Classical Music News of the Week, April 8, 2012

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Salutes Handel in the Month of April

KDFC FM to broadcast excerpts from Handel's Athalia April 8.
Philharmonia Baroque Productions to release recording of Atalanta On April 10.
April Concert Performances features Handel's Alexander's Feast April 19-22.

Acclaimed for their performances of Handel's music, Music Director Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will conclude their 2011-2012 season with the rarely performed masterpiece Alexander's Feast, April 19-22. Director Bruce Lamott leads the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale for these performances, featuring soprano Dominique Labelle and baritone Philip Cutlip, whose 2011 performances in Haydn's The Creation were praised by critics, and tenor James Taylor who makes his debut with the ensemble. Alexander's Feast, also known as "The Power of Music," portrays a feast of Alexander the Great during which he was inspired by the musical entertainment to burn the captured city of Persepolis to the ground. Composed in 1736, the work is among Handel's earliest English oratorios and its successful premiere at Covent Garden motivated Handel to compose others including Solomon, Israel in Egypt and Messiah. The concert program also features a concerto grosso by Handel, which uses musical themes heard in Alexander's Feast.

In addition to these live concerts, the Orchestra and Chorale can be heard in excerpts from 2009 live performances of Handel's Athalia on Sunday, April 8 at 8 PM on KDFC FM, the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

Furthermore, on April 10, Philharmonia Baroque Productions will release its fourth disc – Handel's 1736 opera Atalanta – recorded live September 10 and 11, 2005 at Berkeley's First Congregational Church. The performances were acclaimed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "Magnificent… the most vibrant, exhilarating stretch of musical showmanship this organization has offered in many a long season."

All Philharmonia Baroque Productions recordings are distributed by Harmonia Mundi in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Austria and are available from Amazon, iTunes, and other online outlets as well as all major retailers and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Web site, www.philharmonia.org. This recording of Handel's Atalanta--which features Dominique Labelle, Susanne Rydén, Cécile van de Sant, Michael Slattery, Philip Cutlip, Corey McKern, and the Philharmonia Chorale under the direction of Bruce Lamott--was produced and engineered by David v.R. Bowles, who has produced the orchestra's recordings since 1996.

For more information, visit www.philharmonia.org or call (415) 252-1288.

--Karen Ames Communications

Piano Prodigy Conrad Tao Performs May 19
Music Institute Presents Second Annual Emilio del Rosario Distinguished Alumni Concert.

The Music Institute of Chicago presents accomplished and critically acclaimed 17-year-old Chinese-American pianist Conrad Tao in its second annual Emilio del Rosario Distinguished Alumni Concert May 19 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

Tao will perform Beethoven's Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110; selected Rachmaninoff Preludes from Op. 23 and 32; Liszt's Années de pèlerinage: 1e année: Suisse, S.160, and "Rigoletto" De Verdi – Paraphrase De Concert; Stravinsky's Trois mouvements de Petroushka; and Tao's own composition Three Songs.

About Conrad Tao:
An Illinois native and former student of the Music Institute's late, legendary faculty member Emilio del Rosario, pianist Conrad Tao has been hailed as "the most exciting prodigy to ever come my way" by renowned music critic Harris Goldsmith in Musical America. He has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and many others, as well as in solo recitals worldwide. Highlights of the 2011–12 season include his Detroit Symphony debut, 11 concerto performances in Florida, as well as recitals in Berlin, Paris, and Munich as part of a European tour and performances with orchestras in Mexico, Brazil, and Poland. He is the winner of the 2012 Gilmore Young Artist Award, and Forbes magazine selected him as one of "30 Under 30 in Music." An accomplished composer, Tao is an eight-time consecutive winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award. He attends the Columbia University-Juilliard School joint degree program, studying piano, and he also studies composition at Yale University. His 2010 composition Three Songs, as well as his performances of two Debussy preludes and Stravinsky's Trois mouvements de Petroushka, have just been released on iTunes as part of The Juilliard Sessions, a partnership between EMI Classics and The Juilliard School.

Conrad Tao performs in the Music Institute of Chicago's second annual Emilio del Rosario Distinguished Alumni Concert Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Robert Spano Shares His Passion for Music
The semi-annual TEDxAtlanta conference took place March 13, and Robert Spano "held the audience spellbound" with a talk about the universal role of music.

Discussing the event's theme of Creating Community, Spano said: "I know as an individual, I'm a member of many diverse communities. I am not just one thing; I'm not just part of one group. And those concentric circles and their way of meeting is part of the beauty of the word and the beauty of experience, and also part of the beauty of music."

