell Hall. Guest conductor Rafael Frübeck de Burgos has had to cancel his appearances with the Symphony due to health reasons.

Peter Oundjian, who is conducting the St. Louis Symphony’s April 20-22 concerts, will also conduct the final weekend of the Symphony’s RachFest, featuring pianist Stephen Hough performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerti No. 1 and No. 3.

The St. Louis Symphony will also perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture during all three weekend concerts.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased on line at www.stlsymphony.org, by phone at 314-534-1700 or in person at Powell Hall’s box office, 718 North Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63103.

American Pianists Association Reveals Names of Five Finalists for Prize Valued at More Than $100,000 – the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards

During a media event at Steinway Hall on April 24, the American Pianists Association (APA) revealed the names of the five pianists who are finalists for a prize valued at more than $100,000 – the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. In the coming season, the finalists – selected from America’s foremost young pianists aged 18-30 – will perform in a variety of settings: from solo recital, song, new music, and chamber music to concerto appearances with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. At the conclusion of these and other activities on April 20, 2013, a distinguished panel of international judges will name the APA’s 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life.

“One of the great things about the American Pianists Association is our unique competition format,” stated Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the Indianapolis-based organization. “We bring each of our five finalists to the city over an entire concert season for a series of fully-produced professional concerts and a variety of community outreach events. In essence, we treat each one as a visiting Artist in Residence, giving them extraordinary professional experience simply by being a part of this competition. And because we see and hear them over an extended period of time, we have the remarkable privilege to witness them grow in artistic stature at an important time in their professional development. For me, there is nothing as exciting or rewarding!”

The Five Finalists:

Sean Chen, 23, is second prize winner of the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition and a prizewinner in the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition. Born in Margate, FL and raised in Oak Park, CA, he has performed in Bucharest, Seoul, Taiwan, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Miami, and New York. Chen received his undergraduate degree at the Juilliard School, where he won the 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, and he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree there. His teachers have included Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and teacher-mentor Edward Francis.

Sara Daneshpour, 25, is second prize winner of the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition, first prize and Gold Medal winner of the 2007 International Russian Music Piano Competition, and first prize winner of the 2003 Beethoven Society of America Competition. She joined the roster of Astral Artists as winner of the 2010 National Auditions. Daneshpour has performed in her hometown of Washington, D.C. as well as in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Russia, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Leon Fleisher, and is now pursuing her Master’s degree at Juilliard with Yoheved Kaplinsky.

Claire Huangci, 22, won first prize in the 2010 National Chopin Piano Competition in Miami, and is a laureate in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition. She made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003 and has since performed with orchestras in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and with the China Philharmonic, among others. Born in Rochester, NY, Huangci entered Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School at age seven and did her undergraduate work at the Curtis Institute of Music. She is currently studying in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover with Professor Arie Vardi.

Andrew Staupe, 27, made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall earlier this month as recipient of the 2011 Pro Musicis International Award, and he is the Gold Medalist of the 2010 Young Texas Artists Music Competition. The St. Paul, MN native has performed several times with the Minnesota Orchestra and has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Concertgebouw in the Netherlands as well as in Russia, Holland, Latvia, Romania, France, Germany, and Bulgaria. Staupe received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, and is currently completing his DMA in Piano Performance at Rice University in Houston with Jon Kimura Parker.

Eric Zuber, 26, has won major prizes in seven international piano competitions: the Cleveland, Arthur Rubinstein, Seoul, Sydney, Dublin, Minnesota, and Hilton Head competitions. The Baltimore, MD native made his orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Baltimore Symphony, and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Korean Symphony, and Ireland’s RTE National Symphony, among others. Zuber holds degrees from the Peabody Institute, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Juilliard School, and is currently pursuing his DMA at Peabody. His teachers have included Boris Slutsky, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, and Robert McDonald.

Each of the finalists for the Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association performed short selections during the April 24 media event at Steinway Hall. The program, hosted by Robert Sherman, was recorded for broadcast as part of WQXR’s The McGraw-Hill Companies Young Artists Showcase. It will air May 16, 2012 on WQXR in New York and on WFYI in Indianapolis, home of the APA.

The Fellowship:

The APA’s Fellowship provides one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes: a $50,000 cash award, recording opportunities, and two years of career assistance and performances, for a total value of more than $100,000. The Fellowship is awarded every two years to an American classical or jazz pianist at the conclusion of the APA’s unique 13-month-long competition process.

Thanks to Steinway’s sponsorship of the 2013 Fellowship, the Classical Fellow will issue a solo recording on the Steinway label, for distribution by ArkivMusic. Performance opportunities during the two-year fellowship period involve 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.

New Music With Richard Thompson, Sō Percussion & the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra

April 29th at 4 p.m. at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater, Los Angeles

"The range of colors and voices that Sō Percussion coaxes from its menagerie is astonishing and enticing." - New York Times

Don't miss the upcoming Los Angeles appearance of the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra, with special guests Guitar/Songwriting Legend Richard Thompson and the inimitable Sō Percussion. The program also features the World Premiere of a new commissioned work from Chen Yi and Peter Askim. In a program that celebrates the premiere compositional and performance talent of today, The Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra joins an impressive lineup of the most prevalent contemporary musicians for a must-see spring concert. As part of the IAAO annual New Music Concerts, the event is set for April 28th and 29th and boasts renowned talent and highly-anticipated music premieres for audience members.

Pulling an eclectic showcasing of original work from some of the most acclaimed contemporary musicians, the IAAO's April program will feature the world premieres of Elsewhere... from composer Peter Askim and Tone Poem from Chen Yi. Well-loved singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson will perform his never-before-heard original music from his Interviews with Ghosts. The IAAO will also premiere the orchestral version of John Cage's Credo in US and music from composer Steve Reich and performer Jason Treuting of the celebrated Sō Percussion.

The Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra continues its tradition of performing the most exciting new works of our time, collaborating with world-class soloists and commissioning major composers. The upcoming performance features the World Premieres of Richard Thompson's Interviews with Ghosts, Chen Yi's Tone Poem, Music Director Peter Askim's Elsewhere... and the World Premiere of the Orchestra Version of John Cage's Credo in US. Also on the program is the West Coast Premiere of Sō member Jason Treuting's oblique music for 4 (plus blank) and Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood.

Richard Thompson will sing and perform his new orchestral songs and Sō Percussion will be the featured soloists for three of the works. Mark your calendars for what will be an exciting, genre-bending showcase of the best of today's music!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The San Francisco Symphony releases recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Overture No. 3 from Leonore

Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release a hybrid SACD recording of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Overture No. 3 from Leonore on the Orchestra’s SFS Media label June 12. A pre-release of the album is now available exclusively on the iTunes Store. The San Francisco Symphony’s e-store is currently accepting pre-sale orders for a hybrid SACD version at sfsymphony.org/store, and on May 16 the SACD will become available at the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall. The national retail release for the recording, both on CD and digitally, will be June 12.

The release at the Symphony Store coincides with MTT and the Orchestra’s concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, taking place May 16-19 at Davies Symphony Hall. All of the music on the new recording was captured live in concerts held at Davies Symphony Hall. Symphony No. 7 was recorded in concerts held October 7-9, 2010 and Overture No. 3 from Leonore was recorded September 14-17, 2011.

The new release continues MTT and the SFS’s ongoing exploration of the music of Beethoven. In addition to the May 2012 performances of Symphony No. 6, MTT and the SFS will end the 2011-12 Centennial Season with performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Choral, to be recorded for release next season. In February 2011 SFS Media released MTT and the Orchestra’s recording of Beethoven Symphony No. 5 and his Piano Concerto No. 4 featuring Emanuel Ax. In May 2013, MTT leads the Orchestra in three concert programs that explore Beethoven’s earliest inspirations and how they informed not only his own style but that of composers who came long after. Over the course of two weeks the journey traces Beethoven’s advanced and often revolutionary musical ideas, culminating in performances of one of his most significant works, Missa solemnis. Also next season, the St. Lawrence String Quartet joins the Orchestra once again for performances of John Adams’s Absolute Jest, an SFS co-commission inspired by Beethoven’s string quartets that was premiered during the 2012 American Mavericks Festival.

The Orchestra’s recording series on SFS Media continues to reflect the artistic identity of its programming, including its commitment to performing the work of American maverick composers alongside that of the core classical masterworks. Next season MTT and the SFS are scheduled to release several recordings made during the 2012 American Mavericks Festival.

All SFS Media recordings are available from the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall and online at sfsymphony.org/store as well as other major retailers. The recordings can also be purchased as downloads from iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets. SFS Media recordings are distributed by Harmonia Mundi in the U.S., IODA digitally and Avie internationally.

SCO May highlights - Jakub Hrůša debut, Jonathan Biss, and Beethoven 'Choral' to close the season

Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša makes his SCO debut with a programme of music by Dvořák, Mozart and Beethoven at Inverness (Eden Court Theatre, Wednesday 2 May), Edinburgh (Queen’s Hall, Thursday 3 May) and Glasgow (City Halls, Friday 4 May). He opens the programme with music from his homeland: Antonín Dvořák draws on his national folk heritage of dances and romances in his Czech Suite. It is followed by Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto in D minor K466 with soloist Jonathan Biss, a work which was often performed by Beethoven, whose own Symphony No 2 closes the concerts.

Hailed as one of ten young conductors "on the verge of greatness" (Gramophone, 2011), Jakub Hrůša was recently appointed Music Director of Royal Danish Opera from 2013/14, is Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Prague Philharmonia, Music Director of Glyndebourne on Tour, and Principal Guest Conductor of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Popular SCO guest conductor John Storgårds brings the Season to an uplifting climax with an all-Beethoven programme. Beethoven’s music for The Ruins of Athens, written to accompany the play of the same name by August von Kotzebue, includes the popular Turkish March. It is paired here with his exhilarating final symphony – Symphony No 9 ‘Choral’ – in which Storgårds and the Orchestra are joined by the SCO Chorus and a superb line-up of soloists: soprano Elizabeth Watts, mezzo soprano Julia Riley, tenor Allan Clayton and bass Jan Martiník. The concert is performed in Edinburgh (Usher Hall, Thursday 10 May) and Glasgow (City Halls, Friday 11 May).

Speaking of the success of the 2011/12 Season, SCO Chief Executive Roy McEwan said;

“Two great programmes with two wonderfully gifted conductors make a fitting conclusion to what has been another very successful season for the SCO, both artistically and in audience terms. The huge range of repertoire, fine guest artists and consistent quality of performances have drawn audience and press acclaim and attendances have increased once again resulting in a cumulative growth of 26% over the last 5 years.”

Following the end of the Orchestra’s Winter Season, the SCO embarks on a busy summer of festival appearances – including concerts at the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Lammermuir and Edinburgh International Festivals – and tours around Scotland, from the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway to the Highlands.

Gil Shaham Illustrates Range with Two World Premieres, Three “Violin Concertos of the 1930s”

“One of today’s pre-eminent violinists.” – New York Times

From new commissions and neglected rarities to repertory staples, Avery Fisher Prize-winner Gil Shaham demonstrates his singular versatility over the coming months. Late April sees the master violinist – Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year – undertake the world premiere of Kaddish (2011), a new violin concerto by Richard Danielpour, for three dates with the New Jersey Symphony. With his enviable flair for multi-tasking, Shaham couples the new commission with Berg’s Violin Concerto (1935), one of the many “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” foregrounded by his celebrated programming project of that name. Others include Stravinsky’s (1931), which he performs with Zurich’s Tonhalle-Orchester in May, and Hartmann’s less familiar Concerto funèbre (1939), for which the violinist joins the Bavarian State Orchestra and Kent Nagano in June. A second world premiere, of Julian Milone’s In the country of lost things…, forms the centerpiece of Shaham’s European recital tour this May, alongside signature works by Sarasate and Bach. And he revisits another of his favorite classics – Mozart’s Fifth Concerto (“Turkish”) – for the second of two upcoming collaborations with long-term musical partners Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Guggenheim Fellow Richard Danielpour (b. 1956) composed Kaddish to honor his dead father; of its original arrangement for chamber ensemble, the New York Times reported: “Named for a Jewish prayer recited in memory of the dead,…the work captures and magnifies the prayer’s essence by juxtaposing an intricate, glancingly modal solo violin line and rhythmically steady, sometimes forceful ensemble writing.” For his world premiere performances of Kaddish in its new incarnation for violin and orchestra, Shaham pairs the concerto with another elegiac example of the genre, also composed as a memorial; Berg’s Violin Concerto (“To the Memory of an Angel”) was written shortly before the composer died, to commemorate the untimely death of Alma Mahler’s teenage daughter.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Elias String Quartet/The Beethoven Project – Grand Fugue webstream

On its dedicated website the Elias String Quartet continues to share its intrepid journey of discovery of the Beethoven quartets as it reaches one of the most challenging milestones, the Grosse Fuge. Following on from Sara Bitlloch’s much admired insight film about the work, a complete Wigmore Hall performance is available from today as a webstream for a limited 10 day period only.

The Quartet begins UK performances of the complete Beethoven Quartets cycle in the forthcoming season and, in the meantime, has recently captured the hearts of American audiences (and sold out at Carnegie Hall) on it’s US debut tour: “Few quartets at any stage of their evolution have this much personality - as manifested by an unusually warm blend [and] emotional individuality” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes Tours U.S., Playing Shostakovich and Mahler with Baritone Matthias Goerne (April 23 – May 1)

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has long been recognized not only as one of today’s great soloists but as a first-choice partner for the finest vocalists. Acknowledging his catalytic role in a recent song recital, the New York Times observed that the pianist “provided the...intense atmosphere in which the vocal line thrives, and from which it draws much of its power.” Now, hot off a nationwide solo recital tour and high-profile concerto appearances for his multi-season “Beethoven: A Journey” project, Andsnes embarks on a U.S. recital tour with German baritone Matthias Goerne, “the most intellectually and vocally gifted male art-song interpreter of his generation” (Philadelphia Inquirer). With a striking program of songs about love and death by Shostakovich and Mahler, their five-city tour launches at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre (April 23) and concludes at New York’s Carnegie Hall (May 1). Later in May, Andsnes reprises “Beethoven: A Journey,” performing the composer’s First and Third Piano Concertos in Norway and then on a European tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, before returning to the U.S. in June to make his debut as Music Director of California’s Ojai Music Festival.

