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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Jessica Lee, who as a child and teen-age prodigy performed extensively in Richmond in the 1990s, will join the Cleveland Orchestra as assistant concertmaster, effective Aug. 29.

Lee, who left Richmond to study at the Curtis Institute
of Music in Philadelphia and
the Juilliard School in New York, was last heard here in a memorable performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” with Mark Russell Smith conducting the Richmond Symphony, a few days after the mass killings at Virginia Tech in April 2007.

She has played with Musicians from Marlboro, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Johannes String Quartet, ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra) and other ensembles, as well as performing in solo recitals.

Lee recently released her first solo recording, including works by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Janácek, on the Azica label.
5 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Chamber Players’ program of Bartók and Dohnányi at Bon Air Presbyterian Church:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/article_aabd6e72-9260-5eb5-ac65-af27a9e1206f.html
6 days ago | |
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With the beginning of the fall season at WDCE, the show moves to Wednesdays, in the same hours.
(I’ll post each week’s program on Mondays.)

For openers, a sampler of Czech music, mixing works by familiar names – Dvorák, Smetana, Janácek – with discoveries, among them the Piano Sonata “Quasi una fantasia” of the early 19th-century virtuoso Jan Václav Vorišek and the “Missa votiva” of Jan Dismas Zelenka, a court musician in early 18th-century Dresden who was much admired by his Leipzig neighbor, Johann Sebastian Bach.

Aug. 24
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Janácek: “The Cunning Little Vixen” Suite
(arrangement by Václav Talich & Charles Mackerras)
Czech Philharmonic/Charles Mackerras
(Supraphon)

Jan Václav Vorišek: Sonata in B flat minor, Op. 20 (“Quasi una fantasia”)
Nikolai Demidenko, piano
(AGPL)

Martinu: Oboe Concerto
Heinz Holliger, oboe
Academy of St. Martin
in the Fields/
Neville Marriner
(Brilliant Classics)

Jan Dismas Zelenka:
“Missa votiva”
Joanne Lunn, soprano
Daniel Taylor, alto
Johannes Kaleschke, tenor
Thomas E. Bauer, bass
Stuttgart Chamber Choir
Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra/Frieder Bernius
(Carus)

Smetana: “Libuše” Overture
Cleveland Orchestra/
Christoph von Dohnányi
(Decca)

Past Masters:
Dvorák: Piano Quintet
in A major, Op. 81
Pavel Štepán, piano
Smetana Quartet
(recorded 1966)
(Testament)

7 days ago | |
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Eckart Preu, a former associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony (2001-04) and current music director of the Spokane (WA) Symphony and Stamford (CT) Symphony, has been named music director of the Long Beach Symphony in California.

The German-born Preu, a onetime boy chorister in the venerable Dresdner Kreuzchor, was chosen from a field of nine finalists. While continuing to lead the Spokane Symphony, he will take over his new orchestra in the 2017-18 season, the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s Richard Guzman reports:

http://www.presstelegram.com/arts-and-entertainment/20160819/long-beach-symphony-selects-new-music-director
7 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of pianist David Fisk and a string ensemble, playing Brahms and Dvorák in the August Musicales series at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/article_a48aa02f-2221-5506-88a3-28bd629d9d8e.html
11 days ago | |
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The show previews its fall season with music from a circle of friends, and friendly rivals, in late 18th-century and early 19th-century Vienna. Some became household names; others are all but forgotten. Together, they were the figures who put the classical in classical music.

Aug. 18
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1400-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Antonio Salieri: “L’Angiolina” Overture
London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
(Chandos)

Mozart: Piano Quartet
in G minor, K. 478
Malcolm Bilson, fortepiano
Elizabeth Wilcock, violin
Jan Schlapp, viola
Timothy Mason, cello
(DG Archiv)

Franz Anton Hoffmeister: Viola Concerto in D major
Nils Mönkemeyer, viola
Dresdner Kapellsolisten/Helmut Branny
(Sony Classical)

Haydn: “Missa in anguistiis” (“Nelson Mass”)
Mary Wilson, soprano
Abigail Fischer,
mezzo-soprano
Keith Jameson, tenor
Kevin Deas,
bass-baritone
Boston Baroque/
Martin Pearlman
(Linn)

Beethoven: Sonata
in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2
(“The Tempest”)
Ronald Brautigam, fortepiano
(BIS)

Anton Eberl: Symphony
in E flat major
Concerto Köln/
Werner Ehrhardt
(Teldec)

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf: Oboe Concerto in G major
Heinz Holliger, oboe
Camerata Bern/
Thomas Füri
(DG Archiv)

Johann Baptist Vanhal: Symphony in C major
(“Il Comista”)
Concerto Köln
(Teldec)
13 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of
oboist Shawn Welk and pianist Magdalena Adamek, performing in the finale of the Richmond Symphony Summer Series at Dominion Arts Center:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/article_de43a3da-1493-51fc-a137-2f2f41e3f4d6.html
17 days ago | |
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The Richmond Philharmonic will present the premiere of a Violin Concerto by the Boston-based composer Elena Ruehr and will perform Robert Schumann’s rarely heard Konzertstück for four horns and orchestra in its 2016-17 season.

