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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
1224 Entries

Jaap van Zweden, the 55-year-old Dutch conductor currently leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, has been named the next music director of the New York Philharmonic, succeeding Alan Gilbert.

Appointed concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the age of 19, turning to conducting in his mid-30s, Zweden will serve as music director-designate of the New York Philharmonic in the 2017-18 season, taking over the position full-time in 2018-19 after being released from his Dallas Symphony contract. His initial contract in New York runs through 2023.

He will lead the philharmonic through several years of itinerant concertizing while its home venue, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, is closed for renovations.

Credited with energizing and improving the performing standards of the Dallas Symphony, Zweden also was criticized for what The Dallas Morning News characterized as an “abrasive” relationship with the orchestra’s musicians, The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reports:


The Times’ Anthony Tommasini, one of the most vocal advocates of recruiting the Finnish composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as the New York Philharmonic’s music director, rates Zweden as “too predictable a choice — a solid, disciplined, middle-aged European maestro — to follow Mr. Gilbert, a youthful native New Yorker who has brought the orchestra vision and innovation.”

16 days ago | |
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Jan. 28
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EST
1500-1800 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Ravel: “Alborada del gracioso”
London Symphony Orchestra/
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
(IMP Classics)

Symphonic Variations
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop (Naxos)

Rimsky-Korsakov: “Fantasia on Russian Themes”
Lydia Mordkovitch, violin
Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi (Chandos)

Past Masters:
J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 538 (“Dorian”)
Michel Chapuis, organ (United Archives)
(recorded 1967)

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491
Alfred Brendel, piano
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/
Charles Mackerras

Vaughan Williams:
“The Lark Ascending”
Hilary Hahn, violin
London Symphony Orchestra/Colin Davis (Deutsche Grammophon)

Webern: Passacaglia
Cleveland Orchestra/Christoph von Dohnányi (London)

Brahms: Sextet No. 2
in G major, Op. 36
Isabelle Faust & Christian Tetzlaff, violins
Stefan Fehlandt &
Hanna Weinmesiter, violas
Gustav Rivinius &
Julian Steckel, cellos

Dan Visconti: “Black Bend”
Scharoun Ensemble Berlin (Bridge)
16 days ago | |
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Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Finnish composer-conductor and former Los Angeles Philharmonic maestro touted as a likely successor to Alan Gilbert as the next music director of the New York Philharmonic – Salonen is currently the orchestra’s composer-in-residence – tells The New York Times’ Michael Cooper that “a new conducting position would not be logistically possible with the demands of my composing schedule.”


Meanwhile, Norman Lebrecht, on his Slipped Disc blog, directs readers to an interview with Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and another presumed New York Phil front-runner, in which Honeck tells Finnish journalist Vesa Siren that “I feel an obligation to stay in Pittsburgh” and that “I think Esa-Pekka would be the right person” for New York:

17 days ago | |
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The Castleton Festival, organized in 2009 by the late conductor Lorin Maazel and his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, at their estate in Rappahannock County, VA, has canceled its 2016 season to reorganize and raise funds.

Mrs. Maazel, who took over direction of the summer festival after her husband’s death in 2014, said the festival’s “huge” 2015 season depleted its resources. A hiatus this year will enable Castleton “to build a solid financial foundation . . . for continued growth in future years,” she tells The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette:


A statement issued on the festival website:

18 days ago | |
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The Richmond Symphony’s “Video Games Live” concert, scheduled for Jan. 23, has been postponed in anticipation of the weekend’s snowstorm.

The rescheduled concert will begin at 8 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Altria Theater, Main and Laurel streets. Tickets issued for the original date will be honored on the new date.

More information: www.richmondsymphony.com
21 days ago | |
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In the final hour, remembering Pierre Boulez, who died earlier this month. We’ll hear Boulez’s work as an authoritative conductor of modern music, with the three US orchestras with which he was most closely associated – the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic – along with a brief sample of his elusive yet vivid compositional style.