In addition to his speech, Spano played an original composition based on Debussy's The Sunken Cathedral. You can watch a video of the talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phuzu7s-Ukc.

On May 3, Robert Spano conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall with two works by Claude Vivier (Orion and Lonely Child), as well as Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin Suite and Sibelius's Symphony No. 7, a program that gives prominence to the voices of the 20th Century through three different composers. Highlighting Mr. Spano's passion for working with students, this performance comes in between performances with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Philadelphia and at the Dresden Music Festival.

Spring 2012 marks the third, and final, year of Spano's residency at Emory University. In its 165-year history, Emory University has honored only seven other individuals with such expansive residencies, including the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter and author Salman Rushdie. To view the reminder of events during Robert's residency, click here:  http://arts.emory.edu/outreach/residencies/spano-2012.html?utm_source=web&utm_medium=redirect&utm_campaign=spano%2B2012.

--Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Music Institute of Chicago Celebrates a Decade at Nichols Concert Hall
Tenth season includes Rachel Barton Pine, Lincoln Trio, the Pacifica Quartet, the Billy Strayhorn Festival with Terell Stafford, and more.

Celebrating a decade at Evanston's Nichols Concert Hall, the Music Institute of Chicago presents a season of ten stellar musical performances for its 2012-13 Faculty and Guest Artist Series.

Highlights include the September 23 opening concert by the award-winning Lincoln Trio, a Billy Strayhorn festival featuring jazz great Terell Stafford in late October, the internationally acclaimed Pacifica Quartet in February, and pianist Sergei Babayan in April. Noteworthy annual events include Family Concerts in December and March; the Martin Luther King, Jr. concert with the Brotherhood Chorale in January; the Four Score Festival of contemporary music in March; and the third annual Emilio del Rosario Distinguished Alumni Concert, this year featuring violinist Rachel Barton Pine and pianist Matthew Hagle in May.

The complete schedule, including both the special 10th anniversary events and annual programs, includes:
Sunday, September 23, 3 p.m.: Lincoln Trio
Sunday, October 21, 3 p.m.: 2012 Fischoff Grand Prize winners
Friday, October 26, 7:30 p.m.: Terell Stafford and Music Institute Jazz Faculty
Saturday, October 27, 7:30 p.m.: Terell Stafford Quintet: This Side of Strayhorn
Sunday, October 28, 3 p.m.: Film: Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life, Panel Discussion
Saturday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.: WarnerNuzova
Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m.: Family Concert: The Nutcracker
Sunday, January 13, 5 p.m.: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Concert (free admission)
Saturday, February 16, 7:30 p.m.: Pacifica Quartet
Sundays, March 3 and March 10, 3 p.m.: Four Score Festival
Friday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.: Generation Next/Composer's Lab Concert
Saturday, March 16, 9 a.m.:  Family Concert: Evanston 150: Day of Music (Only $10 per family)
Saturday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.: Opus 10 Faculty Extravaganza
Sunday, April 7, 3 p.m.: Lincoln String Quartet
Sunday, April 21, 3 p.m.: Sergei Babayan, piano
Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.: Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Matthew Hagle, piano; Third Annual Emilio del Rosario Distinguished Alumni Concert

About Nichols Concert Hall
Noted architect Solon S. Beman designed the architecturally and acoustically magnificent First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, in 1912. In 2003, the building was sensitively restored to become Nichols Concert Hall, a state-of-the-art, 550-seat performance space and music education destination, easily accessible to numerous restaurants, on-street and metered parking, and the Davis Street CTA and Metra stations. The converted building, featuring a fully restored, 1914 E. M. Skinner pipe organ, received the Richard H. Driehaus Award for best adaptive use by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Each year Nichols Concert Hall reaches approximately 15,000 people and hosts a world-class chamber music series, workshops and master classes, student recitals, and special events.

All concerts take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets, except where noted, are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. All programming is subject to change.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Seattle Symphony Appoints Kelly Dylla as Vice President of Education and Community Engagement
Seattle Symphony Executive Director Simon Woods has announced the appointment of Kelly Dylla as Vice President of Education and Community Engagement. Dylla comes to the Seattle Symphony with 10 years of experience in arts education as a teaching artist and administrator, most recently as Director of Audience Engagement with the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California. She starts at the Symphony on May 29, 2012.

As a member of the senior management team, Dylla will provide overall leadership, management and implementation of family, school and community programs, and will be a catalyst for the development of innovative programs that engage audiences in new and creative ways.

