Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On Broadway

Communting several times back and forth to NYC, weekend I heard an ad for a show I really want to go see, Jennifer Garner in Cyrano De Bergerac @ the Richard Rodgers Theater (it was the only saving grace of dealing with really awful traffic , hearing an ad for this production!) Here are the times for November, and click on DEC for next month. Who's up for joining me?

Runnicle through my mind

Congrats to Maestro Runnicles!

You might remember my brief review of him in Philly, and my interview with him.

Happy Halloween

I'll do anything for a laugh, including wearing my friend Joann's hat/wig combo for an entire shift at WITF. We had lots of laughs - and now I know if I wanted to dye my hair...

Classical SCARE?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Composer Philip Glass a genius (tied for #9) in a new poll!
Also on the list: Brian Eno, Henryk Gorecki, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, and Robin Escovado. There are also musicians listed like Daniel Barenboim, Paul McCartney, etc.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Carmen online

Enjoy Bizet's masterpiece online:
Saturday November 3rd, 6:30pm
Newsstory from Gramaphone

Five Things about Orchestra of St. Luke's

I heard the Orchestra of St. Luke's with Roberto Abbado and violinist Joshua Bell Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall.

1. The program began with a new reworking of Joan Tower's String Quartet, In Memory for string orchestra. It certainly plays on the strengths of St. Luke's, with plenty of delicate passages along with powerful lines, all played musically in this new setting. If history repeats itself, Joan will win the Pulitzer Prize for Music with it, ala John Corigliano's Second Symphony/String Quartet. In Memory is certainly deserving!

2. Josh Bell then played a rousing Barber Violin Concerto. It was just right, not too fast, not too slow, nice balances and beautifully phrased.

3. After intermission came the world premiere of Jay Greenberg's Violin Concerto. It's a one movement work that has brilliant orchestra colors. In fact, the orchestral part is far more engaging than the violin part. Greenberg, a fifteen year old composer, has made great levels of improvement from his Fifth Symphony and String Quintet. The Violin Concerto is much more of an individual voice and has much promise, I've heard rumors of more orchestral and concerti commissions - hear hear!

4. The program finished on a high note, Haydn's Symphony #93. This "London" Symphony also showed off the OSL to it's musical strengths: long, well crafted phrases, spot on ensemble and good humor (kudos to the bassoons and timpani!) Hearing Haydn with the Orchestra of St. Luke's is a hallmark of Western Civilization. In a word, divine.

5. I must point out what a joy Roberto Abbado is on the podium. He gives his all for the music. And it was evident in every piece, how much he loved the music, and the result was wonderful. As the World Series names an MVP, Sunday afternoon would have surely named Abbado for OSL.

OSL will be back @ Carnegie with Helene Grimaud with music by Beethoven and Ades - don't miss it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Five Things about the NY Pops

I heard the New York Pops Friday evening with Pip Clarke, Michael Feinstein and maestro Stuart Malina at Carnegie Hall.
1. The night began with a patron leading the National Anthem. Stuart Malina joked it was his first student to conduct at Carnegie Hall. It set the mood for a great evening of music and fun.
2. Next up a stirring tribute to the chairman of the NY Pops board, who passed away recently. They played his favorite piece, the Roumanian Rhapsody #1 by Georges Enescu. Bravo!
3. The program continued with the evening's theme, movie music. Tempos were bright and also included some arrangements by Skitch Henderson.
4. Pip Clarke played Korngold's Violin Concerto, which uses themes from movie scores like Anthony Adverse and Captains Courageous. Things didn't gel well, with the oddest interpretation I think I've heard - especially puzzling was Clarke's over the top spiccato which neither worked musically or sonically. I wish more care had been taken with transitions.
5. After intermission, Michael Feinstein entertained, dazzled and tickled the ivories, and sang his heart out. Especially touching a song by Henry Mancini dedicated to Mrs. Mancini who was there, and great banter to introduce the songs. Malina and the Pops were always spot on with Feinstein and by the end of the night you wanted more.

The audience was electric Friday night, with high school students, Harrisburg supporters for Malina and a wide range of ages.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In the Maestro Suite

At Carnegie Hall with Stuart Malina, and a bust of Toscanini.
Around the room are photos and autographs of Szell, Bernstein, maestros galore!

A Five Things coming soon (when I get back to Hburg!)


I've heard news of the passing of master cellist, teacher, musician and cigar smoker Harvey Shapiro.
Rest in peace

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soothing Tea

You might remember I talked with Karl Jenkins about the latest album on EMI, Kiri Sings Karl, found here.
But you may not have known this, from back in 1993, when I was stage manager of the Wichita Symphony:
The Wichita Eagle
by Jon Roe/The Wichita Eagle
Those were two great performances Sunday night in the Century II Concert Hall. Kiri Te Kanawa sang the classics in a smashing Wichita Symphony Celebrity Series recital, and John Clare brewed the chamomile in a demonstration of how versatile a good stage manager must be. Dame Kiri, the soprano from New Zealand, drinks chamomile tea backstage. And, since she generally has to grab quick sips between numbers, it has to be perfect . . . brewed in boiling water, but then mixed with tap water to ensure that it's hot, but not so hot that it burns her vocal cords when she comes off stage and takes a sip.
It was John who brewed the tea and stood in the wings with a cup for Dame Kiri. And she pronounced it done to perfection.
Century II's caterer, Volume Services, excelled as well, providing just about all the exotic fruit she requested for her dressing room apples, grapes, pomegranates, kiwi and star fruit. The only thing they couldn't find was mangoes, and she didn't complain.
Matter of fact, Dame Kiri was constantly warm and gracious, charming everyone who met her, signing autographs for about 50 people backstage and, when she received two dozen apricot roses from her management company, giving them to her driver to take home to his wife.

Five Things about Kiri Te Kanawa

I heard the "Farewell Recital" of Kiri Te Kanawa at the Kimmel Center Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
1. The crowd was pretty boring and not very excited at the outset - a medium house couldn't be blamed on the rain - it was too bad because what followed for the night was exquisite. After intermission the energy was higher in the crowd. Everyone also applauded after every song, even when it was only a few minutes long - so while that wouldn't normally bother me - it was musically interuptive in the song sets. Dame Kiri would smile occassionally and nod, but all too often someone had to clap over the sublime sounds of Warren Jones at the keyboard. While their love for Kiri's artistry was great, there wasn't much respect for the music.

2. Having Kiri sing a set of Richard Strauss songs, including some of my favorites: Die Nacht and Morgen, was heavenly. One felt she was singing to just you, despite being in a large concert hall.

3. If something better could follow Strauss, it was the nasally and sumptous Duparc songs, with breathy and irresistible singing. Again, Warren Jones outdid himself as a collaborative pianist.

4. The second half was filled with more energy, and showed a lighter side to Dame Kiri, from her speaking about Jake Heggie and the everyday man (common if you will) humor of Copland's "Why do they shut me out of Heaven?". Several times Kiri checked notes or words placed slyly on the piano lid - who cares, it was magnificent!

5. The encores, Ginastera's "Song of the Olive Tree" was vibrant and sexy; Richard Rodney Bennett's "Goodbye For Now" was charming and sweet. You wanted more and knew unlike some artists who have performed well past their prime, that Dame Kiri is finishing at the top of her game - we'll look forward to her teaching and more intimate performances.

Catch Dame Kiri on this tour if you can, and while you're at it, buy her Traviata or Capriccio or Four Last Songs - you'll be glad you did.

Also see this post about Kiri, tea and me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kansas Sunflowers

I spent a nice day with my parents in Omaha on Saturday, then went to their home in Augusta, KS to pick up a car. Here are a few shots from a nearby sunflower field near their home:It's off a fun road to drive, called Thunder Road.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chris in York

I interviewed the host of From the Top, Christopher O'Riley who is playing with the York Symphony Orchestra this weekend at the Strand Capitol. We had a good talk which will be posted soon - keep an eye out for his Columbia University concerts at Miller Theater with classical composers and rock music transcriptions!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Radical Light

Steven Stucky has a world premiere Thursday in LA, Radical Light. It's dedicated to Elinor Frey, pictured here with Steve this last July in western NY.

Hear Steven talk about composition and works here.

Here's a portion of the interview, about Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil.

Elinor gave the world premiere of Stucky's Dialoghi, which you can hear here.

Happy Halloween!

Enjoy this charming and spooky edition of Danse Macabre from my friend Adam:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

20 year reunion

Wow, it is coming up, and I got this:

My name is Valerie and I'm a Casting Producer for season 5 of the hit TV show "High School Reunion" on TV Land network. We are currently casting season five of our show and are considering Derby High School class of 88'!!! If you are not familiar with our show, "High School Reunion" is an exciting reality series for TV Land Network (seasons 1-3 were on The WB Network) that reunites a group of high school classmates for the first time in 20 years and sends them to an exotic location for an extended reunion.
Please check out my site and contact me if you'd like more information or would like to apply for the show. Time is of the essence, so if you want Derby High School Class of '88 to be castmates on season 5 of "High School Reunion" please help us spread the word to your class.
Lastly, if you know anyone who can help me locate the Class of 1988's Reunion Coordinator please let me know. I'd love to get their contact information. Thank you in advance for your help.
With sincere regards,
Casting Producer High School Reunion 5

Friday, October 12, 2007

Five Things about the Cypress Quartet

I went to Annville to hear the Cypress String Quartet at Lebanon Valley College last night.

1. The quartet played almost immediately after taking the stage, there was no tuning, retuning and rigamaroll of technical adjustments - it was all about the music with the Cypress.

2. The program began with Mozart's Quartet K 575, complete with tasteful tempi and amazing balances. Melodic lines were supported with the greatest of care and with the right amount of flippant fun. It's the way Mozart should be played.
3. Samuel Barber was next and his only String Quartet - yes - the origin of his famous Adagio. Violinist Tom Stone spoke briefly before the quartet, talking about Barber and this music. What followed was fresh music making and some of the most idosyncratic stylistic playing that made Barber more Barber than he might have ever imagined. It was clear, gorgeous and in a word, sumptuous. I heard talk afterwards that audience members wanted more time between the 2nd and final movement, which I imagine if it wasn't marked attacca by Barber himself, was a choice the Cypresses made to keep from early applause. In any case the transition Barber makes between the Adagio and last movement is spot on, not needing any space in my opinion.

