Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Boston Typewriter Orchestra

Catching up with a few favorite blogs and came across a fun entry on the Boston Typewriter Orchestra from Debra Cash on WBUR's "Attitude" blog. I wonder what the auditions are like?

Monday, December 26, 2005

It's a Wonderful Radio Broadcast

A Lux Radio broadcast of It's a Wonderful Life with original cast from 1947 can be had in mp3 form (a 10 MB file). Details from Boing Boing here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Frank Rich: Not just killin' em on Broadway anymore


It's been quite a few years since the Celebrity Series presented a speaker series (technically, not since the 1930s) so there is excitment in the ranks, to say the least. The novelty of a speaker series alone is exciting, but for an opener we have liberal firebrand Frank Rich. Everyone at the Celebrity Series remembers Mr. Rich as "The Butcher of Broadway" and we eagerly read his dissections on and of The Great White Way. But Rich and Rich's column have changed. Bryan Curtis writes about what subjects Frank Rich is covering these days (if you don't already know) in his article, The Butcher of the Beltway for

Frank Rich appears on the 2005-2006 Bank of America Celebrity Series on Sunday, February 12 at 3pm in Boston's John Hancock Hall. NPR hosts Terry Gross and Ira Glass follow Rich on April 9 at Symphony Hall and novelist Alexander McCall Smith appears April 20 at John Hancock Hall.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Marty Jones walks on

You can catch our illustrious President and Executive Director, Martha H. Jones (Marty for anyone that knows her) in a cameo walk-on as the Chestnut Seller in Boston Ballet's Nutcracker today (December 17) at 2pm at The Wang Theatre.


The above photo is of an actual chestnut seller. Here is one of the actual Marty Jones backstage preparing for her turn as The Chestnut Seller in Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker:


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Center of the Dance World?

ArtsJournal is hosting another of its compelling online public conversations. This time the topic is dance; specifically, dance in New York and whether or not the Big Apple has lost its claim as the world's dance capital. This description launched the discussion, which is entitled The Center of the Dance World?:

"Is it true, as Gia Kourlas declared in the New York Times in September, that "New York is no longer the capital of the contemporary dance world"? New York has, for so long, been at the center of dance, the idea is taken on faith in the US. Has the city lost its edge? And if not New York, where are the new capitals of dance? In Amsterdam or Bucharest? Berlin? Brussels, Paris or Vienna? Or has some of the energy that used to propel the New York scene spread elsewhere in America?"

The list of luminaries posting in the discussion is rather long: Carolelinda Dickey of Performing Arts Strategies, Pittsburgh; David White, Former director, Dance Theatre Workshop; Cathy Edwards, Dance Theater Workshop; Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine; Laurie Uprichard, Danspace Project; Philip Szporer, critic; David Sefton, UCLA Live; Andre Gingras, Choreographer; Anouk van Dijk, Choreographer; Lane Czaplinski, On the Boards; Nigel Redden, Lincoln Center Festival; Tere O'Connor, Choreographer; John Rockwell, The New York Times; and Gia Kourlas, Time Out New York; and you can post your comments, too!

Discussion (and posting by the likes of you) will continue through this Friday, December 16.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Shiffman to leave St. Lawrence

Barry Shiffman, a co-founder of Canada's illustrious St. Lawrence String Quartet, has decided to leave the Quartet to become director of music programs at Canada's Banff Center. Mr. Shiffman will not occupy his new post until September 2006, so he will perform with the St. Lawrence when they perform with pianist Menachem Pressler on March 11.

2005 Dance Gift Ideas from Debra Cash

The ever vigilant and tasteful (not to mention aptly named) Debra Cash has published a top ten list of Dance Gift Ideas for 2005 on WBUR.ORG's arts page - Alicia Alonso Night Light, anyone? I was pleased to find that she recommended the Mark Morris Dance Group custom designed playing cards, but not as pleased as I was to find that she also recommended tickets to The Royal Ballet's engagement at The Wang Theatre in June (hey, that's us!).

Thursday, December 8, 2005

I Musici steps in


The venerable Italian chamber ensemble, I Musici, which the Celebrity Series has presented onHough_pic37_large five occasions since its founding in 1952 (see photo above), has stepped in to complete the tour originally  organized around the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg (press release). The March 5 concert was to have been conducted by Ivor Bolton with piano soloist Stephen Hough.

I Musici is a conductorless ensemble, so Ivor Bolton will not conduct, but Stephen Hough remains as soloist. The program, including the Mozart concerto Hough was to have performed, has changed.

Spiritual Celebrity Series


The jazz staff at WGBH radio, Steve Charbonneau, Eric Jackson and Steve Schwartz, have started a blog and it's already filling up with items near and dear to my heart as well as illustrative of Celebrity Series history. Eric Jackson's post of November 29, "Say Amen Somebody!" (sorry can't link to it specifically, that's not part of their setup) sets up his December 12 Monday Night Spotlight broadcast, Jazz Goes to Church, which will feature "jazz versions of hymns, spirituals and Gospel music."

