FCPA Kicks Off Summer Series


Since 1989 the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts has been promoting Asian musicians and the Eastern musical heritage through performing arts and has presented over 147 concerts in Boston’s Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Harvard’s Sanders Theater, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Calderwood Hall, and New York’s Carnegie Hall featuring renowned Asian musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, Fou Ts’ong, Tan Dun, Hung-Kuan Chen, Bion Tsang, Nai-Yuan Hu, Dang Thai-Son, The Shanghai Quartet, Ning An, and Haochen Zhang… to critical acclaim. For 30 years, the FCPA had also hosted its Annual Music Festival at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, attracting students from all over the world and included students like Lang Lang, George Li, Yeol Eun Son, Eric Lu and Kate Liu

Its Summer Free Concert Series at the New England Conservatory, resuming after a two-year hiatus, kicks off in a week and will feature 15 concerts between August 11th and August 27th including violinists, violists, cellists, pianists, and vocalists. The calendar can be found HERE. Founder Catherine Chan is “…very proud to present such magnificent artists. They should be heard more on the world stage.” [continued…]

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Festive Debut with Fandangos


In her BSO debut on August 6th, Grammy-winning conductor and Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra JoAnn Falletta will share the stage with violinist Joshua Bell, a Tanglewood mainstay since 1989. Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto and the symphonic poems Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome, of Ottorino Respighi will follow Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra’s Fandangos, an engaging, exploratory riff on one of the most characteristic Spanish dance forms. Sierra blends a classical approach with elements of Afro-Caribbean, South American, Central American, and Spanish musical traditions. Brian Bell interviewed on August 1st.

Brian Bell: You are the first person I’ve interviewed since the pandemic began. And I am curious as to how you and the Buffalo Philharmonic and all the other activity that you had, how have you dealt with the pandemic? And what have you learned from this experience?

 Joann Falletta: I’m glad you asked me that, because for us it was an eye opening and artistically very valid time. Like everyone else, in March of 2020, we thought we’d be out for a couple of weeks until they straightened this out, and if we had known what was ahead of us. So for the first few months, we didn’t do much. The musicians and I made a lot of solo videos where we talked to the audience, and they played something, that they were thinking about you. But then we realized that it wasn’t going to be, it wasn’t going to go away soon. So we started to play. Now, in New York, we had strict requirements. We could only have 25 people on our stage. They had to be six feet apart. They had to wear masks. We had to have plexiglass for the wind players and the brass players. So it wasn’t easy. But when we started to play, when we started to play that first concert in September of 2020, with a lot of trepidation, it was one of the happiest days of our lives, because we realized we could do this. [continued…]

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Beethoven’s Many Mansions Include the Hatch Shell


Boston Landmarks Orchestra conductor Christopher Wilkins’s 4,240-word Podium Notes can serve to illuminate brave readers about Saturday night’s concert at the Hatch Shell. He will be raising his baton at 7:00 for Rossini’s William Tell Overture’ Strauss’s To America: Fair Columbia Waltzes, Diane White-Claytons Many Mansions (world premiere performance), and Beethoven Symphony No. 9; he and the orchestra will be sharing the stage with Sirgourney Cook, soprano; Tichina Vaughn, mezzo-soprano; Ethan Bremner, tenor; Phillip Bullock, baritone; David Hodgkins, chorus master; One City Choir; Coro Allegro. Wilkins begins:

At a certain place in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, one might have the sensation of floating above the earth in a starry dome, with a dream of immortality in the heart; all the stars seem to glimmer around, with the earth sinking ever deeper downwards. (Friedrich Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits, 1878 )

When Beethoven unveiled his ninth and final symphony to an eager Viennese audience in 1824, he had not written a symphony in nearly 12 years. Many of the leading figures of Viennese society attended, even though public taste had long-since turned away from the complexities of Beethoven’s music toward the more easy-to-digest style of Gioachino Rossini, far and away the most popular composer of the day. Beethoven was not on board with the trend: “You do not know how to deal with real drama,” Beethoven reportedly told Rossini to his face when they met in 1822. [continued…]

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Sweet Sorrow on the Esplanade


Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s  Christopher Wilkins will be leading another ambitious concert Wednesday at 7:00 at the Hatch Shell, once again offering dramatic and rewarding music that reaches out and rewards with fully fleshed-out repertoire on a theme of mutual understanding. Five works (or movements thereof) will collectively make the case: Verdi Nabucco Overture, Florence Price Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, Borys Lyatoshynsky Symphony No. 3 in B minor, Peace Shall Defeat War, Sibelius Finlandia, David Amram Symphony: Songs of the Soul, Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy.

