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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Dr. Ronald Andrew Crutcher, president emeritus of Wheaton College in Massachusetts and a musician with a wide-ranging academic and performing career, has been elected by the University of Richmond Board of Trustees as the university’s next president.

He will succeed Edward L. Ayers on July 1.

Dr. Crutcher is an alumnus of Miami University of Ohio, the University of Bonn, the State Academy of Music in Frankfurt, Germany, and Yale University. At Yale, he was the first cellist to earn a doctorate of musical arts.

He was vice president of academic affairs and dean at the Cleveland Institute of Music (1990-94) and director of the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin (1994-99). He served as provost at Miami of Ohio (1999-2004), after which he spent 10 years as president of Wheaton.

He also has held leadership positions with the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the American Council on Education and other academic groups.

As a performing cellist, he played in the Cincinnati, New Haven and Greensboro symphony orchestras and the Beethovenhalle Orchestra of Bonn. He also has sung as a tenor soloist. He currently is the cellist of the Klemperer Trio.

Dr. Crutcher served on the boards of the Berklee College of Music, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera Association, the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble. He was president of Chamber Music America from 1996 to 2000.

In addition to serving as president of UR, Dr. Crutcher will be a professor of music.

His wife, Dr. Betty Neal Crutcher, is a cross-cultural mentoring consultant, helping to establish mentoring relationships among people of varied racial/ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, religious and sexual-orientation backgrounds.
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Faced with ever-escalating costs for the classic instruments of Stradivarius, Guarneri, Amati and other Italian makers of the 17th and 18th centuries, now routinely fetching seven- or even eight-figure prices, string musicians often strike deals for extended loans or leases of the instruments with the collectors, investors or institutions that own them.

A useful arrangement – while it lasts.

Since 2002, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann has played the Lady Inchiquin Stradivarius, an instrument once owned by Fritz Kreisler, on a lease with a German bank. Then the bank shut down. The company clearing up its affairs is putting the Strad up for sale, but at a price Zimmermann can’t or won’t pay.

Just before engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the violinist has returned the Strad, Monica Houston-Waesch and Jennifer Smith report in The Wall Street Journal:


Meanwhile, Alexander Pavlovsky, first violinist of the Jerusalem Quartet (which performed last week at the University of Virginia), is “desperately looking for a new instrument,” according to an appeal sent out by the group. The Pressenda violin that Pavlovsky had been playing for 10 years has been taken back by its owner and will be sold.

(via www.slippedisc.com)
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In its 2015-16 season, the Richmond Symphony will mark the 150th anniversary year of the births of the two leading Scandinavian masters of the symphony, performing the Second Symphony of Finland’s Jean Sibelius and Fourth Symphony (“Inextinguishable”) of Denmark’s Carl Nielsen.

The coming season also will feature the first performances by the symphony of three Russian works: the Sixth Symphony of Shostakovich and two rarities, Tchaikovsky’s “Manfred” Symphony, based on the dramatic poem by Lord Byron, and Mussorgsky’s “St. John’s Night on the Bare Mountain,” the choral version of “Night on Bald Mountain,” which in addition to the choral part employs Mussorgsky’s own orchestration, markedly different from the commonly heard Rimsky-Korsakov scoring.

Other major works programmed for the coming season’s Masterworks concerts include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the September season-opening concerts, and spring performances of Brahms’ Second Symphony, Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” Suite, Samuel Barber’s First Symphony and Ravel’s complete “Daphnis et Chloé,” the ballet score for orchestra with chorus that the composer characterized as a symphonie choréographique (choreographic symphony).

Contemporary works scheduled next season are “Point – Line – Plane” by Zachary Wadsworth, the Richmond-born composer now living in Canada; “Waking Dream” by Laura Schwendinger, a Wisconsin-based composer who will visit Richmond for a residency underwritten by the Music Alive: New Partnerships program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA; “Urban Sprawl” by the Ohio-based composer Clint Needham; and “Short Ride in a Fast Machine,” perhaps the most popular of John Adams’ concert pieces.

The Nielsen, Sibelius and Brahms symphonies will be introduced by Steven Smith, the Richmond Symphony’s music director, and the Tchaikovsky by guest conductor Victor Yampolsky, followed by full performances of the works, in a new Casual Fridays series of one-hour concerts at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, also the venue for Masterworks, Pops and LolliPops concerts.

Program highlights of the Metro Collection series of Sunday matinees at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland include Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Haydn’s Symphony No. 92 (“Oxford”), Beethoven’s First Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish”).

