Map of the New. The New Yorker, June 27, 2016.
President Obama said in Orlando today: "You can't make up the world into 'us' and 'them,' and denigrate and express hatred towards groups because of the color of their skin, or their faith, or their sexual orientation, and not feed something very dangerous in this world."
June 16, 2016 | Permalink
The GVSU New Music Ensemble, which won nationwide notice back in 2007 with their buoyant recording of Music for 18 Musicians, have launched a project celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service. Eight composers — Alexandra Gardner, Molly Joyce, Betsey Biggs, Patrick Harlin, Rob Deemer, Jeff Herriott, Paula Matthusen, and Phil Kline — have been commissioned to write works related to one or another of the parks; performances at the designated sites will begin on July 1. Watch a video preview.... On a similar theme, Michael Gordon's Natural History will receive its first performance on July 29 against the backdrop of Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon. Teddy Abrams, the director of the Britt Festival, will conduct.... The twelfth edition of the Dog Star Orchestra, Michael Pisaro's annual festival of experimental music, is under way in Los Angeles.... The happy pandemonium of Make Music NY descends again on June 21; this year's Mass Appeal events feature accordions, bagpipes, cymbals, harmonicas, mandolins, and music boxes, among others.... The New England Conservatory's Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP), affectionately known as Sick Puppy, runs this year from June 19 to 25, with Vinko Globokar as composer-in-residence.... The NY Phil Biennial's Ligeti Forward series — the master's three concertos alongside various other works — can now be seen and heard online. Don't miss Pekka Kuusisto's furiously vibrant account of the Ligeti Violin Concerto, with Alan Gilbert leading alumni of the Lucerne Festival Academy.... Pierre-Laurent Aimard has added the Étude No. 2, "Cordes à vide," to his online project exploring Ligeti's piano music.
June 11, 2016 | Permalink
— R. Nathaniel Dett, The Ordering of Moses; Latonia Moore, Ronnita Nicole Miller, Rodrick Dixon, Donnie Ray Albert, James Conlon conducting the Cincinnati Symphony and May Festival Chorus (Bridge)
— Mark Simpson, Night Music and other works; various performers (NMC)
— Shostakovich, Symphonies Nos. 5, 8, 9, Suite from Hamlet; Andris Nelsons conducting the Boston Symphony (DG)
— Brahms: recaptured by pupils & colleagues; Carl Friedberg, Felix Salmond, Danil Karpilowsky, Edith Heymann, Marie Baumayer, Ilona Eibenschutz, Etelka Freund, Brahms (Arbiter)
— Satie, Complete Solo Piano Music; Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Decca)
— Beethoven, Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5; Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Concentus Musicus Wien (Sony)
— Beethoven, Complete Works for Cello and Piano; Colin Carr, Thomas Sauer (MSR Classics)
— Beethoven, Symphony No. 3, Coriolan; Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony, Feb. 1949 (Pristine)
— Haydn, Complete Symphonies; Christopher Hogwood conducting the Academy of Ancient Music, Frans Brüggen conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Ottavio Dantone conducting the Accademia Bizantina (Decca)
May 25, 2016 | Permalink
The Boston Musical Intelligencer has a story about imminent cuts in free-lance classical criticism at the Boston Globe. Several people have confirmed it to me privately. This is a disheartening development, not least because the Globe has, aside from staff classical critic Jeremy Eichler and writer-editor Steve Smith, some of the sharpest critics in the country. I know particularly well the work of David Weininger and Matthew Guerrieri — the latter the author of The First Four Notes, one of the notable music books of recent years. What's more, the Globe had recently been publishing Zoë Madonna, to whom the jury of the most recent Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, myself included, unanimously awarded its first prize. All this comes in the wake of a widely publicized fiasco in Toronto, in the course of which an arts editor at the National Post said, “I really hate running reviews for performing arts." I will have more to say on this subject soon, but for the moment I'd like to join many voices in begging the Globe to reconsider what looks to be a major reduction in review coverage. One upbeat note: in September Jeremy will be taking a sabbatical to work on a book called Memorials in Sound, and Steve will be filling in for him. I'm very eager to see what both of them produce; the Globe should feel very lucky to have such brilliant writers on staff. But one or two critics cannot cover the entire teeming Boston scene, a bastion of music both early and new. Boston-area music organizations, the time to speak up is now.
May 24, 2016 | Permalink
The NY Phil Biennial takes flight on Monday, with a JACK Quartet program of Cenk Ergün, Derek Bermel, and Marc Sabat. Some highlights from the remaining fortnight: Jennifer Koh's program of new-music miniatures; Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest, with Ilan Volkov conducting; the Ligeti Forward series, with Alan Gilbert; an Interlochen Academy concert, with premières by Gabriel Kahane, Hannah Lash, and Ashley Fure; and the final Phil concerts, with Bolcom's new Trombone Concerto, Stucky's Second Concerto, and the Nørgård Eighth.... Volkov's Tectonics Festival, from which the Biennial could learn a few lessons in boldness, took place earlier this month; BBC 3's Hear and Now series is broadcasting some highlights. I'm listening now to music of Alwynne Pritchard, Jessika Kenney, Eyvind Kang, and Michael Pisaro (his extraordinarily beautiful Lucretius Melody), and am looking forward to a Pisaro première that comes online on May 28.... On May 24 and 31, Jacaranda presents guitar music of Nørgård, Henze, Ginastera, Berio, and others at the Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades.... For VAN, Heather O'Donnell has an enlightening article on musicians with disabilities.... Maria Schneider has a blistering piece on the musical-ethical black hole that is YouTube.... On June 17, the Cincinnati Opera introduces Gregory Spears's Fellow Travelers, about the gay witch-hunts of the nineteen-fifties.
May 22, 2016 | Permalink
"Imagine a member of Congress facing his constituents after voting to appropriate $200,000 to teach young people how to execute vocal gymnastics, or play on the fiddle. We are not so esthetic as that." So said the Indianapolis Journal on Feb. 25, 1888, in response to Jeannette Thurber's request for federal funding for her National Conservatory. Quoted in Jean E. Snyder's Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance, new from University of Illinois Press.
May 15, 2016 | Permalink
Snapshot from Zurich: the Thomas Mann Archive, out of the picture to the left, is at the corner of Doktor-Faust-Gasse and Schönberggasse. The latter presumably doesn't refer to the Schö/oenberg, who had no Zurich connections that I know of, but the coincidence is amusing.
Previously: The corner of Strauss and Stravinsky.
May 13, 2016 | Permalink