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PEOPLE - January 2002

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Thursday January 31

AMERICAN TRUMPETER BEATEN BY SPANISH POLICE: American trumpeter Rodney Mack, currently living in Spain and serving as principal trumpet of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, was viciously beaten by a gang of out-of-uniform Spanish police two weeks ago. The officers did not identify themselves to Mack, who thought he was being mugged, and offered up the explanation that they thought he was a car thief who had been seen in the area. Mack's injuries are preventing him from performing with the BSO on its current tour of the U.S., and he is preparing a lawsuit against the police. The New York Times 01/31/02

MAKE IT STOP: "Another complaint against Stephen Ambrose has emerged. This one dates back to 1970, when fellow historian Cornelius Ryan accused him of a 'rather graceless falsification' in Ambrose's book, The Supreme Commander. The allegations were first reported Tuesday on" The Plain Dealer (AP) 01/31/02

SOME VERY UNPOETIC SOUR GRAPES: "Winning the coveted T.S. Eliot Prize last week has confirmed Anne Carson's status as one of the most celebrated and controversial of contemporary poets. Soon after the prize was announced, Carson, who teaches classics at McGill University in Montreal, was denounced in Britain's Guardian newspaper by eminent poetry critic Robert Potts for writing 'doggerel' that mixes 'an occasional (and occasionally cliched) lyricism, some fashionable philosophizing and an almost artless grafting-on of academic materials.'" National Post (Canada) 01/31/02

Wednesday January 30

GREAT WRITERS WHO AREN'T NICE GUYS: He's been called a reactionary, an Islamophobe, a racist, and an intellectual neo-colonialist. And last year V. S. Naipaul won the Nobel Prize. Regardless of the epithets, he demonstrates "a fecundity, an originality, and an extraordinary technical daring that have been insufficiently recognized, partly because Naipaul is so readable. His work exemplifies the art that conceals art, and he is one of the greatest living craftsmen of English prose, perhaps the very greatest." Atlantic Monthly 02/02

Tuesday January 29

LONG WHARF'S NEW DIRECTOR: New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre has hired Gordon Edelstein to be its new artistic director. Edelstein is currently director of Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre, where he's credited with reviving the company's artistic and financial fortunes. Seattle Times 01/28/02

PARALYSIS CAN'T DERAIL CONDUCTOR: Mario Miragliotta was a promising conductor who had recently finished his term as music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony and had been appointed assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, when he got into a car accident last June that left him paralysed, unable to move his hands or legs. Determined to overcome the injuries, he's been working daily to get back on the podium, and he's got a concert coming up... Los Angeles Daily News 01/28/02

Monday January 28

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING CREATOR, 94: Popular children's writer Astrid Lindgren, creator of the braided, free-thinking Pippi Longstocking, has died at age 94. "Lindgren wrote more than 100 works, including novels, short stories, plays, song books and poetry." Nando Times (AP) 01/28/02

THE AUTHOR, NOT THE PERSON: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis canceled his book tour last week. Last year it was revealed that Ellis had lied about having served in Vietnam during the war, and Ellis was sure to be questioned about this on the tour. In Seattle, there have also been objections to Ellis speaking at an author series at the Seattle Public Library. But hosts of the event have decided to go ahead with the appearance in February. "It seemed to us that Ellis' personal life - what he did or didn't do as a teacher - really has nothing to do with the scholarship that went into his books about Jefferson and the founding brothers." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 01/28/02

Tuesday January 22

PEGGY LEE DIES: "Soulful singing legend Peggy Lee has died of a heart attack at the age of 81... Lee is best known for her rendition of Fever and in 1969 she won a Grammy award for best contemporary female vocal performance for the hit Is That All There Is?" BBC 01/22/02

TAUBMAN APPEALS: Former Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman, convicted in December of price-fixing, has filed a motion for a retrial, saying the case against him was presented unfairly. Among other things, Taubman says the government was "wrongly allowed to read a quotation at trial from Adam Smith to the effect that higher prices invariably result when people in the same trade meet." The Art Newspaper 01/22/02

RETHINKING HINDEMITH: Few composers have had their reputations endure harsher cultural mood swings than Paul Hindemith. Rejected by academics in the mid-20th century after he rejected the atonalism of Schönberg, his music has never regained any real traction in the concert hall, even as other "accessible" composers like Shostakovich and Britten have been vindicated and popularized. What is it about Hindemith's music that doesn't interest today's music programmers? Commentary 01/02

Monday January 21

IT IS BETTER TO SOUND GOOD...(BUT DON'T LET THAT STOP THE MARKETING): Magdalena Kozena is 28, and "the blue-eyed, blonde Czech mezzo-soprano is the classical recording industry's latest hot property. But does Kozena owe her success to her looks?" The Guardian (UK) 01/21/02

  • SOUND BEFORE LOOKS? "A tall and willowy 28-year-old, KozenŠ is a delightful girl with a crisp sense of humour and - sorry, chaps - a nice new French boyfriend. More important, she is blessed with an impressive vocal technique and a clean, warm and alluring mezzo-soprano that reaches, in the modern style of Anne Sofie von Otter, Ann Murray and Susan Graham, into soprano rather than contralto territory." The Telegraph (UK) 01/21/02

Thursday January 17

NOBELIST CAMILO CELA, 85: "Spanish writer Camilo Jose Cela, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for literature, has died in Madrid from respiratory and coronary failure. With his first novel, published in 1946, Cela became a leader of a straightforward style of writing, called tremendismo, which clashed with the lyricism that had characterised writers of the previous generation in Spain." BBC 01/17/02

Wednesday January 16

MUSIC MEDICI: "Alberto Vilar has become the biggest benefactor in the history of classical music. Whatever the critics make of his philanthropic style, it has endeared him to many of the world's top directors, conductors, and singers, not to mention the managers who must pay them. He has few other cultural interests (he hates movies) and - unlike the Medicis - isn't interested in expanding the repertory; he doesn't commission new work and has no soft spot for small, struggling companies." New York Magazine 01/14/02

CHAILLY LEAVING CONCERTGEBOUW: Riccardo Chailly, who's been chief conductor of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since 1988, is leaving the orchestra to head up the Leipzig Opera in Germany, in 2005. Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) 01/16/02

Monday January 15

LARKIN'S MONEY GOES TO CHURCH: Poet Philip Larkin, who "declined the poet laureateship a year before he died in 1985, remains best known for his reverently agnostic poem Churchgoing. He also said: 'The Bible is a load of balls of course - but very beautiful'." So his friends and fans were amused recently when £1 million of his legacy was willed to the Church of England. The Guardian (UK) 01/12/02

DEMME (NO, THE OTHER ONE) COLLAPSES ON THE COURT: "Ted Demme, a film and television director whose credits include the movie Blow, collapsed and died while playing basketball. He was 38." Washington Post (AP) 01/15/02

Friday January 11

LYNCH LEADS CANNES THIS YEAR: Director David Lynch will be president of the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, which runs this year from May 15 to 26. Lynch won the top prize at Cannes in 1990 for Wild At Heart, and the best director award last year for Mulholland Drive. Nando Times (AP) 01/11/02

Wednesday January 9

MORE AMBROSE ALLEGATIONS: "A second book by best-selling historian Stephen Ambrose is being cited for having material that was allegedly copied from another text. is reporting that Ambrose's Crazy Horse and Custer contains sections similar to Jay Monaghan's Custer. A representative for Ambrose said Tuesday there would be no immediate comment. Anchor Books, which publishes the paperback edition of Crazy Horse and Custer, also declined immediate comment." Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) 01/09/02

Tuesday January 8

THE DIVA OF LINCOLN CENTER: Beverly Sills has always been a diva. But heading up Lincoln Center is proving to be a rougher playground than the opera stage was. Why does she stay? "Sills long ago grew accustomed to being the center of attention, the cynosure of a colorful and melodramatic whirl. But when her vehicle was a real opera, there were flowers and shouts of 'Brava!' at the curtain call. When she finally leaves the soap opera at Lincoln Center, that may not be the case, and some of the people around her think that she is only now coming to painful terms with that." The New York Times 01/06/02