4. After intermission, the quartet played Dvorak's charming G major Quartet, Opus 106. It's a late work and you certainly get the idea that Dvorak had already mastered this form. In the hands of the Cypress Quartet, the ideas flowed spaciously and with ease. Again, balances and contrasts were handled with grace and charm. It was appreciated by the full hall with a standing ovation. Unfortunately a student photographer was clicking pictures during the first three movements, adding unpleasant percussion to those around her.

5. The night ended with an encore with Josef Suk's Barcarolle. The quiet lyrical piece served as a musical dessert following the main course of the concert, and the audience went home full and pleased.

It was such a delightful evening and the Quartet's programs are always interesting, check their schedule out here! This program isn't demonstrative of their commitment to new music, which you should purchase their Jennifer Higdon recording on Naxos, or cds of Jeffery Cotton or Schulhoff.


I'm totally groovying on In Rainbows, the new Radiohead album - but I'm really confused, it sounds nothing like Chris O'Riley! hehehe

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Music Research

I've decided to embark on a new study for new music and kissing, after reading these facts/study. Females wishing to participate should contact me directly: by email, phone or simply blowing softly in my ear.*
(I'll be seeking funding for a follow-up study of eskimo kissing and new music.)

From the Albany Times Union:
-The science of kissing is called philematology.
-Researchers theorize that human kissing started as a way for mothers to feed their infants, by chewing food and transferring it to their babies' mouths.
-16 muscles converge at the lip area, but a passionate kiss activates all 34 facial muscles.
-Freud believed kissing was the subconscious return to infancy and suckling a mother's breast.
-Ninety percent of the world practices kissing, but some cultures do not, including the Papuans of New Guinea and the San of southwest Africa.
-While the number varies, the Kinsey Institute says 6.4 calories are burned during a one-minute kiss.
-The Kama Sutra describes 20 different types of kissing, including the Throbbing Kiss, in which the lower lip trembles.
-Bonobo apes engage in deep tongue kissing, and chimpanzees frequently kiss to make up after a fight. Snails rub their antennae together, and great blue herons clap their bills.
-A 2006 British study found that people who lean left while kissing tend to be emotionally less available than those who lean to the right.
-A 2007 British study that compared brain scans of men and women while eating chocolate and kissing, found that chocolate was twice as stimulating as kissing for women.

*Results may not be posted because we all know I don't kiss and tell.

Scores may include Stravinsky's Fairy's Kiss, and I'll remind participants I live less than 15 miles from Hershey, PA - the sweetest place on earth!

Monday, October 08, 2007

BPO release

We at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra congratulate Marin Alsop on the beginning of her tenure as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. We wish her the best of success. However, we have to take exception to the statement in the New York Times and from the BSO's press materials that “Marin Alsop is the first woman to be the music director of a major American orchestra.”

This would mean that JoAnn Falletta , who has led the Buffalo Philharmonic since 1999, does not conduct a major American orchestra and this simply is not the case. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been considered a major American orchestra for decades with a rich tradition of renowned music directors including Michael Tilson Thomas, William Steinberg, and Joseph Krips to name a few. Under Ms. Falletta’s leadership, BPO concerts are heard regularly in over 200 US cities via radio broadcasts as well as in Canada and Europe. The Orchestra has an active recording schedule with NAXOS , made a triumphant return to Carnegie Hall in 2004 and performs more than 130 concerts annually over a 39 week season, with a budget in excess of $10 million.

To us, these are some of the qualities that define "major" status. While we cannot blame the BSO for touting Ms. Alsop's appointment for all the good press it is worth, we think there must be a better way to describe her achievement. The orchestra industry has in fact abandoned the use of such labels as major, regional, metropolitan, etc.On behalf of our audiences and all Buffalo residents, we would like to set the record straight that the BPO is a major American orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta, a major American conductor.

Hear my interview with JoAnn Falletta here. And read my review of Falletta in Philly here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Burma Meditation

This Saturday, October 6, at noon at the House of Meditation, Blue Mountain Lotus Society will hold a meditation and Metta Sutra reading in support of the monks and people of Burma in their struggle for democracy. Sanghas throughout the world will be joining with us and the Campaign for Burma. If the weather is good, they will all gather indoors, have the introduction to the event, light incense, process to the Jizo altar outdoors, read the Metta sutra together, and do silent walking meditation. The event should be finished by 12:45. It will be publicized, and please invite friends and family to come.

There will also be a silent vigil on Saturday October 6 @ noon in front of Old West on High street, Dickinson Campus. They will offer incense and give people information to sign petitions on line, as well as copies of the Metta Sutra.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No smokin'

I have a goofy sense of humor.
[photo by Jeff Lynch]


While others are talkin', I'm Bachin'!

From the preconcert talk at H.A.C.C. for Concertante Saturday night.

[photo by Jeff Lynch]