Monday, December 12, 2011

Max Raabe on Sesamstrasse with Bert und Ernie

Max Raabe on German Sesame Street. Is Sesamstrasse in Brooklyn?

Max Raabe & Palast Orchester (minus Bert & Ernie) visit the Celebrity Series and Symphony Hall Sunday, March 4.


Iyer/Zenon concert reviewed by Globe's Steve Greenlee

Vijay Iyer during his Celebrity Series performance Friday night

Steve Greenlee reviewed the Celebrity Series of Boston's double bill of the Miguel Zenon Quartet and the Vijay Iyer Trio at Berklee Performance Center for The Boston Globe:

"Two of jazz’s most exciting and innovative artists - pianist Vijay Iyer and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón - brought their groups to town Friday night for a 2 1/2-hour roof raiser of a show."

Read the complete review (login required)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Twitter in the house?


Cincinnati Symphony is making headlines with a new Tweet seats option at selected concerts. Check out this article from the Cincinnati Inquirer:

Symphony is tweet music to their ears

I can't say I think much of the headline (that groan you heard from across town was me) but the idea is one worth watching in this wags eyes ...

What do you think?


Recent Celebrity Series reviews ...

November has been a busy month here at Celebrity Series world headquarters. Below are just a few of the reviews for just a few of the performances this month ...

Angelika Kirchschlager and Jean-Yves Thibaudet at NEC's Jordan Hall:

Boston Globe

Boston Classical Review

Orion String Quartet with David Shifrin
(performance included Boston premiere of Marc Neikrug's Clarinet Quintet)

The Classical Review

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
at Sanders Theatre:

Harvard Crimson

Itzhak Perlman at Symphony Hall:

Boston Globe

Boston Classical Review

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Globe reviews Lang Lang recital

Lang Lang during his masterclass at Sanders Theatre on Saturday

Matthew Guerrieri reviewed this past Sunday's Celebrity Series recital by pianist Lang Lang, the culmination of the superstar pianist's stay in Boston. Here's a snippet:

"During intermission, Lang swapped the fine-grained German Steinway for a brassier American one (something of a star-privilege trademark for him), then offered all 12 of Chopin’s Op. 25 Études, a fully stocked cabinet of virtuosity highlighting Lang’s penchant for show, not to mention showing off - the two A-minor études, nos. 4 and 11, were thrillingly cocky torrents, the relentless octaves of the B-minor positively blazed."

Read all of A dash of daring serves Lang.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lang Lang to give masterclass for the public at Harvard


Lang Lang Master Class
Pianist Lang Lang will present a masterclass in association with the Celebrity Series of Boston and Harvard University Office of the Arts, Learning From Performers, on Saturday, October 29 at 3pm at Sanders Theatre.  Admission free and open to the public, tickets required.

Tickets will be distributed to Harvard affiliates from Tuesday, October 18 through Thursday, October 20 in person only at the Harvard Box Office (1350 Massachusetts Ave. at Holyoke Center, Harvard Square). Limit two per person with valid Harvard ID.

All remaining tickets, limit two per person, will be available beginning Friday, October 21. Remaining tickets available by phone and online (service fees apply) as well as in person: 617.496.2222 (TTY 617. 495.1642),

Celebrity Series of Boston will present Lang Lang at Symphony Hall, Sunday, October 30 at 3pm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dance critic Debra Cash on choreographer Aszure Barton

1205-Aszure Barton & Artists Blue Soup Credit Donald Lee (2)
A scene from Aszurer Barton's Blue Soup

Welcoming Blue Skies: Introducing Choreographer Aszure Barton

By Debra Cash

What kind of courage does it take to put your imagination into the world and ask people to pay attention? There may seem to be an insurmountable gulf between the street musician with his open instrument case staking out a busy intersection, and the celebrated artist who can take advantage of all the accoutrements of a professional engagement and expect to go home with a paycheck. But are the two really so very different?

This 2011 Celebrity Series engagement marks the much-anticipated Boston debut of Aszure Barton & Artists. The journey that brings her company here has been a whirlwind, from Barton’s first “professional” dance pieces—including a solo she performed at a 42nd Street deli in New York City—to her recent “keys to the city” moment when she was proclaimed the honorary Ambassador of Contemporary Choreography in her native Alberta, Canada.

Barton was three years old, the youngest of three dancing sisters, when she started learning to tap dance in Edmonton. Quickly, she added just about every other kind of dance activity you can name: ballet, of course, and jazz and modern, but also synchronized swimming and Scottish highland dance. She was a track and field star— the top high jumper in the Catholic school circuit in Alberta—but dancing took precedence.

When she was 14, her parents agreed to let her move to Toronto to study at the National Ballet of Canada. She was a nascent choreographer even then: the student choreographic workshop she and friend started there—now named the Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop—continues to allow students to learn to choreograph by choreographing. She went on to perform with that company and with Montreal’s Ballets Jazz de Montréal (now called bjm_danse).

Barton set out on a few years as a freelance dancer in Europe and in New York. Her big break, though, happened far from geographical centers of high culture. In 2003 she was in Nebraska working on a pick-up project with former Mark Morris company dancer Ruth Davidson Hahn. There was a reception, and as she tells the story, Mikhail Baryshnikov was there to perform a solo Hahn had created for him a few seasons earlier. The two started talking shop.

Baryshnikov told Barton “I heard you’re good. I want to see your work.” And Barton remembers thinking “Yeah, right, I’ll never hear from him again.”

He did call, though, and liked what he saw. Barton’s career took off .When the Baryshnikov Arts Center opened in New York in 2005, she was tapped to be one of its first resident choreographers, an honor she repeated in 2006 and 2008. Her reputation solidified when her choreography garnered a Tony nomination for the 2006 Broadway revival of the Brecht-Weill Threepenny Opera featuring Jim Dale, Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper. In the past decade she has contributed dances for more than thirty companies, including American Ballet Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

While Barton’s choreographic language sometimes seems like a mash-up of genres, it also reads as a healthy artistic agnosticism. Barton is an equal opportunity assimilator, filtering the ways people move through her own distinctive sensibility and her dancers’ robust talents.

Take Busk, the newest work on these Boston programs. Barton likes to say that it doesn’t take its name from buskers, but instead from the Spanish root word buscar, meaning “to seek.”

Created during a four-week residency in the vibrant Santa Barbara sunshine, Barton and her collaborators found themselves startled by the proximity of wealth and older veterans living on the street. “It made me wonder ‘where do we fit into this picture?” she says.

It was Baryshnikov who suggested the gypsy-inspired score by Ljova and the Kontraband that became Busk’s musical engine. Moscow-born Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin had moved to New York in 1990, and Barton found in him a kindred soul who, like her, was a playful experimenter who never hid from his classical roots. Kontraband’s recorded contribution is augmented by music played on conventional and invented instruments by the legendary blind New York street musician—a true busker—known as Moondog, who was famed for dressing in a horned cap in the persona of the Norse god Thor.

There’s more than a touch the Fellini classic La Strada in Busk: its performers are presented as ordinary
working people whose jobs are, paradoxically, to magic other people’s ordinary routines. Aszure Barton plays with the confidence—real or simulated—of the busker, while portraying the crowd’s longing to be enchanted and transported.

Azure (without the s) is, of course, a shade of blue, the color of lapis lazuli or of the sky on a bright fall day. Blue Soup made two years ago, stitches together—and by juxtaposition, rethinks—choreographic elements from three earlier repertory works, “Mai We,” “I” and “Over/Come,” the last created during her initial Baryshnikov Arts Center residency. The components show where she has come from; the current structure shows how far she has traveled.

Over the years, Barton explains, she has been most compelled by exploring the way interior states drive visible expression, “to see the shape and form of the release.” In Blue Soup Barton’s cinematic imagination is on full display. Scenes and vignettes are played out against the environment of African vocalizing, a Swedish choir, Japanese kodo drumming, and comic book exclamations from French musician Serge Gainsbourg. At times, gorgeous movement seems almost blurted out. She can dig into the hyperbole of corny 1950s love ballads or make an acerbic comment. Across her moods, rhythm can either root the dancers to the spaces they inhabit or knock them off their centers and onto their knees.

In Blue Soup everyone embraces their idiosyncracies. And it’s easy to see in this medley why the dance world has paid so much attention to the idiosyncratic Aszure Barton, this gifted protégée, this New York hipster, this all grown-up wild child of the Canadian plains.