Jan. 21
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EST
1500-1800 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Wagner: “Die Meistersinger” – Prelude Act 1
MET Orchestra/James Levine
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Albéniz: Piano Concerto
in A minor
(“Concierto fantastico”)
(orchestration by
Tomás Bréton)
Aldo Ciccolini, piano
Royal Philharmonic/
Enrique Bátiz (EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor
Janos Starker, cello
London Symphony Orchestra/Antal Doráti (Mercury)
(recorded 1964)

Johan Helmich Roman: Concerto in D major
Anthony Robson,
oboe d’amore
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/
Anthony Halstead (Musica Sveciae)

Beethoven: Quartet in
E flat major, Op. 74 (“Harp”)
Artemis Quartet
(Virgin Classics)

Chopin: Barcarolle in F sharp minor, Op. 60
Ivan Moravec, piano (Supraphon)

Stravinsky: “Scherzo fantastique”
Cleveland Orchestra/
Pierre Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Boulez: “Livre pour Quatuor” IIIc (1962)
Quatour Parisii
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Bartók: Divertimento
for string orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez (Deutsche Grammophon)

Ravel: “La Valse”
New York Philharmonic/Pierre Boulez
(Sony Classical)
24 days ago | |
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Kirill Petrenko, general music director of the Bavarian State Opera and incoming chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, recently was asked about performing the music of living composers. As recounted by Miroslav Srnka, whose opera “South Pole” will be conducted by Petrenko later this month, the maestro’s reply:

“If the composer is dead you’d like to ask him questions, but you can’t. If the composer is alive you can ask him questions, but sometimes you’d prefer he would be already dead.”

(via http://slippedisc.com)
25 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony Metro Collection concert, featuring cellist Neal Cary, at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland:

25 days ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of pianist Yefim Bronfman playing sonatas by Prokofiev at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center:

27 days ago | |
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A program in memory of Gilbert Kaplan, the financier and journalist turned Mahler scholar, who died on New Year’s Day.

Captivated by a 1965 performance of Mahler’s epic Second Symphony (“Resurrection”) led by Leopold Stokowski, Kaplan decided that the only way he could could understand this music and his response to it was to conduct it himself. He embarked on an intensive study of conducting technique, subsequently acquired the autograph score, the composer’s baton and other artifacts, and made the Mahler Second his life’s work.

The program concludes with Kaplan’s remarkable 1987 recording with the London Symphony Orchestra. That performance is preceded by Mahler’s 1905 piano rolls of two of his songs and works by Brahms, Wagner, Schubert and Richard Strauss.

Jan. 14
10 a.m.-1 p.m. EST
1500-1800 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Brahms: “A German Requiem” –
VI: “Denn wir haben hier keine bleibende Statt”
Thomas Quasthoff, baritone
Berlin Radio Choir
Berlin Philharmonic/Simon Rattle (EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Richard Strauss: “Death and Transfiguration”
Philadelphia Orchestra/
Leopold Stokowski
(RCA Victor)
(recorded 1934)

Wagner: “Tristan und Isolde” – Prelude & Liebestod
Jessye Norman, soprano
London Philharmonic/
Klaus Tennstedt
(EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B minor (“Unfinished”)
Berlin Philharmonic/Wilhelm Furtwängler (Audite)
(recorded 1953)

Past Masters:
“Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen” – “Ging heut’ morgens aus übers Feld”
“Des Knaben Wunderhorn” – “Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald”
Gustav Mahler, piano
(Conifer Classics)
(1905 piano roll)

Mahler: Symphony No. 2
in C minor (“Resurrection”)
Benita Valente, soprano
Maureen Forrester, contralto
London Symphony Chorus
Ardwyn Singers
BBC Welsh Chorus
Cardiff Polyphonic Choir
The Dyfed Choir
London Symphony Orchestra/Gilbert Kaplan (Conifer Classics)
31 days ago | |
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