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PEOPLE - April 2002

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Tuesday April 30

ANOTHER SOTHEBY'S SENTENCE: A week after ex-Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman was sentenced to jail and a $7 million fine, Diana Brooks, the auction house's ex-CEO was sentenced to "three years probation for her role in conducting a price-fixing scheme with the rival auction house Christie's. Mrs. Brooks, 51, was also ordered to serve six months of home detention, perform 1,000 hours of community service and pay a fine of $350,000." The New York Times 04/30/02

HEY JUDE - NO SALE: Paul McCartney won a court injunction to stop the auction of the original manuscript of Hey Jude. The current owner bought it in a London street market in the early 70s, but McCartney says the paper was taken from his house. New York Post (Reuters) 04/30/02

Monday April 29

GRAMMY PRESIDENT FORCED TO QUIT: Micahel Greene, who, as president of the Grammys for 14 years, became one of the "most powerful and controversial figures in the music industry" has been forced out of the job. "Greene's resignation as president took place during an emergency board meeting at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to discuss a sexual harassment probe commissioned by the Grammy organization, the sources said." Los Angeles Times 04/28/02

  • CLEARED OF CHARGES: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences release a statement saying Greene was cleared of sexual misconduct, but does not say why Greene is leaving. "A full and fair investigation of alleged misconduct by Mike was completed and it revealed no sexual harassment, no sex discrimination and no hostile work environment at the recording academy." Nando Times (AP) 04/28/02
  • DIFFICULT PERSONALITY: "He was praised by some in the industry as an ambitious executive who played a large part in elevating the Grammys' glamour, prestige and high profile, while expanding the academy's membership, outreach, philanthropy and community involvement. But others within and outside the organization found fault with his sometimes abrasive personal style, which had a negative impact on the academy, as Mr. Greene himself has admitted." The New York Times 04/29/02

DEATH OF A GREAT COLLECTOR: Hans Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, one of the world's great art collectors, has died in Spain. He "ruled uncontested among the art collectors of the past century. A Swiss national of German-Hungarian descent, he resisted the pull of Modernism and recreated the whole universe of Western art in a collection that embraced everything from the Italians of the trecento. Yet people tended to look down on Thyssen as nothing more than a rich hedonist, a lady's man and a dandy. In the world of art, however, this head of a huge international conglomerate was a great pioneer." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 04/28/02

Thursday April 25

ARREST WARRANT FOR HUGHES: An arrest warrant has been issued in Australia for art critic Robert Hughes after he missed a court date to face charges of dangerous driving. "The charges stem from a crash in which Hughes, the art critic for Time magazine, was almost killed in May 1999 while in Australia filming a documentary for the BBC." BBC 04/24/02

NOBLE'S LEAVING, BUT WHY? Some are suggesting that Adrian Noble is leaving the Royal Shakespeare Company because he is having success with a new musical in London's West End. Noble says that's not true. Others are betting that he simply got sick of all the criticism that comes with the RSC's top job. Noble says that's not it either. So why did he resign? Noble's not saying, apparently. BBC 04/25/02

WONG DEFENDS HIS RECORD: Samuel Wong has been embroiled in controversy ever since taking the reins at the Hong Kong Philharmonic, with musicians and reporters alternately claiming that he's a dictator and that he has no control. But Wong refuses to be a pessimist, and says he still enjoys the orchestra: "Hong Kong is a model for symphony orchestras around the world. We have a recording contract, we tour, we have regular TV and radio broadcasts, the government gives us US$9 million a year, we do adventuresome programming, we do children's concerts, outreach, we play at a high standard. So if there is noise and friction, let there be. I don't welcome it, but if that's the cost, I'll accept it." Andante 04/25/02

Wednesday April 24

MARK ERMLER'S LEGACY: Conductor Mark Ermler died last week at age 69 after collapsing on the podium in front of the Seoul Philharmonic. "He will be remembered in Russia chiefly for a host of distinguished opera and ballet performances at the Bolshoi - with a prolific discography to match - and, in Britain, for returning the music of the Tchaikovsky ballets to centre-stage at Covent Garden." The Guardian (UK) 04/23/02