In the same post Eric talks about the Fisk Jubilee Singers (photo, above), which set off a synapse somewhere, so IJrosamond_johnson_1 opened our archives and sure enough, the Fisk University Jubilee Singers sang in Boston on Aaron Richmond's series (our founder's series, prescursor to the Celebrity Series) during the 1928-29 season. I also found that Mr. Richmond had presented other programs of spirituals in Boston: J. Rosamond Johnson (photo, right) and Taylor Gordon at the Copley Theatre in 1926 and 1928 and Paul Robeson in 1932.

Of course, a lot of other Celebrity Series concerts have featured great singers that sing spirituals; Marian Anderson, William Warfield and Leontyne Price, to name a few. But it isn't common knowledge that the great early practitioners found their way to Boston via the Celebrity Series, so I offer my thanks to Eric and the 'GBH blog for supplying the impetus to go find this history; at the very least, it feels good to have unearthed it. It's little journeys like these that make it worth the going.

Monday, December 5, 2005

A Goode Thing is a Joy Indeed

I could offer a number of musical impressions from Richard Goode's Jordan Hall recital yesterday afternoon, but not wanting this mere blog post to veer into a review, I'll keep them to a minimum. I give myself free reign on non-musical impressions however:

Of the couple seen resting heads on shoulders throughout, I couldn't help thinking how a recital such as this one could be a perfectly cliche-free romantic outing. I Musici on an anniversary? Maurizio Pollini on Valentine's Day? No need to check your schedule, the Celebrity Series performance closest to Valentine's Day this season is New York Times columnist Frank Rich, which could also work for the right couple...

A rather large number of students attended Mr. Goode's recital and many of them (presumably) could be seen leaning forward expectantly throughout. In fact, there were a number of pianists - clearly - scattered around the hall wiggling fingers furiously (trying to keep up?) and pouring over scores.

The applause was immediate and genuine, but not being a fool, Mr. Goode chose not to return for an encore after closing the program with Opus 111 with its second and final movement of such meditative peace. As one patron beside me put it, "There's nothing left to play after that."


In the previous post I had a little fun imagining how our contemporary culture might have suggested Beethoven medicate his madness/creative genius into submission. But as Mr. Stearns correctly, I think, observed, it isn't difficult to hear how the sheer number of ideas pouring out of Beethoven's scores could suggest madness, and certainly a pianist of Goode's caliber brings a clarity to each performance that makes the breakneck pace of ideas plain. It can be dizzying and is usually captivating.

Consider the following passage on the "Pathetique" Sonata, performed on Goode's program yesterday, from yesterday's program notes by Eric Bromberger:

"The “Pathétique” is one of Beethoven’s most popular works, and this was true even in his own time. The pianist Ignaz Moscheles has left a wonderful account of the sonata’s effect on young musicians of the era (Moscheles was ten when the incident he describes here took place): 'It was about this time that I learnt from some school-fellows that a young composer had appeared at Vienna, who wrote the oddest stuff possible—such as no one could either play or understand; crazy music, in opposition to all rule; and that this composer’s name was Beethoven. On repairing to the library to satisfy my curiosity as to this so-called genius, I found there Beethoven’s Sonata 'Pathétique.' This was in the year 1804. My pocket money would not suffice for the purchase of it, so I secretly copied it. The novelty of its style was so attractive to me, and I became so enthusiastic in my admiration of it, that I forgot myself so far as to mention my new acquisition to my master, who reminded me of his injunction, and warned me not to play or study any eccentric production until I had based my style upon more solid models. Without, however, minding his injunctions, I seized upon the pianoforte works of Beethoven as they successively appeared, and in them found a solace and a delight such as no other composer afforded me.'"

Friday, December 2, 2005

Opus 2005, The "Prozac" Sonata


Richard Goode's all-Beethoven recital at The Kimmel Center on November 29 yielded this tidbit from David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

"More than Serkin, though, Goode is willing to let Beethoven bounce off the
walls. In the evening's best moments, the less-heard Op. 10, No. 2
sonata, Goode walked an intriguing line between rage and hysterical humor,
reminding you why some of Beethoven's contemporaries thought him to be mentally
ill." Complete review

Richard Goode brings the same all-Beethoven program to Jordan Hall this Sunday at 3pm as part the Bank of America Celebrity Series.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ivey Divey!

Author/humorist David Sedaris will give the Baccalaureate address at Princeton (yes, that Princeton) in June. Contrary to the title of this post, I approve of the choice. Last year Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison talked pretty to the Class of 2005, but she couldn't have been as funny, right? Articulate, yes. Profound, sure. But I bet she was never a Christmas elf.  Maybe we can get an early peek at his notes when he visits Symphony Hall in May...

Martha Graham chronicled


I recently came across this treasure trove of Graham Company articles and info, The Graham Archives at The Dance Insider. Granted, it is only the snapshot of a single media outlet, and some of it is quite partisan, to be sure, but it is the biggest and most comprehensive cache of easily read information I have come across on the Martha Graham Dance Company's trials (literal and figurative) and successes since they last paid Boston a visit (1996, Celebrity Series, thank you very much). For serious scholars, The Martha Graham Company maintains its own archival resource site which conatins links to other sites with Graham information.

