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Note x Note: Musical Musings & Cultural Observations
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The triennial Cambridge Greek Play, a dramaturgical fixture at the renowned British university for over 120 years, has returned. The tradition of studying and performing an ancient Greek drama began at Cambridge in 1882 when students and alumni of the university performed Sophocles' Ajax. Recent plays have included Medea by Euripides (2007) and Oedipus the King by Sophocles (2004). Here is a complete performance history. The Cambridge Greek Play has also witnessed major collaborations with composers, including Sir Hubert H. Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams, both of whom wrote original incidental music for the productions. This year's play is the Agamemnon of Aeschylus which, per tradition, will be performed in its original Greek. The play runs from today until 16 October at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Further details may be found here.

For those interested in Greek drama but for whom a trip to England is unlikely, fear not. The Getty Villa in Malibu is currently hosting an exhibit entitled The Art of Ancient Greek Theater. From the Getty's website... "This exhibition explores the many ways Greek drama was interpreted by ancient Greek artists, whose works are frequently the only surviving evidence of the performing arts in antiquity. A wide variety of objects — including sculptures, painted vases, and a rare fragmentary papyrus — brings to life the rich history of ancient Greek theater." The exhibit runs until 3 January 2011. Admission is free, save for parking, and reservations are required. Find out more here. And click here for a preview of some of the works currently on display.
7 years ago |
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I've just concluded a lengthy and very informative interview with Detroit Symphony Orchestra cellist Haden McKay who is acting as official spokesman for his fellow striking musicians. Our interview, as well as the latest developments in the ongoing DSO strike, will appear on this blog tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I'd like to share with you an open letter written and signed by several members of our very own Los Angeles Philharmonic to violinist Sarah Chang who had intended to perform a recital Monday night at Detroit's Orchestra Hall at the invitation of DSO management. Members of the LA Phil as well as other musicians around the country and even Chang's own fans urged her to show solidarity with her fellow musicians by not crossing their picket line and performing a replacement concert. She ultimately relented but not without a bit of controversy. The text of the letter is below and may also be found on the DSO musicians' website...


Dear Ms. Chang,

The musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic have always enjoyed our collaboration with you, both musically and personally, over the many years that we have played together here at home and on tour. We are dismayed to learn that you are planning to perform a recital next Monday night in Detroit, where our colleagues in the Detroit Symphony are fighting to preserve their great orchestra and their jobs. The DSO management has imposed a 33% pay cut and the elimination of tenure protections in addition to a two-tier pay scale that undermines new players to the orchestra. The musicians of the DSO have called a strike, which we in Los Angeles wholeheartedly support. We hope that you will reconsider crossing their picket line and cancel your recital. This would be a tremendous opportunity for you to show your solidarity with musicians everywhere and help the musicians of Detroit in their fight to save their Symphony.


In solidarity and friendship,
The Musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic(signed by individual members of the LA Philharmonic)
7 years ago |
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Tags: Anthony McAlister (Cello) ; Cello ;
7 years ago |
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I feel rather unwell. There will be no blogging today and possibly tomorrow, and no live tweeting of the Domingo/Dudamel roundtable this afternoon as I plan to crawl back to bed shortly. See you Tuesday.
Tags: Anthony McAlister (Cello) ; Cello ;
7 years ago |
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Like countless others, my youth was greatly enriched by the treasure trove of educational programs offered by public television. Alas, come 1 January, Sesame Street, NewsHour, Charlie Rose and several other iconic programs will have been sent packing, at least here in Los Angeles. In a move that was no real surprise for those familiar with KCET's years-long negotiations with PBS (but a real shock to the rest of us), it was yesterday announced that Los Angeles' long-time PBS affiliate KCET will be severing ties with the Public Broadcasting Service as of 1 January 2011. (Full story here.)

KCET president and CEO Al Jerome has indicated the high cost of PBS dues were the major factor in KCET's decision. The amount, which totals nearly $7 million, has reportedly remained unadjusted in light of the recent credit crunch and global recession. "We have been in discussions with PBS for over three years about the need to address challenges that are unique to our market as well as our station," Jerome said in a statement to the public.