© 2011 Debra Cash

Aszure Barton & Artists perform at the Tsai Performance center at Boston University November 4 & 5.


Countertenor Andreas Scholl on his craft

An illuminating chat with countertenor Andreas Scholl about his art from the Barbicon. Scholl sings Purcell selections with the English Concert this Sunday, October 23 at NEC's Jordan Hall.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Boston Classical Review is LIVE!

Check out the new online classical music entry Boston Classical Review. It's already helped readers keep up with the music scene's in Chicago and South Florida, now it's Beantown's turn:

Boston Classical Review


Sunday, September 11, 2011

All 11-12 Celebrity Series performances on sale Monday, September 12!

This Monday morning, September 12 at 9am EVERY performance in our entire season goes on sale! Great performances and performances across Boston, throughout the season. Performers such as: Audra McDonald, The Chieftains, David Sedaris, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Garrison Keillor, Itzhak Perlman, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Vijay Iyer, Terence Blanchard, Soweto Gospel Choir, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and many more ..

Check it out:


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Celebrity Series of Boston: part of lo-fi movement or strictly digital?


Analog/digital, lo-fi/hi-fi, old/new; the analog, the old school, has gone underground, so says the Chicago Tribune. Adherents to technologies of the past such as cassette tapes, buttons, first generation video games, printed magazines and vinyl records are a persistent underground movement, one that favors the physical and the tactile over the digital. As Christopher Borelli of The Chicago Tribune writes:

"They are the Chicago Lo-Fi Resistance. They are not an organized group, or a collective of practicing luddites, or an especially underground insurrection. But the name fits: How else to describe a loose cadre of antiquarians doing their part to resist that hurtling pace of our digital existence?

Ask them why, and you get a flood of reasons: Nostalgia, politics, quality. They do not share a hive (analog) mind – each has his or her reasons. In fact, if they share anything, it's this: A desire for a more tactile world."

Click here to read the rest of Christopher Borelli's article.

...and while you are reading ask yourself, "Is the Celebrity Series of Boston part of this movement?" It seems to me there are arguments for and against: we have been doing this for over 70 years (we are older than, say, Atari); we present scads of live performances (the original musical medium, pretty tactile stuff); we celebrate musical forms of the past and the distant past. On the other hand we are current, we have a web site (and a blog, ahem); we are Twitterers; we are implementing a state of the art computer-based ticketing system; and things are generally "going digital" in our workplace. So which is it?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

MLK Summer Scholars and AileyCamp Boston

The MLK Summer Scholars

L to R: Aidan Dunbar, Boston Globe Publisher Christopher Mayer, Yadarys Familia, Garrecia Powell

L to R: Aidan Dunbar, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Garrecia Powell, Yadarys Familia

L to R: Aidan Dunbar, Garrecia Powell, Yadarys Familia

AileyCamp Boston 2011 started yesterday at Orchard Gardens K-8 school in Roxbury.  AileyCamp Boston is a tuition-free summer camp designed for Boston-area middle school students. Running July 5 through August 11, the program is operated by the Celebrity Series of Boston Arts, Education and Community Program.  A full scholarship summer day camp for 11-14 year olds, the program uses dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression and critical thinking skills. Eighty students have been selected to attend this this summer, and prior dance training is not a consideration for admission.

In addition to the AileyCamp Boston staff, four group leaders who are standout high school students have been chosen from the MLK Summer Scholars program.  MLK Summer Scholars works in close partnership with the Boston Globe, Boston University, Partners HealthCare and the City of Boston, and addresses what was deemed a critical need by Mayor Thomas M. Menino—summer jobs for city youth. AileyCamp Boston is proud to work with these students to help further their personal and professional goals.

Yesterday, the MLK Scholars had an opportunity to attend a meeting with Mayor Menino; Christopher Mayer, Publisher of the Boston Globe; Dr. Gary Gottlieb, CEO of Partners Healthcare; Carol Fulp, VP of Community Relations at John Hancock; James R. Boyle, President of John Hancock Financial Services; Edward Davis, Boston Police Commissioner; and Robert A. Brown, President of Boston University.  They spoke about the importance of youth leadership in Boston communities and the impact that jobs play in the lives of teens. 

We are looking forward to working with the AileyCampers and MLK Scholars this summer!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music makes cows happy (video)

You may have heard about studies that have found classical music improves milk production in cows. Konzerthaus Dortmund, the performance space of Theater Dortmund in Dortmund Germany, decided to test this theory ...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer named one of the 50 most influential global Indians

Pianist Vijay Iyer

Jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer was named one of the "50 most influential global Indians" by GQ India. He is in some impressive company (of course, he is pretty impressive in his own right).

The Celebrity Series of Boston presents Vijay Iyer with another influential jazz musician, saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenon in a double-bill concert at Berklee Performance Center on December 9.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boston Globe reviews Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Jeffrey Gantz, formerly of the Boston Phoenix, reviewed this past weekend's Celebrity Series and World Music co-presentation of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. The Complexions run at the Cutler Majestic Theatre was the final performance in the Celebrity Series of Boston's 2010-11 season. Read Complexions dancers rise to the occasion.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Boston Early Music Festival head gets Lifetime Achievement award

Congratulations to our friend Kathleen Fay. Early Music America has awarded Fay, the Executive Director of the Boston Early Music Festival, the Howard Mayer Brown award for lifetime achievement. The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is considered one of the world's leading early music organizations and is a regular Celebrity Series presenting partner (including this season's presentation of The English Concert on October 23). Fay has been with BEMF since 1987.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cellist Bernard Greenhouse (1916-2011)

The founding members of the Beaux Arts Trio:
(L to R) Isidore Cohen, violin, Menahem Pressler,
piano, Bernard Greenhouse, cello

Distinguished cellist and longtime Wellfleet, Mass. resident Bernard Greenhouse died May 13. Among many accomplishments and accolades, Mr. Greenhouse was a founding member of The Beaux Arts Trio, with whom he performed regularly from 1955 until his retirement in 1987.

Mr. Greenhouse made two appearances on the Celebrity Series. In 1968 he appeared with the Bach Aria Group (with soloists Samuel Baron, flute; Robert Bloom, oboe; Norman Farrow, bass-baritone; Maureen Forrester, alto; Richard Lewis, tenor; Lois Marshall, soprano; Oscar Shumsky, violin; and Paul Ulanowsky, piano). In 1971 he performed with the then Beaux Arts Trio of New York (Menahem Pressler, piano, Isidore Cohen, violin).

New York Times

Boston Globe

Telegraph (UK)

2009 interview with Bernard Greenhouse

Beaux Arts Trio performance (from Schubert Trio in B-flat)

Beaux Arts Trio performance (from Ravel Trio in A minor)

Bernard Greenhouse performing Song of the Birds at age 95 (Catalan folk song arranged by Pablo Casals)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Check out our Spring Auction!


The Celebrity Series of Boston Spring Auction is now open for bidding. The auction will run from April 1 to May 9. All proceeds will benefit the Arts, Education and Community Program of the Celebrity Series. Tell your friends, tell your family and let the bidding begin!

Check out the Spring Auction!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Celebrity Series of Boston in the News

Left to Right: Former Celebrity Series Executive Director Walter Pierce, incoming Executive Director Gary Dunning, outgoing Executive Director Marty Jones, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Chairman of the Celebrity Series Board of Directors, Joshua Boger at the Mad About Marty gala, May 2, 2011.

The Celebrity Series of Boston has been in the news in the last few weeks, and this blog is bit behind in getting you the links you need (hey, we've been a little busy), so here's a make-up post:

First up, Lloyd Schwartz, of the Boston Phoenix and NPR's Fresh Air, gaves us his take on the St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov on the podium and Boston native-wunderkind-cellist Alisa Weilerstein as soloist as well as longtime Boston favorite (his and ours) pianist Dubravka Tomsic.

Matthew Guerrieri gave us his review of the eminent Russian orchestra for The Boston Globe.

Northeastern University scholar and author (check out The Last Impresario sometime, if you haven't already) Harlow Robinson reviewed Dubravka Tomsic's recital for the Globe.

Matthew Guerrieri reviewed Dawn Upshaw's April 29 Jordan Hall recital, Cashman Kerr Prince did the same for The Boston Musical Intelligencer.

Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein covered Mad About Marty, the star-studded retirement party for our fearless leader, Marty Jones for the Globe's Names column.

On the blogoshpere, Paul Levy gave us this post on the party on his Not Running a Hospital blog, as did Denise Korn on her K Blog.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Martha H. Jones and Governor Deval Patrick at "Mad About Marty" reception

Celebrity Series President and Executive Director Martha H. Jones with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at last night's Paramount Theatre reception for Mad About Marty, honoring Jones' 25 years of service with the Celebrity Series of Boston. See the rest of Bill Brett's party photos.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Celebrity Series 2011-2012 subscriptions on sale April 29!

At 12:01 Friday morning, April 29, our web site goes live for subscription orders. Visit to find choose from among more than 40 engagements in our 2011-2012 season!

And check out our Spring Auction!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dubravka Tomsic encores

Below are pianist Dubravka Tomsic's encores from her recital on Friday night:

1. Lizt: "Forgotten Waltz"
2. Chopin: "Minuette Waltz"
3. Lizt: Concert Etude - "Dance of the Gnomes"
4. Lizt: Concert Etude - La Leggereza

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Soprano Dawn Upshaw announces April 29 recital program


Dawn Upshaw has released her Celebrity Series recital program for April 29 with pianist Stephen Prutsman at NEC's Jordan Hall. It is a generous and varied program, so it is a bit long to post here in full:

Dawn Upshaw program

Friday, April 1, 2011

Read dance critic Debra Cash's notes on BeijingDance/LDTX

Introducing BeijingDance/LDTX
by Debra Cash

Willy Tsao is a phenomenon, the spark behind three distinct Chinese dance companies in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Beijing. None, he is quick to stress, are the Willy Tsao Dance Company; each is a platform for the emerging talents of contemporary Chinese choreographers. What connects them is  Tsao's philosophy of individual expression, the new voice of Chinese freedom for a new century.

China came late to modern dance. Wu Xiaobang, who studied German expressionist technique in Japan in the early 1930s and used it to create patriotic dances to support the Chinese war effort against Japan, would later play an important role in documenting Chinese folk traditions. But after 1949, Wu's work was pushed aside by bombastic—and kitsch—Soviet-style ballet that put revolutionary heroines brandishing bayonets into toe shoes. American modern dance was considered just one more form of decadent western imperialism, described dismissively as "fierce floods and savage beasts."

Hong Kong may have been spared the excesses of the Cultural Revolution but that didn't mean modern dance had a foothold there. Ten-year-old Willy Tsao happened to see touring American dancer Louis Falco—and says he instantly fell in love with the art form—but there was no venue where he could take
dance classes or see more contemporary choreography. Besides, Tsao had his future mapped out: he was expected to take over his wealthy family's Hong Kong business, a conglomerate that included textiles, a printing business, and property management.

In 1973, as an undergraduate at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, Tsao was delighted when he opened his course catalog and saw a modern dance class offered. He signed up for an introductory class taught by Kathy Iverson (now Mohn), who had trained in the styles of Doris Humphrey and Alwin Nikolais. Hooked, he studied in New York and London during summer breaks and was seriously considered for a role in The King and I in the West End. He even experimented with choreography, creating a few early pieces for Iverson's small touring group. But as he recently said "at most I thought it would be something I loved to do, a hobby."

Tsao graduated, returned to Hong Kong and, in 1979, earned his MBA. He did indeed start working with the family business, but carved out time to start Hong Kong's first professional modern dance company, City Contemporary Dance Company. "It‟s okay if you want to run a dance company but you need to run it as a business" he says today. "I think it‟s healthier to make the most of the resources available." Modern dance in mainland China took a bit longer. Tsao recalls when he was first invited to teach modern dance at the Beijing Dance Academy and for the Guangdong Dance School in Guangzhou in the late '80s and early '90s as part of Deng Xiaoping's Open Door policy initiatives. Government officials were skeptical and apprehensive. "They considered modern dance some sort of American capitalism or as if you were going to encourage the dancers to defect to the west [during] international tours. But the dancers saw that the door was wide open. Nobody wants to defect if you can come home."

Today, Tsao hosts a week-long summer festival in Guangzhou where these three Chinese modern dance companies appear alongside three invited international troupes. Days are open for master classes. Anyone who wants to show his or her work can present it to the more than 400 young dancers who arrive from all parts of China. Tsao has even managed to push the boundary of his audiences' expectations by staging projects like the gently absurd site specific work he produced in a Shanghai mall, where dancers waved their arms as they rode escalators and made puppet-like motions among the mannequins.

When Tsao founded BeijingDance/LDTX (Lei Dong Tian Xia) in September 2005, it became mainland China's first independent professional modern dance troupe.The program on this Boston debut engagement brings together two works by the company's deputy artistic director, Li Hanzhong, and his dancer-wife, Ma Bo. The Cold Dagger, originally an evening length work, is condensed into an intense game of weigi (Go) with fluent martial arts-inspired partnering shifting across a grid. The Cold Dagger sets the theme of disciplined and rhythmic ensemble dancing—a feature of both the ethnic dance forms and classical ballet that formed the training of most of BeijingDance/LDTX's 14 dancers—punctuated by free, challenging solos and duets. All River Red by the same couple has become something of a BeijingDance/LDTX signature. Set to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, it has more than a whiff of the reassessment of Maoist excesses and the blind sacrifice of the individual in the service of not nature but ideology. “When it was first created almost ten years ago a lot of people were scared of those images,” Tsao says, “but when we performed it in Beijing, the students went wild."

One Table N Chairs is in part Tsao's irreverent retort to the critics within and outside China who expect Chinese modern dance to be assembled from familiar cultural materials. "Everyone wants us to use Chinese handkerchiefs, ribbons, swords," he says. Instead, he spliced together elements from different
Chinese opera scores—in different modes, sung in different dialects—invented a schematic story line, and then instructed the dancers to perform only a single traditional Chinese opera pose and follow it with invented embellishments. The result, in its fixed form, shows an ambivalent relationship to tradition and a move towards the idiosyncrasy of contemporary self-expression.

Sky, to John Adams' minimalist Shaker Loops, is Liu Bin's exploration of China's—and the planetary— environmental crisis. It brings another celestial metaphor to the company whose name, Lei Dong Tian Xia, translates as Thunder Rumbles Under Heaven, a rough, if unintended gloss on the classical I Ching hexagram Wu Wang. That hexagram counsels Do not anticipate the future or hold on to the past at this point. Nip cynicism in the bud so intuition can flow. Willy Tsao chose the name because it sounds good in Chinese. And because it implies that the sky is the limit.

© 2011 Debra Cash

Celebrity Series of Boston presents the Boston debut of BeijingDance/LDTX, April 1 & 2 at the Tsai Performance Center at Boston University.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes cancels April 1 concert

Leif Ove Andsnes

Celebrity Series of Boston President and Executive Director Martha H. Jones announced today that pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has cancelled his Jordan Hall performance, scheduled for April 1, due to illness. The Celebrity Series and Mr. Andsnes were unable to find a suitable date to reschedule the performance.

Patrons who purchased tickets via Celebrity Series of Boston will be contacted as to their options. All other patrons are requested to contact their place of purchase for refunds.

Press release

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Matthew Polenzani and Julius Drake at WGBH


Here are a couple of candid shots from tenor Matthew Polenzani and his accompanist Julius Drake's taping at WGBH radio last night. Their performance will air tonight (Wednesday) on 99.5 and will feature an interview with WGBH host Cathy Fuller (above, top, center) and the duo perform at Jordan Hall on Thursday evening at 8pm.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Globe reviews Emerson Quartet with Sir James Galway

Matthew Guerrieri's review of Friday evening's concert by the Emerson String Quartet and Sir James Galway (brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Celebrity Series) appeared in today's Boston Globe. Here is a bit of Mr. Geurrieri's take:

"Most concerts are curated with the aim of an e-pluribus-unum revelation of unexpected affinities. The Emerson String Quartet and Sir James Galway flipped the pattern for their star-summit Celebrity Series program on Friday; one could surmise logical connections, but the experience was more high-minded variety show — swinging from light to dark, from cheer to tragedy and back again."

Read all of Galway's flute and Emerson's strings combine for quite a show.

Friday, March 4, 2011

David Weininger reviews Evgeny Kissin's recital for Boston Globe

This review is online now but should appear in tomorrow's print edition:

"The music world is marking the bicentennial of the birth of Franz Liszt — composer, virtuoso, and all-around diabolical genius. The latest event in the ongoing celebration came on Wednesday, when Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin brought an all-Liszt recital to a packed Symphony Hall."

Read all of Evgeny Kissin plays up to the many challenges of Liszt.

Lloyd Schwartz reviews Takacs Quartet and Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Boston Phoenix classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz puts two recent Celebrity Series performances, the Takacs Quartet's February 18 concert and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky's February 27 recital, under his usual thoughtful microscope in today's column:

Lloyd Schwartz's March 3 column

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Celebrity Series of Boston Announces New Executive Director

For Immediate Release

Jack Wright, (617) 598-3212,
Stephanie Janes, (617) 598-3240,



(Boston)  Celebrity Series of Boston, New England’s leading performing arts presenter, is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Dunning as President and Executive Director. Mr. Dunning has been a senior executive in the performing arts for over 30 years, having served as executive director of the Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and most recently the Big Apple Circus, Ltd. in New York City. Mr. Dunning’s appointment is effective July 1, 2011.

Joshua Boger, Chair of the search committee and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Celebrity Series, expressed his enthusiasm for Mr. Dunning’s selection, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, the search committee and staff I am delighted to welcome Gary as the next President and Executive Director of the Celebrity Series of Boston. He brings a truly impressive experience to the position, having successfully led several nationally prominent arts institutions over his career. He will be a stellar addition to a tradition of great Celebrity Series leadership and is an outstanding choice to lead the Series into its next era.”

“Gary will become only the fourth leader of the Celebrity Series over its 72-year history and the first appointed from outside the organization,” said retiring Series President, Martha H. Jones. “He is an excellent choice and his background in management, marketing, fundraising and education will serve him well as he takes the Celebrity Series to new heights. I was involved in the search process and am quite pleased to endorse Gary’s appointment.”

“It is an honor and privilege to join Celebrity Series and follow in the footsteps of Marty Jones,” said Dunning. “The organization has stood for excellence and diversity in celebrating the best in the performing arts. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Celebrity Series and throughout the Boston arts community to build a stronger organization and vibrant arts scene.”

Gary Dunning began his career as Assistant Company Manager at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in 1978. He rose to Company Manager and General Manager at ABT before departing in 1986 to become Executive Director of the Houston Ballet. Dunning remained with the Houston Ballet until 1992, when he was recruited to return to ABT as Executive Director, where he launched that organization’s remarkable turnaround. In 1996, Dunning left ABT to assume the Executive Director position at Big Apple Circus, Ltd., a position he has held until this appointment. Mr. Dunning is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics.

During his 14-year tenure at Big Apple Circus, Mr. Dunning doubled the non-profit arts institution’s annual fund drive in the first four years and increased earned revenues by 18% per year for the first five years. He also completed a $6 million capital plan for a new rehearsal and production facility and developed and successfully executed a transition plan from the founding artistic director to new artistic leadership. The Big Apple Circus’ community outreach and education programs, which serve children and families across the nation in pediatric and nursing care facilities, community centers, schools and at Big Apple Circus performances, have undergone a significant expansion under Mr. Dunning’s leadership.

Celebrity Series of Boston will announce its 2011-2012 season, the first under the leadership of Mr. Dunning, in early April.

The Celebrity Series of Boston is New England’s leading presenter of music, dance and the performing arts from around the world. Now in its 72nd season, the Celebrity Series brings performances by instrumental and vocal soloists, orchestras and chamber ensembles, dance companies, jazz, folk and ethnic artists and ensembles to Boston’s major concert halls, reaching an audience of some 100,000 each year. Through the Arts, Education and Community Program, the Celebrity Series reaches thousands of youngsters annually with opportunities to experience and participate in the performing arts through concerts, workshops, and the award-winning AileyCamp Boston, an intensive six-week summer dance program for Boston middle school students. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at

The Celebrity Series receives generous support from The Little Family Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, Foley & Lardner LLP, Charlesbank Capital Partners, Comcast, Parametric Technology Corporation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, New England Foundation for the Arts, and D.L. Saunders Companies and The Boston Park Plaza Hotel, LLC.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

George Shearing (1919-2011)

George Shearing

The world has lost pianist George Shearing at the age of 91. Jack Kerouac's "Old God Shearing" played the Celebrity Series of Boston only once, a Symphony Hall date in 1995 with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. The performance included Gee, Baby Ain't I Good to You, Stars in My Eyes, If Ever I Should Lose You and the slightly unexpected choice of Eddie Harris' Freedom Jazz Dance.

