Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A very good year

Enjoy this look at 2009 through the eyes of John Clare, family & friends.
Here's to a great 2010!

John Clare's 2009 from John Clare on Vimeo.

Rate decrease?

So I love looking at trends, etc...have you seen the numbers for this blog?
► 2009 (61)
► 2008 (213)
► 2007 (321)
► 2006 (308)
► 2005 (140)
► 2004 (12)

I was doing really good there in 2007 wasn't I?
Of course, these days I tweet for work, as well as blog, here are a few of those numbers:

► 2009 (284)
► 2008 (160)

1,972 tweets and 530 followers

It really is a matter of time...I take care of my folks, work fulltime @ TPR plus I'm involved with SOLI, SACMS, friends, et al...

Monday, December 28, 2009


Ten years ago, I was unemployed, engaged and living in Dallas (December 1999). I was about to turn thirty. Soon after, I broke up with Jann, started teaching violin & viola for a couple of school districts, gigging in various orchestras and worked part time at Tobacco Gallery.
I left for the summer (2000) to Wichita and returned that fall, again teaching, playing & gigging/selling cigars. It was a grand time with Jack and friends - Cindy, Shana, Jonna, and that blonde in Shreveport (what was her name?!)
In the summer of 2001, I started applying for radio jobs, and had interviews in Indiana and New York, finally making the cut in August 2001 at KNPR in Las Vegas. In September I was packing on 9/11 to go to Las Vegas. That Christmas was hard but the desert was pretty amazing. I helped the local scene with the Philharmonic, Studio One performances and even founded the Chamber Music Society there with my friend Bob Stewart. But a few years in management, hard work for new music, and wacky relationships - by May 2005 I was ready to leave.
June 2005 found me in Harrisburg, PA working for WITF. I loved being so close to Philadelphia (I saw my friends JoAnn Falletta and the Galways @ Mann Center that summer!) and NYC (seeing Thomas & his beautiful wife that August!) and all of the arts in the region. I got a call that September about ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award, I would receive it in NYC in December. I was on cloud nine. Lots of music talks, preconcert talks and gigging in coffeehouses with Paul Z was just right!
Again, lots of work for new music, tons of concerts, interviews and amazing food. By May 2008, I was ready to leave WITF had made the finals in Houston and Buffalo for management jobs in radio. It was San Antonio though where I was meant to be. Happy at KPAC, it's a 24 hour classical music station where I have an afternoon shift, and feature local music events. It's a dream. Keeping me sane for creative, new music is SOLI Chamber Ensemble, who have asked me to be their Executive Director - I said yes!
What a great ten years! Hard to believe it has gone by so fast. I am turning 40 and getting grey hair. My planned recital isn't going to happen on my birthday, but later in the year, keep an eye out for that. Here's to the next decade.

Best of 2009/Aughts

From June 2009, on location in Vienna with the WKO (Vienna Chamber Orchestra), Philippe Entremont on the eve of his 75th birthday - one of the moments of the year AND decade!

Romanze K466 from John Clare on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Great gesture!

Sam Weiser, the fifteen-year-old violin prodigy from Connecticut, will be donating the profits from his debut album 'Sam I Am' (2.16/ Disappear Records) to honor the memory of slain journalist Daniel Pearl. A talented musician in his own right, Pearl played several instruments, including the violin.

Proceeds from Weiser's debut will be donated to the Daniel Pearl Foundation and Friends of Daniel Pearl's FODFest, a nonprofit organization who looks to promote and empower communities through the universal language of music. Daniel Pearl was a successful Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered in 2002 by Pakistani terrorists.

In 2008, Weiser was awarded the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin and was inspired by the significance of the foundation: "It's made me want to send a message of peace through my music and inspired me to find new ways to connect with people and promote Daniel's mission of tolerance."

Weiser's debut, 'Sam I Am,' will be released on February 16th on Disappear Records and will feature interpretations of songs by musical heavyweights such as Carlos Santana, Eddie Vedder and Mark O'Connor, in addition to four compositions written by the album's producer Sonia Rutstein (a.k.a. SONiA).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009



Selections from Frank Zappa's 'Yellow Shark' album will be performed on December 1 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with John Adams conducting. The concert is presented as part of the West Coast, Left Coast Festival celebrating California composers.

The group will perform "Questi Cazzi Di Piccione," "Ruth is Sleeping," "G-Spot Tornado," "The Girl in the Magnesium Dress," and "The Dog Breath Variations / Uncle Meat aka Dog Meat" from 'Yellow Shark,' works which All Music Guide called "essential... the gripping works of a mature composer." 'Yellow Shark' was the last Zappa recording released during his lifetime.

WHO: LA Philharmonic Orchestra and John Adams, conductor
WHAT: West Coast, Left Coast including performances of Zappa's works
WHEN: Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 8:00 PM
WHERE: Walt Disney Concert Hall 111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012 (323.850.2000)
TICKETS: $26, 24, 51 at laphil.com or 605.475.4333

The program also features works by Ingram Marshall and Harry Partch.

One of Minimalism's shaping spirits, John Adams is a composer of distinctive stylistic élan. He won the Grawemeyer Award in 1995 for his Violin Concerto and was named Composer of the Year in 1997 by Musical America. Adams is also an active and esteemed conductor. He has won three Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Composition.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bartoli Treasure Hunt

Have some fun with Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and her latest cd...answer this question:
What was Farinelli's birth name? Send your answer here to get a piece of the puzzle...or click on the clue pictured below.

