The Friday post

Beatlesfest blog

Quickly, this week: The Music Ride "The Cincinnati Symphony and one hundred people on bikes celebrate their city with The Music Ride ~ a fanfare of kazoos and wheels through the historic neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine." The music (as they don't mention here, or on another site where this is talked about) was the Fanfare for the Common Man. With people on bikes adding a kazoo chorus to the backbone of brass and percussion. Here's the other description: "We gave 100 people a kazoo and a music lesson. Then we all got on our bikes and rode ~ a … [Read more...]

White, low affect, respectful

bo young lee blog

"I don't know many other art forms where applause is considered a negative." That was a one-liner fired off by Bo Young Lee (in the photo), a diversity consultant, at a League of American Orchestras conference session called "Developing Cross-Cultural Competency." Of course she was talking about the rules of classical music applause. And how, if we follow them, we actually suppress the excitement of our audience. Lee is senior vice president, Global Diversity & Inclusion Lead, at Marsh, Inc., and she'd be a breath of fresh air … [Read more...]

Bewilderment and hope

bright blog

Last week I was at the League of American Orchestras' national conference, where I led a conversation about dreams. Or, more specifically, about a specific dream —  that 10 years from now, orchestras have a lively young audience and vibrant community buzz. Plus all the funding they need, with no artistic compromise. Why aren't we there now? I asked. And, if the dream came true, what would be the steps that got us there? But more on that later. On Facebook a few days ago, I said that at the conference I'd sensed what I might — and in a … [Read more...]

The Monday post

Giovanni Antonini blog

Listen to the overture, on the new Cecilia Bartoli recording of Bellini's Norma. Hot! Giovanni Antonini (the man in the photo) conducts, and the Orchestra La Scintilla plays period instruments. This is the kind of classical performance I like to hear. It has personality. And — as my Juilliard students said this year about classical recordings from past generations — the musicians go for it.  Which gives them a marvelous colloquial touch. Sometimes they sound like the town band. That's completely appropriate for bel canto opera, which — … [Read more...]

The Friday post

tao blog

Last week, when I talked about Jed Distler's piece for grand piano and 128 keyboards, I neglected to say that it's part of a terrific one-day festival -- happening today! — called Make Music NY, which advertises "over 1,000 concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks" in all five boroughs. Go here for links to what they all are. And Distler's isn't the only massive one. There's a piece by R. Murray Schafer, for 144 singers in rowboats and 11 trombones on shore, unfolding on the lake in Central Park. Plus 21 other mass extravaganzas like … [Read more...]

from Liza Figuroa Kravinsky: Challenging an assumption

Age blog image

I am a composer in her fifties, so a New York Times article about how innovators get better with age piqued my interest. According to the article, The directors of the five top-grossing films of 2012 are all in their 40s or 50s. And two of the biggest-selling authors of fiction for 2012 — Suzanne Collins and E. L. James — are around 50… According to research, the age of eventual Nobel Prize winners when making a discovery, and of inventors when making a significant breakthrough, averaged around 38 in 2000, an increase of about six years … [Read more...]

The Monday post

corelli blog

For anyone who loves opera -—and, maybe, even people who don't — here's an astonishing performance by Franco Corelli, singing "Un di all'azzurro spazio," from Andrea Chenier. Corelli's power, focus, conviction are all so strong that you might get swept away, at least in places, even watching the video without any sound. And with the sound, it's enough to make you believe that Giordano was a great composer. One point I really want to stress: Corelli had an unmatched voice, huge and silvery gold, with soaring high notes that just about define … [Read more...]

The Friday post

cameron blog

  Cameron Carpenter, the spectacular indie classical organist, has major news. He's signed a major record deal, with Sony Classical. And he's also unveiling a new organ, which he can take with him everywhere he tours, and play anything from his repertoire. Thus freeing the organ from concert halls and churches. And unleashing Cameron, with lots of well-deserved fanfare, to play more or less anywhere.   He'll unveil the new organ with performances at the 2014 Lincoln Center Festival. Of course, some old issues come into play … [Read more...]

A quiet thought

faciliitate blog

Last week I was in Norway for three days, as a guest of the Bergen International Festival. I had two official duties. One was to speak for about an hour to a lovely group of people, mostly older, with a deep and serious love of classical music. Some that I talked to were amateur choral singers. (And I must say I loved talking to some of them, after my official talk, at a dinner, about subjects other than classical music. Let's never forget that we're full=fledged human beings, with more on our minds, let's hope, than the classical music … [Read more...]

The Monday post

surprise blog

Here's part of a live recording of Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony — the surprise part. Marc Minkowski conducts Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble, in a performance at the Wiener Konzerthaus in 2009. Unless you want the surprise to be spoiled, don't read further until you've clicked the link and listened. … … … If you Google this performance, you'll find that some people hate this. The orchestra playing nothing, where the surprise loud chord is supposed to be! The orchestra starting the piece again, and this time shouting, instead of … [Read more...]

The Friday post

frite blog

This week: A solo Beethoven marathon, the Frite of Spring, a new Kennedy CD. Plus two out-there festivals, and a thorough — definitive — debunking of the idea that studying music raises kids' test scores. Debunked The last item first. One problem we have in classical music, if you ask me, is that we pat ourselves on the back, when we think how wonderful — and how helpful to humanity — our music supposedly is. Not that I'm saying the music isn't wonderful, but we should be careful not to make extravagant claims for it. One of these claims, … [Read more...]

The Monday post

GreetingScore blog

Well, today's my birthday! And to celebrate — this link goes to a bagatelle by Stravinsky, a composer I love more than I know how to say. It's his Greeting Prelude, which is an arrangement of a tune that…oh, you'll recognize it. Twisted into smiling new shapes. Reminds me of films I've seen, in which Stravinsky, talking about music he loves, just radiates joy. This is a big one for me — 70. And I run around the house, chasing my little boy, while he squeals with delight. I've never felt younger. As this new year of my life goes on, … [Read more...]