Thursday, December 30, 2010

Aaron Copland on words and music

Well at least you and I both know that this quote doesn't apply to this blog ...

"'The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, "Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'"

- Aaron Copland

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The wisdom of Schnabel

Time for another edition of Read Thoughtfully:

"The difference between my programs and those of other pianists is that mine are boring not only in the first half but also in the second." -Artur Schnabel

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Klingon Christmas Carol

  First I wanted to say that this is unbelievable, but I could not. It is entirely believable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Leon Fleisher: "Music's Obi-Wan Kenobi"


Leon Fleisher just seems to get more relevant with each passing year. He recently spoke with Stuart Isacoff for The Wall Street Journal, in part to promote his book, My Nine Lives. Here's a taste:

"Players try to convince us by using body English—they writhe or look up at the ceiling—all to prove how affected they are by the music. They don't realize what a distraction it really is. We are supposed to be impressed by their show of emotion, but in reality they are merely erecting a barrier between the music and my soul."

Read all of Music's Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dmitri Hvorostovsky skydives ...

Seriously, dude? Yes, seriosuly, dude. Last December, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky jumped out of an airplane to the dulcet tones of Steven Tyler. He posted his jump to his Facebook account (login, but not parachute, required to view).

Bryn Terfel? Roberto Alagna? Matthew Polenzani? The gauntlet has been thrown down, gentlemen. Do you want Karita Mattilla or Renee Fleming to beat you to it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celebrity Series Holiday Auction 2010

Check out the treasure trove! There is truly something for everyone and all of the proceeds go to support our Arts, Education and Community Program.

2010 Holiday Auction

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Globe: Basil Twist's Petrushka is "magic on a string"

Terry Byrne reviewed Basil Twist's Petrushka for today's Boston Globe. Here's a snippet:

"'Petrushka,' which is playing at the Paramount Theater in a joint presentation by the Celebrity Series and Arts Emerson, is a delightful melange of Stravinsky’s music, and the legendary Ballet Russes choreographer, Michel Fokine, who staged it. In the original ballet, the dancers played puppets that come to life and in this version, the puppets dance when they come to life."

Read all of Petrushka is magic on a string.

Basil Twist's Petrushka runs through November 21.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Puppet Invasion at Emerson College


EmComm students from Emerson College help to spread the word about Basil Twist's "Petrushka", a co-presentation by Celebrity Series of Boston and ArtsEmerson. #petrushka

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Garrick Ohlsson at Symphony Hall


Following Murray Perahia's cancellation of his Sunday, November 14 Symphony Hall concert, the Celebrity Series was fortunate to secure the services of pianist Garrick Ohlsson to fill the date. Mr. Ohlsson has chosen an all-Chopin program for the recital.

Tickets and specific details of Mr. Ohlsson's November 14 program

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rudolf Barshai, conductor (1924-2010)

Rudolf Barshai

Russian conductor Rudolf Barshai died November 2 at 86. Noted as conductor and founder of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and the founding violist of the renowned Borodin Quartet, Barshai was a student of Shostakovich and quite close to Prokofiev. As a member of the Borodin Quartet, he performed at the funerals of both Prokofiev and Josef Stalin, which took place on the same day.

Barshai conducted performances by the Moscow Chamber Orchestra on three occasions for the Celebrity Series, in 1963, '66, and '75. The performances included, in the 1966 concert, the Boston premiere of a joint "rearrangement" of Shostakovich's Tenth Quartet, renamed Chamber Symphony, undertaken by composer and conductor.

The Globe and Mail

BBC News

Telegraph (UK)

The Vancouver Sun

The Guardian (UK)

German interview with Rudolf Barshai (captioned) part 1

German interview with Rudolf Barshai (captioned) part 2

German interview with Rudolf Barshai (captioned) part 3

Shirley Verrett, soprano (1931-2010)

Shirley Verrett

The great soprano Shirley Verrett died November 5 at her home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to her local appearances with the Opera Company of Boston, Ms. Verrett appeared in recital 3 times for the Celebrity Series, first in 1979, and again in 1982 and 1991.

Below are some obituaries and videos of Ms. Verrett in performance.

The New York Times (Anthony Tommasini)

The Detroit Free Press

The Washington Post (Ronald Blum)

The Baltimore Sun (Tim Smith)

The Boston Globe (Associated Press)

Shirley Verrett sings Tosca at The Met

Shirley Verrett as Eboli "O don fatale" from Don Carlo

Shirley Verrett sings "Exultate jubilate" by Mozart

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy birthday Walter Pierce!


Wishing many happy returns of the day to our former leader, Walter Pierce.

Joshua Bell announces recital program


Violinist Joshua Bell has announced the program for his February 4 recital program at Symphony Hall. Joing Bell on piano will be Sam Haywood. You can check out the program here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dmitri Hvorostovsky is a prankster?

