Tuesday, June 14, 2011
LaGuardia High School, best known as the school upon which the movie and TV show "Fame" was based, is about to get its first Renaissance music club. Kids will learn instruments like the crumhorn and recorder.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
I've sung plenty of outdoor gigs (including WQXR's appearance last summer at the "Play Me I'm Yours" piano near Columbus Circle, where the video producer was kind enough to cut away at the point when I nearly tripped over a tree root in mid "Amour!"). Outdoor performances proliferate in summer -- and so do the hazards that come with them.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Last week, PBS aired a program in its American Masters series called James Levine: America's Maestro. The show included great footage showing how James Levine gets the results he does from his musicians, and interesting insights from some of the people who work with him. If you missed it, you can watch it online, through June 16.
Monday, June 06, 2011
I have always relished the feeling of being “backstage.” There’s a crazy lovely thing that happens when you get to feel a sort of ownership for a huge historical building or site, be it a concert hall, a cathedral or a museum. When I was a little kid, I spent the summers at Tanglewood in the Berkshires, where my parents taught. This was a Tanglewood more or less unchanged from the days of Koussevitzky, where Bernstein and Copland were to be found eating in the cafeteria, and where Seiji Ozawa could be found zooming around in his sports car.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
With the first-ever Gilbert and Sullivan sing-along taking place at Symphony Space and Caramoor kicking off its summer season with H.M.S. Pinafore, Naomi Lewin and Midge Woolsey talk about the timeless charm of the dynamic operetta duo.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Ever since moving to New York City for graduate school, I have tried to attend as many concerts as possible at Carnegie Hall. I can say without a New Yorker's bias that every event I have seen there has been inspiring -- from Brahms symphonies performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, to Ravel's Gaspard played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, to new songs written and performed by Brad Mehldau and Renée Fleming, to my own father playing with the China Philharmonic on tour. But nothing was comparable to a recital I heard last week. This time, I sat on stage, merely fifteen feet away, in a recital by violist Yuri Bashmet and pianist Evgeny Kissin.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Editor's Note: On Tuesday Riccardo Muti won Spain's Asturias Arts Award.
Earlier this month, I heard two of the Chicago Symphony programs that Riccardo Muti conducted in Carnegie Hall – the concert performance of Verdi’s opera Otello, and the concert that included Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Both were extraordinary examples of music-making, which left me wondering: Why is this conductor different from all other conductors? I put that question to a former cellist from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, who happened to be sitting next to me at the first concert. His answer was, “Only one thousand and two hundred different ways, but it’s impossible to put into words.”
Friday, April 29, 2011
Last week, the International Contemporary Ensemble was slated to perform at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. But then the cash-strapped theater canceled the remainder of its season. The program was instead released as a videocast, available here.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
On the WQXR blog, Midge Woolsey ponders why it's important to keep creating new classical works: "After all, there’s a lot of old music out there so why not work on making good with that and forget about creating anything new?"
Friday, April 08, 2011
Who knew that Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck would be, hands down, the best all-around performance this year at the Met? (Fred Plotkin, maybe – he posted about it earlier this week on our blog WQX-Aria.) But I was totally unprepared to be blown away – by the singing, acting, staging, orchestral colors… the total package. The evening began with cheers for James Levine’s appearance in the pit at the beginning of the opera, and ended with a standing ovation. A real one.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
On the WQXR blog, Naomi Lewin is pleased with the trend of orchestras like the New York Philharmonic playing show tunes. "Some may call it crossover, but I call it great musicians giving a performance of great American music," she writes.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
In his new book, a seasoned Broadway composer and accompanist offers candid and often helpful advice that goes beyond often clichéd guidebooks on mastering the auditioning process.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
This last Wednesday I attended The Book Of Mormon, the new Broadway musical from the team who created South Park. Then on Thursday I saw the current revival of the classic musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying staring Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame. Just for fun I’d like to compare the two and make the case that How To Succeed is the more offensive of the two.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I had a really interesting time talking with Jake Heggie recently in The Greene Space here at WQXR. Jake is the composer who first hit the scene in a big way with the San Francisco premiere of his opera Dead Man Walking which he wrote with the playwright Terrence McNally. That was over ten years ago. Since then, the opera has played all over the world. He has written several other operas including Moby Dick, which premiered last year at the Dallas Opera with Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab.