February 16, 2018

in: Reviews

BSO’s French Roots Show

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Highlighting a musical belle époque, the BSO’s plenteousness of Debussy and Ravel featured pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and conductor Jacques Lacombe on Thursday.    [continued]

February 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Birthday Tribute to Legendary Composer

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An 80th birthday tribute to Joan Tower at New England Conservatory’s Brown Hall involved the NEC Trombone Quartet, the NEC Percussion Ensemble, and  Borromeo String Quartet; all helped celebrate Tower’s chamber music, with the added dollop of a premiere of a new percussion solo.    [continued]

February 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Hong Xu Shines

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With little ceremony, and a noticeable lack of attitude, the Chinese pianist Hong Xu delivered Mozart’s and Liszt’s goods to most satisfying effect in the BU School of Music Concert Hall Monday.    [continued]

February 14, 2018

in: Reviews

H + H + Brahms??

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The Gardner featured eight members of Handel and Haydn Society Sunday in two major works one doesn’t associate with this group: Brahms’s Horn Trio and his Sextet in G Major.    [continued]

February 13, 2018

in: Reviews

Assads And Avital Astonish

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Sparks flew Saturday night as brilliant Brazilian brother guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad partnered with Israeli mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital in a spectacular concert sponsored by Boston Celebrity Series at Jordan Hall.    [continued]

February 12, 2018

in: Reviews

GWO and BSO Musicians Tangle

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“Leipzig Week in Boston” wrapped Sunday with the Gewandhaus Quartett and the Boston Orchestra Chamber Players (and guests) in a joint performance. Sonic sensations abounded.    [continued]

February 12, 2018

in: Reviews

NEC’s Magical Flute

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Deftly endowed with details of singing, playing and design, the Conservatory’s production of the Mozart masterwork showed a freshness within convention that other companies should note. Continues Monday and Tuesday at the Cutler Majestic.    [continued]

February 10, 2018

in: Reviews

Chadwick’s Tabasco Shakes Up New Orleans

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On the last weekend of January, at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, the New Orleans Opera mounted George W. Chadwick’s “burlesque opera” Tabasco for the first time since its original productions in 1894. Our far-flung author, an expert on the composer, tells a large story about the opera’s history and reviews the current revival.    [continued]

February 10, 2018

in: Reviews

BMOP Honors Joan Tower

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Offering five titles by one of the few women composers an orchestral concertgoer might recognize, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project did its part to banish compositional gender inequality.    [continued]

February 9, 2018

in: Reviews

BSO Salutes Leipzig

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Last night the BSO featured three composers associated with Leipzig, Schumann Mendelssohn and Bach, as well as a commission, also chosen to mark the new collaborative spirit between the BSO and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.    [continued]

February 9, 2018

in: Reviews

NEC Quartet Struts

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The quartet in residence in New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Training Program gave indications of emotional and musical nous at various highpoints in its official annual Jordan Hall recital Thursday night.    [continued]

February 8, 2018

in: Reviews

Darkness Has Its Uses

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BU Opera Institute’s effective Albert Herring depicts with quite some serious comic flair how late-Victorian life can life mirror our own. The production continues its run Friday and Saturday at the Paramount.    [continued]

February 7, 2018

in: Reviews

Archaic Deities at the Gardner

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The Curtis-based Zorá String Quartet brought related Mendelssohn and Beethoven standards to new life during its Boston debut in Calderwood Hall  on Sunday afternoon.    [continued]

February 6, 2018

in: Reviews

Getting a Head Start on Leipzig Week

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Emmanuel Music’s Felix Mendelssohn/Hugo Wolf Chamber Series coincided on Sunday with the opening of Leipzig Week in Boston and fell the day after Mendelssohn’s 209th birthday.    [continued]

February 6, 2018

in: Reviews

Rule Breakers and Rule Makers

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Chameleon Arts Ensemble core members Robyn Bollinger, violin; and Elizabeth Schumann, piano, and Artistic Director Deborah Boldin, imagined some fine Close Up programming at Old South Church Sunday.    [continued]

February 5, 2018

in: Reviews

Cantata Singers Burst Academic Chamber

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The classy, capacious, and comfy American Academy for Arts and Sciences hosted the Cantata Singers Chamber Series Friday in mostly little-known but intensely engaging vocal music from South America and Spain.    [continued]

February 5, 2018

in: Reviews

The Viola Steps Out at Tufts

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Violist Scott Woolweaver and pianist Janice Weber brought “Across the Sapphire Sea: British Viola Music at the Turn of the 20th Century” to the Distler Performance Hall on the Tufts University Campus on Friday with romance and finesse.    [continued]

February 4, 2018

in: Reviews

Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theater Works

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Efstratios Minakakis lead a mixture of area professionals and New England Conservatory students in Alea III’s eclectic Thursday night of response works and soundscapes.    [continued]