OUE TO OSAKA: Minnesota Orchestra music director Eiji Oue, who will leave Minneapolis at the end of this season, has accepted the music director position at the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra in his native Japan. Oue is fully fifty years younger than the legendary conductor he replaces, Takashi Asahina, who passed away at age 93 last winter. Minneapolis Star Tribune 04/24/02

Tuesday April 23

SINGULAR SENSATION: Suzan-Lori Parks has had a big month, winning a Pulitzer and having her play open on Broadway. But it wasn't overnight success. "At 38, Ms. Parks has been at the drama thing for a long time, ever since, as a Mount Holyoke student, her creative-writing teacher encouraged her to write plays. She wanted to write novels. Still, when your teacher is James Baldwin and he tells you you should be writing plays, well, you find yourself writing plays." Dallas Morning News 04/23/02

Monday April 22

VONNEGUT RETIRING FROM PUBLIC? Writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 79, told a college crowd in Michigan this weekend that they had probably witnessed his last public appearance. "He did not offer an explanation, though he did ask that his evening speech be videotaped so he 'could see how he looks'." Nando Times (AP) 04/22/02

Sunday April 21

A LEGACY OF HIT-AND-MISS? Norman Foster is to Britain what Frank Lloyd Wright was to the U.S. - a beloved creator of buildings, an icon of architectural prowess. But time opens as many wounds as it heals, and success attracts critics like death attracts flies, the upshot being that as Foster approaches the last years of his career, his legacy is far from assured. The Guardian (UK) 04/20/02

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE: Many would argue that it doesn't matter, and they may be right, but new evidence suggesting William Shakespeare may have been gay has been turned up in the form of a portrait of the third Earl of Southampton, "Shakespeare's patron, the 'fair youth' addressed in his sonnets," and very likely his lover. The discovery is unlikely to sit well with vehement defenders of Shakespeare's legacy. The Observer (UK) 04/21/02

MAKING OPERA FUN, OR RUINING IT? "There is nothing anodyne about Richard Jones. His work, indeed his very personality, is unflinching, intense and often deeply witty. Over a 20-year career directing opera and theatre, he has been responsible for some of the stage's most talked-about images: latex-clad Rhinemaidens inflated to the proportions of Michelin men at the Royal Opera House; a tyrannosaurus rex towering over Ann Murray's Julius Caesar at the Staatsoper, Munich; a Ballo In Maschera in Bregenz in which a reclining skeleton, 32 metres high, clutched a vast open book that formed a stage floating on a lake." The Guardian (UK) 04/20/02

STRAYHORN GETS HIS DUE: "Until recently, the great jazz composer Billy Strayhorn, who died in 1967, endured a strange kind of obscurity. Many knew that he joined Duke Ellington in 1939, that he was partly responsible for the explosion of first-class music to come from the band in the early 1940's and that he collaborated with Ellington on some of his suites in the 1960's. Strayhorn was not invisible, but the quality of his contribution was largely misunderstood." The New York Times 04/21/02

STEALING THE ASSETS: "To many, Ron Protas is the most hated man in dance: a controlling and abusive manipulator intent on destroying the legendary Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance... Protas was dumped as the center's artistic director in May 2000 after years of losing money and butting heads with its members, including one incident in which he allegedly tied up a dancer 'to teach her fear.' But he's now attempting to wrestle away the one Graham asset he doesn't have in his possession: the dances themselves." New York Post 04/21/02

Thursday April 19

TAUBMAN MIGHT GET AWAY WITH IT? Former Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman could face a "maximum three-year term and a fine of at least $1.6 million to $8 million for leading a six-year antitrust conspiracy with Sotheby's rival, Christie's" that cost sellers as much as $43 million in overcharges. But the US Probation has recommended Taubman serve no prison time. The New York Times 04/19/02

KNIGHT PLAYWRIGHT: Alan Ayckbourn is one of England's most popular playwrights. He's "an odd mix. He plays the relaxed, easy-going egalitarian but, at the same time, he is clearly keen on his K (Though people singularly fail to cope with it. The milkman said: 'Congratulations on your knighthood, Mr Ayckbourn') and I reckon his six honorary degrees and two honorary fellowships are important to his sense of self-esteem." The Telegraph (UK) 04/18/02

