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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
1465 Entries

Philip Glass, marking his 80th birthday on Jan. 31 with the premiere of his Symphony No. 11 by Dennis Russell Davies and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz at New York’s Carnegie Hall, finds that his music is “always recognizably me. Not because I don’t try not to be me: I do try, and I fail all the time. The best thing for me is when I play a new piece and someone says, ‘Oh, it doesn’t sound like you.’ That, to me, is success,” the composer tells William Robin in an interview for The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/arts/interview-philip-glass-celebrates-his-80th-birthday-with-an-11th-symphony.html

Glass, Maki Namekawa, Aaron Diehl, Timo Andres and eighth blackbird’s Lisa Kaplan will play his complete set of piano etudes at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center.

Details: http://modlin.richmond.edu/events/modlin-arts-presents/philip-glass.html
3 months ago | |
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Matthew VanBesien, president of the New York Philharmonic, is resigning to take over direction of the University Musical Society, the principal performance presenter at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

VanBesien’s departure follows recent resignations by the philharmonic’s chief fund-raiser and head of artistic planning.

Alan Gilbert, the philharmonic’s current music director, ends his tenure at the end of this season, and his successor, Jaap van Zweden, will not formally assume the music director’s position until the 2018-19 season.

Vacancies in these top positions add to already uncertain prospects for the institution. The orchestra, which has run deficits for 15 years, already was facing several years of performing outside its home venue, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) at Lincoln Center, while the space undergoes an extensive, $500 million-plus renovation. Because of complications in the redesign, the projected reopening date has been pushed back to fall 2022.

Management turnover at the philharmonic “is staggering, which threatens to make the planning process more chaotic, and give potential donors pause,” The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reports:

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-president-to-step-down.html
3 months ago | |
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Serge Koussevitzky is remembered in this country as the longtime conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, founder of Tanglewood, the music camp and festival in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and a leading advocate of living composers. His promotion of modern music pre-dated his American years. In Paris, Koussevitzky made his Grands Concerts symphoniques a showcase of the new and different. Staged from 1921 to 1929, these concerts introduced an extraordinary number of works, many of which have become staples of the symphonic repertory. They also featured early music, much of it little-known at the time. In this program, we’ll revisit Koussevitzky’s Paris concerts, including their most famous premiere, Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” commissioned by Koussevitzky and first performed under his direction on Oct. 19, 1922.

Jan. 25
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Scriabin: “The Poem of Ecstasy”
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/
Pierre Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Germaine Tailleferre: Concertino for harp and orchestra
Nicanor Zabaleta, harp
French National
Radio Orchestra/
Jean Martinon
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Debussy:
Danse (“Tarantelle Styrienne”)
(orchestration by
Maurice Ravel)
Ulster Orchestra/
Yan Pascal Tortelier
(Chandos)
 
Past Masters:
J.S. Bach: “Italian Concerto”
in F major, BWV 971
Wanda Landowska,
harpsichord
(recorded 1938)
(EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Stravinsky:
Octet for wind instruments
Boston Symphony
Chamber Players
(recorded 1974)
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Prokofiev:
Violin Concerto No. 1
in D major
Julia Fischer, violin
Russian National Orchestra/
Yakov Kreizberg
(Pentatone Classics)

Past Masters:
Honegger: “Pacific 231”
Suisse Romande Orchestra/
Ernest Ansermet
(recorded 1963)
(Decca)

Bloch:
Concerto grosso No. 1
Israel Chamber Orchestra/
Yoav Talmi
(Chandos)

Past Masters:
Mussorgsky:
“Pictures at an Exhibition”
(orchestration by
Maurice Ravel)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/
Fritz Reiner
(recorded 1957)
(RCA Victor)
3 months ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony’s Jan. 22 Metro Collection concert at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/article_792aec91-4fdd-5f14-9bad-d29bae192b0e.html
3 months ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of pianist Jeremy Denk, presenting his “Medieval to Modern” recital program on Jan. 21 at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/article_aa24422c-e3ca-5976-8f9f-216b174120ea.html
3 months ago | |
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Soprano Roberta Peters, a mainstay of the Metropolitan Opera from the early 1950s into the mid-’80s, as well as a familiar television and film presence, has died at 86.

