Wednesday, September 30, 2009, your online arts buddy

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

Tickets now available for The Laramie Project, 10 Years Later ... An Epilogue


In June 2008, members of Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie, Wyoming to explore how the town had changed in the ten years since Matthew Shepard's murder.
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

Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009)


Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha has died in Barcelona at 86 years of age. Ms. de Larrocha performed a total of seven recitals for the Celebrity Series between 1967 and 1995. Following her 1967 recital, in which she played several works by Granados and

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)

Telegraph (UK)

Washington Post

Baltimore Sun (Tim Smith), blog post with videos

National Public Radio

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stravinsky conducting Firebird from 1965

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

NY Times: "Searching for Chopin in Warsaw"

Have you been noticing more attention being paid to Chopin and his music of late? Well, there is a reason. For those of you who are not aware, 2010 is the bicentennial of Chopin's birth. For our part, Chopin is getting some additional Celebrity Series attention in 2010, too. Three of the four pianists on the Series are playing Chopin (and Pollini is playing only Chopin). The latest additional to the public discussion of Chopin comes from today's story in the New York Times about looking for clues, any clues, of Chopin's presence in Warsaw. Read Searching for Chopin in Warsaw.

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

Berlin Philharmonic excerpt of Brahms Symphony No. 3

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 to acquire WCRB 99.5 FM

There are "wows" and there are "WOWS"! This one gets ALL CAPS.

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.

Washington Post: How football is like dance


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

WGBH program ad

The Celebrity Series is putting the finishing touches on the program book (you know, that little book they hand you with the names of the pieces to be played in it, among other things) for the new season and I
wanted to share this cute/fun new ad submitted by our friends at WGBH:

Happy to take the stairs, thanks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Leon Kirchner (1919-2009)


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

G. Schirmer biography

Boston Globe obituary

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bobby McFerrin: The power of the pentatonic scale

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

Every Celebrity Series 2009-2010 performance on sale Monday, September 14!

Every performance in the Celebrity Series of Boston 2009-2010 season is on sale on from 9am to 5pm (regular box office hours 10-4) this Monday morning, September 14. Call (617) 482-6661 or visit anytime. Start your engines!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Suzanne Vega sings "Winter Wonderland" from 2007

Found: a little backstage version of "Winter Wonderland" (yes, the famous tune by Felix Bernard and Richard Smith) from 2007 - a "work in progress" according to Suzanne Vega's podcast. It's fun and cheery. But don't take my word for it, give a listen.

Individual tickets for our 2009-2010 season go on sale September 14!

That's right, peeps, you all know that Celebrity Series subscriptions (3 or more shows) have been available since April, but starting September 14 those of you who have not been able to find 3 or more performances to your liking (should be about 4 people by my count) can now buy the one or two shows you have your heart set on.

It all starts Monday, September 14.

You can buy your tickets online at 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