Hvorostovsky and Radvonovsky

Would it surpise you to learn that uber-smoldering Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is a practical joker? A cutup? A guy who will do anything to get a laugh out of a costar, even onstage? According to a New York Magazine interview with Hvorostovsky and pal/costar soprano Sondra Radvanovsky this is the real Dmitri. Here's an excerpt:

"Any other startling secrets you’d like to share?
S.R.: We are both goofballs. Every show of Trovatore, he’s done something to me onstage.
D.H.: Anything, you know, to make her laugh in front of the audience.
S.R.: He blacked out a tooth. He painted a devil the size of a fist on his chest—and right when I’m singing to him, he pulls his shirt open and shows it. I lost it.
D.H.: Eyeballs!
S.R.: Oh, yes, he drew eyeballs on his eyelids. I mean, seriously."

Read all of Conversation: Daffy Divas.

The Celebrity Series brings Hvorostovsky and his wacky hijinks to Symphony Hall in February.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Keith Powers reviews Mark Morris Dance Group for Boston Herald

Keith Powers reviewed the opening night performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group for Saturday's Boston Herald.Here is a snippet:

"'Petrichor,' for eight female dancers, was the real deal. Set to the impressionistic second Heitor Villa-Lobos string quartet, the four sections filled the stage like a mystical nocturne. The dancers wore alluring diaphanous nighties and the movement, rather than centered onstage, moved in lines from right to left or vice versa, suggesting a story line but never revealing one. In fact, much of 'Petrichor' was like a dream - filled with stark images of clarity that quickly vanished or morphed. One signature gesture recurred: a kind of surfing pose, with arms extended horizontally, the body poised for action, but merely rocking in place."

Read Mark Morris Group's 'Petrichor' is dream come true.

Ticketing system down for upgrade

Please note: Our ticketing system will be down from 9-10am EST on Monday, October 18.

UPDATE: We are back online!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Liza Minnelli cancels November 7 performance.

Due to illness, Liza Minnelli has canceled her November 7 performance in Boston.

We are attempting to reschedule the date and patrons should hold on to their tickets until further notice.

We will be contacting all ticket holders and the public once the status of the engagement has been determined.

Boston Globe review: "Darkness and Light with Mark Morris"

Amber Star Merkens (foreground) dances in last
night's world premiere of Petrichor

Thea Singer's review of last night's opening night performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group is in late editions of the print edition, but it is online. Here is an excerpt:

"'Petrichor,' a world premiere for eight women, is danced to Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’s 'String Quartet No. 2,' for violin, viola, and cello. The title describes the scent arising after a rain, especially on dry ground. It’s apropos, because the dancers seem to dance not on but between the notes, as if dodging raindrops."

Read all of Thea Singer's review.

The Mark Morris Dance Group performs through this Sunday at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dame Joan Sutherland (1926-2010)


Soprano Joan Sutherland has died at age 83. Dubbed "La Stupenda," the Stupendous One, following her Italian debut in Venice in 1960, she was one of the most acclaimed singers of the 20th century.

Joan Sutherland performed only once on the Celebrity Series, at Symphony Hall in February 1963. Her program included works by William Boyce, Handel, Giovanni Paisiello, Johann Christian Bach, Dr. Thomas Augustine Arne, Luigi Boccherini, and Ambroise Thomas. She did appear in Boston numerous times with the Metropolitan Opera on tour, engagements typically managed by then Celebrity Series director Walter Pierce.

New York Times (Anthony Tommasini)

Washington Post (Ann Midgette)

Los Angeles Times (Mike Boehm

Fresh Air (Lloyd Schwartz, National Public Radio)

The Wall Street Journal (Heidi Waleson)

San Francisco Chronicle (Joshua Kosman)

The Australian

Sydney Morning Herald

Peter Gelb & James Levine's obituary in New York Times classified section

BBC News

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mark Morris talks with Globe about world premiere

Laura Collins-Hughes spoke with choreographer Mark Morris for Boston Sunday Globe about his new Celebrity Series of Boston commission, Petrichor:

"I love making up titles. You know, it's interesting because it makes people tempted to think that something has a relevance that it either does or doesn't have. There's a dance we do called 'A Lake,' and I just called it 'A Lake' because it occurred to me that I should call a dance 'A Lake.' There’s no lake in the dance. But, you know, 'petrichor,' it's a fabulous word that I'd never heard before. The dance is, first of all, it's for all women. There's eight women in the dance, and it's this amazing piece of music that’s very under-known and a very tricky, beautiful piece of music. And, you know, Villa-Lobos was very devoted to his Brazilian heritage. He says that all of his music is Brazilian; it all contains the rain forest. I’m not Brazilian, the dance isn’t a rain forest, and the title seemed to work."

Read the complete article.

Mark Morris Dance Group dances October 14-17 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. On October 14, Petrichor will receive its world premiere performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mark Morris Q&A with the San Francisco Chronicle

Though the pieces the company is performing for their Berkeley engagement are completely different than our Boston program, I feel that a glimpse inside Mark Morris' world is always worth the effort and usually illuminating in general. Morris recently had a chat with San Francisco Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman.

You'll want to read it all, but here is a sample:

Q: Now that you've almost completely retired from dancing, you have this body of work that is being danced by other people. Does that change your relationship to the pieces?

A: My company just keeps getting better - I don't think I could have done "Socrates" in the past because it's so difficult. The dancers in my company are doing roles that I used to dance, and some of them, for me, were almost impossible conceptually.

One of the most complicated pieces I ever made was to a little Mozart piano rondo. I recently taught it to some women in my company, and they learned it in half an hour. So as long as I stay out of the way, everything works.

Read the complete article.

The Mark Morris Dance Group opens the Celebrity Series of Boston season on October 14 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. The engagement includes the world premiere of Petrichor. That's right, I said world premiere.

Library of Congress study finds historic audio recordings fading away

One more reason to love analog ...

From The Associated Press:

"New digital recordings of events in U.S. history and early radio shows are at risk of being lost much faster than older ones on tape and many are already gone, according to a study on sound released Wednesday.

Even recent history — such as recordings from 9/11 or the 2008 election — is at risk because digital sound files can be corrupted, and widely used CD-R discs only last three to five years before files start to fade, said study co-author Sam Brylawski."

Read all of Study: Audio recordings of US history fading fast


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chucho Valdes announces tour lineup

Here is Chucho Valdés' band for his tour, which stops at the Berklee Performance Center on October 28:

The Afro-Cuban Messengers:

Lázaro Rivero Alarcón, bass
Juan Carlos Rojas Castro, drums
Yaroldy Abreu Robles, percussion
Dreiser Durruthy Bambolé, batá drum and vocals
Carlos Manuel Miyares Hernandez, tenor saxophone
Reinaldo Melián Álvarez, trumpet

Chucho Valdés is, of course, on piano.

We couldn't be more thrilled by the Celebrity Series of Boston debut of the great Chucho Valdés!

World premiere of Mark Morris' Petrichor

Choreographer Mark Morris

It's always fun to anticipate a Mark Morris work you've never seen before. "What does he have up his sleeve this time? Will I have to stop myself from laughing out loud? Will his nack for filling his work with bona fide communitas make me all teary (again)?"

This time around it's your friendly neighborhood Celebrity Series that has arranged for this delicious sense of anticpation. Mark Morris’ newest work, Petrichor, is a work for 8 female dancers and is commissioned by the Celebrity Series of Boston (ahem) in honor of President and Executive Director Martha H. Jones’ 25th anniversary with the Celebrity Series.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines petrichor as "A pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions." As a gardener, the title intrigues me. As a Mark Morris fan, this is like waiting for the first day of summer while sitting in math class. It just can't come soon enough.

Petrichor gets its world premiere on October 14 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre when the Mark Morris Dance Group returns to Boston. We couldn't have done it without the generous funding of The Little Family Foundation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Liza Minnelli makes the rounds


Big stars make big splashes and Liza Minnelli is no exception. Minnelli is doing the big time talk show circuit in support of her new Decca recording, Confessions. Today (September 21) Ms. Minnelli chats with Oprah (you know, Winfrey). It doesn't really get bigger than Oprah, but on Friday, October 1 she will appear on Good Morning America, on Tuesday, October 5 on The View and Larry King Live, and on Wednesday, October 6 on CNN International's Connect to the World.

To get a first-hand look at Liza herself, in-person, the one and only, live in Boston, you can see, hear and experience the divine Miss L at Symphony Hall on November 7. I bet I know where you can get tickets ...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Matthew Polenzani tears up Verdi's Parmi veder le lagrime

He is amazing and still something of a well kept secret (at least given how good he is). Tenor Matthew Polenzani makes his Celebrity Series debut on March 24 at NEC's Jordan Hall.

CelebrityCharge is experiencing heavy call volume

We are currently experiencing very heavy call volume on our CelebrityCharge line.

Our web site is operating normally and may currently be the quickest method of purchase:

Thank you for your patience.

UPDATE: We did experience heavy call volume on Monday, the first day of single ticket sales, but we expect Monday's delays to be reduced or eliminated on Tuesday. Of course, there is always our efficient, attractive and always available web site...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Celebrity Series in the Boston Globe Fall Arts Preview

As most of you know by now, non-subscription tickets for the Celebrity Series of Boston's 2010-2011 season go on sale this Monday, September 13. If you feel the need for an outside opinion regarding your choices this season, you might consider the Boston Globe. Among the Celebrity Series of Boston performances highlighted in the Boston Globe's Fall Arts Preview are the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Cutler Majestic Theatre (October 14-17), Chucho Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Messengers at Berklee Performance Center (October 28), Kremerata Baltica with violinist Gidon Kremer at Jordan Hall (November 12), Basil Twist's Petrushka at the Paramount Theatre (November 11-21), and Pilobolus at the Cutler Majestic Theatre (December 3-5). The Globe's critics have singled out these events as having special merit. Of course, we think all of our 2010-2011 events are worthy of your attention. See the complete list here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Handel and Hendrix were neighbors

The Hendrix and Handel houses on
London's Brook Street (note the blue sign on each)

George Frideric Handel lived at 25 Brook Street, Mayfair in London. 200 years later rock and roll guitarist Jimi Hendrix moved in next door at 23 Brook Street (Handel had left by then). The good folks at The Handel House Museum in London, who use Hendrix's former address as administrative offices for the museum at 25 Brook Street, have mounted an exhibit of Hendrix memorabilia to celebrate the famed neighbors. Read The Guardian's coverage.

In their August newsletter, the Handel House Museum noted the passing of longtime Bostonian Sterling Hale, who was instrumental in negotiating the 999-year lease on the house for the museum. Read the Handel House August 2010 newsletter.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Which classical musicians are on Twitter/Facebook and what are they doing?

Amanda Ameer, via her ArtsJournal blog, Life's a Pitch, has taken a look at selected classical musician's approach - or perhaps their publicist's approach - to both Twitter and Facebook, with minor mentions of wikipedia. The list includes several people you may have seen on a Celebrity Series of Boston stage in the  past, such as Sarah Chang, Hilary Hahn, Renée Fleming, Lang Lang, Maya Beiser, and Yuja Wang. Lady Gaga is included on the list, I assume for the sake of comparison.

Check out the complete post, Doin' What Comes Naturally.


Here, in no particular order and for no particular reason, is a short list of other classical musician types that Tweet. I am not endorsing these accounts, and I can't verify if they are who the names claim (hint: referring to themselves in the third person says publicist to me, not that there is anything wrong with that); I bring them to you in the name of science ...


Monday, August 9, 2010

Mark Morris Dance Group dancer Julie Worden opens up

Julie Worden

Mark Morris Dance Group dancer Julie Worden has just done a fascinating interview with Time Out New York. Worden covers a range of topics, from inside baseball on working with Morris, to her two knee operations as a child, in an interesting and very articulate way. Great stuff. So much for dancers not being verbal:

What are some recent dances that mean a lot to you?

I find the Ives Piano Trio, "Empire Garden," fascinating. There are these unbelievable layers of Americana folk themes played over crazy polyrhythms. You can make out “My Old Kentucky Home” in the midst of mayhem. Inside the dance it feels like pure chaos. Watching it, you can see these layers fit together, as a quilt of old folklore. I find it incredibly vibrant and fresh. It really moves me intellectually. There are moments of pure communism, where we are a part of a political concept that feels so real, I get chills."

The complete interview can be found here.

By the way, Empire Garden will be on the program (along with the world premiere of a Celebrity Series of Boston commissioned work) when MMDG opens our 2010-2011 season October 14-17 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AileyCamp Boston to perform at site of 1968 Ailey performance


Celebrity Series of Boston is pleased to announce that AileyCamp Boston's 2010 final performance will take place in the John Hancock Hall At Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley Street (corner of Berkeley & Stuart), in Boston's Back Bay on August 5. The then Boston University Celebrity Series first presented
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in John Hancock Hall in 1968 (the start of a relationship that continues today) and now
this beautiful theatre will be the venue for our final performance!


Thank you to the staff at John Hancock Hall, Back Bay Events Center and Tillinger’s for their generous assistance.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Haochen Zhang plays J.S. Bach BWV 848 (video)

Pianist Haochen Zhang plays Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 3 in C-sharp major, BWV 848 at the 4th China International Piano Competition in 2007. Zhang went on to win a gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Compeition. Zhang makes his Boston (and Celebrity Series of Boston) debut on December 3 at NEC's Jordan Hall in Boston.

Zhang's interview with BBC Music Magazine

Interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer

Zhang's Wikipedia page

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras (1925-2010)

Sir Charles Mackerras

Conductor Sir Charles Mackerras has died in London of cancer at age 84. Mackerras, known for, among many achievements, as a champion of Leos Janacek and other Czech composers and an authority on the music of Mozart. Sir Charles, a native of Schenectady, New York who was raised in Australia, had many associations with English orchestras and opera companies, including conducting stints with Sadler’s Wells, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the
Sydney Symphony, the Welsh National Opera, the Scottish Chamber
and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mackerras' lone appearance on the Celebrity Series came as conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra at Symphony Hall in November 1983. The program featured violin soloist Gidon Kremer and flute soloist William Bennett in a program of Rossini, Beethoven (Violin Concerto, Op. 61, D Major), Mozart (Flute Concerto No. 2, D Major) and Haydn. Richard Buell, reviewing for The Boston Globe, wrote of the concert, "Sir Charles Mackerras elicited spruce, alive, revealingly detailed performances of Rossini's L'Italiana in Algieri and Haydn's [Symphony No. 103, (Drum Roll)]."

New York Times (ArtsBeat)

The Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian

The Age

The Guardian (UK)

The Telegraph (UK)

BBC News


Tribute to Sir Charles Mackerras (video)


New York Times (Allan Kozinn)

Washington Post (Ann Midgette)

San Francisco Chronicle (Joshua Kosman)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One man's Brahms ...

"The classical
composer par excellence of the present day, who free from any
provincialism of expression or national dialect... writes for the whole
world and for all time - a giant, lofty and unapproachable - Johannes
- Edward Elgar, 1886

"I have played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a
giftless bastard!"

- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1886

"The real Brahms is nothing more than a sentimental voluptuary...
He is the most wanton of composers... Only his wantonness is not
vicious; it is that of a great baby... rather tiresomely addicted to
dressing himself up as Handel or Beethoven and making a prolonged and
intolerable noise."

- George Bernard Shaw, 1893

"Brahms is just like Tennyson, an extraordinary musician, with
the brains of a third rate village policeman."

- George Bernard Shaw, 1893

"Take Brahms: the product of the misty landscapes of north
Germany, his works are full of groping, dreaminess and introspection.
Mist gives a sense of infinity; it may be only two feet deep but equally
it may cover the world, there is no knowing."

- Yehudi Menuhin

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Summertime," Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin

First of all, it's obviously summer. But this performance is worth posting, in my opinion, because it is a particularly heartfelt, vulnerable performance by the great Ella Fitzgerald. I know I was surprised by the depth of it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Musicians carve instruments out of ice ...


Norwegian violinist Nils Oekland tests his
ice instrument

I'm posting this for obvious reasons. I had heard about Gielo, Norway's IceMusic Festival before, but I have never needed to hear about it the way I do today. The instruments are made of ice and the musicians play them in an wonderfully icey cold environment. What's not to love?

Musicians carve instruments out of ice (article in the Telegraph, UK)

The IceMusic Festival web site

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The pianos are coming ...

The New York-based charity Sing for Hope has put pianos all around the five boroughs, on the street for anyone to play at any time. The last time I posted on this topic, the pianos-in-the-street concept had made the leap from Birmingham, England to London. Now the idea has crossed the Atlantic like a joyous virus and landed in New York - a mere 4 and a half hours from Boston. Better start your warm ups now.

Here is a bit of the New York Times coverage.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jonathan Wolken, co-founder of Pilobolus Dance Theatre (1949-2010)

Jonathan Wolken, who co-founded Pilobolus Dance Theatre at Dartmouth in the early 1970s has died following a lengthy illness.

In 2002, Mr. Wolken joined fellow choreographers Bill T. Jones and Mark Morris for "Body Language: A Conversation About Dance and Community," a discussion about dance presented by FleetBoston Celebrity Series (now Celebrity Series of Boston) and the Wang Center for the Performing Arts.

Celebrity Series first presented Pilobolus in 1976 at Boston's John Hancock Hall. This season's
engagement (Dec. 3-5, Cutler Majestic Theatre) is the ensemble's 10th
Celebrity Series appearance. The presence of any of Wolken's works on the program cannot be confirmed, yet.

Hartford Courant obituary

Jonathan Wolken interview (video)

Jonathan Wolken Seattle Times interview (2007)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

WBUR jazz radio host, trombonist Tony Cennamo (1933-2010)


Boston's jazz community lost a beloved fixture this week as WBUR jazz radio host and trombonist Tony Cennamo passed away at age 76.

My memories of T.C. were mostly his overnights in the late 80s. The acerbic asides, championing of working musicians, and his distaste of fanfare. One of a kind.

Boston Herald obituary (Bob Young)

Boston Globe obituary (Bryan Marquard)

WBUR, Hub Bub blog (Andrew Phelps)

WBUR, Radio Boston, Remembering Tony Cennamo (Adam Ragusea; includes audio of T.C. on air)

Thursday, June 3, 2010 launches

Part web site, part blog, is officially underway.

The site will serve as the up-to-the-minute information source for campers, parents, staff and anyone who wants to know what's going on at AileyCamp Boston, the Celebrity Series of Boston's free, six-week, full-scholarship summer day camp
program for middle school students from Boston public schools. is organized using Google's Blogger service, so posts will be added over time (there will be plenty to read, we promise!) and the
site will function more or less like a blog. Here's wishing campers, staff, parents and everyone associated with the camp the very best of luck this year!

You can also find out more about AileyCamp Boston and all of the programs in our Arts, Education and Community Program here.

Basil Twist's Petrushka (video)

We missed this little gem when we launched our season back in April because it was posted around the same time. Hope you enjoy this tiny sample of Basil Twist's marvelous recreation of the Michel Fokine/Igor Stravinsky masterpiece, Petrushka. I, for one, am amazed at the recreation of the choreography, especially considering there are three puppeteers per dancer.

Basil Twist definitely has a one-of-a-kind creative mind.

Twist brings Petrushka to the Paramount Theatre in November.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ArtsEmerson launches season

ArtsEmerson announced its inaugural season today, including two partner events with your friendly neighborhood Celebrity Series (Basil Twist's Petrushka and Compagnia TPO's Farfalle). Check out their web site here and Executive Director Robert J. Orchard's blog here. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The 2010-2011 Priority Seating Deadline approacheth


This note is for Celebrity Series subscribers who have not yet renewed to let you know that the 2010-2011 priority seating deadline is fast approaching.

After June 11, subscriptions will be filled in the order received and those renewing will be competing for seats with all other subscribers.

As for those who are considering placing that first order, and even those
in the Greater Boston Area that have no idea what they have stumbled
across but love a fantastic show, you need to remember that while we are selling lots of subscriptions are some shows can and will fill up quickly, we are offering over 80,000 total seats this season, to a stunning array of performers and genres, so when we say "good seats are still available," well, good seats are still available. You can even call starting June 14 (617-482-6661). And remember that non-subscribers can start buying seats starting September 13.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Orchestra R/Evolution on the future of orchestras

Arturo Toscanini, orchestra guy

The League of American Orchestras has created a forum, chat room, salon, writer's colony and blog-o-rama called Orchestra R/Evolution to discuss the future of the orchestra in any and all its dimensions. Being League members who have presented orchestras since the Roosevelt administration (the NBC Orchestra, with Arturo Toscanini conducting, was our first, in 1938), we have more than a passing interest in this discussion and we suspect many of you will as well.

Check out Orchestra R/Evolution.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010)


Actress Lynn Redgrave died May 2 at her home in Connecticut.

Viewed through the lens of the Celebrity Series of Boston: Ms. Redgrave made one appearance on the Celebrity Series in March 21, 1993 when she brought her one woman play, "Shakespeare for My Father" to Symphony Hall for one performance.

We leave the more exhaustive biographical entries to the press and videographers:

The Washington Post

Los Angeles Times

The New York Times

BBC NewsConversations: Lynn Redgrave with Justin Tuck (video)

Guest appearance on The Muppet Show (video 1 of 3)

Sir Ian McKellen remembers Lynn Redgrave (video)

Thomas Quasthoff's encores from May 2 recital

Here are - admittedly a bit late - Thomas Quasthoff's encores from his May 2 recital at Jordan Hall (his first Celebrity Series recital since 2002):

Auf dem Kirchhofe Op. 105



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Quasthoff recital reviewed in Boston Globe

Thomas Quasthoff brought his truly remarkable voice to Jordan Hall for a much-anticipated recital on Sunday afternoon. Though he sang as beautifully as ever, he was especially talkative this time around. Between his stellar singing and timely witticisms, Quasthoff has the audience eating out of his hand. Here is a snippet of Jeffrey Johnson's review:

"During a break, Quasthoff drew the
audience’s attention to two oval windows on a pair of entrance doors in
Jordan Hall. He could see through them to the street doors, and every
time someone opened those, it seemed to him as if the hall doors were
winking. "I thought I was on drugs or something," quipped Quasthoff, "or that I had drunk Boston water!"

after a brief introduction to the next cycle he lunged back into drama
with Frank Martin’s “Sechs Monologe aus 'Jedermann.'" We were left at
intermission to absorb this masterpiece of sustained intensity and
existential struggle."

Read all of Quasthoff offers lightness amid dark.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Recent previews & reviews

We've fallen a little behind in our tracking of reviews and previews of our performances in the local press, so Aisle Be Seeing You will now fall back on lists of links to cover more ground. Don't worry, once we get our 2010-2011 subscription season launched, and once we're showered with enough compliments (and once we stop using the royal "we"), we'll pick up the delightfully informative and unrelenting narrative you all know and love. In the meantime, let's hear from the critical establishment:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (April 15-18, Citi Wang Theatre)

Boston Globe/

Boston Herald

Boston Phoenix

The Tufts Daily

Imani Winds with Stefon Harris (April 16, NEC's Jordan Hall)

Boston Globe/ (preview)

Maya Beiser, World to Come (April 23, Paramount Theatre)

Boston Globe/ (review)

Maurizio Pollini (April 25, Symphony Hall)
Boston Globe/

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

The Boston Musical Intelligencer
(Thoughts on Hearing Maurizio Pollini's Hamburg Steinway Fabbrini in Concert)

Danish Dance Theater (April 27 & 28, Paramount Theatre)

Boston Globe/

Friday, April 16, 2010

Boston Globe review of Ailey company's opening night

Karen Campbell's review of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's opening night performance is online (it will be in print tomorrow, April 17). The program covered in Campbell's review will be repeated Saturday evening:

"When the music pops into a funky groove, flat-footed jive walks combine with
rippling bodies. An African beat brings on rolling shoulders, arms swinging,
legs bent, dancers briefly launching themselves into backward turns, bodies
curved like commas in the air. Robinson’s swirling, swooping solo seems to
invoke the spirits, her arms repeatedly curling inward as if drawing in curling
tendrils of smoke. She turns in place, head thrown back."

Read all of Ailey troupe celebrates director's dancing spirit.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the Wang Theatre through Sunday.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Announcing the Celebrity Series of Boston 2010-2011 Season

Subscription sales begin April 30

So here is our season for next year in all its 41-event glory. You can't order your subscription, yet, that starts April 30, but you can check out the artists, dates, times, venues and even programs (follow the links), request a season brochure (if you're a subscriber this season, you will already get one), and join our e-mail list and get a reminder before subscription sales begin. We're announcing a little early this season so you can begin setting your arts calendar for 2010-2011.

October 2010

Mark Morris Dance Group
Program features the world premiere of a Celebrity Series commission
October 14-17
Cutler Majestic Theatre

Chucho Valdés with The Afro-Cuban Messengers
Celebrity Series Debut
Thursday, October 28, 8pm
Berklee Performance Center

November 2010

What Makes It Great? with The Claremont Trio
Beethoven's "Archduke Trio"
Sunday, November 7, 3pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Liza Minnelli in Concert
Celebrity Series Debut
Sunday, November 7, 5pm
Symphony Hall

Basil Twist's Petrushka
Boston Debut
November 11-21
Subscription performances:

November 11-17

The Paramount Theatre

Kremerata Baltica
Gidon Kremer, violin soloist and leader
Celebrity Series Debut
Friday, November 12, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Murray Perahia, piano
Sunday, November 14, 3pm
Symphony Hall

Tokyo String Quartet with Lynn Harrell, cello
Friday, November 19, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Pinchas Zukerman, violin/viola
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Sunday, November 21, 3pm
Symphony Hall

Parker String Quartet
Bonus Subscriber Event
Monday, November 22, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

December 2010

Haochen Zhang, piano
2009 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist
Boston Debut
Friday, December 3, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

December 3-5
Cutler Majestic Theatre

January 2011

Christine Brewer, soprano
Celebrity Series Debut
Saturday, January 15, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, "Boom!"
Friday, January 21, 8pm
Sanders Theatre

Balé Folclórico da Bahia
Celebrity Series Debut
Saturday, January 22, 8pm
The Opera House

Philharmonia Quartett Berlin
Boston Debut
Friday, January 28, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Savion Glover, "SoLo in TiMe"
Saturday, January 29, 8pm
The Opera House

Golden Dragon Acrobats
Sunday, January 30, 3pm
Symphony Hall

February 2011

Joshua Bell, violin
Friday, February 4, 8pm
Symphony Hall

Ira Glass, "Radio Stories and Other Stories"
Saturday, February 5, 8pm
Sanders Theatre

Tierney Sutton Band
Celebrity Series Debut
Friday, February 11, 8pm
Sanders Theatre

What Makes It Great?
Excerpts from Mozart's Don Giovanni
Sunday, February 13, 3pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Takács Quartet
Friday, February 18, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Sunday, February 27, 3pm
Symphony Hall

March 2011

Evgeny Kissin, piano
Wednesday, March 2, 8pm
Symphony Hall

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Celebrity Series Debut
March 4 & 5
Tsai Performance Center

Emerson String Quartet with Sir James Galway, flute
Friday, March 11, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Saturday, March 12, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

KODO Drummers
Sunday, March 13, 4pm
Symphony Hall

American Legacies:
The Del McCoury Band with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Saturday, March 19, 8pm
Symphony Hall

Matthew Polenzani, tenor
Boston Recital Debut
Thursday, March 24, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

John Williams, guitar
Friday, March 25, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

April 2011

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Friday, April 1, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Boston Debut
April 1 & 2
Tsai Performance Center

Patti LuPone, "The Gypsy in My Soul"
Sunday, April 3, 5pm
Symphony Hall

St. Petersburg Philharmonic
Yuri Temirkanov, conductor
Alisa Weilerstein, cello soloist
Sunday, April 10, 3pm
Symphony Hall

Dubravka Tomsic, piano
Friday, April 15, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Friday, April 29, 8pm
NEC's Jordan Hall

May 2011

Sweet Honey In The Rock
Friday, May 6, 8pm
Symphony Hall

Compagnia TPO, Farfalle
Boston Debut
May 10-15
Black Box Theatre, Paramount Center

Complexions Contemporary Ballet
May 20-22
Cutler Majestic Theatre

Call for a free 2010-2011 season brochure: (617) 482-2595
or visit

Important Dates:

Season Subscriptions go on sale April 30, 2010

Priority Seating Deadline is Friday, June 11, 2010

Subscriptions by phone begin Monday, June 14, 2010

Individual performance sales begin Monday, September 13, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ailey: Ronald K. Brown's "Dancing Spirit" (video)

Ronald K. Brown pays tribute to Judith Jamison with Dancing Spirit, a new work that echoes the title of Jamisons autobiography. Set to music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Radiohead and War, Brown uses movement from Cuba, Brazil and the United States to conjure dancing spirits who embody the elegance, vision, dignity and generosity of Jamison.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to The Citi Performing Arts Center's Wang Theatre April 15-18
(Dancing Spirit will be performed April 15 and 17).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Online Auction is underway - check it out!


