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It’s a Wonderful Life: First review

Texas Classical Review is none too sure about Houston’s world premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera adaptation of a deathless movie. Sample: It’s a Wonderful Life makes an effective stage piece, as far as it goes. Yet it stops short of transforming the story’s emotions and drama into arresting music theater. For all its liveliness and […]

Watch here: Stravinsky world premiere

Last night’s premiere of the funeral music Stravinsky wrote for Rimsky-Korsakov has been uploaded.

Does a composer have to get naked to get heard?

This is Georg Friedrich Haas, the contemporary Austrian composer, who has talked volubly of his sexual references in recent months. It has been quite a media campaign: starting with the New York Times, on to the London Times and today in the Daily Mail (below).   Perhaps it’s time to let the music speak for […]

Salzburg fixes end-date for its longterm chief

Helga Rabl-Stadler, 68, has been prolonged as Festival President for three more years, until end-September 2020. But the wording of the announcement suggests it may be her last term. Rabl-Stadler, a member of an influential media family, has been in charge since January 1995.   press release: In its meeting today, the Supervisory Board of […]

Sistema teacher is cleared of wife abuse

Guido De Groote, 44, a senior teacher at Sistema Scotland, has been cleared in Glasgow of running a campaign of physical and mental abuse against his wife, Cecilia De Groote, 50. Mrs De Groote, herself a prosecutor at Glasgow sheriff court, said her husband threatened to kill her. The court decided her evidence could not […]

Utah Symphony goes teaching in Haiti

A Utah Symphony cellist John Eckstein has persuaded 14 colleagues and a music director, Thierry Fischer, to join him next spring in desperately impoverished Haiti, creating a national institute for young musicians. All it takes is one musician and a dream. Read more here and here.

Appeal for Minnesota cellist, fighting cancer

Tanya Remenikova, Professor of Cello at University of Minnesota, has posted an appeal for her former student Hong Wang, who ‘was recently diagnosed with stage 4 malignant stomach cancer…Much of his cancer treatment is not covered by his health insurance.’ Hong Wang teaches at Concordia University, St. Paul, Hamline University and Bethel University. Please help […]

Crossing boundaries: I chat to conductor & viola player Robert Ames about the London Contemporary Orchestra, & about working in India & Kazakhstan

Robert Ames and the London Contemporary Orchestra performing Terry Riley's In C at the Barbican Centre Robert Ames Robert Ames does not think in terms of labels. But when asked to describe the London Classical Orchestra, the group which...Show More Summary

Trumpet Sonata Recording by Thomas Pfotenhauer and Vincent Fuh

I knew something about this recording, but I had no idea what the timeframe for it was, so when the envelope that held it showed up in my postal mailbox it was a mystery. Michael opened it up and said, "You're on this CD!" We immediately put it in the CD player, and I am pleased to report that the playing is just great. I found a link to it here, and ordered some more copies.

Pauline Oliveros

Radical composer Pauline Oliveros, fierce feminist, died last week at 84. The Times obituary is by Steve Smith, who also discussed her on NPR.

Russell Oberlin

The great countertenor Russell Oberlin has died, age 88. He was one of the two most important figures in the countertenor renaissance of the mid-20th century, the other being the English countertenor Alfred Deller.Of local interest:Show More Summary

Joana Carneiro & the Berkeley Symphony

Just noting that Berkeley Symphony music director Joana Carneiro withdrew from the orchestra's October program, which Edwin Outwater conducted, and has now withdrawn from the December program, which Elim Chan will conduct. The public...Show More Summary

Today's New York Times Includes a Piece about Music Written by Women

Maybe the New York Times could make "A History of Classical Music (The Women-Only Version) a column with weekly installments (with audio clips). Alice Gregory has started something good here.For future columns, here is an incomplete list to work from. (And then there is this blog... )

Gravely moving: Philippe Jaroussky in Bach and Telemann

Philippe Jaroussky - photo Simon Fowler / Warner Classics Cantatas by Bach and Telemann; Philippe Jaroussky, Le Concert de la Loge, Julien Chauvin; Wigmore Hall Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Dec 1 2016 Star rating: 4.5 Lesser known cantatas...Show More Summary

Alfred or Russell – who’s your countertenor of choice?

You cannot love both Deller and Oberlin – at least not at the same time. That’s Joel Cohen’s conclusion in this tribute to the first American countertenor, who died this week:   Way back in my student days, his beautiful, otherwordly, almost inhuman voice was co-equivalent in my mind with the early music movement as […]

The surprise classical hit of the year

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week: If there was an award for surprise of the year, this unpretentious release would win both the jury and the public vote. (NN) born 1814, was written off by music history as an also-ran, one of those stern faces in the back row of romantic group portraits, somewhere behind […]

Maestro move: German chief quits ‘for personal reasons’

The chief conductor of the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz has handed in his notice, effective 2018. Karl-Heinz Steffens, 55, says ‘there are many personal reasons for my decision (Es sind viele persönliche Gründe, die mich zu meinem Entschluss bewogen haben)’. Show More Summary

Exclusive: Beaux Arts Trio reunites – for one night only

Last night at the Berlin Konzerthaus, the violinist Daniel Hope was conducting a public interview with Menahem Pressler when, guess what – – on walks Antonio Meneses, the last cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio. The three had not been together on stage together since the Beaux Arts’ farewell performance at the Gewandhaus seven years […]

Death of a French politician who conducted orchestras

Lionel Stoléru, a minister under the rival regimes of Giscard d’Estaing and Francois Mitterand, has died at 79. An economist by profession, he also taught mathematics at university and edited a newspaper, The European, for Robert Maxwell. As a sideline, he conducted orchestras in France and Ukraine. He founded the Orchestre romantique européen, which disbanded […]

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