Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Continuing well

Way to go Hershey Bears, who won game seven to continue to the finals for the Calder Cup, woohoo!
Also, Maria Sharapova, despite her injuries made it into round three of the French Open, yeay! My only real worries for women's tennis are for Martina Hingis who will probably wind up playing Kim Clijsters later on, looking at the draw brackets.
Tomorrow night should be a killer night of hockey with game 7 with Buffalo at Carolina - hehehe - it's all or nothing to face the Oilers. Gotta love it.
Just listened to Shostakovich's First Symphony with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic - nice stuff, look for a review soon on the New Releases Blog for WITF.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Nice blend

There's the playoff and soon to be final matches of the Stanley cup; and right now, the French Open - a great one to watch with the clay courts. I especially enjoyed the other morning watching Maria Sharapova win her opening match - a tough one with her ankle injury - but exciting nonetheless!
Also, not to be missed is Martina Hingis...she plays today!
UPDATE - Hingis won easily, 6-2; 6-2. Go Swiss Miss!

Monday, May 29, 2006

ArtsFest2 or Noch einmal

So a good time was had by all and all were had by the good time. After a leisurely morning, I made my way back to downtown Harrisburg for ArtsFest - saying hi to the WITF volunteers, and then winding my way through the booths to the walking bridge stage where I ran into fellow band members. A strawberry ice slushy (no, no rum added...) certainly helped my energy and to cool things down, although it was a beautiful day really - not too warm or muggy - and very bright.
The set went quite well, although I thought we really jelled on the Johnny Cash tune, Folsom Prison Blues and it just went uphill from there. The crowd, with lots of friends seemed to enjoy us - even with my Beyond the Sea/C joke. A friend's wife said afterwards (I can never define what style we do, folk/jazz/blues) that we do ballads. Which I agree with for the most part - and I think fits with Paul's voice.
Afterwards I got to chat with some friends, although I felt pulled in many directions - but wound up meeting with folks I had wanted to hang with and strolling around the booths. From saspirillas to a blooming onion, we all worked on a sunburn and good laughs - I have to say I was a little out of it having done a 45 minute set and then walking around...I was going to go see the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players that night - but when I got home, had a huge migraine - I wasn't sure if it was a lack of caffeine, too much sun or what...I ended up watching the regulation play in game five of the playoffs, but felt so bad, finally went to bed. This morning things are better, and I'm making sure I get my daily coffee requirement! ;)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

ArtsFest 2006

Hey there! Just a quick update...
Yesterday I spent the morning practicing while my friends/landlords worked in the yard. It was great seeing them, their folks stopped by too while I serenaded them, and I'll see them tomorrow.

Then I made my way down to ArtsFest. WITF did a remote from 1 to 3pm during Weekend America - which I didn't have to be on air, but thought it would be a fun time to go and see. Actually find a pretty good parking space, I ran into Dick Strawser making his way down there - I joked with him that he was another announcer shouting the other name across the street - turns out he had said announcer's old name tag on him, too funny.

Scott Gilbert (here on the right working on his report in the WITF van) provided some good audio from the KidsFest portion, himself a new dad. And on the left side, here's Damon (Beau) Baughamer in between breaks with the gorgeous Susquehanna River behind him.

Later, not carrying any cash, wondered about and instead of the overpriced food, went to an ATM by Zembies, and had a beer and burger there - seeing a bartender I normally don't see that works the day shift. And hey the Mets were winning - first ballgame I watched all year.

I made my way back to the WITF booth and talked with the new Volunteer Coordinator, Angela Grab and hung out for quite awhile - helping with windblown signs and pamplets - and meeting listeners. I left around six, took a nap (yes, I'm getting old!) and then watched the Oilers take game five and head on to the Stanley Cup finals. Now I'll watch Buffalo and Carolina battle it out - hope it goes to seven games (it's even right now - 2 games apiece) and then look towards the finals.

TODAY - Sunday - I play in a quartet (Paul Zavinsky and friends) which does folk/blues/rock at 2pm at the walking bridge stage in downtown Harrisburg as part of ArtsFest. Hope you'll come down and see it.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I've been watching lots of playoff hockey. In fact, I think I've watched EVERY game except two periods, and the game last Saturday when I was doing an interview with Kevin Puts in NYC. Other than that, I've really enjoyed the Stanley Cup playoffs...with the major exception that Dallas nor Philadelphia progressed very far. So when highlights come on or someone mentions a particular goal or play, I go, "Oh yeah" cause I've seen it!
So last night I made myself chuckle, I had to, I had wanted to see the Oilers sweep Anaheim, but that didn't I thought about "Things that sound dirty in Hockey, but aren't:"
five hole
high sticking
wrap around
two on one
short handed
three on one
poke check
four on three
stack the pads
pulling the goalie
too many men on the ice
hand pass

And some player names:
Hakan Loob
Radek Bonk

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Interview in NYC

Went to NYC today with our new Audio Specialist Andrew for a Composing Thoughts interview with composer and pianist Kevin Puts.
We made it in excellent time on a really beautiful day.
We had a chance to stop by Riverside Park...

Set up for the interview...

Talk with Kevin...
and have lunch at a tasty Indian restaurant on the upper west side!
[the ceiling border trim of the restaraunt]
All in all, a great days work!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Practicing out back

(or serenading bunny)
[or how many posts can I make in one day?!]

I was doing some scale/interval practicing as well as some composing/improv on my deck in the backyard...little did I know I had an audience!
Yes, besides some squirrels in the trees and to the right side of the yard, out back there were rabbits scurrying here and about. One even decided to stop and listen for a bit!
The bunny seemed to like my playing and sonic experiments, although the high register usually caused some hopping about...I'll try to note that the next time I'm jammin' up high in performance and look for audience reaction, hehehe. I did do a rendition of PDQ Bach's folk song upsetting, Little Bunny Hop, Hop, Hop - but again, little to no reaction!

What I'm doing over my summer

You know those writing assignments you used to do as a kid of "What I did over the Summer?"
Well, here's a tribute to that old assignment, but of the upcoming summer, that you'll no doubt read about here:

Coming up on Sunday afternoon, May 28th at 2pm Paul Zavinsky, Sue Baldwin-Way’s son Zach, Pete Aufiero and myself are playing at ArtsFest in Harrisburg.

Also, the details have been finalized for my discussion, "More Zart! Celebrating Mozart & Shostakovich" at the Simpson Public Library in
Mechanicsburg. It’s Wednesday evening, June 28th at 7pm. (Open to the public)

It also serves as a “prelude” for my Gretna Music talk Sunday, July 9th at 6:30pm for pianist Anna Polonsky (performing at 7:30pm) who is playing Mozart, Shostakovich, Schumann and Mendelssohn. (free with a ticket for that evening’s performance)

Finally, Saturday July 22nd I’m inducted into Phi Beta, a professional co-ed fraternity for persons in the creative and performing arts, and playing a premiere of my “Seven Deadly Cindys” for solo violin, at their luncheon that day in Cleveland, OH. That evening I’ll join in a program accompanying a mezzo soprano in Bach’s “Erbarme dich” from the St. Matthew Passion for their awards ceremony.

I'm just not sure

Ya know, in the blogosphere, I was a bit suprised today reading Ilkka's latest entry, Thumbkin:

Is it possible that the conductor likes pretty young women and would prefer to be surrounded by them in the orchestra? After all, his present wife is the orchestra’s principal cellist. This would be perfectly understandable, and a sign of a healthy, youthful heterosexual male. It is confession time: during my decades in orchestras there have been numerous times when I have voted and spoken for such candidates myself. These young ladies probably got their jobs based on their Cuteness Factor, as others in the audition committee, and the conductor, who had the final say, felt the same way. Sorry guys, you don’t seem to be as much fun to be around with. Is this morally right? Of course not, and many of the people in question have proven to be disappointing professionally; even the cuteness disappears quickly. But it is part of human nature.

I just am not sure I'd admit this. If you know me, you'd suspect it of me suppose. But I also have faith that I make musical judgements on purely music and not upon the looks of the performer.
I appreciated an interview with Janine Jansen which she stated, "Music means everything to me. Of course I enjoy making a beautiful photo for a new CD. That's part of it. But if people are open, then they should listen to the music." She was making a point, that if you work hard for it to sound good, why wouldn't you want it to look good?
I can agree about that. And maybe it goes without saying that you'd go with a beautiful candidate - after all beauty is in the eye of the musical matters it should be the ear that matters!!!!

Program guide quote

Written for the Tenth Anniversary of Chamber Music at the Barn program guide:

"CMATB brings to mind such amazingly ebullient reflections. Passionate performances with friends in a charming setting - to quote Gershwin, "Who could ask for anything more?" I did everything I could in those first few years - from turning pages to recording programs for radio - loving every minute. Congratulations on ten years, and many, many more - hope to visit soon!"
John Clare
John is a classical music radio professional in Central PA, who just won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Broadcast Award in NYC. He's also the co-founder of the WSU Contemporary Music Festival and the Las Vegas Chamber Music Society.

CMATB is much more than title suggests. It showcases local and visiting musicians and really does something special in a gorgeous space. I haven't back in a few years, but want to get out soon to see them - maybe even this summer if possible. One of the musicians I met there was Ernesto Tamayo - who teaches nearby in Lancaster's PA Academy of Music and I emcee'd his concert last September. Also my mentor David Perry was a frequent guest in the early years but hasn't been able to perform there lately - he's a dad now and is on tour currently with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Catherine Consiglio, the founder and excellent violist pictured here on the right, is a good friend and even survived teaching me for a semester back at WSU. If you are looking for some great music in south central Kansas, Chamber Music at the Barn is a must.


So I've had a week or two to be mortified. The last Gilmore Girls on the WB with the original writers and creators stunned and shocked me. As I've had time to think about it, overall I hated it. Really. Sad that so much emotion can be brought about from a TV show and fictional characters...but when Luke and Lorelai went out and became a couple, I was elated, even crying for joy - what can I say, I'm an emotional guy. And the fights and breakups I always thought were just bumps in the road for them, that they would ultimately wind up together and married - one of those great couples. But the rift that has occurred - and set up over the last two episodes I know, is just that, awful. Not bad writing, just not what I wanted. There's still a season left on the new network, but I'm devastated. I may not have a successful relationship currently and have my share of broken hearts...but I had the whole Luke and Lorelai fantasy. Now I do not.
There is this: Google search for Luke and Lorelai
And I look forward to watching the dvds of seasons leading up to this. But the jury is out and I can only hope the new writers do a better job than this last episode of what has been an amazing series.
You can also listen to Amy Sherman-Palladino on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

That time of year

Seems like so much is going on and no time for anything. At least for me...which brings about a lull here on the blog...more very soon.
However, I can recommend a friend's creative endeavor: The Schoenberg Code
Also, my humor for tomorrow's debut...I'll wear my DaVinci tie (seen on the left). I feel a little like the great quote in Patton, where Omar Bradley tells Patton, "George, I think if you were named a grand tsar of Turkey, your boys could rustle through their knapsacks and come up with the correct badge of honor."
I have the right tie for any ocassion. : )

Sad state of salaries

So, go to a concert! support live music...most musicians don't make barrels of money:
Charleston Musicians To Get Back Their Full Salary (Of $20,000)
The musicians of the Charleston Symphony have a new one-year contract, and will see their salaries return to 2003 levels, when the orchestra accepted a 17% cut to prevent the orchestra from going bankrupt. "Under the proposed contract, an average section player would earn $20,903 and average principal player would earn $26,128 in the 2006-07 season, Girault said. The 46 core CSO musicians perform more than 100 concerts from mid-September to mid-June."
Charleston Post & Courier (SC) 05/18/06

Monday, May 15, 2006

Media coverage

Don't miss the wonderful music festival that WITF hosts, The Next Generation Festival. The tickets are free and performance venues are all around Central PA.
It was delightful to see this in the New York Times yesterday:
May 14, 2006
Classical Music Listings
Mozart, Yes, But Also Much More
CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC Santa Cruz, July 29-Aug. 13. The conductor Marin Alsop was in the news last year with her MacArthur fellowship and her designation as music director in Baltimore, but she has been leading the adventurous Cabrillo Festival for 15 years. Highlights this summer include a multimedia piece with a commissioned score by Philip Glass. (831) 420-5260,
FESTIVAL DEL SOLE Napa Valley, July 16-23. Here is a new way for managers to publicize and please their artists: found a festival. IMG Artists, having established the Tuscan Sun Festival in Italy in 2003, is taking the concept to California. The inaugural season features blue-chip performers like Renée Fleming, the Emerson String Quartet and Piotr Anderszewski. (707) 944-1300,
MAINLY MOZART FESTIVAL San Diego, Baja California, Friday-June 24. Mozart goes south of the border, literally, in this festival featuring the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Fine Arts Quartet, the British conductor David Atherton and even a black-and-white ball. (619) 239-0100,
MUSIC@MENLO Atherton, Palo Alto, July 24-Aug. 11. "Returning to Mozart" is this year's theme at this thoughtfully constructed festival, the brainchild of David Finckel and Wu Han, who lead the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Concert topics include "Mozart and the 20th Century" and "Mozart and the End of Time," and panels further explore the ubiquitous birthday boy. Information: (650) 330-2030; tickets: (650) 725-2787
OJAI June 8-11. Osvaldo Golijov continues his triumphant progress through the country. The Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano take to Ojai some of what they performed at the Golijov festival at Lincoln Center this season: "Ainadamar," "Ayre," "Oceana." Pieces by Cage, Nancarrow and Rzewski, as well as Brazilian jazz, round out the program. (805) 646-2094,
SAN LUIS OBISPO MOZART FESTIVAL July 14-23. "Three titans of their times," they are called: this festival has chosen to spotlight not only its namesake but also the centenarian Dmitri Shostakovich and, for good measure, Ludwig van Beethoven. (805) 781-3009,
ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL June 21-Aug. 20. In addition to Mozart and Shostakovich, Aspen's music director, David Zinman, leaps onto the birthday bandwagon. This festival celebrates his 70th with a new cello concerto by Kevin Puts, played by Yo-Yo Ma. Christopher Rouse and Marc-André Dalbavie further represent contemporary composers, and minifestivals focus on the lives of past ones, like Shostakovich and Britten. (970) 925-9042,
BRAVO! VAIL VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL June 28-Aug. 3. Three resident American orchestras set the tone at this mountain festival: the Rochester and Dallas Symphonies and the New York Philharmonic, which does a strongwoman number under the conductors Marin Alsop and Xian Zhang. (877) 812-5700,
BRECKENRIDGE MUSIC FESTIVAL June 9-Aug. 19. Mozart, of course, is writ large on the program of this year's festival, with everything from opera excerpts to the Requiem; he is also paired with French composers and, in an evening tracing his progress from his beginnings to the final "Jupiter" Symphony, with "Four Last Songs" by Strauss. (970) 547-3100,
CENTRAL CITY OPERA June 24-Aug. 6. It's hard to believe that it is already time for the golden jubilee of an opera many think of as contemporary: Douglas Moore's "Ballad of Baby Doe" was commissioned by the Central City Opera in 1956. In addition to an anniversary production of this opera, the company is offering a "Don Giovanni," with Jeff Mattsey, Sally Wolf and Emily Pulley, and its first "Coronation of Poppea," with a period orchestra. (800) 851-8175,
COLORADO COLLEGE SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL Colorado Springs, June 13-July 4. This pleasantly intense teaching festival offers chamber orchestra concerts and recitals by an elite group including Phillip Ying, Fred Sherry and Elizabeth Mann, offering music you don't get to hear every day, from an offbeat Mozart program to Françaix's Octet. A separate new-music symposium takes place from July 13-16. (719) 389-6098,
MUSIC MOUNTAIN SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL Falls Village, June 11-Sept. 3. String quartets are a focus of this septuagenarian festival in a picturesque corner of the state; the Chiara, the St. Petersburg and the Shanghai are a few of this summer's featured performers. (860) 824-7126,
