. Interchanging Idioms: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Academy Award and Grammy® Award-Winning Superstar Jennifer Hudson to Perform on the "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular," Wednesday, July 4

Academy Award and GRAMMY® Award-winning superstar Jennifer Hudson will perform on the BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR, an entertainment special to be broadcast live from the Charles River Esplanade in Boston, Wednesday, July 4 (10:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. For the second consecutive year, Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Chiklis, star of the highly-anticipated new CBS drama series “Vegas,” will host the special.

Hudson will perform some of her biggest hits with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart.

The BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR, now in its 39th year, is the orchestra's annual free outdoor Fourth of July concert and is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of America's leading insurers, offering auto, home and life insurance for individuals and families, as well as a variety of insurance products and services for businesses. The entire concert will be broadcast in HD (high definition), courtesy of Liberty Mutual Insurance. In addition, the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial free by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Concert Cancellation - St. Louis Symphony w Wynonna Judd

Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, the June 15 concert featuring Wynonna Judd and the St. Louis Symphony has been cancelled.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Deutsche Grammophon Releases the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s New Recording of Shostakovich Including the World-Premiere of Orango – Available June 19

Deutsche Grammophon continues its collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen with this new release of two works by Shostakovich: the prologue to Orango and Symphony no. 4. Both works, recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall this past December, are given searing performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and a cast of singers. The 2-disc set (over 90 minutes of music) will be available on June 19, 2012.

Little was known about Orango other than its title until 2004 when the Shostakovich scholar Olga Digonskaya unearthed a thirteen-page piano score of this prologue in the Glinka Museum in Moscow. The opera was apparently commissioned to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution and the well-known historical and science-fiction novelist Alexei Tolstoy (a distant relative of the author of War and Peace) and his regular collaborator, Alexander Starchakov, were brought in to write the libretto. The absurd plot they devised involved the improbable experiment in cross-breeding apes with humans to produce a “hybrid” – the Orango of the title.

Shostakovich, who had just completed his preliminary draft of the third act of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, immediately set down a piano sketch for this prologue to Orango borrowing the overture and other fragments from his earlier ballet, The Bolt op. 27 (1931), and from his musical-hall show Declared Dead (Hypothetically Murdered) op. 31 (also 1931). He also amused himself weaving in a slew of witty and satirical references to other music, including Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and the Russian popular song “Chizhik- Pyzhik”. And then, he stopped writing. It is still unclear why the project was abandoned.

After the discovery of the music the composer’s widow invited Gerard McBurney to orchestra the work. Drawing influence from contemporary works of Shostakovich and Russian theater music of the time he reconstructed the score which was given its world-premiere performance at the concerts captured for this release.

In addition to Orango, these concerts included Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 4. This work, also written in the 1930s, was actually completed and in rehearsal for its world-premiere when an official from the Communist Party forced Shostakovich to withdraw the work. The composition went unperformed for 25 years until it was given its long-delayed first performance in Moscow in December of 1961. This emotionally harrowing work clearly reflects the uncertain and difficult times Shostakovich lived in.

Russian Bass Ildar Abdrazakov Joins Riccardo Muti to Sing Shostakovich with Chicago Symphony Orchestra (June 14-19)

Ildar Abdrazakov will join conductor Riccardo Muti – his friend and frequent collaborator– to sing Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from June 14-19. Abdrazakov (pronounced ahb-drah-ZAH-koff) has sung with Muti on many of the world’s most hallowed stages, including those of La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera and the Salzburg Festival, and their 2010 live recording of Verdi’s Requiem with the CSO won them Grammy Awards for “Best Classical Album” and “Best Choral Performance.” Of the performance that yielded the recording, the Chicago Tribune said: "The discovery of the evening was Ildar Abdrazakov, whose intriguing Slavic bass plumbed the somber depths of his music with real commitment." For those who can’t make it to Chicago for any of the three concerts, the Russian bass can be heard singing the Shostakovich song cycle, which the composer considered his sixteenth symphony in all but name, in a 2006 recording for Chandos with Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic.

Before traveling to Chicago, Abdrazakov and Muti join forces at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera (May 25-June 5), where the bass takes on the title role in Verdi’s Attila, in a production conducted by the Italian maestro. When interviewed in Opera News, Muti proposed Abdrazakov as “the ideal interpreter of [Attila] for our time.” After Abdrazakov’s Met appearances in the role, the New York Times seconded that opinion, calling the bass a “young, imposing Attila” with a “sturdy, dark and rich voice” before concluding that “it was the refinement and clarity of his singing, the Verdian accents, that made him so moving.”

Abdrazakov began the 2011-12 season at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where he made his role debut as King Henry VIII opposite Anna Netrebko in the company’s season-opening production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. The New York Times praised his “earthy, muscular voice,” while Opera magazine admired his ability to “summon up the rougher, darker timbre necessary for the nastier characters in the bass spectrum” even as his voice has a “sweet-toned, lyric sheen ideal for the bel canto repertoire.” His other opera engagements last fall included undertaking all four villains in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, as well as Mustafa in Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers at the Vienna State Opera. He also made his role debut as Philip II in Verdi’s Don Carlo with the Ópera Perú in Lima.

Abdrazakov returned to the Met in February for another role debut, as Dosifei in Mussorgsky’s rarely heard epic Khovanshchina. Singing in his native tongue for the first time outside Russia, the Ufa-born bass joined a strong Russian and Georgian cast that included Olga Borodina, with Kirill Petrenko on the podium. Of Abdrazakov’s performance, Opera News said that he “accomplished wonders through superb phrasing and dramatic nuance.”

medici.tv Offers Free Concert with Gustavo Dudamel & Berlin Philharmonic, Now Through May 31; Live Event with Les Arts Florissants May 26

On May 2, Gustavo Dudamel and prominent cellist Gautier Capuçon joined the Berlin Philharmonic for the twenty-second annual Europa Konzert, celebrating the 129th anniversary of the orchestra’s founding in 1883. The program consisted of Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Haydn's Cello Concerto in C Major, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. Performed in Vienna’s Spanische Hofreitschule, this spectacular program is available for free on medici.tv through the end of the month.

Two more exciting live broadcasts form the end of medici.tv’s 2011-12 season. This weekend’s concert – Saturday, May 26, from Paris’s Cité de la Musique – sees Paul Agnew conduct the peerless early-music ensemble Les Arts Florissants in madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi (his complete Book III) and by one of the Italian composer’s keenest influences, the Franco-Flemish composer Giaches de Wert (1535-96). The following Saturday, June 2, the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya under the baton of Pablo González closes the season with Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, broadcast live from L’Auditori in Barcelona.

Events on medici.tv:

Available now through May 31
Europa Konzert 2012: 129th Birthday of the Berlin Philharmonic
Gautier Capuçon, cello; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Spanische Hofreitschule, Vienna

May 26, 2:00pm EDT (live)
Les Arts Florissants plays Monteverdi and De Wert
Paul Agnew, conductor
Cité de la Musique, Paris

June 2, 2012 1:00pm EDT (live)
Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya plays Mahler and Toldrà
Elena Copons, soprano; Donald Litaker, tenor; Christian Gerhaher, baritone; Pablo González, conductor
L’Auditori, Barcelona

Colorado Symphony Announces Live Streaming of "Shakespeare In Music” Concert

The Colorado Symphony has moved forward with its plans to increase its digital presence and is offering a free, live online audio stream of an upcoming performance of its Masterworks Series program “Shakespeare in Music” on June 8, 2012.

“The opportunity to provide a live audio stream of our concerts allows us to deliver our programming directly to listeners located anywhere in the world who can't attend a live performance, and affords us the opportunity to reach a much broader market,” stated Colorado Symphony President & CEO, Gene Sobczak. “This inaugural live stream speaks to our commitment to providing live music utilizing current media. It’s a really exciting start to what we plan to be a frequent offering of digital media.”

Audiences can go to www.coloradosymphony.org and click on the “LIVE Stream” banner in order to listen in. The stream begins at 7:00 pm with pre-concert interviews and a concert start time of 7:30 pm. Live streaming is accessible from any computer and mobile device that has audio playback software.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Colorado Symphony Board of Trustees Elects Six New Members

The Colorado Symphony Board of Trustees has announced the election of three new members to the board: Mr. B.J. Dyer, Dr. Christopher Ott, and Ms. Ginger White. They join two other recently-elected members Ms. Sandy Elliott, community volunteer, and Mr. Richard Kylberg, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Arrow Electronics. Ms. Linda Rickard also joins the board representing the Colorado Symphony Guild.

“We are thrilled to have Mr. Dyer, Ms. White, Dr. Ott, Ms. Elliott, Ms. Rickard and Mr. Kylberg join our organization,” said Mr. Gene Sobczak, President and CEO of the Colorado Symphony. “Their diverse areas of expertise and fresh business strategies – combined with their enthusiasm and passion for the performing arts community in Denver – will help guide the Colorado Symphony’s cultural and financial success as we launch innovative collaborations and strengthen our community ties.”

