On another perfect Tanglewood Sunday afternoon (July 14th), the Koussevitsky Shed concert began with a Beethoven symphony and ended with the sensuous “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Strauss’s Salome. Between these came a challenging trumpet concerto written for and played by international superstar Håkan Hardenberger. [continued]
The Catalyst Quartet, an excellent contemporary-focused foursome, made its Maverick Concerts debut on Sunday with adept performances of Bach and Glass, before the Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler played three late Brahms Intermezzi and joined the foursome for the Franck Quintet. [continued]
Aston Magna’s selections and execution at Friday’s concert at Time and Space Ltd. in Hudson NY, “The World of Henry Purcell,” provided ample evidence to convince anyone who didn’t already know it, of the composer’s genius. [continued]
When two forces of nature, mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital and the esteemed Venice Baroque Orchestra, made friendly jousts on the Shalin Liu stage Friday July 12th, dazzling fireworks ensued. [continued]
With the vocal power of four major soloists and the brilliance of the TFC, Nelsons led the BSO in a majestic take on Verdi’s dramatic Manzoni Requiem at the shed Saturday. [continued]
The Sebago Long Lake Music Festival opened its 47th season Tuesday at the Deertrees Theater in Harrison, Maine with exhilarating and commendable examples from Amy Beach, neoclassical Stravinsky and the Dvořák. [continued]
Sandwiched between Copland’s Quiet Place and Third Symphony, Jan Lisiecki, a lanky 23-year-old budding superstar from Canada, thrilled the Tanglewood audience Friday night with a vivid, colorful, beautifully shaped traversal of Grieg’s Piano Concerto [continued]
American pianist Richard Goode played a remarkable recital at Rockport Music’s Shalin Liu Performance Center Saturday. Not for a single moment did he fail to enthrall and enlighten. [continued]
Morningside Music Bridge faculty successfully phrased complex longings, losses, frenzies and road trips Saturday evening at Jordan Hall. [continued]
The Mercury Orchestra, an accomplished volunteer contingent directed by the musical polymath Channing Yu, focused on late-romantic works ranging from romance through marriage, illicit love and ecstasy to death Sunday at Sanders; they did not disappoint. [continued]
Last Sunday’s Boston Pops program of John Williams’s music, with the composer conducting half in collaboration with Anne-Sophie Mutter, drew a substantial crowd. [continued]
“Reimagining Flamenco” provided a refreshing and largely effective offering of folk song arrangements by pianist Serouj Kradjian and guitarist Grisha Goryachev at Shalin Liu last night. [continued]
The BSO billed Saturday night’s concert at Tanglewood as a celebration of the life of Andre Previn, the polymath pianist (of both jazz and classical repertory), composer, and conductor, not to mention the sometime husband of the evening’s soloist, Anne-Sophie Mutter. [continued]
The violinist took the Ozawa Hall stage in a strapless blue-grey gown; equal parts formal and whimsical, it would turn out to be a subtle emblem of the exploration to come. [continued]
Andris Nelsons led the TMCO in Shostakovich and the world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Concerto for Trumpet Monday at Ozawa Hall; TMC conducting fellows Nathan Aspinall and Killian Farrell also took turns at the helm. [continued]
In the unlikely setting of Time and Space Ltd. in Hudson, Aston Magna dispensed a real treat, filling a small film theater on Friday with an audience almost as large as its entire previous season at Bard [continued]
The Escher String Quartet gave pleasure in full measure yesterday in Haydn, Shostakovitch and Smetana. [continued]
Pianist Max Levinson wowed at Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center Sunday as soloist and in collaborations with pianist Sae Yoon Chon, cellist Andés Díaz and violinist Barry Shiffman. [continued]
Emanuel Ax opened the summer’s first Koussevitzky Shed concert with a Mozart concerto, after which Nelsons and the BSO gave Mahler’s Fifth with real joy and quality. [continued]
The first-tier foursome went deep into discourse for Mozart’s “Dissonance,” Bartók’s Fourth, and a Beethoven “Razumovsky” before a sold-out Shalin Liu Performance Center Saturday. [continued]
John Harbison and others conducted the TMC Fellows and friends Monday, in the season’s first vocal program, which honored Sanford Sylvan and inaugurated the new Linde Center. Discussions over coffee prepared for the Coffee Cantata . [continued]
The well-respected Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts Summer Festival has relocated to the New England Conservatory. Beginning on August 7th, NEC’s attractive new Burnes Hall will ring out with distinguished performers of varied cultures and generations in 15 recitals. Hardly strangers to NEC, since 1990, FCPA has presented 131 memorable concerts in Jordan Hall with notable pianists, cellists, and violinists, in standard repertoire as well as some traditional Eastern instruments and rep. Click HERE for this impressive historical list.
