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OCTOBER 1999

  • BOCELLI DEBUT DUD: Tenor Andrea Bocelli made his North American opera debut with "Werther" in Detroit this weekend. One critic calls the performance brave and given with charm, but his untrained voice was "inadequate and ultimately boring."
     
    Detroit News 10/31/99      

AND: Other reviews - New York Times Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune

  • SECTION BY SECTION, musician by musician: the Chicago Symphony deconstructed. Chicago Tribune 10/31/99

  • THE JAZZ CANON: A case for the 20 most important jazz recordings ever. Commentary 10/29/99

  • PIRATE HUNTING: Music theft has become rampant on the internet. Now a plan by the global music industry to fight digital pirates. Wired 10/29/99

  • THE SOUND OF NEGOTIATION: Toronto Symphony Musicians have been on strike for five weeks - they haven't negotiated for a month. This week they offered to come individually to orchestra board members homes and play for them - and plead their case. CBC 10/29/99

  • WOODEN WONDER: When an instrument upstages the performer playing it. 
    San Francisco Chronicle 10/29/99

         PREVIOUSLY: PAGANINI'S FAVORITE VIOLIN  - a Guarneri called "the Cannon" - is brought out only for special occasions. This week it got only its second-ever concert in America.
    San Francisco Examiner 10/28/99 

  • OPERA AS TALK SHOW: Michael Rouse's new opera "Dennis Cleveland" is an opera "because you can't call it anything else." This musical piece of "anti-media"  is a techno-wonder. LA Weekly 10/28/99

  • PAGANINI'S FAVORITE VIOLIN  - a Guarneri called "the Cannon" - is brought out only for special occasions. This week it got only its second-ever concert in America. San Francisco Examiner 10/28/99 

  • OPERA IN THE AUTO CITY: Detroit's Michigan Opera Theatre has a new home, a reinforced budget, and some big names for its roster. Times are good in the auto industry and Ford, Daimler Chrysler and GM are sharing some of the wealth with the arts. New York Times 10/28/99 (registration required for access)

  • EIGHTY-ONE HOURS OF TUNES: A new portable Palm Pilot-sized MP3 player from Korea lets you take hours of music anywhere you go. Wired 10/27/99

  • RECONSIDERING ORPHEUS: Acclaimed conductorless chamber orchestra  undergoes a bloodless revolution and new directions. 
    New York Times 10/27/99
    (registration required for access)
       AND: A peek inside the rehearsal process.
    NYT 10/27/99

  • CURTIS AT 75: If America has a national music conservatory, it is Philadelphia's Curtis Institute. As the conservatory orchestra begins a European tour, a critic reflects on its success. Financial Times 10/27/99 

  • MUSIC OF THE MILLENNIUM: Disney's 100-player orchestra, men's chorus, women's chorus, children's choir, synthesizer, vocal quartet - loud, long and pretentious. Symphony based on a 20-page Eisner "treatment." 
    St. Petersburg Times 10/26/99

  • GERARD SHWARZ to give up directing New York Mostly Mozart Festival after 20 years. New York Times 10/26/99 (registration required for access)

  • THE SCOTTISH OPERA is 1 million in debt, threatening a proposed merger with the Scottish Ballet. BBC 10/24/99

  • AUDIENCE INVOLVEMENT: When it's really really bad, booing is the only polite thing to do. Philadelphia Inquirer 10/24/99
         PREVIOUSLY: IVO PLAYS THE BOOS? Pianist Ivo Pogorelich played an all-time slow Rachmaninoff concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra last week to a chorus of boos. Then he canceled his performance with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Just the latest in a series of unhappy incidents. 

    Philadelphia Inquirer 10/20/99

       AND: Enjoying the aftermath.
    Philadelphia Inquirer 10/26/99

  • "PAIN IN THE BUTT" TENOR: A new unauthorized biography of the great John Vickers admires the art but...Toronto Globe and Mail 10/23/99

  • CUSTOM CDs: Online music retailer plans to set up kiosks in retail music stores and malls where consumers can custom-pick and make their own music CDs. Variety.com 10/20/99

  • EX-GLYNDEBOURNE CHIEF to take over running of the Dallas Opera. 
    Dallas Morning News 10/20/99

  • IS KIRI TE KANAWA ready to call it quits? Fans wonder if latest Carnegie Hall concert was her last. Financial Times 10/20/99

  • WORLD MUSIC: A report from the Oslo contemporary music festival. Some Brits, the usual Americans and lots of mysticism. Financial Times 10/20/99 

  • AFTER A 35 YEAR PARTNERSHIP, the Guarneri String Quartet says goodbye to one of its own with a farewell tour. 
    Los Angeles Times 10/20/99

  • IVO PLAYS THE BOOS? Pianist Ivo Pogorelich played an all-time slow Rachmaninoff concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra last week to a chorus of boos. Then he canceled his performance with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Just the latest in a series of unhappy incidents. 
    Philadelphia Inquirer 10/20/99

  • ECCENTRIC'S DISEASE: Eighteen years after Glenn Gould died, an expert makes a case that he suffered from Asperger's Syndrome - that would explain the pianist's eccentricities, he claims. 
    Sydney Morning Herald 10/20/99

