Showing posts from April, 2009

Alan Gilbert's conducting scores triumph in Return to Berlin

Performance Lives on in the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall Gilbert’s Next Performances, Back with NY Phil, Will Include Martinu’s Fourth Symphony, Mahler’s First Symphony, and World Premiere of Peter Lieberson’s The World in Flower When Alan Gilbert made an unscheduled debut conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in 2006 (replacing the indisposed Bernard Haitink at short notice) few people would have imagined that his next appearance before Berlin’s greatest symphony orchestra would be as Music Director Designate of the New York Philharmonic. Having welcomed him as a “podium god” the first time around, the press was prepared for his triumphant return to the Philharmonie on April 18. Berlin’s Morgenpost review headline reads: “Martinu Rediscovered in the Philharmonie … Why wander so far afield when the good – the very good – is so close at hand?” The review begins: “The New York Philharmonic made an especially happy selection with Alan Gilbert as its next chief con

Così fan tutte: OperaColorado does Mozart right

If only all other opera companies could accomplish the same quality Last night was the second performance of Così fan tutte by OperaColorado, a comic opera about the fidelity of lovers by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. While the music may not be Mozart's best, the opera still is a wonderful comic romp through the amorous adventures of two young men and their lovers - a pair of sisters. The alternate title for the opera is La scuola degli amanti (The School For Lovers) using the wit of da Ponte's libretto and the mastery of Mozart's music to give us a lesson in the joy of opera buffa (as well as lessons in fidelity). Così fan tutte is one of the three great operas Mozart wrote with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte (the others being Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni ). Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect about the performance was the near perfect blending of voices and orchestra. Carlo Montanaro did a wonderful job leading the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, keeping the instrumen

Boston Pops Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Legendary Ballets Russes

Keith Lockhart with Special Guest Rebecca Rice Dance Company on May 19 celebrate the centential of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes May 20 Concert Honors the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of the late Harry Ellis Dickson; Program to also Showcase Winners of the Fidelity Futurestage at Pops Competition, Featuring Four Winning Acts From Boston Public Schools Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops join the city-wide Ballets Russes 2009 festival, and mark the exact centennial of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes with a special concert May 19 featuring some of the groundbreaking music the legendary company made famous. Members of the Rebecca Rice Dance Company and Boston Ballet are the evening’s special guests. The May 20 concert is a Tribute to Harry Ellis Dickson, an evening commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of this beloved musical icon, who served as Arthur Fiedler’s associate at the Pops for 44 years. Both concerts also feature vocalist Ashley Brown, star of the Broadway

Scottish Chamber Orchestra concert-ticket treasure hunt

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has hidden two novels in secret locations in Glasgow and Edinburgh this week, each containing a pair of tickets to SCO concerts in the cities on 8 and 9 May. Clues to the location of the books will be posted online this Friday 1 May, at The Lost Book - . Visitors to the website can follow the trail of clues to lead them to the free books and concert tickets. The two novels to be ‘set free’ are Robin Jenkin’s Changeling and Lilian’s Story by Kate Grenville, both of which have been donated by sponsors Canongate Books. The books will be released by two SCO musicians who performed on soundtracks to The Lost Book - flautist Alison Mitchell and cellist Su-a Lee. The finders of the two books will be encouraged to pass the books after reading, using the popular website , and will find in the books a pair of tickets to the world premiere performances of Icelandic composer Halfidi Hallgrímsson’s new double bass conce

Guildhall School’s Faculty Artist Series with countertenor Andrew Watts

Guildhall School professors are leaders in their fields, pre-eminent in teaching, performing, recording and research. In 2008, the Guildhall School launched a series of performances by senior professors, giving public, staff and students the opportunity to see these leading musicians perform in the intimate setting of the School. Professor of Voice Andrew Watts takes to the stage on 7 May, in the last Faculty Artist recital of the academic year, following on from the successes of Deputy Head of Strings Louise Hopkins and David Corkhill, Professor of Timpani and Percussion. Andrew Watts’ previous engagements include operatic appearances with the Royal Opera, English National Opera, Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin, and the Teatro La Fenice, Venice. He has appeared at an array of prestigious festivals including Glyndebourne, Almeida Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Batignano Festival and the Dresden Music Festival. Andrew’s concert engagements include

Baltimore Symphony Musicians Donate $1 Million in Salary and Benefit Concessions

Collaborative “Music Matters” Campaign Challenges Community to Raise $2 Million in Matching Gifts Inspired by an extraordinary act of generosity by its musicians, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announced an unprecedented fundraising initiative called “Music Matters: Play Your Part” designed to garner additional public support to ensure that the BSO weathers the current economic recession. This historic initiative is spurred by the BSO musicians, who voluntarily donated $1 million in savings through wage and pension rate freezes, unpaid furloughs, deferment of filling certain orchestra vacancies, and $24,000 in annual fund contributions (the latter achieved through 100% participation from all 93 musicians.) These concessions represent an 8% reduction in the salary and benefits package the orchestra players were scheduled to receive in the 2009-2010 season. In response to the musicians’ generosity, the BSO challenges the public to raise 2:1 matching funds, or $2 million in new

Marie-Nicole Lemieux sings Schumann: two song cycles
Frauenliebe und -leben and Liederkreis - new recording from naïve

“What a luscious and luminous recital! Alto Marie-Nicole Lemieux’s voice is lush and lovely with effortless skill combined with a full-bodied tone … .Pianist Daniel Blumenthal is at once a support and a guide for Lemieux’s ardent interpretations and the result is immensely compelling.” – All Music Guide review of Lemieux’s all-French recital album , L’heure exquise The acclaimed Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux sings two major song cycles by Robert Schumann (1810-56), and four other songs by the composer (“Der Nussbaum”, “Er ist’s”, “Loreley”, and “Widmung”), on a new recording from naïve. Pianist Daniel Blumenthal accompanies Lemieux in the Liederkreis (Op. 39) and Frauenliebe und -leben (Op. 42), both written in 1840 when Schumann, who had long avoided the song genre, suddenly threw himself into writing Lieder with a surpassing passion – 138 songs in 1840 alone! “I can do nothing else; I’d like to sing myself to death, like a nightingale,” he declared to his beloved

Handel Overtures, Arias, and Duets Featuring Sandrine Piau and Sara Mingardo with Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano

On their new all-Handel album, soprano Sandrine Piau and contralto Sara Mingardo sing duets from Handel’s operas Poro, re dell’Indie, Orlando , Radamisto, Tamerlano, Rinaldo , and Ottone, re di Germania with Concerto Italiano under the direction of Rinaldo Alessandrini . Additional tracks feature overtures and arias from Handel’s Flavio, Ezio, Alessandro , and Amadigi di Gaula . Piau’s all-Handel recital for naïve, Opera Seria , with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques was a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice” in January 2005. Reviewer David Vickers summed up the album’s attractions succinctly: “This is without doubt the finest recital of Handel arias I have ever heard.” Sara Mingardo has an extensive and distinguished discography with naïve that includes a recital of arias by Handel, Monteverdi, Vivaldi, and other Baroque composers with Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano. That album was also a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice” selection (December 2004). The headline of Davi

One of Handel’s earliest Italian operas, Rodrigo released by ambroisie

“Al Ayre Español, led by Eduardo López Banzo, plays with beautiful tone, high spirits, and dramatic nuance – the musical performances are altogether first rate and fully satisfying.” – All Music Guide on Al Ayre Español’s previous Handel recording , Amadigi di Gaula naïve’s sister label, ambroisie, presents a new edition of one of Handel’s Italian-period masterpieces, Rodrigo , with an exceptional cast led by Maria Riccarda Wesseling in the title role, María Bayo as his wife Esilena, Sharon Rostorf-Zamir as his young lover Florinda, and Max Emanuel Cencic as Fernando. Following Amadigi di Gaula earlier this year, Rodrigo is the second Handel opera on the label conducted by Eduardo López Banzo . The release follows a European tour with the same cast and orchestra, Al Ayre Español , resulting in an interpretation that will undoubtedly lead to a new understanding of the piece almost exactly 300 years after it was written. “There can hardly be another Handel opera so fraught wi

David Grimal plays Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin

French violinist David Grimal plays the complete set of Bach’s six Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BMV 1001-06) on a new recording from ambroisie. Grimal’s performances of these iconic works by Bach are coupled with composer Brice Pauset ’s 2009 Kontrapartita . Pauset, born in Besançon , France in 1965, is cited by Grimal as a key influence in his understanding of Bach’s music. Grimal speaks at length in the album’s liner notes about his special preparation for this recording – a journey to what he calls “Bach’s magic mountain”, which included his intensive work studying and performing Beethoven’s String Quartets, an earlier live recording he made of Bach’s complete Sonatas and Partitas, and a Bach tour he made across India. Grimal also provides details of his particular approach to tuning and other technical matters: “What I really needed was a different violin, set up in a Baroque way. But there was no question of exchanging my Stradivarius for another violin! This reco

Nelson Freire joins Mario Venzago and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 4

Long a favorite of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra audiences, Mario Venzago (pictured right) conducts the orchestra through Beethoven's sublime Piano Concerto No. 4 with the award winning Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire (pictured left). The evenings program also includes brings the spiritually uplifting Third Symphony of Bruckner. Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto was premiered in March of 1807 at a private concert of the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. The Coriolan Overture and the fourth symphony were premiered in that same concert. However, the public premiere was not until 22 December 1808 in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien. Beethoven again took the stage as soloist. This was part of a marathon concert which saw Beethoven's last appearance as a soloist with orchestra, as well as the premieres of the Choral Fantasy and the Fifth and Sixth symphonies. Beethoven dedicated the concerto to his friend, student, and patron, the Archduke Rudolph. A review in the

Baltimore Symphony Associates’ 33rd Annual Decorators’ Showhouse

Sunday, April 26, 2009 through Sunday, May 17, 2009--1121 S. Rolling Rd., Catonsville, MD 21228 Hours: Tu, W, F, Sat: 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.; Th: 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. ; Sun: 12:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. Featuring Maryland’s leading interior designers, the Show House is an annual fundraiser to benefit the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s education programs. Baltimore architect William F. Stone, Jr. designed the “Arden House” in 1927 using stucco and stone exteriors with half-timbering, numerous Tudor arches and leaded glass elements combine to make it a fine example of Tudor Revival design. Tickets are $20 in advance and are available through the BSO Box office 410.783.8000, or the following ticket outlets: Graul’s Market, Bill’s Music House, Plymouth Wallpaper, Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, Obects Found, Catonsville Hair Co. and Hair-M Family Hair Care. Tickets are $25 at the door.

Grammy and Golden Globe-Winning Artist Kitaro Provides the Score
for Zhang Yimou's Modern-Day Opera

Impressions of the West Lake to be released April 28th Impressions of the West Lake is a modern day opera conceived and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, Curse of the Golden Flower), the visionary artist behind the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The production is highlighted by music composed by the Grammy and Golden Globe-winning artist Kitaro . Impressions of the West Lake represents the latest artistic success in the long, storied career of Kitaro. As a Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning artist, this incredibly prolific composer and performer has continued his reign in the international spotlight and at the forefront of musical innovation ever since the release of his debut solo album, Astral Voyage, in 1978. His numerous recording highlights include 1986's Tenku (his U.S. debut), 1987's The Light of the Spirit (a collaboration with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Kitaro's American break

Intrepid British Violinist Daniel Hope Returns to US
“Terezín/Theresienstadt” Program

with Anne Sofie von Otter and Friends including Performances at Strathmore Hall Arts Center on April 30 and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in New York City on May 2 “In a business that likes tidy boxes drawn around its commodities, the British violinist Daniel Hope resists categorization.”– New York Times After concerts in Hartford , CT (Apr 26) and North Bethesda , MD (Apr 30), Daniel Hope returns to New York City this week for a performance on Saturday, May 2 at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. The tour program, “Terezín/Theresienstadt”, teams Hope with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter , pianist Bengt Forsberg, and cellist Daniel Müller-Schott for an unforgettable exploration of vocal and chamber works by composers interned during World War II in the notorious Theresienstadt concentration camp. Hope performs Erwin Schulhoff’s Sonata for violin and piano and Duo for violin and cello as well as Robert Dauber’s Serenade for violin and piano; he also joins Von Otter in a selection of songs. Ho

Nikolaj Znaider Performs Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

Guest Conductor Osmo Vänskä with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Great Reviews for Recent Performances with Cleveland Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Danish-born violinist Nikolaj Znaider returns to the Chicago Symphony on May 14-16 for three performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto under guest conductor Osmo Vänskä . Znaider’s most recent US appearances – in Miami with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Brahms concerto, and with the Pittsburgh Symphony in the less-frequently performed Korngold concerto – earned the kind of reviews most artists only dream about. In March, Andrew Druckenbrod, music critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , wrote: “No one person should have the range of ability that Znaider possesses. A ravishing tone across the complete register, virtuosity for the quick and the nuanced, and artistic soul that allows him to sing out in the most compelling fashion. At 33, he already stands in an elite class of violinists worldwide.” Znaider’s April performance of t

The Soloist: Believable performance by Jamie Foxx as Cellist

I have not seen The Soloist yet, but based on an article by Tara Dooley of the Houston Chronicle Jamie Foxx does a believable job protraying a Juilliard trained cellist in this new film. “He was very convincing,” said Norman Fischer, cello professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, a premier Texas music program. “To do what he was doing was very impressive.” There are some moments in the film where a professional might recognize the sound we're hearing isn't actually coming from Jamie's playing, but it's done well enough to be a creditable performance. Of the 43 news articles posted about the film, most were only luke warm about the overall film. Some suggest it is "cheesy and overdone", other's think it was trying to be too much for one film. While the music is generally thought of as wonderful, the general attitude is The Soloist missed the mark.

Christian Tetzlaff & Esa-Pekka Salonen perform Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No 1
with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall

Christian Tetzlaff (pictured) joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the New York Philharmonic in a performance of Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No 1 at Avery Fisher Hall May 14th. While much of the world was at war during the composition of Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, the sounds therein give no indication of such turmoil. Equally at home in repertoire from Bach to the Romantics, and renowned for his interpretations of new music, Christian Tetzlaff has been aptly described as "brilliant and inquisitive" by The New York Times . The concert is comprised of 20th century music from Northern Europe featuring pieces by Witold Lutosławski (Poland), Karol Szymanowski (Poland) & Jean Sibelius (Finland). Lutosławski had taken folk material and, by transforming it into magnificent symphonic sonorities, had placed his personal stamp on it. The Concerto for Orchestra is cast in three movements: the Intrada is constructed in an “arch” form with massive climaxes at the Music Industry Marketplace is claiming to be the first music industry marketplace, connecting over 1,000 Music Industry Professionals (Agents, Managers, Media / Press, Promoters, Producers, Publishers, Radio Stations, Record Labels, Studios / Engineers & Venues) and Music Talent (Bands, DJs, Ensembles, Lyricists, Orchestras, Musicians, Singers, Songwriters) from around the globe, and provides tools that expedite new talent recruitment, brand / music promotion, communication, and new business deals (concert bookings, representation offers, etc.). “WorldMusicLink is an essential online tool for getting my music out there.” - Gabriel Gandzjuk, aspiring Singer/Songwriter By way of the WML System, it is our goal to bridge the fragmented pieces of the music industry, by creating a universal Hub that advances careers and businesses to new heights. Music Talent and Industry Professionals can create Basic Profiles for Free by visiting We also offer subscription-based PR

Nikolaj Znaider: Artist Portrait with the London Symphony Orchestra, May 2009

Schoenberg, Korngold and Brahms Violin Concertos conducted by LSO Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev and LSO President Sir Colin Davis Artist Conversation streamed live over internet The London Symphony Orchestra is delighted to welcome Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider as the 2008/09 season LSO Artist Portrait where he will perform three concertos and a chamber recital with the LSO Chamber Ensemble, as well as take part in a Q&A with an LSO player, which will be broadcast live over the internet. ‘I’m so happy to be working with the Orchestra again, and especially with Sir Colin Davis and Valery Gergiev – they’re people with whom I have a real rapport…The LSO Discovery education programmes are wonderful, and vitally important for the future of music.’ Artist Conversation, Wednesday 6 May 2009, 11am – 12.30pm, LSO St Luke’s A question and answer session with internationally renowned violinist Nikolaj Znaider. The conversation will also be streamed live over the internet

Andrew Grams Leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in an All-Mozart Program, May 23

BSO Principal Philip Munds performs Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 Guest conductor Andrew Grams will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in its last Casual Concert Series performance this season featuring an All-Mozart Program on Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. This program will also be performed at Frederick Community College on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. The program includes three of Mozart’s works, including his Horn Concerto No. 2 (performed by BSO principal Philip Munds ), Symphony No. 36, “Linz” and the first movement of Symphony No. 38, “Prague.” As part of the Casual Concert Series, coffee and pastries will be on sale in the lobby at 10:00 a.m. Please see below for complete program information. Written for friend and horn player Joseph Leutgeb, Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 memorializes the horn player’s talents on the unwieldy natural horn still in use in the late 18th century. The original score of Horn Concerto No. 2

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein Appointed Artist-in-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been appointed artist-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music . While her teaching arrangements are still being finalized, Ms. Weilerstein plans to be at CIM at least two days each semester to work with cello students. New York-based Ms. Weilerstein, 27, is in demand internationally as a soloist and chamber musician and performs around 100 concerts a year. She has been described by New York magazine as “arguably Yo-Yo Ma’s heiress apparent as sovereign of the American cello” and has attracted widespread attention for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. Ms. Weilerstein is herself a graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Weiss, and she made her Cleveland Orchestra debut when she was 13. During the 2008-09 season Ms. Weilerstein made her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut performing Brahms’s Double Concerto with

Charles Theatre in Baltimore to hold music/art event to mark opening of 'The Soloist'

Hollywood so rarely acknowledges classical music and musicians in a serious way that The Soloist , opening Friday, can't help but be a very big deal. This fact-based story of a homeless, mentally unstable musicians discovered by a Los Angeles Times newspaper columnist, actually includes footage shot at Disney Hall featuring a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with much-acclaimed conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (who has just finished his remarkable tenure as music director). That sort of class, or classical, is not likely to pop up in another movie anytime soon. The Soloist , starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr., has been stirring up lots of interest, inspiring orchestras around the country to hold food drives, for example. It's also leading to the creation of some fresh artistic expression. To help kick off the movie's arrival in Baltimore, the Charles Theatre will present a dual event in the lobby at 6 p.m. Friday. The Altra String Quartet , from Catholic

Leonard Slatkin begins journey through Mahler's symphonies

Leonard Slatkin (pictured) plans to run the Mahler cycle as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra . His adventure through Mahler's nine-plus symphonies begins tonight with a sort of "plus" version of Symphony No. 1 in D major. While Slatkin hasn't made a big deal of his intention to keep Mahler for himself, he couldn't have made it plainer when we talked about programming for next season. When I noted that Peter Oundjian, the DSO's principal guest conductor, would lead the Mahler Seventh next year, Slatkin said, yes, that was something Oundjian wanted to do, but that in the future he (Slatkin) would be on the podium when Mahler was on the docket. The extra bit Slatkin is adding to the First Symphony this weekend is a seven-minute movement called "Blossoms" (or "Blumine" in the original German), which was part of the First Symphony at its premiere in 1888. But after a couple of performances, Mahler decided "Blumine"

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents The Three Bears & Other Famous Fairytales

Program features narrator Rheda Becker, Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers and CityDance Ensemble, May 9 The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will present The Three Bears & Other Famous Fairytales narrated by Rheda Becker and conducted by BSO violinist and conductor Christian Colberg on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Becker will be joined by the Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers, Washington D.C.’s CityDance Ensemble and mezzo-sopranos Jessica Renfro and Madelyn Wanner, as they explore fairytale classics like Beauty and the Beast , The Tortoise and the Hare and The Three Bears . Favorite fairytales take to the stage in this family event. The BSO will perform music from Snow Maiden , The Sleeping Beauty , The Little Mermaid , Mother Goose , Hansel and Gretel and Peer Gynt . The Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers will perform in “A Phantasy for the Orchestra” from The Three Bears and CityDance Ensemble will perform in “Waltz

Susan Graham Performs World Premiere of Ned Rorem’s Newly-Orchestrated Songs for Susan

Featuring Three Brand New Songs – on Tour and at Carnegie Hall (May 11) with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Susan Graham ’s recording Songs by Ned Rorem , featuring Malcolm Martineau at the piano, was issued by Erato in 2000, abundantly praised by numerous critics, and nominated for a Gramophone Award for “Best Vocal Recording” of the year. A decade after the recording was made, Rorem has orchestrated some of his songs especially for the popular mezzo. With Orpheus Chamber Orchestra , she will sing world premieres of three brand new Rorem songs as well as premiering eight newly-orchestrated arrangements in a series of concerts culminating at Carnegie Hall on May 11. One reviewer called the Rorem CD “a marvelous anthology”, praising the way “Graham is constantly attentive to the marriage of music and text … and phrases their little worlds into being with grace and wit. She can shade to a sweet vanishing point or allow her voice to blossom, orchid-like, into a dazzling profusion of c