February 2, 2018

in: Reviews

BSO Makes Much of Mozart and Shostakovich

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Both works in the BSO paring of Mozart’s K.361 Serenade for 13 Instruments (later know as Gran Partita) with Shostakovich’s song-cycle Symphony No. 14  employed modest forces, but Kristine Opolais and Ukrainian bass Alexander Tsymbalyuk added some star power Thursday night.    [continued]

February 1, 2018

in: Reviews

Suitably Irreverent Bat Echolocates at Agassiz

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In Harvard College Opera’s undergraduate take on Die Fledermaus at Agassiz Theater, the requisite “feather-brained levity” certainly obtained on Wednesday. The run continues through Sunday.    [continued]

January 31, 2018

in: Reviews

Janice Weber High on Vivace

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Time, tempos, ambition, and acoustics conspired to thwart the veteran Boston Conservatory pianist Tuesday night.    [continued]

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February 16, 2018

in: News & Features

Rzewski Makes the Political Personal

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Benjamin Beilman (Giorgia-Bertazzi)

Dog bites man is famously not news, and violinist and pianist playing Beethoven and Bartok sonatas isn’t either, but a brand-new work from Frederic Rzewski, not only co-commissioned by the Celebrity Series of Boston but tuned politically to the present—that’s news.

For the Celebrity Debut Series at Longy’s Pickman Hall at 8pm on Wednesday March 7, violinist Benjamin Beilman will play, with pianist Orion Weiss, Beethoven’s first and last Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Nos. 1 and 10, Bartók’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2, and Frederic Rzewski’s Demons, a sonata commissioned by Music Accord, of which the Celebrity Series is a member. Beilman has been characterized in the Washington Post as “mightily impressive,” and the New York Times described his playing as “muscular with a glint of violence.”

But our hook is Rzewski’s Demons, written for Beilman and Weiss spring-summer of 2017 and dedicated to Angela Davis. The composer, probably known best for his famous mid-1970s variation set The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, explains: [continued…]

February 5, 2018

in: News & Features

Two Orchestras and One World

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It all started with Bach

At a gala at the Boston Public Library Monday night, leadership of the Boston Symphony Orchestra declared “Leipzig Week” underway. Lectures and performances throughout the week mark a new partnership between the BSO and the Gewandhausochester Leipzig (GHO), a major German orchestra hailing from the city once home to J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and others. The partnership came about as the result of a job offer. BSO music director Andris Nelsons was extended GHO’s Gewandhauskapellmeister role, and while multiple positions (sometimes on multiple continents) are realities for many of today’s first-class conductors, the two storied orchestras decided to make a virtue of sharing him.

Professor Christoph Wolff (whose remarks begin below) spoke of the many similarities between the history of the GHO and BSO, as did directors of both organizations, Leipzig’s cultural mayor, and Nelsons himself. A performance of two movements of Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44 by the Gewandhaus-Quartett and sometime-Boston pianist Kirill Gerstein, showed that the GHO is a good match for Boston’s best.  The City of Leipzig seems to be taking the collaboration seriously; its mayor is even making a visit this week. (There was no word on whether Marty Walsh would make a reciprocal visit during an next year’s “Boston Week” in Leipzig.)

The partnership, which also plans joint commissions and exchange opportunities in the future, will continue with lectures on Tuesday and Wednesday at the library, and performances the rest of the week at Symphony Hall and at the Boston Athenæum. (see BMInt’s Upcoming Events and our article HERE for details).      (by Lucas Phillips)

[continued…]

February 2, 2018

in: News & Features

Hearing Leipzig in Symphony Hall

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Our BMInt colleague David Griesinger has agreed to preview a short lecture on the acoustics of Boston Symphony Hall that he will deliver during a free public symposium at the Boston Public Library Tuesday February 7th from 6 to 7 pm, part of a celebration of the collaboration between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.

He will illustrate the features in the Boston Symphony Hall that may be responsible for its fine acoustics, and compare it with its famous predecessors in Leipzig, the Altes Gewandhaus, where Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and many others composed or performed, and the Neue Gewandhaus, which in 1885 replaced the earlier hall.

[continued…]

January 29, 2018

in: News & Features

Leipzigers To Partner with BSO Volk

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Andris Nelsons (by MaxPPP)

The announcement in September 2015 that Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons would also become the 21st Kapellmeister of the 275-year-old Leipzig Gewandhausorchester included the news of a “…strategic alliance [that] will allow Andris to consolidate the core of his European work in a place that shares a musical heritage with the BSO.” The five-year artistic partnership between the two institutions [earlier BMInt article HERE] kicks off its first “Leipzig Week in Boston” with celebrations, lectures, and concerts at the Boston Public Library Monday February 5th – 7th.

