Friday, July 28, 2006

Garrick Ohlsson: How to Make a Piano Sing

Try as we might...

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson has a little featurette on NPR's Performance Today web site called How to Make a Piano Sing, which offers some downloadable music by Ohlsson and even a video clip. The item plugs Ohlsson's appearance on Live From Lincoln Center on August 2 at the opening of the Mostly Mozart Festival.

Mr. Ohlsson will perform an all-Beethoven recital for the Celebrity Series on February 10, 2007 at NEC's Jordan Hall.

Pass Go, Get Cash Back

In yet another development cleverly designed to divide the generations, the UK edition of Monopoly has replaced play money with play credit cards and a reader - read about it (and weep) here.

On the other hand, a few years ago, Hasbro began offering free, printable online pdfs of Monopoly money for download. Does the Federal Reserve Bank know about these guys...?

Thanks, as always, to

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"In the Beginning was Sound" Barenboim Lecture #1

Here is a terrific item I bookmarked months ago and just rediscovered. All five of conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim's Reith Lectures from April of this year are available online in audio, video or transcript form from BBC Radio 4. The first Barenboim lecture is entitled In the Beginning was Sound. Recent (back to 1999) and historic (Bertrand Russell from 1948, John Kenneth Galbraith from 1966) Reith Lectures are also available on the site as audio files. Great stuff.

Can't remember which blog I saw this on. Let me know if it was you so you can get proper credit...

Monday, July 24, 2006

WGBH Forum Network's Tribute to New Orleans

WGBH has a large and varied collection of fascinating lectures available as podcasts on their WGBH Forum Network. While I recommend dedicated podcasters explore all the offerings, one group of lectures has particular resonance for this blog in light of our season opening benefit with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on October 15. The Tribute to New Orleans Series features 10 lectures covering topics such as bio-diversity, epidemiology, climate change, global philanthropy and the history of jazz.

Baker's Dozen!

This blog reached 13,000 page views this weekend. What began as an unassuming little link post covering Celebrity Series performing artists has now blossomed into a slightly older unassuming little link post covering Celebrity Series performing artists...

Image by Adrian Gottlieb from The Painter's Keys Community for Artists.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Music to Sooth the Savage Searcher"

This article by David Mattison is a tremendous online resource for classical music lovers: Music to Soothe the Savage Searcher, Classical Music Databases and Web Resources

Whew! I don't know when I'll get to all of this, but maybe some of you will....good stuff!

Thanks to Bart Collins at The Well-Tempered Blog for the tip!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bill Marx writes his last WBUR column, first blog column

Bill Marx

Here is Bill Marx's final column for WBUR Arts. In the interest of keeping this link live, I'm linking to the version on Bill's new blog, not the one on

AileyCamp Boston View #1

AileyCamp Boston Guidance Counselor Brendan Adams watches Jazz Dance class this past Tuesday at Boston Renaissance Charter School in Boston. Leading the class is Robert Clemons, jazz dance instructor for the camp, which is administered by the Celebrity Series.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Can you say stocking stuffer?

As usual is making me smile. Today, they have me thinking about cutlery made from potato starch, and all the people likely to receive biodegradable spud tools from me this holiday season...

...and a YouTube post of Chico Marx indulging in some of his famous piano theatrics from A Night in Casablanca (there are a number of Marx Brothers excerpts available on YouTube, including Harpo's renowned harping). There is probably an apt German word for things like this video, wacky and charming all at once...

Welcome Zeitschichten!

Say hello to Zeitschichten, a new blog with a musical bent - subtitle: "music and history." Despite the title, it is mostly in English. Zeitschichten...Zeitschichten...Zeitschichten (fun to say, less fun to type, lemme tell you).

Thanks to St. Botolph's Town for the tip.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cape Breton Quartet The Cottars to Disband

The Cottars

The Cottars, the Cape Breton folk band that made their Celebrity Series debut with The Chieftains this past March, are splitting up. Here is the Reuters story from the end of June. I'll post more on this story if I can find it.

WBUR Arts to Shut Down

An email from writer Debra Cash has alerted me to a sad story: WBUR is shutting down WBUR Arts, the arts criticism web site, calendar and weblog run by Bill Marx. Read the full story from Nina McLaughlin on WBUR Slashes Arts Coverage.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, 1954-2006 - UPDATED LINKS

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

She performed three recitals for the Celebrity Series. First, in 1993 with pianist Steven Blier as part of the Emerging Artists Series, she sang a program which began with Handel's "Ogni vento" from Agrippina, and proceeded through to Pablo Luna's "De España Vengo" from El Niño Judio. She was still Lorraine Hunt then. Another recital followed, in 1998, with pianist Judith Gordon that featured three pieces by her future husband, Peter Lieberson. There was just one more in 2003 with Peter Serkin (Brahms...Debussy...Mozart..."Deep River" for one encore). Like so many other fans, we thought these wonderful nights were just the beginning.

Some highlights from among the many remembrances, tributes and obituaries:

Boston Globe, Richard Dyer: Her Luminous Voice Transported Listener
(July 5)

An Appreciation by Lloyd Schwartz
from Fresh Air with Terry Gross, July 7, 2006 (audio)

The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini (July 5)

The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns (July 6)

The Washington Post, Tim Page (July 6)

San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman (July 7)

Playbill Arts News, Matthew Westphal (July 5), Marc Geelhoed (July 7)

Opera News, F. Paul Driscoll (July 5)

The Gramophone, Ken Smith (July 5)

The Standing Room, a list of tributes and remembrances

The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross


Lloyd Schwartz on Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the Boston Phoenix
(July 13)

San Francisco Classical Voice Tribute


Boston Globe - Richard Dyer: Remembering a Mezzo-Soprano Known for Talent and Hard Work (July 14)

Open Source, WGBH radio - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Remembered
(July 12, audio and blog entry)

Other information:

Charles Michener's 2004 profile on Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in The New Yorker magazine

Short biography of Ms. Hunt Lieberson on

The Passion of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
On Point with Tom Ashbrook, WBUR radio, February 13, 2004 (audio)

His Master's Voice

The original painting of Nipper from 1899

On this day in 1900 the trademark His Master’s Voice, was registered at the U.S. Patent Office. The image of the Victor Recording Company(later RCA Victor) shows Little Nipper the dog, cocking his head at the sound of his masters voice coming from the horn of a gramophone machine.

The story of Nipper can be found here.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

A thought for the end of the season


"Without silence there is no music. Not simply because the faculty of hearing deteriorates from constant exposure to noise, but because silence is both the majestic frame and the stable solution for musical (and poetic) ideas. Silence is the soda water, the bracing ether, the bridge and mode of respect for receiving instructions from the angel. Or as wise Schnabel described his own gift, other pianists played the notes more perfectly, but nobody could play the rests better."

-Russell Sherman in Piano Pieces (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996)

Thursday, July 6, 2006

An Ipswich Story

Downbeat Magazine, March 1958

I have been waiting for an opportunity to post on this story. Steve Schwartz, host of Jazz From Studio 4 on WGBH-FM, writes about a heartwarming experience he had with a man he never met. The man was Mike DiMichele, an Ipswich musician who left his vintage jazz record and magazine collection to Schwartz out of admiration for his program. The Jazz From Studio 4 tribute to DiMichele aired on April 7 and the magazine's were donated to The Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Somehow, I bet Boston hasn't heard the last of these records.

Here's a bit of Steve's essay:

"I was overcome with emotion to think that a man whom I had never met nor heard of had thought enough about jazz music and what I do on the radio to think that I would be a good repository for his collection, built up over a lifetime of playing and listening."

Such a nice story. A tribute to both Mike and Steve.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

AileyCamp Boston 2006...TODAY!


This is a shot from the 2003 AileyCamp Boston final performance, which takes place in August. The long road to that performance begins today at the Boston Renaissance Charter School. Visit this blog for more info on developments at the Camp and the final performance.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Stephen Foster born on this day


Today is both the birthday of our nation and the birthdate, in 1826, of American Song composer Stephen Foster in Lawrenceville, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Victor Borge got a gig today


Victor Borge

On this date in 1945 Danish concert pianist and comedian  Victor Borge premiered on NBC radio. The network gave the comedian/pianist the summer replacement slot for Fibber McGee and Molly.

The Celebrity Series presented Victor Borge 8 times between 1963 and 1999; he died in 2000.

The following quotes are attributed to Mr. Borge:

  • "The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer."

  • "I'd like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary."

  • "I don't mind growing old. I'm just not used to it."

  • "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Fifteen ways of looking at Shostakovich via Alex Ross

Alex Ross has posted on The Rest is Noise a bit of poetry/word association from a Wesleyan student on the Shostakovich String Quartets: Fifteen ways of looking at Shostakovich. For those with the time, there are lots of possibilities along these lines...