What Makes It Pop?

Friday, June 24, 2011

As we approach the Fourth of July, we'd like to know: What do you think makes for a great pops concert?

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Financially Troubled Philadelphia Orchestra Announces Millions in Donations

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

After filing for bankruptcy in April, the 111-year-old Philadelphia Orchestra announced an aid package potentially worth $45 million on Wednesday.

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Comments [7]

A Little Liszt, Some Rach and a Chorus of MTA Buses

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For the second year in a row, WQXR jumped into the June 21st "Make Music New York" festival with both feet. Actually, with many more feet than that -- Jeff Spurgeon and I both sang, accompanied by Jing Li, who's a member of the WQXR music team, and we brought along an audio/video crew of three to capture it for you to enjoy on our Web site.

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The Naumburg Bandshell: A New York Icon

Monday, June 20, 2011

Have you ever been to a free concert at The Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park? If you haven’t, you should plan to go before the summer is over. It’s one of most unique experiences New York has to offer.

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In a School of 'Fame,' an Awakening of Renaissance Music

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.

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The Great(?) Outdoors

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.

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James Levine Gets The PBS Treatment

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.

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Backstage with Two Boys

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.

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What’s So Special about Gilbert and Sullivan? Or We’ve Got a Little List...

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.

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Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher: Carnegie Hall at 100

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Host Midge Woolsey reminisces about hosting Carnegie Hall's 100th anniversary celebration.

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Up Close and Personal at Carnegie Hall

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.

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What's Muti Got that Other Conductors Don't?

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.”

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The Economy on ICE

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.

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Comments [1]

Take Your Money and Run

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Naomi Lewin remembers being asked to sing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar at a wedding.

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When the Wedding March Goes Off Course

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeff Spurgeon remembers a scandalous moment involving wedding music. Perhaps you’ve attended a wedding where the music choices came with a twist, or didn’t quite work out as planned. We'd like to hear about them.

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Comments [8]

Are Contemporary Composers Just Spinning Their Musical Wheels?

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?"

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Two Passover Macaroons

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just in time for Passover, Naomi Lewin shares two of her favorite holiday recipes, both featuring the scrumptious macaroon.

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Stars Learn to Sing for Roles... Or Do They?

Monday, April 11, 2011

On the WQXR blog, Midge Woolsey observes: "These days, all sorts of performers are willing to go out on a limb and give singing a try – some to good effect, and others not."

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Comments [10]

Wozzeck: Who Knew?

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.

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Comments [3]

Sorry or Grateful: Should Orchestras Play Show Tunes?

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.

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