The Rush Hour series, Thursday evening casual concerts featuring selections from the Metro Collection programs, will move to a new venue, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond’s
North Side.

Next season’s guest soloists include violinist Philippe Quint (playing Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Concerto in D major) and pianists Orion Weiss (Liszt’s Concerto No. 2) and Orli Shaham (Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3).

Five of the symphony’s principals also will perform as soloists: concertmaster Daisauke Yamamoto (Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2), flutist Mary Boodell (Schwendinger’s “Waking Dream”), clarinetist Jared Davis (Weber’s Concerto No. 2), cellist Neal Cary (Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme”) and oboist Gustav Highstein (Richard Strauss’ Concerto in D major).

The Richmond Symphony Chorus, directed by Erin R. Freeman, will perform in the Beethoven Ninth, Mussorgsky’s “St. John’s Night on the Bare Mountain” and Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé,” as well as the “Let It Snow!” pops concerts and Handel’s “Messiah.”

Singers from Virginia Opera Emerging Artists will join the symphony in a New Year’s Masterworks program featuring dance pieces and operetta arias by Johann Strauss II. Dancers from the School of the Richmond Ballet will join the symphony and its associate conductor, Keitaro Harada, in a performance of Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” in the LolliPops series of Saturday morning family concerts.

Harada also will conduct the first Metro Collection and Rush Hour programs of the season, and will lead the orchestra in live accompaniments of two films: F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent horror classic “Nosferatu” in a “Science Fiction Double Feature” opening the pops series, and the animated film “The Snowman” in the LolliPops series.

For a 2015-16 season brochure or more information, call the Richmond Symphony’s patron services desk at (804) 788-1212 or visit its website: www.richmondsymphony.com

The symphony 2015-16 programs:

8 p.m. Fridays, 3 p.m. Sundays at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage
Saturday – $171-$522 (adult), $95-$522 (child)
Sunday – $86-$261 (adult), $48-$261 (child)
single tickets: $10-$78 (adult/child), $9-$78 (senior)

Steven Smith conducting, unless listed otherwise

Sept. 12-13
John Adams: “Short Ride in a Fast Machine”
Berlioz: “King Lear” Overture
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”)
soloists TBA
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing

Oct. 17
Zachary Wadsworth: “Point – Line – Plane”
Korngold: Violin Concerto in D major
Philippe Quint, violin
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 (“Inextinguishable”)

Nov. 14
Sibelius: “Tapiola”
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
Orion Weiss, piano
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D major

Jan. 9-10
Richard Strauss: “Der Rosenkavalier” Suite
Johann Strauss II: “On the Beautiful Blue Danube”
arias, Viennese dance pieces TBA
Virginia Opera Emerging Artists, vocalists

Feb. 6
Victor Yampolsky conducting
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor
Daisuke Yamamoto, violin
Tchaikovsky: “Manfred” Symphony

March 5-6
Mussorgsky: “St. John’s Night on the Bare Mountain”
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor
Orli Shaham, piano
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6

April 2
Copland: “Appalachian Spring” Suite
Laura Schwendinger: “Waking Dream”
Mary Boodell, flute
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major

May 14-15
Charles Tomlinson Griffes: “The White Peacock”
Barber: Symphony No. 1
Ravel: “Daphnis et Chloé” (complete)
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing

6:30 p.m. Fridays at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage
subscriptions: $90-$180 (adult); $48-$180 (child)
single tickets: $10-$50 (adult/child), $9-$50 (senior)

Steven Smith, host & conductor, unless listed otherwise

Oct. 16
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 (“Inextinguishable”)

Nov. 13
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D major

Feb. 5
Victor Yampolsky, host & conductor
Tchaikovsky: “Manfred” Symphony

April 1
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major

3 p.m. Sundays at Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland
subscriptions: $68 (adult), $40 (child)
single tickets: $20 (adult), $18 (senior), $10 (child)

Steven Smith conducting, unless listed otherwise

Oct. 25
Keitaro Harada conducting
Bartók: Divertimento for string orchestra
Weber: Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major
Jared Davis, clarinet
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

Jan. 17
Ives: “The Unanswered Question”
Tchaikovsky:”Variations on a Rococo Theme”
Neal Cary, cello
Clint Needham: “Urban Sprawl”
Haydn: Symphony No. 92 in G major (“Oxford”)

Feb. 21
Stravinsky: Octet
Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto in D major
Gustav Highstein, oboe
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major

