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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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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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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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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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]

Snowbound

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Naomi Lewin considers which music she'd listen to on a snow day -- Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, maybe, or Brahms’s First. What about you? What’s your idea of perfect music for snow?

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The Modern Radio Drama

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This holiday season WQXR and WNYC are broadcasting a radio drama version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with David Hyde Pierce as Scrooge and many of your favorite public radio hosts as narrators and characters. Composer John Forster played piano and A Prairie Home Companion's Fred Newman performed stunning live sound effects.

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Stand Up for Silent Night

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jeff Spurgeon observes: "In how many churches this Christmas Eve will 'Silent Night' be the emotional climax of the service? This little carol is something very special."

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My Unsilent Night

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nadia Sirota reflects on Phil Kline's downtown boombox caroling parade, Unsilent Night. "Of all the holiday activities in which I have participated this is among my favorite," she writes.

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Fly the Friendly Airwaves

Friday, December 17, 2010

Naomi Lewin observes: How cool is this? Instead of being bombarded by Muzak, passengers at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) now tote that baggage and lift that laptop to the strains of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

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What is it About Beethoven?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Of Beethoven's popularity, Midge Woolsey asks: "Is it name recognition or familiar melodies? Shouldn’t we think about giving one of the other guys a shot at the top?"

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So Percussion on Q2

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You've hopefully heard Q2's "stings" countless times by now. Stings are the pre-recorded, station-identifying short bits of music used as segues between songs. In radio jargon, they're also referred to as sweepers, stingers, radio/station imaging, bumpers, shotguns... admittedly, the radio industry has some eccentric terminology.

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Just Say No

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As the New Year approaches, people always talk about their resolutions, primarily what they plan to do. But what about what you plan not to do? I saw a piece on the news about a woman who was encouraging mothers not to volunteer so much! Horrors! Seems like a very non-PC thing to say, but what with PTA, non-profits, religious and other volunteer organizations, people are finding less time for their themselves, family and friends.

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Is it Time to Retire the Term 'Classical Music?'

Friday, December 10, 2010

"I hate 'classical' music" is how New Yorker music critic Alex Ross begins his most recent book Listen to This. Alex will be my guest on my new program All Ears this Saturday at 10 pm.

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A Memory of December 8, 1980

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I have a very vivid memory from thirty years ago tonight.

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The Hallelujah Chorus in a Mall?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Midge Woolsey observes: I've received several notices about this YouTube clip of people in a Canadian mall breaking out into a performance of the Hallelujah chorus. I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm wiping the tears from my eyes.

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Tongue-Tied in the Chorus

Monday, December 06, 2010

Jeff Spurgeon writes: "I’ve sung in good choirs and not-as-good choirs, in ensembles large and small, singing early music and brand-new music. I’ve been a useful chorister, and, at least one time, a completely useless one."

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