The NYPhil Biennial may be winding down, but the schedule will remain lively through much of June. Opera Cabal stages Georg Friedrich Haas's ATTHIS at the Kitchen, June 12-13; the same weekend, Chelsea Opera presents Copland's The Tender Land. Alexandre Lunsqui is the featured composer at the Chelsea Music Festival. The Early Music Festival NYC, a new initiative under the direction of Jolle Greenleaf and Donald Meineke, has a rich week of concerts June 13-19, culminating in a reprise of the Green Mountain Project's legendary Vespers 1610. Caramoor is offering this summer a Garden of Sonic Delights, with works by Laurie Anderson, Betsey Biggs, Annea Lockwood, Trimpin, Bruce Odland, and various others. The Philharmonic will include premières by Anthony Cheung and Sean Shepherd in the series starting on June 11 and 18. And, of course, there's Make Music NY on June 21.... On the other coast, WasteLAnd, in Los Angeles, offers Scott Worthington's Even the Light Itself Falls on June 13, and the What's Next Ensemble stages its annual Los Angeles Composers Project concert on June 21.... This year's MATA Festival is now streaming on WQXR.... Glen Wilson's masterly series of Naxos harpsichord recordings continues with a disc devoted to the undersung Elizabethan master Ferdinando Richardson and other treasures of the period, including the astounding, anonymous "Upon la mi re." ... In a futile protest against anniversary glut, I am not listening to Richard Strauss.
June 06, 2014 | Permalink
From Anastasia Tsioulcas's NPR Classical Facebook page: "If you've been following the ongoing conversation about how women are treated in classical music today...an interesting and relevant incident took place between yesterday & today. A source told me yesterday that during a session of the League of American Orchestras conference that is taking place right now in Seattle, a representative of the Berliner Philharmoniker was talking to a roomful of classical music professionals, and said that the reason that 78% of users for their (excellent) Digital Concert Hall is male is because...the computer setup is 'too complicated' for women." And more: "I received this via Twitter today from the orchestra: 'This was indeed a misleading statement – of course women can connect the devices just as well as men.'"
More: An official statement from the Berlin Philharmonic: "We very much regret this misleading statement and want to apologize for this mistake. As we know from the many emails we receive, difficulties in the use of such a complex technical offer as the Digital Concert Hall affect male and female users alike. We will address these difficulties very soon and work hard on an easier access."
June 06, 2014 | Permalink
The composer, conductor, and author Francesco d'Avalos, Prince d’Avalos and Marquis of Vasto and Pescara, great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the uncle of Maria d'Avalos, the unlucky first wife of Carlo Gesualdo, died on May 26th at the age of eighty-four, at his palazzo in Naples. I visited him in 2011, and described the encounter at the end of my article on Gesualdo. Norman Lebrecht has a word or two about d'Avalos's work as a conductor.
May 30, 2014 | Permalink
The full schedule for June 21 is announced. Some highlights: Henry Brant's Mass in Gregorian Chant for Multiple Flutes, John Cage's 49 Waltzes (hopefully incorporating all 147 NYC addresses), three smartphone-interactive pieces, the traditional Cornelia Street In C, Salvatore Sciarrino’s La Bocca, i piedi, il suono with a hundred saxophones, and what promises to be a mightily loud rendition of Berlioz's Symphonie funèbre et triomphale.
May 29, 2014 | Permalink
I've had a bit of an adventure the past couple of days. An overheated bathroom ceiling fan at a radar facility caused O'Hare Airport, in Chicago, to be shut down for several hours on Tuesday — so news reports said — and I was unable to fly on to Winnipeg as planned. The snarl was big enough that not even Alberich-Wotan could get through: social media indicated that Eric Owens was stranded somewhere in the same complex. There was only a middling chance I could fly the following day and arrive in time for my Winnipeg Arts Council event, and so I decided to rent a car and drive. After a nine-hundred-mile marathon, during which I listened to Tristan, Parsifal, three iterations of Become Ocean, and some fifty Dylan songs (including "Red River Shore," in sight of the river in question), I arrived at the Manitoba Theatre Centre with twenty minutes to spare. I spent the night by the banks of the Mississippi, in Winona, Minnesota, and drove up through North Dakota, which was not at its most picturesque. The man at the border was skeptical of my behavior, but let me pass. Many thanks to Bill Richardson for elicting conversation from an exhausted and barely coherent author, and to all those who showed up.
May 15, 2014 | Permalink
When I visited Warsaw last winter, I was happy to pick up several recordings containing music of Agata Zubel, one of the most gifted of younger Polish composers. There is now a strong compilation on the Kairos label, the principal item being her grittily expressive Beckett setting NOT I. A vocalist of high accomplishment and distinctive timbre, Zubel sings in this work and in Aphorisms on Miłosz and Labyrinth; Clement Power conducts the Klangforum Wien in a program that also includes Shades of Ice.
May 12, 2014 | Permalink
All of this year's Spring for Music concerts are now archived at WQXR. Two events in the series especially stand out: the Seattle Symphony program mentioned below, and the Cincinnati Symphony and May Festival Chorus's powerful revival of R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses. But all are worth hearing. Tony Tommasini, in the Times, properly mourns the demise of the festival: "What made Spring for Music exceptional is something that should be commonplace in classical music. Orchestras from across North America, large and small, major and regional, were selected to participate based on the artistic merit and adventurousness of the programs they proposed. Shouldn’t this be true of all orchestra programs? Shouldn’t the seasonal offerings of ensembles everywhere be a weekly succession of musical adventures?" Apparently not.
May 12, 2014 | Permalink
May 11, 2014 | Permalink