Until this summer the annual music festival took place at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Its alumni include Lang Lang, Yeol Eum Son, Kate Liu, Eric Liu, and Channing Yu, to name a few. For the past 30 years, students have come from all over the world to enjoy three weeks of exhilarating music making with the festival’s distinguished faculty members. The residents enjoyed many masterclasses, daily evening performances and concerto competitions. It provided a perfect platform for students of Asian heritage to study abroad, and allowed them to jump right into the heart of the Boston musical scene. Over the years, many stayed after the festival to study at Walnut Hill, and students from different years bonded into a big family all over the world.
Sadly, earlier this year, Walnut Hills administrators informed FCPA that venue rental fees, would double and triple (presumably 3x the original amount) in the next. The Foundation kept its mission of creating an accessible musical platform for all students by making the tuition affordable, and offering some scholarships, even if it meant leaving a negative balance.
So, this sudden and substantial increase in rental fees made a dent spiritually and financially, directly causing the discontinuation of the annual festival. The news struck and saddened the music community of Greater Boston.
Nature planning to visit the Esplanade with rain, the Landmarks Orchestra concert will seek shelter in Jordan Hall tonight.
Boston Landmarks Orchestra begins its 19th season ( and 13th on the Hatch Shell) by commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo landing on the surface of the moon. In partnership with the Museum of Science, under the guidance of Wayne Bouchard, the Museum’s Interim President and CEO, and Danielle Khoury LeBlanc, Director of the Museum of Science’s Charles Hayden Planetarium, Wednesday’s program explores many aspects of the Apollo mission, space travel, and the wonders of the universe through the following works: John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Leroy Anderson’s Summer Skies, Richard Strauss’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, Joaquín Rodrigo’s In Search of the Beyond, John Williams’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Philip Glass’s Icarus at the Edge of Time (excerpt).
Charles Wilcox, the Planetarium’s AV Producer, Jason Fletcher, Associate Producer, Wade Sylvester, Special Effects Producer, and the staff of the Planetarium have created original video work, synchronized to the orchestra’s live performance. They have adapted material from the Planetarium’s full-dome science shows: Undiscovered Worlds; Moons: Worlds of Mystery; Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA; and Destination Mars: The New Frontier. They have also used material from the Planetarium’s extensive collection of entertainment programs featuring live musicians, entertainers, and albums by Beyoncé, David Bowie, Prince, and others.
Several years ago, Boston Symphony Artistic Administrator Anthony Fogg suggested a way of expanding the use of the Tanglewood facilities beyond the active period from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and also to provide a greater range of intellectual stimulation to Tanglewood visitors. The suggestion grew into the Linde Center, which consists of indoor spaces (to be cooled in the summer and heated in the winter) as well as a food service. The buildings that form the line of halls strung attractively along a covered walkway a short distance from Ozawa Hall were designed by William Rawn, the architect whose plans for Ozawa Hall proved so exceptional a quarter century ago. The formal opening took place a week ago, and the Linde Center is being used extensively during this summer, with a growing list of activities expected in later months.
In addition to the many types of performances, the Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI) will present open rehearsals, master classes, interviews with leading artists, a series of lecture talks by distinguished participants who are not themselves musicians, but who may include some element of music’s relationship to their life and work. The first of this summer’s high profile lectures featured former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, speaking in Ozawa Hall on Saturday afternoon for about 40 minutes, followed by 15 or 20 minutes of questions posed by Ranny Cooper, who was Senator Ted Kennedy’s chief of staff.
As was the case with many of its distinctive offerings, WHRB’s first nine-hour July 4th American classical music program came at the initiative of David Elliott, the voice of WHRB for 58 years. The station was broadcasting 24/7 by the year 2000, and he felt that it should recognize the Fourth with selections going beyond the usual warhorses (e.g., Appalachian Spring, Rhapsody in Blue). David attended scrupulously to every detail as he would do in his famed post-Met vocal broadcasts. He took time selecting each piece, comparing performances, and ensuring that each work flowed well into the next in order to give listeners a relaxing, enjoyable, and ear-opening nine-hour musical journey through American history.
I had developed an interest in American classical music early on when I first became aware of Aaron Copland while watching him conduct the New York Philharmonic in his own music on a Young People’s Concert telecast over CBS in December, 1969. WHRB was a wonderful place for me to explore this interest in greater depth and one of the highlights of my Harvard years was when David arranged for us to interview Copland during a visit he made to campus in November, 1977.