Let this be the watchword: Playing in an orchestra intelligently is the best school for democracy, according to  Daniel Barenboim. Within his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Young Arab and Israeli musicians work together to promote mutual understanding.

BMInt offers readers Wilkins’s extensive Podium Notes which explicate a concert celebrating Music and Reconciliation. Have a read [HERE] before concert time. [continued…]

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The Maestro Opines


The Boston Landmarks Orchestra season kicks off the summer series this Wednesday with Telling Tales. It’s a big season, with lots of major works: Symphonie Fantastique, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Beethoven’s Ninth, the Mendelssohn “Italian” Symphony, Pines of Rome. Once again we talked with Christopher Wilkins, Landmarks’ esteemed music director.

Is this is a good year to bring out the big guns, and the most recognizable names?

Yes in part. Landmarks programming has always been a mix of the great classics and more adventurous repertoire. This season has plenty of both. One thing you’re probably noticing is that there are simply more Landmarks concerts than we’ve had in the recent past, so five full programs at the Hatch Shell rather than four, which is what it’s been the last few years.

It’s a truism that well-known works bring out the biggest crowds. And that works great for us. We have a top professional orchestra to deliver these cherished works, performing for free right in the heart of the city. It is a tremendously exciting thing that the generosity of people throughout the Boston area is what makes this possible. The entire enterprise is a gift to the city. [continued…]

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Bramwell Tovey Died at 69


The British conductor, who transformed a well-regarded career in front of theater orchestras to symphonic leadership, first in Canada and finally in Rhode Island, died of cancer on July 12th at his home in Barrington. He celebrated his 69th birthday with his family and died the next day.

The Intelligencer took note five years ago of Tovey’s excellent leadership of the Boston University Orchestra including a memorable performance of The Rite of Spring HERE. What a loss to BU that he didn’t stay longer. Tovey talked to us about his appointment HERE in a nearly 6,000 word interview which ended with this thought about his life as a conductor, composer and teacher

I get up very early, try hard not to complain and attempt to keep focused on what it is I’m supposed to be accomplishing. But frankly, being a musician is a marvelous vocation. I always think it’s much better than having a real job…

We remember with great pleasure several of his concerts with the BSO, especially a tremendously moving Brahms Requiem HERE, an irresistible Candide HERE, and an important Porgy and Bess at Tanglewood HERE.

The official obituary from the Rhode Island Philharmonic (RIP indeed) continues: [continued…]


Walter Pierce: 1930 – 2022


As the last of the grand impresarios in our midst, Walter Pierce strode Boston stages as a gentle colossus for 30 years until his retirement in 1996. He could always be seen in the lobbies before and after concerts to take the pulse of the crowds. And he presided over the transition from the for-profit Aaron Richmond Celebrity Series to a non-profit mode for 18 years subsidized by the Bank of Boston. Walter’s two successors comment on his role in transforming Boston’s Arts scene. The official obituary follows their essays.

Celebrity Series President and Executive Director Gary Dunning: It’s sad to lose Walter, but clearly he’s given us much to remember and celebrate.

