Monday, May 31, 2010
It’s Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer season. Elsewhere on this website is a guide to great summer music festivals in New York City, the surrounding area, across the country and around the world. But today I’d like to highlight a few specific performances here in town this week which have the added attraction of being free of charge.
Friday, May 28, 2010
When my mother was a young woman living in New York in the early 1950’s, she was on a very tight budget. Oftentimes, she would venture down to Battery Park on a hot summer night and ride the Staten Island Ferry for entertainment. In those days it cost five cents. Today, it is free. She also has wonderful memories of buying standing room tickets for Broadway shows. I seem to recall that seeing Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence in The King and I is one of her favorite memories.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I’m really looking forward to the New York Philharmonic’s production of Le Grand Macabre, by György Ligeti. Ligeti wrote some wonderful, innovative music. When I was in college, I got to sing his Lux Aeterna (which also put in an audio appearance in "2001: A Space Odyssey"). It was one of the most memorable choral experiences of my life.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Just like I expected Lebron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers to knock off the Boston Celtics, I was hopeful that Gustavo Dudamel and his Los Angeles Philharmonic would knock Bernstein out of the park during their East Coast tour last week. Over consecutive weeks, both superstars appeared mortal.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I have only a few rules in my life and one of them is when asked to host at Carnegie Hall, I always say yes. Such was the case many years ago when I was asked to appear for a few minutes, mid concert, with The New York Youth Symphony. After hearing everything from 1st graders to high schoolers play, I was not sure what to expect. But within minutes of hearing these remarkable young people, I was blown away.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sometimes I’m slow about embracing new technology, and sometimes I’m the first one there. When I worked for Channel 13, I was the very first to buy a fax machine for the Great Performances unit. Until then, we had been using snail mail, FedEx and the Telex (remember the Telex?) to communicate with production companies all over the world.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I’ve had quite the month. For the most part, I’ve been on a bus tour of Europe with the Bedroom Community label (Iceland). This label is unique in that the organizing principle is not really style or genre so much as quality, or interest or something.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I have a thing for bagpipes--especially Spanish ones. Last night I heard Galician gaiteira extraordinaria Cristina Pato. She's a member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, but this time, she was with her own ensemble, serving as ambassador to the 2010 Holy Year (Xacobeo) in Santiago de Compostela, one of the great pilgrimage sites of the world.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Do you remember when riding in a cab in New York often included either an interesting conversation with the driver or a pleasant listening experience via the car radio? These days it seems to be all about passengers on cellphones and the video screen on the back of the front seat that starts doing its thing the minute the ride begins--whether you like it or not!
Monday, May 10, 2010
A student recital I recently attended has really stayed with me. Such performances are music-school requirements, and to complete them successfully is a big relief for the performers, I’m sure. But there was a sense of exultation in the room after the senior recital of Rollin Simmons, a cantorial student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and that feeling has continued to buoy up my spirits ever since.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I was rearranging some of my books recently and came across my copy of Kitchen Classics with the Philharmonic by my former WQXR colleague June Lebell (great book, btw). It made me think how important it is to have the right music playing when you are preparing meals.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Recently the much loved opera tenor Placido Domingo stepped on stage into his 131st role at the age of 69 after undergoing colon cancer surgery. While he had given millions of opera lovers decades of joy and zillions of notes, how was he thanked? By being booed! People paid good money and sat for hours to see a super star in the world of opera return after a possibly life threatening illness--and he was booed!!