ART OF TRAITORS: Anthony Blunt was one of England's most notorious spies. He was "a diligent, cool-headed traitor for two decades, yet this was the smaller part of his life. His overt expertise was in French art and architecture. He was (legally) recruited first by the Warburg Institute in London, then moved to its rival the Courtauld, where he eventually became director." The New Yorker 01/07/02

JUST WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS: "Leni Riefenstahl, who produced masterful propaganda films for the Nazis, plans her first movie release in nearly 50 years to coincide with her 100th birthday this summer. Impressions Under Water, a 45-minute film about the underwater world of the Indian Ocean, is the result of dives between 1974 and 2000, Riefenstahl told Germany's Die Welt newspaper in a rare interview." Toronto Star (AP) 01/08/02

Monday January 7

THE SELLING OF RENEE: Soprano Renee Fleming is said to have the most beautiful voice on stage today. "Though singing may be a private orgy, it is also a business, and if Fleming has become America's sweetheart it is because, behind her soft smile, she so shrewdly understands the country's values: the need to balance pleasure and profit, self-expression and the ambitious manoeuvrings of a career." The Observer (UK) 01/06/02

VARNEDOE LEAVES MOMA: Kirk Varnedoe has been chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art's department of painting and sculpture since 1988. But as MOMA prepares for a major expansion, Varnedoe is leaving the museum to go to Princeton. "Many people regard me as a raging postmodernist, says Mr. Varnedoe, who has also been accused of an emphatic bias against contemporary theory. 'I'm more of a pragmatist than anything else, a Darwinist, I suppose, as opposed to having a teleological vision of a great race of isolated geniuses who pass the baton on to one another'." The New York Times 01/06/02

Friday January 4

KERNIS AT THE TOP: Composer Aaron Jay Kernis has been winning all the music world's top prizes for composers, including the Grawemeyer and the Pulitzer. He's also getting some of the most prominent commissions by major orchestras. "He's capable of irony and wit, but won't take cover behind those qualities. There's a lot of passion to his writing, and what ties his disparate pieces together are the grand gestures, the way he'll go for a big romantic statement." Christian Science Monitor 01/04/02

PETER HEMMINGS, 67, L.A. OPERA'S FOUNDING DIRECTOR: "With a budget of just $6.4 million, Hemmings launched Music Center Opera (later renamed Los Angeles Opera), mounting five productions in a first season that immediately made the operatic world take notice. By the time he retired in 2000 to return to his native England, Hemmings had left behind a company with a $22-million budget and an eight-opera season of more than 50 performances, most of them selling out." Los Angeles Times 01/04/02

Thursday January 3

WHO'S WHO OF SMART: A new book attempts to determine who America's leading intellectuals are by counting media mentions. Dumb methodology but great fun. "The top public intellectual by media mentions in the last five years turns out to be Henry Kissinger, followed by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Sidney Blumenthal comes in seventh, which of course undermines the entire enterprise." New York Observer 01/02/02

SANDERLING TO STEP DOWN: Conductor Kurt Sanderling is turning 90, and he's decided to retire from the podium after 70 years on stage. "Musicians are rueing his departure, while admiring its dignified restraint." Why do so many other artists have difficulty knowing when it's time to quit? The Telegraph (UK) 01/03/02

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS (HAPPILY) UNKNOWN: "Successful, of course, is not synonymous with famous. For famous, you might choose a name such as Riopelle, Thomson, Carr, Pratt or Colville. But Eric Dennis Waugh has likely sold more canvases than all of them -- combined. In fact, he's sold more paintings, by far, than anyone else in Canada (and in most other countries as well). Eric Dennis who? Exactly." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 01/03/02

Wednesday January 2

MESSING WITH THE POPE: Last month the acting head of the National Endowment for the Arts turned back two grants; one - for a production of Tony Kushner's Kabul play eventually was approved, but the other, for a retrospective of conceptual artist William Pope, was not. Pope's work is hard to categorize. "Combining performance, installation and sculpture, it is formally exacting but improvisational, politically pointed but comedic. Social inequality and consumerism are among his targets, and although his work deals intensively with the issue of race, it upsets preconceptions of what 'black art' should be." The New York Times 01/01/02