News & Features

February 20, 2017

Gubaidulina Honored by BSO and NEC


The grippingly intense, expressive and often spiritual music of the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931) has led many “to hail her as the truest successor to Shostakovich” (Ted Libbey). For almost 30 years Gubaidulina has had a close relationship with the BSO, but next week will be a special one for her in town. On    [continued]

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February 19, 2017

Billings, Swan, et al. Between New Covers?


With the help of our readers, an impressive anthology of “shape-note” choral music of America from 1770 to 1860—with some pieces in the same style dating to as recently as 2008— could be published. American Harmony, the brainchild of Nym Cooke, a leading American authority on early choral music, is to be published by David    [continued]

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February 12, 2017

Local Band Makes Good: BSO Grammy Repeat


Considering his upbringing in a formerly brutalized small country that only recently had come into liberalization and independence, it’s not surprising that Latvian conductor Andris Nelson has deep responsiveness to a collectively remembered dark past. For the second year in a row, the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons has garnered the Best Orchestral Performance Grammy    [continued]

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February 6, 2017

First Nico Muhly Festival, at BoCo Berklee


Starting Tuesday and continuing through the weekend, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee will hold its annual New Music Festival: The Music of Nico Muhly, February 7–12, with Kunkemueller artist-in-residence Muhly on campus for the duration. He begins his residency at the Conservatory today, February 6; it ends Saturday, on the date of the 150th anniversary of the institution.    [continued]

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February 2, 2017

A New Leader for TFC


The BSO has announced the appointment of James Burton as conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and also the new role of BSO choral director. Burton will be only the second leader of TFC, founded in 1970. The appointment of the British-born choral conductor takes effect immediately, in conjunction with this week’s Andris Nelsons-led BSO    [continued]

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January 26, 2017

BSO To Paint Light


The Boston Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts running February 9 – 11 bring the popular local women’s vocal ensemble  Lorelei to the Symphony Hall stage alongside noted countertenor Bejun Mehta for the Boston premiere of George Benjamin’s orchestral song cycle Dream of the Song, a BSO co-commission for the Tanglewood Music Center’s 75th Anniversary Season in    [continued]

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Respected Chorus Plans Benefit


Boston’s Back Bay Chorale, a 120-member auditioned chorus led since 2004 by Music Director Scott Allen Jarrett, draws experienced singers from the metropolitan area. Even in a city especially blessed by a great number and variety of singing ensembles, the Chorale has an enviable reputation among nonprofessional choruses for its high-quality performances, imaginative programming, commitment    [continued]

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January 23, 2017

Art, Music, and Performance To Mix in Calderwood Cube


The “exploratory and innovative” cantata, Sound from the Bench, will play the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on February 2nd as a part of the lively STIR! Performance Series. Beth Morrison Projects have attracted positive attention from BMInt writers on a couple of past occasions. Laura Stansfield Prichard opined positively [here] in 2015 and Stephen Ledbetter    [continued]

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January 16, 2017

Saying “I Do” and “Yes We Can” to Le Nozze


The Harvard College Opera Society, formerly the Dunster House Opera Society, began 25 years as the University’s premier undergraduate company. HCO now presents one full-length opera each February with an entirely-undergraduate cast and production team. This year’s Le Nozze di Figaro features over 50 students from Harvard College, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and the    [continued]

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January 12, 2017

Eighteen Far Flyers Flocking


In the expectant room a quiet composer, 18 musicians with 18 individual parts. The musicians count to 4 together, a silent “measure for nothing.” That’s the last gesture we’ll make together for most of the first movement of the new work we’re rehearsing for our concert at Jordan Hall on Friday One by one, we    [continued]

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January 11, 2017

Juditha Triumphans(es) at Longy


Think of Antonio Vivaldi, and the brilliant violinist and prolific composer of sonatas and concertos for violin and other solo instruments most likely comes to mind. Yet Vivaldi was also an important composer of vocal music: some 21 operas, over three dozen secular cantatas, and a substantial number of sacred works have survived. While serving    [continued]

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January 6, 2017

STEPs Small and Large


A few days before the next political chapter of our polarized era officially begins, we will be honoring Martin Luther King Jr., the assassinated civil rights pioneer and man of peace, on the 88th anniversary of his birth. As part of the Monday, January 16th observance, Project STEP, the string training and education program founded    [continued]

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January 2, 2017

Collaborators Hold Mirror to Schumann and Argento


Turning the expression of a conventional song cycle graphic supports suspension of disbelief for some and suppresses it for others able to fantasize richly. Some pieces exist to burst genres—a ballet of the Matthew Passion and an opera of Mendelssohn’s Elijah come instantly to mind. An April outing had mezzo Susan Graham bring heightened intensity    [continued]

