Tuesday, July 06, 2010
This weekend, the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance program draws to a close with fully staged productions of The Magic Flute, Gianni Schicchi and Donizetti’s Rita at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. I distinctly remember the first time I attended one of the Foundation’s summertime performances. It was an extremely hot day and the air conditioned comfort of the theater was absolutely delightful. It was even better than going to the movies because there was a live orchestra and beautiful sets and costumes. What a way to spend a summer day!
Friday, July 02, 2010
This week on WQXR we’ve been featuring Eric Whitacre’s choral music on a new Naxos CD. Eric is a young American composer who is taking the world of choral music by storm. Everywhere I go, I hear singers and conductors talking enthusiastically about his music.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I felt it a few years ago at a concert where Robert White and Dick Hyman shared memories of the Golden Age of Radio, the time when Bobby was a child singer and actor and Dick was playing the piano and organ on live radio soap operas. I felt it recently, attending South Pacific, when the orchestra struck up that amazing overture. And I feel it every time I hear live music at the Naumburg Band Shell in Central Park.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Merriam-Webster defines diva (Italian for "goddess") as a prima donna (Italian for "first woman"). The dictionary gives two English definitions for prima donna: (1) a principal female singer in an opera, and (2) a vain or undisciplined person who finds it difficult to work…as part of a team.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Now in its 15th year, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas is a music, theater, and dance festival that takes place in New Haven, CT's historic courtyards, auditoriums and theaters. Festival highlights include a performances by Brooklyn's Electric Junkyard Gamelan, a percussion ensemble that builds its own instruments from found objects, Phillip Glass' performance of his solo piano music and a concert featuring the chamber ensemble repertoire of Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Christopher Rouse. With the festival's "arts and ideas" theme in mind, EJG founder Terry Dame describes the path that led her toward green instrument building.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Xenakis expert and contemporary music heavyweight Douglas Perkins will be a participating percussionist for Persephassa, part of the sprawling Make Music New York: Xenakis in Central Park happening on Monday, June 21 at the Central Park Boating Lake. It's a full afternoon of outdoor performances by the trailblazing Greek composer, featuring the bombastic Persephassa, for six percussionists, who will surround audience members experiencing the piece in floating rowboats on the lake!
Friday, June 11, 2010
This week at a dinner party I met Pam, who left the get-together early. I'm a night owl myself (on the air weekend evenings, after all), but Pam told us that she regularly gets up at 4 am each day. She feels that rising early lets her "own the day," and gives her invaluable time to think and get things done.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
This week marks the 200th anniversary of Robert Schumann's birth, which we've been celebrating all week long on WQXR. Robert Schumann was well known for writing music and prose--in addition to being a composer, he was also a music critic and journalist. But it's clear that Robert Schumann would not have had nearly the success he did if he hadn't married Clara Wieck, a highly talented pianist and composer who served as his partner and muse.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
ISSUE Project Room's Darmstadt Institute curators, Nick Hallett and Zach Layton, lift the cloak off of their musical and non-musical inspirations for this June festival.
Monday, June 07, 2010
I have a few musical guilty-pleasures--the accordion, the musical saw and certain kinds of close harmony singing among them. But I’m sure the one that most marks me as, shall we say, a bit odd, is--I’m hesitating to say it, actually--the theater pipe organ.
Friday, June 04, 2010
For the first time after two sold out seasons, the Tribeca New Music Festival moves to uptown host Merkin Hall with a series of performances presented by the New York Art Ensemble. But the festival will keep its downtown feel, featuring the JACK Quartet performing an eclectic concert of six composers, New York Art Ensemble Monsters! performing a work by Phillip Glass, new media artist Luke Dubois collaborating with vocal quartet New York Polyphony, Pamela Z and Bora Yoon and a night of exciting composer/performer acts.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Lots of composers put the sounds of Nature into their compositions. Think of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons, or Ludwig van Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. In the 20th century, composers started putting outdoor sounds of a different nature into their work. György Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre (which the New York Philharmonic performed so brilliantly last week--you can hear the broadcast June 10 on WQXR), features not one, but two “Car Horn Preludes.” They're scored for twelve bulbed horns (like the kind on a bicycle), each one tuned to a specific pitch. Some of the Ligeti horns were so big and heavy that the percussionists had to stomp on them to play them!