The Dance Insider Graham Archive contains plenty of details of the controversy and (literal) trial over the rights to the Graham name (many of the actual court rulings are on the Graham Company web site), plenty of reviews of the current Company, photo albums and, in particular, this essay from current artistic director, Janet Eilber. If anyone out there knows of other "consumer-ready "information on the Graham Company online (i.e., more or less linkable), let me know and I'll make sure it gets posted here.

...and don't forget that Bank of America Celebrity Series is bringing the Martha Graham Dance Company to The Shubert Theatre this weekend, December 2-4. Get the details and buy tickets.

Photo caption and credits: The Martha Graham Dance Company in Graham's "Appalachian Spring," with sets by Isamu Noguchi: Martha Graham (Bride), Erick Hawkins (Husbandman), May O'Donnell (Pioneering Woman) and Company. Library of Congress staff photograph. Reproduced from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress. Courtesy Martha Graham Resources.

Email time capsule


Placing their bet on the survival of Western civilization, the folks at Forbes Magazine are providing all of us (or at least those who are pretty sure what email address they will have in a decade or so) an opportunity to write ourselves an "email time capsule" to be opened from 1 to 20 years hence. Take a look and start composing yours.

Thanks to ballet and knitting expert Leigh Witchel for his post on this.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Your thought for the day...

During his recent recital
I saw my celebrated colleague Fischkemper
levitate above the piano
I could hardly believe my eyes
but there he hovered
while the piano keys
all by themselves
went on playing the E flat trill from opus 111
thus demonstrating
even to the staunchest skeptic
that a mystical experience
accessible to all
was being enacted

-Alfred Brendel from his book of poetry, One Finger Too Many

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Heart and Sol

Back in the days before the Celebrity Series became a non-profit organization (that happened in 1989), it was run by Boston impresario Aaron Richmond and aAaron_richmondweb_2 small staff. In fact, Richmond created the Celebrity Series in 1938. Naturally, we at the Celebrity Series have long regarded Aaron Richmond (and his protégé Walter Pierce) as world-class impresarios, among the last of a unique group of arts entrepreneurs and among the best. None other than the great Russian-born impresario, Sol Hurok, thought so, too. In 1965, when Richmond died, Sol Hurok was asked by The Boston Globe to offer a remembrance of his Boston colleague:

Bu_cs_logo2“...He had the ideal spirit; ‘Boston should see this company, hear this musician,’ That came first, money later. That made cultural life blossom. He wanted . . . that this country should know what is going on in the world. He put all his time, energy, vitality, knowledge to do it..."

Free Download from Either/Orchestra's "Live in Addis"

Russ Gershon, leader of the Either/Orchestra, checked in to let us know that the band's newest album, Live in Addis, which was recorded in Ethiopia, has reached #3 on the College Media Journal Jazz Chart and that you can download a cut, Yezamed Yebada, from the CD, for free at All About Jazz (for a limited time) - download here.

The Celebrity Series will present the Either/Orchestra's 20th Anniversary Concert at Berklee Performance Center on January 28 (that's 2006!).

Monday, November 21, 2005

Led Zepplin and Ancient Dances at Sanders


The image above is a snippet of the animation that was screened behind Wu Man and percussionist Robert Schultz as part of Chen Yi's Ancient Dances. Schultz played a variety of percussion instruments including a set of three Vietnamese bowls played by rubbing a stick around the outside edge (think wet finger around the edge of a wine glass). Wu Man played like a virtuoso, delivering a performance that made us follow her musical direction rather than be merely swept up in the pipa's exotic sound.

In today's Boston Globe, Richard Dyer remarked on the uniquely young audience Wu Man attracted, the cat-like alertness of Robert Schultz, and the Led Zepplin inspired Zhongguo Pop, by composer Anthony Paul De Ritis of Northeastern University. Read Richard Dyer's review of Wu Man's performance.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Man, oh Man!


Pipa virtuoso Wu Man visited Cathy Fuller's program on WGBH radio today and I got to go along. Cathy was nice enough to let me sit in studio with them while they talked and I watched from a foot away as Wu Man played the most amazing tremolo I have ever heard using all the fingers on her right hand. This wasn't the only remarkable thing she played, but it was the most riveting. Has anyone else heard one of these tremolos on a pipa up close? Are there any pipa players out there that can speak to how difficult it is? Wu Man told us it takes years to learn to do it properly. Can't wait to hear tonight's performance.

Wu Man's instrument is beautiful - rosewood back, carved ivory rose on the "fiddle head." Just stunning. Must make her nervous to carry it around would make me nervous.

We - the Celebrity Series, the City of Boston - are the last stop on Wu Man's tour. She's at Sanders Theatre at 8 o'clock. There are still some tickets left...I'm just saying.

Oh, and read Cathy Fuller's weblog, Fullermusic. Smart, knowledgeable prose and nice photos.

The photo is Cathy Fuller on the left and Wu Man on the right. Photo by me ;-)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

At the Symphony with Arlo

There are a lot of people in attendance at a concert like Arlo Guthrie's last night for the Celebrity Series; and there are a lot of people working. So it shouldn't be too surprising that there were a range of opinions about it. One person backstage was heard to say, shaking their head, "Oh man, this just isn't for me."  Well, we were in Symphony Hall.