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December 29, 2016

BSO Leads: Steppin’ Out in ’17


The most self-effacing team-member orchestral musicians still like to shine once in a while, so select Boston Symphony players will be featured as soloists in a wide-ranging concerto program led by assistant conductor Ken-David Masur January 5-7. The selections, Baroque to modern, feature concertos by Vivaldi, Krommer, Schumann, Jolivet, and Rota. To ring in the    [continued]

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December 21, 2016

Yehudi Wyner Celebrated, Fittingly


The content of some “modern” music is just as human as what is thought of as “classical,” composer Yehudi Wyner explained to the audience at the concert featuring his music at the Boston Athenæum on Monday evening. His explanatory remarks were well taken; although there were a number of active composers, music critics and announcers,    [continued]


December 13, 2016

Retrospectively Ours


In early 2008, a bon vivant classical impresario, a veteran journalist, and a renowned musicologist-pianist began to free-associate about the decline of classical music print journalism. A few months later, I hit the “publish” button for the Boston Musical Intelligencer. An entirely volunteer undertaking, we’ve had no business plan or dedicated revenue stream beyond the    [continued]

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December 3, 2016

Stravinsky Streams


How often does one get a chance to hear a major new work by Stravinsky? I am at least elementarily familiar with every known work of his; I was present in 1959 for the world premiere of the Double Canon in memoriam Raoul Dufy; ten years later I heard the first performances of the incomplete    [continued]


December 1, 2016

Valedictory Schubert From Indispensable Pianist


David Deveau devotes his upcoming Kresge recital to the final two Schubert piano sonatas: the A Major (D.959) and in B-flat Major (D.960). Presented by Music and Theater Arts at MIT, the concert on Sunday at 4:00 is free and open to the public. Recently busy as a soloist abroad in such places as Shanghai,    [continued]

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November 30, 2016

Russell Oberlin: 1928 – 2016


The stuff of legend since his retirement from the concert stage in 1965, the distinguished countertenor died in New York City on November 26, 2016 at the age of 88. Russell Oberlin’s legacy will long endure in the recordings he made and musicians he mentored and inspired. One such shares his personal tribute. His beautiful,    [continued]


November 28, 2016

Celebrated Soprano and Brilliant Harpist To Collaborate


Coloratura soprano assoluta Diana Damrau is inked to play an emotional and intimate Celebrity Series recital of works by by Debussy, Smetana, Richard Strauss, Reynaldo Hahn, Chausson, Fauré, Duparc and Eva Dall’Acqua with sui generis harpist Xavier de Maistre on December 4th in Jordan Hall at 3. The complete program is here. JC: An emerging    [continued]

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November 25, 2016

Benefit Transcends Expectations


When an ad-hoc consortium of Boston-area musicians teamed up for a November 12th concert to benefit victims of Syria’s brutal civil war [see BMInt’s feature here], they were hoping to do at least as well as the similar event held last year. Rather, the emotion-laden reprise raised four times as much. On Thanksgiving Day, Joel    [continued]

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November 17, 2016

Tanglewood 2017 Already?


The programs scheduled for this coming summer at Tanglewood are variously exciting, quirky, and delightful, depending on your taste and when you’re going to be there. There’s a rich assortment of operatic, orchestral, chamber, solo, dramatic, choreographic, and even literary events well distributed over a two-month summer season from summer solstice almost to Labor Day,    [continued]

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November 15, 2016

Jules Eskin, 1931-2016


“Possessed of a certain glamor”, reported Michael Steinberg in the Globe in 1964 of the BSO’s new 32-year-old principal cellist Jules Eskin, who died today in Brookline, of cancer at 85. Of his debut, some months later, in the Brahms Double Concerto with concertmaster Joseph Silverstein: “Eskin’s tone [is] warm…. His style is chamber-musical, rather quietly inflected….    [continued]


November 12, 2016

Greek for the Strong of Heart


Boston Lyric Opera brings a new British verismo opera to Boston’s Paramount Center at Emerson on ‘Wednesday through Sunday. “Turnage’s opera Greek, and the play it’s based on, Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus Rex  [multiple-choice test for classicists HERE], tamper a bit with the story,” according to director Sam Helfrich. “I like messing with the classic model, finding a    [continued]

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November 11, 2016

Musicians Attempt Relief


An array of classical musicians from the Boston area will be offering a free concert to benefit Syrian humanitarian work on November 12th at 8pm at the United Parish Church Brookline, 210 Harvard Street. “A Song for Syria” will bring together six well-known ensembles under the same roof to raise awareness and provide funding for    [continued]


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