Tuesday, February 28, 2006

With Friends

At the Palms with Hammer

Maggie and Tunie

Chuck and John

John and Blair
Suzanne and Maggie

Monday, February 27, 2006


Thomas Leander, piano and Suzanne Storck-Leander performed the melodram, Enoch Arden by Richard Strauss for the Las Vegas Chamber Music Society and Northern Trust Bank. Thomas also played Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit and Liszt trancriptions of Wagner opera themes.

Final Dress rehearsal, Thursday afternoon...
Backstage afterwards at Northern Trust Bank with Thomas Leander and his wife Suzanne Storck-Leander.

Lance Davis and Lorelle Nelson with the cute couple, after the concert.

Maggie, John and Elizabeth pose afterwards.

Another charming trio, Elizabeth, Winn, and Maggie strike a pose...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Live Taping, Playing Favorites

Thomas and Suzanne were interviewed and performed a special Playing Favorites for KUNV while in Las Vegas!

Ginger setting up the microphones.

Getting ready. (Is Ginger quoting the "Fonz" there?!)

Performing Strauss' Enoch Arden.

"Backstage" recording...

Looking at photos.

Grabbing a quick bite to eat.

The gang...Back row (l to r: Nate, John, Ginger, Thomas, Suzanne, Bob.)

Front row (Guy, Lorelle, and Lance.)

Saturday, February 25, 2006


At the clubhouse Friday, February 24th, the evening was just right...great weather...hot bbq, sweet dessert, and awesome company!
Before the party...

Elizabeth by the cake...

Maggie and the Tannenbaums.

Great dinner and conversation!
Winn, Maggie and Chuck poolside. (the smoking section)
Thomas, Suzanne, Bob and Robert chatting.

Jerry and John. Adam and John.
Thomas, John, Suzanne and Bob.
Elizabeth (hostess), John and Jan.

A good time was had by all and all were had by the good time!

Friday, February 24, 2006


At the Crown & Anchor, Las Vegas, Friday, February 24th...a beautiful afternoon with friends Ginger Bruner, Maggie Winn-Jones, and Satomi Hofmann.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Invite in Vegas

FRIDAY, February 24th
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

cocktails and light buffet
a chance to see & enjoy
previous classical guru at Nevada Public Radio
and this year’s ASCAP Deems Taylor Award winner

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Flute interview

One of the great musicians of our time is Sir James Galway, the "man with the golden flute." I've met and heard Sir James many times, since Wichita in 1992 when I was the stage manager driving them around in a rented Cadillac, to a party after a performance which KCNV hosted in Las Vegas at UNLV in 2003, and even this last summer at the Mann Music Center.

He's going to perform in Central PA in March at Penn State with his wife, Lady Jeanne (that's pronounced JEAN-nee) and the Polish Chamber Orchestra. One of the neat things is Galway is not only playing but conducting.
I had a chance to speak with Sir James before the tour started...

Listen to the interview via mp3 files:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Quartet Interview

[photo by John Clare at a rehearsal right after the interview]
Backstage with the Parisii Quartet at Gretna Music's final Beethoven String Quartet performance...a discussion with first violinist Arnaud Vallin and WITF's John Clare.
Listen to the mp3 files:
Part 1 (about Beethoven)
Part 2 (about Quartet life)
Part 3 (about audiences)

Friday, February 17, 2006

quick update/preview

This weekend is Shostakovich-rific with the 5th and 10th symphonies being performed in the midstate.
I also have a social engagement at Penn State to attend on Saturday.
However, in the can are some wonderful interviews with James Galway, Maria Bachmann, the first violinist of the Parisii 4tet, Joyce DiDonato, George Crumb and Joan Tower that I need to edit and post...or at least produce a little.
I wish I could make it to the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Trombone Concerto this weekend, but can't fit it in with everything else (it's in Pittburgh.)
I'm also gearing up to take some vacation in Las Vegas this next week.
So there it is. More to come, as they used to say on the Tonight Show.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, it's St. Valentine's Day, and I thought I'd give you a vocal valentine, an excerpt of an interview with today's top mezzo, Joyce DiDonato. We start with Vivaldi
- with Mozart, Handel and Berlioz in between -
and end with Rossini.
[MP2 File]

Also, another dose of Paul Zavinsky and I:
[MP2 file]
"Red Roses for a Blue Lady"

Click here to

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hairy Weather and the Chamber of Secrets

[apologies to JK Rowling for the title!]
This weekend I attended two wonderful concerts. Despite the snow (it was only a few inches!) both concerts were a bit sparse. First, Saturday evening I caught the Parisii Quartet play an all Beethoven program at Gretna Music.

It was delightful to hear fresh, young impressions of Opus 18 #2, Opus 18 #1 and Opus 130. I also heard some of their rehearsal beforehand, very demanding, yet friendly. It was one of their last concerts in a 3 week US Tour - they go back to Paris for a few days and then on to Spain, et al. More soon with an interview with the first violinist, Arnaud Vallin.
Unfortunately on the way back the WITF SUV hit a slick spot on the highway and decided to spin 360 degrees and eventually end up backwards in the middle of the ditch between the two lanes...no harm was done, except for our young engineer's pride and nerves. On a lighter side a "Don Quixote"-esque Jeep tried to stop to help us, and then again for another SUV that was off the road a few miles down, who also was able to get out unassisted...we believe the Jeep was out JUST to help others...perhaps there's a jeep(tm) commercial in it!

Sunday afternoon brought a rescheduled performance of Trio Solisti and clarinetist David Krakauer at Harrisburg's Market Square Presbyterian Church for Market Square Concerts.

The sparse crowd was appreciative, if talkative (more on this in the future...why the hell do people think it's ok to TALK during the music?!) and it's too bad that concert promoters believe they have to not only do ads for their concerts but talk about the music...saying something COMPELLING about an upcoming concert or a work on the program is one thing, to go on and on, or read notes is another - sure, the setting is makes a difference...if you're in someone's home, they may say a few things as host or hostess, but otherwise, let the musicians speak for themselves and the music.

That Maria Bachmann and Trio Solisti will take over the world soon won't suprise me...first off, this group is stunning musically. They are clearly led by their violinist (no arguments here!) - and it's in the best possible taste. Tempos are bright, exciting and passionate. They throw everything they can into their playing. Despite a crowd of perhaps 40ish (in number not AGE!) they were playing as if in Carnegie Hall for all the world's critics to hear. They substituted Bartok's Contrasts for Haydn, and a later Brahms for his first Trio (they could have reciprocated and played Brahms' A minor Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano - but hey, even David Krakuer needs a break I'm sure!) Oh, and did I mention they are stunning? Take a peek - they play even better than they look - no small feat!

The second half was Paul Moravec's Tempest Fantasy (watch for my interview with Paul soon!) that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. I met Paul this last year and have interviewed him twice; he has premieres in Pennsylvania coming up in March and April - keep an eye out here for updates.

It was played with great energy and insight - they commisioned the work - and have had many other works for them written by Paul - and was very well received. [Emailing Paul last night got the ol' response, I told you so, of course it was great!] I've heard a critique that it is too busy and doesn't work...I disagree - maybe on a few hearings it changes...there isn't a note that should be changed. The Shakespeare it's based on (and I use "based" strongly!) is not a simple work. Nor should the music that represents it be simple, but allow "characters" to have a complexity and personality. Moravec's palatte is four instruments and nto all four play all the time...layers are important and the notes DO fly by...but the result of Moravec's score and the dedication of the players are a beautiful thing...no wonder why it won the Pulitzer. Hearing it live was a real treat, if you don't know the Tempest Fantasy, be sure to pick up the Arabesque cd, it's well worth it.

The concert concluded with Vittorio Monti's Czardas as an encore, complete with Maria Bachmann serenading the audience by strolling around the ENTIRE church. Also stunning were the bird calls between Maria and David Krakauer - what a high register he has! Also Jon Klibonoff managed to play inside the piano - very nice!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hmmm, somewhat shocking

I just took this quiz. Maybe its early and I need more coffee!

You scored as French Horn. French Horn, eh?
Go practice. Right now.

French Horn














String Bass












If you were in an orchestra, what instrument would match your personality?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Opinion: Deserving

Well, Wednesday evening brought about the Grammy Awards...here's where I agree with the classical ones given:
Best production:
Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets
Da-Hong Seetoo, engineer
(Emerson String Quartet)[Deutsche Grammophon]
It is an amazing feat to wrangle all of these works, plus the octet with a SINGLE quartet...not only do I recommend this album, but recommend that you watch the "Making of" video...
Producer of the year:
Tim Handley
including these albums - Adams: Shaker Loops (Marin Alsop) Bolcom: Songs Of Innocence And Of Experience (Leonard Slatkin, Christine Brewer & Joan Morris) Brahms: Sym. No. 1 (Marin Alsop & London Philharmonic Orchestra) Daugherty: Philadelphia Stories (Marin Alsop & Evelyn Glennie) Glass: Syms. Nos. 2 And 3 (Marin Alsop & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra)
Stunning selections at a great price...they sound like a million bucks. Listen to some of Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra):
Beethoven: Piano Cons. Nos. 2 & 3
Claudio Abbado, conductor; Martha Argerich
(Mahler Chamber Orchestra)[Deutsche Grammophon]
While she didn't win for chamber music (and probably should have!) these performances are absolutely stunning! Hear some of this charming album.
Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor)
Boulez: Le Marteau Sans Maître, Dérive 1 & 2
Pierre Boulez, conductor; Hilary Summers; Ensemble Intercontemporain
[Deutsche Grammophon]
This 80 year old (81 next month!) is still continuing to inspire yougner musicians, and I'm convinced will be remembered for a very long time! Watch an interview here.
The best for last...
Best Classical Vocal Performance
Bach: Cantatas
Thomas Quasthoff
(Rainer Kussmaul; Members Of The RIAS Chamber Choir; BerlinBaroque Soloists)[Deutsche Grammophon]
It seems anything Quasthoff touches (sings) is golden. This was the best decision they could make...I'm almost suprised it won. It is a recording for the ages. Listen to an introduction here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Guilty Pleasure

I have a weakness. Ok, one I'm willing to share with you. ;)
Despite my penchant for Polish modern music, practicing octaves until I get lost in the sound, staring at wisps of smoke from cuban cigars and trying every Rachael Ray recipe I can get my hands on...I watch TV on Tuesday nights. I mean I make it a point not to miss it. And there are three very good reasons for this.

Gilmore Girls.

Commander In Chief.

Boston Legal.
It used to be I had to catch the Simpsons (and I do when I think about it.) and there was seeing all the missions of the NCC 1701C with Captain Picard et al. Of course, it doesn't help that I own a 61" Sony big screen TV. I quite enjoy having a fishtank video running when I know someone is going to see it for the first time. Ask me, I'm happy to play it! (I also have a fireplace video.)

But the writing and casts for these three shows are simply stunning. I laugh, think, and get wrapped up emotionally with these guys. And the other amazing fact is that they are scheduled (at the moment, this season) that I can actually watch them from one to another. And one night.

Now mind you, I try to catch 30 minute meals every evening, but sometimes it's a repeat or something I have made, or not for sure that I would make it. So, if I am at home, I do see at least what the menu is with Rachael. Sometimes, instead of making dinner then, I'll practice, and "Yummo!" is combined with my scales, improv and polishing.

But Tuesdays, I am hanging out with Loralei, Mackenzie, and Denny Crane. Not hard to imagine me joining Allen and Denny out for a cigar, advising the president of NEA & CPB funding, or well, let's say enjoying the company of Loralei & Rory.

I'm hooked, and since it seems to be such an easy, wonderful thing, I'm sure it will change on the networks...actually, since the WB is going off as well as UPN, to a new station, what are the odds that it will keep the schedule (although I've heard that they won't cancel Gilmore Girls!)
So, for the spring of 2006 anyway, I'm hooked Tuesday nights.