On the other hand, one patron emerging from the performance declared that she was "very moved" by it. And another that said she wasn't familiar with Guthrie's music and history, etc., but she was impressed.

Had a brief chat with Arlo's son, Abe Guthrie, perhaps the least stressed-out performer I have ever encountered.

And then there was this morning's live journal post from danmcgaw, in which he relates, "...the one that stands out was the last one, called "My Peace," which was some lyrics Woody Guthrie wrote late in his life that Arlo put music to. And it stands out because my dad was crying at the end of it."

Dan Gewertz reviewed the show for The Boston Herald. If you're local, there's a nice photo from the show in the print edition.

People in the Celebrity Series offices are humming a variety of selections from the show today. Now where's that tape recorder?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Guthrie, fresh from Kansas, to perform tonight

Dean Bevan's review of Arlo Guthrie's Lawrence, Kansas concert last Saturday from the Lawrence Journal-World:

"Always at ease, his voice is still mellow, perhaps more so at 67 than at 27; his sense of humor is as droll as ever, and his timing never misses..."

"...A lively young group, The Mammals, opened for Guthrie. Led by Tao Rodriguez-Seeger (folk great Pete Seeger’s grandson) and Ruthie Ungar, this five-person string and percussion ensemble filled the hall with high-energy picking and fiddling, from the fast-paced opener to “John Henry” and “Fall On My Knees,” as well as the comic “Haircut Money...”

"...And though it’s easy to focus on Arlo the ’60s legend, don’t forget that he is a very talented musician. His eloquent guitar solo on “House of the Rising Sun” easily eclipses the versions of Bob Dylan or The Animals..."  Read the complete review.

Arlo Guthrie performs tonight at Symphony Hall with Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, The Mammals, Gordon Titcomb, Abe Guthrie, et al. Tickets for the performance are still available by calling 617-266-1200 or by walking up to the Symphony Hall box office.

Photo by Jon C. Hancock (image reduced).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Not Running for Anything"

Before he gets to Boston and the Celebrity Series, Arlo Guthrie is in Kansas. He recently spoke with Sophia Maines of

"'I didn’t want to become a trained seal routine where you pay your money because you know what he’s going to do,' Guthrie says, chuckling. 'I decided that we didn’t want to be that famous. We wanted to have fun, and we wanted to play what was immediate on our minds.'"

"Guthrie brings out the song [Alice's Restaurant] on anniversaries now. After this tour, he’ll take it off the set list and likely won’t play it again until 2016."

Here is the full text of the article.

In honor of the song's 40th anniversary, he'll be playing Alice's Restaurant tomorrow night at Symphony Hall at 8 o'clock. Tickets are still available...

"A Diva Gets Down and Dirty in High Style"

This was not your typical opera star recital. Deborah Voigt made a unique, memorable statement at her Celebrity Series debut on Sunday. The program of Amy Beach, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Charles Ives, Ben Moore, William Bolcom and Stephen Sondheim showcased eight selections from her new CD, "All My Heart, Deborah Voigt Sings American Songs," but the many of the other selections were of the same ilk. But her delivery was the story. The first clue came while reading the program - several selections read: "TEXT IS NOT PRINTED AT THE ARTIST'S REQUEST..."

The Boston Globe's Richard Dyer saw Ms. Voigt's recital as reflective of her personality, giving us an idea of what we can expect in the future:

"Deborah Voigt is a down-to-earth-diva, part girl next door, part party animal, part everyone's favorite raunchy aunt -- a dash of Wagnerian goddess Birgit Nilsson, a pinch of Anna Nicole Smith, a few shakes of Bette Midler. It's fun to be in her company even when she isn't singing. After singing William Bolcom's naughty morning-after song, ''Toothbrush Time," she said, ''My mother would be so proud." And when someone's cellphone went off she went scrambling for the phone in the voluminous folds of a glamour gown designed to show off her new slimline waist." Complete review. disagreed, commenting that the recital made "a poor showcase for her extraordinary gifts."

And then: Ms. Voigt's recent weight loss is well known, so naturally I was curious when I came across Deborah Voigt's Divine Deserts...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

One Down, One Up...Again

Milo Miles writes about two recent John Coltrane recordings in an article for One of the two - One Down, One Up, Coltrane Live at The Half Note - had a previous life as a bootleg record. I know because I own a copy. I should resent this new recording with its nice packaging, liner notes and no doubt thoughtful essay from Coltrane's son, Ravi, encouraging me to buy the same music again (never mind that my first purchase was legally challenged). But I feel encouraged that this recording is seeing the light of day in something like its proper form, and is produced by the family of the artist. Hard not to like that.

Perhaps the best known example of this sort of turnabout is the case of Sue Mingus (widow of Charles Mingus), who founded Revenge Records to turn her deceased husband's former bootleg recordings, issued willy-nilly by anybody, to her advantage by taking them above ground and selling them herself. On the label's web site, an essay by Ms. Mingus begins, "The first time I was caught stealing records was in Paris in the autumn of l99l..." (You can find the rest of her essay here).

