Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Wagner and Bud Light
The NEA's 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts has generated a variety of responses, but has mostly been perceived as yet another version of the "arts in crisis" message. The Los Angeles Times dug a little deeper into the report and found another point worth emphasizing: the arts are not alone...
"The NEA's Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, conducted in May
2008 (before the current economic downturn), reported that 34.6% of
adults had gone at least once in the previous 12 months to an art
museum or seen a play, jazz performance, classical concert, opera or
dance -- the lowest percentage in a quarter century. Those who did
attend went less frequently, averaging about five times a year instead
of six. Only two arts categories -- musical theater and non-ballet
dance performances -- enjoyed attendance growth.
But a surprise in the survey is that, over the course of the last
quarter-century, the arts look like a bastion of stability compared
with other popular leisure activities in which masses of Americans
traditionally have invested time, money and the effort it takes to show
up in person and sit among strangers."
Read all of The arts see encouraging news in NEA survey.
Not exactly a "break open the champagne" kind of message, but it is a little comforting to know that the arts are in the same boat with some pretty big players in the battle to slay the couch-potato-ease-of-use-everything-at-our-fingertips-live-life-from-the-sofa dragon.
On the other hand, football attendees have to sit outside in the wintertime ...
Highlights from the NEA's 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.
The NEA 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (the whole magilla).
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Boston Globe (Jeremy Eichler)
The Arts Fuse (Caldwell Titcomb)
The Boston Phoenix (Lloyd Schwartz)
FYI: These reviews were not late - I'm late in posting them.
Though words fail, this works for me. It works as a joke, as a fascinating socio-historical product, and, arguably I suppose, as jazz. Check out Charlie Parker's Donna Lee at 7:31. The guy is really singing a difficult melody. Amazing.
Judging from the comments it is from a Japanese comedy show, though this definitely warrants further research.
Friday, December 11, 2009
According to the A) viral marketing materials designed by Google to get me to promote Google for Google, or B) nice letter from the good folks at Google, this blog is A) a Favorite Place on Google found by over 14,000 people between July 1 and September 30, with 1186 people requesting driving directions or other info about Aisle Be Seeing You, B) a small business, or C) a good target for Google marketers because, "this guy will post anything, including stickers."
Seriously, I would like to thank all 14,245 of you for checking in. And thanks for the sticker, Google!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Liam Clancy sings Carrickfergus from The Clancy Brothers 1984 reunion tour with Tommy Makem
Folk singer Liam Clancy, the last surviving member of the renowned Irish group The Clancy Brothers, has died at 74 in County Cork.
The Celebrity Series presented Liam Clancy as a member of The Clancy Brothers in 1985, when the group kicked off its reunion tour at Symphony Hall. Liam was quoted by the Boston Herald at the time as saying, "I think it's quite appropriate it starts at Symphony, considering we were banned from there once. The fans were too wild for them, bringing six-packs onto the stage and all. This was back in 1965. They're older and a bit better behaved nowadays."
In the same interview, the youngest Clancy brother also said, "In London and New York we were amazed at the audiences - people were reliving something that we had never realized was that important to them."
According to the Boston Globe, "The loudest ovations [at the 1985 concert] greeted Liam's soulful rendition of the beautiful ballad Carrickfergus."
Associated Press obituary on Boston.com
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The UnTwittered Question
Charles Edward Ives, internationally renowned American modernist composer (and explorer of such musical techniques as polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric elements, and quarter tones), and insurance industry innovator (author of Life Insurance with Relation to Inheritance Tax) whose work helped lay the foundation for modern estate planning, has risen from the dead to launch a Twitter account:
Stay tuned for more innovation.
And check out Ives' String Quartet No. 1 tomorrow night with the Emerson String Quartet.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Mark Morris talks about dance, rehearsal, and choreography in this video from 2007. The clip includes footage of Mark Morris Dance Group rehearsing Mozart Dances.
Mozart Dances (oh by the way) makes its Boston (and Celebrity Series of Boston) debut with the Mark Morris Dance Group (naturally), the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music, conductor Jane Glover and piano soloists Russell Sherman and Minsoo Sohn January 29-31 at The Boston Opera House.
