Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hightech Higdon

Previously unreleased recordings of works by Higdon and Shostakovich added to Online Music Store
Several live recordings are newly available as downloads in The Philadelphia Orchestra's Online Music Store. In addition to the 70-plus items already in the Store, music lovers can purchase the world premiere performance of Jennifer Higdon's highly acclaimed Concerto for Orchestra written for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
The Store also includes downloads of three works by Shostakovich performed by rising classical music stars. Pianist Stewart Goodyear, a replacement for André Watts, performed Shostakovich's First and Second Piano Concertos in October 2006. Twenty-four-year-old American cellist Alisa Weilerstein stepped in for Truls Mørk in Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto last November. The Philadelphia Inquirer called Goodyear "combustible" and Weilerstein "intense," "impressive," and "daring."
In addition to these new releases, downloads of the Orchestra's live performances of all nine Beethoven symphonies under Christoph Eschenbach are now available as a package for a reduced price.
For more information, visit

Midtown Harrisburg

Come one, come all!

Opera news

One of the nation's best-known opera singers is seriously ill with cancer: Beverly Sills is at a New York City hospital, with her daughter at her side.
In an e-mail this week to members of its board, the Metropolitan Opera said Sills is ''gravely ill.''
Sills was chairwoman of the Met until she resigned two years ago, citing health and family reasons. Her sparkling voice and her charming personality won over fans worldwide, and she became a powerhouse in the New York arts world.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Joycee in the news

From Gramophone:

EMI Classics signs Joyce DiDonato
June 25 2007
The accolades continue to roll in for mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. April saw her named the Metropolitan Opera's second recipient of the Beverly Sills Artist Award, worth $50,000. Now the American singer has signed an exclusive contract with EMI Classics and is due to release a selection of Handel Arias with Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset in Autumn 2008.
"To be invited to join the EMI Classics recording label is a genuine honour for me," said DiDonato. “The legendary recordings of Callas and Baker continue to influence and inspire me in a myriad of ways, so, to be given the privilege of joining their ranks is a responsibility I embrace and celebrate. I plan on doing all I can to continue the legacy of excellence”. In addition to the Beverly Sills Award DiDonato was the winner of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Award in 2002, New York City Opera's Richard Gold Debut Award in 2003, and the Royal Philharmonic Society Singer of the Year Award in 2006 for her role as Rosina in the Covent Garden production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. DiDonato's first solo CD was “The Deepest Desire”, a selection of songs by Bernstein, Copland and Heggie released on the Eloquentia label in 2006 and named winner of the Diapason d'or de l'année. This was followed in the same year by a live Wigmore Hall recording of songs and arias by Fauré, Hahn, Handel and Rossini with pianist Julius Drake.

Charlotte Smith, Gramophone

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Overpaid Executive

This really gets my goat!
World Herald Article
Symphony pay gap flap off-key, chairman says
Omaha Symphony musicians have gotten patrons talking at their past few concerts — and not just about their performances.