NORFOLK CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL June 10-Aug. 20. For some, this year's centenary celebration belongs to Shostakovich; for the Yale School of Music's summer home, the focus is its performance shed, which will be honored with a gala performance featuring the Dave Brubeck Quartet. (203) 432-1966,
SUN VALLEY SUMMER SYMPHONY July 24-Aug. 14. They're beautiful, and they're free: both the views and the concerts at this orchestral festival, now in its third decade, which opens with several evenings of chamber music. (208) 622-5607,
GRANT PARK MUSIC FESTIVAL Chicago, June 14-Aug. 19. With its brand-new pavilion, its central location and free tickets, Grant Park is enjoying a new wave of popularity. Oh, and the music is good too: among the offerings are a South American concert with music by Chávez, Revueltas and Ginastera, and a Mozart Requiem interspersed with Tibetan Buddhist chant. (312) 742-7638,
RAVINIA FESTIVAL Highland Park, May 31-Sept. 16. Suppressed art is a cause championed by James Conlon, Ravinia's music director, who is taking Erwin Schulhoff, a Nazi victim, to the Chicago Symphony. But nothing else about Ravinia is suppressed: this extrovert festival bubbles over with a Zulu opera called "uShaka," as well as "Gypsy," Gershwin and Golijov. (847) 266-5100,
WOODSTOCK MOZART FESTIVAL July 29-Aug. 13. A picture-perfect 19th-century regional opera house is home to this small festival, celebrating its 20th year with Mozart-theme concerts by the pianist Jeffrey Swann, the violinist Mark Peskanov and others. (815) 338-5300,
BAY CHAMBER CONCERTS Rockland, Rockport, June 29-Aug. 31. This section of the Maine coast has a long history with chamber music: the Curtis Institute had a summer colony here in the 1930's. Now the vintage Rockport Opera House and the Strand Theater in Rockland present a range of music, from the Baroque to John Coltrane (played by the Turtle Island String Quartet). (207) 236-2823,
RIVER CONCERT SERIES AT ST. MARY'S COLLEGE St. Mary's City, June 16-July 28. A weekly series of free orchestral concerts with varied programming, from Strauss to Mussorgsky to Bernstein, on a green by a river. (240) 895-2024,
BANG ON A CAN SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL North Adams, July 11-30. This unusual teaching festival is devoted to inquisitive musicians who forge their own paths, as indicated by its faculty; this year the guest composer is Meredith Monk. An exchange program with Central Asia brings in musicians from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other places to contribute to the two formal concerts, including a minimarathon, and twice-daily informal performances in the galleries of Mass MoCA. (413) 662-2111,
MOHAWK TRAIL CONCERTS Charlemont, June 30-July 29. Diminutive yet wide ranging, this five-week series in an old church offers Mozart on a fortepiano, the St. Petersburg Quartet, and the composer-singer husband-wife team of William Bolcom and Joan Morris. (413) 625-9511,
TANGLEWOOD Lenox, June 23-Sept. 3. Romance is writ large at Tanglewood's grounds and in this year's programs of the Boston Symphony: Schoenberg's "Gurrelieder"; Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony (celebrating the "resurrection" of the orchestra's former music director Seiji Ozawa, returning for the first time since 2002); Strauss's "Elektra" (with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, which some call the finest student orchestra in the country). In Ozawa Hall, Garrick Ohlsson will play the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. (888) 266-1200,
PINE MOUNTAIN MUSIC FESTIVAL Upper Peninsula (various locations), June 6-July 15. This itinerant festival serves a large segment of the Upper Peninsula with opera (this year "The Magic Flute"), chamber music (the Bergonzi Quartet, a program of new music) and even orchestral concerts. (906) 482-1542,
OPERA THEATER OF ST. LOUIS Saturday-June 25. Opera in English is St. Louis's trademark and, to a lesser degree, English opera. This summer at least offers the American premiere of "Jane Eyre," by Michael Berkeley. Another composer who obligingly wrote in English was Kurt Weill in "Street Scene"; but "The Barber of Seville" and "Hansel and Gretel" will be sung, of course, in translation. (314) 961-0644,
New Hampshire
MONADNOCK MUSIC July 13-Aug. 25. Subversion hits rural New England; this festival, which has quietly fostered former unknowns like Peter Sellars and Frederick Rzewski, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a program that includes a focus on Elliott Carter; the requisite Mozart celebration with the pianist Konstantin Lifschitz and others; a pair of deliberately genre-defying concerts; and Schumann programs with Russell Sherman and James Maddalena. (800) 868-9613,
New Jersey
CAPE MAY MUSIC FESTIVAL Friday-June 18. What better summertime fare for music lovers than Bach's Lunches? (Oy vey!) These brief concerts feature members of the Bay Atlantic Symphony, which also plays four full-length concerts, including an appearance with Hilary Hahn. Other featured groups range from the New York Chamber Ensemble to Metropolitan Klezmer. (609) 884-5404,
New Mexico
SANTA FE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL July 16-Aug. 21. Premieres by Magnus Lindberg (a young lion) and Leon Kirchner (an older one), and an installation and piece by David Lang, will be the news for some. For others, highlights will include recitals by the sitar player Anoushka Shankar, the pianist Jonathan Biss or the Shanghai Quartet. The repertory ranges from Bach to Michael Tilson Thomas; prices range from expensive to, on Aug. 18, free. (505) 982-1890,
SANTA FE OPERA June 30-Aug. 26. Some luminaries are testing their orbits in Santa Fe's firmament this summer. Anne Sofie von Otter takes on the heavy role of Carmen, which she interpreted to tremendous effect at Glyndebourne; Natalie Dessay is switching from the Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute" to her first Pamina. Alan Gilbert, the company's music director, conducts two operas, including Thomas Adès's provocative "Tempest" (remember when Santa Fe commissioned John Eaton's version in 1985?); and the estimable John Fiore leads "Salome." The fifth opera is Massenet's "Cinderella." (505) 986-5955,
New York City
LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL July 10-30. Music, theater and dance lead the way in the 10th season of this internationally minded festival. "Grendel," the first opera by Elliot Goldenthal (directed by his wife, Julie Taymor), arrives here fresh from its premiere in Los Angeles, with Denyce Graves as the Dragon and Eric Owens as Grendel, and choreography by Angelin Preljocaj. Two other brand-new works bear jawbreaking titles: "Eraritjaritjaka" by the Austrian composer Heiner Goebbels and "Ramakien: A Rak Opera" by leading Thai pop and rock musicians. Events hot line: (212) 875-5766, tickets: (212) 721-6500,
MOSTLY MOZART FESTIVAL July 28-Aug. 26. It's hard to believe that it has been 40 years, or 250 for that matter. The 250 are the years Mozart has been with us; the 40 the age of the festival bearing his name at Lincoln Center, which has managed in recent years to keep reinventing itself. New commissions this summer include the premieres of a dance by Mark Morris, a violin concerto by Magnus Lindberg and a staging of the unfinished Mozart opera "Zaide" by Peter Sellars; another highlight is "Idomeneo," conducted by William Christie. Events hot line: (212) 875-5766, tickets: (212) 721-6500,
PARKS CONCERTS July 10-18 and Aug. 22-Sept. 1. Now here's news: The Metropolitan Opera is moving its parks concerts to late August this year, guaranteeing sweet music — Verdi's "Rigoletto" and "La Traviata" — for the dog days of summer. The New York Philharmonic will perform, as usual, in July, fireworks and all: the whiz kid Xian Zhang conducts most of the concerts, with Marin Alsop taking one in Central Park for Leila Josefowicz's Philharmonic debut. Philharmonic: (212) 875-5709, Met: (212) 362-6000,
RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL Battery Park, June 1-Sept. 10. The city's vaunted melting pot is reflected in a cornucopia of quality music and dance performances. What is not reflected is New York's high cost of living: the concerts are free. Highlights of what one might call alternative classical include the Bang on a Can marathon, held for the first time in three years, and recitals by the percussionist Svet Stoyanov, the baritone Thomas Meglioranza and the organist Cameron Carpenter.
SUMMERGARDEN 2006: NEW MUSIC FOR NEW YORK July 9-Aug. 13. The retooled sculpture garden of the new Museum of Modern Art continues to return to the museum's roots by presenting free concerts of contemporary classical (with students from the Juilliard School) and jazz (with musicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center). (212) 708-9491,
New York State
BARD SUMMERSCAPE / BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL Annandale-on-Hudson, June 29-Aug. 20. Since the opening of Frank Gehry's shining Fisher Center, Bard's annual music festival, this year devoted to Franz Liszt, has become the core of an efflorescence of rare opera and theater, film and music. The main opera this year is "Genoveva" by a Liszt contemporary, Robert Schumann, offset by a triple bill of Offenbach operettas. The music festival offers a remarkable cross section of music by and around Liszt, focusing on virtuosity, opera, politics, the piano and so forth in establishing a context for his work. (845) 758-7900,
CARAMOOR INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL Katonah, June 24-Aug. 12. If there's one event not to miss in the New York area this summer, it is the Polish contralto Ewa Podles as Rossini's Tancredi. Will Crutchfield's Bel Canto at Caramoor lives up to its name this year; the other opera is Bellini's "Puritani," with Sumi Jo. Michael Barrett, the festival's director, continues to up the ante across the board: Caramoor has a composer in residence, John Musto; it continues its Extreme Chamber Music series; and it still presents the Orchestra of St. Luke's. (914) 232-1252,
GLIMMERGLASS OPERA Cooperstown, July 7-Aug. 29. Here's a mixed season for you: a premiere by the estimable Stephen Hartke, "The Greater Good," as well as Janacek's "Jenufa," Rossini's "Barber of Seville" and Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance." This is a glass half empty or half full, whichever way your taste happens to skew. (607) 547-2255,
MAVERICK CONCERTS Woodstock, June 17-Sept. 3. Some compelling chamber performers, like the Brentano and Pacifica Quartets, Trio Solisti, the cellist Zuill Bailey and the pianist Simone Dinnerstein, come to this weekend festival, billed as the oldest continuous summer chamber series in the country. (845) 679-8217,
SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER June 29-Aug. 13. The Lake George Opera starts the season with "The Barber of Seville," "I Pagliacci" and Rorem's "Our Town." The Philadelphia Orchestra opens its segment with a bang, with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Peter Serkin, and continues with stars including the orchestra's music director, Christoph Eschenbach. The chamber music festival celebrates the birthdays of Mozart, Shostakovich and the pianist André Watts. (518) 587-3330,