Monday, November 30, 2009
-John C. Griggs, Choirmaster at New Haven (CT)'s Centre Church to organist Charles Ives
Charles Ives' first string quartet leads off the Emerson String Quartet's program this Friday at Jordan Hall.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I
suppose I will have to tell it now, without any nonsense. To begin with
I was not meant to be an athlete. I was meant to be a composer, and
will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing .—Don’t ask me to try to
forget this unpleasant thing and go play football.—Please—Sometimes
I’ve been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very)."
-Samuel Barber, at age 9
The Emerson String Quartet will perform Samuel Barber's Adagio for String Quartet, Opus 11, and selections by Ives, Janacek and Shostakovich on Friday, December 4 at Jordan Hall. The performance will not be followed by a game of touch football (as far as we know), but you are welcome to organize one.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Boston Phoenix (Carrie Battan)
Suzanne Vega (November 6, Sanders Theatre)
An Evening With Stephen Sondheim (November 14, Sanders Theatre)
The Hub Review (Thomas Garvey)
Berlin Philharmonic, Sir Simon Rattle, conducting (November 15, Symphony Hall)The Boston Globe (Jeremy Eichler)The Boston Phoenix (Lloyd Schwartz)
"your blog too enjoyful."
Is it so enjoyful that they just can't stand it?
Is it "just too much, man?"
I don't really want to know the answer any more than I want to try the ant-herpes product they're hawking...
Friday, November 13, 2009
Sir Simon Rattle
David Weininger of the Globe had a chat with Berlin Philharmonic conductor Sir Simon Rattle in advance of the orchestra's appearance at Symphony Hall this Sunday:
"Rattle is especially glad to be reconnecting with Boston. He nourishes
fond memories of the orchestra - 'I had the best time there, I tell
you' - and especially of Symphony Hall. He found the 2007 concert [by the Celebrity Series with Ben Heppner and Thomas Quasthoff] so
satisfying that 'all of us in Berlin felt, we have to play there again.'"
Read all of For Rattle, things look up as he looks ahead.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Mark Morris looking out his window
For New Yorkers, peeking in other people's windows has long been a subject for open-minded consideration, a fact of life to be considered rather than an embarassment (or at least for some). “Out My Window NYC,” a new series of photographs by Gail Albert Halaban, and “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York,” a book of drawings by
Matteo Pericoli that asks well-known New Yorkers to describe what they
see from their windows, both take on the subject of what New Yorkers see out their windows. Mark Morris, this blog discovered, participated in the project:
"Mark Morris, the choreographer and dancer, whose view is included in 'The City Out My Window,' said he regards the building across from his
home on Third Avenue in Manhattan, where people are constantly moving
in and out, as something of a cineplex. 'There’s an empty apartment,
and I see the new people, some couple, come in,' Mr. Morris, 53, said. 'Then they cover the windows. Then you can’t tell from across the
street if they’re male or female — and they’re naked, which is always
interesting. Then a few weeks later, it’s empty again.'"
Read all of the New York Times article, Window Watchers in a City of Strangers.
Monday, November 9, 2009
"I have spent such happy hours with your wonderful creation ... that I should like at least to tell you so. What a work! What a [musical] poem! What a harmonious mood pervades the whole! All the movements seem to be of one piece, one beat of the heart, each one a jewel! From start to finish one is wrapped about with the mysterious charm of the woods and forests. I could not tell you which movement I loved the most."
-Clara Schumann to Johannes Brahms, responding to the two-piano score of his Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Opus 90
The Berliner Philharmoniker plays Brahms' Symphony No. 3 at Symphony Hall on Sunday, November 15.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Three reviews have appeared to date of Ingrid Fliter's Boston debut recital this past Sunday:
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
"Actually going to Tom's Diner this morning!! It has been a while..."
She can visit Tom's Sandwich Shop in Roxbury when she's at Sanders Theatre this week...