“The Colorado Symphony Board of Trustees is actively involved in building and growing the organization with a clear focus on the future, and we are very pleased to welcome these talented individuals to our board,” said Jerome H. Kern, Co-Chair of the Colorado Symphony Board of Trustees and President of Kern Consulting, LLC. “Their active support and guidance will help the Colorado Symphony maintain its high artistic standards and achieve its goals.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival’s Founder John Giovando Reflects on Its 25-Year History

This summer, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with more than 60 performances, offering chamber music, jazz, and 19 orchestral concerts from the Festival’s 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 Festival debut; and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Jaap van Zweden, Musical America’s Conductor of the Year 2012. Celebrated pianist Anne-Marie McDermott returns for a second term as artistic director, and an impressive guest-star roster boasts more than 30 notable soloists. The anniversary season also marks the final summer for the Festival’s founder and executive director, John Giovando. In an illuminating interview below, Giovando reflects on the Festival’s beginnings, how it has developed, and the impact it has had over the past quarter of a century – both on the city of Vail and on the wider musical world out West.

Q: What was the impetus for starting a summer music festival in Vail?

John Giovando: I was living in New Mexico and was general director of a chamber music festival – Music from Angel Fire. Vail Music Festival co-founder Ida Kavafian and I worked together there for several years. In the mid-1980s, I started thinking about creating a new festival in a new place. A friend owned a condo in Vail and he thought something like Angel Fire would work well in Vail, so I wrote a proposal to the town that we would make a tour there with Music from Angel Fire. When we arrived in Vail we brought in a proposal, and the town helped us get started in 1988 with an initial budget of $25,000 – so, for just about nothing! But from there we just kept building on the chamber music performances, until we realized we needed orchestras. First we had the Colorado Springs Symphony, then the Denver Symphony; the Rochester Philharmonic was in residence for 18 years, followed by the Detroit Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony. We kept growing and growing and growing, from three concerts in the beginning to about 60 concerts this summer. This summer we have a mix of orchestral programs, chamber music, and educational outreach programs.

Q: What was the first season like at Vail?

JG: In 1988, we just had a few chamber music concerts. It was cold, and the concerts all took place outside. We quickly realized we couldn’t perform chamber music outside! The concerts took place at the Ford Amphitheater. It was so cold we would build bonfires in barrels on the stage, and the audience would sit around them just to keep warm! Once, I remember, we were doing the Schubert String Quintet in C, with rain on one side of the theater and a big bonfire on the other. Ani Kavafian, Walter Trampler, Richard Stoltzman, David Golub, David Jolley, Gary Burton – he now runs Berklee College of Music – all performed. We even had some jazz at the beginning – the jazz-fusion group Oregon. It was a young community, and we programmed a lot of Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert. Then we started a commissioning project and brought in a composer-in-residence. The first was Vivian Fine; this year we have Gabriel Kahane coming back after a big success last year.

Q: What was the orchestral scene like at Bravo in the early days?

JG: The first orchestral concert was with the Denver Symphony – they did a July 4th Pops Concert for us. Once we started growing we started bringing in more classical orchestral music. In 1990 the Rochester Philharmonic came with Mark Elder, and that was the first time we had an orchestra-in-residence. At the same time, we had the National Repertory Orchestra from Keystone, Colorado. Before Rochester, the orchestras were just “in and out.” The artistic and musical impetus was always at the forefront but we had to build the organization with funding. We needed strong administration, a strong artistic voice, and a strong board.

Q: How has the Western festival scene evolved in the U.S. over the past 25 years?

JG: The very first festival that really took off was the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Georgia O’Keeffe was very involved at the time, in the mid-1970s. As that one grew, others started popping up, like in Taos and Angel Fire, and then in Colorado. At first we took the Santa Fe festival to La Jolla, Seattle, and New York, and in some cases those performances helped some of the festivals that grew there to take root. It also led to an enormous growth of chamber music out West. Also, bringing some major U.S. orchestras to Western audiences was something new. It had a huge effect on the Rochester Philharmonic. They brought an enormous amount of repertoire for us – they also brought their families and their pets! Those families grew up with us. That happened a bit with Detroit, and now it’s happening with New York, Philadelphia, and Dallas.

Q: How has the Festival affected the local community?

JG: As the town grew and the valley grew, there was a real sense of pride that it was not just a town for sports – that there was a cultural aspect to the town as well. After we started, this interest in culture inspired the Vail International Dance Festival, the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and other non-profits to take root there. It really helped the performing arts in Vail. Now it’s helped the whole summer season in Vail but we all have to compete for funding and ticket sales. As we grew the repertoire grew, and we became a little more sophisticated with our programming. But the audience also comes for the social aspect. They latch onto big choral works and warhorses. However the heart of the Festival really is chamber music. It’s where we started and it’s still the core.

Q: What kind of audience does the Festival attract?

JG: Fifty-five percent of the audience comes from Colorado, then Texas, New York, Florida, and the Western States. People come from all over the world now, but particularly from Mexico and Canada.

Q: What is happening in the 25th anniversary season that’s particularly meaningful for you?

JG: One of the most meaningful things is Anne-Marie McDermott’s eclectic programming, and the fact that we get to hear these wonderful resident orchestras. With the Dallas Symphony we are doing an evening with jazz soloist Curtis Stigers. We have three hot music directors coming, and we’ve worked out great repertoire with each one. The highlights for me are the Mozart Great Mass in C minor (Fri, July 27), and also hearing Anne-Marie perform a concerto with the Dallas Symphony (Wed, June 27) and with the New York Philharmonic (Sat, July 21).

Q: After 25 years, do you have any regrets?

JG: All the headaches are worth it when you hear the first note. I think, “Wow, this is why we did this,” and it’s all worth it. We get to hear great music performed by great musicians.

What's wrong with the Symphony Orchestra Model we have today?

Numerous orchestras in the US are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Why?

There are a plethora of theories as to why orchestras are going bankrupt:
    Classical Music is dying
    CEO's and VP's are paid too much
    Musicians are paid too much
    Ticket Prices are too high
    People aren't giving as much as they used to
    The Economy

I would like to tackle each of these theories with an eye towards solving the problem.

Classical Music is dying
If you look at the big names in the music download industry, Sony and Universal, they both show huge profits in classical music downloads. A large portion of their bottom line is made up of people paying for and downloading classical music. If classical music was actually dying, we wouldn't see a growth in classical music downloads.

CEO's and VP's are paid too much
While I'm all for more balanced wages across the board, the typical CEO for a major orchestra is making 10% of their counterparts in other industries. To even compete for qualified candidates orchestra are having to provide something to attract a person with the skill-set to do the job. You could argue that ALL CEO's are paid too much, but in comparison, you can't say failing orchestras are due to a problem that doesn't seem to exist in other industries.

Musicians are paid too much
The typical orchestra musicians works not only as a symphony musician, but probably also teaches at a local college or university. They have private students and many have other music gigs just to make ends meet. A World Class classical musician will typically be paid 20-50% of what a World Class pop artist is paid to appear with an orchestra --same gig, but substantially less money. Add to this an orchestra typically has 75-100 musicians on stage, where as a pop artist may only have four or five.

Ticket Prices are too high
You can get a ticket to see your local professional orchestra for often as little as $10. Try getting tickets to see a major pop artist for that price. Even good seats for a classical concert are significantly less than what you'll pay for a pop artist. Orchestras often sell tickets to their shows with pop artists for more than they can charge for those with just classical music on the program. So, ticket pricing isn't the problem.

People aren't giving as much as they used to
This is only partially true. Some orchestras have seen an increase in their annual donations. The problem is, this increase hasn't kept up with inflation and the costs for maintaining an orchestra. Maybe there is a need to get more donations into the coffers of orchestras, but relying on this to solve the problem seems fool-hearty to me.

The Economy
Yes, the economy has hurt the orchestra. Donations aren't keeping up, ticket sales are slumping and costs continue to rise. Certainly some of the problems orchestras are facing is due to the economy. But the news of orchestras suffering economically seems a bit more than just what can be attributed to the economy.

As these theoretical reasons for the decline in support for live symphonic performance can all be shown as incomplete or flawed reasoning it seems only logical that we should be looking at broader systemic reasons for failure. Why is Classical Music still popular while classical performance is not?

I believe the fandoms of the rock and pop world have much to teach us. Fans of popular music feel a direct kinship with the performers. Artists make a special effort to talk directly to fans. There is a paradigm of direct contact between the music makers and the listeners that enriches the relationship and makes going to concerts a true communal event. Contrast this with the average symphony where even the names of most players are obscured or at best printed in a tiny font at the back of the program. Without the jumbotron support common at pop concerts, only those closest to the stage actually see the effort, joy and emotional impact of the music on the musicians as they play. The audience is at a remove, and for a modern audience - if you are unable to make a personal connection, then why bother with a live concert. A recording will deliver the music in the same impersonal way for a great deal less money and bother.

What can Orchestras do to change the trend?
The current model for the symphony orchestra in the US is one of contracted musicians. Musicians are contracted to either perform a series of concerts, or paid per concert, with the end result creating an entity entitled "Some Symphony Orchestra" but the musicians are not really part of that entity. We've created a business model for our orchestras in order to effectively manage them. What we've lost is the personal connection the musicians feel toward the ensemble. This results in what the Louisville Orchestra went through, when it became an us against them in terms of contract negotiations. Tough contact negotiations and bankruptcy are only a few of the problems that result from this division of labor. Although Louisville Orchestra did eventually reach an agreement, the barrier between the administrative office and the musicians is not unique in Louisville.