The late 60s and early 70s saw a broad sea-change in how the performing arts functioned in the United States. Up until then, arts patrons could largely carry the burden of keeping arts organizations afloat. When I started in the business (1978), you could still feel the remnants of that old model where lead patrons like Eleanor Belmont at the Metropolitan Opera, Lucia Chase at ABT and Lincoln Kirstein at New York City Ballet could almost single-handedly handle financial challenges. [continued…]

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Richard Taruskin, 1945-2022


The world of musicology, but even more the music-reading public generally, has suffered an immeasurable loss in the death of Richard Taruskin, professor emeritus at U. California at Berkeley, but known to everyone in the profession as a peerless expert on Western music through ten centuries, but also as the most vivid and penetrating writer on music of his time, indeed, of the past half-century. I have no hesitation in referring to him as the most brilliant and authoritative musicologist of my generation. He had even been, at one time, a performing musician (cello, viola da gamba, conducting). Now, at the end of his struggle with esophageal cancer, he had hoped to see the early press copies of his latest book; but it was not to be. [continued…]

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Publishing at the Fading Fringes


Pendragon Press, publishers of choice monographs on musical subjects since 1977, will soon cease operations. Knockdown prices up to 70% off obtain on the remaining inventory. Details HERE. Orders must be made directly through the website, and will be fulfilled only up to July 8th, so act with dispatch lest you be disappointed.

Pendragon Press was established jointly by Barry Shelley Brook (1918-97), professor of music at Queens College of CUNY and founder of its graduate program in musicology; his wife Claire (1925-2012), vice-president and music editor at W. W. Norton; and her brother, Robert Kessler (1933-2021), a composer of musicals and songs; all of them shared editorial responsibilities for the growing list, and Bob served as day-to-day managing editor until his death last year at 87. [continued…]

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Four Boston Organists Rededicate Methuen


Distinguished Boston organists Richard J. Clark, Mark Dwyer, Ross Wood, and Leo Abbott will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the rededication of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall’s Great Organ this Wednesday. Henry Vaughan designed the auditorium in 1899 as Edward F. Searles’s private concert hall to house the Walcker organ from the old Boston Music Hall*. After the Hall was incorporated as a nonprofit cultural center in 1946, G. Donald Harrison and the Æolian-Skinner Organ Company restored and revised the instrument. On June 24, 1947 Arthur Howes (Phillips Andover Academy), Carl Weinrich (Princeton University), and Ernest White (St. Mary the Virgin, NYC), who had all served as consultants for the organ’s renovation, played the re-inauguration. [continued…]

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Recognizing a Toiler in the Musical Vineyards


I had the pleasure of talking with James Busby on occasion of his retirement after nearly 30 years of service as Organist and Choirmaster of S. Stephen’s Church, an Anglo-Catholic parish in Providence, Rhode Island, which sits on the edge of ivy-league Brown University’s campus quadrangle. [Bostonians and organ aficionados may also want to read Busby’s recollections on the early Fisk organ he helped procure for Old West Church1]

The church held a special service and luncheon on May 22nd in honor of James, of whom The Rev’d Benjamin Straley, Rector of S. Stephen’s, remarked “everything that the Church does…flows out of our worship of the Living God — a God who comes to us in the Mass in the beauty of holiness. James has selflessly offered himself to this cause. The great drama of the Mass has been accompanied by his stirring improvisations and sensitive timing. The choir has been shaped in countless ways by his leadership, and he is a devoted and fierce advocate for our parish.”

The music for that day’s service consisted of Juan Gutièrrez Padilla (1590-1644) Missa Ego flos campi, Psalm 67 – Deus misereatur by Bertram Luard-Selby (1853-1918), and the anthem by John E. West (1863-1929) The woods and every sweet-smelling tree. Busby played  “La Cour de Lys” from Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien (Claude Debussy 1862-1918) and the Choral and Toccata Op. 104 (Joseph Jongen 1873-1953) as voluntaries .

SM: So, James, you are lauded not only for your beautiful music but also for who you are as a mentor and an inspiration for so many people.

JB: I love it; it’s all I know how to do, and I’m still learning how, that’s the sad part of deciding to do something else, because I’m not done with the job yet. Maybe that’s a good thing.

So, what’s the something else that you are envisioning? [continued…]

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Bostonian Musicians Make News in Canada


New England Conservatory composer Kati Agócs, having just returned from Winnipeg, where the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra performed the new Horn Concerto she recently wrote for BSO Principal Horn James Sommerville, shares news that a streamed version of the concert with Somerville playing and conducting is available (free) HERE. The concerto’s instrumentation of solo horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, and strings mirrors that of Mozart’s Third Horn Concerto K 447. Agócs wrote:

My piece extends the range lower with the addition of Bass Clarinet and Contrabassoon doublings, adding rich, dark woodwind colors to the sonic palette. Eighteen minutes in duration, cast in three movements, my concerto highlights the lyrical properties of the horn and also provides opportunities for the wind and string players in the orchestra to shine.