Monday, November 2, 2009
Our own Rob Kapilow (well, he's been doing shows with us for quite some time, so he feels like family) undertook an interesting project a few years ago, a commission to create a work that is "a reflection of the enduring legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition." But the commission from the St. Louis Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Kansas City Symphony was not specific as to how this might be accomplished. For inspiration, Kapilow retraced Lewis and Clark's steps and began confronting what was for him a new world. Kapilow struggles with how to tell this new unexpected story, the story he finds most compelling, and which is largely untold; the story of Lewis and Clark from the perspective of today's native Americans.
Together with Blackfeet Indian poet and language preservationist Darrell Robes Kipp, Kapilow creates a symphony and discovers a world of which he previously knew nothing, Kipp writes the libretto for Kapilow's symphony, and discovers a new direction in his own work of tribal preservation and possibility. Thus do these two unlikely partners begin the process of bridging the divide between worlds begun at the time of Lewis and Clark.
The film about this process, Summer Sun, Winter Moon, is now being shown on PBS stations across the country. the next showing's in the Boston area will be on November 6 on WGBX World. A complete schedule of showing in other locations is available here.
There is also this brief video made by the Blackfoot teenager Jesse Desrosier. Jesse also appears in the film: Diary of Jesse Desrosier
On another note, Rob Kapilow performs two versions of his acclaimed What Makes It Great? program in the 2009-2010 season:
What Makes It Great? Mendelssohn Octet
What Makes It Great? The Music of Cole Porter
Friday, October 30, 2009
$20 student rush tickets are available for this Sunday's Jordan Hall recital by Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter. More details on student rush tickets are available here.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"The classical music world is known for planning concerts and events
years in advance. But the Berlin Philharmonic takes the cake today with
its announcement that it has secured Simon Rattle's tenure as head of
the orchestra for another nine years."
Read the complete post.
Berlin Philharmonic comes to Boston November 15.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Violinist Christian Tetzlaff's program was all J.S. Bach, all of Bach's unaccompanied sonatas and partitas, in fact, so it was not a complete representation of what Boston audiences will hear on January 31 at Jordan Hall. However, according to Allan Kozinn of the New York Times, Tetzlaff's performance (as well as the program) was sublime.
Bach's Sonata No. 3 in C and Partita No 2 in D minor, both of which were on Sunday's 92nd Street Y program and are mentioned in the review, will be played in Boston. But we will also hear Eugène Ysaÿe's Sonata for solo violin and for Paganinni caprices. Hear is a snippet of Kozinn's review to whet your appetite:
"Technique is never an issue with this violinist. The clarity and
solidity he brings to the music’s chordal writing remain among the most
striking characteristics of his Bach playing, as does the sharp
articulation he uses to suggest independent lines of counterpoint. What
has deepened is the intensity of the emotional charge he draws from
this music, in readings that match Bach’s 18th-century ingenuity with
passion and warmth in the here and now."
Read all of Emphasizing Bach's Unity.
Monday, October 26, 2009
At the close of his onstage conversation with Stephen Sondheim at
Sanders Theater on November 14, Frank Rich will include questions
submitted in advance by audience members and other Sondheim fans.
Please email your questions for Stephen Sondheim by Thursday, November 12 to:
will not be accepted after November 12. Questions may be presented in
edited form. There is no guarantee your question(s) will be selected.
During this live, unscripted conversation, Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Rich
will reminisce about Stephen Sondheim’s career including his
collaborations with Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins; his
predecessors, including his mentor Oscar Hammerstein II; the state of
American musical theater; and, in a very personal series of
reflections, his own creative process, speaking specifically on works
ranging from his early shows Gypsy and West Side Story to such later classics as Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd.
Note: Remaining tickets for this event are limited.
Suzanne Vega sings "Small Blue Thing" in Wattensheid, Germany. It's probably the best of the fan-submitted videos from her summer 2009 tour.
Suzanne comes to Sanders Theatre, Cambridge on November 6, courtesy of Celebrity Series of Boston (ahem).
Friday, October 23, 2009
A humorous little post from the blog of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra - a pseudo-introduction of the coming season - has confused a number of otherwise worldly and alert adults into thinking the cracks therein are to be taken seriously. Here are some rather obvious samples of Slatkin's playfulness:
"To begin, the orchestra will be seated with their backs to the
audience. Music Director Leonard Slatkin said at a press conference
yesterday, 'I feel that the listeners are distracted by seeing the faces
of the musicians. By turning around, people will tire of looking at
backsides and focus purely on the music.'"
On Beethoven's 5th Symphony:
"So for these performances of the overly familiar Beethoven score, the
opening five bars will not be played, since everyone knows how they go.
It will be straight into the 6th measure. In fact, every time the
four-note motto comes in and is played loudly, the passage will either
disappear or be performed softly."
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring:
"Other emendations include orchestration changes. The opening of
Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, played by the bassoon in a high register,
will now be intoned on the tuba, two octaves lower than printed."
On formal attire:
"Finally, in keeping with the new seating arrangement, the orchestra
will perform in street clothes, but the audience is requested to come
in formal attire.
'Let them learn how long it takes to put on white tie and tails.'"
"Season tickets, subscription renewals and cancellations can be taken care of directly with the DSO box office."
If the Schikele-esque notions above were not adequate proof of mirth, the post even goes so far as to include the winking emoticon, ;-), in the headline, but still there were those who remained unsure if they were witnessing a joke or not. That tells this reader that the classical community in general could use a bit more of this sort of thing ...
DSO blog post, with comments
Leonard Slatkin's web site
Mind the Gap blog on Artsjournal.com
Daily Observations blog, with comment
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Pianist Ingrid Fliter is definitely at the point in her career in which people are beginning to know her music and want to hear her story. She spoke to The Times (UK) recently on a range of topics, including Chopin, pianist Martha Argerich, and winning the Gilmore Artist Award:
"Her big break was a once-in-a-lifetime chance — the intervention of
her all-time idol, the Argentine piano legend Martha Argerich, many of
whose best qualities she shares, though she would never admit the
comparison. 'A friend of mine told me that she was coming to Argentina
and that she wanted to listen to some young pianists — in four days’
time. So I practised 12 hours, 14 hours, on the one piece I wanted to
play, Chopin’s Sonata No 3.' After she had finished, Argerich told her
to pack her bags and go to study with Vitaly Margulis in Freiburg,
Germany. Then she gave her the keys to her flat in Geneva."
Read all of How Chopin came to the rescue of Argentine pianist Ingird Fliter.
Boston gets its first chance to hear Ms. Fliter on November 1 at NEC's Jordan Hall.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Entertaining, incisive, smart, honest - the only problem with Mark Morris' answers for interviewer's questions is that there are never enough of them:
"The Guardian: Who would you most like to work with?
Morris: This is
worrisome. If I say somebody who's around today, then I'll get a phone
call from their agent. So I'll have George Frideric Handel, because he
taught me everything I know, but isn't around to take the credit."
Read all of Portrait of the Artist: Mark Morris, choreographer.
The Mark Morris Dance group will perform Mozart Dances with the orchestra of Emmanuel Music, conducted by Jane Glover with piano soloists Russell Sherman and Minsoo Sohn January 29-31 at the Boston Opera House.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Several things have us meditating on Germany in general and Berlin in particular this season (no, not Berlin, New Hampshire, watch the video!). For one we are presenting a remarkable and somewhat coincidental array of German performers and works in 2009-2010. And many of them are indeed from Berlin. So, Bostonians, once you finish watching Berlin in 3-D, take a look at Germany coming to your own back yard:
1. The Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, make their return visit to Symphony Hall within a week of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (November 15, Symphony Hall)
2. Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, though he was born in Hamburg and lives near Frankfurt, is certainly German. Tetzlaff will perform an unaccompanied violin recital that will feature works by J.S. Bach, among others. (January 31, NEC’s Jordan Hall)
3. The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, as the name implies, is made up of first chair players from their venerable parent ensemble. The orchestra has been here before, of course, but this concert is the Wind Quintet's Boston debut. (February 5, NEC’s Jordan Hall)
4. Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra will play an all-Beethoven program under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Chailly and featuring Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. (February 25, Symphony Hall)
5. The Berlin-based Artemis String Quartet makes its Boston debut with an all-Beethoven program (March 5, NEC’s Jordan Hall)
6. Max Raabe & Palast Orchester capture the elegant decadence of pre-war Berlin of the 1920s and 30s in a program called “A Night in Berlin.” (March 6, Paramount Theatre, 2 shows)
7. German-born bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, in addition to being a truly gifted singer and profound communicator, is also a teacher at Berlin’s Hans Eisler School of Music. His May 2 recital will feature works by German composer Johannes Brahms, among others.(May 2, NEC's Jordan Hall)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Page for the Boston production at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, October 12, 2009
Emerson College Laramie Project blog
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
"The afternoon ended, as it should have, with von Stade by herself, in a
favorite encore, "La Vie en Rose." She sang it with a perfect blend of
tonal warmth, expansive phrasing, and fine guttural French. It was a
goodbye without tears."
Read all of Von Stade bids farewell to Boston.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Additional selections announced from the stage:
"Me voici dans son boudoir" from Mignon
Daniel Schmitt & Marc Berthomien
from Jardins de Paris
Jardin d'Albert Kahn
Bois du Boulogne
A Route to the Sky
Duetto buffo di due gatti
La Vie En Rose
Friday, October 2, 2009
Now you can follow the Celebrity Series of Boston itself via Twitter. Yup.
Look for us at:
I will be letting you, the regular readers, know what we're up to on Twitter from time to time, but go check it out yourself anyhow.
P.S. - You all know (surely) that this blog can be followed on Twitter (twitter.com/AisleBeSeeingU). OK, just checking...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The National Summit on Arts Journalism is taking place today at the USC Annenburg School for Communication. Their will be a live feed of the summit starting at 12pm today (10/2/09). Among the events featured will be two roundtable discussions about the art and business of arts journalism (see below).
(EST) Roundtable: The Art of Arts Journalism
- Moderator: Laura Sydell, Reporter, NPR
- Guests: Jeff Chang, author and journalist; Seth Schiesel, Reporter, The New York Times
3:20 pm (EST)
Roundtable: The Business of Arts Journalism
- Moderator: András Szántó, Director, NEA Institute in Classical Music
- Guests: Richard Gingras, CEO, Salon.com; Deborah Marrow, Director, The Getty Foundation
UPDATE: I made a classic mistake and posted the Pacific time start as the Eastern time start. This feed is scheduled to begin at noon today, EST. Anyone have a fork? I need to get started on my humble pie....
Actor-playwright Greg Pierotti talks about 'The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later' and his interview with convicted killer Aaron McKinney, the person responsible for the death of Matthew Shepard in 1998.
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later ... An Epilogue will be performed in Boston (Cutler Majestic Theatre) and around the country on October 12.
Actress Glenn Close will serve as host for the pre-show webcast for The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later ... An Epilogue, on October 12. Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard, will give the welcoming remarks and a post-production Q and A
moderated by National Public Radio Arts and Culture correspondent Neda
Over 150 theaters will participate in the event on October 12, including, in Boston, a presentation by the Celebrity Series of Boston and Emerson College at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Tickets are free, you can reserve yours on the Celebrity Series web site.
Emerson College Laramie Project blog
Tectonic Theater Project
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
For those of you that don't know, ArtsBoston has launched a web site. A comprehensive and attractive web site of arts events happening in Boston (we're on it).
A VERY comprehensive and attractive web site of arts events happening in Boston (ok, we're not the only ones on it).
A VERY comprehensive and attractive web site of arts events happening in Boston that you need to bookmark, gentle reader.
The video above is a bit of testimoniality-ness about the site: the need for it (whew! yes), what an accomplishment something so comprehensive actually is (someone should be taking a bow), how long we have needed something like it (see: whew! yes), etc.
Once you're done watching the video, take a look at the site. You may not go back to whatever online arts information source you're using now...
Remember that bit about bookmarking it. I don't trust your memory.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
What they found defied their expectations. The result is a new play about how we construct our own history.
This is the continuing story of an American Town.
Emerson College in association with the Celebrity Series of Boston presents The Tectonic Theatre Project in The Laramie Project, 10 Years Later...An Epilogue, by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber.
Join The Laramie Project Online Community.
Get more information or reserve your tickets for this free community event.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Albéniz, Boston Globe critic Michael Steinberg wrote:
"Alicia de Larrocha plays Spanish music very well. She has the agility and the strength, she defines the dance rhythms with a vitality that is really uncommon, and, after what must be hundreds of performances, she still plays these pieces without affection. She plays the tunes flexibly, not in softly yielding style, but with a steely tensile strength that is exciting."
In 1983, Globe critic Richard Dyer offered the following assessment:
"It's probably a mistake to say, as many do, that the pianist has been an uncommonly persuasive advocate for her country's music. It's true that she completely convinces her listener of its depth and worth. But she has not really urged it into the regular repertory, because other pianists would be crazy to go up against competition like this."
New York Times (Allan Kozinn)
Baltimore Sun (Tim Smith), blog post with videos
National Public Radio
Friday, September 25, 2009
Igor Stravinsky conducting the New Philharmonia Orchestra in "Lullaby and Final Hymn" from The Firebird Suite. The concert is from London's Royal Festival Hall in 1965.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I can't say this article left me feeling good about the state of Chopin's legacy in his home country, but it is an interesting micro-examination of the issue, at least.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker in Brahms' Symphony No. 3 in this excerpt from a November 2008 performance. The full concert is available (for a fee, of course) here.
But I could hardly call myself your special blog friend (blogfreund?) if I didn't also tell you that the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle will play Brahms' Symphony No. 3 here in Boston on November 15.
Monday, September 21, 2009
WGBH, our NPR/PBS colleagues over in Brighton have announced plans to acquire classical music station WCRB, at 99.5 FM on your FM dial. WCRB will become non-commerical, "in keeping with our public mission," as the WGBH web site says.
Read more about this remarkable development here.
UPDATE: And here is today's Boston Globe article (9/21).
FURTHER UPDATES: Dan Kennedy weighs in. And Bob Oakes at WBUR.
Sarah Kaufman, the Washington Post's dance critic, gives her take on how football is like dance (I'll give you a hint, it ain't the salaries):
"... though football may be the closest thing to a gladiatorial spectacle
since the fall of Rome, it can also claim kinship with the slippered
heroes of the ballet stage."
Read all of Leaps and Bounds.
Friday, September 18, 2009
wanted to share this cute/fun new ad submitted by our friends at WGBH:
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Composer Leon Kirchner has died at 90 years of age.
Kirchner's work was performed on the Celebrity Series by at least four performers. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed a transcription of Duo in 1988, pianist Peter Serkin performed Interlude in 1990, pianist Max Levinson performed Five Pieces for Piano in 1996, and Leon Fleisher performed Music for Left Hand in 2004.
In his 2008 memoir, Hallelujah Junction, composer John Adams, a student of Kirchner, had the following to say about the composer:
"Kirchner was one of the most intuitive musicians I ever encountered. Although highly sophisticated, immensely well-read, and a close friend and verbal sparring partner of Harvard's intellectual heavyweights, he approached music more like a jazz musician than a note parsing analyst."
New Music Box obituary
New York Times obituary
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Bobby McFerrin uses the audience at the World Science Festival 2009 to demonstrate the power of the pentatonic scale.
We don't know that Bobby will do this same demonstration at his Celebrity Series concert (March 21, Symphony Hall), but he always brings his version of amazing.
All 2009-2010 Celebrity Series performances are now on sale.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It all starts Monday, September 14.
You can buy your tickets online at www.celebrityseries.org or by calling CelebrityCharge at (617) 482-6661 and talk to one of our friendly box office wizards, they'll take good care of you.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Brian Stokes Mitchell singing "To Dream the Impossible Dream" at Senator Kennedy's memorial service at The Kennedy Library.
Boston will hear Stokes Mitchell again on May 8.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Brief clip of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa fishing in Norway. Really.
Dame Kiri will, no doubt, leave her fishing pole behind when she comes to Symphony Hall as special guest with Frederica von Stade on October 4.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
An excerpt from a longer production, this section features an interview and some duet clips with Frederica von Stade and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. The two will open the 2009-2010 Celebrity Series of Boston season on October 4 at Symphony Hall.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In a not particularly surprising, but helpful, finding, researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford Universities found that:
"... buying an album digitally reduces
carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 80 percent relative to a best-case
scenario for purchasing a CD."
Read all of The Carbon Case for Downloading Music.
Monday, August 17, 2009
This commercial is from 2008. The Vienna Choir Boys will visit Boston, probably without footballs, for a holiday program at NEC's Jordan Hall on December 12.
Vienna Choir Boys web site.
Along with your CDs and DVDs, the Berlin Philharmonic's new YouTube channel will have to do until the real thing comes along (which, in Boston, will be November 15). Here is the official introductory video/montage/ad thingy.
While I'm on the topic, here is Sir Simon Rattle giving some of his thoughts on classical music and the digital revolution.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Mr. Paul, was not a Celebrity Series performer, but I couldn't let his passing go without a post.
"How High the Moon" via 26 tracks.
The American Time Use Study, conducted by the U.S. Census bureau, measures how we, by various groupings, spent our day on average in 2008. It is a picture not for the faint of heart:
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This project has an air of inevitability to it, but London's Royal Opera House will perform an opera using Twitter contributions for the libretto. Here is a snippet of the AP story:
"In an effort to get more people involved with opera, which sometimes
suffers from an elitist, highbrow reputation, London's world-famous
Royal Opera House is turning away — temporarily — from classic talents
like Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini and giving the composer's pen
to ... just about anybody.
All you need to contribute is a
computer or a mobile phone and an account on Twitter, the popular
micro-blogging site that is open to all."
Read all of the Associated Press story.
Random assortment of contributions to date:
"Nuts, i love hazelnuts." Bang! The bird dropped from the sky, dead, its tiny wings were frozen."
"concerns of a nihilist. I would bring you flowers, but they would die. I would love you, but, why?"
"Still in park. Her, shivering with coffee: I’m so cold- let’s leave Boston. Him: Anywhere! Around the world India, then Egypt!"
"but the distance between us is psychological – not physical or intellectual. And what’s happened toooooo the ginger cat?"
"forget! forget! the natives won’t forget! Lovers, mysterious in the mosquito net!!"
View the line-by-line progress of the libretto.
Make a contribution to the libretto (login required).
Visit the Royal Opera House on Twitter (is that close to Covent Garden?)
Royal Opera House web site
"... the first serious
inquiry came in March, 1949, when David Niles, President Truman’s
administrative assistant, asked the Bureau to look into the young
musician’s background. Niles wanted the information because Truman and
Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, were scheduled to attend
an event at which Bernstein was slated to perform."
Read Bernstein and the FBI.
Monday, August 10, 2009
And no I don't mean jazz "cats," I mean the furry, purring kind, on video. The video above is the first movement. Visit this page for the other two and an explanation of the project with source materials.
I'm not sure how to describe this. Is it "on the level?", "cruelty to animals?", "a joke?" Well, the cat videos are real and he really did attempt to recreate Schoenberg's famous work and no cats were harmed in the making of this video. On the other hand, how could it not be a joke? If it is a joke, it's no ordinary joke, etc.
Thanks to Soho the Dog for rooting out this gem.
"Fliter’s rubato remained a constant surprise: after such a fast, thrilling
opening, she quickly quieted down and slowly took the follow-up section,
offering a satisfying yet alternative interpretive contrast. Her rolling
arpeggios were delivered with such precision and transparency that they often
came across as far more legato and less percussive, a quality which drew more
attention to the overall melodic shape of the piece, as if she were playing
Read the complete review.
As this blog has written before, Ms. Fliter makes her Boston debut on November 1 in a recital at NEC's Jordan Hall.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
"'He's always welcome here,' said Perry Fellwock, marketing manager at the store. 'His piano playing is brilliant. He plays mostly classical music.'"
New York Daily News story
Artemis String Quartet plays Beethoven quartets Opus 59/ 1 & 95 (video excerpts with interviews).
Visit the official Artemis web site.
The Artemis make their Boston debut on Friday, March 5 at NEC's Jordan Hall with an all-Beethoven program.
Today's opinion piece on the New York Times Op/Ed page references a new Pew Research Center study on napping and comes away advocating for naps in the workplace. I would read the Pew study, but I just can't keep my eyes open ...
Monday, August 3, 2009
"I strolled down into the all-but-empty auditorium and grabbed myself a
great seat. The superb Russian pianist Yefim Bronfman was rehearsing
the concerto with the Aspen Festival Orchestra under the conductor
Peter Oundjian, for a concert scheduled to take place tomorrow. I had
just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
Read all of The Rehearsal.
"Q. What is it about music that makes it suitable for use as part of a torture regimen?
A. Music’s power does have a dark side. A daily example of this would be musical brainworms, the annoyingly repetitive musical phrases that may run through one’s mind for days on end ..."
Read the complete article.
UPDATE: Here is the more detailed New York Times story.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Beiser makes her Celebrity Series debut with a performance of "World to Come" on April 23 at The Paramount Theatre.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
George Russell, the influential jazz composer, architect of the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, MacArthur Fellow and longtime New England Conservatory faculty member, has died at age 86.
The coverage of Mr. Russell's death has been extensive, of course, below is only a sampling:
Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post
National Public Radio
Do The Math blog (The Bad Plus)
"The Future of Jazz" television show from 1958, featuring George Russell, Bill Evans, Tony Scott, Art Farmer, Jimmy Cleveland, Doc Severinsen, Ed Thigpen, Mundell Lowe, and Eddie Safranski (video)
George Russell chatting with Ornette Coleman
New England Conservatory
George Russell official web site
My practice has been to include, in the interest of brevity, only obituaries of artist with whom the Celebrity Series has had a presenting relationship. Though the Celebrity Series of Boston never presented Mr. Russell or his ensembles, undoubtedly a number of Celebrity Series artists have been influenced by his work.
The 1970s, it turns out, are almost always good for a chuckle. Here is a fun post from the AllMusic Blog entitled "The Semiotics of Classical LP Cover Art (ca. 1970), or, When Things Started to Get Fun." Fair warning, the post includes near nudity and full frontal kitsch.
A nod to The Well Tempered Blog for the road map.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Michael Steinberg, 1928-2009
Former Boston Globe classical music critic and musicologist Michael Steinberg died this weekend in Minnesota. He was 80 years old.
Mr. Steinberg was classical music critic for The Boston Globe from 1966 to 1976 and, as such, reviewed innumerable Celebrity Series performances.
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog
The Baltimore Sun
National Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio
Dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, one of the 20th century's great innovators, died on Sunday (July 26, 2009) at 90 years of age. Written appreciations from around the world are pouring onto the internet honoring this legendary figure, many featuring video or photo galleries, below is a sampling.The New York Times: ArtsBeat blog, Alastair Macaulay
The Washington Post: Sarah Kaufman
Los Angeles Times: Culture Monster blog
San Jose Mercury News
The Christian Science Monitor
The Times (UK)
The Sydney Morning Herald
"Alma Guillermoprieto: Merce Cunningham" in The New Yorker
The Baltimore Sun
Charlotte Higgins on Culture (Guardian UK blog)
The Wall Street Journal: Speakeasy blog
National Public Radio: the two-way news blog
Village Voice: Deborah Jowitt
The Centralia Chronicle (Cunningham's home town paper)
The Celebrity Series has presented the Merce Cunningham Dance Company
on two occasions: in 1970, two lecture/demonstrations featuring
Cunningham and Company with, among others, the composer John Cage in
the pit; and again in 1988 for three distinct programs at John Hancock Hall.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Some remarkable spontaneous music making.
Two of these wonderful musicians will be coming to Boston and the Celebrity Series in 09-10: percussionist Cyro Baptista comes January 22 as a member of the Luciana Souza Trio (Sanders Theatre) and Bobby McFerrin for a solo performance at Symphony Hall on March 21.