For the previous clue, go here.
For the next clue, head here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Castratinis will be served

Cecilia Bartoli’s latest recording project, Sacrificium, is one of this fall's most anticipated releases. To celebrate, Decca will host a free, unique event on November 16 at 7:30pm. The release party, at (le) poisson rouge in New York City's West Village, will feature a video recording of Bartoli performing selections from the album. The concert was recorded on September 10, 2009 at the court theater of the Reggia di Caserta, a palace built for the Bourbon kings of Naples. Mixologist Allen Katz has created a special cocktail, "The Castratini," for the occasion. Bartoli will greet New York City fans with a special video message, and door prizes will be awarded.

Cecilia Bartoli found artistic inspiration for Sacrificium in one of music history’s most fascinating—and cruel—subjects: the castrati of the Baroque era. Constantly challenging herself and her fans by recording virtually unknown repertoire, Bartoli continues to carry the art form to new aesthetic and intellectual heights. This new album is no exception, featuring over an hour of world-premiere recordings. Sacrificium marks the first collaboration of Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini, and Bartoli since their Grammy Award-winning The Vivaldi Album ten years ago. The comprehensive album package includes over 100 minutes of diverse and splendid tracks, as well as a 100-page illustrated compendium The A to Z of the Castrati. The album, which was recently featured in the New York Times, Billboard, and on NPR, releases today: October 26, 2009.

Allen Katz is the Director of Mixology & Spirits Education for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York. He is also the host of The Cocktail Hour a weekly program on Martha Stewart’s Sirius Satellite Radio. He has been a featured sommelier at wine festivals around the country and is a lecturer on spirits and mixology for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) in New York City as well as for the Food Studies Program at New York University.

Cecilia Bartoli’s voice and artistry have sold 6 million CDs, capturing the hearts of countless opera lovers and casual listeners alike. She is known to sell out prestigious concert halls all over the world, most recently New York’s Carnegie Hall last spring. Her awards include multiple Golden Discs, four Grammys, seven Echos, and the Victoire de la Musique. She has been given Italian knighthood, solidifying her role as one of Rome’s favorite daughters. She will tour the repertoire of Sacrificium throughout Europe in the 2009-2010 season.

(le) poisson rouge is located at 158 Bleecker Street, between Thompson and Sullivan.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I like to keep track of who is visiting here, and when checking today of how folks find ClassicallyHip, I laughed out loud when someone in Redditch, UK searched for "John Clare Badger Music." really.
Badgers?! we don't need no stinking badgers music!
Also alot of searches for last weekend's SA Symphony concert with Alondra de la Parra, the buzz and excitement around doesn't surprise me that folks are searching.
Other top searches include Helene Grimaud, Janine Jansen, and these days as it gets performed more & more, Concerto 4 3 by Jennifer Higdon...which is the most searched of all time on this blog, due to a link from a politcal site who grabbed my review.
Enjoy, much more coming this month, including a pumpkin decorating contest I am entering!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Five Things about the SA Symphony: VIVA ALONDRA

I heard the San Antonio Symphony Friday night at the Majestic Theatre in downtown San Antonio.
1. The program began with the Star Spangled Banner - odd for the second classics concert - which is really not a big thing, but should they play it for all the concerts? Someone mentioned this was the start of a different series than the last concert; but come on SA Symphony management, seriously? Make it standard on ALL concerts or just the FIRST of the season; or better yet, do different versions every time, which would be nice for the audience AND the players/singers.
2. Clarice Assad's Brazilian Fanfare is downright fun. Not a serious piece at all, it changes moods and themes quickly. While it is not a seasoned work, it shows brilliant orchestration and rhythm. These were brought out with the orchestra by the talented Maestro Alondra de la Parra - who should be the next Music Director of the SA Symphony.
3. Debussy's Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun was sumptuous. de la Parra brought out stunning dynamics and soaring melody lines from the orchestra. Principal flute Tal Perkes was delightful, as well as Principal Horn Jeff Garza in solos.
4. Rounding out the first half was Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto. The soloist was Jennifer Koh, who I have seen several times in concert (read previous Five Things) and interviewed on the radio before. Somehow, this was not the star I have heard, no doubt due to a cold. Often it was scratchy, as if she was impersonating Zukerman(!), instead of her usual gorgeous sound. In the audience, cellphones and snores detracted from the performance. An encore of Bach (Partita #2, allemande) was better, but after hearing Shaham's Bach recently in the same space, it was not as inspiring. Again, I believe it was poor health that contributed to this performance - even quarterbacks like Kurt Warner have bad days, you just hope they aren't the day of the Superbowl...
5. The program ended with Beethoven's glorious Seventh Symphony. String Basses were moved to the back of the stage and brass brought to the side, experimenting with the sound at the Majestic - with great improvement! The energy of Alondra was infectious, for the ensemble (who castly improved from the morning rehearsal) and for the audience who leapt to their feet and gave a huge ovation for de la Parra. It was well deserved. This "war horse" had shape and motion, an arc that moved logically, artistically and brilliantly through Beethoven's music. This is a concert to catch and share with your friends - it repeats tonight at 8pm.