The co-commission of Symphony Nova Scotia, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and Prince Edward Island Symphony had premiered in Sioux City on November 14, 2021; the music critic Bruce Miller then wrote: [continued…]

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Guerilla Opera Depicts Bostonian Activist Rose Standish Nichols


Boston’s Guerilla Opera and the Nichols House Museum are co-presenting I Give You My Home, a world premiere chamber opera inspired by the life of Bostonian activist Rose Standish Nichols, and features music and original libretto by local composer Beth Wiemann, whose work brings to light the efforts and passions of Rose Standish Nichols, a singular woman, in dramatic form on the site of the museum on Beacon Hill in Boston, which was her family home. Rose’s efforts to affect change through the Women’s Peace Party and Suffrage Movements and in her professional career strike us for their persistence in spite of the barriers.

Wiemann wrote the monodrama for Guerilla Opera’s core ensemble members: soprano and Artistic Director Aliana de la Guardia as Rose, percussionist Mike Williams and saxophonist Philipp Stäudlin. “We want to inspire future generations to pursue their unique passions and make an impact on their own terms. This is everything Guerilla Opera is about!” Aliana de la Guardia, Guerilla Opera’s Artistic Director. [continued…]

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Beware the Clefs!


Further to my example a few weeks ago of a seldom-seen bass clef in a trumpet part, in the first movement of Mahler’s Third. I’ve never been good at reading any but the treble and bass clefs, but I did have to study the more common C clefs in solfège class at the Longy School in 1954. The rare clefs (baritone, mezzo-soprano, French violin) I have to figure out one note at a time. I’m fairly fluent reading the alto clef (middle C on the middle line) for viola parts, but if there are a lot of ledger lines I have to stop and think; I’m much less fluent with the tenor clef, though cellists, bassoonists, and trombonists use it easily all the time. (Cellists read the treble clef too, though they seldom encounter it. I know of just one example of a trombone part in the treble clef, in Ravel’s l’Enfant et les sortilèges. Ravel’s other opera, l’Heure espagnole, has a freakish instance of a contrabassoon (sarrusophone) part with a high B flat above the staff, but this involves removing the reed from the bocal and playing only the reed — you all probably know the place I mean.) (Example below. It’s a stunt common in rehearsal warmups.) [continued…]

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Restoration-Era Macbeth Weaves Magic in Song 


In Restoration England, Shakespeare’s Macbeth took a musical turn. Adapting the play to fit it to the times, Sir William Davenant infused Shakespeare classic tragedy with additional songs, particularly for the witches who lyrically weaved their magic on stage. The Henry Purcell Society will be performing A Restoration Era Macbeth, featuring music by John Eccles (with added music by Purcell, of course!) on June 11, 8pm at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 138 Tremont St. in Boston.

Davenant’s Restoration era Macbeth is rarely performed today, but it was the most popular version of the play at the end of the 17th century and throughout the 18th. Samuel Pepys, the great diarist of Restoration society and culture, attended the production several times and responded approvingly in his diary: [continued…]

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Organist To Take Wings in Providence


Peter Krasinski talks at length herein about his upcoming improvised accompaniment to “Wings” the Academy Award winner for Best Film of 1927, which pictorializes actual events from World War I, including the epic Battle of Saint-Mihiel. The film runs free next Saturday at Central Congregational Church, 296 Angell Street, Providence at 7:30 courtesy of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

I met with Peter in Providence for this interview in the comfort of First Church of Christ, Scientist.

SM: So, Peter, how/what are you doing these days, post-pandemic as it were?