Peters vaulted into stardom on Nov. 17, 1950, when she was called into the Met as a last-minute substitute in the role of Zerlina in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” Her performance, with little or no rehearsal, won rave reviews. She went on to give more than 500 performances at the Met, specializing in coloratura roles such as Susanna in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and Rosina in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.”

She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998.

Although the Met was the principal stage of the New York-born Peters, she also sang at Covent Garden in London, the Vienna State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and other major houses in the US and Europe.

After leaving the Met in 1985, Peters sang in recital, operetta and musicals.

For many Americans, her most famous role may have been in a TV commercial for American Express, “singing out ‘Tax-eee!’ in a descending major third, from G to E flat,” Margalit Fox writes in an obituary for The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/arts/music/roberta-peters-soprano-with-a-dramatic-entrance-dies-at-86.html
4 months ago | |
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The transition team of President-elect Donald J. Trump is proposing to shut down the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities and to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of a plan to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years, Alexander Bolton reports in the Washington political publication The Hill:

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/314991-trump-team-prepares-dramatic-cuts

Spending on the endowments ($148 million for each) and CPB ($445 million) accounted for 0.02 percent of the 2016 federal budget of $3.9 trillion, notes Philip Bump of The Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/19/trump-reportedly-wants-to-cut-cultural-programs-that-make-up-0-02-percent-of-federal-spending/

Elimination of federal cultural programs, particularly the arts endowment, as well as arts agencies and public-broadcasting subsidies in individual states, have been advocated by conservative activists and politicians since the 1980s.
4 months ago | |
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A program of Scandinavian music – appropriate for the season, but more warm-blooded than its latitude of origin might lead you to expect.

Jan. 18
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Sibelius: “The Wood-Nymph”
Lahti Symphony Orchestra/
Osmo Vänskä
(BIS)

Grieg:
Piano Concerto in A minor
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Berlin Philharmonic/
Mariss Jansons
(EMI Classics)

Hugo Alfvén:
“Bergakungen” – 
“Dance of the Shepherdess”
Swedish Radio
Symphony Orchestra/
Esa-Pekka Salonen
(Sony Classical)

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

Niels W. Gade:
Violin Concerto in D minor
Christina Åstrand, violin
Tampere Philharmonic/
John Storgårds
(Dacapo)

Vagn Holmboe:
“Ballata,” Op. 159
Ensemble MidtVest
(Dacapo)

Franz Berwald: “Play of the Elves”
Royal Philharmonic/Ulf Björlin
(EMI Classics)

Dag Wirén:
Quartet No. 5, Op. 41
Saulesco Quartet
(Caprice)

Nielsen: Symphony No. 3 (“Sinfonia espansiva”)
Nancy Wait Kromm, soprano
Kevin McMillan, tenor
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/
Herbert Blomstedt
(Decca)
4 months ago | |
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony, performing on Jan. 14 with former music director Jacques Houtmann and pianist Rémi Geniet at Dominion Arts Center:

http://www.richmond.com/entertainment/music/article_dfc3d157-f8ed-5544-94d0-2d424ca52fe5.html
4 months ago | |
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The world’s newest concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany, opened on Jan. 11. The work of architects Pierre de Meuron, Jacques Herzog and Ascan Mergenthaler, the structure looks like a futuristic sailing vessel – a fitting visual reference for this historic Hanseatic port. The 2,100-seat hall, built on top of an old cocoa warehouse, stands on an island on the city’s waterfront.

One of the first English-language reviews, from Rick Fulker of the Deutsche Welle radio service, suggests that while the hall may not be a place for those with a fear of heights – “[t]he rows of seats ascend in wine terrace form so sharply that my knee was higher than the head of the man seated in the row in front of me” – musical sound is “mercilessly clear,” even for those seated far from the stage:

http://www.dw.com/en/space-time-and-the-elbphilharmonie/a-37102138

(via http://www.slippedisc.com)

The New York Times’ Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim reviews the opening-night concert . . . 

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/arts/music/review-first-concert-at-elbphilharmonie-hamburg-germany.html

. . . and provides background on the costly, controversial project and its striking results:

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/10/arts/music/elbphilharmonie-an-architectural-gift-to-gritty-hamburg-germany.html
4 months ago | |
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