"Kelly is a tremendous addition to our senior management team," remarked Woods. "The decision to elevate education and community engagement to a senior management team position, reporting directly to me, is a symbolic and important step as we seek to make the Seattle Symphony relevant and inspiring to the widest range of participants and audiences. Kelly's background as a musician, combined with her deep commitment to sharing the joy of musical experience will make her a key player in the exciting transformation taking place at the Seattle Symphony."

Dylla received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University, a Master of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a Master of Music in Viola Performance from The Juilliard School. She joins the Seattle Symphony most recently from the Pacific Symphony as Director of Audience Engagement, where she designed "OC Can You Play?," a county-wide public art project and awareness campaign. In addition, she was Manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA), where she managed operations that brought instrumental and orchestral education to underserved students and families. In 2008 she was awarded the Ross Innovation Award for her leadership and initiative to launch Arts Enterprise, a national chapter-based organization that creates communities of arts and business students that develop ideas for cultural and economic growth.

--Patrick Gullo, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Performs with Viviane Hagner on April 28 at Carnegie Hall, Hagner Making Her Orchestral Debut at Carnegie Hall
Orpheus opens the Naumberg Orchestral Concerts in Central Park on June 19.

On April 28, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will complete its Carnegie concert series with a program of the familiar and unfamiliar. The first work on the program is Franz Schreker's Scherzo for Strings. The evening continues with the Orpheus debut of acclaimed German violinist Viviane Hagner playing Beethoven's iconic Romance No. 2 in F Major. Hagner will also join the orchestra in performing the Violin Concerto No. 5 by Vieuxtemps. This marks her orchestral debut at Carnegie Hall. Of the concert Hagner says, "I have always admired and been fascinated by Orpheus' idea of music making. What an honor and delight it is for me to play with this outstanding group of musicians." Orpheus' multi-season Project 440 will conclude with Pendulum IX: "Machina/Humana," a world premiere by composer Alex Mincek. Orpheus will end the program with Mozart's famed Symphony No. 40. The concert will be broadcast live on WQXR.

This summer, Orpheus is proud to open the 107th season of the Naumburg Orchestra Concert series in Central Park. This marks the first time Orpheus will play in the park. Ronnie Bauch, an Orpheus Artistic Director, describes the group's excitement when he says, "Orpheus has always been a kind of people's orchestra, with its innovative and now imitated democratic process, and also one of New York City's most well-traveled cultural ambassadors. During the past 40 years, the orchestra has performed not only in the world's greatest concert halls, but in churches, schools, shopping centers, artist lofts, and on the Staten Island Ferry. For our first concert ever in Central Park, the program will feature signature works that we have shared with audiences on four continents; from London to Vienna, New Delhi to Tokyo, Buenos Aires to Seattle, and literally hundreds of cities in-between. It should be a fitting tribute and thank you to the people of New York who have embraced and supported this unique home-grown group and its artistic activities over the past four decades." The full program includes Rossini's Overture to Il Signor Bruschino, Grieg's Holberg Suite, Symphony No. 29 in A Major by Mozart, and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances.

"Live From Lincoln Center" on PBS makes some of the world's greatest artists accessible to home viewers in virtually every corner of the United States, and remains the only series of live broadcast performances on American television today. Since its founding almost 40 years ago, Orpheus has always had a philosophy of inclusion and widening audience participation. That is why the orchestra is thrilled to appear on Live from Lincoln Center with opera superstar Renee Fleming and special guest Josh Groban this Friday, April 6. Fleming will perform Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" and John Kander's "A Letter form Sullivan Ballou" in addition to selections from her pop oriented Dark Hope album and Broadway standards.

A self-governing organization, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1972 by a group of fellow musicians who aspired to perform diverse orchestral repertoire using chamber music ensemble techniques. Today, Orpheus continues to uphold this philosophy, performing without a conductor and rotating musical leadership roles for each work. Striving to empower its musicians by integrating them into virtually every facet of the organization, Orpheus is changing the way the world thinks about musicians, conductors, and orchestras. The organization WorldBlu has named them one of the most democratic workplaces in America for five straight years. The musical results of this method are extraordinary: The Chicago Tribune gushes, "Orpheus Chamber Orchestra shattered the mold, becoming in the process one of the more memorable events in this festival's 13-year history." And The New York Times raves, "Orpheus, whose string players perform with the physical verve of members of a string quartet, produced a convincingly full-blooded sound." The Los Angeles Times agrees: "A virtuosic whole...they're fast. They're together. They're aggressive. They can be electrifying."

Born in Munich, violinist Viviane Hagner has won exceptional praise for her highly intelligent musicality and passionate artistry. She has appeared with the world's great orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, and Philharmonia. Recent concert highlights include appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Arild Remmereit conducting as well as performances with the Cincinnati Symphony and the Orchestra Symphonique de Montreal under the direction of Kent Nagano. Hagner is also known for her many fruitful collaborations: the Brahms Double Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma and Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with Pinchas Zukerman and the Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. A committed chamber musician, Viviane Hagner has been a featured artist at renowned American and international festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein, Salzburg Easter Festival, Ravinia, and Mostly Mozart; and has appeared at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore Hall, and New York's 92nd Street Y series. As well as bringing insight and virtuosity to the core concerto repertoire, Viviane Hagner is an ardent advocate of new, neglected, and undiscovered music. Composers whose work she champions include Sofia Gubaidulina, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, and Witold Lutoslawski. In 2002 she gave the world premiere of Unsuk Chin's Violin Concerto with the Deutsche Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin and Kent Nagano. After her 2006 premiere of Simon Holt's new Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra led by Jonathan Nott, The Sunday Times critic remarked she "caught the music's soul." The Hyperion label has recorded her performances of the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerti 4 & 5 and the Canadian company Analekta has recently released her recording of Unsuk Chin's Violin Concerto with Kent Nagano and the Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal. Her first solo recording on the Altara label features works by Bartók, Hartmann, and Bach. Viviane Hagner plays the Sasserno Stradivarius built in 1717, generously loaned to her by the Nippon Music Foundation.

Since 1905, the Naumburg Orchestra Concerts has continuously presented free, outdoor classical music concerts open to all New Yorkers. The series was created by philanthropist Elkan Naumburg who donated the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park in 1923. The concerts hope to stimulate and encourage new and expanded audiences for classical music in the informal and beautiful setting of Central Park. It is the oldest such concert series in the United States.

--Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotion

Strathmore Presents Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
World-renowned violinist makes one of his first appearances as Academy's Music Director.

The incomparable violinist Joshua Bell makes his first appearance in the D.C. area as the newly-named Music Director of the legendary Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with an arresting all-Beethoven concert on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 8 p.m. in the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert juxtaposes three works written around the same time but in vividly different moods: Coriolan Overture, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 and Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major, Op. 60. This performance is sold out. For more information, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

Joshua Bell has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking virtuosity. Often referred to as the poet of the violin, Bell is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. Bell first came to national attention at the age of 14 in a highly acclaimed orchestral debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Today he is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestra leader and composer. Gramophone magazine states simply, "Bell is dazzling."

Since his first recording at age 18, Bell has recorded more than 36 CDs and most recently released French Impressions in January 2012 with pianist Jeremy Denk. Recent releases include the soundtrack to For Colored Girls; At Home With Friends, featuring Chris Botti, Sting, Josh Groban, Regina Spektor, Tiempo Libre and others; the Defiance soundtrack; Vivaldi's The Four Seasons; The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic; The Red Violin Concerto; The Essential Joshua Bell; Voice of the Violin; and Romance of the Violin, which was awarded Billboard's 2004 Classical CD of the Year and which earned Bell the Classical Artist of the Year. Bell has premiered new works by composers Nicholas Maw, John Corigliano, Aaron Jay Kernis, Edgar Meyer, Behzad Ranjbaran and Jay Greenberg.

Millions of people are just as likely to have seen Bell on The Tonight Show as well as Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose or CBS Sunday Morning. He has twice performed on the Grammy Awards telecast, performing music from Short Trip Home and West Side Story Suite. Bell has been profiled in publications ranging from the New York Times and Newsweek to People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" issue, Gramophone and USA Today.

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields--one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world—was formed in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, and working without a conductor, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church on November 13, 1959. Today, the Academy performs some 100 concerts around the world each year. The Academy's partnership with its founder Sir Neville Marriner remains the most recorded pairing of orchestra and conductor and, with over 500 recordings under its belt, the Academy is one of the most recorded chamber orchestras in the world. Alongside its performances with Life President Sir Neville, Principal Guest Conductor Murray Perahia and Music Director Joshua Bell, the orchestra continues to collaborate with some of today's most thrilling musicians including Julia Fischer, Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen and Anthony Marwood.

About Strathmore
Strathmore is an established arts presenter and cultural destination that nurtures art, artists and community through creative and diverse programming of the highest quality, and is home to the Music Center at Strathmore, a 1,976-seat concert hall and education complex. The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda, MD, one half-mile north of the Capital Beltway and immediately adjacent to the Grosvenor-Strathmore station on Metro's Red Line. For those attending a ticketed performance at the Music Center at Strathmore, parking in the Metro garage is complimentary with your ticket.

--Michael Fila, Strathmore

No comments:

Post a Comment

John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa