Friday, September 26, 2008

MacArthur Fellows in our midst

For the slightly geeky, the announcement of the annual list of MacArthur Fellows (aka the Genuis Grant Recipients) is right up there with the annual list of college commencement speakers. Both groups are, generally speaking, and in my opinion, people who get a moment of fame that are truly deserving of the recognition (not that, say, Justin Timberlake, for example, isn't a genius in his own right. I'm sure he is :-)).

In any case,we at the Celebrity Series love nothing better than to bask in any sort of reflected glow. To that end, I feel I must reveal which of the recipients have had a presence of one kind or another on the Series (sorry, Geomorphologist David Montgomery is not one of them).

Lighting Designer Jennifer Tipton designed lighting as part of numerous Celebrity Series engagements, including 13 Paul Taylor Dance Company tours between 1969 and 2007, 4 tours by choreographer Twyla Tharp (one with Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov) and 1 tour with Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project (and those are just the one's I could verify). Her lighting has been featured on at least 18 separate engagements, usually as the sole lighting designer for every work performed on every performance. Whether they knew it or not, Celebrity Series audiences have seen quite a lot of Tipton's work over the years.

Violinist Leila Josefowicz has appeared twice on the Celebrity Series of Boston with Jaime Laredo and The Brandenburg Ensemble (1997 & 2000).

Saxophonist Miguel Zenon's Celebrity Series appearance came in 1998 during Rob Kapilow's What Makes It Great? series, when he performed with Duke Ellington's Such Sweet Thunder and Timon of Athens with Boston's Either/Orchestra.

I know, I know. We keep good company.

Here's the complete list.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Angela Hewitt in The Guardian (UK)


Angela Hewitt

The's Alan Rusbridger interviewed pianist Angela Hewitt for last Friday's edition. Here's an excerpt:

"Angela Hewitt: . . . I learnt from books, from experience, not so much from pianists, I must say. I
listened to harpsichordists, to orchestras, to people like John Eliot Gardiner
and the early music crowd.

Alan Rusbridger: Why harpsichordists?

Angela Hewitt: Pianists often annoy me! A lot of them, I feel, don't
play it in a true Baroque style. I still listen to them of course. I still
listen to Edwin Fischer and admire the wonderful architecture he can build in a
fugue. Schiff also. I think in many ways his playing is the closest to mine. I
do think there's a way of playing Bach at the piano that is still stylistically
correct and that's what I'm looking for."

Read all of Taking Time with Bach.

Angela Hewitt performs for the first time in Boston on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at NEC's Jordan Hall.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just another witchcraft scholar and tenor in recital


Tenor Ian Bostridge

I thought it was just a coincidence. Ian Bostridge the witchcraft scholar, whose Oxford Historic Monograph, Witchcraft and its Transformations, 1650 to 1750, can be purchased on could not be Ian Bostridge the tenor appearing this month in Mozart's Don Giovanni at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden (and on April 3 for the Celebrity Series with pianist Julius Drake), could it?

Well, shiver me timbers if it isn't the same fellow, a fact which is likely regarded as remarkable by both witchcraft scholars and operatic tenors alike. And did I mention that he routinely writes for The Guardian newspaper? What all of this really proves, in my estimation is that Mr. Bostridge is ridiculously, unconscionably talented and intelligent. Really, now, the exemplary diction and shockingly beautiful voice would have been enough . . .

Here is a sampling of Ian Bostridge-related links:


Schubert's Die Forelle with pianist Julius Drake (video)

Silent Noon from the English Songbook CD with Drake (video)

Is my Team Ploughing? from "On Wenlock Edge" with Bernard Haitink (video)

Villes from Britten's "Les Illuminations" (video)


Bostridge's post on The Guardian's Music Blog: "Happy Birthday Barbican"

Bostridge on Benjamin Britten's Death In Venice in The Guardian

Bostridge on Handel in The Guardian

Ian Bostridge on the web:

Ian Bostridge's MySpace page

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Abridgments to nowhere (in particular)

Pianist Leon Fleisher opened the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota's season this past Sunday. Read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune review. Apparently this Fleisher fellow has something to say... We'll get a chance to hear this giant of the piano on October 3 with a group of his amazingly accomplished former students.

Pianist Lang Lang has written two new books (one for adults, one for younger folks). We will see Lang Lang at Symphony Hall in March. He will be playing the piano, not giving a reading...

You've been waiting patiently, now here it is, the Lilly Pulitzer piano.

Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian released her most recent CD, Tango Notturno, back in March (for some reason I'm just getting around to mentioning it now). You can buy the CD here. You can buy tickets to her October 19 concert (a tribute to Armenian composer Gomidas) with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra here.

T-shirt of the day: "Nature Rocks." I would have thought nature swings or plays a nice symbiotic minuet, but maybe that's why I don't make t-shirts for a living.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hilary Hahn's Schoenberg video birthday sleepover tribute channel

"Well, Mr. Schoenberg, make a wish"

Violinist Hilary Hahn, inspired by a group of youngsters who attended one of her concerts as part of a sleepover, has created a video tribute channel on YouTube in honor of the composer's 134th birthday (134th? Hahn didn't want to be too "symmetrical" with her dates).

Here is the video channel she created. It launched this past Saturday.

Here is Hilary's explanation of the project.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ailey dancer forced to dance by Israeli security


Abdur-Rahim Jackson

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, was detained by Israeli security on Sunday at Ben-Gurion Airport where the company was making the first stop of their international tour. Jackson was questioned repeatedly about his name and was twice made to dance to prove his assertion that he was a member of the Ailey company.

Read more about the incident via The Associated Press, BBC News, Israel's YNetnews, or the New York Daily News.

Jackson has danced numerous times as part of Celebrity Series of Boston engagements of the Ailey company and has participated in the Celebrity Series Artist Residencies program. Barring further detentions, he will perform with the company during its 7-performance run at Boston's Opera House, April 28 - May3 (We don't expect any problems at Logan Airport).

Jazz @ Lincoln Center's new director profiled in NY Times

Adrian Ellis was first hired by Jazz at Lincoln Center as a management consultant to help them manage their explosive growth, now he's running the organization's administrative side. Robin Pogrebin's New York Times article on Ellis and the state of J@LC ran in the Sunday edition, you can view it here.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis returns to the Celebrity Series on Sunday, March 15 at Symphony Hall.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buy Celebrity Series tix from Celebrity Series!


Celebrity Series of Boston . . . accept no substitutes

Hello, readers,

I have a warning for those of you interested in purchasing Celebrity Series performances for the 2008-2009 season. Online searches for many of our performances will turn up numerous (and I mean NUMEROUS) online vendors promising tickets for performances presented by Celebrity Series of Boston in 2008-2009. The difference between them and us is is that these vendors are not the presenting organization, we are. These vendors are ticket resellers asking considerably more money for their tickets to our events than we ask.

Ticket resellers have operated in our midst for some time, reselling tickets to our more high-demand performances, but these online resellers are either charging very steep prices for tickets to shows which are not sold out (yet) or promising seats they do not actually have, and may never have (in some cases specific seats are listed for sale, and in some of those cases the seat locations listed do not exist in the venue at all!), or both. For example, some vendors have been "selling" our tickets online all summer, even before we seated our subscribers, months before we began selling single tickets.

The Celebrity Series is looking into all of this, but in the meantime, heed this recommendation: buy Celebrity Series tickets from the Celebrity Series of Boston via CelebrityCharge (617) 482-6661, online at, or from the venues where the performances will take place.

And by the way, single tickets for our entire season - thousands of seats - go on sale Monday morning at 9am.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back in the saddle, and not a moment too soon

Hello, again, friends! I'm back from vacation, and like most of you my batteries are recharged, yet I still wish I was on vacation. I did not forget about you or this blog while on vacation. For example, while in New York's Finger Lakes Region, I diligently explored the performing arts scene, including noted venues like Trumansburg's Rongovian Embassy to the USA (see below).


Jordan Hall it ain't, but does Jordan Hall serve Tex Mex entrees and Yuengling beer (yet)? Well, all right, then.

In any case, things are getting underway here (by things, I mean, of course, ticket sales). This coming Monday, September 8 is the big day (second only to the launch of the subscription season in the Spring) when the general public gets its first shot at thousands of seats in venues all over Boston for over 60 performers (but who's counting?). You'll be able to buy tickets by phone: CelebrityCharge: (617) 482-6661, or online at

Our season begins on October 3 with a celebration of pianist Leon Fleisher's 80th birthday by Mr. Fleisher and an assemblage of several of his most accomplished former students.