The split will make KCET the largest independent television station in the country. Though the station has rearranged its fall lineup it plans to continue airing PBS programming until 31 December. After that, it will present specially created local programming as well as movies and documentaries from around the world. Though KCET is the largest it is not the sole PBS affiliate serving the Los Angeles area. The others are KOCE-TV, KVCR-TV, and KLCS. Speculation, however, has already commenced that this move by KCET could signal the death knell for public television. Time will tell. Be sure to follow this blog for the latest.
7 years ago |
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The Los Angeles Philharmonic will this evening open its 2010/2011 season with a concert at its principal home, Walt Disney Concert Hall. Gustavo Dudamel, who begins his second season as the Phil's music director, will be joined by celebrated tenor and opera superstar Juan Diego Flórez for a program of arias and other opera favourites. This evening's concert, which begins at 7pm, will be followed by a black-tie gala dinner for donors and invited guests. You can listen to the concert live courtesy of NPR either via the web or the NPR music app for iPhone.
7 years ago |
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100 additional tickets have just been released to the public for the upcoming Los Angeles Times Roundtable with tenor and LA Opera general director Plácido Domingo and Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel. This first-ever joint appearance by the two classical superstars will take place on Sunday, 10 October in the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. L.A. Times music critic Mark Swed will moderate the discussion, and attendees are invited to submit questions for the artists in advance.

This event is free but ticketed and pre-registration is required. Click here to reserve your seats, but act fast as this has become one of the hottest tickets in town! This offer will end tomorrow afternoon. Read more on the roundtable here.
7 years ago |
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As many of you likely know the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have gone out on strike as of this Monday following a protracted, and at times rancorous, contract dispute with orchestra management. The DSO have subsequently been forced to cancel this weekend's scheduled concerts, and just this morning DSO management held a press conference to announce the latest developments. The situation is, at present, quite fluid. For the latest news and analysis I highly recommend you check out Drew McManus' excellent arts administration blog, Adaptistration. Drew is one of the country's leading orchestra insiders and arts admin experts. His coverage is always timely and exceedingly well informed. You can read my earlier coverage of the Detroit Symphony crisis here.

7 years ago |
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The second annual Golden Twits is here! The Twits "is the award scheme that aims to celebrate the best in Twittering and those who use Twitter best". Unsurprisingly, Note x Note recently tossed its (rather grand) hat into the ring. The Golden Twits are centered primarily around the U.K., so British bloggers would naturally seem to have an advantage over the rest of us. But why should we let them have all the fun?!

You can show your support for Note x Note by voting for us on the Golden Twits website at this address. The blog's Twitter account is entered under several categories, including Best Writing and Best Information Service. If you're not already familiar with the blog's Twitter feed I encourage you to check it out here! You can also check out my recap of some of the blog's more interesting tweets. Be sure to read the Guardian's coverage of last year's winners. I hope I can count on your support.
Tags: Anthony McAlister (Cello) ; Cello ;
7 years ago |
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 This past Saturday evening the Chicago Symphony and the Boston Symphony, two of the country's finest orchestras, inaugurated their respective 2010/2011 concert seasons. The CSO's 2,500 strong audience were in for a disappointment, however, as conductor Riccardo Muti, the orchestra's much-tauted new music director, decided against taking the podium at the last minute due to illness. Disaster was averted when, following a half hour delay, Muti and the CSO management decided the show would indeed go on, albeit with substitutions. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter displayed another side to her extraordinary artistry as she not only performed but also conducted Beethoven's monumental Violin Concerto in D major. Other works on the program were led by CSO concertmaster Robert Chen from his chair at the first desk. For more be sure to read Andrew Patner's excellent coverage. Patner is also reporting that Maestro Muti, who has withdrawn from his remaining CSO appearances this year, will return to Milan for tests and possible treatment.

It was a much different story at historic Symphony Hall in Boston Saturday night. Maestro James Levine began his seventh season as music director of the Boston Symphony with a flourish. Literally! (Read the New York Times' review here.) The BSO's season began with an all-Wagner program and a Levine favourite, the prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Levine's energy and musical commitment while on the podium has lead some to wonder if the Levine "of old" is beginning to reemerge. It was indeed a triumphant return to the podium for the 67 year-old conductor who has been plagued with chronic ill health requiring several surgeries over the past few years. His poor health has often resulted in cancellations of his conducting appearances, but Maestro Levine now says that he is "virtually pain free". The only visible concession made was Levine's use of a chair from which he led the orchestra.
Join me in wishing both Messrs. Muti and Levine the very best of health!
7 years ago |
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