Friday, June 30, 2006

Return to Manhattan

So I'm back to NYC this weekend. A close friend is playing at Bargemusic - Brahms nonetheless! So I'm going to hang out with her, and relax a bit since I will be working next week over the Fourth of July.
Tonight I'm heading over to Lancaster to see a Cuban guitar playing friend - it's been a while since we hung out, and after catching up via email, we decided to meet up after a concert. More updates soon!

Interview Preview

Here's a sample of my interview with Keri-Lynn Wilson. We spoke at the Cafe d'Artistes in Manhattan last Sunday. Future interviews with Marin Alsop and JoAnn Falletta - stay tuned! And more of this interview to come.
Keri-Lynn speaking about guest conducting [mp3 file]

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mo' Zart examples

Thanks to everyone who came out last night to the Simpson Library in Mechanicsburg to hear "More Zart - a celebration of Mozart & Shostakovich." It was fun and glad you enjoyed finding out about some incredible music. As promised I said I'd post the audio examples online.
Here goes:

Bach: Prelude in C major, Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 [mp3 file]
Bach: Fugue in C minor, Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 [mp3 file]

Bach: Prelude #7 [mp3 file]
Mozart: Prelude #7 [mp3 file]
Bach: Fugue #7 [mp3 file]
Mozart: Fugue #7 [mp3 file]

Liszt: Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H (part 1) [mp3 file]
(part 2) [mp3 file]
(part 3) [mp3 file]

Shostakovich: Prelude #13 [mp3 file]
Shostakovich: Fugue #13 [mp3 file]

Shostakovich: String Quartet #8, first movement [mp3 file]
Shostakovich: String Quartet #8, second movement [mp3 file]
Shostakovich: String Quartet #8, third movement [mp3 file]
Shostakovich: String Quartet #8, fourth movement [mp3 file]
Shostakovich: String Quartet #8, fifth movement [mp3 file]
(You can hear the String Orchestra version of the 8th Quartet, Friday June 30th on WITF's Classical Air in the afternoon.)

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mo' Zart (a classical discussion)

Take a look at my handout for a classical talk this evening in Mechanicsburg: Mo' Zart
It will be a blast, looking at Bach, Mozart and Shostakovich, and a little Liszt for good measure!
Keep an eye out for audio examples quite soon!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Friday night Paul and I were joined by another guitarist at St. Thomas Roasters - it was more of a rehearsal than performance - no crowd, but good coffee! And a nice "warm up" for a fundraiser we'll play at the end of July.

Saturday found me drenched by happy in NYC. I started down in the village having an excellent brunch at Shopsins. (I also passed by a place I'll investigate in the near future recommended by my hip hop harpist, Hudson Bar and Books.) Then my friend Stu met up with me and we did some shopping, eating and touring. Quite sobering was the WTC site, and we also popped down to the Statute of Library (I hadn't been that far south in Manhattan for forever!) We headed back to the village and had some drinks with the oh so fun staff at Mr. Denneheys. Tribecca is in our future though - let me know if you have any recommendations for dinner/bars et al.

Sunday we enjoyed bagels on the square in Milford and headed back to the city. While I was waiting for another friend and brunch (again at Shopsins - yum!), I enjoyed an excellent cigar - really the first time all weekend to sit and think. After brunch I interviewed a young conductor, Keri-Lynn Wilson at the Cafe d'Artiste. I then made my way to Lincoln Center for another cigar and a bit of relaxation. I caught the subway down to Penn Station and I was on my way back to Harrisburg.

Monday was back to work and a meeting with folks, which turned out lovely. I'm not sure if it will work out, but I've been asked to be on the board of a local music organization. We'll see, but fun people nonetheless. Also sweet to run into Stu's girlfriend, Julia while at Cafe Fresco - sort of bookending my weekend having just seen him! Sadly, Julia is going to WAMC in NY - all the best kiddo!

Friday, June 23, 2006

A violinist's violinist

Thursday morning I was very pleased to meet and interview Arnold Steinhardt, longtime first violinist with the Guarneri String Quartet. He's in Central PA playing at the Music Naturally Festival hosted by the PA Academy of Music in Lancaster, PA.
Look for the audio file here shortly. He performed an all Shostakovich program last night in Harrisburg, and appears in an all Mozart concert this evening. Find out more about Music Naturally online:
I heard them rehearse part of the Shostakovich that morning and meet the Newstead Trio - you hear them often on Classical Air. Arnold also knew one of my teachers, Andrzej Grabiec, longtime concertmaster of the Eastern Music Festival - small world, even smaller music world!
Glad to hear there is a new Naxos cd coming out of American Music as well as a new disc on Newport Classics of all the Schubert music for violin and piano (with Seymour Lipkin) this fall. He also mentioned a new book out this fall, about violin (all aspects, from fiddles to musicians and music) - can't wait!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Longest post of the year?

Well, it IS summer solstice. Since things have been so busy I thought I'd finally get a post up since everything has been quite busy since last busy that I even spaced out and didn't watch game 6 or 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, nor did I tape them! Ironically, I did see the last two minutes of last night's NBA final as the bar cheered for the Miami Heat. Oh well, here goes...
Saturday night I was the emcee for the Next Generation Festival at Dickinson College in Carlisle. It was complete with a little John Clare humor where I came out and greeted everyone in German, acting as if it was on my note...I corrected myself, and flipped over the card, and said I was Awadagin Pratt...then got out the real note for the evening - some got it, and the Cypress Quartet noted my "radio voice," which put us on a good start. The concert was entertaining and I was happy to meet lots of folks - even holding the outside door as folks left and hearing lots of pleased audience members. Of note besides meeting the Cypress Quartet, I met Awadagin's mom.
[picture coming soon]
Tom Kraines and Awadagin Pratt

[picture coming soon]
Sunday was a concert at LVC in Annville and a patron reception afterwards. The hall is a converted church that is a performing space and art gallery. I had a chance to interview Abijihit Septgupta - who turns out to be friends and roommate of an old professor of mine from Wichita State at another summer festival - but there were technical problems with the recorder and so it isn't available, doh!
[picture coming soon]
The dinner afterwards was very nice and it was swell meeting donors and patrons of the festival along with all the musicians. The Trio Lunaire, the apprentices, played Mendelssohn's C minor trio quite well.
[picture coming soon]

Monday was another concert, this time at HACC in Harrisburg. I also ended up emcee-ing, and my schtick this time was merely mouthing the words and acting like the microphone was on, then figuring out that the mic wasn't on - well you get the idea - and far more laughs this time...also after intermission some laughs at my "Stay for the talkback, it's kinda like Car Talk and Click and Clack - you know, Stump the Chumps!" The hall was nice and again, it was one of the venues that it was my first time visiting there. A great dinner out followed the concert downtown...where it turns out I have something major in common with the Cypress Quartet - they like Panufnik! Yeay! I made sure they left town with some more Panufnik to consider in their rep...they already play Jennifer Higdon and I'm anxious to introduce them to Walter Mays' music.
Unfortunately, the dinner was late and there was mondo confusion on the bill - we all waited a LONG time to get things sorted out.
[picture coming soon]

Tuesday (last night) was the final concert of this year's festival. I spoke with Awadagin for WITF (you can hear it here at Dr. Dick's blog) and then was able to catch the rest of the concert at Pullo Performing Arts Center. The musicians loved the hall and facilities.
[pictures coming soon]
Afterwards there were many goodbyes and dinner at Cobblestones in downtown York.
[pictures coming soon]

Wednesday I interviewed composer Tina Davidson in her studio (a wonderfully converted church in Marietta, PA) and caught up with her about recent projects. It'll be featured in an upcoming episode of Composing Thoughts this fall.
[picture coming soon]

Friday, June 16, 2006

Weekend update

Well, sort of...perhaps Weekend preview is a better title...anyway, the Next Generation Festival continues this evening at LVC in Annville. New artists and new repertoire, should be fun, come on out! (more on the festival here.)
Congrats to the Hershey Bears for their Calder Cup victory! Go Bears! They won game 6 in Milwaukee 5 to 1. I'll have to wear my Bears cap with pride this summer!
Tune in on Saturday for an interview I did with Don Campbell, the author of The Mozart Effect. He's just released a new cd for "Dads and dads-to-be" of Mozart's music. It will air during Weekend America on WITF between 1 and 3pm and repeats between 3 and 5pm.

