Frederica von Stade's Farewell to the Opera Stage

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It is impossible to believe that Frederica von Stade has truly left the opera stage after a 40-year career. Can it be possible that I first saw my then-new friend, Flicka in 1971 at the Metropolitan Opera? She was playing Violetta’s friend, Flora Bervoix in La Traviata. I saw her again a few days ago at the Houston Grand Opera, where she sang the role of the heartbroken mother of a condemned man in Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s searing and achingly painful opera, Dead Man Walking.

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Aging Singers

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Naomi Lewin observes: "Through a combination of good genes and career choices, some singers, like Placido Domingo, are the Energizer Bunnies of their profession; others crash and burn far too young."

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Comments [18]

How Has Classical Music Added Romance to Your Life?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Last year, in celebration of Valentine's Day, we asked prominent musicians how classical music added romance to their lives.

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Comments [187]

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Friday, February 11, 2011

We are playing classical music from a Saturday Morning Cartoon today at 9:00 am. The music is Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. It has been used most memorably in Rhapsody Rabbit, a Bug's Bunny Warner Brother's cartoon from 1946:
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The Romantic Sound of Broadway's Golden Age

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hey, musical theater fans! I know, I know -- WQXR is a classical music station. But this morning I had the sound of Broadway on my mind, and I came into the office singing a song from a classic piece of American musical theater: Brigadoon, the 1947 Lerner and Lowe show about the enchanted Scottish village that appears every hundred years for only one day.

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Bach, Brahms and Brad

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Brad Mehldau, that is. The music of the jazz pianist/Carnegie Hall-commissioned composer entered my ipod world through his interpretation of Radiohead’s Exit Music. I was immediately struck by how lyrical and intricate his sound was and have been a fan ever since. When I heard Mehldau was presenting a solo piano recital on January 26 at Zankel hall of his own works, interspersed with repertoire by Bach, Brahms, Faure and pop and jazz transcriptions, I wondered, what was he going to do with “those” guys?

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Aguilera's 'Star-Mangled Banner'

Monday, February 07, 2011

Naomi Lewin writes: "With all the hoo-ha over Christina Aguilera's reinvented lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl, I have to say that I have some sympathy for her. I can relate."

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Comments [51]

Classical Super Bowl Commercials

Friday, February 04, 2011

In advance of this weekend's game, we’ve identified some current and previous Super Bowl ads that prominently feature symphonic music. Have a look and tell us why classical music is often used to sell everything from cars to soda.

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Comments [20]

We're Listening

Friday, February 04, 2011

In this special show, Q2 explores the work of the composer Milton Babbitt, who passed away on Jan. 29 at age 94. Included are many longtime Babbitt colleagues, students and fellow composers whose lives he's touched.

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On 90th Birthday, Egyptian-American Composer Expresses Concerns for Homeland

Thursday, February 03, 2011

As the world watches the events unfolding in Egypt, among those paying close attention is Halim El-Dabh, the Egyptian-American composer, performer and ethnomusicologist. WQXR's Nimet Habachy spoke with him.

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Conductors under 40: Wave of the Future or Passing Fad?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Midge Woolsey wonders, "is youth is the magic bullet for what ails orchestras right now? Do today's young conductors have what it takes to live up to the hype?"

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Comments [21]

A Classical Trove on YouTube

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ok, I admit it. One of my guilty pleasures is getting lost on YouTube. While I hear most of America zeros in on cats doing funny things or the latest teenager doing something stupid, I find myself drawn to old TV shows. How could you not watch Salvador Dali on What's My Line? These clips give us a window into a different time and culture and there’s plenty about classical music to watch.

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Casting Call: A New Amadeus?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Speaking of Mozart and his 255th birthday, do you remember the Milos Forman film Amadeus? Just for fun, let’s imagine a remake of the movie and a brand new cast. Whom would you choose to play Mozart? How about Salieri? And what about Mozart’s wife, Constanze?

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Comments [50]

Accompanists: Unsung Heroes of the Concert Stage

Friday, January 21, 2011

Behind every successful man there is a woman, or so the old saying goes. In the music world, behind every brilliant soloist there is his or her accompanist. Jascha Heifetz had his Brooks Smith, Anne-Sophie Mutter has her Lambert Orkis, Midori had her Robert McDonald and among many other things, Benjamin Britten was the reliable accompanist to his Peter Pears.

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Alan Pierson to Lead the Brooklyn Philharmonic

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finally!! Brooklyn lives up to its hipper-than-hip image! Alan Pierson, the 36-year old conductor of the groundbreaking New Music ensembles Alarm Will Sound and Dublin-based Crash Ensemble, is bringing his prodigious talents and badass programmatic instincts to the Brooklyn Philharmonic as their new Artistic Director, effective immediately. Pierson has made a name for himself as a tireless advocate of innovative music through collaborations with composers such as Steve Reich, Aphex Twin, Michael Gordon and Donnacha Dennehy.

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Comments [11]

You in Row F, Put Away That Cell Phone!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Naomi Lewin observes, "At a performance the other day, the guy across the aisle from me had his cell phone on and open, sending e-mail. During the performance." How the matter was resolved is another story.

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Comments [109]

For Love of Singing in the Choir

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Austin, TX choir Conspirare, arrives in New York this week. Midge Woolsey praises their "beautiful voices" and calls them "dedicated people who understand the power in the word 'ensemble.'"

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Comments [31]

Hold Your Applause

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

There was a time when musicians were considered peons on the social ladder and great composers remained anonymous. Both performer and composer were servants to aristocrats or the church. Applauding their craft was radical and perhaps even sacrilege. These days, audiences heartily applaud great performances across sacred and secular mediums. While I enjoy hearing live music and applauding inspired performances, some music is just better without applause.

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CONTACT! Perspective

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Spending time last December in Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium at the Met brought back great memories for me. As I sat in rehearsals and the concert, watching two brand-new works and a nearly-new one on a hot streak come together, I was glad to do a little reminiscing, but was also able to focus my attention differently since the last time I was there.

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The Power of Stage Fright

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Midge Woolsey considers the career of Vladimir Horowitz, "a man who overcame great emotional challenges to bring classical music lovers some of the most thrilling performances of his day."

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Comments [31]