Rob HallamHuddled in the Holland Performing Arts Center lobbies during intermissions, audience members have been discussing the leaflets that musicians distributed before each program, detailing their current contract dispute.
"Management . . . raised CEO Rob Hallam's compensation on average 20 percent a year for each of the past three years," the leaflet states. It also says that "Hallam hired his wife as a consultant to the Omaha Symphony at over $99,000.
"The musicians — who have received raises of 2 to 3 percent over the same period — find these figures hard to swallow. On Friday, they released a statement that expressed a "vote of no confidence" in Hallam's leadership.
For anyone who has been watching the dispute between the musicians and management over the 2007-08 contract, the musicians' latest move is no surprise. Negotiations broke down more than three weeks ago, and subsequent meetings haven't been scheduled. Musicians are seeking a base pay raise higher than the 2.5 percent increase management has offered.One of the biggest points of contention in the dispute is the gap between the musicians' base pay — $28,327 in 2005-06 — and Hallam's salary — $205,152 for the same period. (Neither figure includes benefits.)
Hallam could not be reached Friday afternoon to respond to the musicians' no-confidence vote. He previously referred questions about his pay to the chairman of the Omaha Symphony board of directors, William A. Fitzgerald.Fitzgerald said there are solid reasons for the board's compensation decisions.
"That is only one side of the story," Fitzgerald said, referring to the information in the musicians' leaflets.It's true that Hallam's total compensation has increased by more than 5 percent annually over the past few years.It's also true that Hallam's wife, Mary Prefontaine, was the interim vice president of marketing for more than a year, and in her last full year was paid $99,000.The orchestra's board approved and still supports both decisions.
While Hallam's total compensation might have increased by more than 5 percent over the past few years, Fitzgerald said, his base salary has increased by only 2.5 to 5 percent each year since the 2003-04 season, which was his first full term as the orchestra's chief.The rest of the money — which fills the gap between his 2003-04 compensation of $160,500 and his 2005-06 compensation of $210,050 — comes from incentive pay.
When Hallam was hired, the board set up a program that gives him financial rewards for meeting goals related to ticket sales, contributions and attendance. Fitzgerald declined to provide the specifics of those goals. "If he meets or exceeds (the goals), he is going to get what we agreed to as incentives," Fitzgerald said.
The musicians say Hallam's salary still is way above average for executives at comparable orchestras, with or without the incentive pay.During the 2004-05 season, the average salary for top executives in the Regional Orchestra Players Association — a group of about 70 orchestras, including the Omaha Symphony — was about $106,000, said Drew McManus, a Chicago-based orchestra analyst and consultant. McManus said he doesn't expect that average to change much when he gets figures for 2005-06.The Omaha Symphony, with a budget of $6.5 million, is in this group because of the number of full-time players it employs. The group also includes orchestras with much smaller budgets — around $1 million — such as the Green Bay (Wis.) Symphony and the Shreveport (La.) Symphony.
McManus said executive salaries have generally been increasing "exponentially" over the past few years."Boards are leaning toward wanting to pay what they would pay in the for-profit world so they can attract that level of talent," McManus said.Omaha Symphony board members stand behind their compensation package for Hallam. He has presided over substantial increases in revenue and a music director search that resulted in the hiring of Thomas Wilkins."He has been very good at managing the overall process of running the symphony," Fitzgerald said.Board members also point to good performance as the reason for hiring Prefontaine. Shortly after Hallam took over, the orchestra was having difficulty finding a vice president of marketing, Fitzgerald said."Somebody on the board commented that Mary had a marketing background, so we put her in as an interim," Fitzgerald said. "It wasn't just 'Let's pay her some money, too.'"Prefontaine had leadership jobs in marketing for Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games Bid Corp.
The Omaha Symphony board — not Hallam — set her compensation at $99,000 because it was "at or below the market for that job at that time," Fitzgerald said.The person who held the job before Prefontaine was paid less. However, Lex Poppens, who is in the job now, is paid more, Fitzgerald said. Poppens declined to give his specific salary but said it is "market-driven."Prefontaine decided after a little more than a year to take a job as the executive director for the Institute for Career Advancement Needs."The primary reason for me leaving the Omaha Symphony was because of this amazing opportunity I now have as the executive director of ICAN," Prefontaine said. "It was incredibly appealing to me."Prefontaine said she didn't see it as a conflict for her to work with her husband. Neither did the board, Fitzgerald said."I don't think there was (a conflict)," Fitzgerald said. "But was it perceived by other people? The answer is yes."

Another story.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bob and Bows!

This is most excellent:

Going against the grain, he helps make music
By Kristen Peterson <>Las Vegas Sun

Delicately holding a polished and exquisite Emile Ouchard bow between the tips of his fingers, then placing it in its case, Bob Stewart says, "The French are to bows what Italians are to violins."
He picks up a James Tubbs bow, circa 1905, and says the British bow maker is one of his favorites, even though Tubbs' later bows were thought to be a "little bit clumsy , " with larger proportions. Then he examines one of his own creations, a cello bow.
In the course of history, this would seem an anomaly. Stewart's workbench in his tidy Las Vegas garage is a leap from the centuries-old traditions of European shops and craftsmen in musty urban storefronts.
The man himself has shaken the symphonic stereotype. Once he showed up at a client's doorstep and was told, "I expected you to be an old white guy."
"There aren't a lot of black people doing this," he says nonchalantly.
Moreover, in Las Vegas there aren't many people doing this at all.
Stewart is the go-to guy for bow repair, along with Jim Wilson, who repairs violins at Violin Outlet. Professional symphonic string players, fiddlers, students, they know him well. Expensive and rare bows are often sent to shops in Los Angeles or New York steeped in high-caliber bow repair. For everything else, Stewart and Wilson have essentially cornered the market.
But Stewart may just be the only bow maker in this city.
The South Philadelphia native played guitar, double bass and cello before apprenticing with a maker in New Jersey. He made his first bow by age 22, worked in shops and freelanced and dabbled in other professions before settling in Las Vegas in 1990.
He rehairs, repairs, restores and invests in rare bows.
His days of making bows have waned. He's made about 80 bows. At 53, he now makes only a couple of bows a year, including a bow he recently made for Las Vegas Philharmonic cellist Elena Kapustina.
Beginning with a plank of pernambuco wood from the jungles of South America, Stewart whittles and planes the stick into an octagonal shape, bevels the frog made of ebony, adds its metal parts and creates the camber in the stick. Stewart used to cut his own mother of pearl for the frog, but now orders them pre-cut.
Finishing the bows is more intuitive and less scientific. He works according to what looks and feels a certain weight, feel and graduations. After decades of working with bows, he has a pretty good idea of what he's doing. "They're very delicate and there is a subtlety about the beauty of the wood."
And they are expensive. A French bow in good shape is probably worth $15,000 to $20,000. A Tourte cello bow sold for $200,000 at auction last fall.
Although rare and expensive bows are sent away for repairs, much of Las Vegas, including members of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, relies on Stewart, who is also president of the Las Vegas Chamber Music Society.
"He's absolutely a godsend," says Mary Straub, who teaches violin at the Nevada School of the Arts. Straub sends Stewart about 50 bows a year from her students and has had him work on her bows. "If there's small crack or something has come unglued and we say we need it done tonight, he'll do it. He keeps us going."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ken, son of Kurt?