Full disclosure (and credit) the Celebrity Series has presented Sue Mingus' other labor of love (well, one of them), the Mingus Big Band in 1996 and 2000 (and we may even have bought a record or two).

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Richard Dyer on Jackiw and Levinson

"Two men of Harvard and New England Conservatory from different generations played their first recital together Sunday afternoon in Jordan Hall: violinist Stefan Jackiw, only 20 and still an undergraduate, and pianist Max Levinson, now 33 and out in the world." Read the complete text of Richard Dyer's review of violinist Stefan Jackiw and pianist Max Levinson's November 6 recital in The Boston Globe.

Did any readers attend the recital and feel like sharing your impressions? By all means, post your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The Royal Ballet's Manon Reviewed in The Independent [London]

"Zenaida Yanowsky is a different kind of Manon. For a start, she's taller - Kenneth MacMillan's 1974 ballet was made for a small dancer - but her originality reflects the character. Every step, every decision, looks new-minted...the whole [Royal Ballet] company is dancing marvellously - every whore, beggar and client brought boldly to life. A superb revival." The complete review by Zoë Anderson.

The Royal Ballet will bring Kenneth MacMillan's Manon to Boston June 15-17 at The Wang Theatre.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Stefan Jackiw encores and Sweet Honey In The Rock

Though they were announced from the stage last night, in the interest of being all things to some people, here are the encores selections from violinist Stefan Jackiw and pianist Max Levinson's recital last night at Jordan Hall:

Chopin, Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No.1 (trans. Nathan Milstein)
Fritz Kreisler, La Gitana ("The Gypsy")

Also this past weekend: Sweet Honey In The Rock (website, blog) made its Celebrity Series debut Saturday night at Symphony Hall. The near (very near) sell-out audience was completely attuned to these a-capella vocal masters from the first note sung. Clapping and chants began before the singing did, creating the feeling that the performance was a continuation of a concert/rite/scene already in progress, like walking into a really great party. I will post a set list if it can be had.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Viñao work to get Boston Premiere at Celebrity Series concert

At their Jordan Hall concert this Sunday, November 12, the Juilliard String Quartet will perform the Boston Premiere of Argentinian composer Ezequiel Vinao's String Quartet No. 2 (The Loss and the Silenece). Below is a description of String Quartet No. 2 from the press release on the work's World Premiere at the Juilliard School on October 20:

"Ezequiel Viñao’s second string quartet is a synthesis of the composer’s work to date. It incorporates the four main threads that run, to a greater or lesser degree, through all of his music: the structural use of rhythmic cycles; the unfolding of long melismae (spun mainly from Mozarabic chant); the concert of re-interpretation, and an interest in Medieval thought and traditions.

The work opens with a sonata-type form. The Loss and the Silence - Tolkien’s phrase - was originally the title of the second movement. In Tolkien’s story, an immortal ageless maiden chooses mortality in order to be with the mortal man she loves. After many years of dwelling together in bliss, the man, at last, feels that his life draws to an end. She is overborne by grief and a keen sense of the mortality that she has taken upon her. The story’s substance relates to the early Christian symbols of "Mortality" and "Fall." "Mortality," understood as "the gift of the One to Men," and "Fall," as the result of a rebellion against this gift, leading to a desire for power and the corrupted use of man’s inner talents with the "object of bull-dozing the real world, of coercing other wills."

The third movement is a deconstructed dance form. The fourth movement begins with a reference to the sound world of the previous movement as an introduction to a perpetual motion process built around a rhythmic cycle. In a brief fifth movement, an epilogue to the piece, echoes of the second movement are heard."

Thursday, November 3, 2005

You'll never sing in the shower again...

Gulp. The Evening Standard [London] took my breath away with news of a study suggesting that:
"Habitual and enthusiastic singers may be more predisposed to put on weight because exertions in the lungs act as a trigger for their appetite."

Read the version of the article here (if you dare): Why the Fat Lady Sings - There May Be a Medical Reason Opera Singers Tend to Be Heavy

Demystifying Blogging

I hope the full disclosure aspect of this announcement is obvious. Despite my presence on the panel, it promises to be a fascinating discussion. If it makes sense for you, consider attending. The whole thing is being put together by the good folks at The Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston.

Demystifying Blogging: What is it and What Does it Mean for Smart Arts Marketers?
Date:  Wednesday, November 9th
Time: 2:30 - 5:00 PM
Location: Barr Foundation Dining Room at The Pilot House, Lewis Wharf, Boston, MA (Directions)

John Cass of Backbone Media is giving the presentation and will be moderating the panel. 