The Telegraph (UK)

The Washington Post

The New York Times

Jazz Times

A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz (NPR's Morning Edition interview from 1995)

George Shearing Quintet, Conception (video)

George Shearing Quintet, Swedish Pastry (video)

Audio link and transcript of Shearing interviewed by singer Joe Williams

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Evgeny Kissin, masterful pianist, child composer ...

Who knew pianist Evgeny Kissin was a child composer? Watching this video all I could do was think back on my (apparently) misspent youth as Evgeny tosses off ditties he wrote before the age of ten...

This prodigy turned merely incredible, outstanding adult performer will play an all-Liszt program in his Celebrity Series recital at Symphony Hall on March 2.

Tierney Sutton sings Irving Berlin (video)

Tierney Sutton will give a masterclass at Harvard tomorrow evening and will sing at Sanders Theatre on Friday night, so you have not missed your opportunity ...

In this video, Tierney Sutton and her band perform Let's Face the Music and Dance.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Boston Globe review of violinist Bell

Matthew Guerrieri reviewed Friday evening's Celebrity Series concert by Joshua Bell at Symphony Hall. Here's a snippet:

"Bell has always exemplified old-school Romantic virtues, technically accomplished and emotionally flamboyant. If anything, his technique has only gotten better; his bowing, in particular, was a paragon, exceptionally controlled across a range of styles."

Read all of With violinist Bell's aplomb, the bolder the music the better.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Christine Brewer and Helen Traubel, a musical lineage

Helen Traubel

Following Christine Brewer's recital last Saturday, Richard Dyer, the former classical music critic for the Boston Globe, made an apt comparison between Brewer and an earlier operatic denizen of St. Louis, Helen Traubel. Brewer herself mentioned Traubel, but it was Mr. Dyer who made the comparison and got this writer thinking...

I took a look in the Celebrity Series archives and sure enough Aaron Richmond had presented Ms. Traubel at Symphony Hall in 1942 with BSO cellist Jean Bedetti and two piano accompanists: Conrad V. Bos and Leonard Bernstein (you heard me). There were numerous overlaps between Ms. Traubel's 1942 program and Ms. Brewer's (at least as originally planned). Traubel also programmed Gluck's "Divinités du Styx" from Alceste, some of the same Wagner and Richard Strauss. Both singers closed their programs with Frank LaForge's "Hills." I wonder if Ms. Brewer conceived of her program as a kind of tribute.

I wasn't around in 1942, but I'm betting Ms. Traubel's recital was as musically wondrous as Ms. Brewer's. It's nice to know that our muse here at the Series has not drifted too far and that we are in some way representing quality performing in a continuum.

Here is the Boston Globe's review of Ms. Brewer's recital.

UPDATE: Please see Ms. Brewer's comment below (a first!) and note that is taking pre-orders for her CD, Echoes of Nightingales, and Hyperion, the label releasing the CD, is offering streaming excerpts.

The Sisters Callaway sing Rodgers and Hammerstein (video)

Ann Hampton and Liz Callaway bring their sister act to Sanders Theatre in Cambridge this Friday night. They'll be singing songs of the 60s and 70s in Cambridge, but this is Rodgers and Hammerstein's You'll Never Walk Alone.

We still have good seats for Friday night's performance.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Martha H. Jones receives Patrick Hayes Award

Martha H. Jones

Congratulations to Celebrity Series of Boston President and Executive Director, Martha H. Jones, on receiving the 2011 Patrick Hayes Award at the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) annual conference in New York. ISPA is a not-for-profit network of performing arts professionals who convene with the goal of strengthening the arts internationally by building leadership ability, recognizing and discussing field-wide trends and deepening global exchange through the arts.  ISPA is wide-ranging network of over 350 individuals, organizations and institutions from more than 40 countries around the world. 

The Patrick Hayes Award recognizes an ISPA member whose achievements in arts management are deserving of special praise and recognition, and is named after ISPA’s founding president, Patrick Hayes. With her 25 years of leadership at the Celebrity Series of Boston, previous role as Chair of ISPA, role as founding member of the Huntington Theatre Company, and numerous achievements in the field of arts administration, Marty has continually proven her indispensability as a leader in the field of arts management.

Marty joins a select group of only 24 arts leaders who have received this prestigious award. 

For more information on the award, visit: