Friday, July 31, 2009

Emerson College names Robert Orchard executive director for the arts

Emerson College has named Robert Orchard, the founding Managing Director and subsequent Executive Director of American Repertory Theatre as its new Executive Director for the Arts. Announcement.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

George Russell, 1923-2009

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:

Boston Globe

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.

Jonathan Biss gets back on his blog horse

He had not, as he acknowledges, posted anything on his blog since March, so Jonathan Biss decided to make use of his time on a trans-Pacific flight to get his readers up to speed ...

Michael Steinberg obituary from The New York Times

Anthony Tommasini's obituary of Michael Steinberg is in today's edition of The New York Times.

"The Semiotics of Classical LP Cover Art (ca. 1970), or, When Things Started to Get Fun"

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

"Mondays with Merce" video collection

Check out Mondays with Merce, behind the scenes at the Merce Cunningham studio. The full collection of videos can be found at

Michael Steinberg, former Boston Globe music critic, dies at 80

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.

Boston Globe

San Francisco Chronicle

Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog

The Baltimore Sun

National Public Radio

Minnesota Public Radio

Nonesuch Records

Merce Cunningham, 1919-2009

L to R: Walter Pierce, Executive Director, Wang Celebrity Series, Merce Cunningham, Holly Sidford, New England Foundation for the Arts, in 1988.

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

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)

Telegraph (UK)

The Sydney Morning Herald

"Alma Guillermoprieto: Merce Cunningham" in The New Yorker

The Baltimore Sun

Charlotte Higgins on Culture (Guardian UK blog)

Miami Herald

The Wall Street Journal: Speakeasy blog

National Public Radio: the two-way news blog

Rolling Stone

BBC News

Berkshire Eagle

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.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kridt, by Tim Rushton among works coming to Boston in April

Danish Dance Theater is making its Boston debut April 27-28 at The Paramount Theatre. This video excerpt is of Tim Rushton's Kridt, which will be on both programs.

Two new piano pieces by Mozart found

The Austria-based International Mozarteum Foundation has announced the discovery of two new piano works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. More details to come on August 2. Associated Press story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise ...

Barry Schwartz on wisdom and morality at TED.

Michael Kaiser on why the arts need contributed funds

Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center in our nation's capital, and known as "the Turnaround King" for his work bringing beleaguered arts organizations back to health, explains why arts groups don't pay for themselves and need contributed funding support in this post from his Huffington Post blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The new Audi ... piano!


Wha? You heard me. Audi is turning 100 years old and to celebrate, they designed and built a new piano. I know, I know ...

Thanks, as always, to The Well Tempered Blog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stephen Sondheim teaches "Send in the Clowns"

Stephen Sondheim teaching "Send in the Clowns" at Guildhall School of Music, London. I don't know when...

The Celebrity Series of Boston presents Stephen Sondheim in a rare public interview by New York Times columnist Frank Rich, Saturday, November 14 at Sanders Theatre.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More fun with Yoko Ono's Twitter account

Never a dull moment with Yoko ...

- It is not possible to control a mind-time with a stopwatch or a metronome.

- Painting To Hammer A Message!

- The only sound that exists to me is the sound of the mind. My works are only to induce music of the mind in people.

- My work is only like an elephant's tail.

- Mental richness should be worried just as much as physical richness.

- The body is the Bodhi Tree. The mind like a bright mirror standing. Take care to wipe it all the time. And allow no dust to cling. Shen-hsiu

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Food Fight," a short film by Stefan Nadelman

Food Fight is a short film by Stefan Nadelman is "An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict."

Here is a list of segments in the film by conflict. And here is a cheat sheet of the foods used by segment and the countries they represent.

Thanks to ArtsJournal for posting.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jazz community livid over Maria Schneider's Montreal Gazette review

Jeff Heinrich's review for the Montreal Gazette of the Maria Schneider Orchestra at the Montreal International Jazz Orchestra has touched off a firestorm of protest from readers. Here is the single-paragraph review which is followed by more than 60 (at the time of this post) comments decrying Heinrich's review.

Doug Ramsey's comments on the piece on his Rifftides blog, which is my original source for this post, can be found here.

I have not yet found an alternate review in English (if you find one, drop me a line), but promise to post one if I can find it.

The Celebrity Series presented Ms. Schneider and Orchestra, with pride, at Berklee Performance Center in November 2007.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rob Kapilow on Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" via NPR


In honor of Independence Day, at least in a big picture sort of way, composer and commentator Rob Kapilow takes on composer Aaron Copland's iconic work, Appalachian Spring.

Here is a bit of Kapilow's take:

"'Copland's Appalachian Spring has a million things in it,' Kapilow says, 'but at its heart is one chord, which is not only the essence of Appalachian Spring but in my mind Copland's entire vision of America.'"

Here is the National Public Radio landing page.

And as long as we're on the subject of national holidays, patriotism and the like, here is Kapilow's take on the greatness of the song, America the Beautiful.

Rob Kapilow will cover Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat Major and The Music of Cole Porter during the 2009-2010 season. Appalachian Spring was presented by the Celebrity Series as the subject of a What Makes It Great? program in 2000.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Video excerpt from Israeli cellist Maya Beiser's multi-media performance, "World to Come"

It's only a 2-minute excerpt, but cellist Maya Beiser's multi-media performance, "World to Come," doesn't need much time to make an impression. You could call it a solo cello performance, because in one sense it is, but there is quite a bit more going on here visually.

Beiser brings "World to Come" to The Paramount Theater April 23, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Celebrity Series.