Who knew?

The San Antonio Symphony named Ken Masur, the son of longtime New York Philharmonic music director Kurt Masur, its new resident conductor. Masur replaces David In-Jae Cho, who is now the assistant conductor of the Utah Symphony. Masur will conduct 24 young people's concerts, four interactive family classics concerts and a summer series each season for the San Antonio Symphony.
Born in Leipzig, Masur studied orchestration with Tristan Murail, composition with Joseph Dubiel and conducting with his father and Jeffery Milarsky. A baritone as well, he studies with Thomas Quasthoff. He is currently music director of the Ensemble Berlinprojekt in Germany.
Ken Masur began his musical training as boy soprano in the legendary Gewandhaus Children’s Choir. He received his B.A. in music from Columbia University in 2002, and now gives regular concerts and lieder recitals in Europe, the US, and Asia. His 2005 CD of scenes from Mozart’s Così fan tutte received critical acclaim. Also active as a conductor, Ken was co-founder and music director of the Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus of Columbia University, and since 2004 has been Assistant Conductor of the Choir and National Orchestra at Radio France in Paris. He has been featured as both baritone and conductor on WKCR New York, RTHK4 Hong Kong, and Radio France. Upcoming engagements include performances at the Eurosilesia Festival in Poland and Les Muséiques in Basel.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sunday in Jersey

Some photos of friends over the weekend...
Promotional material
Now appearing (I'm a little confused at this "worship" service!)
In recital

Enjoying food and friends after the concert

Book Talk

Sensei Anthony Stultz will be speaking about his new book Free Your Mind: The Four Directions of an Awakened Life at 7pm Tuesday, Borders of York, 3000 Whiteford Road; and Thursday June 21 at 7pm at Borders Camp Hill, 3515 Gettysburg Road.
Sensei will present his innovative use of psychological language to interpret Buddhist teachings in a way all people can use to help find freedom from suffering in their own lives. If you missed his talk at Borders Harrisburg, here are two close-by chances to celebrate the new book with Sensei. If you caught the Harrisburg talk, join us and continue the discussion!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Daddy Day

Three concerts in as many days! Friday night was the NGF 2007 at Millersville; Saturday was the finale of "Notable Women" in Chelsea; and today Elinor Frey rocks in NJ. More on all three when I get back home.
In the meantime, I'm enjoy cigars and coffee at The Bean. :)
It's also Father's Day - I've sent off a cool kid card, some books he's been wanting, and will call in a little bit. Certainly a major impact on my work ethic and dedication comes from my father, Warren Clare. Oh, and humor, his middle name is Edward, so yes, really and truly, how he signs his name is "Warren E Clare."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Is that a bow? or are you happy to see me?

Great news for musicians who travel frequently:

Exemption Approved for Travel with Bows
June 15, 2007, Washington, D.C. – Orchestras and individual musicians touring internationally may continue to travel with their bows, after winning an exemption during negotiations at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The international community met over the past two weeks to determine whether to include the Brazilian pernambuco tree on the endangered species list. Most fine bows used by string musicians are made from pernambuco wood. Negotiators settled on adding the tree to the endangered species list, but applying the listing only to “logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets…,” specifying that finished bows that are transported internationally would not be subject to cumbersome CITES permit and certification requirements.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hot Glass, Cool Show

I recently spoke with Steve Gibbs at the Corning Museum of Glass about the Hot Glass Roadshow.
Hear our interview [mp3 file]

One of my favorite views in Las Vegas, seen left at the Bellagio, Dale Chihuly's flowers on the ceiling...

