Classical Music News of the Week, May 2, 2020
Frank Corliss, Director of the Bard College Conservatory, said:
"We are very excited to welcome Shai Wosner to the Bard Conservatory faculty. He joins us after the recent tragic passing of our esteemed piano faculty member Peter Serkin, and we are happy that Mr. Wosner will continue that great artist's legacy of dedication to the highest musical and educational ideals."
Shai Wosner said:
"I am deeply honored to now be on faculty at Bard Conservatory. Growing up, I had the great fortune of learning from teachers who were not only brilliant artists, but also wonderful, caring people, and this spurred in me a desire to pay their instruction forward, whether in master classes, workshops, or my new duties at Bard. Furthermore, I look forward to being a part of the Bard family, to making great music with my colleagues and students, and to being part of this great institution's future."
For more information about Shai Wosner, visit shaiwosner.com, and follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/ShaiWosner) and Twitter (@ShaiWosnerPiano).
For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, visit bard.edu/conservatory.
--John Hamby, Shuman Associates
Doug Balliett's "Morning Meditation": Listen Now
We at Experiential Orchestra are beginning a new series called "Morning Meditations," where we share a 1-2 minute musical meditation on our YouTube channel every Sunday. There's a lot of content out there; we hope this will be well-deserved short moment of beauty and fascination in your day.
Our first offering, available immediately, is by EXO Creative Partner Doug Balliett, who composed the music and also created the videography. We are grateful to Doug for this beautiful piece.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYAs7rif4yw&feature=youtu.be
--James Blachly, Music Director, Experiential Orchestra
The Crossing Releases New Film Featuring David Lang's "protect yourself from infection"
Today, Grammy-winning choir The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, releases a new film featuring David Lang's "protect yourself from infection," a work commissioned by the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia for their September 2019 parade and new, permanent Spit Spreads Death exhibition commemorating the centennial of the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Performance Today will broadcast the new recording of Lang's "protect yourself from infection" on more than 280 public radio stations nationwide this week. The film is conceived by conductor Donald Nally, with a film by Brett Snodgrass based on artwork of founding Crossing tenor Steven Bradshaw and audio compiled and produced by The Crossing's sound designer Paul Vazquez.
The subject matter of David Lang's "protect yourself from infection" closely echoes the current state of global affairs, specifically at a time when America is faced with difficult decisions regarding the reopening of states during the global COVID-19 pandemic, a dilemma that has been most closely compared to the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza epidemic which killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide. Philadelphia's ill-fated Liberty Loan Parade, a patriotic wartime effort on September 28, 1918, went forward despite warnings from medical experts; it caused Philadelphia to have the highest death rate of any major American city during the pandemic. Nearly 14,000 people died in six weeks, one death every five minutes; more than 17,500 died in six months.
Watch the film, "protect yourself from infection": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejY4xvJQxtU
Learn more about The Crossing: www.crossingchoir.org
--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media
Online Stream of "Semmelweis" - A Music-Theater Work Inspired by the "Unsung Pioneer of Handwashing"
An online stream of the world premiere production of "Semelweis," a music-theater work inspired by one of medicine's most tragic heroes, Hungarian doctor Ignác Semmelweis, will launch on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 1PM ET, at www.Doctor-Semmelweis.com, and will be available for one month. "Semmelweis" was created by American composer Raymond J. Lustig, Irish-American writer Matthew Doherty, and Hungarian director Martin Boross. The world premiere performance in 2018 was co-produced by Budapest Operetta Theatre and Bartók Plusz Opera Festival. It will be free to watch, but viewers may make donations via the website to support organizations currently working to understand and combat the global coronavirus pandemic, and to alleviate its toll, especially on the most vulnerable populations: UNICEF USA, Alight, and the Semmelweis Foundation.
The obstetrician Ignác Semmelweis – who championed the practice of handwashing in the 19th century that is the foundation of today's antiseptic procedures – has had a resurgence of interest during the current coronavirus outbreak. Semmelweis was an "outsider," a "foreign" doctor, Hungarian, but living and working in Vienna's top hospital in a xenophobic era. Amidst a devastating epidemic in 1846, Dr. Semmelweis discovered that the deadly disease was being spread to healthy mothers by the unclean hands of their own doctors. Tragically, the medical community rebelled against Semmelweis' discovery. They scoffed at his findings, rejected his theory, stripped him of his credentials, and the doctor was subsequently driven into an insane asylum where he died alone. It was not until decades later that his discovery was validated and accepted.
Watch "Semmelweis" here: https://doctor-semmelweis.com/
--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists
Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart - "an opera in disguise..."
Pianist Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart continues this week with the 2nd movement, Andante amoroso, from Sonata No. 3, K. 281, available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, April 29.
"This could absolutely be a scene from an opera," says Ms. Shaham. "Mozart wrote "andante amoroso" after he met Aloysia Weber, his first love and sister of his future wife Constanza!"
Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart gives you exclusive access to a different movement of a Mozart piano sonata, available for a whole week, free! Get your weekly dose of Mozart each Wednesday, and enjoy it until the following Wednesday when it will be replaced by the next installment, at OrliShahamMozart.com.
--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications
New Book: "Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music"
University of North Texas Press announces the May 2020 publication of "Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music" by renowned conductor Joseph Rescigno. The book discusses operas in the standard repertory from the perspective of a conductor with a lifetime of experience performing them. It focuses on Joseph Rescigno's approach to preparing and performing these masterworks so that the full greatness of each opera can be realized.
Opening with a chapter discussing his performance philosophy, Rescigno then covers Mozart's most frequently-performed operas; standards of the bel canto school including "Il barbiere di Siviglia"; five of Verdi's works including "La traviata"; a selection of Wagner's compositions; French Romantic operas such as "Carmen"; Puccini's major works; and finally four operas by Richard Strauss. An appendix contains a convenient guide to scores available online.
"Conducting Opera" includes practical advice about propelling a story forward and bringing out the drama that the music is meant to express, as well as how to fully support singers. Rescigno identifies especially problematic passages, supplies suggestions on how to navigate them, and provides advice on staying true to the several styles under discussion.
--Nancy Shear Arts Services
Los Angeles Master Chorale to Pay Musicians Lost Wages in 2019-2020 Season
The Los Angeles Master Chorale announced today that it would compensate singers for lost wages resulting from 2019-20 season concerts canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Master Chorale will provide 91% of the orchestra musicians' wages, as well as full benefits, lost due to the cancelation of the Faure Requiem concert, which was scheduled to take place on March 28 and 29, 2020. Additional canceled performances include "Come Away to the Skies: A Celebration of Alice Parker," and the High School Choir Festival. Rachmaninoff's All-night Vigil, scheduled to take place on June 13 and 14, 2020, has not been canceled as of yet, but musicians will be compensated regardless of whether or not the show will go on as planned.
The Master Chorale is successfully able to provide compensation for the remainder of the 2019-20 season thanks to the contributions of its board of directors, particularly Honorary Director Lillian Pierson Lovelace; Secretary Courtand Palmer, who made a challenge grant to support the musicians; and those directors who responded to the challenge, including Robert Hanisee, Alex Romain, Jennifer Rosenfeld, and Chair Philip A. Swan. The Master Chorale applied and was granted funding from the federal government's CARES Act and Small Business Administration's Payroll Protection Program.
--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications
What's Streaming: Classical (Week of May 4–10)
Monday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET:
The Gilmore presents Jonathan Biss
Monday, May 4 as of 2:00 p.m. CT:
Baritone Steven LaBrie, recently recovered from COVID-19, performs for Tulsa Opera followers
Monday, May 4 at 6:00 p.m. ET:
Jen Shyu hosts Jazz Gallery Happy Hour Hang
Tuesday, May 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET (subsequently available for 24 hours only):
2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit performs Virtually Gilmore finale recital
Tuesday, May 5 as of 1:00 p.m. PT: James Conlon discusses Beaumarchais and Mozart
on LA Opera James Conlon at Home podcast
Wednesday, May 6 as of 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera's Staying Alive continues with "semi-staged" selection from Sweeney Todd
Thursday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. PT:
UCLA virtual talk with James Conlon: "So you think you don't like Pelléas and Mélisande?"
Friday, May 8 as of 2:00 p.m. CT:
Madison Leonard sings George & Ira Gershwin's "Love Is Here to Stay," accompanied by Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker
Friday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's NWS Fellows: Live from our Living Room
Saturday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh's Alone Together series continues with Part VI
Minnesota Orchestra at Home
JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic WNED Classical to Present Weekly Broadcasts of Archived Live Concert Recordings
Over the next several weeks, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic musicians is partnering with WNED Classical, Buffalo Toronto Public Media's Classical music station, to broadcast free archived live recordings of BPO concerts. The BPO musicians have made a gift of their archived orchestral concerts to share with our audiences while their concert hall is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BPO concerts will be available each Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the next several weeks by tuning in to 94.5 FM, or by streaming at wned.org/classical, via the WNED Classical mobile app, or by listening to WNED Classical via smart speaker.
For complete information, visit https://bpo.org/
--Genevieve Spielberg Inc.
Colorado Music Festival Announces Cancellation of Summer Festival
The board of directors of the Colorado Music Festival (CMF) announces cancellation of the 2020 Colorado Music Festival, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-week summer concert series was scheduled to take place June 25 through August 1 at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado.
"While we are faced with the disappointment of canceling this year's Colorado Music Festival, we are grateful to have the opportunity to offer a virtual festival." For more information, visit https://coloradomusicfestival.org/
--Kirshbaum Associates Inc.
American Bach Soloists Will Be Here for You
Picture it…concert houses open…musicians in concert dress…patrons awaiting the downbeat…life has returned to normal…this is what we're all waiting for. American Bach Soloists will be here for you when we're able to reopen and when you're ready to venture out. Until then, we hope that you are being moved by our musical selections sent via e-mail as part of your daily engagement with us. (If you are not currently receiving them, you can visit americanbach.org/athome.)
Our first priority at ABS is the health and safety of our patrons, musicians, and staff. We are continuing to plan for the 2020 ABS Festival and Academy while we monitor up-to-the-minute information from the federal, state, and local governments concerning COVID-19, but because of this uncertainty, we have not yet placed tickets on sale. In coordination with our board of directors, we will release an official decision before June 1 concerning the status of the Festival and programming into the fall. We are considering our options with regards to physical distancing and creative presentations. In the meantime, you can visit our website, americanbach.org, and peruse our current plans for the Festival, as well as our 2020-2021 subscription season.
--Don Scott Carpenter, ABS
Meet the Staff
William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer
Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.
The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.