July 6, 2015

in: Reviews

Half a Tasty Loaf at Maverick

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Pianist Adam Tendler’s all-American Fourth of July program was the most adventurous concert of the entire Maverick season. He really brought Cowell and Cage alive.     [continued]

July 4, 2015

in: Reviews

BSO’s Americana Anticipated the Fourth

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Tanglewood began its Independence Day celebration with an eve-of-the-Fourth BSO program entirely made up of Americana. Canadian conductor Jacques Lacombe led music by John Harbison, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Duke Ellington.     [continued]

July 3, 2015

in: Reviews

Baroque Orchestra Conquers Tanglewood

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Only a few minutes into the concert by Apollo’s Fire last night in Ozawa Hall, one realized that this was going to be no typical Baroque sewing-machine outing.     [continued]

June 29, 2015

in: Reviews

Bohemians Alongside Revolutionaries at Faneuil Hall

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Though Faneuil Hall may not be the first place one might expect to experience La Bohème, NEMPAC proved that the limitations imposed by the unlikely venue could not stop dedicated and talented performing artists from producing compelling work.   [continued]

June 29, 2015

in: Reviews

Latin Accents at Shalin Liu

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Cuarteto Latinoamericano produced ample sustenance in its music from south (sometimes very far south) of the border for the Rockport Chamber Music Festival on Sunday.     [continued]

June 28, 2015

in: Reviews

Maverick 1 Repeats at Maverick 100

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The Shanghai Quartet and pianist Ran Dank reprised one of the concerts given in the festival’s first season 100 years ago. The program we heard Sunday demonstrated the good taste of Maverick’s founders in performances likely well beyond what they heard.     [continued]

June 28, 2015

in: Reviews

Maverick Begins 100th Season with Many Bangs

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The 100th season began on Saturday with NEXUS, an internationally known touring percussion ensemble, familiar to local audiences from the Woodstock Beat concerts and the bi-annual Drum Boogie Festival.    [continued]

June 28, 2015

in: Reviews

True Artists Sharing the Bench

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That Peter Serkin and Julia Hsu are adventurous pianists, great musicians, and true artists became quickly apparent last night at the Shalin Liu Center.    [continued]

June 28, 2015

in: Reviews

Pianist Symposes Unerroneously

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Antonio Pompa-Baldi gave a stunning recital of Chopin, Grieg, and Debussy Friday night at the Rivers School in Weston as part of the Chopin Symposium.     [continued]

June 26, 2015

in: Reviews

More Fine Chamber Music in Rockport

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An exemplary and varied program of chamber music delighted a Shalin Liu Performance Center audience Thursday as the eminent pianist Emmanuel Ax joined members of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.     [continued]

June 25, 2015

in: Reviews

SoHip’s Sublime Prière

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SoHIP’s  2015 Summer Concert Season opened with “Prière: 1 7th-century French music for voices and viols,” featuring Tramontana and Long & Away.  The series of three concerts continues in Andover and Lindsey Chapel at Emmanuel Church, Boston.    [continued]

June 24, 2015

in: Reviews

Composer Matthew Aucoin Rising in Rockport

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Mid-20s Boston composer Matthew Aucoin appeared Tuesday night on the Rockport Music Festival’s Rising Stars program with a grab bag sampler of music written over the past 3-4 years.     [continued]

June 23, 2015

in: Reviews

BOC Redux: A Return to Grover’s Corners

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Boston Opera Collaborative concluded its run of Ned Rorem’s Our Town at Suffolk University’s Modern Theater on Friday, My thoughts on the June 14/19 cast and BOC’s 2014-15 season follow.     [continued]

June 22, 2015

in: Reviews

Maverick at 100

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To open its centennial season, Maverick Concerts in Woodstock offered a long day of free music on Sunday. The folk, jazz and classical segments sampled from genres offered during the regular Maverick season.     [continued]

June 22, 2015

in: Reviews

Jupiter Sandwich at Rockport

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Su Lian Tan’s 2002 sometimes perplexing Life of Wayang came between gemütlich Schubert and Brahms mit Schwung in Sunday’s Shalin Liu concert by the Jupiter String Quartet and friends.     [continued]

June 22, 2015

in: Reviews

Hamelin: Pleasures from Introversion

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It’s unlikely that pianist Marc-André Hamelin is really less concerned with being communicative and extroverted than most touring pianists. Yet much of his playing Saturday night at Rockport Music felt private.     [continued]

June 21, 2015

in: Reviews

GuitarFest 10 Ends Dramatically

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NEC’s Eliot Fisk, quite possibly the finest classical guitarist in the world, presided over a week of guitar concerts, clinics and competitions. Saturday night’s highlight was Ralf Gawlick’s Kollwitz-Konnex for guitar and voice.    [continued]

June 21, 2015

in: Reviews

Handel and Haydn Sings to Choral Pros

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The eclectic “Handel and Haydn Sings,” given Thursday in Symphony Hall, brought stunningly sung and played works of Handel, Gabriela Lena Frank, Palestrina, Bach, Arvo Pärt and James MacMillan.       [continued]

June 20, 2015

in: Reviews

Quotidian Joys in BOC’s Our Town

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Rorem’s Our Town finally came to roost in in Boston Opera Collaborative’s production at the Modern Theater.     [continued]

June 20, 2015

in: Reviews

A Quartet with a Style

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The formidable Jupiter String Quartet gave an ambitious program of Beethoven, Hindemith and Brahms in striking, engrossing, and dynamic performances at Shalin Liu Performance Center on Friday.     [continued]

June 19, 2015

in: Reviews

Thomas Adès: Powder Her Face

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Odyssey Opera gave the remarkable 1995 opera Powder Her Face last night in an excellent production which continues on Saturday and Sunday at the Boston Conservatory Theater.     [continued]

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July 1, 2015

in: News & Features

George Li Takes Tchaikovsky Silver

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George Li 2nd place19-year-old pianist George Li, who hails from Lexington, has been awarded the silver medal in the XVth International Tchaikovsky Competition. Dmitry Masleev, 27, from Russia, took gold.

Held quadrennially in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Tchaikovsky Competition (aka the ‘musical Olympics’) features four flavors of musician: pianist, violinist, cellist, and vocalist. The goal of the Competition is to discover and showcase young talent; competitors range in age from 16 to 32. It was in the inaugural Competition, debuted during the height of the Cold War back in 1958, that American pianist Van Cliburn vaulted onto the international stage by overcoming a frigid Soviet judging environment and capturing first prize. (The eight-minute ovation following his final performance no doubt didn’t hurt.) No American has captured the gold since. This year’s competition, commemorating the 175th anniversary of its eponymous composer’s birth, attracted a total of 623 applicants from 45 countries. [continued…]

June 27, 2015

in: News & Features

Pianist George Li Is Tchaikovsky Finalist

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George Li (file photo)

George Li (file photo)

Readers who have not been following the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow should know that this grueling and highly competitive event is held once every four years and is sometimes referred to as the ‘musical Olympics.’  It was in the first Tchaikovsky Competition, back in 1958, that Van Cliburn vaulted onto the international stage.  Pianists, violinists, cellists, and vocalists have been competing for about the last ten days.

 After a staggering amount of consistently high-caliber music-making during an audition phase, a Round I phase [50-minute solo recital], a Round II, Stage I phase [another, completely different, hour-long solo recital], and a Round II, Stage II phase [Mozart concerto with chamber orchestra], the initial field of 55 accomplished pianists from around the world has been narrowed to six finalists.  And our own George Li, from Lexington and now studying in the Harvard-NEC dual-degree program, is one of those finalists!

This competition is being broadcast live online in a surprisingly high-quality production by Medici TV.  George’s performance in the finals is tomorrow, 28 June, at approximately 12.45 p.m. EDT.  He’ll be performing not one, but two massive Romantic piano concertos, the Tchaikovsky No. 1 and the Prokofiev No. 3. A link to the live online broadcast is here, and Li’s website is here

June 21, 2015

in: News & Features

Gunther Schuller, 1925-2015

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Composer, educator, classical / jazz crossover artist and promoter, French horn virtuoso, conductor, writer and historian, indeed musical giant of the widest-ranging sort, Gunther Schuller died last Sunday in Boston, age 89. [continued…]

June 20, 2015

in: News & Features

Chopin Symposium To Unfold

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ChopinIn its seventh year at the comfortable and sonorous Rivera Recital Hall at the Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, the Chopin Symposium once again celebrates the life and art of Fryderyk Chopin in a series of lectures and recitals intended to cast new light on the composer and his works. In speaking of “…the diversity of ideas that can be expounded on using Chopin as a starting point,” artistic director Roberto Poli is referring to this year’s broad, diverse program which ranges from a lecture exploring the influence of Chopin on Scriabin, to a recreation of Chopin’s official debut in Paris. Music and words weave in and out of each other as the symposium celebrates the composer through and discussions about his life and art throughout the weekend of June 26th through June 28th . [continued…]

June 20, 2015

in: News & Features

NH Hills Are Alive, Have Ears

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Jaffrey Centre Meeting House

Jaffrey Centre Meeting House

Veteran local concertgoers and readers will be able to recall Monadnock Music from the same memory bank where reside the BSO, Cantata Singers, Camerata, Handel+Haydn, and our other venerable musical institutions. And now MM turns 50, and soon will again begin serenading southern New Hampshire with its signature mix of nine free concerts in historic country churches and four ticketed main events at the air-conditioned Peterborough Town House.

Conductor/artistic director Gil Rose and his Monadnock Music Festival Orchestra (including many familiar Boston freelancers) opens the season there on July 10th with Beethoven’s First and Third symphonies. And actually the first country church concert will be in a synagogue: Rachmaninoff, Joan Tower, and Schubert at Congregation Ahavas Achim in Keene on July 12th. Famous visitors include Boston Modern Orchestra Project with modern Americana and pianist Christopher O’Riley. The schedule is here, or consult BMInt’s Upcoming Events. [continued…]

June 16, 2015

in: News & Features

A Premiere for H+H 200th Season Closer

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In celebration of the Chorus America conference in Boston, the Handel and Haydn Society’s bicentennial celebration concludes Thursday evening at Symphony Hall with Handel+Haydn Sings, a choral program comprising soaring selections from four centuries. Featured are works of Handel including Messiah part III, Palestrina, MacMillan, Bach, and Pärt. The world premiere is a setting of R.W. Emerson’s Emancipation poem Boston Hymn by award-winning American composer Gabriela Lena Frank (b.1972), entitled My Angel, His Name Is Freedom. (See end for program details.)

Delivered January 1st 1863 and published in the Atlantic the next month, Boston Hymn is a stirring piece of work whose mighty language and sentiment are capable of reverberation and resonance today at the 150th anniversary year of the Appomattox surrender concluding the Civil War.

 BMInt recently spoke with Frank about it all. [continued…]

June 15, 2015

in: Reviews

The Guitar as an Orchestra

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GuitarBoston GuitarFest X: The Eternal Feminine begins Wednesday at 8pm at Northeastern University’s Fenway Center with a solo recital by 2014 competition winner Xavier Jara, including last year’s winning composition, Obsession, by Viet P. Cuong.

The events continue through the 20th at various locations; listings here.

The theme of the festival is from the famous last line of Goethe’s Faust, “Das Ewig-Weibliche / Zieht uns hinan” (Donna Hewitt: “Eternal anima compels us on”; Larry Rothe: “The eternal feminine draws us toward her!”), but refers also to the Kollwitz-Konnex, Boston College composer Ralf Gawlick’s monumental song cycle for soprano and guitar inspired by self-portraits and diary entries of the German expressionist artist Käthe Kollwitz. Kollwitz-Konnex is dedicated to the performers, GuitarFest artistic director and guitarist Eliot Fisk and soprano Anne Harley, and will be featured Saturday at 8:00 at Jordan Hall.

Gawlick and Fisk recently had a discursive discussion with BMInt.

[continued…]

June 14, 2015

in: News & Features

Sweelink’s Impact

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John Scott’s recital, the third in Boston Early Music Festival’s day-long Mini-Organ Festival, featured composers from North Germany who were influenced by the Netherlands organist Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck: Jacob Praetorius, Heinrich Scheidemann, Samuel Scheidt, Melchior Schildt, and “rounding the afternoon off with the towering figure of Dietrich Buxtehude.” The concert by Scott, the understandably returning performer for BEMF, was superb, but so was his pre-concert mini-lecture. At our request, it is offered here, as an example of the scholarship so present at BEMF. See related review here.                   Bettina A. Norton

The overwhelming and far-reaching influence of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck is everywhere apparent. His historical significance would be assured even if not a note of his music had survived, for he represents the highest development of the Dutch keyboard school and indeed was a pinnacle in keyboard contrapuntal complexity and refinement before J.S. Bach. Sweelinck was the teacher of some of the most important German composers of the early 17th century. This concert focused on the impact that Sweelinck’s compositions and teaching had on the next generation of North German organists—particularly Samuel Scheidt, Heinrich Scheidemann, and Jacob Praetorius. [continued…]

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