TRAILBLAZER: Marin Alsop has probably accomplished more than any other female conductor. "How big a role I've played in [blazing a trail for other women] I'm not certain," Alsop says. "But I'm always very happy when young women [today] who are interested in the field think [being a woman is] a nonissue." Christian Science Monitor 04/19/02

Tuesday April 16

MASUR ATTACKS HIS NY CRITICS: Outgoing New York Philharmonic music director Kurt Masur unloads on his New York critics in an interview in Le Monde. "He said that he had been unfairly called 'a Communist, an anti-Semite, a dictator'." Andante (Le Monde) 04/15/02

A STAR IS BORN: "Brad Oscar, who spent a year filling in for Nathan Lane in the Broadway musical The Producers, was abruptly handed the starring role of Max Bialystock Sunday night. The powers behind the show had concluded that Lane's replacement, British actor Henry Goodman, wasn't working out and dismissed him only four weeks into his contract. Oscar will appear opposite Steven Weber, who took over for Matthew Broderick." Washington Post 04/16/02

Sunday April 14

SEIJI'S LEGACY: As Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra prepare to part ways after more than a quarter-century, the critics weigh in on his impact. Certainly, he is a legitimate star in the orchestral world, but it doesn't take much prodding to get musicians around the world to complain about his imprecise baton or his questionable grasp of the core repertoire. "Paradoxically, now that Ozawa is 66 and beginning to be acclaimed in Vienna and elsewhere as an Old Master himself, he is far more radical, eclectic, and exploratory than he was as a young man. He is still eager to 'taste' all that music, particularly opera, that he hasn't had the opportunity to conduct before, still adding nearly as much to his repertory as he repeats." Boston Globe 04/14/02

  • THE ROAD TO THE TOP: Like so many of the music world's top performers, Seji Ozawa's rise to prominence was part talent, part hard work, and part luck. He won his first conducting competition as a lark while tooling around Europe on a scooter, and almost immdiately caught the attention of legends like Charles Munch and Leonard Bernstein. His ascent to the top ranks was meteoric, and few conductors have ever put such a distinctive stamp on an orchestra as has Ozawa with the BSO. Boston Herald 04/14/02
  • SEIJI SPEAKS: Through his years in Boston, Ozawa has rarely responded verbally to his critics, preferring to keep his dealings with the BSO in-house. In an extended interview with the city's leading music critic, the maestro explains what it was he tried to create in Boston, and why controversy was inevitable: "'When I came in, the orchestra played with a wonderful finesse of color that was the creation of Charles Munch and that was still there 10 years after he had left. I wanted a bigger and darker sound from the strings and the brass, and when I asked for it, some difficult situations arose.'" Boston Globe 04/14/02

CONDUCTOR COLLAPSES, DIES ON THE JOB: "Leading Russian conductor Mark Ermler, 69, died in Seoul on Sunday after collapsing during a rehearsal for a concert by the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, officials said. Ermler was associated with the Bolshoi Theatre and Opera throughout his career and was its musical director until 2000. He became chief conductor of the Seoul Philarmonic in May 2000." Andante (Agence France-Presse) 04/14/02

A BEER AND A BUMP AND SOME BACH: There was a time when classical music was not the stuffy, formal, tuxedo-clad beast that it has become. Back in the day (the 18th century, actually,) classical music was, y'know, popular. A 31-year-old Israeli cellist is taking a stab at duplicating the effect, playing Bach in bars, clubs, and all sorts of other places you'd never think of. Baltimore Sun 04/13/02

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: "Montreal-born composer Henry Brant has some advice for young artists of all sorts. 'Take care of yourself until you're old enough to do your best work. That's when everything becomes clearer what's important and what's less important, and how to proceed.' Nobody could accuse him of failing to heed his own advice: At the age of 88 he's in good health and has just won a Pulitzer Prize for composition." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 04/13/02

Friday April 12

SEIJI'S LAST SEASON: Seiji Ozawa is leaving the Boston Symphony after this season. But first there's a round of parties, farewell concerts and interviews... Boston Herald 04/12/02

Thursday April 11

ATTACKING RALPH: Ralph Richardson's archive of personal letters includes evidence of a nasty fight with novelist Graham Greene. "The row was over Richardson's performance as a sculptor during rehearsals of Greene's 1964 play Carving a Statue. The play flopped, ending the novelist's 10 year run of successes in the West End. Even in rehearsals, the archive discloses, Greene blamed Richardson for not speaking the lines properly or understanding the part." The Guardian (UK) 04/09/02 

