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What do the Road Runner cartoon and Arnold Schoenberg have in common? The answer is John Adams’s Chamber Symphony. While Adams was studying the score to Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony, his son was watching cartoons in an adjacent room. Frenetic cartoon music mixed with Schoenberg’s in Adams’s head and an idea was hatched. The final movement of Adams’s work is named “Roadrunner.”

Hear Ensemble ACJW perform in real life this Saturday, May 10 at 8 PM on a program that starts with Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1 and ends with John Adams’s Chamber Symphony.


Get a taste of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 being performed by the Berlin Philharmonic:

         

Listen to the music in this snippet from the Road Runner cartoon:

        

Now listen to a snippet from Adams's Chamber Symphony performed by NOVUS NY at Trinity Wall Street:

       

As you can see, Ensemble ACJW is a group who knows its way around cartoon music:

 

 

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As a continuation of the the Collected Vignettes post from last week, we asked our collected stories audiences to share their own stories by writing a few lines or drawing a picture about the concert theme and then posting them on the collected stories board in Zankel Hall’s Parterre lobby. 

View part 1 of Collected Vignettes.


Click on images to enlarge.

 
 
 
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Renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, as part of her Carnegie Hall Perspectives residency, presents a series of three master classes focusing on opera arias. Four singers will be selected to participate in this set of public events, which will be held in the Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing and streamed live online.

Visit here for more information about Joyce DiDonato's Master Class in February.


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We asked our collected stories audiences to share their own stories by writing a few lines or drawing a picture about the concert theme and then posting them on the collected stories board in Zankel Hall’s Parterre lobby. The stories were witty, touching, and inspiring. 

Here are some of them.


Click on images to enlarge.

 
 
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Among the many exciting performances offered this spring, highlights include concerts featured as part of the last season of Spring For Music, the innovative annual festival presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall that features orchestras from across North America. Carnegie Hall hosts six consecutive evenings of imaginative Spring For Music programming this month, beginning with an appearance by the New York Philharmonic that kicks off the festivities before passing the baton to great ensembles from Seattle, Rochester, Winnipeg, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.

S4M 640px
Spring For Music, Houston Symphony concert audience, 2012

Over its four seasons, Spring For Music’s concerts, as well as its far-reaching radio and digital broadcasts, have provided an engaging way to shine a concentrated spotlight on the high level of artistry of orchestras far and wide. Equally inspiring have been the audiences—thousands of enthusiastic music lovers from throughout the United States and Canada who have made the journey to New York City to support their musicians.

As the festival enters its final year, Carnegie Hall salutes the Spring For Music partners, thanking them for being part of the long tradition of great orchestral programming. It’s a tradition that continues to flourish with the array of great American and international ensembles that take to the Hall's stages each season.


List of all participating Spring For Music orchestras:

2014

New York Philharmonic
Seattle Symphony
Rochester Philharmonic
Winnipeg Symphony
Cincinnati Symphony & May Festival Chorus
Pittsburgh Symphony

2013

Baltimore Symphony
Albany Symphony
Buffalo Philharmonic
Detroit Symphony
National Symphony Orchestra

2012

Houston Symphony
Edmonton Symphony
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Nashville Symphony Orchestra

2011

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Toledo Symphony 
Albany Symphony
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Oregon Symphony
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

Photo by Steve J. Sherman

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If you missed the enthralling live broadcast of Britten's War Requiem featuring Robert Spano and his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus on Wednesday, you can now listen to the entire broadcast.

This concert is part of our Carnegie Hall Live series, a partnership with WQXR and American Public Media. Follow along with the transcript of last night's live chat below.

Join us on Saturday, May 17 at 8 PM for the next Carnegie Hall Live broadcast of Mariss Jansons leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with pianist Mitsuko Uchida.


Read the full text and translation of War Requiem.


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Tune in and join us on Wednesday, April 30 live from Carnegie Hall. Robert Spano leads his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a stirring performance of Britten's War Requiem. Completed in 1962, the work combines the Latin Mass for the Dead with texts by English poet Wilfred Owen, who himself was killed in action just a week before the end of World War I. The concert is part of our Carnegie Hall Live series, a partnership with WQXR and American Public Media.


Read the program notes here. Full text and translation of the War Requiem available here.
Tune in at 8 PM and join the conversation! #CHLive.

Program

Britten's War Requiem  

Performers

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano, Music Director and Conductor
Evelina Dobracheva, Soprano
Thomas Cooley, Tenor
Stephen Powell, Baritone
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Norman Mackenzie, Director
Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Dianne Berkun-Menaker, Artistic Director

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Today—April 30, 2014—marks the 98th birthday of renowned American conductor Robert Shaw. Since this notable event also happens to fall in the middle of American Library Association (ALA) Preservation Week (April 27–May 3), we’d like to honor both occasions by sharing the news of Carnegie Hall’s participation in an innovative new project aimed at preserving fragile historical sound recordings, to which the Carnegie Hall Archives contributed an early recording that featured Robert Shaw on the Carnegie Hall Recording Company label.

Shaw Hindemith 1946

Robert Shaw and Paul Hindemith with the original score of When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd taken in 1946.
Photo Credit: Photo 196, MSS 86, the Robert Shaw Papers, Gilmore Music Library, Yale University.

As the Hall nears the close of its 123rd season, the Archives is wrapping up year two of our multi-year Digital Archives Project. Last year, we shipped 833 video recordings and 1,294 audio recordings to The MediaPreserve, an audiovisual reformatting laboratory located near Pittsburgh. These materials included a collection of 38 lacquer discs that date mostly from the 1940s and early 1950s. A relatively fragile media once used for recording radio broadcasts, lacquer discs consist of an aluminum core coated with a thin layer of black lacquer, which can dry out and crack over time, making the recordings unplayable. Although Carnegie Hall’s lacquer discs were in fairly good shape, some were showing signs of deterioration, making them top-priority candidates for digitization.

At about the same time that these discs were being digitized at The MediaPreserve using a standard playback method on carefully calibrated turntables, Carnegie Hall was asked by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to participate in a state-of-the-art sound preservation project. NEDCC has partnered with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, developers of IRENE/3D, a system that uses digital imaging to safely retrieve sound from historical recordings made on discs and cylinders without endangering the original carriers. They hope to develop an economically viable version of IRENE/3D that could move the technology out of the laboratory and into wider use by libraries, archives, and museums with collections of fragile historical recordings. IRENE/3D creates a high-resolution digital image—essentially a map—of a disc or cylinder without touching the object’s surface. NEDCC and Carnegie Hall realized that the Hall’s lacquer discs made perfect test materials for IRENE/3D; since they had already been digitized using regular technology, those digital files could be used for a side-by-side comparison with transfers made using IRENE.



One of the more significant items among Carnegie Hall’s lacquer disc collection is a June 30, 1946, recording by the Carnegie Hall Recording Company of Shaw conducting the CBS Symphony, chorus, and soloists in a performance of Paul Hindemith’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Hindemith’s work, commissioned by Shaw, sets the complete text of Walt Whitman's poem to music. The world premiere of the piece had taken place just a few weeks earlier on May 14, 1946, at New York City Center with Shaw conducting the Collegiate Chorale.

The Carnegie Hall Recording Company is one of the most interesting and elusive aspects of Carnegie Hall's history. It was founded by Len Frank in the 1930s in Carnegie Hall Studio 305-6. Frank had access to CBS microphones hanging in Carnegie Hall that were used for radio broadcasts from which he recorded various artists performing at the Hall. We believe he obtained access to the microphones through his associations with CBS or Bell Telephone Laboratories. There was no official agreement with Carnegie Hall nor did Carnegie Hall receive payment for the recordings, and to date nothing in writing has been located that explains in full the company or its relationship to the Hall. The Carnegie Hall Recording Company studio at Carnegie Hall existed from the 1930s until 1960.

Watch this 1956 documentary on how a lacquer disc is made.


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For more than 35 years, Grammy-nominated trombonist and composer Papo Vázquez has performed with great Latin and jazz artists, including Eddie Palmieri, the Fania All-Stars, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Tito Puente, and many others. Vázquez has garnered a number of accolades and composed works for artists such as Arturo O’Farrill, Wynton Marsalis, and Regina Carter. He now leads the Mighty Pirates Troubadours and joins Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert roster for a performance at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden on May 3 at 2 PM. We asked Papo some questions about his background in music, his band, and the type of music they’ll play at the Neighborhood Concert.



Your website mentions that you bought your first trombone for $5 and joined the elementary school band. At what point did you realize that you wanted to pursue jazz?
PV: I remember at the early age of 12 or 13 sneaking into a church dance and watching a live performance by Willie Colon’s Band. That is when I decided that I wanted to play trombone. Soon after, I was playing with the local bands and became friends with a trumpet player. He gifted me a J.J. Johnson album that set the stage for what I would decide to do later on in life.

I moved to New York in 1975 to play with the big salsa bands of the day. At the same time, I became part of a group of musicians that were rebelling against the dance-music scene and started participating in jam sessions at the New Rican Village on the Lower East Side. By 1984, I was living again in Puerto Rico and started my first band called Bomba Jazz. That is when I started this journey of experimenting with jazz and Puerto Rican folklore.


“Creating new variations of music takes many years of experimenting, trial and error, analysis, and research.”


Can you tell us the story behind the Mighty Pirates Troubadours’ name?
PV: I remember having a conversation with Mike Viñas (bass player) around the time I released my first album circa 1992, and told him that I didn’t want to use the name “Bomba Jazz” as a name for my band because people were calling me Mr. Bomba Jazz. I felt it was going to pigeonhole me into a certain category. He said, “Man, you know what you are? You are a Pirate Troubadour!” I found it to be a very liberating concept! Free to roam the musical high seas!

You currently have an extensive and talented seven-piece band—how did you form this group of musicians and what’s it take to be a Pirate Troubadour?
PV: That has been one of the most difficult things that I’ve had to deal with over the years as a leader. It’s taken me many years of searching to find the right players for the style of music we play. To be part of this band, you must be well versed in different musical idioms, not just jazz, or be willing to learn the different styles of music we play.

You’d be surprise how many calls I get every year from younger guys who would love to play in the band. The most important thing we look for is a good attitude and you must be willing to put in the work necessary to play at the highest level. The band has been around for more than 20 years and I feel very lucky and blessed to say that I can always call on previous members, and if they are available they will come back and cover a gig.

Your blend of Afro-Latin jazz seems very inspired by rich Puerto Rican musical traditions. Tell us about your sources of musical inspiration and what can we expect to hear at the concert.
PV: Creating new variations of music takes many years of experimenting, trial and error, analysis, and research. I’ve been very fortunate to have had in the band people like Roberto Cepeda, one of the sons of Don Rafael Cepeda, the Patriarch of Bomba and Plena.

Having had Roberto and master percussionists like Anthony Carrillo has helped in the evolution of the style of jazz we play. For the performance at Snug Harbor, we’ll be performing material from our previous CD and some music from our next album that we recorded a few weeks ago. It’ll be a nice mix of the different styles of music we perform, though we basically orbit around Puerto Rican folklore. We will perform merengue jazz, what I consider a New York Latin jazz mambo, jazz ballads, and more.

At a Family Concert at Carnegie Hall earlier this season, Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread performed a song that you composed for her called “Un Aguinaldo Pa Regina.” What inspired you to compose this?
PV: Well, Regina is married to our drummer Alvester Garnett—that makes us family. She had heard one of my compositions that we had recorded on my Marooned/Aislado recording titled “Aguinaldo Pa’ Dico y Caneco,” a composition I dedicated to my grandfather and uncle, who were troubadours. When she heard the piece, she asked if I could do an arrangement of that piece for her group and so I composed a similar variation to that piece.

Many thanks, Papo! Click here for more information about Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours' newest album.

 

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Freedom Day on April 27, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first post-apartheid democratic elections in which everyone age 18 and older of any race was allowed to vote. From this election in 1994, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa.


"Few of us could suppress the welling of emotion, as we were reminded of the great possibilities that we now have; and the bright future that beckons us."
—Nelson Mandela, on the first anniversary of Freedom Day


 

Carnegie Hall salutes this vibrant nation with a festival called UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa. Roughly translating to mean “I am because you are,” ubuntu is a philosophy from Southern Africa that emphasizes the importance of community, influencing recent moves of reconciliation and inclusion in South Africa that were fostered by Nelson Mandela.

Dedicated to Mandela’s legacy, Carnegie Hall’s UBUNTU festival celebrates the many threads that make up South Africa’s vibrant musical culture.


Watch Dizu Plaatjies, David Kramer, Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Angélique Kidjo introduce UBUNTU.

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