The San Antonio Symphony should move now to hire Alondra de la Parra. Not just for marketing reasons: she is a young, beautiful, latina conductor who has spark and moxie. Nor should they hire her just for the raw talent which shows and gleams in her attitude, baton and spirit.
They should hire her because it is the right thing to do. True EXCITEMENT in the classical world is rare unfortunately. de la Parra exudes charisma and intelligence. She has ideas on audience building, music, outreach, and education. In an uncertain world, hiring Alondra would go to having leadership, a musical guide and energy building force for the San Antonio Symphony. The path is clear in this, stop the search and announce that Alondra de la Parra is the seventh Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony.

Here is an interview with Alondra on stage @ the Majestic:

SA Sym: Alondra de la Parra from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Paul's folks

I was delighted to see that Performance Today is featuring my friend Paul Moravec, and a piece of his honoring his parents. Too cool, check it out, it will be on the site for at least a week, I think features are archived, but do yourself a favor and take a look & listen now, I'll be seeing you in all the old, familiar places I'm sure ;)

Catchin up

Wonderful week in three states, four concerts, two documentaries and lots of friends, food and fun. Back to my day job, and an airshift this afternoon AND an interview with Alondra de la Parra. Tonight a concert with SA Symphony and I need to get my hands on my fiddle, next week is Mid Texas Symphony and our fundraiser.

Here is a sample from last weekend of SOLI performing John Williams:

Monday, October 05, 2009

In Colorado Springs

I am wrapping up being on the road with SOLI, it's been a real blast. Today fly out of Denver to Dallas, then on to Baltimore to work with the Peabody Wind Ensemble and a world premiere of Judith Lang Zaimont.
Here I am with SOLI at the CS Fine Arts Center after their concert in the permanent collection.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

E minor afternoon

I think you'll like the Mid Texas Symphony concert this weekend, Dvorak New World & Chopin 1st concerto with Di Wu.
I'm on the first stand of 2nds, with my cool stand partner Paula. We have lots of fun.
Nice to stay in violin shape as it were, and play in a group.

Friday, August 21, 2009

birthday boy

Happy 73! Dad with homemade sugarfree choclate cake.
Tomorrow we'll go out to see Inglorious Basterds.


for making ribs...Dan Welcher modeling the baby back ribs last week that he cooked!


Meet the flintstones...my impersonation cooking two racks of ribs for dad's birthday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mad Men of Music 2

Continuing our Mad Men thread, the folks @ Sterling Cooper would have taken clients, wives and girlfriends over on the new Lincoln Center (where the NY Phil played at in 1962) and heard some remarkable music. [Many of the new pieces were commissioned for the opening of Lincoln Center!]
So without further ado, here are the ten concerts that the folks at Sterling Cooper would have gone to see and hear.

09/23/1962 SUN 9:00PM Philharmonic Hall
Bernstein, Leonard
Farrell, Eileen Soprano
Verrett, Shirley Mezzo-Soprano
Vickers, Jon TenorBell, Donald Bass-baritone
Schola Cantorum of NY
Juilliard Chorus
Addison, Adele Soprano
Amara, Lucine Soprano
Chookasian, Lili Mezzo-Soprano
Tourel, Jennie Mezzo-Soprano
Bressler, Charles Tenor
Tucker, Richard Tenor
Flagello, Ezio Bass-baritone
London, George Bass-baritone
Columbus Boychoir

The Star Spangled Banner
Beethoven / Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 / Gloria
Copland (seen left) / Connotations WORLD PREMIERE
Vaughan Williams / Serenade to Music
Mahler / Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major / Hymn: Veni, creator spiritus

10/18/1962 THU 8:30PM Philharmonic Hall
Bernstein, Leonard
Montealegre, Felicia (Lenny's wife) Speaker
Weaver, Fritz Narrator
Addison, Adele Soprano
Babikian, Virginia Soprano
Kleinman, Marlena Mezzo-Soprano
Simon, Joanna Mezzo-Soprano (seen right)
Choral Art Society

Honegger (70th bday)/ Rugby (Mouvement Symphonique No. 2)
Honegger / Pastorale d'été
Honegger / Pacific 231 (Symphonic Movement No. 1)
Debussy (100th bday)/ Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien

11/29/1962 THU 8:30PM Philharmonic Hall
Barbirolli, John
Bachauer, Gina Piano (left)
Milhaud / Overture Philharmonique WORLD PREMIERE
Delius / Intermezzo from Fennimore and Gerda
Beethoven / Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Brahms / Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73

12/13/1962 THU 8:30PM Philharmonic HallMaazel, Lorin
Ferras, Christian Violin (right)
Mendelssohn / Symphony No. 5 in D major, Op. 107, Reformation
Berg / Violin Concerto
Beethoven / Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Jan 17, 18, 19, 1963
Bernstein, Leonard
Lhevinne, Rosina Piano
Juilliard String Quartet
Mennin / Concertato, Moby Dick
Chopin / Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 11
Martinu / Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra
Ravel / La Valse

Apr 04, 05, 06, 07, 1963
Schippers, Thomas
Arroyo, Martina Soprano (left)

Britten / Variations for String Orchestra on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10
Sibelius / Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43

Apr 11, 12, 13, 14, 1963Schippers, Thomas, Conductor & Organ
Meyer, Jeffrey Boy Soprano
Walter Baker Chorus
Little Church Around the Corner Boys' Choir
St. Paul's Boys' Choir

Wagner / Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg: Prelude
Mozart / Symphony No. 38 in D major, K.504, Prague
Poulenc (seen right)/ Concerto in G minor for Organ, Strings and Timpani
Poulenc / Sept répons des ténèbres WORLD PREMIERE (COMMISSIONED BY THE NYP

Apr 25, 26, 27, 28, 1963Hindemith, Paul
Heiller, Anton Organ

Weber / Euryanthe Overture
Reger / Variations and Fugue on a Merry Theme of Johann Adolph Hiller, Op.