Wednesday April 10

THE ACCIDENTAL CRITIC: Newsday's Justin Davidson hasn't been music critic for long - since 1995 - and fell into the business accidentally. But this week he won the Pulitzer for criticism. "The judges praised 'his crisp coverage of classical music that captures its essence.' Among the body of work receiving recognition were opera reviews and a series of long feature stories on recent developments in new music." Newsday 04/09/02

Tuesday April 9

ELVIS SPEAKS OUT: Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky has been called the "Elvis of opera" by one magazine. And he's got the credentials of a big time star. Yet he left his recording label contract after they tried to push him into some "tacky" crossover albums. He admires the Three Tenors, but he's "distressed that the most famous opera singer in America is Andrea Bocelli. 'That's like saying the best cuisine in the world is chewing gum'." The Telegraph (UK) 04/09/02

Monday April 8

SAINTED BUILDER? Architect Antonio Gaudí is on the fast track for sainthood by the Vatican. He's "an architect for people who don't really like architecture. Gaudí too had a very long career - he was still working when in 1926 he was hit by a tram and died - and began with brilliantly inventive projects, but in later life his work became ever more grandiose as the original delicacy ripened and then finally curdled. But the truth is that the architect has been turned into a sacred monster, casting a darkening and ever kitscher shadow over the city he did so much to shape." The Observer (UK) 04/07/02

Sunday April 7

EXPLOITING BERNSTEIN: Is there another modern-era composer who's been more marketed and promoted than Leonard Bernstein? His legacy has been relentlessly hawked since his death in 1990. But evidently, the Bernstein estate wants more. Gap ads. CD holders. "We'd like it exploited a little bit more. I think when people think of great music, a lot of people think of Bernstein. But he was much more. He was the American superstar of classical music, and not just classical, but Broadway and all the other things he did." Philadelphia Inquirer 04/07/02

Thursday April 4

OCTOGENARIAN ROCK CRITIC RETIRES: Jane Scott may well be the most unlikely rock 'n roll writer in the history of the genre. For the last 50 years, Scott has written, and written intelligently, about every corner of the rock world for Cleveland's Plain Dealer. Even at the beginning, she was older than most rock fans, and this week, the week she retires from her post, she turns 83. But Scott's musings on the music that changed America have stood as some of the finest music writing any newspaper has produced, and her analysis of the good, the bad, and the ugly were read as gospel not only by fans, but by many of her colleagues. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 04/04/02

Wednesday April 3

JUILLIARD LOSES A LEGEND: "Benjamin Harkarvy, director of the dance division of the Juilliard School since 1992 and an internationally respected ballet teacher, director and choreographer, died on Saturday at St. Luke's Hospital. He was 71... Before arriving at Juilliard, Mr. Harkarvy had been artistic director of important companies like the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, the Dutch National Ballet, the Harkness Ballet and the Pennsylvania Ballet. A methodical and articulate teacher, he was constantly in demand by ballet schools around the world." The New York Times 04/03/02

THE BAMBINO'S PIANO: As sports fans go, it doesn't get much more obsessive than the folks who root for the Boston Red Sox. They can quote you Ted Williams's stats from 1950, they can tell you what they had on their hot dogs the night Carlton Fisk waved it fair, and they would give one of their own limbs if it would somehow lift the "Curse of the Bambino," the mythical glass ceiling that has kept the Sox from winning the World Series since 1918. Now, one man in Massachusetts thinks he has the answer: the Sox will win once he locates, rescues, and restores the piano that Babe Ruth supposedly hurled into a Boston-area pond. (Yeah, we know, but these are desperate people. Let them try.) Boston Globe 04/03/02

Tuesday April 2

SILLS TO LEAVE LINCOLN CENTER: After a rocky year, Beverly Sills says she will step down as chairwoman of Lincoln Center. "Her scheduled departure comes as Lincoln Center's 11 participating arts groups are struggling to advance a $1.2 billion redevelopment project that has hit some roadblocks but that Ms. Sills insisted was still well on track." The New York Times 04/02/02