SKANEATELES FESTIVAL Aug. 9-Sept. 2. David Ying, of the Ying Quartet, and the pianist Elinor Freer are the artistic directors of this appealing chamber music festival, featuring performances by the Ying and Daedalus Quartets, as well as Quartetto Gelato, which is not a string quartet at all but variously includes English horn, mandolin and accordion. (315) 685-7418,
North Carolina
BREVARD MUSIC CENTER June 16-Aug. 6. A teaching festival with concerts by students and faculty, tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Brevard this summer features operas ("Così Fan Tutte," "The Merry Widow," "Carmen") and concerts (a Schubertiade, an evening of works by student composers, the soprano Angela Brown). (828) 862-2105,
CINCINNATI MAY FESTIVAL Friday-May 27. "Earthrise," a new work by Adolphus Hailstork, involves a dialogue between the venerable festival chorus and a Detroit ensemble called the Brazeal Dennard Chorale, which focuses on African-American composers. Also on the program are Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" and Mozart's "Abduction From the Seraglio," not the most noted choral work but fun. (513) 621-1919,
CINCINNATI OPERA June 15-July 22. Evans Mirageas, a respected classical administrator, has just taken over as artistic director here, and whether or not he programmed this season himself, it's a nice beginning, with a mix of co-productions, like the New York City Opera's "Étoile," and stars, like Aprile Millo singing "Tosca." One theme is North American tenors: Richard Margison in Verdi's "Masked Ball" and Vinson Cole in Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann." (513) 241-2742,
OK MOZART FESTIVAL Bartlesville, June 9-17. Based in a concert hall designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple, this Mozart festival is the centerpiece of a host of local events. The violist Paul Neubauer is a soloist in some concerts and the music director of others, including a series of miniconcerts focusing on contemporary work. But Mozart, and fireworks, end the season. (918) 336-9800,
OREGON BACH FESTIVAL Eugene, June 30-July 16. Bach meets jazz, when Uri Caine applies a nine-piece group to the "Goldberg Variations," and film, with the American premiere of "The Sound of Eternity," a cinematic response to the B minor Mass (with live accompaniment led by the festival's director, Helmuth Rilling). But Mozart will be on the program as well, with Robert Levin's restorations of the C minor Mass and the Requiem. (800) 457-1486,
WITF NEXT GENERATION FESTIVAL Harrisburg area, June 9-20. Free and slightly funky chamber music is the calling card of this festival, which features the pianist Awadagin Pratt and friends like the cellist Zuill Bailey, the violinist Rachel Barton Pine and other acclaimed (or hot) young artists. (800) 366-9483,
South Carolina
SPOLETO U.S.A. Charleston, May 26-June 11. As usual, there are many temptations in Charleston this summer. Nicole Cabell, a young soprano on the fast track, takes on Gounod's Juliette; last year's acclaimed "Don Giovanni" returns under the festival's music director, Emmanuel Villaume; the Dock Street Theater chamber music series continues its popular pace, with a piece by Mozart on each of its 11 programs. And that's not even counting theater and dance. (843) 579-3100,
MARLBORO MUSIC July 15-Aug. 13. The real point of the exercise at this legendary academy is the collaboration between top-flight musicians young and old, carried out in rehearsals during the week. On weekends, the public can hear whatever is ready to be heard; it's usually worth hearing. (215) 569-4690, before June 14; (802) 254-2394, after June 22.
VERMONT MOZART FESTIVAL Shelburne area, July 16-Aug. 6. Inspired by the similarity of Vermont's landscape to that of Mozart's Austria, the festival celebrates its namesake with concerts ranging from scenes from "The Magic Flute" to completely un-Mozart-related events, like "The Mikado." (802) 862-7352,
WOLF TRAP NATIONAL PARK FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Vienna, May 26-Sept. 24. The 35th-anniversary season of this performing-arts complex features everything from Bonnie Raitt to Renée Fleming and the National Symphony Orchestra. The opera company, a training program for young professionals, offers Telemann's "Orpheus," Rossini's "Comte d'Ory" and Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro," as well as a concert performance of Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette." (703) 255-1868 ,
SEATTLE OPERA Aug. 5-26. Carol Vaness is scheduled to sing the Marschallin in what could be a fine "Rosenkavalier." To make up for the lack of Wagner, Seattle is holding the finals of its first Wagner competition, designed to locate rising singers with big voices, on Aug. 19. (800) 426-1619,
PENINSULA MUSIC FESTIVAL Fish Creek, Aug. 1-19. Wisconsin's Door County is one of the gems of the state, and this festival, in its 54th season, goes a little beyond the norm in offering a range of orchestral and chamber works: Berg's Violin Concerto, Bartok's Third Piano Concerto and Bach's B minor mass. (920) 854-4060,
GRAND TETON MUSIC FESTIVAL Jackson Hole, July 4-Aug. 26. It's more than just a pretty place; this festival has ambition. NPR broadcasts some of its concerts on "Performance Today," and it has a new music director, Donald Runnicles, who will lead the festival orchestra (comprising musicians from around the country) in Mahler's Third Symphony — no slouch — and other works. (307) 733-1128,
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On a Clare day, you can hear forever...

