On a list of the world's highest-grossing tours of last year, you'll find a lot of familiar names: U2, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga. And then, at No. 9, is an outlier: Andre Rieu, Dutch violinist and conductor of the Johann Strauss Orchestra.
You know the old joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." Myrlie Evers-Williams took a different route.
Her late husband, Medgar Evers, was the Mississippi head of the NAACP; he was assassinated for his work in 1963. Evers-Williams wound up moving to Southern California, where she became an educational, corporate and political leader and, in the 1990s, chairwoman of the NAACP.
The world mourned the death this week of Indian maestro Ravi Shankar, whose name became synonymous with the sitar. Tributes eulogized Shankar as the great connector of the East and West who'd hobnobbed with The Beatles and collaborated with violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin. Less has been said about the roots of the music he spent a lifetime perfecting and innovating.
An internationally renowned pianist performing since the age of 8, who performed with the London & Berlin Symphonies, Martin Berkofsky’s recording of Beethoven’s Fantasie for piano, orch & chorus has been a big favorite with our audience. Knowing this, and passing through Salisbury while traveling, he sent an email to Kara Dahl Russell and really wanted to “make it work” for us to have an interview together to be able to thank you, our audience for your enthusiastic support.
Though it may not be on any singles charts, the theme from Angry Birds is likely one of the most widely heard pieces of music ever. For Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau, that's just one reason to take it seriously — even though it originated in a video game.
Pianist, classical music scholar and thinker Charles Rosen died in New York yesterday at age 85 following a battle with cancer. A prolific author, essayist and Guggenheim Award winner, Rosen published two staple books on classical music, 1971's The Classical Style and 1995's The Romantic Generation, and was a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.
From mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's ambitious revival of the early Baroque composer Agostino Stefani (and yes, she's got another outrageous album cover) to three very different roles for the violin, here's a clutch of classical albums I returned to again and again this year for sheer delight and aural inspiration. Bartoli lavishes extravagant attention on the music of a fascinating but forgotten link in the history of opera.
At first glance, our top picks for 2012 may seem to range far and wide, from a fresh take on an epic late Beethoven string quartet to cellist Maya Beiser playing spaciously layered new music by Michael Harrison. What unites this diverse bunch is a spirit of discovery — not just in new music that we'll return to again and again but in the artistic energy that animates each of these projects.
As of this year, the vocal group Anonymous 4 has been introducing modern audiences to medieval music for a quarter century. When the all-female quartet asked David Lang to help mark the occasion by writing them some music, he didn't need any convincing. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer was already a big fan.
Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:55 pm
Stile Antico is a 13-member a cappella choir based in London. Most of these fresh-faced singers are still in their 20s, but they've already racked up some impressive awards for their recordings — mainly of intricately woven music from the Renaissance.
Just before the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra’s Dec. 8th, 2012 Holiday Concert, Kara Dahl Russell sits down with the SSO Concert Master, Sachi Murasugi to discuss what the position of leader or Concert Master is all about. They talk about the differences in the position within an orchestra, a chamber group, with a guest soloist and when her own students are part of her violin sections.
Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:53 am
Composers Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford and Edward Elgar dominated the British musical scene in the latter half of the Victorian age through the Edwardian era. Albums of Parry's music have been rare lately, so this new recording by Neeme Järvi and BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales is most welcome. Except for Parry's ever-popular Jerusalem, all the selections here are world premiere recordings.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:56 pm
When conductor Gustavo Dudamel brings the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV) to Carnegie Hall as the culmination of a two-week, five-city tour, many of its 200 musicians will have traveled a long way from desperate poverty and crime.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 12:08 pm
Lincoln Center and the New York Phil have confirmed plans for a (long, long overdue) major overhaul of 50-year-old Avery Fisher Hall that "aims to redefine what it means to be a concert hall at a time of challenging orchestra economics and changing audience habits." This will be the third attempt at addressing the venue's acoustical challenges.
The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.
It was almost spooky. Each night after 11 p.m., when nothing was stirring in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, two men would enter. One would sit at the organ, playing a key or series of keys, and the other would crawl around inside the organ pipes, 40 feet off the floor. The process went on for months.
It was the all but final phase of installing a new organ for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And on Nov. 27, the organ makes its formal debut.
Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?
They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?
It's true — opera is totally over the top. Plots can strain even the barest semblance of credulity (too many cases of ghosts and mistaken identities to count), with characters that could get you thrown out of an introductory writing course, down to the blushing ingenues and the evil connivers who might as well be twirling waxed mustaches.