May 16, 17, 18, 19, 1963
Bernstein, Leonard
Stern, Isaac Violin

Mozart / Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550
Mozart / Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K.219, Turkish

Promenade / May 31, Jun 01, 02, 1963
Kostelanetz, Andre
Sills, Beverly Soprano (left)
Mozart / Le Nozze di Figaro Overture
Mozart / Symphony No. 24 in B-flat major, K.173dA
Mozart / Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, K.384 / Martern aller Arten
Mozart / Exsultate, jubilate, K.158a (K.165) / Alleluja (Allegro)
Strauss / Straussiana
Strauss / Fruhlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring), Op. 410
Strauss / Perpetuum mobile, Op. 257
Strauss / Pizzicato Polka
Strauss / Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Op. 214
Strauss / An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op.

Strauss / Der Rosenkavalier/ Waltzes
Korngold / Die tote Stadt / Marietta's Lied
Lehár / The Land of Smiles / Yours is My
Heart Alone

Strauss / Die Fledermaus / Klänge der Heimat (Csárdás)
Lehár / The Merry Widow: Suite


Ten concerts that Mad Men would have caught with new music in New York City...I also imagine since the Philharmonic was starting to play @ Lincoln Center, they would have had dessert & a drink afterwards on the upper west side.
Season 3 Mad Men concerts still to come!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lucasfilm on tour

Pretty impressive: http://www.starwarsinconcert.com/

Mad Men of Music - Season One

Mad Men begins in the early 1960s at the “Sterling Cooper advertising agency” on New York City's Madison Avenue. The show centers on Don Draper, a high-level advertising creative director, and the people in his life in/out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.
So any good ad man like Don, Bertram or Roger would have gone to the New York Philharmonic besides the cool clubs and restaurants we see them on the show.
They would have taken clients, wives and girlfriends over on 57th Street to Carnegie Hall (where the NY Phil played at in 1960) and heard some remarkable music. [Many of the concerts listed here were recorded by the Philharmonic for CBS (now Sony) Masterworks.]
So without further ado, here are the ten concerts that the folks at Sterling Cooper would have gone to see and hear.
Mad Men of Music! Season One
The first concert would have been a no brainer, help out the NYP Musicians' Pension fund with conductor Leonard Bernstein and soloist Issac Stern. The gala was on September 27, 1960 and was quite a program:
Bernstein : Candide Overture
Roy Harris: Symphony No. 3
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Then in October (13-16) the Philharmonic celebrated the 50th birthdays of William
Schuman and Samuel Barber! Bernstein was joined by Aaron Rosand in this program:
Schuman: Symphony No. 3
Barber: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14
Schumann: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Rhenish, Op. 97

Also later in October 1960 (20-23) they would have caught a world premiere by Lukas
Foss. Bernstein was joined by Leonard Rose, Lukas Foss and his Improv Chamber Ensemble Ensemble in this program:
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129
Foss: Time Cycle, for Soprano and Orchestra
Mendelssohn: Overture to Ruy Blas, Op. 95

No doubt before the agency staff took time out to have some turkey, they would have been at this concert in November 1960 with Aaron Copland and concertmaster John Corigliano, Sr.:
Gluck: Iphigénie in Aulis Overture
Franchetti : Largo for Strings, in memoriam
Dvorak: Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
Copland: Symphonic Ode
Copland: El Salón México

In December, the weather outside might have been frightful (there were several airline
accidents that winter the area), but the ad men would have warmed up to the Second Viennese School with Hans Rosbaud and pianist Rudolf Firkusny:
Schoenberg: Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16
Webern: Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
Hindemith: Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 38
Brahms: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

Early in 1961, Duck and Freddy would have recovered from any New Year's festivities and might have taken the gals to hear Morton Gould play one of his own works, conducted by Paul Paray:
Rossini: La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder) Overture
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
Gould: Dialogues for Piano and String Orchestra
Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust (The Damnation of Faust), Op. 24 / Ballet Des Sylphes / Menuet de Follets (Minuet of the Will-o'-the-Wisps) / Rakoczy March (Hungarian March)
Liszt: Les Préludes

No doubt everyone would have wanted to catch the hot red head soprano Beverly
Sills (gotta see Bubbles!) when she joined Andre Kostalanetz in early February 1961:
Chabrier: España, Rhapsody for Orchestra
Falla: El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) / PART II
Granados: Goyescas / Interlude / The Maja and the Nighting
ale, Rosario (aria)
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Una voce poco fa, Rosina (cavatina)
Albéniz: Excerpts for Orchestra, from Iberia / Fête-Dieu à Séville
Marquina: España Cani
Ponce: Estrellita (Little Star)
Lara: Granada
Traditional: La Morena di mi Copla
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34
Benjamin: Jamaican Rhumba
Traditional: La Bamba de Vera Cruz
Falla: La vida breve, Spanish Dance No. 1

In March 1961, The gals would have been interested in Glenn Gould, and no doubt the guys would have been happy to hear soprano Marni Nixon. Bernstein also had some great new works on the program too:
Boulez: Pli selon pli: Improvisations sur Mallarmé / Une dentelle s'abolit US PREMIERE
Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

Thrills were to be had with the April 1961 program that would have made the Sterling Cooper staff give a standing ovation to Lorin Hollander who joined Leonard Bernstein in this program:
Chávez: Sinfonía india (Symphony No. 2)
Khachaturian: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major,
Op. 100

Father Gill and Peggy might have been soothed and shocked by the program in mid April (Easter was April 17, these concerts were April 13-16) with soloist Zino Francescatti, guest conductor
Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein:
Mayuzumi: Bacchanale
Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 77
Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of

Ten concerts that Mad Men would have caught with new music in New York City...I also imagine since the
Philharmonic was playing at Carnegie Hall, they might have stopped at The Russian Tea Room. In 1955, the restaurant was purchased by Sidney Kaye, who, in 1967, left the restaurant to his widow, Faith Stewart-Gordon. No doubt Sterling Cooper Agency had a booth, and were known by name when they came in with a client or date.

Stay tuned for Mad Men of Music, Season Two...and coming up in August 2009, the third Season of Mad Men will have another list of concerts with new music!!!!

In the meantime, enjoy this original and mad composer, Peter Maxwell Davies - and one of the Eight Songs for a Mad King!

Concerts were compiled from the NY Philharmonic website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


From RD: "That was some week we had, huh? I mean that was QUITE a week in Vienna!"

From PE: "Zhan! Your air! Es longer!"


Entremont groupies last night @ Mannes, after the recital...it was sold out, and for good reasons - namely the killer program of the Chopin Ballades and Schubert's last sonata.


Two days and eight hours sleep, gah! But well worth the adventures!
Keep an eye out for some cool pics and reports from IKIF 2009, 67 degree misty Manhattan and flights here and there.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some good news

Today, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee (“Labor-HHS”) approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 appropriations bill that provides funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and other public broadcasting programs.

The legislation approved by the subcommittee this morning provides CPB a $440 million advance appropriation for FY 2012 (a $10 million increase over FY 2011), as well as $36 million for digital conversion and $25 million for the public radio interconnection system for FY 2010. In addition, the bill provides $40 million for grants to public television and radio stations to maintain local programming and services and preserve jobs threatened by declines in non-federal revenue sources during the current economic decline. Finally, the legislation provides $25.4 million in funding for Ready To Learn (RTL). (These numbers should be considered tentative as the Subcommittee has not yet released bill text or report language.)

We realize the Subcommittee had to make many difficult decisions in allocating resources, given the economic situation facing our country. As such, we are grateful to Chairman Obey, Ranking Member Tiahrt and the other members of the Subcommittee for the funding contained in the bill and for acknowledging the vital service public broadcasting provides to the American people. In particular, the Subcommittee’s support for the two-year advance appropriation will afford public broadcasters a measure of certainty in their business planning and serves as an important firewall ensuring editorial independence in programming decisions. Furthermore, we appreciate the Subcommittee’s recognition of the precarious financial situation of the industry by providing $40 million in emergency funding to local stations that are struggling with severe revenue shortfalls as a result of the economic downturn.

The next step for the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill is consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee, tentatively scheduled for July 17th. The Senate Appropriations Committee could begin marking up its version of this legislation as early as July 21st.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time well spent

I got to see JoAnn Falletta last weekend in action at the International Festival-Instititute at Round Top. We caught up and did this interview:

JoAnn Falletta 'Outside' the Bachs from John Clare on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Hustle and bustle

Very busy backstage before Sunday morning's concert - sold out! Friends, family and orchestra members mingle in the green room next to the stage...

Friends, new and old

Before the Sunday morning concert, Ulli and Philippe backstage.

Wienen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen

und liebe Philippe Entremont mit Wiener Kammerorchester! It was a full house Saturday and they loved the program of Danielpour, Mozart and Haydn. It was great music making and an exciting premiere!
Seen left is the audience for the afternoon concert, with Composer Richard Danielpour seen in the center.

Apologies to Bach for the title of this post...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Worth a thousand words?

I have been taking lots of pictures to share with you and my folks, and for the production...this one caught my eye, a nice look from the principal cellist of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and a few of his colleagues in the low strings.

Second fiddles

The orchestra is quite good and quite friendly, cannot wait for the concerts this weekend! This is the first stand of Second Violins in the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

Sommernachts konzert

I really enjoyed last night, a FREE concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, and "super VIP" passes from the adminstrator of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra for seating and the after party! ORF was everywhere along with other photographers and media...this is a short video of the GIANT boom they had for TV, which was broadcast live across Europe (in 50 countries) as well on screens on either side of the stage for the thousands of audience members.

More Vienna

It was another busy day, starting with coffee with Richard Danielpour and a quick listening session, before heading off to rehearsal. (Seen right is the view from the back of the orchestra and the principal horn)

I stayed through the lunch break and talked with Philippe on and off tape, then went over to the Imperial Hotel after rehearsal and showed him some raw footage of the rehearsals - he is very happy!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Another shot

From the horn section at rehearsal...

Rehearsal, Thursday morning

It went quite well this morning, and it will be quite exciting this weekend!
Seen (scene) here, at the break, Richard Danielpour speaks with Philippe Entremont.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wien, 3

This morning I met with Richard, Philippe and Christian over coffee and discussed the next few days in detail. Souvenirs rehearsal starts tomorrow!

Wien, 2

Just after arriving in Frankfurt, I boarded a train and came to Vienna. I called home, and then emailed colleagues to let them know I was in town. That led to an almost immediate dinner, which I barely changed for, and didn't realize we were all going out, but what a blast and great food.
The weather has been amazing and things are falling in place, yeay!


I'm having a blast, and will try and update this more often than not!
Taking a walk beofre a meeting this morning, I saw this Russian Orthodox church near my hotel and thought you might enjoy seeing it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free concerts

Curtis On Tour kicks off its 2009 European tour with two free recitals of American music on Friday, May 15 at 5:15pm and 8pm in Field Concert Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music. The programs feature the world premiere of a new vocal work by Curtis composition faculty member Richard Danielpour, as well as songs by Curtis alumni Samuel Barber (’34) and Ned Rorem (’44) and chamber works by Irving Fine, Stephen Hartke, and Charles Ives. Both concerts are free and no tickets are required.
Each season, Curtis On Tour brings the extraordinary artistry of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music to audiences nationwide and in Europe, with tomorrow’s leading musicians performing alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. The Curtis On Tour ensemble for the 2009 concerts in Europe pairs three students with faculty members Roberto Díaz, violist and Curtis President, and pianists Mikael Eliasen and Robert McDonald. After performing at Curtis on May 15, the ensemble will tour from May 23 through June 3, with stops in Ischia (Italy), Berlin, and Copenhagen. Curtis faculty members on the tour will also teach master classes in Berlin and Copenhagen.
Richard Danielpour’s Come up from the fields, father, written for baritone, viola, and piano, is the setting of a text by Walt Whitman. Mr. Danielpour said, “It involves the narrative of a family that discovers through a letter that their only son has been killed in the war. While in this instance Whitman was referring to the Civil War, the narrative is remarkably timely, and he is able to imbue it with the universal, largely through the presence of the silently suffering mother in the poem. I was attracted to the idea of this setting after seeing in the New York Times the faces of recently killed soldiers in the war in Iraq.” The work was commissioned for Curtis On Tour by the Curtis Institute of Music with generous support from Nancy, Alan, and Shirley Manocharian.
In addition to the repertoire performed in Philadelphia on May 15, Curtis On Tour’s European concerts will feature songs by Charles Ives and by Curtis alumnus Leonard Bernstein (’41). A complete listing of tour performances, repertoire, dates, and venues follows.
The Curtis On Tour performances embody the remarkable traditions of Curtis, where individually tailored study with a faculty of leading musicians has nurtured a long line of great performers, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, Leila Josefowicz, and Lang Lang. One of the world’s leading music schools, Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise. Students at this intimate, Philadelphia-based conservatory “learn by doing,” performing frequently and often collaborating side-by-side with their teachers. Curtis On Tour embodies this irresistible meeting of youthful exuberance and seasoned artistry.
Curtis On Tour
Adrian Kramer, baritone
Nikki Chooi, violin
Roberto Díaz, viola
Natalie Helm, cello
Mikael Eliasen, piano
Robert McDonald, piano

Philadelphia performances:
Friday, May 15 at 5:15pm
Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia
Presented by the Curtis Institute of Music
Free; no tickets required.
HARTKE: The King of the Sun for violin, viola, cello, and piano
IVES: Trio for violin, piano, and cello

Friday, May 15 at 8pm
Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia
Presented by the Curtis Institute of Music
Free; no tickets required.
FINE: Fantasia for string trio
DANIELPOUR: Come up from the fields, father for baritone, viola, and piano (world premiere)
ROREM: Aftermath for baritone, violin, cello, and piano

Tour Performances:
Ischia, Italy
Giardini La Mortella
Saturday, May 23 at 5pm
Sunday, May 24 at 4:30pm and 6pm

Berlin, Germany
American Academy in Berlin
Tuesday, May 26 at 7pm
Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin

Friday, May 29 at 7pm
Copenhagen, Denmark
Royal Danish Academy of Music
Tuesday, June 2
Wednesday, June 3

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today, well not TOday

Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann Curry are packing their bags for a new family getaway series on “Today” in May, and their first destination is San Antonio.
It’s called “Today Takes a Vacation,” and the visitors, including hosts from the later hours of “Today” — Natalie Morales, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford — will do the entire May 4 show from the Alamo City.
“Kicking off our ‘Today’ family getaway, we’ll be live in San Antonio, Texas,” Vieira announced on the show Thursday. “We’ll spend some time at the oldest working dude ranch and, of course, we’ll remember the Alamo.”
According to the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, the cast and crew will be dividing their time among three locations: Arneson River Theater, Alamo Plaza and La Villita. In fact, if you’re eager to get your face on national TV, bureau spokesman Robert Salluce says NBC is looking to get a crowd at all those places.
As for the ranch they’re visiting, that’s Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera, where the anchors will don their cowboy boots and chaps and learn the ropes. “Today” also will explore the city’s history and cuisine, including chile and barbecue. Grammy Award winner Lee Ann Womack will perform during the show.
No word if they'll stop by TPR or take questions from Classical Spotlight host John Clare...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Flew the coop

So I had a great time in San Francisco, and am catching up from the trip, looking forward to a fab 39th birthday this weekend.
To celebrate, here is some rare, special footage from last week.

There is alot more about the chickens here. Thanks to Sebastian, Maltilda and Ethan for their help with the video!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In his own words

I heard the world premiere of Dan Welcher's "You can Fool ..." last night at Round Top.
Take a look at the video here of Dan introducing the piece...

Dan's Symphony #5 is premiered in Austin this May - be there or be square!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Classical Review: Americana Symphony

The latest from OMAC is Mark O'Connor's Americana Symphony. The release has O'Connor's Symphony No. 1 "Variations on Appalachia Waltz" and his Concerto No. 6 "Old Brass." Simply put, it is music that reflects the hope of our nation and times.
O'Connor brilliantly builds on his own music in his symphony. Each movement embraces a different aspect of our country, from dances and jigs to scenes of the sky, sun and open spaces. After numerous performances around the country (and I expect there to be many more as this release is heard by managers and audiences alike) the Baltimore Symphony recorded the Americana Symphony with director Marin Alsop. Let's hope Mark pens at least eight more of them! The other work featured is O'Connor's sixth concerto. It was inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright plantation in South Carolina. If there is one thing that can out shine Mark O'Connor's composition, it is Mark O'Connor's violin playing. O'Connor fiddles, twangs and charms his melodies in brilliant orchestrations with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. Set as a traditional concerto as fast-slow-fast, there is nothing formulaic about it.
I was pleased to interview Mark in the fall of 2007, hear him live in 2008, and talk again this last December about this project and what is coming up in the new year. Take a listen to our interview over on the KPAC blog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hélène in Houston

I spoke with piano phenom Hélène Grimaud yesterday afternoon in Houston. We talked about her new Bach album, Brahms and colors in music.
Listen to our conversation: mp3 file
(Photo by Ernie Villareal)
Don't foget our converation at Carnegie Hall, or over the phone in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Extra audio

Here is my conversation with John Patitucci, I only edit out his phone number when we have audio connection problems, and boosted the low audio signal at times, otherwise, it is the raw tape - enjoy!

Patitucci performs Friday the 13th in San Antonio as part of the Redeemer Fine Arts Series.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Budge on the budget

Just in from the American Music Center:
Dear AMC members and friends,
This is a time of great challenge and great opportunity in our country. Your advocacy is needed to ensure that Congress includes the arts as a priority in an economic stimulus plan. Please consider writing to your senators, who are beginning to debate the American Reinvestment and Recovery Bill of 2009. The House version of this bill includes a supplement of $50,000,000 for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to distribute in direct grants to arts organizations to help preserve livelihoods. The Senate’s markup, however, does not include this supplement. Our representatives need to hear from us.
The week before the inauguration, leaders of national service organizations in the performing, folk and visual arts were invited to Washington to talk with the arts transition team The team was interested in your needs as expressed to us, as well as our suggestions for the NEA and ways to ensure the arts are included in this administration’s economic recovery program. On the one hand, such open, proactive reaching out by an administration is completely new in my experience, and I’ve worked in this industry for thirty-five years; it is incredibly heartening. On the other, change in government is very hard. The current administration and the congresspersons who included the arts in the House bill need our assistance right now. At this moment, we have an opportunity to help the individual artists in this country and the music of our time.
AMC is joining the organizations involved with the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) to advocate for our sector. Without recovery assistance, our field will be poorer. Without the music of living composers and all the other performing arts, our country will be poorer.
To take action and advocate for increased funding of the NEA, please visit the Performing Arts Alliance, read the recommendations of the Cultural Advocacy Group for arts recovery, PAA’s arts policy recommendations to the new administration, and above all, email your elected officials your thoughts. I hope you’ll do it today. - Joanne Hubbard Cossa

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Five Things about SOLI Chamber Ensemble

I heard the Vox Humana concert of SOLI Chamber Ensemble Tuesday night in San Antonio at Trinity University's Ruth Taylor Recital Hall.
1. The ensemble and guest performer Allison Garza gave a pre-concert talk with lots of depth, humor and musical examples. Carolyn True led the discussion with grace and blue collar charm never talking over anyone's head but made brilliant points.
2. Augusta Read Thomas' Toft Serenade was the newest work on the program (2006) and started the concert, featuring Ertan Torgul and True. Its in two sections, and is a good opener. Playful and thorny at times, it allows both parts to take on lines and shine.
3. Next, SOLI continued their Elliott Carter 100th Birthday tribute with Esprit Rude/Espirt Doux for flute and clarinet. Garza was joined by Stephanie Key in a very charming and well crafted duo written for Boulez' 75th birthday. Again, equal parts in both lyric and melodic lines were performed extremely well.
4. Michael Torke's Telephone Book was the fluff for the evening - the three movements (yellow, blue and white pages) allowed all the performers (SOLI + Garza) to collaborate. It is toe tapping and easy on the ears (except a slight ensemble flub in the finale which noone really noticed) - a perfect light work to end the first half. During intermission, whale songs on a video played while they set up for the 2nd half - I hope they can do that again Thursday - and look into more multimedia addons to both performances and their website!
5. The entire second half was George Crumb's 1971 masterpiece Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale), the oldest piece on the program, yet still spoke as if it were brand new! It's the third time I've had the chance to hear it live, although I love recordings, it is an ideal piece to experience live. And believe me, the third time is a charm with Garza, True and David Mollenauer. Blue lighting adorned the dark stage, they were all in black with black masks, and the players embraced the score and all the extended techniques that Crumb requires. They did it with panache, no fear and completely held the audience in their hands. I go to too many concerts where there are standing ovations, but I didn't hesitate on bit to be on my feet for this landmark concert. If you go to one concert this season, go hear SOLI's Vox Humana!