Every Wednesday night, beginning July 10th, and continuing for seven weeks, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, made up of many of the area’s finest professional musicians, will offer free concerts at the Hatch Memorial Shell on Boston’s Esplanade. All concerts begin at 7 pm; the Season Tune-Up Party on July 10th begins at 6 pm.
In case of rain, most concerts are rescheduled for Thursday (though not all). If it rains on Thursday as well, concerts take place at an alternate venue (in most cases). Check the Boston Landmarks Orchestra website for rain plans, as they vary from week to week.
We use great music to bring together people from diverse backgrounds, and to address issues of vital importance to our community. Community involvement is the starting point in our planning process, not an added element. We offer concerts in a spirit of informality and fun. Children dance in front of the stage. A Maestro Zone is available where people of all ages can look at a conductor’s score, wave a baton, and receive a conducting lesson. Best of all—to certain people—we encourage you to bring your dog to any of our concerts.
This summer’s Aston Magna Festival begins with “The Birth of the String Quartet,” an exploration of the roots of that iconic ensemble, so central to Western music of the last three and a half centuries. Born of ensemble music for winds and gambas that flourished in the early 17th century, the string quartet as we know it had a long gestation period. Multi-movement string quartets like those of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are a mid-18th-century phenomenon, but they were preceded by a rich literature of single-movement works going back more than a century. We feature two of those on our program, one each by Dario Castello and Henry Purcell. Two other works by early 18th-century composers — Caldara and Telemann — are two- and three-movement works respectively. (Telemann’s sole essay for string quartet is a fiddler’s joy!). Next on the program is a three-movement quartet by Franz Xavier Richter, a Czech who composed one of the first sets of six quartets (a standard practice, it seems, that Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven all later indulged in). Richter’s quartets are fresh, vivacious and egalitarian: all four players have regular solo turns.
The second half of our program features early quartets of Haydn and Mozart as well as a late, mature work of Haydn (“The Rider”). Mozart’s K. 156 (he was 16) is alternately elegant and profound. The two quartets by Haydn (Op. 0 [!] and Op. 74) dramatize his remarkable growth over a long, fruitful career. Haydn is often credited with having “invented” the string quartet, and these two works certainly demonstrate how Haydn developed the form so audaciously that it is no wonder that Mozart and Beethoven emulated him and built on his models. But a rich and varied store of pre-Haydn quartets deserve hearing, many republished only recently.
Organist Peter Krasinki, having been deeply moved by the destruction at the Paris landmark, will be providing a musical underlining for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” one of the most iconic films of the silent era, to encourage offerings for the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral. The 1923 movie depicts the tortured hunchback Quasimodo in the person of the man of 1,000 faces, Lon Chaney. Misunderstood by nearly everyone but Esmeralda, he saved the holy edifice, crying “Sanctuary.” Directed by Wallace Worsley, and produced by Carl Laemmle, Universal’s “Super Jewel” of 1923, the company’s most successful silent film, grossed $3.5 million.
Peter Krasinski, a leading improvisational accompanist of silent film, will provide a “composition in real time” utilizing the spectacular 1921 Skinner pipe organ (opus 308) at Old South Church in Boston on Wednesday, July 3, 7:30 PM.
Beginning with a festive June 14th opener celebrating the Roaring ’20s in jazz, chamber music, and even an accompanied photoplay, the 38th-Rockport Chamber Music Festival, “Source and Inspiration,” will peel back the layers of the creative process, exploring the many sources that inspired composers and performers, it also promises to serve as a deep well of inspiration for all who attend the festival events. The gorgeous seaside venue will once again be the go-to site for top chamber music from veteran and upcoming performers. Artistic Director Barry Shiffman has inked a season with variety, tradition and pizzazz, as he tells us below.
Source and Inspiration: Is this a marketing label, or will the thematic glue be apparent to audiences who attend one or two events, or does it only emerge over several of the 30 events between June 14th and August 31st?
BS: The theme applies throughout the festival, from our opening night connecting jazz influence with the great French composers, to the splendor of mountains inspiring the film Mountain, dance inspiring “Take this Waltz” program, or A Far Cry performing Lembit Beecher. I don’t think that contemplation of the theme is necessary to enjoying a concert or a number of concerts, but is an interesting guiding light for the curation of the festival. I have been fascinated with the many ways a composer finds and reacts to that source of inspiration. I hope the audience enjoys seeing and hearing these links.
Are there individuals making festival debuts that you would like to highlight?