May 8
Fauré: “Pelléas et Mélisande” Suite
Ravel: “Mother Goose” Suite
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A minor (“Scottish”)

condensed versions of Metro Collection programs
6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Overbrook Road at Ownby Lane
tickets: $15

Steven Smith, host & conductor, unless listed otherwise

Oct. 22 (see Oct. 25 Metro Collection)
Keitaro Harada, host & conductor

Jan. 14 (see Jan. 17 Metro Collection)

Feb. 18 (see Feb. 21 Metro Collection)

May 5 (see May 8 Metro Collection)

7:30 p.m. at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage
tickets: $20-$50 (adult), $12-$50 (child)

Erin R. Freeman conducting

Dec. 4
Handel: “Messiah”
soloists TBA
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing

8 p.m. Saturdays (3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6) at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage
subscriptions: $86-$261 (adult), $48-$261 (child)
single tickets: $10-$78 (adult/child), $9-$78 (senior)

Keitaro Harada conducting

Oct. 24
“Science Fiction Double Feature”
F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent film “Nosferatu,” with live orchestra accompaniment
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (extra $10 charge)

Dec. 5-6
“Let It Snow!” holiday program
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing
special guests TBA

Feb. 27
“Music of Earth, Wind and Fire & The King of Pop”
Jeans ’n Classics

April 30
“Steve Lippia’s Centennial Celebration: a Frank Sinatra Tribute”
Steve Lippia, vocalist

11 a.m. Saturdays at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage
subscriptions: $42 (adult), $34 (child)
single tickets: $17 (adult), $12 (child)

Keitaro Harada conducting

Oct. 31
“Halloween Spooktacular”

Nov. 28
“The Snowman,” animated film with live orchestra accompaniment

Jan. 30
Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham”
Sara Valentine, actor & director
Kimberly Schroder, soprano
Michael Boudewyns, actor

March 19
“Carnival of the Animals”
School of the Richmond Ballet
6 months ago | |
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Because of weather-related travel issues, the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia has postponed harpsichordist Carsten Schmidt’s Feb. 21 lecture-recital at the Richmond Public Library and Feb. 22 performance of Book 1 of J.S. Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier” at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter. New dates will be announced later.

The society will contact purchasers of tickets for the Feb. 22 concert regarding refunds or exchanging tickets for the new date.

For more information, call (804) 519-2098 or visit the society’s website, www.cmscva.org
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Christoph Eschenbach, music director of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, will relinquish the post in 2017 after seven seasons, becoming the orchestra’s conductor laureate. With Eschenbach’s coming departure, the NSO joins the New York Philharmonic in searching for a new music director in the next two years, The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette writes:


Washington and New York are among the highest-profile cases in an international reshuffle of orchestras’ artistic leadership.

In the U.S., music directors of the San Diego Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra have already announced their departures in the next two years. Osmo Vänskä’s current contract with the Minnesota Orchestra runs out in 2016, but it’s hard to imagine Minnesota letting him go (besides which, he recently married the orchestra’s concertmaster). New music directors took over this season at the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and Florida Orchestra.

In Europe, the Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin and London Symphony are in the midst of recruiting new chief conductors, and the Vienna State Opera has yet to replace Franz Welser-Möst after his sudden resignation last September.

And several other major ensembles’ conductors may be on the way out, willingly or not.
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The New Yorker’s Alex Ross profiles acoustical designer John Meyer and samples Meyer’s Constellation sound system, which can customize reverberation time and clarify and enrich musical sound and speech, turning listener-unfriendly spaces into concert venues – and mask the din of restaurants, so diners can converse without shouting.

Constellation is costly, “running into the high six figures;” and while it “never seemed obviously fake or too good to be true,” the system gave Ross “a sense of being ensconced in an audio cocoon.”


(via www.artsjournal.com)
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Because of the snowstorm, all University of Richmond classes and events for the evening of Feb. 16, including a recital by organist Bruce Stevens, have been canceled. Stevens has rescheduled his program, at Cannon Memorial Chapel on the UR campus, to 3 p.m. March 1. Admission is free.

A jazz concert by saxophonist Al Regni and pianist Allen Farnham at Virginia Commonwealth University also has been canceled, as VCU announced its closure on the evening of Feb. 16 and all day Feb. 17.

Other performances in coming days are likely to be canceled or postponed because of the weather, especially in central and western Virginia, where the heaviest snowfall is expected, followed by extremely cold temperatures until the weekend.
6 months ago | |
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I was unable to attend the Richmond Symphony’s
Feb. 14 Duke Ellington program. It was quite a performance, to judge from Markus Schmidt’s review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

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During this year’s sesquicentennial of Jean Sibelius’ birth, there will be a lot of discussions about the composer and his often elusive music.

Few talks will be more intelligent or insightful than the Finnish musicologist Vesa Sirén’s conversation with Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. (Rattle and the orchestra have just concluded concert cycles of Sibelius’ seven symphonies and Violin Concerto, staged in Berlin and London.)

The interview is posted on the website of the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat:

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Lorin Maazel, the conductor and Castleton Festival founder who died last July, and his widow and festival co-founder, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, are recipients of this year’s Outstanding Virginian award, given by the Virginia General Assembly.

Mrs. Maazel accepted the award on Feb. 10 in presentations on the floors of the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate, followed by a reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

The Maazels were recognized for establishing the Castleton Festival at Castleton Farms, their estate in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern Virginia.

Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel “have brought many of the finest musicians in the world to Virginia for the enjoyment of its citizens, and have created a music festival in Virginia that trains thousands of young people in a variety of musical disciplines,” state Sen. Mark Obenshain said in making the Senate presentation. Gov. Terry McAuliffe lauded the couple’s “significant contribution to the cultural fabric of Virginia.” 

When the Maazels were approached about the award, “we suggested that this year would be appropriate, because it would be Lorin’s 85th year,” Mrs. Maazel said in an interview earlier this week. “As it turned out, this is the first time the award has given to someone posthumously.”

Founded in 2009 after Lorin Maazel finished his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic, the Castleton Festival stages opera, orchestral, chamber and other performances each summer. It draws more than 250 young professional singers, instrumentalists and practitioners of theatrical stagecrafts to work with established artists.

It has become one of Virginia’s prime summer cultural events. The festival is also the largest private employer in rural Rappahannock County.

Lorin Maazel, who in a career of more than 70 years had performed with most of the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies, started the Castleton Festival as a way of “giving back” to his profession. As well as being its artistic leader, he was the festival’s chief teacher, involved himself deeply in its management and financed much of it himself.

When he died in the middle of last year’s festival, “we had to regroup completely – start, really, from scratch,” Dietlinde Maazel said. The festival board “approached me to step up as executive and artistic director,” she said. “There were necessarily personnel changes in the administration and board, and the board stepped up financial support rapidly” to make up for the loss of her husband’s income.

Rafael Payare, a former Castleton conducting fellow and winner of the 2012 Malko Conducting Competition, was named the festival’s principal conductor. He will be joined in the 2015 festival by Fabio Luisi, principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, and Salvatore Percacciolo, who as part of Castleton’s 2014 conductors’ seminar program took over music direction of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” when Lorin Maazel’s declining health forced him to step aside.

Early last year, Maazel and Wynton Marsalis, the jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader, agreed to add a jazz component to Castleton’s training and performance programs. Marsalis will perform this summer with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and join seven members of the orchestra in working with 42 participants selected by audition from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Duke Ellington program for jazz musicians at secondary school level (grades 9-12).

“Wynton had been looking for a proper summer home for the program,” Mrs. Maazel said. “Lots of festivals, understandably, were sort of throwing themselves at him; but he wanted something that would be more than a sidelight to a festival’s regular offerings. What he saw at Castleton was what he had been looking for.”

In her new leading role, Dietlinde Maazel will be drawing on her various professional experiences. Although she is most widely known as a stage and film actress, “I also trained as a violinist,” she noted. “And I teach a Lieder [art-song] program at Rutgers University.” All those art forms will figure in Castleton’s programming.

“We also will shifting our focus slightly from [being] a producing entity and to being more an education and [professional] training program,” she said.

The 2015 Castleton Festival, running from July 2 to Aug. 2, will feature the premiere of Derrick Wang’s “Scalia/Ginsburg,” a comic one-act on the opera-loving Supreme Court justices, paired with Ravel’s one-act comedy “L’heure espagnole” (“The Spanish Hour”), both directed by Maria Tucci, as well as productions of Gounod’s opera “Romeo et Juliette” and Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town,” the latter directed by Mrs. Maazel.

Payare and Luigi will conduct two orchestra concerts, and the jazz program participants will present four concerts in addition to the Marsalis-Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performance.

For a complete Castleton 2015 schedule, visit the festival’s website: www.castletonfestival.org
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