The program is presented again at Blue Star Thursday night 7:30pm with another pre-talk with the ensemble at 7pm. Hear an interview with members of the group AND also George Crumb at the TPR website here and another interview with Allison Garza Thursday afternoon at 2pm on Classical Spotlight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Five Things about the Houston Symphony

I heard the Houston Symphony again tonight in Jones Hall. (Read about the premiere performance Thursday night, here at Sequenza21.)

1. Augusta Read Thomas spoke before the concert (see a video clip here) - showing some of the hand written score. There were lots of questions from the audience and good background about the work and Thomas' approach to composition.

2. Absolute Ocean's first movement is poetic and pointilistic. I heard strains of Copland in the music tonight, a flavor I didn't notice Thursday. There was a complete gaff in the supertitles - which I ignored even when they returned in the second movement - choosing to focus completely on the performance and music. Soprano Twyla Robinson' diction is such that you don't need the supertitles - and her voice is pure, passionate and pleasing.

3. The second movement, complete genius, was quicker and flowed with all of its humor, charm and brilliance. Ensemble was tight with the soloists and orchestra.

4. After a brief cadenza, the finale movement is touching and appropriately dramatic. Word painting without being banal certainly highlights the poetry with sublime music.

5. Mahler's Fourth Symphony is an ideal pairing for Absolute Ocean, and in particular, Twyla Robinson - she's busy for the first 20 minutes of Thomas' piece, then has a break until the finale of Mahler...also the dreamy score of Thomas leads beautifully to the heavenly view of Mahler. A completely satisfying program.

There is another performance of Absolute Ocean and Mahler's Fourth Symphony tomorrow afternoon at 2:30pm.

Absolute Math

From the preconcert talk, Augusta Read Thomas gives a great reason why 1+1 should not equal 2.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A great 08

Information about ClassicallyHip dot com:
7,911 Unique visitors
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56,765 Pages
210,628 Hits

83 Personalites interviewed by John from January to December 2008:
Joseph Polisi
Anastasia Khitruk
Alex Shapiro
Gail Archer
Ed Rieke
Drew Stephen
Brent Watkins
Doc Severinsen
Owen Duggan
Kimball Gallagher
Nathaniel Stookey
Lee Trio
Andrea Bocelli
Ken Metz
Timothy Kramer
Diane Persellin
Yizhak Schotten
David Finkel
Charles Yang
Eric Owens
Chris Brubeck
JoAnn Falletta
Jennifer Higdon
Leonard Slatkin
Kurt Anderson (son of Leroy)
Eugene Drucker
Glen Roven
Ittai Shapiro
Rachel Barton Pine
Joshua Bell
James Galway
Peter Schickele
Stephanie Sant’ Ambrogio
David Heuser
Richard Danielpour
Philippe Entremont
Christopher Seaman
Ken David Masur
Christoph Campestrini
Alondra de la Parra
Scott Yoo
Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Orli Shaham
Ken Freudigman
Stephanie Key
Carolyn True
Ertan Torgul
Ruth Moreland
Irma Taute
Marguerite McCormick
Anya Grokhovski
Steven Stucky
Emmanuel Borok
Angela Maleek
Christopher O’Riley
Gene Scheer
Paul Phoenix, Kings Singers
David Hurley, Kingers Singers
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Michael Gordon
Sergio Assad
Carlos Alazraqui (officer James Garcia, Rocko, Lazlo)
Amanda Stewart
Augusta Read Thomas
Cynthia Lawrence
Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Nicole Narboni
Gabriela Montero
Jay Dunahoo
David Mairs
Peter Bay
Jessica Mathaes
Miguel del Aguila
Prazak Quartet
Rachel Ferris
Stephen Payne
Simone Pedroni
Stephanie Teply Westney
Sam Almaguer
Thomas Steigerwald
Mark Ackerman
Warren Jones
Leila Josefowicz

New Year's Advice

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured IN plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds, & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk, and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts, or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. REMEMBER, GOD heals everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful .

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or e-mail them to death!)

37. Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life, so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Share this with those you care about. I just did. May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but happiness come through your door!

Begin with a laugh

I thought I'd ring in the new year with a post that will make you laugh! Here is my unedited (raw if you will!) interview with Carlos Alazraqui (Officer James Garcia on Reno911) while he was in San Antonio.

Parts of this interview will air next week on Classical Spotlight, as UTSA prepares for its 4th International Conference on the Physiology and Acoustics of Singing.