  • MARKETING THE AVANT GARDE: Deutsche Grammophon releases a new line of contemporary music - a nod to proper packaging. New York Press 10/21/99

  • DIVVYING UP THE SPOILS: Music business types gathered last week to talk about the commercial future of popular music. No consumers allowed. I hate when they call music "content" says one musician - I play the guitar, not content. Wired 10/19/99

  • YO-YO MA LEFT HIS $2.5 MILLION CELLO in a New York City cab last weekend. But he had his receipt for the ride and was able to track down the cabbie and get it back. (Reuters) MSNBC 10/18/99

  • PIANO JAZZ: The Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition gives a pretty good indication of the current direction of jazz. New York Times 10/19/99 (moved to paid archives)

  • AT THE GRAMOPHONE AWARDS: At Britain's biggest classical music party, a young Russian pianist steps up with the greats. London Times 10/19/99

  • TANGO TREK: Classical musicians in search of a fix of the exotic are making the pilgrimage to Argentina. The tango is hot. Civilization 10/99

  • MILAN"S LA SCALA will get a $50 million facelift. (Reuters) MSNBC 10/14/99

  • SOUNDS OF THE CENTURY: 547 selections by 479 artists - Sony releases 26-disk set it describes as the "The Most Comprehensive Collection of Popular Music Ever Assembled." All for $349.  Los Angeles Times 10/18/99

  • TORONTO SYMPHONY MUSICIANS STRIKE is about money, but also about the shifting balance between government and private support for the arts in Canada. Toronto Globe and Mail 10/18/99

  • BRAHMS WAS THE FIRST GREAT MUSICIAN to have his voice recorded on Edison's recording device. He also plays piano. Hear it here and read all about it.

  • BACK OF THE BANDSTAND: A new crop of drummers has changed the essence and structure of making jazz. You never know what to expect, writes Ben Ratliff. 
    New York Times 10/15/99

  • FASHION STATEMENT: English violinist Nigel Kennedy's hair looked "as if borrowed from some sorry overcoiffed dog whose breed hails from remote mountainous regions of central Asia," and his concert garb was no less bizarre this week at Washington's Kennedy Center. Enough, writes Philip Kennicott. Appearances do count. Washington Post 10/15/99 

  • NEW MUSIC TO JUMP UP AND DOWN FOR: The best art enlarges your life and changes you, writes Richard Dyer. Peter Lieberson's new orchestral work for the Boston Symphony is such a work.  Boston Globe 10/15/99

  • PUTTING ON A BRAVE FACE?: As a new season begins, old questions return. Is classical music in trouble? An artform that would prefer not to look at itself too closely. MSNBC 10/14/99

  • SLATKIN TO BBC: Leonard Slatkin was named chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. 
    Cleveland Plain Dealer 10/14/99

  • SMALLER GRAND: Italy's small opera houses put more opera in grand opera, and it's a revealing experience. 
    New York Times 10/13/99

  • REINVENTING GREATNESS: It's been a decade since Herbert von Karajan died. On the verge of trading his successor (Claudio Abbado) for Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic takes a tour of European capitals. Financial Times 10/13/99

  • PLEASE RELEASE ME: For the 106th straight week, Elton John's sappy Diana remake of "Candle in the Wind" sits on Canada's Top 10 Singles list. So what's the matter with Canadians? "We're either sentimental saps or deeply loyal subjects," says a Montreal music critic. Toronto Globe and Mail 10/13/99

  • WHERE ARE THE CANADIAN COMPOSERS? Singers sure, and of course there's Glenn Gould. But when the "Greatest of the Century" list moves to composers, Canadians are notably absent. 
    National Post (Canada) 10/12/99

  • NO ESCAPE: A pianist explains why ever-present background music numbs the ear and teaches us not to listen. MSNBC 10/12/99

  • JAZZ GREAT MILT JACKSON DIED Saturday of liver cancer. 
    Toronto Star 10/12/99
        
    ALSO: Hear a report Morning Edition NPR [Real Audio clip]
         AND: Boston Globe story 10/12/99

  • A GRANDE DAME'S TRIUMPHAL RETURN: Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house was consumed by fire on the morning of Jan. 31, 1994. This week it reopened and it was as if nothing had ever happened. New York Times 10/12/99

  • THE FOURTH TENOR? 36-year-old Jose Cura has one of the two most alluring tenor voices of his generation, says one critic. Fiery as his Spanish-Lebanese-Argentinean parentage, he also has plenty of ego to burn. London Times 10/12/99

  • HE'S NOT YET 25: But already Daniel Harding has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and has a recording contract. This week the conducting world's wunderkind took on the London Symphony Orchestra. 
    Financial Times 10/12/99

  • "NOSTALGIC LONGING FOR THE PAST": American opera struggles to build a new viable repertory, but William Bolcom's new "View From the Bridge" which just premiered in Chicago shows links to the past. Chicago Tribune 10/11/99
       ALSO: Other reviews: Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, New York Magazine