The Montreal Gazette called Andsnes’s recent account of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the Montreal Symphony “absolutely stunning.” The pianist resumes “Beethoven: A Journey” in Norway with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra (May 9–10), before taking the project on the road with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (May 15–25). Their seven-city tour will include stops in Turin, Dresden, Bergen, and at the Prague Spring Festival, and the Prague performances will be recorded live by Sony Classical for Andsnes’s label debut. All told, the multi-season project will see him perform and record all five Beethoven piano concertos in the Czech capital, directing the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard. And “Beethoven: A Journey” will culminate in the 2014–15 season, when Andsnes and the ensemble will reunite for residencies in North America, Europe, and Asia, where they will undertake the complete Beethoven cycle.

Of the pianist’s debut as music director of the Ojai Music Festival in California, the festival’s artistic director, Thomas Morris, says: “Leif Ove’s inquisitive commitment to creative programming and to building a community of artists, audience, and place makes him an ideal artistic partner for Ojai.” Andsnes’s first programming as music director will feature the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, pianist Marc-André Hamelin, conductor/composer Reinbert de Leeuw, clarinetist Martin Fröst, violist Antoine Tamestit, mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, actress Barbara Sukowa, and composer John Luther Adams. The pianist’s own performances at the festival will include giving the U.S. premiere of Bent Sorensen’s Piano Concerto No. 2, “La mattina.”

New York City Opera Announces Its 2012-13 Season: Four New Productions – Adès’s Powder Her Face, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Rossini’s Moses in Egypt, & Offenbach’s La Périchole

New York City Opera remains true to its roots with today’s 2012-13 season announcement, presenting New York City audiences with new artists and productions, ranging from rarely heard opéra bouffe and bel canto opera to edgier contemporary fare. Through three-year alliances with two theaters – BAM in Brooklyn and New York City Center in midtown Manhattan – the company offers four brand new productions from leading directors Jay Scheib, Sam Buntrock, Michael Counts, and Christopher Alden, plus a fall showcase of the celebrated VOX program in conjunction with OPERA America’s New Works Forum.

Speaking on behalf of NYC Opera’s entire Board, Chairman Chuck Wall remarked:

“We are thrilled with George Steel's artistic vision and leadership. Our commitment to that vision is supported by the fact that next season’s productions will take place at two of the most ideal opera venues in this great city, and all four productions will be brand new to the stage. This season’s sold-out performances and our new fiscal model have put New York City Opera on a firm footing for the future. With the continued support of our board, donors and loyal audiences, we look forward to a stirring new season.”

New productions of two envelope-pushing British chamber operas – Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face from Jay Scheib (Feb 15-23) and Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw from Sam Buntrock (Feb 24 – March 2) – will debut at BAM. And the company dubbed “the People’s Opera” will finally be reunited with the venue known as “the People’s Theater,” when – for the first time since 1965 – New York City Opera returns to New York City Center, its original home. The residency opens with Gioachino Rossini’s Moses in Egypt from Michael Counts (April 14–20), followed by Jacques Offenbach’s La Périchole from Christopher Alden (April 21–27).

Bard Music Festival’s In-Depth Survey of Music by Camille Saint-Saëns and His Contemporaries (August 10–19) Is Centerpiece of 2012 Bard SummerScape Festival

Described by the New York Times as “part boot camp for the brain, part spa for the spirit,” the world-renowned Bard Music Festival in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, returns for its 23rd annual season, filling the last two weekends of Bard SummerScape 2012 with a compelling and enlightening investigation of “Saint-Saëns and His World.” Twelve concert programs over the two mid-August weekends, complemented by pre-concert lectures, panel discussions, and expert commentary, make up Bard’s examination of Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), whose long and remarkable career spanned and helped shape the course of French music from Gounod to Ravel. The twelve concerts offer an immersion in the music of Belle Époque France, with its trademark opulence and emotional richness, presenting masterpieces from all genres of Saint-Saëns’s prodigious oeuvre, including a rare concert performance of his grand opera Henry VIII, alongside a wealth of music from contemporaries and compatriots. Weekend 1 – “Paris and the Culture of Cosmopolitanism” (August 10–12) – situates Saint-Saëns within his native city, which, as the new musical capital of Europe, was attracting a young generation of composers from abroad. Weekend 2 – “Confronting Modernism” (August 17–19) – explores the ways the French late-Romantics set the stage for modernism’s subsequent upheavals. Together, Bard’s offerings present a vivid portrait of a dazzlingly creative and colorful era in European history: a Golden Age of promise and possibility that came to an end with the tragedy of World War I.

As the New York Times observes, “Over two decades, the Bard Music Festival has managed more than its fair share of ambitious feats in its immersive annual examinations of classical music’s major composers,” offering a “rich web of context” for a full appreciation of that composer’s inspirations and significance. The resident American Symphony Orchestra, integral to the Bard Music Festival from the first, celebrates its half-centenary in the coming season, with the 2012 music festival taking place on the eve of the orchestra’s 50th anniversary. Leon Botstein, co-artistic director of the festival and soon to begin his 20th season as music director of the American Symphony, will conduct all three orchestral programs at the beautiful Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Bard’s glorious Hudson Valley campus. As in previous seasons, choral programs will feature the Bard Festival Chorale directed by James Bagwell, while this year’s impressive roster of performers includes cellists Edward Arron, Zuill Bailey, and Sophie Shao; violinists Miranda Cuckson, Eugene Drucker, and Giora Schmidt; sopranos Ellie Dehn and Lori Guilbeau; the Horszowski Trio; pianists Anna Polonsky, Gilles Vonsattel, and Orion Weiss; and mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringel.

With its recognized gift for thematic programming, Bard achieves a unique depth and breadth of musical and cultural discovery. A wide range of Saint-Saëns’s own music will be performed, from popular and canonical works like the Carnival of the Animals and the “Organ Symphony” to such bona fide rarities as Henry VIII, the late solo sonatas for oboe and bassoon, and his finest choral work: the biblical oratorio Le déluge (“The Flood”). Bard also presents a rich and illuminating array of music by Saint-Saëns’s contemporaries, who range from luminaries like his close friend and most famous student, Gabriel Fauré, to lesser-known figures like Cécile Chaminade. Works by foreign-born composers, including Franz Liszt, Pablo de Sarasate, and Igor Stravinsky, reflect Paris’s eclipse of Vienna as Europe’s musical center by the late 1800s.

Friday, April 20, 2012

WQXR to Broadcast Spring For Music Concerts Live from Carnegie Hall

Festival Runs from Monday, May 7- Saturday, May 12 at 7:30pm

WQXR 105.9 FM and WQXR.org are proud to once again live broadcast the annual SPRING FOR MUSIC festival from Carnegie Hall. The festival’s full concert series will air on 105.9 FM in New York and audio webstream on www.wqxr.org.

SPRING FOR MUSIC is an innovative festival of North American symphony and chamber orchestras, representing the best in distinctive musical programming and creativity. The 2012 season will include unique performances that demonstrate the vitality of classical music today, from rarely heard works by Varèse and Busoni to New York premieres by Paul Lansky and Avner Dorman, paired with Beethoven.

The live broadcasts will be hosted by WQXR’s Elliott Forrest and will include intermission features and interviews. Each night of the festival, Forrest will be joined by a different co-host from WQXR; Q2 Music, WQXR’s online contemporary classical station; or WQXR’s sister station, WNYC.

Spring For Music is an exciting festival that brings together North America’s greatest orchestras, all performing adventurous repertoire,” said Graham Parker, Vice President, WQXR. “As the voice of classical music in New York, we are delighted to present the concerts on-air and online.”

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Returns to Alice Tully Hall on April 21 & 22 to Perform The Liszt Project

"Perhaps most remarkable was Aimard's consistent, deeply-felt musicality, delivered sans affectation or pretension."
— Denver Post
After wrapping-up his recent four-city U.S. recital tour, French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on April 21 and 22 for back-to-back recitals that represent the only US performance of his acclaimed 2011 Deutsche Grammophon recording, The Liszt Project, in its entirety. Known specially for his innovative musical explorations, Aimard released the double album to mark the Liszt bicentenary, presenting performances of music by the legendary composer/pianist alongside works by those who influenced him and by those he inspired: Bartók, Berg, Messiaen, Ravel, Scriabin, Stroppa, and Wagner. This musical study offers new insight into Liszt’s compositional process, as well as revealing fascinating links between him and his near contemporaries.

The Liszt Project was named one of 2011’s best recordings by numerous publications, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the UK’s Independent. Aimard’s concert presentations of the album have received similar high praise. After his November appearances in London, the London Evening Standard appreciated Aimard’s atypical musical presentation: “For him, a recital is a collection of unexpected juxtapositions. Last night, he put Liszt centre-stage but surrounded him with later works that, in different ways, fed off his music, making us listen anew … This was an anthology of earth, air and water, with Aimard's imagination the fire that fused everything into an organic whole.”

Aimard’s first NYC recital, on Saturday, April 21, comprises a concert performance of The Liszt Project’s second disc, constructed in pairs that explore music’s ability to evoke certain kinds of imagery, and reflecting an overall journey from darkness to light. The program includes three selections from Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Bartók’s Nénie, Liszt’s St. François d’Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux from Deux légendes, Stroppa’s Tangata Manu, Ravel’s Jeux d’eau, and Messiaen’s Le traquet stapazin, from Catalogue d’oiseaux. Aimard talks to WNYC’s John Schaefer in a discussion following the performance.

In the second recital, on Sunday, April 22, Aimard plays The Liszt Project’s first disc, which reflects Liszt as a musical traveler and presents the idea of composers in general as restless, creative explorers. The program includes four works by Liszt: La lugubre gondola, Nuages gris, Unstern! Sinistre, disastro, and the evening’s centerpiece, the Sonata in B minor; also on the program are Wagner’s Eine Sonate für das Album von Frau M.W., Berg’s Sonata, and Scriabin’s “Black Mass” sonata.

Piano Luminary Andrew Von Oeyen Join Pacific Symphony for Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1

The orchestra also Tackles Schubert's Last Symphony --His Ninth, "the Great."

Young genius takes the spotlight for “Schubert’s Ninth,” as Pacific Symphony’s Music Director Carl St.Clair leads this concert featuring great accomplishments in music both written and performed by prodigies. Franz Schubert wrote nine symphonies by the time of his death at the age of 31. His final Symphony No. 9, “The Great C Major,” is claimed by experts to be the first towering masterpiece to follow Beethoven’s Ninth, proving that great symphonies could still be written. Straddling both the Classical and Romantic eras, Schubert’s Ninth has the driving power and profundity of Beethoven with the poetic imagination and emotional ardor of the new age, providing a memorable finale to the concert. Also on the program, the lyrical melodies and rapid passagework of Mendelssohn’s scintillating Piano Concerto No. 1, which he wrote at age 20, are performed by California native, virtuoso Andrew von Oeyen. Claimed to play “with a blend of crystalline fire and heartfelt poetry” by the Chicago Sun Times, von Oeyen reached stardom shortly after his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen at age 16.

Opening the concert is a work by talented young composer Narong Prangcharoen called Sattha for Strings, Piano and Percussion. The piece was commissioned by Pacific Symphony when he won the American Composers Competition by audience vote in 2004. Written as a musical meditation on the tsunami that devastated his home country of Thailand that same year, it combines Eastern and Western musical traditions to offer a refuge of hope with driving energy and eclectic, slithering harmonies.

Schubert, despite his short life, was a prolific composer—writing some 600 lieder, liturgical music, operas, some incental music and a large body of chamber and solo piano music, in addition to his nine symphonies. Schubert’s final work, his Ninth Symphony, is described as being a “heavenly length” by fellow composer Robert Schumann, who also noted his innovative and colorful use of the brass: “There is in it a passage where a horn, as though calling from afar, seems to come from another world. The instruments stop to listen, a heavenly spirit is passing through the orchestra.”

The title piece on this concert is part of a theme that runs through the Symphony’s 2011-12 season called “The Three Nines,” which examines the ninth and final symphonies by Mahler, Schubert and Beethoven (May 31-June 3) that were written during each composer’s final years. St.Clair and the Symphony explore whether these composers understood their lives were nearing an end and how their state of mind informs the revolutionary nature of each piece. For Schubert, it was long believed that he wrote his Ninth Symphony during his last year (1828), but new documents have found that he began composing it a few years before in 1825-1826, when he was composing some of his finest songs including “Die junge Nonne,” “Nacht und Träume” and “Ave Maria.”

Mendelssohn, one of the first composers of the Romantic age, was the equivalent of a modern day “rock star” during his lifetime when he premiered his Piano Concerto No. 1, and this concert’s pianist, Andrew von Oeyen, has already established himself as one of the most captivating pianists of his generation. Commanding an extensive and diverse repertoire, von Oeyen has performed the major concertos of the keyboard literature—Bartok, Barber, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Gershwin, Grieg, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Schumann, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky—with major ensembles worldwide. Von Oeyen won the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award in 1999 and also took first prize in the Leni Fe Bland Foundation National Piano Competition in 2001.