Finally, have you seen this Dodge commercial for their Caliber? Its rather cute and the fairy quite appealing - doesn't she remind you of Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore) a little bit?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bachelor Brahms

Yes, I know that blog title almost sounds like a bad ABC reality show, sorry!
This next week I have Brahms' Third Symphony in the afternoon on Classical Air. I always have great music, and almost always a "large" celebrated work in my shift...but this particular work resonates with me, as does the composer.
You see, Johannes and myself have quite a bit in common. At least a few viewpoints...I wouldn't actually ever compare myself to him, neither as a musician or composer, but indulge me for a minute.

The first connection I make between Brahms is with cigars. I love seeing those pictures of Brahms taking a walk and smoking a cigar. There is something both relaxing and reflective when smoking a cigar.

Brahms was also a bachelor, which may be the larger part of my affinity with him. His friend and fellow musician Joseph Joachim once had a motto, Frei aber einsam - Free but lonely. In fact, Brahms, Schumann and Dietrich went so far as to write a sonata for Joachim, known as the FAE sonata (yes, it uses those notes, F-A-E in it!) which of all the movements, only Brahms' Scherzo (Sonatensatz) is played regularly.
Brahms was fifty years old when he wrote the Third Symphony, and it starts off with his own motto, Frei aber Froh - Free but happy.

The musical motif is F-A-F.

I also have friends who will refer to me as Johannes (or Johann) - so in a way we share a first name.

I'm going to enjoy a cigar and be happy, I am free.

Oh, and neither of us are on this list...go figure!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

NGF Interviews

I was quite excited to hear world class artists performing free concerts in WITF's Next Generation Festival (N.G.F) and was also happy to catch them between a recent sound check and their performance in Gettysburg College.
Martin Beaver, first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet made his first appearance at the N.G.F. this year. He plays a Stradivari violin and teaches at the Yale University School of Music.
Martin and I began our chat talking about joining an established chamber group: Interview Part 1 [mp3 file]
We continued talking about recordings with the Tokyo Quartet: Interview Part 2 [mp3 file]
Martin also spoke about taking part in the Next Generation Festival: Interview Part 3 [mp3 file]

Rachel Barton Pine is one of the leading violin soloists today. She performs around the world on her 1742 Guarneri del Gesu "Ex-Soldat". Rachel has varied tastes in music, having recorded solo baroque literature to heavy metal music (one of her favorite bands is AC/DC) on 11 different cds.
Rachel and I started off talking about her latest cd release (which was a WITF Featured CD) of Scottish fantasies: Interview Part 1 [mp3 file]
We also talked about her first appearance this year at the Next Generation Festival: Interview Part 2 [mp3 file]
Rachel also shared some future plans, with recording and her foundation: Interview Part 3 [mp3 file]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

DSCH, Harry Potter and Wolfie

Gettysburg College's Schmucker Hall
Yesterday I gave a talk to 36 young musicians at Gettysburg College for the Next Generation Festival and WITF. Trio Lunaire, the apprentices at the festival, joined me and were gracious to play Shostakovich's Piano Trio #2. We had some fun, singing musical themes and scales (it was a choral camp) and heard them put to use in the trio.
Particularly fun were some of the questions that the trio and I fielded. Also especially nice was seeing so many of them at the concert that evening, All Mozart with Awadagin Pratt and friends.