  • CONCERT AS MEGA-WEBSITE: Net-Aid - the largest global concert ever points up the differences between haves and have-nots. New York Times 10/11/99
        
    ALSO: Promoters will announce today whether the concert reached one billion listeners, as they hoped. BBC 10/11/99 
        
    AND: The AP news report of the concert (Dallas Morning News) 10/10/99
         AND: Tuning in on the web was like "watching the shaky output from a slow-motion security camera." 
    Wired 10/11/99

  • CELEBRATING 100 YEARS IN PHILLY: One of the most recorded-orchestras in history releases a historic set of recordings to commemorate a milestone. Philadelphia Inquirer 10/10/99

  • THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION: Last week's gathering of Glenn Gould fans in Toronto has one observer pondering the relationship between those fans and their artist. Sydney Morning Herald 10/11/99

  • BACH FIXATION: Why oh why so many new recordings of Bach? Another anniversary looms. London Sunday Times 10/10/99 

  • SYMPHONY WITH MOUSE EARS: Disney commissioned a "millennial" symphony on the order of Mahler and talked the New York Philharmonic into performing it - after hearing it, writes Philip Kennicott, the only question is: who to feel sorrier for. Washington Post 10/9/99

  • OPERA REVIVAL: Contemporary American opera never had it so good. Saturday Chicago Lyric Opera premieres William Bolcom's "A View from the Bridge." Next up: "The Great Gatsby." 
    Toronto Globe and Mail 10/9/99

  • NET-AID: Broadcast live on MTV, VH1, the BBC and others to 60 countries; on radio in another 120 nations, potentially making these the widest-heard musical performances in history. Meanwhile politics and charges of commercialism dog event. Washington Post 10/8/99
         ALSO: MUSICIAN -AID THYSELF: As Net-Aid, the latest in a long line of mega global benefit concerts (this time for Kosovo) gets organized, a critic ponders these events' musical impotence. London Times 10/8/99
        
    AND: Largest internet ever SF GATE 10/6/99

  • HELDEN-GUY: The hottest ticket in New York this fall is for the Metropolitan Opera's "Tristan und Isolde." The reason is Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, who is quickly becoming a legend. 
    Boston Globe 10/8/99

  • DOMINGO.COM: The online music revolution has mostly been the province of young pop musicians. But now tenor Placido Domingo has signed a contract to record for the web. Boston Globe 10/8/99

  • NEWLY FOUND BEETHOVEN QUARTET GETS PREMIERE: a performance before it's put up for auction in December. "This quartette was composed for me in my presence by Ludwig v Beethoven at Vienna Friday 28th November 1817" wrote the young English traveler Richard Ford on the manuscript. 
    BBC 10/7/99.

  • OPERA AS HISTORY LESSON: A new Canadian opera about a topic not much discussed - slavery in early Canada. It's a tough subject but the reviews have been enthusiastic. CBC 10/7/99

  • Aaron Copland's house has been turned into a center for scholarship and support of composers. New York Times 10/6/99

  • GOING FOR GOULD: Sculpture, plays, films of homage - lovers of the late great Canadian pianist from 19 countries converge on Toronto for a conference.  Sydney Morning Herald 10/6/99

  • OPERATHON: Egypt is planning a 12-hour opera by Jean Michel Jarre to usher in the new millennium. At midnight, a 30-foot golden pyramid will be placed atop the missing peak of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, flooding the surrounding area with golden rays to signal the birth of the first day of 2000, says the Egyptian culture minister. 
    AP (Seattle Times) 10/5/99 

  • ESTEEMED CANADIAN CONDUCTOR DIES: George Tintner committed suicide over the weekend. CBC 10/4/99 

  • THE FUTURE OF MUSIC? Don't count on any definitive answers at the annual North By Northwest Music & New Media Conference. The Oregonian 10/4/99

  • ROLL OVER MOZART: A new German-language rock musical about the composer opens in Vienna.  Sydney Morning Herald 10/4/99

  • MILLENNIAL MAESTROS: Just who are the great conductors today, and how do you get them to come conduct? Even venerable Cleveland finds its podium roster a little bare. 
    Cleveland Plain Dealer 10/3/99 

  • SIMON RATTLE MAKES HIS DIRECTOR'S DEBUT in Berlin with Mahler and broken German. The audience loves it. London Sunday Times 10/3/99

  • AS CHICAGO LYRIC OPERA prepares to stage the premiere of William Bolcom's opera "A View from the Bridge" John von Rhein looks at the economics of mounting a new opera. 
    Chicago Tribune 10/3/99

  • TORONTO SYMPHONY STRIKE update at the end of Week I. CBC 10/1/99

  • SOMEBODY TELL THEM THEY'RE DEAD: The Miami Herald critic was looking forward to the Stones tour - and then he actually saw them - message to geriatric rockers everywhere: time to hang it up. Miami Herald 10/1/99

  • NEXT BEST THING: Daniel Barenboim wanted to be the next leader of the Berlin Philharmonic, but since that didn't work out, he re-ups his contract with the Chicago Symphony. Chicago Tribune 10/1/99

 


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