Yes, it's all John Clare, all the time. Clarely Classical?
Really, Classical Air with John Clare kicks into overdrive as the morning host has taken three days today, tomorrow and Monday, you can hear me from 9am to 3pm on WITF.
I'm also filling in on Mother's Day if you are so inclined to catch some news and entertainment - I'll be on-air from 7am to 1pm.
Here's the link to WITF-FM. Click on the listen online button.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The eyes have it

I've always had good vision. Really. As a kid it was "better than perfect" - 20/15 vision in fact. Good news, I still have amazing eyesite - today's appointment was on the recommendation of my doctor - a checkup sort of thing, not because of any complaints from me.

The bad news? Lucky me, I have pigmentary dispersion syndrome (they told me to google's the more informative page I found.) So a checkup is in order in three months.

Doesn't it seem strangle though to be told by a professional health care giver to go look something up on the web? I don't mind and would have anyway...but seems like a cop out to me.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fabulous Flute

I made it back with enought time to grab a late lunch/early dinner and then make it i to another friend's concert - but not enough time to see/hear NYC Operas workshops going on near Washington Square that friends at New Music Box recommended - next year though! Looking forward to hearing about it.
So, I had excellent chinese food and a cigar, then caught Margaret Lancaster (the concert series site is here) playing mostly works written for her (and the mondo classic minimalist piece, Vermont Counterpoint by Steve Reich.) As I reminded her afterwards, she is the greatest thing since sliced bread (IMHO). She clearly puts so much into the music she plays, and as excellent artists do, makes it look simple at the same time. It was a small but delightful space (I even had time to browse in the Cuban bookstore downstairs, free Cuba! [that's me being goofy, not the actual name of the bookstore.]) that filled by the time the concert started - mostly friends and composers, and all appreciative. Besides producing a sumptuous flute tone, she aptly played Alto flute, piccolo and the Bass flute - all at times amplified even! Oh, and the exteneded techniques! Keys sounds, singing and ringing chimes with some acting thrown in...hard to pick a favorite on this program.
Afterwards time for a drink and final cigar before the train trip back to PA.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturday Night is Alright...

for concerts! And what a concert with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Their program of Bach, Tower and Beethoven was a real delight.
[My first Carnegie experience was back in the early 90s - Gil Shaham played the Four Seasons with Orpheus - it had just been released! And they played Elliot Carter's early Symphony (think ala Copland), all four of Vivaldi's Seasons, and Faure's Masques and Bergamasques.]
This concert was a friend's first Carnegie experience as I found out. And we had an extra ticket that another friend was able to meet up with us as well - turns out she is a big Leon Fleisher fan, besides really digging Joan Tower, so we were all happy. I had touched base with Joan that afternoon while enjoying a Papa Beard's cream puff and a cigar with my old violin teacher (mentor? friend?) and said I'd pop backstage afterwards (more on that in a moment!)
Tangent 1: David, my aforemetioned mentor and teacher, met up after Orpheus' rehearsal at a cigar shop (it's easy to locate and around the corner from Carnegie) and went for lunch at a little Italian place I enjoy, also close to Carnegie. As the lunch crowd diminished, he brought out his "new" violin, a special instrument from 1712 by Franciscus Gobetti and I played around on it. Just amazing. Evidently it has had 3 owners from 3 quartets, each playing it for 50 years - here's to it's next 49 years with David and the Pro Arte Quartet!
After lunch we did some shopping and smoked cigars in Riverside Park. Next Stu, a former coworker now at WSHU met us. David went to practice (he's playing Chausson Piano Quartet on WFMT this week live!) and Stu and I headed for a pub - turns out the Kentucky Derby was about to start. We were early enough to get seats and beers - walked a bit and grabbed dinner at a diner near Carnegie Hall. [Tangent #2: As I answered friends later, what do I do in NYC visiting? Eat and go to concerts. Dance, eat, and go to concerts.]
My friend Kirsten met us promptly at 7:45, just as we were coming outside with the tickets David scored for us. We walked up (I made sure we were on the inside stairs so Stu could see the autographed pictures and decor of Carnegie) to the Dress Circle (top balcony) and found our seats.
Bach's First Orchestral Suite opened the program. I so enjoy watching the Orpheus musicians. It is music making on the highest level. That said, the oboes seemed less stellar than their colleagues, but that's just my ear (and humble opinion.)
Next a complete complement of musicians (there were only strings, harpsichord, 2 oboes and bassoon for the Bach) performed Joan Tower's Chamber Dances. As she explained in her notes (the entire Orpheus program was made just right - enough info on everything, really and truly - it's the way all programs should be!) she has stepped away from the orchestra world in writing (despite zooming success with Made in America, and now Chamber Dances) music - but if you get a chance to hear her new work do so! (Orpheus is taking it on tour on the west coast - go hear them - and tell 'em John sent ya!) Chamber Dances is full of energy and brilliance, both in motives and in orchestration. Solos and duos abound in creative combinations - subtle changes take place in a recap - a violin and clarinet duo become a violin duo with the concertmaster and principal second. A stunning solo by one of my favorite cellists Melissa Meel is another highlight and reason to see them in California! Clearly and beautifully Joan has crafted a work for Orpheus - no doubt benefited by Joan's experience as a pianist in her own group years ago.
On the second half was Leon Fleisher playing Beethoven's Emperor Piano Concerto. I'm so glad to have seen him in Las Vegas (at a piano teacher's convention) - and am still stunned that he recorded with George Szell, and here he was in 2006 playing with Orpheus. It was musical and warm, friendly and charming with enough power of music from Beethoven and interpretation from Fleisher. So there were a few dropped notes - it was one of those performances you don't forget - and of a time long ago, brought into the 21st Century.
Afterwards Joan had told us to meet backstage, we made our way back...after several turns and explanations of knowing Joan, we found ourselves by a line to greet Fleisher (it was tempting to see him but it was surprisingly crowded - who were all these people?!) - and we wanted to see Joan, so we kept asking Orpheus players (like Todd Phillips, Don Palma, and Eric Wyrick all waiting for friends) if they had seen Joan, and ended up at the reception (which David hadn't signed up for and in fact he was waiting with more friends at the backstage door on 56th for us!) and eventually found Joan - meanwhile bumping into the glorious Lucy Shelton and Susan Palma-Nidel. Actually Joan was dancing a bit in a doorway, which led me to ask her if she'd go "Chamber dancing" with us afterwards. She was really pleased with the performance and work (although someone told us she's already emailed a few changes after hearing the premiere?) - and happy to see us - it was very hectic, so we made our way out.
Meanwhile, Kirsten had other friends to catch up with and we did too, actually just across the street! We met up at Redeye for drinks and dessert. A good time was had by all and all were had by the good time.
I think I finally made it to bed around 3am.

