Bizarre Holiday Traditions

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What I enjoy most about this time of year is the tradition of season. But until now I never seriously thought about how my indulging in these sacred traditions could be an affront to someone else.

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Christmas, Christmas Time is Near

Monday, November 29, 2010

Naomi Lewin asks: What does a nice Jewish girl know about Christmas music? After decades as a choral singer, church soloist, and radio host, the answer is, "Plenty!"

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Reflections on Strauss's Intermezzo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

As I write this, I’m still thinking about how great it was to meet so many listeners last Thursday evening at New York City Opera as we gathered to enjoy Strauss's Intermezzo together. Thank you so much for opting to join us for the adventure!

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I Was a Teenage Trombonist

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it? As Jeff Spurgeon tell us, for family and friends, perhaps it was. But his trombone tale is very much a happy one.

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Comments [19]

Are iPad Orchestras In Play?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What do you think about iPads as instruments? A few months ago the pianist Lang Lang came to our studio and played Flight of the Bumblebee on one. That's possible because of a three-dollar application that simulates a keyboard. Now there is an app that simulates the violin.

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Name That Tune

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Everyone has had the experience of singing or humming a tune that’s been driving you crazy, trying to identify it. A music discovery Web site offers some help.

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How the Oboist's Art is Like a Bad Marriage

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There are many conversations that go on between an instrumentalist and their instrument. For the oboist and the oboe, a good face in public masks constant bickering and drama behind the scenes.

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Remembering Shirley Verrett

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

With the news of her death over the weekend, I found myself watching clips of Shirley Verrett on YouTube yesterday. Sadly, I never saw her perform on the opera stage. But, thanks to YouTube, I was able to get a sense of just how fabulous she was. I was absolutely blown away by what I saw. Her Delilah was to die for. And this from a woman who was known to be quite shy! Amazing. I’m still moved as I think about it this morning.

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Blame it on Pops

Thursday, November 04, 2010

My elementary school required that its students sing in the school choir or play an instrument. I chose trumpet. It was loud, shiny and, I thought, how difficult could it be?

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Marathon Music

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

If you’re running the New York City Marathon this Sunday, what classical music will be on your iPod? Or if you’re strictly a spectator, what classical selections would you suggest? Tell us and listen to this week's Arts File.

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Calling All Marching Band Fanatics

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Midge Woolsey asks: Did you play in a marching band? Do you still play today? And, what makes being in one so much fun anyway? And are they different than they were – say – 20 or 30 years ago?

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Comments [74]

An Ill Wind Nobody Blows Good

Monday, November 01, 2010

"No one seems exactly sure who turned that phrase about the oboe, but it does seem to have happened long before my assault on the instrument," says our Naomi Lewin.

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Comments [14]

Scary Music, Then and Now

Monday, October 25, 2010

What’s the scariest piece of music you know? In celebration of Halloween, our Jeff Spurgeon thinks it's the perfect occasion to ask.

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Comments [42]

For Racette, Puccini Heroines and Berlin Cabaret

Monday, October 25, 2010

One of today's most respected Puccini sopranos, Patricia Racette tells Midge Woolsey about her ecclectic career that spans verismo to cabaret. And she reveals why she identifies with "complicated, conflicted" characters.

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ISSUE Project Room Appoints New Chief

Friday, October 22, 2010

In founding the ISSUE Project Room in a former East Village garage in 2001, the late Suzanne Fiol aimed to cultivate a “Carnegie Hall for the avant-garde.”

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Opera's Weighty Debate: Does Size Really Matter?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the age of HD broadcasts, svelte opera singers are increasingly commonplace. But Midge Woolsey wonders whether size really matters. And if so, should it matter more than vocal ability?

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Comments [42]

Garrick Ohlsson's Eloquence Highlights Orpheus Concert

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What touch! Pianist Garrick Ohlsson had an eloquent dialogue tonight with his instrument, with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and with all of us listening to his Carnegie Hall performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. Ohlsson's fingers on the keyboard managed precise intricacies, each note articulated clearly, but I was so impressed with the way all notes integrated into a vivid, thrilling whole.

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Giving the Gift of Music: Are CDs Still An Option?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm curious to know about your memorable CD gift giving and/or receiving moments. What was the CD and why was it a successful gift? Was it romantic? Great music for dinnertime?

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Comments [26]

Natural Blend

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Last weekend I had the pleasure of recording an in-studio performance by composer Van Dyke Parks, which will broadcast on my WNYC show Spinning On Air this Sunday evening at 8 pm. My first exposure to Parks's work was when I heard The Beach Boys song “Heroes and Villains” on the radio while a kid back in the 1960s. Parks wrote the lyrics for that song, and subsequently worked on The Beach Boys’ “Smile” and his own 1968 album “Song Cycle,” and many projects since. Back when I first heard his music I knew it was new, exciting, and different, but I probably didn’t recognize that it was such an effective, natural blend of folk, pop, and classical influences.

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Making Music with Helium Tanks and Suspension Coils

Friday, October 08, 2010

Kraft has finally come to New York, carrying with it the local, found-object flavor that composer Magnus Lindberg requires when installing this legacy-defining piece.

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