PK: It has been very hard for a few years now and on so many different levels, but I am full of gratitude, especially for the venues that had signed me on for performances, many of which are only beginning to happen now because of the lockdown. The government did finally come up with some help to those of us who are gig-workers. [Gig-workers is the term for freelance artists for whom unemployment benefits is a non-factor.] That we are finally being recognized is a really encouraging sign, and that is something that has grown out of the pandemic, so you might call it “a devastating gift”. In terms of what’s happening now, though, there is an explosion of performances because the desire to be back in person has not been this strong since the influenza pandemic when people were not so aware of best practices for safeguarding our health. [continued…]


“Pipedreams Live!” Concert To Open Methuen


After you’ve celebrated your 75th season, what do you do for your 76th? This is a question which the Methuen Memorial Music Hall trustees had a year to ponder. Last year, 2021, they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Hall’s acquisition and incorporation as a nonprofit community educational and cultural center. A tough anniversary to follow! [our article from last year HERE]

But this year marks another major observance for the Hall, the 75th anniversary of the rededication of the Great Organ, following its 1946-47 renovation by G. Donald Harrison and the Aeolian Skinner Organ Company. This anniversary, plus the reopening of the Hall to the public for the full 2022 summer concert season, following COVID-necessitated closures in 2020 and 2021, is something worth celebrating.

In recent years, Methuen has opened its 15-week Wednesday evening summer organ series with a Young Artists Concert, featuring emerging organ talents.  This year’s opener, on May 25, will be the Hall’s most ambitious program in that vein – a “Pipedreams Live!” concert, emceed by Michael Barone, host of American Public Media’s syndicated program, “Pipedreams.”  Six young organists, ranging from 16 to 21 years of age, will perform a variety of pieces, both well and lesser known. (complete program HERE). The concert will also be recorded for broadcast on “Pipedreams” later this summer. [continued…]

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David Elliott Memorialized


The Staff and Trustees of Harvard Radio Broadcasting (WHRB-FM) invite us to join them on the afternoon of Friday, May 13th for the broadcast/livestream of a service and concert in the Memorial Church, Harvard, Yard, honoring David Elliott (1942-2020) and his 58 years of service to Harvard Radio and the greater Boston classical music community. The service will begin at 3:00pm and will include music selected by David, including the well-known hymns For all the Saints, Abide with Me, and Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, and the aria “Mary’s Prayer” from Douglas Moore’s opera The Devil and Daniel Webster, sung by Amanda Forsythe. Kathy Fay, Executive Director of the Boston Early Music Festival, will be one of the speakers.
A concert will follow immediately at 4:00 pm with the following program and performers:



Sharing a Challenging Journey


Winsor Music’s “My Journey to America” features the in-person world premiere of the title work by Afghan composer Milad Yousufi. His mentor, the Grammy-nominated concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein, will be playing in three other pieces on Sat., May 14th (7 pm) and Sun., May 15th (4 pm) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 15 St. Paul Street in Brookline, Mass. BMInt spoke with Winsor’s co-Artistic Director Rane Moore and pianist Simone Dinnerstein.

FLE: Why is this concert special for Winsor Music?

This concert is special not only because we are featuring the incredible pianist Simone Dinnerstein, but also because the programming and guests beautifully embody Winsor Music’s ideals: mentorship, service, musical excellence, healing through music.

RM: How did you first connect with Simone?

Simone, who is one of the most acclaimed interpreters of Bach in her generation, originally contacted Winsor Music after hearing our Founder and Director Emeritus Peggy Pearson’s recordings of Bach with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.

Simone, you’re making two appearances this month—one at Emmanuel Music Bach Symposium, one at Winsor this weekend, and then again at Emmanuel in June.

SD: It’s strange how these things happen. Some years I play a lot in Boston, some years I don’t. This time it’s just a happy accident. After the Bach Symposium on May 13th, and Winsor on the 14th and 15th, I’m coming back on June 4th with two Bach, concertos, and an arrangement of Chorale Prelude that Philip Lasser arranged for piano and strings.