The Ruehr concerto, with the Romanian-born American violinist Irina Muresanu as soloist, will be introduced on
a program of compositions by women, also featuring the “Gaelic” Symphony by the pioneering American female composer Amy Beach and “Made in America” by the prominent contemporary composer Joan Tower.

In the Schumann, Thomas Jöstlein, a Richmond Symphony alumnus now serving as associate principal horn of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will join James Ferree, the Richmond Symphony’s principal horn player, and two members of the philharmonic, George Harple and Merry Beth Hall.

The philharmonic’s coming season, its fourth with Peter Wilson as music director, also will feature performances of major symphonies by Dvorák, Brahms and Haydn.

The orchestra’s November and May classical concerts will be staged in the Hershey Arts Center of Collegiate School; the March concert at the Steward School. Tickets are $8 ($16 for families) in advance, $10 ($20 for families) at the door.

The philharmonic also will stage two free pops concerts, a holiday program with music for Christmas and Hanukkah on Dec. 5 at the James Center Atrium and a summer pops concert on June 18 at Summer Park in Brandermill.

For more information, call (804) 673-7400 or visit http://www.richmondphilharmonic.org

The Richmond Philharmonic’s 2016-17 dates and programs:

Nov. 6 (4 p.m., Collegiate School) Haydn: Symphony No. 104 in D major (“London”); Dvorák: Symphony No. 7 in D minor.

Dec. 5 (7 p.m., James Center Atrium) Holiday pops concert (free).

March 19 (4 p.m., Steward School) Joan Tower: “Made in America;” Elena Ruehr: Violin Concerto (premiere) (Irina Muresanu, violin); Amy Beach: Symphony No. 2 in E minor (“Gaelic”).

May 7 (4 p.m., Collegiate School) Mendelssohn: “Hebrides” Overture; Schumann: Konzertstück in F major for four horns and orchestra (James Ferree, Thomas Jöstlein, George Harple & Merry Beth Hall, French horns); Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major.

June 18 (6 p.m., Sunday Park, Brandermill) Summer pops concert (free).
19 days ago | |
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Americans have long been wedded to big shows in big spaces. That predilection has held sway across the universe of music-making, from arena rock to grand opera.

In recent years, though, arenas are playing host to fewer concerts, and large music venues are struggling to fill empty seats – witness the well-publicized box-office travails of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

The reason, partly, is the fragmentation of listeners’ preferences – few, if any, musicians draw audiences large enough to fill the biggest halls, even in the biggest cities.

I commented on this trend toward “atomization” nine years ago in an essay for NewMusicBox:

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/Your-Niche-or-Mine/

Atomization turns out to be good news, at least for the consumers of music. As commercial reality drives performers into smaller spaces, audiences are finding that the musical experience is enhanced in more intimate settings, and that artists can program their performances more creatively.

The New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini observes the “smaller is better” trend at work in classical music in a city whose cultural life has long been centered on big halls:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/04/arts/music/review-mostly-mozart-big-music-doesnt-need-huge-halls.html
23 days ago | |
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After a hiatus of five weeks due to construction around WDCE in the University of Richmond’s North Court, the show returns for a temporary run on Sunday evenings.

Aug. 7
5-7 p.m. EDT
2100-2300 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Handel: “Royal Fireworks Music”
Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall
(Naïve)

Past Masters:
Shostakovich:
Piano Concerto No. 1
Dmitri Shostakovich, piano
Ludovic Vaillant, trumpet
French National Radio Orchestra/André Cluytens (EMI Classics)
(recorded 1958)

Rameau: “Quatrième concert en sextour”
Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset
(Decca)

Rossini: “La gazza ladra” Overture
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Einojuhani Rautavaara: “Cantus Arcticus” (Concerto
for birds and orchestra)
Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä
(BIS)

Mozart: Symphony No 29 in A major, K. 201
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Charles Mackerras
(Linn)
23 days ago | |
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