Consider this an invitation from Aisle Be
Seeing You:
The Celebrity Series of Boston's Standing O!
is now open for bidding!

Auction by the numbers:

7 Red Sox games
6 Concert programs
5 Health & Fitness
4 Personal pampering
3 Theatre events
2 Hotel & Travel
1 Bose Wave radio

The auction will run from March 15,
2010 to April 18, 2010. All proceeds support the Arts, Education and
Community Program of the Celebrity Series. Tell your friends, your
family, and your community, and let the bidding begin!

Check out the Standing O! Online Auction

Friday, March 19, 2010

Globe: "Improvising, McFerrin style"


The Boston Globe had a chat with Bobby McFerrin recently and the results appeared in today's print edition, just in time to preview his concert at Symphony Hall this Sunday afternoon. He talked about appearing on the TV program Sing-Off! and the story of VOCAbuLarieS, his upcoming recording, eight years in the making. Here's a snippet:

"I have always played to mixed audiences on every level — age, type of
music, on and on. There are always people who remember 'Don't Worry, Be
Happy,' and I’m happy they remember it, of course. But, like any artist
over 20 years, I've moved on. Fortunately, I’ve moved on in a lot of new
directions, which keep it all fresh and inventive."

Read all of Improvising, McFerrin style.

Check out Bobby McFerrin at Symphony Hall this Sunday at 3pm, brought to you by the Celebrity Series of Boston (ahem).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

0MG D00D, a Leetspeak posting (and a video)

Something for all you Leet speakers out there ...

0MG D00D 8088Ψ |\/|<I=€221|\| 15 T3H l_l83Я 1337 Я0XX0ЯZ!

Translation for the rest of us:

OMG, dude, Bobby McFerrin is the über-elite rocks-er!

Um, so he is. Come check him out this Sunday at Boston's Symphony Hall.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Globe review of Black Grace Dance Company

Karen Campbell's review of Black Grace Dance Company (in the photo above) is informative and positive (our favorite kind of review!), but my personal favorite bit comes from the comment section:

"I arrived tired and left buoyant."

High praise in a busy world.

Here is Karen's review.

Check out Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in "Hymn" (video)

Check out Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Hymn.

And don't miss them at Citi Wang Theatre this April 15-18.

Friday, March 12, 2010

200K ... a little or a lot?


This blog has just hit 200,000 page views since its creation in mid-2005.

For me, it seems like both a colossal figure and, well, not very much for 4 and a half years of posting. Expressed in Uraguayan pesos it doesn't seem like much either; just ask Pedro Figari (the guy on the bill). And then when you consider how many of this blog's visitors were just trolling for free images ... um, hey, has anybody been to any good concerts lately?

Black Grace dances at Perkins School for the Blind

They are performing this weekend at Boston's Paramount Theatre, but members of New Zealand's Black Grace Dance Company took some time to work with students at the Perkins School for the Blind today as part of the Celebrity Series Arts, Education and Community Program. The class was funded by The Peabody Foundation.

The video above was shot by Martin Finucane for an article on

Here is The Boston Herald's coverage of the same event.

Max Raabe wows Paramount crowds, reviewers


He's glamorous, he's suave, he's totally Weimar. His deadpan delivery and tuxedoed band played two fantastic concerts at the Paramount Theatre last week. Ironically, Max Raabe, playing music of the 1920s and 30s, is a man of the moment.

Here are two reviews of his show:

Boston Herald (Bob Young)

Boston Globe (Matthew Guerrieri)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two views of Perlman's concert

The first hint of Spring is upon us and dissent is in the air. Two takes on Itzhak Perlman's Sunday afternoon recital have appeared online. Enjoy:

Jeremy Eichler for The Boston Globe

Thomas Garvey, The Hub Review

We welcome the conversation. And I would like an iced tea, please.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On the verge of 200,000 ...

I estimate Aisle Be Seeing You will reach 200,000 page views in about a week. Sobering stuff. Definitely more than just Mom checking in ...

Itzhak Perlman's stage-announced selections from Sunday

No use keeping any of you in the dark about yesterday's recital by Itzhak Perlman, Here are the selections that Mr. Perlman announced from the
stage at his recital on Sunday:

Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane in the Style of Couperin

Hummel (trans. Heifetz)
Rondo in E-flat Major

Gluck (trans. Heifetz)
Melodie from Orfeo ed Euridice

Brahms (trans. Kreisler)
Hungarian Dance No. 2

Wienawski (trans. Kreisler)
Etude-Caprice in A minor Op. 18 No. 4

Theme from “Schindler’s List”

Dance of the Goblins