Tell us about your history with Winsor Music [continued…]

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Lucubrations on the BSO 2022-2023 Season


Opening on September 22nd with Holst’s view of our solar system in orbit, Boston Symphony Orchestra inks a season of vibrancy and variety. Eighteen works by living composers, including seven world- and American premieres will share the stage with a Nelsons-led concert performance of Act III of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, the continuation of the Shostakovich cycle, and signature repertoire works by Bach, Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahms, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. Click HERE for the complete calendar. Subscription renewals are open now, and general ticketing beings on August 8th.

Mark DeVoto opines: “The BSO’s 142nd season includes much to admire and anticipate with pleasure: A number of new works by young and promising composers, including even a few Americans; many young guest conductors; a relatively low quotient of tired warhorses (Sibelius 5, Strauss Alpensymphonie, Enescu Rumanian 1), and a few grand old long-neglected but beloved warhorses (Planets, Rachmaninoff 2 — good to see those fellows listed again). BSO last did Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, a piece I derided as bad-taste in my callow youth but now recognize as an inspired work of genius, at Symphony Hall in 2016 and Tanglewood in 2018 Over the years it trended toward status as a Pops staple. Some unexpected rarely-heard major items are planned as well: Mozart’s B-flat Major  Piano Concerto, K. 456, which I heard with delight 30 years ago in Symphony Hall (Orpheus with Radu Lupu); Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade for violin and orchestra, a much more valuable piece than the drab Chichester Psalms with which it shares the program; Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (an entire concert!), which back in 1966 the BSO actually recorded with Leinsdorf, and stunningly; Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite, of surpassing orchestral brilliance.  Stravinsky’s 1947 Petrushka (only a connoisseur recognizes it as orchestrally inferior to the original 1911 version) and Perséphone, which aesthetically is not to every Stravinskyan’s taste. We’re getting rather too much Shostakovich, as usual, but this is one of Andris Nelsons’s current fixations and we have to give in to him; at least we get both of the piano concertos on a single concert. If Rachmaninoff seems too heavily represented with three works, at least we will hear the Symphonic Dances, his last composition (and IMHO his best — remind me to tell you how it sums up his achievement). A whole evening of Wagner’s Tannhäuser! And a tribute to Lili Boulanger with her charming D’un Matin de printemps; though it should be no one else’s concern, this is gratifying to me also because I have been president, off and on for 40 years, of the struggling Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, Inc., which has promoted her legacy. So what of the weak spots in the season? Well, Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto is pretty bad, and so is Górecki’s Symphony no. 3; and I wish management included more American classics, such as works by Copland or Piston who were performed all the time when they were alive. I suppose you can consider Bloch’s Schelomo an American classic; I remember when Samuel Mayes played it at Tanglewood in the summer of 1959 when Bloch died, so it will be good once more to hear the “voice crying in the wilderness,” like much else we hear every day. ” [continued…]


Machaut’s Le livre du voir dit Gets Boston Premiere


From the years of pandemic in medieval France, the touching, bittersweet story of Machaut and his impossible romance with an admiring poetess. Their ensuing epistolary relationship, recorded and recounted in Machaut’s novel Le livre du voir dit, leads to intense joy and deep sorrow, and to some of the Machaut’s most profoundly felt musical and literary works.

Camerata’s performance at First Church Boston on May 7th at 8:00 includes celebrations for Camerata Music Director Emeritus Joel Cohen’s 80th birthday and Artistic Director Anne Azéma’s elevation to Officier of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Ticketing HERE, with on-demand streaming from May 20 – June 5.

We perform Guillaume de Machaut’s marvelous music because of its intrinsic qualities of grace, elegance, formal perfection, and (we learn, more and more) deep feeling. He is rightly remembered in our time as, above all, an inspired composer, the most gifted of his generation. Yet the musical sounds are only a part of his achievement. The story –with– songs he tells in the Livre du Voir Dit is also, despite its frequent prolixity, a literary masterpiece. By retelling this tale, basing ourselves on Machaut’s, and Peronne’s own words, along with music, much of it intended for insertion into his verse novel, we attempt to evoke a whole: musical genius, the suffering of an aging churchman, the perky élan of a young female poetess, the quest for transcendence over mortal cares and infirmities via a transcendent love. [continued…]

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Celebrity Series Announces Season


The Celebrity Series of Boston’s next season will mark its 84th year with 77 subscription events featuring a vast variety of artistic genres, generations of performers, and diverse performances including 25 classical concerts. Expanded programming will offer new venues to explore, artist debuts, beloved returning artists, and in-person and streaming options for both the ticketed and free Neighborhood Arts events. Click HERE for the complete classical listings. The glossy seasonal brochure is HERE.

Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director of the Celebrity Series of Boston, says, “Our commitment to support racial diversity and center equity, inclusion, and accessibility both on stage and behind the scenes constitute a continuing key strategic goal for the organization.” [continued…]

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Mighty With Pen and Sword


Fermata Chamber Soloists will present Carl Stamitz’s Viola Concerto and the Boston premier of Le Chevalier de St. Georges’s Violin Concerto Op. 5 No. 2 in A Major. at the Somerville Armory, 191 Highland Ave. on Sunday May 8 at 3pm. One can read a review of a recent local performance of the overture to his opera L’amant anonyme HERE.

The life of Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (ca 1739-1799) is the stuff of legends. Perhaps the most multi-talented and unique composer in all of western art music (and certainly for his time), this man was an athlete, military commander, violinist, teacher and composer. Born in 1745 on the island of Guadeloupe to a slave and George de Boulogne, a member of the French Parliament, it wasn’t until the mixed-race Joseph was 13 years old that he wound up in France. In many ways, Boulogne is a romantic hero, complete with the quintessential once-in-a-century talent, and general rejection from society at large typical of such figures. By the age of 17, Boulogne was the greatest fencer in Europe, a master equestrian, and a fine marksman with a pistol. It is a wonder that this man found any time for music, let alone enough time to completely master the violin. [continued…]


Principal Cellist Pens New Book and Plays Concerto


(Marco Borggreve photo)

Blaise Déjardin, BSO principal cellist since 2018, makes his concerto début in next week’s subscription concerts. For the program of riveting 20th century Germanic music, including Strauss’ Eine Alpensinfonie, Déjardin’s choice of Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No.1 provides a melodic 19th century French contrast.

The upcoming concerts cap a recent winning streak by our native son. In February, it was announced that Blaise was to join the illustrious faculty at his alma mater, the NEC, this coming fall. Then March saw the arrival of Déjardin’s newest Opus Cello publication: an orchestral audition-day guide, written by a cellist for cellists (or so it may seem upon first glance).

Auditions serve as the challenging entrance exams for all aspirants to seats in an orchestra. Behind the now-obligatory anonymous audition screen sit the gatekeepers: a conductor and a jury of peers and potential colleagues. Intense preparation, and what some might say a lifetime of experience, will suffice only for a very few contenders. What makes the winning difference? Blaise Déjardin’s new book “Audition Day: Your Guide for a Successful Orchestral Cello Audition” aims to provide an insider’s approach to niche success. This new guide seeks to dispel the mysteries of the screen and illuminate a methodical, logical, and psychological preparatory course of action.

Déjardin’s publication goes beyond the mere technical tips and rudiments of orchestral playing; rather, it speaks to an organized and structured musicianship at its most effective. While the excerpts are concrete, what is less-so is the preparation process that a musician may implement before enduring such a professional feat. The first and most unique section of this book deals with this regimen. The second section discusses the often-required orchestral excerpts from the standard repertoire. [continued…]

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Radu Lupu, 1945-2022


The superlative Romanian pianist Radu Lupu died April 17, in Switzerland, following long illness. He was 76. In his 20s, after winning several of the major competitions of the later 1960s, Radu Lupu began an international career with intensely focused recordings of repertory — late Brahms, “late” Schubert — which was not then at all overplayed.

Unlike the case with most others of his cohort, everything Lupu produced was imbued with a grave, long thought-about stillness and deep intention. It sounded unshowy and largely straightforward, at least this repertory, but also was above all quite consciously colored: Lupu felt that tone production was a “matching process for which [one] practices” and the physical contact of the keyboard was “a very individual thing determined by the color or timbre you hear and try to get, the piece you are playing, the phrase.” (His teachers had taught Lipatti and Richter.) [continued…]