Panel Participants:
Steve Garfield: Website and Blog
Jack Wright of Bank of America Celebrity Series: website and Blog
Bill Marx of WBUR: website and blog

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


Many thanks to the kind bloggers at The Standing Room and The Well-Tempered Blog for pointing arts-oriented blog readers in our direction. Give them a look, they have a lot to offer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005


"...The Sonata, op.111 consists of two movements. The first betrays a violent effort to produce something in the shape of a novelty. In it are visible some of those dissonances the harshness of which may have escaped the observation of the composer. The second movement is an Arietta, and extends to the extraordinary length of thirteen pages. The greater portion of it is written in 9/16, but a part is in 6/16, and about a page in 12/32. All this is really laborious trifling, ought to be by every means discouraged by the sensible part of the musical profession...We have devoted a full hour to this enigma and cannot solve it."
The Harmonicon, London, August 1823, quoted in Lexicon of Musical Invective, Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time, by Nicolas Slonimsky

Despite the grotesqueries expressed above, pianist Richard Goode will play Beethoven's Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Opus 111 at NEC's Jordan Hall on December 4. The rest of his all-Beethoven program is as follows:

Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Opus 13, “Pathétique”
Sonata No. 6 in F Major, Opus 10, No. 2
Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, Opus 81a, “Les adieux”
Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Opus 78

Celebrity Series performances reviewed

October 30
Theodore Bale reviewed the Limón Dance Company's Saturday performance at the Tsai Center for The Boston Sunday Herald:
Company Brings Day of the Dead to Life

November 1
Karen Campbell reviewed the Limón Company for The Boston Globe:
Troupe Elegantly Reflects on Darkness and Joy

November 1
Bob Young reviewed Wynton Marsalis' Sunday evening performance at Sanders Theatre for The Boston Herald:
Tradition Provides Starting Point for Marsalis and Band


November 2
Bill Beuttler reviewed Wynton Marsalis at Sanders Theatre for The Boston Globe:
Marsalis, Quintet Shine

November 2
Greg Pare reviewed Wynton Marsalis for
"Wynton Marsalis" by Wynton Marsalis

November 3
Marcia Siegel reviewed the Limón Dance Company for the Boston Phoenix:
Dynasties, Limón Dance Company at the Tsai...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Ives Songs

"He [Ives] put Milton to music, and Kipling. It was often in the past. Or he could take a scrap, a headline from a newspaper and somehow dignify it with music that surged over it. It could be a triviality, but somehow or other it fired his imagination and the music came spontaneously....He did it again and again. He took only part of a Kipling poem, part of Milton, too. Just a phrase would fire his imagination. It was extraordinary what he accomplished."
Poet-anthologist Louis Untermeyer

" 1934, I published an article in the magazine Modern Music on the music of Charles Ives, based on a first acquaintance with the remarkable collection of his 114 Songs that he himself had published and had sent to me. The essay began: 'It will be a long time before we take the full measure of Charles Ives.'"
Composer Aaron Copland

Both of the above quotes regarding the songs of Charles Ives are taken from Charles Ives Remembered, An Oral History, by Vivian Perlis.

Soprano Deborah Voigt will sing five Ives songs on her November 13 Celebrity Series recital at Symphony Hall.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Live at the House of Sanders

Inconsequential details abound from tonight's engagement at Sanders Theatre by Wynton Marsalis and his, variously, quintet/sextet/quintet and vocalist:

1. That Wynton and band had brunch at Henrietta's Table in The Charles Hotel before the show (of delicious consequence to them, no doubt);

2. Wynton let his audience know he had never played Sanders Theatre before and that he admired the woodwork;

3. Harvard's eminent Henry Louis Gates attended the performance (of consequence to him and his tapping foot, surely).

Aside from all that fluff, and aside from the very consequential fact of Wynton's small band(s) living fully, swingingly up to expectations, the audible sighs (gasps?) from the audience when singer Jennifer Sannon launched into "I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So" and the wild applause that greeted pianist Dan Nimmer after nearly every solo, revealed that the young singer and young pianist were the surprises of the evening that would have everyone buzzing. And she's only 20 years old!
Jennifer Sannon and Dan Nimmer - remember those names.

Further inconsequence overheard on the way through Harvard Yard tonight:
"The rhino is really a very horrible creature, you know."
"Of course."

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Limón Dance Company returns to Boston and the Celebrity Series this weekend for the first time since February of 1965, when they performed at Jordan Hall that’s not a typo. The Celebrity Series presented the then José Limón Dance Company five times between 1952 and 1965 and all engagements took place at Jordan Hall, that gem of a recital hall at New England Conservatory. It’s true.

Former Celebrity Series Executive Director, Walter Pierce, newly returned from a
Repf03_1 Sicilian vacation, remembers that Mr. Limón himself danced in The Moor’s Pavane at the ’65 engagement.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"Celebrity Series Soprano Sings Rice" follow up

Alex Ross (The Rest is Noise) had this to say about the Two Sides Sounding (featuring former Celebrity Series employee, Eleanor Taylor, you'll remember) recital at Manhattan's St. Peter's Church on Tuesday:

"Corey Dargel's Condoleezza Rice song cycle — setting three passages from the Secretary of State's speeches — sounded prankish in concept, but was surprisingly moving in execution; the prosody was immaculate, the accompaniment achieved a certain Handelian grandeur. I recommend these songs to sopranos of daring." Alex's post.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Higher Ground concert recording to be released by Blue Note

You may recall that trumpet titan Wynton Marsalis organized a remarkable benefit concert called Higher Ground back on September 17 for hurricane relief efforts in New Orleans. The concert aired on multiple television stations and satellite radio and will soon be released by Blue Note records as a CD and in a "digital version," presumably available as a download from online music stores (CDs are digital, too, aren't they?).  Proceeds from the recording will also go to hurricane relief. You can order the CD here (among other places, I'm sure).