So what does the title or my talk have to do with Harry Potter? Compare a picture of a young Dmitri Shostakovich with the actor who portrays Harry Potter and you'll see...the kids seemed to get it ;)

NGF at Barshinger

It was a great crowd and incredible music Sunday afternoon in Lancaster, PA. It was the second of Next Generation Festival concerts I caught, this one featuring the apprentice program musicians, Trio Lunaire, as well as Awadagin Pratt and friends. Mozart, Golijov, Bach and Brahms were all stunning. Especially moving and exciting for me: the haunting Golijov work and hearing the Bach Double with soloists Rachel Barton Pine and Martin Beaver and their Guarneri and Stradivari violins.

At intermission

A young fan gets an autograph from Karen Parks

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Looking up

Last night with the moon and the stars I couldn't help but think of this:
"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."
Eskimo proverb
I also recommend listening to Augusta Read Thomas' In my sky at twilight.


The performances continue around Central PA...last Saturday (the 3rd) I played violin for "Change your mind day" at the Blue Mountain Lotus Society - it was an awesome afternoon and for the meditation/incense lighting ceremony I played Ralph Vaughan Williams' Lark Ascending.
Then Thursday you have probably seen the entry below for the PHC Party at the Midtown Cinema where Paul and I had some fun.
Dusk at the Gala
Last night, we were entertaining for the Open Stage of Harrisburg's 20th Anniversary. It was fun, with people bidding in a silent auction, dancing, mingling and having a great dinner. Oh, did I mention wine? starry sky? gorgeous lake? telescope focused on Jupiter and 4 of it's moons? ice cream in chocolate bowls?

Later in the evening

Today brings no playing for me, but attending another Next Gen concert in Lancaster and Gretna Music kicks off with Mozart.

And in the random department, a friend passed along this gem of an advertisement:

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New and old friends

What an amazing Friday. Unfortunately it started at 5:00am for me...I got ready and made it to WITF by 5:30, gas up the Yukon and got some diet coke. Casey (the Audio manager at WITF who was going to engineer the interviews) popped in, we loaded up and were off by 6:15. Traffic was incredibly easy, with a little stop and go at the Lincoln tunnel (we were there at 9:00am!) it was a quick trip to NYC. After circling the upper west side for parking, we found a garage near Columbia University and made our way to Dodge Hall.

Fred Lerdahl met us at his office and we chatted about his music for Composing Thoughts. He's from Madison, WI originally and we commiserated over the Pro Arte Quartet, Norwegian cookies in Stoughton and new music.
Afterwards, Casey and I made it up to Riverdale in the Bronx. A nice lunch at a little cafe, complete with world cup coverage and jokes about low scoring (ironically there were 3 goals in the first 15 minutes! goooooooooooooooallllllllllllllllllllllllllll!) which led to a leisure walk in the neighborhood and a cigar (technically Casey smokes cigarettes, but hey you probably knew what I meant.) Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's apartment/studio wasn't far away (we had actually scouted for it and a parking place before lunch) and we went over, again with great traffic and an easy, close parking space.

Ellen Zwilich is a composer I had interviewed for 20/20 Hearing(tm) in its second (and final) season. I have known her music for quite awhile and it was wonderful to get to meet her. Ellen has, no surprise, an artist's apartment - it's filled with original, sumptuous paintings, a baby grand piano that looks out the 14th floor view to the Hudson...a Pulitzer prize sits on one table, and cds overflow around a well used stereo. The interview was a great discussion and I'll soon post something incredibly special from it both here and on the Composing Thoughts site. Ellen is as gracious and witty as her music if that is possible.
Casey and I loaded things back up and jetted over the George Washington bridge and made great time on the way back, again, just a slow spot before getting back on 78, and a slow-n-go as heavy rain hit traffic, but for the most part smooth and easy commute flew by. We got back, Casey unloaded as I printed out directions for Millersville University. It was 6:30pm and I needed to head over to the Next Generation Festival.
Unfortunately, I needed to stop for gas with my van, and had never been to M.U. (or to a Next Gen concert for that matter!) so I was a bit stressed knowing I had about 45 minutes to get there. I lit a dominican cigar and again had smooth sailing. Directions were easy and I made it there with 5 minutes to spare (it started promptly at 7:30pm) to chat.
The Next Generation Festival is a series of free concerts across Central PA that WITF presents with pianist Awadagin Pratt and friends. Among these friends are Martin Beaver (first violinist of the Tokyo Quartet), Rachel Barton Pine (gifted solo violinist), the Cypress Quartet, and many others. The all Mozart program, in all e-flat I might add, was beautiful and at a high level of music making - in a word, sublime. It was well attended and I was pleased to see coworkers, friends, and listeners of all ages at the concert. There was a fun "talk-back" session afterwards and a chance for me to meet and say hi to some old friends...I'll see them over the next two weeks and looking forward to some wine and good conversations. No doubt you'll see some entries here on that matter!
I made it home to Harrisburg about 10:00pm and soon fell asleep. What a Friday!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PHC Party

A good time was had by all and all were had by the good time Thursday evening for the Harrisburg premiere of A Prairie Home Companion - the movie. WITF sponsored the event at the Midtown Cinema.
Paul Zavinsky and I played for a nice crowd before hand, complete with drinks, snacks and door prizes.

John and Paul
A full house
Kathleen Pavelko

The Millers

A pair of Susans
Before the show

Fiddlin' around

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Some updates, don't miss the latest on with a new interview page!
And a new Music in a Moment blog entry with Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1.
Thursday brings about the new Garrison Keillor movie (first mentioned here) and Paul Zavinsky and I playing at a premiere night at the Midtown theater for WITF members.
Otherwise, lots going on, and in the uncommon trait of me reporting on sports (which I'm not a huge fan except women's tennis and hockey) Martina Hingis lost to Kim Clijsters yesterday - now looking forward to her Wimdeldon return.
Oilers blew a three goal lead to lose 5 to 4 to the Hurricanes, oh well, they play game two tonight.
Friday I'm in NYC interviewing two composers (Fred Lerdahl and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich) for Composing Thoughts. Also the Next Generation Festival starts that evening. Saturday I'm playing for a fundraiser/20th anniversary party for Open Stage of Harrisburg with Paul. Sunday is another Next Gen concert in the afternoon and the opening of Gretna Music that evening. Monday I give a talk in Gettysburg to middle school students in prep for a Next Gen concert that night. Wednesday morning I interview Tina Davidson in Marietta.
There's more but I'll give some updates between now and then. whew!

Monday, June 05, 2006

A win!

Yesterday it was hard knowing Martina Hingis had dropped a set to Shahar Peer, then play was suspended until today. But the Swiss Miss triumped, 6-3 2-6 6-3 and will face Kim Clijsters in the quarter finals and probably Justine Henin-Hardenne then in the semis. Go Swiss Miss!When she does that, she'll no doubt win the French Open this year.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

50,000 clay marks can't be wrong

Unless you're Maria Sharapova who lost her match today, how sad...and blew a 5-1 game lead in the third set - very disheartening to see her lose 5-7 6-2 5-7. Hang in there Maria! In the meanwhile, Martina Hingis breezed into her next match, 6-1 6-1. She had two aces and twenty five winners in the match...and it was over in 45 minutes. Go Swiss Miss!
She'll play Shahar Peer later today to see who makes the quarterfinals!

Excellent Adventure

A lot of fun was had with coworkers, sponsors and listeners at the National Civil War Museum Friday evening as we wrapped up Mozart's Excellent Adventure giveaway - a trip for two to Europe, walking in the footsteps of Mozart. WITF broadcast live an all Mozart program.

Andrew, Randy, Dick and Cary before the broadcast

Coffee? Tea? German chocolate cake?

A good time was had by all...

Vienna calling? Dick and myself before a break.

Checking in on the checking in...John and Angela

A listener and contestant, Adella Fasano, who loves WITF!

Adella's (seen in the previous picture) granddaughter, Amber Answine.

Wait a minute! Is that Cary or John? (their name tags are switched!)