Monday, June 11, 2007

lolcat Joan Tower

And get her new recording of Made in America!!!

Brotherly Love

It was awesome to reconnect with an old friend from Las Vegas yesterday in Philly!
Satomi and I met at the Kimmel Center, grabbed brunch at Farmicia, had some yummy scoops at the Franklin Fountain, and then walked a bit in the sun. Unfortunately it appears the Las Vegas Lounge burned down! (I'd never been, but had passed by it many times.)
All in all, a fabulous time catching up. She'll be onstage soon in New Haven.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Five Things about OSL's Chamber Players

I attended the "Unbound" concert at the Chelsea Art Museum Saturday afternoon of the Notable Women Festival with the Orchestra of St. Luke's Chamber Players.

1. This series is very delightful, and while I couldn't attend the first concert, I made sure to make this one as well as next week! Joan Tower, the "host, conceiver, & curator" of the festival has assembled great music in a wonderful space. All of the composers were present, each spoke before their piece and hung out afterwards for questions and tasty treats.

2. The program began with the outstanding soprano Tony Arnold. She's as great live as she is recorded - and it was awesome to know the Tania Leon work she sang, Singin' Sepia has been recorded by Bridge Records. Look for it this fall, it's an engaging work with brilliant word painting and just the right bit of fun.

3. Joan's Night Field (String Quartet #1) was next and remains one of my favorites. She was quite eloquent addressing the idea of chamber music and this first foray into the quartet world. Skip 13 years and not only is Joan in residence with the OSL, she'll be featured later this summer at La Jolla and this season with the CMS Lincoln Center. (Remember her new work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra?)

4. Jennifer Higdon could set the phone book to music and I'd come hear it, and I bet she'd do an amazing job with it! Her Piano Trio is a nice blend of passion, charm and wit - besides winning "best of show" (my own award for this blog entry!) in this art museum where she could point out the "Pale Yellow" depicted in the first movement and the "Fiery Red" in the paintings behind and beside the piano!

5. Libby Larsen rounded out the program with her 2001 Piano Trio. It was written for the Angelfire Festival and as she explained, it's the festival where musicians go to relax from playing at festivals. It was extremely well woven and the perfect ending for the program.

The festival continues next weekend with "Unleashed." Catch it if you can, you'll be happy you did!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Catch Counterstream!

Counterstream Radio Premiere Broadcasts A Soldier's Story: a radio opera by Dave Soldier
Tune in: June 7th @ 9 p.m. EST
A Soldier's Story, a radio opera with lyrics by Kurt Vonnegut and music by Dave Soldier, is based on the death of Private Eddie Slovik in World War II, the only American soldier to be shot for cowardice since the Civil War.
Composer Dave Soldier points out that the 24-minute radio opera, which takes up as its subject matter the human folly of war, was turned down for (free) premiere or broadcast by every single station it was sent it to. "No radio station would play it. This despite Kurt's fame—possibly due to the format, or curse words, but I suspect because we so clearly did it referring to our new wars." Click here to find out more about this special program.

Studies show

A 2006 study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year.
Another study found that Americans drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year.
That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles per gallon.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

At the newsstand

Be sure to pick up a copy of June 2007 Classical Guitar Magazine and learn more about my friend Ernesto Tamayo!

You can also see myself and colleagues in the June 2007 Central PA Magazine, and read about the 89.5 Classix countdown.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Red all over!

er, Read all over! Don't miss Adam's amazing collection of things artistic and poetic:

Is your neighbor a composer?

As we’re coming to a close on the first year of weekly Composing Thoughts shows, don’t miss an episode of composers from Central PA:
We’ll highlight Patrick Long, David Little and James Brody who all create or have composed here in the midstate.

And our season finale next Sunday features the futuristic and far reaching sounds of DBR (Daniel Bernard Roumain) – with a doctorate from Michigan and a mix of hiphop certainly flavor this episode including collaborations with DJ Spooky and Philip Glass; conversations including Ockeghem, Beethoven, Shostakovich & Iraq; and a tribute to Rosa Parks, his fifth string quartet: Klap Ur Handz.

Enjoy it, Sunday night at 7pm on WITF-FM.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Artsy Fartsy

Seen above a gallery/apartments along Park Avenue Friday morning in Rochester.

Wrong Way

Three cars went against the one-way signs for Gibbs Street on Friday night, while I enjoyed a a safe distance from the road!

Around Rochester

Seen during my vacation...

Elusive interview

I was in Rochester briefly and had really hoped to visit the TANDY Professor Heebie McJeebie, but alas, no luck in seeing the Composer Isolation Chamber. Maybe for a future episode of Composing Thoughts, we can go on location again!