Nelsons will then conduct regular BSO subscription concerts on February 8th, 9th, and 10th with Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for three keyboards, with Thomas Adès, Kirill Gerstein, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; Schumann’s Nachtlied and Neujahrslied (ditto); the world premiere of a work by Sean Shepherd; and Mendelssohn’s Scottish symphony, in honor of the fifth GHO Kappellmeister 1835-1847.

“Leipzig Week” ends on Sunday February 11th at 3pm at Symphony Hall, as Boston Symphony Chamber Players and Gewandhaus Orchestra musicians come together for joint readings of Lukas Foss’s For Aaron and the Mendelssohn Octet, on a program with works by Haydn and Ligeti. [continued…]

January 27, 2018

in: News & Features

E Duo Unum

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Jamie Korkos by Michael Kuhn

Quite au courant, the story depicts an individual navigating a gender transition. Two singers, one male, one female, portray “Hannah Before” and “Hannah After,” both remaining onstage from start to finish. Boston Opera Collaborative’s production (running through Sunday) of Laura Kaminsky’s As One, to a libretto by Kimberly Reed and Mark Campbell opened Thursday night at Longy School of music at Bard College.

Commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects, it premiered four years ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and since then has racked up productions by 16 companies, with another six slated for 2018. Tickets for the chamber opera with string quartet are HERE.

The show is double-cast, but when one of the singers had to drop out just a few weeks before opening night, co-directors Greg Smucker and Patricia Weinmann tapped local mezzo Jaime Korkos to fill the vacancy. Intelligencer contributor Basil Considine recently spoke with Korkos ( after cantoring at St. Cecilia Boston) about stepping into this new contemporary-opera role on short notice. [continued…]

January 24, 2018

in: News & Features

Odyssey Opera Celebrates Sorcerer-Saint

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A sepiafied Shura Baryshnikov  (Anna M. Maynard photo)

A 17-year-old peasant girl heard voices of Mary and God urging her to liberate the city of Orléans at the close of the Hundred Years’ War. The occupying English forces, being decidedly unamused, induced the Roman Catholic Inquisition to burn her at the stake for her heresy—in particular, for wearing pants. Since then, the eventually sainted Joan has been celebrated in art, music, literature and film. For generations, every French child had to memorize Les adieux de Jeanne by Peguy.

As the latest installment of its season celebrating Saint Joan, Odyssey Opera brings a semi-staged English-language production of Arthur Honegger’s dramatic 1938 oratorio Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Joan of Arc at the Stake), also something of a bouillabaisse of musical and rhetorical styles. Gil Rose will direct a full orchestra along with Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and the Premier Choir of the Boston Children’s Chorus. Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher runs one night only, February 17, 2018 at 8:00pm, at Sanders Theater. Tickets HERE. [continued…]

January 16, 2018

in: News & Features

Events of 1905 Resound Theatrically

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Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 epic photoplay The Battleship Potemkin not only advanced the nascent silent cinema art, but also served as a successful agitprop vehicle for the Bolsheviks. The opportunity to see its world shattering depiction of maggots, mutiny, and the infamous baby carriage ride down the Odessa Steps on a big screen with a live orchestra comes so rarely that BMInt recommends it enthusiastically to our readers. The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (BSFO), one of the world’s top silent film ensembles, will bring its award-winning film/concert experience on Thursday, January 18th to the Avon Cinema in Providence, Rhode Island at 7:00 p.m.; on Saturday, January 20th to the Boston Conservatory Theater in Boston at 7:30 p.m.; and on Sunday, January 28th to the Cabot in Beverly, Massachusetts at 6:00 p.m. [continued…]

January 14, 2018

in: News & Features

Celebrating 40 Years of Democratic Musicmaking

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Gisèle Ben-Dor (file photo)

The inmates of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra have been running the institution since its emergence in 1978. On January 21st, “one of the only self-governing chamber orchestras in the nation” [not to neglect the conductorless string orchestra A Far Cry], celebrates its 40th season. Music Director Emerita Gisèle Ben-Dor​ (New York Philharmonic, London Symphony), dubbed a “ferocious talent” by The Los Angeles Times, returns to highlight the orchestra’s 40 years. Former Pro Arte cooperative musician Jeffrey Work (Principal trumpet, Oregon Symphony) reprises his performance of American composer Eric Ewazen’s expressive Concerto for Trumpet and Strings. Composed in 1998, a subsequent arrangement was written to feature Work for Orchestra, which was commissioned and premiered by Pro Arte in 2003 and conducted by Ben-Dor. Pro Arte will revisit this piece with the original performers alongside new cooperative members. Gounod’s 1885 Petite Symphonie pays charming homage to the Classical-era wind ensembles of the previous century. And Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5. brings the program to a triumphant close at First Baptist Church of Newton 848 Beacon Street, Newton Centre next Sunday at 3:00. [continued…]

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