Although the composer Prangcharoen is still in his early 30s, his compositions are frequently programmed throughout the world and he has received many international prizes. These include the Alexander Zemlinsky International Composition Prize and the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award, which honors Takemitsu’s principles of prayer, hope and peace through music. Like Takemitsu, Prangcharoen is a composer known for creatively combining Asian and Western musical traditions. In 2011, Prangcharoen received the Annual Underwood Commission by the American Composers Orchestra.

The concert takes place Thursday through Saturday, May 10-12, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall; a preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$110; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bernard Haitink Conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Works by Purcell, Mozart, Schubert and Bruckner

Bernard Haitink conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in two concerts with Portugese pianist Maria João Pires on 10 and 14 June.
On 10 June the programme includes Schubert’s Ninth and final symphony, widely considered to be Schubert’s finest piece for orchestra. On 14 June Haitink conducts the LSO in Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, one of the composer’s most popular works.
Both concerts open with music by Purcell; the Chacony in G minor edited for string orchestra by Benjamin Britten (10 June) and the Funeral March for Queen Mary (14 June). Maria João Pires is the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 20 in D minor (10 June) and No 23 in A major (14 June).
The LSO with Bernard Haitink and Maria João Pires perform the same programmes at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on 17 and 18 June, part of the LSO’s annual residency at the Salle Pleyel.
On Sunday 10 June there is an LSO Discovery Day exploring the music of Schubert ahead of the evening performance of his Ninth Symphony.

Sunday 10 June, 10am-5.30pm, Barbican Hall and LSO St Luke’s
Find out more about the life and music of Schubert, with access to LSO rehearsals and chamber music sessions with LSO players.
Tickets: £16 (£12.50 concessions). Afternoon from 2.30pm: £10 (no concessions)

Sunday 10 June, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall
PURCELL Chacony in G minor
MOZART Piano Concerto No 20
SCHUBERT Symphony No 9 ('The Great')
Bernard Haitink conductor
Maria João Pires piano
London Symphony Orchestra

Thursday 14 June 2012, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall
PURCELL arr Steven Stucky Funeral March for Queen Mary
MOZART Piano Concerto No 23
BRUCKNER Symphony No 7
Bernard Haitink conductor
Maria João Pires piano
London Symphony Orchestra
Tickets: £10 £15 £19.50 £27 £35
Secure online booking at lso.co.uk

Box office: 020 7638 8891, open Mon–Sat 10am–8pm, Sun 11am–8pm
In person at the Advance Box Office in the Barbican Centre (Mon–Sat 10am–9pm; Sun 12pm–9pm)

Sunday 17 June, 4pm, Salle Pleyel, Paris
PURCELL arr Steven Stucky Funeral March for Queen Mary
MOZART Piano Concerto No 20
BRUCKNER Symphony No 7
Bernard Haitink conductor
Maria João Pires piano
London Symphony Orchestra

Monday 18 June, 8pm, Salle Pleyel, Paris
PURCELL Chaconny in G minor
MOZART Piano Concerto No 23
SCHUBERT Symphony No 9 ('The Great')
Bernard Haitink conductor
Maria João Pires piano
London Symphony Orchestra
Tickets: http://www.sallepleyel.fr/

TwtrSymphony: Fine Tuning the Process of Working with Remote Session Musicians

One key element to getting a good recording from a collection of remote sessions is making sure all the parts are in time with each other

A click track for each of the musicians is crucial! Musicians are in the habit of "smoothing" out the lines. Unless they have extensive experience working with a click track, there are going to be variances in the tempo, particularly with rapid passages. Getting the notes to line up so the initial attack is the same can be a real chore, but incredibly important to getting the music to sound clean.

The first part of the process is creating an individual click track for each musician. Because the music I write is highly rhythmic and bears frequent time changes, creating a click track that really relates the feeling of the music as well as the timing is important. I attempted to use a woodblock for the tempo, with a high accented pitch for the first beat of a measure, and then lower pitches for the non-accented/non-beat pulses of the measure. Weak beats (such as the 2,3 & 4 in a 4/4 bar) had mid level pitches. This was only moderately successful. Many of the musicians struggled to hear the click when they were playing their part and the difference in pitches seemed to disappear entirely during the recording process. We're still working on a solution for this.

I also use a variety of odd time signatures and frequent changes in the time signature. There was some discussion as to changing the time signatures from the unwieldy 11/8 and 13/8 into more manageable 3/8+4/4 and 5/8+4/4. This might have created more "accurate" recordings in terms of timing, but the stresses with this change in the meter would produce a different effect on the music. It's too early to tell whether the stresses I intend in the music are in the actual performance, or not. This is all a learning process, so we'll see what happens when we are all done.

Matters are made even more complicated for the synchronizing of lines by removing large sections of rests from the various parts. The musicians are volunteering, so I wanted to make sure their time was used efficiently. This resulted in a unique click track for every part, as well as a unique printed part. While I like the idea of not forcing the musicians to sit and wait during the rests, it does mean I have to take apart their recording when I get it back in order to line up their entrances with the rest of the ensemble. I expected to have to make adjustments to the various entrances anyway, but I didn't take into account having to look at the score for each part to determine where their entrances actually are. While it is possible to use a gate to eliminate the "noise" when a musician isn't playing, I opted to just delete any portion of the track that didn't have notes.

Eventually, I ended up creating a series of midi-realizations for each part. This allows me to not only align the parts up with their actual entrances, but also check for timing issues of individual notes. I could actually line up wave forms with the "computerized" playback to ensure timings are correct. Because I don't want a "computer" playback of the music, but a recording of live musicians, I prefer to 'force' lining up of wave forms only when there is a significant difference.

Of course, the vast majority of timing problems can be laid at the feet of remote recording. There is no conductor, and each musician must record their part without hearing any of the others. It is an exercise in pure musicality and preciseness. In "The Hawk Goes Hunting" there is a section near the end when nearly the entire orchestra is playing a rapid series of short eighth notes. If these are not lined up, the piece will just sound extremely muddy. Fortunately so far the musicians have played this section fairly accurate.

Once I have each part lined up with their "midi" playback, I start putting sections of instruments together. More alignments are made to smooth out any rough edges. The section is then exported, or mixed down, as a single track to be compiled with the other sections. I'm not to this point yet, although I have taken some of the sections and put them together to determine how well this is working so far. Generally the piece is sounding really good, and that's without any effects. But, I have a lot more instruments to add before we can start thinking about polishing it up.

To outline the process:
  1. Create a click track and printed music for each part
  2. Create a midi-realized track for each part
  3. Compare the returned recording with the midi-realized track for timing issues
  4. Compare the recording with other recordings for like instruments (sections)
  5. Mix down the section of instruments to one track
  6. Compare the section with other sections
  7. Mix down full orchestra
  8. Finalize track with effects to give it the sound of a symphony hall

Right now I'm working with step three to five of this process. Some sections are getting their parts back to me fast than other's, which is fine. This allows me a chance to schedule different aspects of the work over time, rather than trying to do everything all at once.

Initially it took about an hour for each recording to get it to the point of placing it into the section. However, as the musicians and I get used to the process I've whittled this down to as little as 10 minutes for some of the tracks. Some of them are still pretty labor intensive. It rather depends on how "free" the musicians are with the music, taking liberties to smooth the lines. Individually, the lines are lovely and very musical; they just don't match with what the other players are doing. Another down side with the remote session process. Currently, each section of instruments take about half an hour to get to the point of mix down. My estimate for engineering time for the entire 1st movement will come in around 85 hours. Not very effective for a 2 minute piece. Still, we're improving as we go, so hopefully the last track of the symphony won't take near as long. I don't know how long the musicians are taking to learn and record their parts, but from the comments I've received so far, putting it off to the last minute doesn't work.

TwtrSymphony is taking time to coalesce into actual music. Birds don't fly right after hatching. For me, the journey is still very much worth the effort.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Recording by the Monks of the Desert Blessings, Peace and Harmony Available Apr 24

The remarkable Monks of the Desert, who spend their daily hours praying for peace, working and studying in silence, have entered the realm of major label music production with their Sony MASTERWORKS debut album Blessings, Peace and Harmony available April 24, 2012.

The Monks of The Desert observe a strict daily prayer schedule called Divine Office, or Opus Dei, which takes place 7 times during the day and once at night, starting at 4:00am and ending at 7:30pm. When not praying or studying, the monks run a multitude of self-sustaining businesses including light manufacturing, brewing beer (Monk's Ale & Monk’s Wit), an on-site “hotel” and community thrift store in Santa Fe and a separate retail store specializing in hand-crafted religious items, books, music, and folk art.

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is located completely “off-the-grid” in the stunning Chama Canyon wilderness in northwestern New Mexico, about 75 miles north of Santa Fe and 53 miles south of Chama. The solar-powered facility is surrounded by miles of government-protected wilderness, thus assuring and promoting solitude and quiet for the religious life experienced by men from several nations.

Blessings, Peace and Harmony compiles selections from the Monks' four independent recordings of Gregorian chant, and also features four new chants recorded expressly for this new collection. Named after Pope Gregory I, Gregorian chant involves the early Christian liturgical music that originated in medieval times and forms the roots of Western classical music. Consisting solely of melody, the chants are sung unaccompanied and generally by small choral groups--and through the ages have continuously supplied listeners of all circumstances with a soothing sense of solace.

Train Returns to Tanglewood for Labor Day Weekend Concert, Friday, August 31

Three-time Grammy award-winning rock group Train is being added to the 2012 Tanglewood season line up, performing on Friday, August 31, at 7 p.m. Up-and-coming pop star Andy Grammer and Nashville-based singer/songwriter Mat Kearney will open for Train. Additional details of the Labor Day Weekend festivities will be announced at a later date. Train made its Tanglewood debut with a concert on August 8, 2011.

Tickets for Train range from $22-$88 and go on sale Saturday, April 28. Beginning at 10 a.m., tickets may be purchased online through the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s website at www.tanglewood.org, by calling SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, or by visiting the Symphony Hall Box Office. There is a service charge for each ticket purchased on line or by phone.

Vladimir Jurowski conducts Janáček, Dvořák and Suk at Royal Festival Hall

The current season at Royal Festival Hall ends with a programme that's creative and fascinating - exactly what you've come to expect from Vladimir Jurowski.
The concert opens with Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen Suite. This comes just a few weeks before Vladimir Jurowski conducts a new production of Janáček's most popular work at the opening of this summer's Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Following a performance of Suk's Asrael Symphony that electrified the atmosphere of Royal Festival Hall in 2010, Jurowski turns to Ripening - Suk's symphonic poem that grapples with demons before finding a radiating transcendence. Pianist Martin Helmchen plays Dvořák's astounding Piano Concerto. It is, without doubt, one of the best-kept secrets of the Romantic repertoire.

Wednesday 2 May, 7.30pm | Royal Festival Hall

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TwtrSymphony: Symphony No. 2 Birds of a Feather - Talking about the first piece

As the musicians record the music in preparation for the launch of TwtrSymphony's first piece, here is a bit of what to expect

The symphony, Birds of a Feather will be the first official release of TwtrSymphony. While it's the first piece for TwtrSymphony, it bears the title Symphony No. 2 Birds of a Feather as it is composer Chip Michael's second symphony. The musicians are currently recording their parts for the first movement, The Hawk Goes Hunting as Chip Michael prepares parts for them to start work on the second movement, Birds of Paradise. The process is being fast-tracked to get this first effort out to an eager audience. It helps that many of the musicians are excited about the process, too.

The first movement, The Hawk Goes Hunting is a bold statement as if to say "Here we are!" TwtrSymphony is making a statement, albeit short (only 2'11"), that rather is the point of Twitter: to be concise. The movement is in Sonata-Allegro form, capturing the mood in "135" beats --beats being a relative term as much of the piece is written in 13/8. Instead of thinking of a beat in terms of eighth notes, composer Chip Michael writes music where the constant pulse of eighth notes ride under larger groups of four, five and six. So, rather than thinking of 13/8 as thirteen beats, it feels more like three (5, 4 and 4).

The second movement, Birds of Paradise is slower and more introspective. The colors of the orchestra come into play as they slowly dance about the theme. Like the first movement, the primary meter is 13/8, but grouped in a different way to provide a new way of "feeling" the music (5, 5 and 3).

Svolazzanti Danza is the third movement and is Italian for "Fluttering Dance." As might be typical for a third movement in a classical symphony, the minuet and trio is used with a nod toward the Scherzo or "joke." The music dances about in some unlikely patterns. The minuet is in 13/8 with a sense of four beats to the measure (3, 3, 3 & 4), while the trio keeps with the use of 13/8 as for a sense of three (4, 4, 5).

The final movement, Flying in Formation, is a chance for the orchestra to truly emulate the flight of birds. The music shifts and flows as a flock of starlings might glide through the sky, taking sudden turns without warning, all the while keeping a cohesive form. The use of 13/8 continues to appear, but this time the groupings shift using all the previous forms creating ever shifting movement.

Overall, the symphony is incredibly short, less than 10 mins. Yet, it captures the essence of the symphonic form, pay homage to Twitter's 140 character limit, and features the many talented musicians of TwtrSymphony.

This Week's Top Ticket in Denver: Olga Kern Plays Grieg

Tickets for this very special weekend engagement are on sale now and start at $19! See below for details...

Olga Kern Plays Grieg

Friday, May 18 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 20 at 2:30 pm

Boettcher Concert Hall

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Olga Kern, piano

GLINKA / Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla
GRIEG / Piano Concerto
SHOSTAKOVICH / Symphony No. 11, "The Year 1905"

Olga Kern returns, this time in Grieg’s timeless concerto, whose first phrase is among the most dramatic ever penned. The Symphony then performs her countryman Shostakovich’s 11th symphony, a work so descriptive it is sometimes dubbed “a film score without the film.”

Visit ColoradoSymphony.org for tickets.

Thomas Hampson Meets and Sings with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in South Africa on CNN’s “Fusion Journeys”, Airing Week of April 16

Last fall, Thomas Hampson was invited by CNN International to travel to a foreign locale of his choice to participate in the inaugural installment of a new series titled “Fusion Journeys”. This voyage of cultural discovery led Hampson to Durban, South Africa, where he met Joseph Shabalala and his male vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The result of their remarkable encounter will air on the daily CNN news program Connect the World, beginning the week of April 16. The show airs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00pm GMT (check local listings for local airtimes).

Hampson’s interaction with the group, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban, features the singers and their founder teaching Hampson a popular Zulu song, “Homeless” – perhaps the group’s biggest hit – while Hampson shares with them Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times,” one of the many American folks songs that Hampson has championed throughout his ongoing “Song of America” project.

Shabalala founded Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1960, and it existed for 30 years under South Africa’s apartheid. The group rose to worldwide prominence after appearing on Paul Simon’s Grammy Award-winning Graceland album and has since won many other awards. Hampson, who has won equal acclaim on both the opera and concert stages as well as for his song recitals, recently performed the title role in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth. He is currently in Germany giving master classes at the Heidelberg Lied Academy, where he is artistic director; the academy is part of the Heidelberger Frühling music festival and trains young singers in text-based song interpretation.

The idea behind “Fusion Journeys,” which is described by CNN as “part culture show, part travel show,” is to take an important creative personality to a place he or she would like to visit, and show viewers how this cultural encounter inspires him or her to create something new. Hampson – one of the six stars that will be showcased in the series between April 9 and May 18 – quickly makes friends with his South African hosts, and is clearly deeply moved by the experience of hearing their voices and their stories. “We are all musicians,” Hampson tells us, in one of the three approximately five-minute segments that will air. “Though we drink from different wells, we all swim in the same river.”

This Month, medici.tv Offers Grand Tour of Great European Orchestras – From Amsterdam and St. Petersburg to Vienna, Barcelona, and Lyon

“The hits keep coming at medici.tv.” — Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise

April offers a grand tour of great European orchestras as medici.tv presents concerts by top ensembles from Amsterdam, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Barcelona, and Lyon. Available now is a concert with the Vienna Symphony from the famed Musikverein, in a colorful springtime program of music by Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Gershwin and more, led by Bertrand de Billy. April 14 showcases the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya led by prize-winning young conductor Vasily Petrenko, in a program of Montsalvatge, Elgar, and the Brahms Violin Concerto with world-class soloist Midori. From April 15 to 25, viewers can enjoy four concerts with the ever-exciting Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev performing signature repertoire: the complete Prokofiev symphonies and four of his five piano concertos. In the concerto performances the Mariinsky is joined by pianists Daniil Trifonov, winner of the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition (April 15); Gergiev’s frequent collaborator Alexander Toradze (April 16); St. Petersburg native Alexei Volodin (April 24); and American-Armenian Sergei Babayan (April 25). Live on April 19, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra presents Beethoven’s towering Missa Solemnis under one of the orchestra’s great kindred spirits, Nikolaus Harnoncourt. And on April 26, the Orchestre National de Lyon and music director Leonard Slatkin offer moving works by Arvo Pärt and Tchaikovsky, as well as Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with virtuoso cellist Sol Gabetta.

At 2:15pm EDT on April 19, the live medici.tv presentation of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – recently voted the world’s greatest orchestra by a panel of critics from Gramophone magazine – sees the Dutch ensemble team with longtime partner Harnoncourt for Beethoven, one of the specialties of this revolutionary conductor. They perform the composer’s vast, intense Missa Solemnis, often called “the Mount Everest of sacred choral music,” with the Netherlands Radio Choir and an all-star lineup of vocal soloists: soprano Marlis Petersen, tenor Werner Güra, alto Elisabeth Kulman and bass Gerald Finley.

Hervé Boissière, founder of medici.tv says: "This is a very exciting time for medici.tv and our growing audience. To have some of the top European orchestras like the Concertgebouw, the Mariinsky, and the Weiner Symphoniker with us is a wonderful new development in our progress – and in the progress of classical music online. Now music lovers can tune in to one place on the Web to experience symphonic music performed from France and Spain to Russia, Amsterdam, and Vienna. This international art can now have an international audience, anytime, every day.”

Beyond this month’s new orchestral offerings, the extensive library of on-demand programs on medici.tv contains performances, documentaries, and archival features, available via subscription. These programs spotlight leading musical institutions and world-class artists – from golden-age legends to today’s top stars. Along with its must-see new opera productions, medici.tv makes available the 30-plus films by documentarian Christopher Nupen. These include not only priceless documents of cellist Jacqueline du Pré (such as Elgar’s Cello Concerto and a number of all-star chamber performances) but also films of Evgeny Kissin, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Nathan Milstein. And now, complete on medici.tv are all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas as performed by Daniel Barenboim in 1983-84.

Tickets for Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival’s 25th Anniversary Season Go on Sale Next Monday, April 23

Tickets for the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival’s 25th anniversary season will be available for purchase from next Monday, April 23. Set in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Vail Music Festival runs for seven weeks from June 25 to August 4. Celebrated pianist Anne-Marie McDermott returns for a second term as artistic director, and once again the Festival boasts not one but three world-class resident orchestras: the New York Philharmonic, returning under music director Alan Gilbert for its tenth summer; The Philadelphia Orchestra, whose new music director designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin makes his Vail Music Festival debut; and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Jaap van Zweden, Musical America’s Conductor of the Year 2012.

Programming highlights for this landmark season include numerous Festival premieres; multi-event immersions in the art of Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Gershwin; a series juxtaposing time-honored classics with trailblazing new music; plus chamber music, jazz, and pops galore. New York-based Gabriel Kahane returns for an encore performance of his 2011 Festival commission, while the vocal ensemble Cantus and the Jasper String Quartet serve as 2012’s Young-Professionals-in-Residence.

An impressive guest-star roster presents more than 30 soloists, including pianists Yefim Bronfman, Kirill Gerstein, and Benjamin Grosvenor; violinists Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, and Jennifer Koh; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; vocalists Susanna Phillips, Curtis Stigers, and Tracy Dahl; and electric guitarist/composer Steven Mackey. Ensembles include the Calder Quartet, Tiempo Libre, and Opus One, and guest conductors number Andrey Boreyko, Stéphane Denève, Bramwell Tovey, and Jeff Tyzik among them.

As before, chamber concerts will be held in the intimate Vail Mountain School and Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, while large-scale concerts take place in Vail’s spectacular Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, which accommodates 1,260 guests in covered seating and an additional 1,300 on the expansive grassy hillside, with its breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pay the Composer: How Royalties Work (and don't work) in our Current System

Musicians are taught in university to ask for money when playing a gig, but no one talks about how composers get paid

Universities all over the US pay a fee to ASCAP and BMI once a year for the pieces their ensembles perform. They also send a list of programs verifying what music has been performed. ASCAP and BMI then go about funneling that money into the hands of composers, or at least into the hands of the people who own the rights to the music. This is done without the participation or awareness of the musicians in the program.

Composers at these universities are taught to find musicians to play pieces. It is rare for instrumentalists to have a requirement to include new music in their recitals, so composers must negotiate for players without formal support. Most times, the instrumentalists are paid for their time out of the composer's pocket. Because there is no requirement to play new pieces, but there is a requirement to have your pieces played, an uneven dichotomy is established.

Part of the problem with the system in the universities is that too often the same musicians that learn to always charge a fee for playing, are taught that new music is free to play. Worse, they too often learn to feel they are doing composers a favor by playing their pieces. This is why so many composer/musicians resort to writing pieces only for their own instruments or for small ensembles. It is much easier to form an ensemble than to convince the university orchestra to play one of your pieces. The devaluing of the composer's time leads to a stunting of the composer's voice. Those composers who wish to write for large forces are left curiously adrift, unable to afford to pay large ensembles.

Background on Royalties/Performance Rights

There is a difference between performance royalties and written music royalties. If someone records a piece of music, they have "performance rights" to it. However, the person who wrote the music has rights to the written music. For any subsequent performances of the music, the composer should be getting something.
When songwriters write songs, they are automatically copyrighted as soon as they are in a tangible form
As the owner of the "song" composers have the right to perform it, record it and distribute it as they see fit. Anyone else should pay the composer (or the owner of the rights to the song) for the privilege to perform it. To get the performance rights to perform a piece in public or record it, permission should be obtained (generally through ASCAP, BMI or the composer).

There are thousands of pieces performed at universities across the US and so ASCAP has taken to doing a "lottery" system for their members. If you're name is lucky enough to be drawn, you'll get a check that quarter based on the number of pieces you had performed and the money they brought in. I've been a member for several years now and have yet to be lucky in this lottery and receive a check. Other composers I know do occasionally get checks and the money is enough to afford a night out with their significant other, and that's about it.

Many nightclubs and bars that hire live music pay a similar royalty fee to cover the basic assumption they will be playing music of other artists, and those artists deserve their cut. Sometimes they leave this up to the artist to pay, but either way it identified in the contract who is paying the royalty, or both parties are potentially in violation of copyright laws. Professional symphonies and chamber ensembles pay royalties, similar to universities. But they also commission works. Commissions are a way entities can know they are paying for the right to play the music of said composer. This way, the composer won't come back and say, "Hey, I want paid."

Even if the work in question isn't a commission, it is possible to deal directly with the composer to establish a performance fee. The nice thing about this method is the composer gets 100% of the money as opposed to it being divided up among several parties. You do need to be careful, however. If the piece is registered with ASCAP or BMI, they're going to want to be involved.

Moving Forward
If you want to play a piece of music and the composer is living, contact the composer!
IF the composer says the piece is registered with a licensing agency, contact the licensing agency to obtain rights.
IF the piece is NOT registered, come up with some agreement with the composer about what you're willing to pay for the performance.
If you teach, educate your instrumentalists to value new compositions.

Composers are human, and we understand the strains performers are under to try and balance the budget. We're also musicians and we have a right to earn money from our efforts, writing music.

On a Personal Note
I have written a number of pieces of music for friends and never asked a penny for the performance. I've also written music for others where a nominal fee was paid. When pieces I've written have been performed with little to no money changing hands, I was consulted first.

Musicians sometimes will take a gig for free, if there is other benefit to be gained by playing in it. Composers will often provide music for free, if there is good exposure, a recording or prestige to be gained.

In any case, it is important that we as a musical community do not set 'Free' as the standard for new compositions.

UK premiere of a new Trombone Concerto by Kalevi Aho - 10 May


BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov
Shostakovich The Bolt– Suite
Kalevi Aho Trombone Concerto (UK Premiere)
Sibelius Symphony No 1

The commissioning of this new trombone concerto from prolific Finnish composer Kalevi Aho represents the last of van Rijen’s several projects funded by his 2006 BBT award. Having performed the work earlier this year in Holland and Finland, he is now well acquainted with the intricacies of this virtuosic piece with its double-­‐tone playing and complex manoeuvres: “Kalevi has produced a spectacular showcase for the trombone in all its different guises. As well as demonstrating the lyrical and singing capabilities of the instrument in the two slow movements, there
is a lot of virtuosic work – such as flutter-­‐tonguing, double and triple tonguing, fast vibrato and glissando – in the fast movements, with the help of three great percussion players who set
the groove.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eric Whitacre's Water Night Debuts at #1 on Billboard Classical Chart

Eric Whitacre Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Hila Plitmann & Julian Lloyd Webber Join Whitacre On The Composer/Conductor’s Second Decca Album Out Now Water Night follows GRAMMY-winning, chart topping Light & Gold

Straight out of the gate, Eric Whitacre’s newest Decca recording, Water Night, has debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Classical Traditional chart. Water Night is the composer and conductor’s second album on the label, which was released on April 3, 2012. With no fewer than seven world premiere recordings, Water Night features the Eric Whitacre Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Hila Plitmann and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.
Water Night follows Light & Gold, Whitacre’s GRAMMY-winning Decca debut which was one of the highest performing new classical releases for 2011, spending 70 weeks on the Billboard Classical Chart.

Whitacre was recently profiled on both ABC World Newsand NBC Nightly News. In 2011 Whitacre was also featured on Good Morning America, CNN, NPR, and Opera News among countless other outlets.

Virtual Choir 3, Water Night is the latest in Whitacre’s projects bringing the world together in song. As covered by Billboard the choir was unveiled on April 2nd at an exclusive event held at Lincoln Center attended by fans, choir members and industry executives alike. With a record breaking total of over 3700 videos from nearly 3000 people in 73 countries, Virtual Choir 3 is the largest online choir ever assembled (surpassing Virtual Choir 2.0 in 2011).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TWO WEEK REMINDER: 2013 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

Application deadline: April 23, 2012 (postmark)

The Minnesota Orchestra and the American Composers Forum have announced details of the 2013 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, which will run from January 7-13, 2013, at the University of Minnesota's School of Music in Minneapolis.

Under the guidance of composer Aaron Jay Kernis, up to nine composers will have orchestral works rehearsed and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra and will participate in a series of seminars on musical, career, business and professional development issues.

Composers receive consultations with Kernis and Music Director Osmo Vänskä before and after the rehearsals. They also meet with Orchestra members and attend small-group sessions with leading music industry professionals. Composers’ travel and hotel will be provided.

All works selected for the Institute will be performed in a public concert, conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä on Friday, January 11, 2013, 8 pm.

Complete program description and application process can be found here.

Please contact Craig Carnahan if you have questions or need additional information.