Not to make this a self-referential exercise, but I was struck while reading about the concert and CD how many of the "cast of thousands" performing - musicians generally regarded as jazz and popular music performers - have graced Celebrity Series stages. Considering jazz and popular music performances are not our major area of emphasis, it's an interesting and perhaps odd coincidence that Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Cassandra Wilson, and Peter Cincotti all have the Higher Ground CD and the Celebrity Series in common.

I don't know, maybe it isn't all that odd...

Monday, October 24, 2005

"The Benefits of Being a Dead Artist"

The headline sounds a bit harsh, but its point - that "only [her] stunning works prevail," the choreographic cream rises to the top, etc. - is well taken. Read Tarin Chaplin's review of the Martha Graham Dance Company for The Barre Montpelier Times Argus.

Boston gets a chance to see The Martha Graham Dance Company at The Shubert Theatre, December 2-4 for the first time since 1996.

Cecilia at Symphony Hall

She blazed into Symphony Hall again for a concert of Scarlatti, Caldara, Handel and Corelli with the Orchestra La Scintilla of Zürich Opera.

The Boston Globe's Richard Dyer reviewed yesterday's concert by Cecilia Bartoli at Symphony Hall: "Her voice is not large, but the emotional wallop it delivers is." Read the full text of Mr. Dyer's review here.

The four encores, in order, were:
Giovanni Bonocinni
"Oindra mai fu" from Xerse
"Datempesta" from Giulio Cesare
Alessandro Scarlatti
"Che dolce simpatia" from Il Giardino di Rose

The fourth and final encore was a reprise of Handel's “Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno” from Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo

A colleague in attendance who is a fan of the music but not one to pull punches said it best, "It was beyond awesome.... she is an international treasure..." To say we are proud to present Ms. Bartoli is an understatement.

As of September 13, Ms. Bartoli's recordings are available for download on iTunes? This should have some impact on the "demise of the classical recording industry" discussion...the details.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Celebrity Series Soprano Sings Rice

Leave it to Alex Ross (The Rest is Noise) to recognize and promote talent. Tucked away at the end of his post on the passion for opera shared by Tom Delay and Robert Bork and the general state of opera in Washington, is a little item that really drew our attention. Soprano Eleanor Taylor (a Celebrity Series employee from 1993-98, thank you very much!) and pianist Jocelyn Dueck (the duo call themselves Two Sides Sounding) will perform the world premiere of a song cycle by Corey Dargel and Sam Piperato set to the speeches of Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice. The performance is at Manhattan's Saint Peters Church on October 25. Break a leg, Eleanor!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


We have discussed the project here before, but people are getting quite excited about Russ Gershon and the Either/Orchestra's ongoing Ethio-jazz activities. The band's new CD, Live in Addis, was recently released on Buda Musique . The band has been making appearances locally with Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke and talking about the new Either/Orchestra recording and Jim Jarmusch's use of Astatke's music in his new film Broken Flowers.

In Thursday's Boston Phoenix, Jon Garelick took a look at the Either/Orchestra's Ethio-jazz project as did Bob Young in Tuesday's Boston Herald.

You can hear the Either/Orchestra play Ethio-jazz with Mulatu Astatke in a November 2004 performance from New Sounds Live at World Financial Center (aired on WNYC January 13, 2005).

Russ and Mulatu Astatke dropped in on Christopher Lydon's Open Source on WGBH-FM on October 12. The full hour is available here.

For our part, the Celebrity Series will present the Either/Orchestra and Ethiopian guest musicians on Saturday, January 28 at the Berklee Performance Center.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"...still tapping on the door of innovation"

The Celebrity Series along with our friends at World Music brought tap dance magician Savion Glover to Symphony Hall last night for Classical Savion, which paired the renowned hoofer with a chamber orchestra and, for the finale, a small jazz unit. Dance critic Theodore Bale reviewed the performance for today's Boston Herald.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

San Francisco Symphony violist joins Takács Quartet

Long time San Francisco Symphony violist Geraldine Walther joined the Takács Quartet at the beginning of the 2005-2006 concert season. The San Francisco Chronicle offers assurances that the addition of Ms. Walther not caused so much as a ripple in the ensemble's combination of "vitality, zest and somewhat dark-hued urgency." Read Joshua Kosman's San Francisco Chronicle review of the Takács Quartet.

The Takács Quartet makes a Celebrity Series appearance December 11 at Jordan Hall. The program includes Haydn and Borodin, and violist James Dunham joins the Takács for Mozart's String Quintet in G minor, K. 516.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dyer thinks Schiff sharp

Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe was impressed with pianist Andras Schiff's Friday evening recital, calling his Beethoven sonata renderings "nimble fingered" and "delightful." Read the complete review.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

And Schubert for the finish...

Pianist András Schiff played two encore selections to close his Boston recital last night:

Schubert, Hungarian Melody in B minor, D.817
Schubert, Impromptu No. 4 in F minor D. 935 op. 142

The rest of the recital program can be found here.

Friday, October 7, 2005

András Schiff thrills Ann Arbor with Haydn And Beethoven

Andras_schiff_am_klavier1Pianist András Schiff opened the University Musical Society chamber music series in Ann Arbor this past Wednesday with the program of Haydn and Beethoven that Boston will hear tonight at Jordan Hall. The Ann Arbor News was ecstatic, pronouncing the recital "among the best in years." Read the complete review.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

It's better than 'It Tastes Like Chicken'

Baltimore is currently enjoying the delights of the unusually named ensemble "eighth blackbird." Boston, well, technically Cambridge, will have a chance to hear this remarkable group in a Celebrity Series program called "lucid, inescapable rhythms" on March 26 at Sanders Theatre.

Critic Tim Smith spoke with eighth blackbird for an article in today's Baltimore Sun (requires login).

Want to hear the group? Here are some audio samples from Saint Paul Sunday of eighth blackbird performing Thirteen Ways (composed by eighth blackbird's Thomas Albert to text by Wallace Stevens).

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Deborah Voigt, friend of the art song

Soprano Deborah Voigt's newest recording, All My Heart - Deborah Voigt Sings American Songs, with pianist Brian Zeger gets a review from Elaine Guregian of the Akron-Beacon Journal. Guregian writes, "Art song is lucky to have such a friend."

Many tracks and composers on All My Heart are on the program for Ms. Voigt's Celebrity Series recital on November 13 at Symphony Hall.

As long as we're linking to the redoubtable Andante, why not throw in Ms. Voigt's interview with Jochen Breiholz from 2003.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

WGBH to air Royal Ballet's Nutcracker

WGBH television will air Peter Wright's production of The Nutcracker by The Royal Ballet four times during October. Former Royal Ballet Artistic Director Anthony Dowell dances the role of the toy and the clockmaker Herr Drosselmeyer.
Julie Andrews hosts.

The Royal Ballet visits Boston for four performances of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, June 15-17 at The Wang Theatre .

Guthrie to Ride "City of New Orleans" for Hurricane Relief

This December, folk legend Arlo Guthrie will live out his 1972 hit City of New Orleans (written by Steve Goodman) when Christmas Train to New Orleans - Arlo & Friends on The City Of New Orleans hits the rails. Starting in Chicago on December 5 and making eight stops along the famous route to collect music and sound equipment for the many nightclubs and other venues damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

612arloguthrie1_2"When I wonder what they might need in New Orleans to get back on their feet, the stuff that gets ruined under water, I think of all the sound boards, the cables, the lighting, the microphones, the instruments. I think of the stuff you need in the hundreds of little clubs and bars that bring the music to the street -- the street that brings the people to the city. And I think of the many thousands of people who depend on those people for their livelihoods."

Guthrie will gather equipment during the ride as donations or purchased at cost from money raised by the trip. Christmas Train to New Orleans finishes in hurricane ravaged New Orleans on December 17. The names of the artists joining Guthrie on the tour have not yet been announced.

Arlo Guthrie plays Boston's Symphony Hall for the Celebrity Series on November 16.

Monday, October 3, 2005

"Water is like art: It can't be stopped"

Cecilia Bartoli talks with Newsday's Marion Lignana Rosenberg about 18th-century restrictions on female singers, Anita Ekberg in the Trevi Fountain, and her new release, Opera Proibita.

"I needed to present this project in a modern way while maintaining a baroqueEkberg_g_2 sensibility. In La Dolce Vita, Anita Ekberg is in the Fountain of Trevi, a baroque fountain. Her body is sinuous, sensual: She could have been a model for Bernini."

Cecilia Bartoli comes to Symphony Hall with Orchestra La Scintilla of Zürich Opera on Sunday, October 23 .

Friday, September 30, 2005

Crepuscule with Savion

Tap dance phenom Savion Glover will help Jazz at Lincoln Center to celebrate jazz legend Thelonious Monk's birthday on October 28 and 29 with two performances of Jazz in Motion: Tappin' Into Monk. Glover will tap dance to Monk's music in the two evening performances. At noon and 2pm on the same dates, school age children will get a chance to perform with Glover in a program called Jazz For Young People, Jazz in Motion: Tappin’ Into Monk featuring Savion Glover. All performances will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall.

Savion Glover brings his Classical Savion® program to Symphony Hall on Sunday, October 16. The performance is co-presented by Bank of America Celebrity Series and CRASHarts.

"We must take pleasure in life, which can be short..."

BartoliMezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli talks with Bill Richardson of Vancouver's Georgia Strait about her Rolex collection, singing for the new Pope, and digging through archives to unearth the music on her new CD, Opera Proibita:

“The Handel,” she says, “was not so difficult to locate and select, as they were all published. But the others no, and not to be found in Italy. We discovered the Caldara in Vienna, and the Scarlatti in Cambridge. It’s very hard work…"

Read the complete article.