I later woke up listening to Sunday Baroque and had some tea. Then Stu and I went to the equivalent to "Luke's" in Milford for brunch (what stunning jumbalya they make, not to mention a Norwegian take on "french" toast. We also went the beach - where families were enjoying the day, it was swell seeing sailboats in the water and kites in the sky! It was then an easy ride back to NYC.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

How to Listen to Music

A Beginner’s Guide to Live Chamber Music
Welcome! You’ve made one great decision: coming to a concert. Now what? Well, you’re reading the program, another good start. This is a little helper and guide for you in any concert situation, and by no means the only way to enjoy a concert. We thought you might like some tips and observations from a veteran concertgoer and avid fan of music.
Chamber music is very special, and it is a good basis for other sorts of musical events too, perhaps inspiring you to catch your local symphony, church choir or even brass band. These groups have the same sort of interaction that chamber music does, only on a larger level – so things you observe and hear here, are likely to show up in those performances too.
Arriving a little early always helps listening to a concert. Not only being comfortable in your seat and being able to chat with your companion beforehand, you might meet the people around you. Often audience members are not only quite friendly but they’re there for the music or performer – just like you! Being in the concert hall early also allows you to hear the acoustics (does it echo a little or a lot?) and what sort of set up is on stage: is there an organ you’ll hear? (or perhaps you’ll see a pipe organ and be interested in hearing it at a future event?) Is the hall wooden or modern? Is the décor pleasing?
As the lights dim and the musicians come on stage, make sure you’ve looked at the program and won’t crumple, rustle or make extraneous noise. Concert halls are designed for sound – so when you make other sounds – the musicians and other audiences members will hear them too! Whispering to a friend or companion can be done between movements or pieces, but it’s more respectful not to talk while the musicians are playing.
So as the music starts, my recommendation is to have an open mind. Great music will speak to the mind and heart – and good musicians will pass this along. A pianist, string quartet, even an orchestra or choir will express the melody even though there may be lots of other notes that you are hearing. One easy key is to observe a conductor (not usually found in chamber music!) who will guide the ensemble and the audience in important points: where are they looking, what sort of gestures are they making? In chamber music, almost always one musician will start the group – it’s really fun to see who that is – because it often changes, even during the middle of a piece. Another great aspect is to see the performers communicating with one another – you’ll often see players smile and look at one another.
Applause comes (generally) after a complete piece of music –a little different from attending a sporting event or speech, where you might cheer or clap after a goal is scored or important point in a speech is made. A good rule of thumb is to clap when the rest of the audience applauds. As for standing ovations, I really believe they should be special, for a moment when you are really moved – in over 3,000 performances I’ve heard, perhaps 30 of those did I really believe were once in a lifetime and I had to jump up with excitement.
Intermission or a pause in the concert is a great time to get up, discuss the concert, and further check out the program, venue et al. The concert will resume and you’ll see and hear even more great music. Afterwards, stick around if there is a “talkback” and ask the performers a question; or if the artists are available to talk to or sign autographs, go meet them. Almost every great artist I ‘ve met or interviewed enjoys meeting folks after the concert. Let them know how much you liked the concert!
Finally, if you enjoyed the concert, share it with someone else. Bring a friend to the next one, or friends. Music is written by a composer, but needs two elements to be successful: performers and an audience. Performers are just that, they want someone to play for…thank you for being here!

It was the Blog of times, it was the Blurst of times

Keep an eye out for a weekend preview of some Manhattan concerts...and for an essay (geared towards young people) on "How to listen to Music" - a live concert guide really.
It's also been Fundraising time at WITF, so things have been busy, and playoff hockey time, practicing violin time and well you get teh idea, it's been wild and wacky at ClassicallyHip.
So in a humorous discourse with a friend via email, this old joke came along, and I have to post:
You can Telemann by where he wants to live. I just Toch a trip Orff into the Beethoven spaces Fauré Weick, and to be Franck, it drove Menotti. Within a few days I was missing the city so Munch that, even though the weather wasn't Clementi, I couldn't resist my Honegger to Galuppi right Bach home early Satie. I know opinion Varese: but Vivaldi noise of the Bizet traffic, de Falla engines, and knowing there are Mennin the streets Callas enough to knock your Bloch off, I Haieff to say I prefer the Mitropolous.
The Boyce were Sor I couldn't stand the Riegger out in the Field, but I don't give a Schütz. I thought I'd lose my Saint-Saëns in the country. Let me Lizst the sounds: the Rorem of the wind, the Lipatti, Patti, Tippett, Glinka, Poulenc of the rain on the roof, the Massenet of the horses, the Menuhin of the cats, the Gluck-Gluck of the woodpeckers Chopin holes in the Bartok, the incessent Tcherpnin of a Byrd in a nearby Grofé, and every morning LeCocq crows. I got poison Ives when a Wolf chased me into a Brio Partch. I'm no Robeson Caruso. I could have died of Borodin talking to the Babbitt. A friend said the country is the best place to live; Abegg his pardon. Another friend said he didn't like it in those Gotterdammerung Hills; I agree, only Morceau. Not for all the Gould and Diamond would I go back.
I don't Cherubini for the Ruggles life. I like a full Mehul three times a day, a dry Martini and Szigeti at Joe's. I like to Locatelli in the evenings. Is that asking for Egk in Meyerbeer? Nono! In fact, I Ravel in the Bliss of urban existence. So many Weber under a Holst of problems they feel they can't Handel. Their answer is too Offenbach to nature - into Haydn I call it. I carry on a d'Indy life in this Berg. Delibes me.