Detroit Symphony just held a concert with Kid Rock that raised $1m for the symphony. In an area of the US suffering some of the worst economically, this fund raiser proves there is still interest in having a symphony orchestra, even in hard times. Part of the fund raising was due to a popular artist, but part of it was also due to musicians getting out there and showing their passion. If you've not seen the photos from this concert, or watched the DSO Live performances available on the internet, you're missing a revitalized orchestra. Detroit Symphony musicians are re-inventing themselves, jumping into the fray, shouting from the roof tops. They are involved.

I recently posted an article about TwtrSymphony and the attention we're getting. The musicians are involved in the success of the organization. There is no division between the administration and the musicians in terms of 'ownership' of the orchestra. Yes, there are different jobs. TwtrSymphony has a few people who are doing administrative tasks. When it comes to getting the word out, the musicians are just as enthusiastic (if not more so) than anyone.

Orchestras need to find a way to bring the musicians back. The orchestra needs to be the musicians; the musicians need to feel as though they are the orchestra. Orchestras also need to find ways to engage directly with their audience and personalize the experience of the concert hall. When this happens, the passion of both the musicians and audience will translate across social media channels. I believe you'll find fuller concert halls and balanced budgets as a result.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Juilliard School and Connections Education Launch Juilliard eLearning, the Conservatory's First-Ever Online Courses

Performing Arts and Virtual Education Leaders to Develop and Deliver Online Arts Education Courses for K-12 Students and Educators Everywhere

Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, The Juilliard School and Connections Education are launching JUILLIARD eLEARNING, for K-12 students and educators everywhere. Juilliard eLearning is the world-famous conservatory’s first-ever group of online courses, presenting an exciting new option for teaching music and related courses, with distribution and implementation by leading provider of online learning solutions, Connections Education, part of the global education company, Pearson.

Juilliard eLearning will be developed to the same high standards educators have come to expect of both partners. The Juilliard School, the nation’s pre-eminent school for performing arts education, and Connections Education, will develop and deliver innovative online courses and resources for K-12 educators and students – helping to extend

Juilliard–structured learning into homes and classrooms; anywhere there is an Internet connection. Juilliard eLearning links Juilliard’s acknowledged history of excellence in performing arts education and Connections Education’s expertise in high-quality online learning.

The program will launch to an already-established national audience. Connections Education will offer the new arts education courses to the 40,000+ K-12 students enrolled in its national network of Connections Academy virtual public schools; it will also market the courses to educational institutions and directly to K-12 students and adult, lifelong learners.

“Providing exemplary arts education programs to youth and the community has always been central to our mission at The Juilliard School,” said Joseph W. Polisi, President of The Juilliard School. “Our partnership with Connections Education will greatly enhance our ability to fulfill this mission. Juilliard eLearning will expand K-12 educators’ and students’ access to Juilliard performing arts educational content, delivered via the highest quality e-learning courses and materials that have become the hallmark of Connections Education over the past decade.”

Educators and e-learning experts from Connections Education will collaborate with Juilliard’s noted faculty, teaching artists and designated alumni to develop and manage the content of Juilliard eLearning courses.

The first courses to be offered by Juilliard eLearning in the 2012-2013 school year include Elementary, Middle and High School Music, and will be constructed around and aligned to the National Standards. In subsequent years, courses such as music theory, music history, drama history, or dance history, may expand the Juilliard eLearning offerings. Synchronous virtual music instruction courses and virtual “master classes” are also being considered.

Chief Education Officer for Connections Education, Steve Guttentag commented, “The Juilliard School is widely recognized as the quality standard bearer for performing arts education, so we’re really honored to be Juilliard’s partner for this initiative and to develop courses together for students in grades K-12.”

Juilliard eLearning courses and learning materials will feature exclusive music, video, animations and other immersive content, plus synchronous and a-synchronous learning opportunities from both Juilliard’s experts and Connections Education’s certified teachers.

The Connections opportunity was identified by Brandgenuity, Juilliard’s independent trademark licensing agency, after an extensive review and analysis of the online K-12 educational market. Brandgenuity will continue to assist Juilliard in extending its authority into new products and services.
For more information about the Juilliard eLearning, call 888-440-2890. A public website with more information will be available soon.

Opera North’s acclaimed production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera Ruddigore makes its Edinburgh debut

Thursday 7 – Saturday 9 June, Evenings 7.30pm; Matinee: Sat 2.15pm

Ruddigore, Opera North’s hugely successful operetta, will come to Edinburgh Festival Theatre as part of a one-off tour this Summer as well as visiting new venues in Sheffield, Belfast and Dublin. Audiences in Edinburgh will now be able to revel in this witty Victorian melodrama, which is considered one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most inventive works.

Building on the spirit of collaboration established between Opera North and The Sage Gateshead, the Northern Sinfonia has been invited to perform alongside the Opera North chorus throughout the tour, whilst the Orchestra of Opera North performs the second installment of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Die Walküre, also across the country.

First performed by Opera North in 2010 and then again last year and directed by Jo Davies, Ruddigore received widespread critical acclaim and was declared a ‘gem of a discovery’. The tale centres around Sir Despard Murgatroyd, a man under pressure. He has inherited a witch’s curse forcing him to commit a crime every day or die in agony. So it’s a huge relief when shy Robin Oakapple is revealed as his long-lost elder brother – true inheritor of the curse. But what will Rose Maybud, Robin’s fiancée, make of this dastardly revelation?

The role of Robin Oakapple and Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd will alternate between the original cast member, Australian baritone, Grant Doyle and David Stout. Richard Burkhard remains in his role of Sir Despard Murgatroyd, Richard Angas again sings Old Adam Goodheart and Heather Shipp returns as Mad Margaret.

The Ruddigore tour comes just as Opera North has opened its new production of Carousel, also directed by Jo Davies. Carousel opens on 2 May at Leeds Grand Theatre and will then tour to Salford Quays and London.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

LA Children's Chorus Holds Auditions from May 31 - June 4 for Kids Ages 8-12

Renowned Chorus Seeks Talented Boys and Girls Ages 8 to 12 Who Love to Sing

Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), one of the nation’s leading children’s choirs, is holding auditions for boys and girls ages eight (by September 1, 2012) to twelve on May 31 and June 1, 2 and 4, 2012, in Pasadena. Previous singing experience is not necessary, but audition appointments are required.

LACC’s program focuses on training children who may not necessarily have had previous singing experience, but who are dedicated to achieving excellence in vocal technique, choral singing and classical music. Successful candidates will demonstrate the ability to match pitch, follow instructions, and thrive in a structured, but supportive learning environment. Children audition in groups of five to ensure their comfort, and no preparation is necessary.

Under the artistic direction of Anne Tomlinson, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, currently in its 26th season, provides a comprehensive music education and performance program for children of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds in Los Angeles County. LACC is comprised of six choirs with choristers ranging in age from 8 to 18 who hail from 60 communities throughout Southern California. (Younger singers are encouraged to enroll in LACC’s class for six- and seven-year-olds, First Experiences in Singing, offered in Pasadena.)

Rehearsals for entry-level choirs are once a week at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. In addition, all children take musicianship classes (a six level curriculum) and receive individual vocal training. They receive mid- and end-of-year evaluations as well. Repertoire is selected to fit each choir’s skill level and focuses on classical works, but also encompasses folk music from around the world, spirituals, gospel songs and jazz, as well as new music

High-profile performance opportunities are an important and integral part of the program and include two culminating choral concerts each year, plus performances at major civic events. LACC’s premier choirs perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, among other prestigious music presenters. The choir was also featured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary film, “SING!” which chronicles a year in the life of the choir and is shown periodically on PBS stations nationwide, as well as follow-up documentaries “SING OPERA!” and “SING CHINA!” In addition, LACC tours locally, nationally and internationally.

Auditions will be held at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, located at 585 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California 91101. For more information or to make an audition appointment, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.

Olga Kern Joins the Colorado Symphony for a Triple Masterworks

Russian pianist Olga Kern and guest conductor Peter Oundjian will join the Colorado Symphony for a weekend of Masterworks performances when Olga Kern Plays Grieg at Boettcher Concert Hall on Friday and Saturday, May 18-19 at 7:30pm and on Sunday, May 20 at 2:30pm.

This weekend will mark Olga’s 5th appearance in Denver with the Colorado Symphony. Ms. Kern is a well-loved pianist among CSO patrons dating back to her first performance with the Symphony during the 2004/05 season. To learn more about this concert and the Colorado Symphony, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.

The Golandsky Institute’s 2012 Summer Symposium and International Piano Festival Takes Place from July 8th – 14th in Princeton, N.J.

The Golandsky Institute has announced the performers for its 2012 International Piano Festival, to be held at Princeton University for its ninth consecutive summer, July 8th – 14th. The Festival will feature six recitals by internationally acclaimed artists from the classical and jazz piano music worlds. This year’s season will also feature an Evening of Songs with soloists from Opera New Jersey. The first four of the six concerts will be held in the Berlind Theatre of the acclaimed McCarter Theatre Center, the last two in Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University.

On Sunday, July 8th at 8:00 p.m., 15 year old artist Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner makes his Princeton debut at the Golandsky Institute on opening night. The youngest student ever to attend Juilliard’s College with a portfolio of critical accolades from Baghdad to the White House, this young emerging star will dazzle, charm and touch your heart. The performance will be held at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton.

Monday, July 9th at 8:00 p.m at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, soloists from the Opera New Jersey production of HMS Pinafore – Sarah Beckham, soprano; Jennifer Feinstein, mezzo-soprano; Sean Anderson, baritone; and Mathew Edwardsen, tenor will collaborate with popular Golandsky Institute pianist, Thomas Bagwell in a special art song recital. Songs of Debussy, Poulenc and composer Jack Perla will be featured in a program of vocal duets, quartets and solo repertoire.
On Tuesday, July 10th, An Evening of Chamber Music: The Jasper Quartet with Ilya Itin, at the piano at 8:00 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center. 2012 winners of the Cleveland Quartet Award and now poised to be the next top string quartet in the US, the Jasper is a “powerful” (NYTimes), quartet holding the position of ensemble-in-residence at Oberlin as well as Classic Chamber Concerts of Naples Florida, in partnership with Ilya Itin. Their multi-year artistic collaboration culminates in Princeton with this superb program of beloved piano quintets, quartets, and the string quartet of living composer, Ler Auerbach.

Thursday, July 12th, 8:00 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Spain’s young star pianist Josu de Salaun de Soto returns to Princeton directly from critically acclaimed tours of Europe. This much heralded artist will delight listeners with a recital program of piano masterworks by Schumann, Brahms and Debussy. In addition, the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth will be celebrated with a related lecture preceding the concert by New York composer and musicologist , Nils Vigeland.

Friday, July 13th, 8:00 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, Russian born virtuoso, Leed’s Gold Medalist, Ilya Itin returns to Princeton from a year of hugely successful concerts in Japan, China and the USA. This year’s thrilling program will include some of the most challenging repertoire ever written for the piano: the complete Chopin Preludes, Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, and La Valse. Itin will be making history at Richardson Auditorium by giving the World Premiere of the work written expressly for him by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner.

For the grand finale, international jazz superstar Bill Charlap, performs a solo concert at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University on Saturday, July 14th at 8:0p.m. Considered one of the best jazz pianists in the world, Charlap will perform a 90 minute set of jazz classics in his superb style revealing every perspective of melody, harmony and rhythm.
Tickets for all concerts are on sale at the McCarter Theatre box office, www.mccarter.org, 609-258-2787.

Admission for the concerts is $20, senior/student:$15

Friday, May 18, 2012

How is TwtrSymphony Getting so much Attention

TwtrSymphony is rapidly gaining a fan base by leveraging social media. Here's how:

We can be found on Twitter (of course), also on FacebookTumblr and the web. Our klout score is at 45 and growing. Several major orchestras are following and socializing with us. Other industry professionals are checking us out and even some record companies have expressed interest in our project. We don't have sponsors yet, but we haven't released our first track either. Everyone is waiting to see what the results of our experiment will be.

How have we gained the attention of all these people in the classical world? Social Media. But it's not only our own tweets, facebook and tumblr posts that are causing all the stir. The real momentum behind the project is our enthusiastic musicians. This blog, for example, posts an article about TwtrSymphony and the musicians mobilize. A TwtrSymphony article has three to four times as many hits in a single day as pretty much any other article I post. Interchanging Idioms posts news about a lot of different classical music stars, but it is TwtrSymphony articles that get the most attention. Our Facebook or Tumblr page don't have thousands of followers yet, but we have more people checking our pages on a daily basis than we have musicians, so it isn't just our musicians who are making all the hits. The news is getting out to a host of other people. With less than 100 fans on Facebook, we typically have a reach of 3-5k people. Just imagine when we have 5,000 or 10,000 fans, how far our reach might be?

A look at these statistics made me wonder --are orchestra musicians normally this enthusiastic, or did we just get lucky? A number of professional and semi-professional orchestras on Twitter and Facebook have a far bigger following. Although it is not uncommon to have musicians comment on their own orchestra's facebook page, I rarely see musicians tweeting about their upcoming performances. Most major orchestras perform two to three different shows a month. Each orchestra has 70-100 musicians for these performances. If only 10% were talking about upcoming shows, that would still be a LOT of chatter. The best part about this kind of chatter is it's honest enthusiasm for the artform.

Still thinking that maybe TwtrSymphony musicians are unique in regards to social media I ran a small survey --The Power of Musicians. In two days I had almost double the number of responses I expected. Beyond that, the responses were glaringly lopsided: musicians clearly want to promote their performances. The "advertising" of the survey was done on social media alone, so already I'm talking to a select group of musicians, but of those that replied +80% are semi-professional musicians or better, 98% of them have a facebook account, over 90% would use their personal pages to promote not only groups they are performing with, but even promote these groups when they aren't performing. Many more musicians replied to this survey than just TwtrSymphony musicians, so I think it's safe to say these statistics aren't the anomaly, but rather the norm.

The key is inclusion. The musicians are not employees of TwtrSymphony; they are TwtrSymphony. Any success we achieve is a direct result of the hard work and enthusiasm of the musicians. With no real product to sell, we are creating a buzz in the industry. When our music does become available, this 'buzz' will only serve to further promote who and what we are: Musicians promoting their Music.

In the final analysis it seems that ownership is key to enthusiasm. When musicians feel invested in an organization's success they are enthusiastic about getting the word out.

American Pianists Association’s 2013 Classical Finalists Perform on Classical WQXR 105.9 FM and Online at WQXR.org, Wednesday May 19

The five finalists for a prize valued at more than $100,000 from the American Pianists Association will be showcased in performance on New York’s classical station, WQXR (105.9 FM and online at wqxr.org) on Wednesday, May 19 at 9pm. There will be a simultaneous broadcast on WFYI in Indianapolis, home of the American Pianists Association. The program, hosted by Robert Sherman, is part of The McGraw Hill Companies Young Artists Showcase. It was recorded last month when the names of the finalists for the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association were revealed at Steinway Hall.

The Program:
Andrew Staupe, 27, will open the broadcast with Pierre Jalbert’s Toccata; followed by Sara Daneshpour, 25, in Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in B minor, K. 27 and Rachmaninov’s Etude-tableau in A minor, Op. 39/6. Claire Huangci, 22 – the youngest finalist – will play three etudes by Alexander Scriabin: Op. 42/3, Op. 8/10, and Op. 8/12. Sean Chen, 23, will perform Ligeti’s Etude No. 13 (“The Devil’s Staircase”). For the finale, Eric Zuber, 26, will be heard in Rachmaninov’s Preludes in G-sharp minor, Op. 32/12 and B-flat major, Op. 23/12.

About the Five Finalists:
Sean Chen 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 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 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 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 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.

Sympho to Present "Coast to Coast," Performances in New York and California in Consecutive Weeks in June

Featuring Bionic Symphony at Manhattan’s Angel Orensanz Foundation on June 6, 2012 at 8 PM, and TOWER, at 4 PM on June 16 and 17 at the Oliver Ranch Foundation’s Tower in Geyserville, CA.

Sympho is a 6-year-old classical ensemble and concert presenter that according to the New York Times “refits the concert experience for a new century.” This June, Sympho will present “Coast to Coast,” a festival of two brand-new programs, one on either side of the country. The two programs will take place nearly 3000 miles apart—one in a former 19th-century synagogue in New York and one inside a 21st-century sculpture and performance space in California—and will encompass a range of repertoire from Rameau to newly commissioned works by Christopher Bono, Bora Yoon, and Artistic Director Paul Haas, including music by Mozart, Haydn, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bizet, and Erkki-Sven Tüür.

Haas has honed an approach to programming that uses techniques such as juxtaposing music of different periods in close proximity and changing the spatial relationship between performers and audience, with a goal that goes beyond merely holding the audience’s attention through variety. Says Haas, “My goal is for audiences to come to a listening experience in a new way, to have something happen that is just different enough from everyday life to open you up to new thoughts.”

For Bionic Symphony, Haas has constructed an evening-length concert comprising four sections, each section being a “bionic symphony” made up of movements from works of the 18th-century Classical and 20th-century Neo-classical periods. These four “bionic” symphonies themselves form a larger-scale four-movement work, knit together with sections of Erkki-Sven Tüür’s haunting Passion. Says Haas about this way of constructing a concert, “Music exists on a historical continuum. Musical styles have changed, but human beings have always asked the same questions, and great art is in part a response to those questions.” He continues, “By listening to pieces of music from different periods of history in close proximity through a modern lens, we can experience this continuum, giving us greater perspective and insight into human nature.”

TOWER, by contrast, consists entirely of new work, though the score incorporates and is heavily influenced by world and ancient musics. The program, which will be performed in collaboration with Bay Area alt-classical pioneers Classical Revolution, was commissioned by the Oliver Ranch Foundation, whose past commissionees include Meredith Monk and the Kronos Quartet. The composers, working closely with each other and multi-disciplinary theater artist Ruth Pongstaphone, have crafted an evening of music written especially for the unique interior of artist Ann Hamilton’s 80-foot tall concrete structure, on whose double-helix staircases both audience and performers will sit and stand. While Haas prefers to avoid saying “this is what this music means” in a concrete and dogmatic way, the dozen-or-so individual segments of the TOWER program—which will be performed as a continuous 70-minute work—were inspired by the idea of portraying an entire human life in music. The works will utilize the space in various ways, responding to both the literal physical configurations of the space and the symbolism of the structure.

While Sympho has its home base in New York, Haas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and maintains strong roots there. TOWER, which will be presented in collaboration with San Francisco’s Classical Revolution, will be the second concert Sympho has performed in Northern California (following 2008’s REWIND with the New Century Chamber Orchestra at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts).

Colorado Symphony Joins with Denver Gay Men's Chorus on Broadway Rocks 2


The Colorado Symphony has partnered with the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus under the direction of Ben Riggs for the highly anticipated follow-up to the wildly successful Broadway Rocks from the 2009/10 season. Also featured on the program are three top-notch vocalists, direct from Broadway; American Idol finalist, LaKisha Jones, Rob Evan of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Tony Award nominated actress, Christiane Noll. These vocalists join the Symphony and the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus in modern favorites from Jersey Boys, Lion King, Wicked, Rent and Phantom of the Opera along with some of rock-n-roll’s greatest songs from Queen, Journey and The Beatles.

Broadway Rocks 2 comes to Boettcher Concert Hall on Saturday, May 26 at 7:30 pm.

Act I
Rocks Overture (arr. Fleischer)
We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions (Queen)
This Is The Moment (Jekyll and Hyde/Wildhorn)
Defying Gravity (Wicked/Schwartz)
Jersey Boys Medley
Total Eclipse (Dance of the Vampires/Steinman)
Circle of Life (Lion King/John)
Proud Mary (Fogerty)
Seasons of Love (Rent/Larsen)
Don’t Stop Believing (Rock of Ages/Journey)

Act II
Come Sail Away
Nobody’s Side
Hey Jude (Beatles)
Mama Mia Medley (Andersson/Ulvaeus)
Conga (Estafan)
And I Am Tellin’ You (Dreamgirls/Krieger)
Phantom of the Opera (Phantom/Lloyd Webber)
Music of the Night (Phantom/Lloyd Webber)

Performance: Saturday, May 26 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: 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.

Duain Wolfe Receives Award for Choral Arts


Duain Wolfe, Chorus Director for the Colorado Symphony, has been awarded The 2012 Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art.

“I am overwhelmed and truly honored by this award,” said Mr. Wolfe. “In a nation where ten percent of the population is actively involved in choral singing, it is humbling to be accorded such a tribute. The professional choral arts embrace a wide range of organizations and I am especially proud that two of Colorado's finest choruses that are models of high professional standards, the Colorado Symphony Chorus and the Colorado Children's Chorale, are sharing this tribute with me.”

VP for Artistic Administration at the Colorado Symphony, Anthony Pierce, added “Duain is a remarkable resource for the Colorado Symphony, and I can’t emphasize enough how fortunate we are to have him make the commitment that he does to this community and the state of Colorado.” “As an artist, he brings only impeccable work to the table and our choral concerts continue to one of the pillars of our Masterworks presentations.”

Beethoven Nine: Inside and Out with the Pacific Symphony

Beethoven’s crowning achievement, the epic Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” featuring the soul-stirring “Ode to Joy,” brings Pacific Symphony’s classical season to a memorable close in a variety of ways. First! The concert, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, features a monumental fusion of orchestra and voices that includes Pacific Chorale and four world-class opera singers; plus, two timely works by Frank Ticheli: “Rest” (world premiere version for strings) and “Radiant Voices” provide a stunning prelude. Taking place Thursday-Saturday, May 31-June 2, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa, this concert is also part of the Symphony’s Music Unwound series and includes a display of Beethoven-inspired artwork by local artists who responded to the call: “OC Can You Create?” A preview talk by composer Ticheli begins at 7 p.m.

Second! The Symphony, in association with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, presents the very first “Pacific Symphony PlazaCast,” a live simulcast of the Symphony’s Beethoven Ninth performance shown on the Center’s plaza during the Saturday, June 2, concert starting at 9 p.m., with festivities, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The evening is a celebration of Maestro St.Clair’s 60th birthday, the Center’s 25th anniversary and John Alexander’s 40th anniversary, hosted by Classical KUSC’s Rich Capparela. This unique event is free and open to the public with no ticket required. The community is invited to come early, bring chairs and blankets, and picnic on the plaza, while enjoying a preview and live interviews with key guest artists—and a few surprises.

St.Clair also leads an afternoon performance and conversation for Classical Connections, “Beethoven’s Ninth Revealed,” on Sunday, June 3, at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Classical Action’s 2012 Michael Palm Series Concludes on May 17, with Christine Brewer and Craig Rutenberg in Intimate House Concert

Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS closes its 2012 Michael Palm Series of house concerts on Thursday, May 17, with a memorable evening of song from soprano Christine Brewer and pianist Craig Rutenberg. Held in the Tribeca loft apartment of supporters Simon Yates and Kevin Roon, who have hosted all concerts in the series since 2010, the upcoming recital is part of the New York City-based salon series named for the charity’s late benefactor. The performance begins at 7:30pm, following an hour of wine and hors d’oeuvres; tickets for this series-closing concert may be purchased online at www.classicalaction.org or by calling Classical Action at (212) 997-7717. For the first time in the history of the Michael Palm Series, the music may also be enjoyed beyond this cozy salon setting: the recital will be recorded for a broadcast presentation at a later date on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall, channel 76.

Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer, named one of the top 20 sopranos of all time by BBC Music magazine, was recently lauded as being “in outstanding voice…, floating her high passages effortlessly with clarity and a sound like molten gold.” The review continued: “With that devastating vocal beauty came a powerful stage presence; Brewer exuded a sense of peace to match the music” (St Louis Post-Dispatch). According to the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini, she is “in her prime and sounding glorious,” while as London’s Sunday Times observes, “she brings a soaring opulence” to her interpretations. Fresh off a May 13 recital with Rutenberg at Alice Tully Hall, Brewer joins Classical Action for the first time on May 17.

While renowned for her stunning portrayals of Wagner, Strauss, Verdi, and Britten heroines, the soprano is equally at home on the recital stage, often appearing in concert and recital at some of the world’s greatest concert halls. To date, her 2011-12 highlights include singing Wagner and Beethoven for the Atlanta Symphony’s season-opening concert, undertaking the Wesendonck Lieder with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, and joining the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen for excerpts from the Ring cycle.

Pianist Craig Rutenberg, “whose playing range[s] from sterling directness to expansive beauty” (San Francisco Chronicle), has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest vocalists and is recognized as one of the most distinguished accompanists on the stage today. The upcoming performance marks his third collaboration with Classical Action, and his second appearance in the Michael Palm Series, following a 1996 recital with the late American tenor Jerry Hadley. Besides regularly partnering Brewer, Rutenberg has appeared in recital with Denyce Graves, Sumi Jo, Harolyn Blackwell, Susanne Mentzer, Frederica von Stade, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Dawn Upshaw, and, more frequently, Ben Heppner, Jerry Hadley, Olaf Baer, Simon Keenlyside, Stanford Olsen, and Thomas Hampson, with whom he performed at the White House under the Clinton administration. Rutenberg is also the Director of Music Administration at the Metropolitan Opera and a noted interpreter of operatic repertoire.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Commissioning a New Work? What should I pay the Composer?

I get asked this a lot so I thought I should put my thoughts down for all to see

There are a variety of articles out there which talk about commissioning works, many even have prices

Pretty much all of those guides are considering major performers for major works. Yes, they talk about individual or solo works. But the moment you suggest a range from hundreds to thousands of dollars you're eliminating most of the musicians on the planet. A struggling performer can't afford to pay $4-500 for a new, untried work for potentially a one-off performance.

So, here is my simple method for calculating what I might charge for a new work. Think of a commission this way:

What would you want to be paid for a performance?

If you had to bring someone in to fill the shoes for a performer, what would you expect to pay them?
    My thoughts on what to charge for commissions are rather like that.

A small "community" group might not pay their musicians, but might pay $50-100 for a single musician to come in a play on a piece if that instrument was important and there wasn't someone in the ensemble to fill the roll. A piece for community level ensemble to play in a concert, $50-100 might be very reasonable for a 4-6 min piece you are going to perform once.

    A more competent ensemble, say instructors at the college or university level, might be paying the musicians more like $150 or even $250 to "fill in." Therefore, a more difficult piece, more demanding, more thoroughly composed piece might run $150-250 for 8-10 mins.

    If you're hoping to feature the semi-professional/professional musician, a real star player -  20-25 min piece --a real show-piece, then $350-500 is reasonable.

    If you are a semi-professional or professional ensemble then the pricing laid out in the links above are fairly consistent and reasonable pricing for commissioning a new work


Also keep in mind, if you are a non-profit organization, any donor who commits money for a commission can deduct the money from their taxes. A great way to get money for composition is to specifically ask individual donors to fund a piece.

I should say, these thoughts are how I structure my prices, my fellow composers might have different thoughts. If you're looking to commission a new work, you really need to talk to the composer and negotiate the right price. The "reasonable" prices listed above are guidelines, not set in stone. My prices are also negotiable for friends, special occasions, payment-in-kind situations, or extenuating circumstances. Just remember, I have to make a living too. So far, I've not been able to convince my school loan creditors to accept new pieces of music in lieu of money.

Remember, even as a musician can waive fees for projects he or she really wants to play in, composers can do the same - but this should not be the default expectation. What do you think is fair?

Riccardo Chailly and Stefano Bollani return with “Sounds of the 30s”, available from Decca on May 22

A collection of works by Ravel, Stravinsky, Weill and de Sabata feature the jazz pianist with the Gewandhausorchester

Following the success of last year’s sparkling recording of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto and Rhapsody in Blue, conductor Riccardo Chailly and pianist Stefano Bollani return with an album of jazz-inspired classical works, including two world-premiere recordings. The album, which was recorded live at the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, will be released on May 22, 2012.

Last year Decca released an all-Gershwin recording featuring these artists and it was a surprise hit. Gramophone commented that “…the performance of the Concerto is the finest I have ever heard . . . Inhibitions are left backstage and, while all parties are alive to the smallest detail, there is an irreverence and spontaneity which capture the spirit of the work like no other . . . Bollani's exuberance and panache are infectious.” This unique combination of a revered maestro (who recently has received the highest praise for his Beethoven symphony cycle), an Italian jazz pianist and a storied German orchestra has created something special and the recording shimmers as a result.

For their new recording Chailly and Bollani have turned their attention to the 1930s and works by Ravel, Stravinsky, Weill and de Sabata. The influence of jazz on Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G is undeniable. Ravel wrote the work upon his return from America where he had met George Gershwin in New York and even travelled up to the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem to listen to jazz. The concerto is remarkable in that Ravel so fluently integrated the jazz idiom into the classical model of a concerto.

Ravel’s music is followed by Stravinsky’s Tango which is heard here in both its original 1940 solo piano version as well as Felix Guenther’s orchestration (a world-premiere recording). This is a tango as it could only be conceived by Stravinsky and it is certainly a sound-world away from Ravel. This is followed with works by Kurt Weill, a composer who, like Stravinsky, fled Europe in the 1930s. Unlike Stravinsky’s analytical re-imagining of the tango, Weill has written songs which masquerade as pop-tunes but are deceptively complex creations. The two selections included, from his shows Happy End and The Threepenny Opera, are examples of his wit and musical sophistication.

In May and June, Cellist Matt Haimovitz Goes “Beyond Bach” in Boston, Plays Woolf’s Après moi, le déluge in New York, and Tours with Uccello

It has already been a red-letter season for cellist Matt Haimovitz, who recently made the news with a world premiere (Philip Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2 “Naqoyqatsi”), a nationwide recital tour (with pianist Christopher O’Riley), a hit recording (his double album with O’Riley, Shuffle.Play.Listen), and more. Now May and June see the cellist offering a characteristically diverse and challenging lineup. He performs Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in Illinois (May 4–6); gives a “Beyond Bach” solo recital at Boston’s Gardner Museum (May 17); tours with his all-cello ensemble, Uccello, playing concerts in Toronto (June 6), Buffalo (June 7), Ithaca (June 8–9), and at New York’s Bargemusic (June 10); and makes a star turn as soloist with the Trinity Choir in Du Yun’s San, Laura Elise Schwendinger’s Six Choral Settings and Luna Pearl Woolf’s concerto for cello and a cappella choir, Après moi, le deluge, at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall (May 31). In an interview below, composer Luna Pearl Woolf discusses the return to New York of Après moi, le deluge, her virtuosic, poignant response to Hurricane Katrina.

Last August, Haimovitz participated in a performance of Philip Glass’s Naqoyqatsi with the Philip Glass Ensemble at the Edinburgh International Festival, accompanying the Godfrey Reggio film Naqoyqatsi (part of a trilogy that also includes Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi). A Scotsman review of the event described the cellist’s performance as “stunning.” In March, with the Cincinnati Symphony under Dennis Russell Davies, Haimovitz gave the world premiere of Glass’s Cello Concerto No. 2, which was largely inspired by the score of Naqoyqatsi. The response was glowing; as the Cincinnati Enquirer observed, “Haimovitz performed the expansive themes with emotion and a timbre ranging from gritty to deeply beautiful.” In August, Haimovitz travels to Australia with the Philip Glass Ensemble to perform the 90-minute film version of Naqoyqatsi in Melbourne.

Having ranged this year from the Glass concerto to arrangements of Stravinsky, Radiohead, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this month Haimovitz delves back into the standard repertoire. Joining the Elgin Symphony Orchestra under Victor Yampolsky (May 4–6), he performs Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto in Illinois for the first time since recording it at age 16 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and James Levine for Deutsche Grammophon. Haimovitz’s programming is eclectic once again on May 17, when his “Beyond Bach” recital at Boston’s Gardner Museum encompasses Bach, living American composers, and a new arrangement of the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.” Uccello’s East Coast June tour presents jazz arrangements for two to eight cellos from Meeting of the Spirits, which won the ensemble a 2011 Grammy Award.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Scottish Chamber Orchestra Summer Tours in Scotland 2012

Over the summer months, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra presents seven tours in Scotland, performing live orchestral music in towns and communities across the length and breadth of the country. During 2012 – the Year of Creative Scotland – the Orchestra continues its commitment to serve the whole of the nation with its 10th annual South of Scotland Tour, its 34th year of touring to the Highlands and Islands and the 6th Autumn Classics Tour visiting towns across central Scotland. Over and above these tours, the Orchestra is in demand at summer festivals – with appearances at the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Lammermuir and Edinburgh International Festivals – and in the recording studio.

South of Scotland Tour
The SCO celebrates Scotland’s natural riches in music and song in concerts in Duns, Castle Douglas and Galashiels (24 – 26 May). The centrepiece of the programme is the premiere of Howard Moody’s Border Lines, a piece inspired by The National Trust for Scotland’s Nature Reserve at St Abb’s Head and local communities in the area. Over the past year, composer-conductor Moody has been working with pupils from Coldingham and Eyemouth Primary Schools and the Eyemouth Fishermen’s Choir and Mission Crew, getting to know the landscape and the people of the area and creating songs with them in celebration of their community. The Fisherman’s Choir and Mission Crew will join the Orchestra for the performance in Duns. The project is a partnership between the SCO, The National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Borders Council. Scottish soprano Lorna Anderson joins Moody and the Orchestra to sing Scottish traditional songs arranged for orchestra by Moody, including Robert Burns’ Jon Anderson my jo and Ye Banks and Braes. Mendelssohn’s dramatic Hebrides Overture, the best-known musical celebration of Scotland’s landscape, and Dvořák’s Czech Suite of orchestral dances complete the programme. Border Lines has been jointly commissioned by The National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The South of Scotland Tour is presented in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival.

SCO Summer Tours
In mid-June, the Orchestra and Associate Artist Alexander Janiczek give performances amid the splendid surroundings of Dunblane Cathedral (14 June), at Findhorn’s Universal Hall (15 June), where the Orchestra has built up a strong rapport with local audiences over recent years, and at Glenmoriston Millennium Hall in Invermoriston (16 June). A native of Salzburg, violinist Janiczek has the perfect credentials to direct a programme of music by his home-city’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He pairs Symphony No 21, written when Mozart was aged 16, with Symphony No 39, one of the composer’s great, last symphonies. The SCO’s Principal Horn Alec Frank-Gemmill is soloist in the Horn Concerto No 4 in E-flat. Frank-Gemmill recently received rave reviews for his performances of Ligeti’s Hamburg Concerto during the Orchestra’s 2011/12 Season.

From 19 – 21 July, the Orchestra is reunited with guest conductor Nicholas McGegan for concerts at Stirling Castle, Strathpeffer Pavilion and the Badenoch Centre, Kingussie. They perform Haydn’s Symphony No 88 in G and Mozart’s Symphony No 31 ‘Paris’, both written to impress the Parisian audiences of their times. The programme also features well-known favourites from the 18th century operatic repertoire, including overtures by Mozart and Cimarosa and arias by Haydn, performed by the South African baritone William Berger. Following these concerts, the SCO, McGegan and Berger head into the studio to record a disc of arias from operas including Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute and Haydn’s Armida and L’anima del filosofo.

Director/violinist Isabelle van Keulen has proved hugely popular with audiences on SCO Strings tours in 2010 and 2011. This summer she returns to direct the full orchestra in a concert of much-loved classics at Inverness Eden Court (16 August), Perth Concert Hall (17 August) and Dumfries Easterbrook Hall (18 August). The First Symphonies of Prokofiev (Symphony No 1 ‘Classical’) and Beethoven open and close the concert, while SCO Principal Clarinet Maximiliano Martín is the soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

Trinity Wall Street at River To River Festival 2012: Sounds From Indonesia, Italy and NY’s Own Nico Muhly

This summer, Trinity Wall Street will once again participate in the River To River Festival®, lower Manhattan’s free annual summer arts festival, which this year takes place from June 17 – July 15. Trinity will present three events, bringing a breadth of programming – ranging from choral sounds from Indonesia and evocations of ancient Italy to the music of New York’s own rising downtown star Nico Muhly – that illustrates why both church and festival have grown close to New York’s heart.

The Trinity series, which forms part of the River To River Festival, begins on June 24 at Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel with a performance by the Manado State University Choir, which hails from the province of North Sulawesi in Indonesia. A mixed-voice chamber choir of about 24 singers, the group has been acclaimed for its beautiful sound, its ability to move audiences and its versatility, performing repertoire ranging from early to contemporary Western music, from traditional Indonesian music with choreography to popular music, jazz and Southeast Asian choral music. The choir performs under the direction of André de Quadros, who is a conductor, ethnomusicologist, human rights activist and Professor of Music at Boston University.

Trinity’s next two festival events both include partnerships with contemporary performing arts group Beth Morrison Projects, following their successful collaboration (New Music Now) at last year’s River To River festival.

On June 25, Trinity’s contemporary music orchestra, NOVUS NY, whose May 2011 debut concert was called “a most auspicious introduction” by the New York Times, lines up alongside the Washington Chorus and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus to give the New York premiere of the fully completed score of New York composer Paola Prestini’s “folk opera,” Oceanic Verses, produced by Beth Morrison Projects at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University. This multimedia opera, with film by Ali Hossaini and libretto by Donna DiNovelli, uses archaic Italian dialects and field recordings to summon up the spirit of an Italy now long overgrown by the modern world. The piece explores the universal themes of migration – the choices people make when they decide to leave their homelands – and the world’s accumulated layers of civilizations, each in turn built upon the ruins of the last. Prestini’s music is published by Tzadik, John Zorn’s iconic record label, and her work has been hailed by leading composer Osvaldo Golijov, who declared: “Paola Prestini’s music is wrenching and tender and luminous and pure and exuberant: always vivid and always generous. Her compositional voice sings of today, but also of an ancient, primordial time, a time of revelations and prophecies.”

Trinity’s series at River To River Festival closes on July 1 with an atmospheric candlelight performance by the Trinity Choir and Trinity Youth Chorus at St. Paul’s Chapel that showcases the music of one of the world’s fastest-rising composers, New Yorker Nico Muhly. Muhly has been described by Gramophone as “one of the most talked-about musicians of his generation” and by the Washington Post as “the reigning It Boy of New York’s downtown music scene.” The event juxtaposes Muhly’s choral writing with music by the English Renaissance choral composers who have influenced him, such as John Taverner, John Sheppard and William Byrd. The centerpiece of the concert will be the world premiere of Muhly’s A Pentecost Anthem, commissioned by Trinity Wall Street, Beth Morrison Projects and River to River. The piece revisits Muhly’s fascination with complex English Renaissance choral music; it is an interest first seen in his 2004 piece, So To Speak, which was inspired by a Pentecost anthem by Thomas Tallis. Alex Ross of the New Yorker described that work as “achiev[ing] a cool balance between ancient and modern modes, between the life of the mind and the noise of the street.”

Earlier in the summer, before participating in River To River, Trinity Choir performs contemporary works in a May 31 concert at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. The concert will feature Israeli-American cellist Matt Haimovitz and the music of Laura Elise Schwendinger, Du Yun and Luna Pearl Woolf, including Woolf’s highly regarded Après Moi, le Déluge. The work, recorded by Haimovitz on disc, has been called “the first major work of classical music to commemorate the flooding of New Orleans” (Arts Journal), and the New York Times praised it as “an unsentimental but moving tribute.”

St. Louis Symphony Announces 2013 California Tour

Itinerary includes UC-Davis residency and performances, March 15-20, 2013

The St. Louis Symphony will return to California during its 2012-2013 season, touring the state March 15-20, 2013. The Symphony, led by Music Director David Robertson, will take part in an intensive 3-day residency program at the University of California-Davis, which will include community concerts, coachings with elementary, secondary and high school students, a side-by-side rehearsal with the UC-Davis Symphony Orchestra and a performance at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Violinist James Ehnes will be joining the St. Louis Symphony to perform Berg’s Violin Concerto at the Mondavi Center. The orchestra will also perform at venues in Costa Mesa, Palm Desert and Santa Barbara. St. Louis Symphony Principal Flute, Mark Sparks, will perform the Rouse Flute Concerto at the other venues.

It is the second tour of the season for the St. Louis Symphony; in September 2012, the orchestra performs in Europe for the first time since 1998.
“The St. Louis Symphony is pleased to return to California for this tour, built around this unique residency celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts,” said Fred Bronstein, President/CEO of the St. Louis Symphony. “The Symphony, with its robust array of community partnerships and educational initiatives, looks forward to an expanded level of engagement with the University of California-Davis and Sacramento communities that the residency affords. This tour, and the European Festivals tour scheduled for September 2012, as well as hosting the League of American Orchestras conference in June 2013, provide multiple opportunities to share the excellence of the St. Louis Symphony with a national and international audience, and promote St. Louis as the dynamic, culturally-strong center that it is.”

Programs for the 2013 California tour are as follows:
Sunday, March 17, 2013 —UC-Davis (Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts)
BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme of Haydn
BERG: Violin Concerto
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 2

David Robertson, conductor
James Ehnes, violin

Monday, March 18, 2013 —Costa Mesa (Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall)
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 —Palm Desert (McCallum Theatre)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 —Santa Barbara (Granada Theatre)

R. STRAUSS: Don Juan
ROUSE: Flute Concerto
HINDEMITH: Mathis der Maler Symphony
R. STRAUSS: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

David Robertson, conductor
Mark Sparks, Principal Flute, St. Louis Symphony

LA Children's Chorus Gives World Premiere at Spring Concert 5/13 &14


Program Includes Earliest Known Example of Polyphony Dating from 1260
to World Premiere by Nicholas Nicassio

Saturday, May 12, 2012, 4 PM
Sunday, May 13, 7 PM
at Pasadena Presbyterian Church

The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) illuminates the transcendent spirit of humanity with a dynamic program spanning 14 centuries of musical expression at its 26th Annual Spring Concert on Saturday, May 12, 4 PM, and Sunday, May 13, 7 PM, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. Singing about joy, love, laughter and hope in six languages, the choristers offer a mix of classical, folk and contemporary works. Among numerous highlights are Sumer is icumen in, a medieval song dating from 1260 believed to be the oldest existing example of polyphony, and the world premiere by LACC’s Young Men’s Ensemble of Los Angeles-based composer Nicholas Nicassio’s Sleep Now, O Sleep Now based on text by James Joyce.

Other works include Purcell’s Music for a while, written in 1692 as incidental music for John Dryden’s play Oedipus; Schumann’s Schoen Bluemelein, based on the poetry of Robert Renick; Canadian composer Eleanor Daley’s serene A Red, Red Rose composed in 2003 as part of the Rose Trilogy and based on the beloved poem of Robert Burns; and Poulenc’s lushly harmonic Ave Maria with Latin text taken from a 6th century prayer and La Petite Fille Sage, which he wrote for children.

Also featured are My Girls, a lively ode to the bonds of sisterhood by Vermont-based composer Gwyneth Walker; Canadian composer Ruth Watson’s Psalm 100; Ubi caritas, a richly harmonic piece written in the form of Gregorian Chant in 2001 by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo; Seligkeit, a lively waltz written by Schubert when he was only 19 years old; Leonard Bernstein’s beloved “America” from the musical West Side Story; and Britten's setting of Fancie from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. The program concludes with Amavolovolo, an uplifting South African traditional spiritual and a prelude to LACC’s upcoming South African tour.

LACC Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. Associate Artistic Director Mandy Brigham leads the Intermediate Choir, Dr. Steven Kronauer conducts the Young Men’s Ensemble and Larissa Donnelly conducts the Apprentice Choir. The choirs will perform separately and combined.

Tickets are $26, $38 and $44; children 17 and under are half price. For tickets and information, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org. Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 535 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91105.

PBS to Broadcast Goat Rodeo Sessions Live Special on May 25

A Primetime Special Featuring Virtuosos Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer

PBS invites viewers to experience a groundbreaking collaboration when it airs The Goat Rodeo Sessions' first live performance on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 9:00PM (check local listings). The Goat Rodeo Sessions combines the talents of four different solo artists, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, mandolin master Chris Thile, bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, each a Grammy Award winning star in their own right, to create a unique, genre-breaking sound that's part composed, part improvised and uniquely American.

Released in October 2011, The Goat Rodeo Sessions album debuted #1 on the Classical, Classical Crossover, and Bluegrass Billboard charts. Additionally at #18, it was Yo-Yo Ma's highest position on the Billboard Top 200 chart to date. With the combination of intricate arrangements, intense improvisation, and superior skill by all players, The Goat Rodeo Sessions ensemble is a perfect storm of musical ingenuity. In fact, the music is so difficult to pull off, the group likened it to a Goat Rodeo - an aviation term that describes a situation in which 100 things need to go right to avoid disaster.

"What stays in my mind about The Goat Rodeo Sessions is how many things have to happen in order for us to create some really beautiful music," says cellist Yo-Yo Ma. "We each contributed something unique to it and what came out was truly amazing."

Aspart of the PBS Arts initiative, this one hour primetime concert special was taped over two sold out concerts at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts and features the group performing tracks from their studio album, such as "Quarter Chicken Dark," and "Attaboy," as well as Johann Sebastian Bach's "Gamba Sonata Number 1 Movement 4," and "Fiddle Medley." The evening's performance is highlighted by a special guest appearance by vocalist and Newton native Aoife O'Donovan on "Here and Heaven", "No One But You", and a special encore rendition of "All Through the Night."

"This rare and unique ensemble of musicians produce an eclectic performance that really goes beyond the boundaries of any one particular genre," says WGBH Executive Producer Laurie Donnelly. "We are thrilled that by showcasing their collaboration on PBS, we will allow viewers all across the country towitness this extraordinary musical event."

Funding for The Goat Rodeo Sessions Live was provided by the WGBH Fund for Music and through viewer contributions to PBS member stations. The Goat Rodeo Sessions Live is a co-production of Sony Classical and WGBH Educational Foundation. ©2012 Sony Music Entertainment and WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.

Visit pbs.org/goatrodeo for more information.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Music fit for a Queen - the London Philharmonic Orchestra in May

Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant - The Official Album

Music has been at the heart of royal occasions for centuries and the great tradition is set to continue when the London Philharmonic Orchestra joins the mighty flotilla of barges and boats mustered for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday 3 June.

To mark the occasion we have released a CD of popular music by British and Commonwealth composers including the UK Theme, a favourite with generations of early morning listeners to BBC Radio 4; Sir William Walton’s march Orb and Sceptre, written for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953; and the Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’ by Vaughan Williams.

Available exclusively at John Lewis and Waitrose in stores and online.

£1 from the sale of each CD will be donated to the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, supporting youth and education projects at home and in the Commonwealth.

Tune in to www.dso.org/live this Friday, May 11 at 10:45 am EDT, for a FREE webcast of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra!

Friday, 5/11 10:45 am
Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Craig Rifel, organ

There is no other symphony quite like it, a towering work built around the awe-inspiring sounds of the pipe organ. More than a century after its premiere, the "Organ Symphony" remains unrivaled in its scope and majesty. Leonard Slatkin leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra while the DSO's multi-talented Craig Rifel, normally seen and heard in the double bass section, performs as organ soloist. This concert also features the premiere of a new work by Du Yun, winner of the DSO's 4th Elaine Lebenbom Annual Memorial Award for composers.

Join our backstage pre-concert and intermission shows, featuring interviews with composer Du Yun, arranger/composer Rob Mathes, Whole Foods Detroit Community Liaison Amanda Musilli, and more!

Program Information
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Craig Rifel, organ

DU YUN Kraken
HAYDN Symphony No. 67
SAINT-SAENS Symphony No. 3, "Organ Symphony"

Next Up
Friday, 5/18 10:45 am
The Pines of Rome
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Robert deMaine, cello

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Angela Meade – 2012 Beverly Sills Artist – Makes Debuts at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Three Major U.S. Music Festivals

When the Metropolitan Opera’s 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Angela Meade starred in the company’s recent production of Ernani, she gave “a true star-making Met performance” (WQXR) that “showed what this uncommonly gifted rising artist is capable of” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times). In May the soprano tackles another Verdi heroine, making her Deutsche Oper Berlin debut as Lucrezia in two concert performances of I due Foscari. More high-profile “firsts” follow in August when Meade makes a trio of major U.S. music festival debuts, headlining “A Night at the Opera” with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival; “Italian Opera Night” with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Saratoga, and Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” with Robert Spano in Aspen. In June – as a preview of next season’s debut with Washington National Opera – she portrays the title role of Bellini’s Norma in concert at Oregon’s Astoria Music Festival, and in July she sings Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore at the Festival Castell de Peralada in Spain. As the New York Daily News recently remarked, this gifted young soprano is truly “on the fast track to stardom.”

For her debut with Berlin’s historic Deutsche Oper, Meade sings her first Lucrezia Contarini, the female lead in Verdi’s I due Foscari, opposite baritone and noted Verdi specialist Leo Nucci and tenor Ramón Vargas, as father and son. Vargas, whose numerous honors include Echo Klassik’s Singer of the Year, was one of the many luminaries of opera who performed alongside Meade at last season’s Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala, at which she received the prestigious 2011 Richard Tucker Award. With La Scala regular Maestro Roberto Rizzi Brignoli on the podium, the two Deutsche Oper concert performances mark the company’s premiere presentation of Verdi’s opera (May 9 & 11).

It is a measure of Meade’s burgeoning success that she makes not one but three major festival debuts in a single month this summer. The first, on August 5, is with the Cleveland Orchestra and guest conductor Johannes Debus, music director of the Canadian Opera Company, at the Blossom Music Festival. There, for “A Night at the Opera” – a program featuring favorite arias by Verdi, Puccini, and Donizetti – Meade joins tenor Michael Fabiano. Both singers were Grand Prize winners at the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as chronicled in the documentary film The Audition, and they subsequently co-starred in Lucia di Lammermoor at their alma mater, the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

On August 9, for her debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Meade reunites with another AVA alumnus, tenor and Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition-winner Bryan Hymel. With the Philadelphia Orchestra under music director designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin, they will perform an “Italian Opera Night” of arias and duets by Rossini, Donizetti, Puccini, Verdi, Mascagni, and Cilea, crowned by the final duet from Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.

On August 19, Meade makes her third festival debut of the month, as a soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”) at the Aspen Music Festival. Six-time Grammy Award-winner Robert Spano, in his inaugural season as the festival’s music director, conducts the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Meade leads a stellar lineup of vocal soloists that includes mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, with whom she performed Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony at the Seattle Symphony last season. The two were singled out by the Seattle Times, which commented on their “warmly expressive” voices.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bard SummerScape 2012 Revives Two Neglected Operas of Belle Époque France: Chabrier’s The King In Spite of Himself (July 27-Aug 5) & Saint-Saëns’s Henry VIII (Aug 19)

“An indispensable part of the summer operatic landscape.”– Musical America on Bard SummerScape

Reviving important but neglected operas is one of the ways the Bard SummerScape festival paints a faithfully-nuanced portrait of each past age, and this year’s exploration of “Saint-Saëns and His World” is no exception. To enrich its immersion in the music of Belle Époque France, with all its trademark opulence and emotional richness, Bard presents the first staged revival of the original 1887 version of The King in Spite of Himself (Le roi malgré lui) by Saint-Saëns’s compatriot and contemporary Emmanuel Chabrier. The production, starring the “lyrical, expressive baritone” (New York Times) of Liam Bonner, will receive a contemporary treatment from Thaddeus Strassberger, director of SummerScape’s previous hit productions of Les Huguenots and The Distant Sound. The opera’s five performances (July 27 & 29; August 1, 3, & 5) involve the festival’s resident American Symphony Orchestra with music director Leon Botstein, whose 2005 concert performance of the opéra-comique was “vibrant and assured” (New York Times). This summer, Botstein also leads an all-too-rare concert performance of Saint-Saëns’s own grand opera Henry VIII, which will bring the 23rd annual Bard Music Festival – indeed, the entire seven-week Bard SummerScape festival – to a thrilling close on Sunday, August 19.

Bard, Botstein, and the American Symphony Orchestra have long been recognized for their ardent championship of French opera. Besides the Strassberger production of Meyerbeer’s extravaganza Les Huguenots, Botstein has led performances of such rare French fare as Dukas’s Ariane et Barbe-bleue and Chausson’s Le roi Arthus (both of which he recorded for the Telarc label), and Lalo’s Le roi d’Ys. Together, SummerScape’s two operatic offerings for 2012 help evoke 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.

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), whose long and remarkable career both spanned and helped shape the course of French music from Gounod to Ravel, was a prolific composer and an exceptionally versatile musician. He and Emmanuel Chabrier (1841–94) were well-known to each other (Saint-Saëns was a regular guest at the younger composer’s apartment) and Chabrier was among those who most vociferously championed Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah, thereby contributing to its subsequent phenomenal success. Yet where Saint-Saëns was considered the quintessential polished professional, Chabrier was not held in as high esteem by his peers. Saint-Saëns followed fame as a child prodigy with studies at the Paris Conservatoire; by contrast, Chabrier attended law school and only began composing full-time after almost two decades of white-collar work in the French civil service. As a consequence, his musical training was unorthodox, amounting only to piano lessons with a pair of Spanish refugees and studies with a Polish-Lithuanian violinist. Paradoxically, however, it was Chabrier’s oeuvre that the leading composers of the next generation – Debussy, Ravel, Satie, and Poulenc – would most admire.

Jeremy Denk Celebrates His Nonesuch Debut, Ligeti/Beethoven, with Le Poisson Rouge Performance, May 21

“An accomplished and adventurous pianist with boundless enthusiasm and stamina” — Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
To mark the May 15 release of his Nonesuch label debut, pianist Jeremy Denk will make his first appearance at Le Poisson Rouge, taking over New York City’s musical hotspot for a one-night-only Ligeti/Beethoven celebration on Monday, May 21 at 7:30 pm. The concert program comprises Book 1 of Ligeti’s Piano Études and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111. (His new CD adds selections from Ligeti’s Piano Études, Book 2). Denk blends repertoire from some of his most recent critically-acclaimed appearances, comparing and contrasting these composers as only this inspired pianist and intellectual can.

Denk is thrilled to be joining the prestigious Nonesuch roster, and his unusual musical explorations are a fantastic fit for the groundbreaking label. Critics, too, have praised Denk’s ability to creatively tackle a diverse array of repertoire. Harry Rolnick of ConcertoNet.com writes:

Jeremy Denk’s recitals float so easily above the piano that one can’t imagine him doing scales and exercises. His fingers delight as much in the impossible intricacies of a Ligeti étude, as they swirl around a Bach toccata. His power for a Beethoven sonata is daunting–not for its physical command as its emotional grasp. And his trademark sonatas of Charles Ives offer a more dramatic view of the composer than any older pianist.

Denk’s Le Poisson Rouge event will further illustrate the fascinating connections he’s made on this recording. In his Ligeti/Beethoven liner notes, Denk discusses some of his thoughts on the composers’ similarities: how Ligeti’s Études are seemingly a sequel to late Beethoven, how there is a thematic connection “between Beethoven’s vast timeless canvas and Ligeti’s bite-size bits of infinity,” and “the way both the Ligeti and Beethoven works are about separations between dueling, different visions of time.”