Thursday, November 18, 2010

Giving Thanks: Stucky

This Thanksgiving, we're sharing thankful classical thoughts. I wanted to share music and composers I am thankful for:
Composer Steve Stucky hails from Hutchinson, KS and grew up in Waco, TX. A violist and composer, Steve won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.  We talked soon after, although he had been on my short list of composers for Composing Thoughts.  Later that year, he introduced me to a cellist who was performing in the area and was premiering a work of his.  Elinor and I connected and Steve let us broadcast the premiere! That summer I met up with Steve and Elinor in Itaca where Steve lived.
We became fast friends and have stayed in touch ever since. There were many more trips to Ithaca and we'd meet up in NYC or Dallas.  Currently Steve is chairman of the American Music Center and I was just elected to the board last May.
Steve still visits Texas and we we snapped this photo in Main Plaza downtown last November.  He'll be in Dallas again this week for his Rhapsodies and next May before the Carnegie Hall premiere of his August 4th, 1964.
Steve writes powerful and passionate music that I am grateful for and enjoy studying.
What music or composers are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Simply the greatest

Alondra de la Parra may be the world greatest living conductor.  Leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra last night, de la Parra was magical, musical, and is simply the greatest.  The encore of Ginastera was electric - called for after the third curtain call, Alondra swayed with the DSO musicians and then led the audience in clapping and swaying as well.  The entire Meyerson fell under the spell of the Malambo!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Happy 20th!

Known for entertaining New York music lovers and passionately serving the city’s children, Manhattan New Music Project (MNMP) celebrates 20 years of innovation and excellence this month with an exciting benefit performance at Joe’s Pub. The November 30 show will pay tribute to two decades of creativity and musical distinction, during which MNMP has touched thousands of lives, earned praise from critics, and won major financial backing from the U.S. Department of Education.

Since its founding in 1990 by composer Paul Nash, MNMP has presented dozens of challenging, invigorating new works by artists including Neal Kirkwood and Bruce Williamson. In addition to concerts by professional musicians, MNMP has crossed artistic and social boundaries via its wide range of educational activities, which since 1993 have included work with students at more than 100 schools in all five boroughs of New York City. With programs ranging from one-day workshops to multi-year residencies, MNMP’s educational efforts have been recognized since 2002 by the Department of Education, which signaled its continued support of MNMP earlier this year with a $4.6 million grant to advance its special education programs.       

"We are thrilled to mark this milestone occasion with such an incredible show," said Unitey Kull, Executive Director. "For 20 years, MMNP has spent its time, energy and funds on manifold aspects of performance and education, and we couldn’t ask for a better lineup of artists to help us celebrate our accomplishments!"

For MNMP’s 20th birthday celebration at Joe’s Pub, organization favorites Darcy James Argue and Claire Chase as well as founder MNMP founding member David Taylor will perform. Argue, praised as a “wickedly intelligent” composer and bandleader by The New York Times, will debut a world-premiere commissioned by the organization in loving memory of MNMP founder Paul Nash. Argue will also present works from his latest album, Infernal Machines, which was named one of the best albums of 2009 by critics at 70 media outlets, including NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The Village Voice.

Claire Chase, a founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), will bring her own vibrant style to the November 30 show, performing Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint for solo flute and tape. Applauded by Time Out New York for her "dynamic" and "indefatigable" work as a musical innovator, Chase has gained new fans since 2001 with ICE, described as a "brilliant and unexpected" musical "powerhouse" by The New Yorker.

Not to be outdone, MNMP founding member David Taylor will perform works by Paul Nash with surprise guests. Taylor has been described by theNew York Times as "a bass trombonist with a marvelously dark cavernous sound and an attack that is as vividly dramatic as it is virtuosic," was a founding member of Manhattan New Music Project in 1990. He has appeared as a soloist throughout the world, and recorded with Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Wynton Marsalis, among many others.  He will perform works by MNMP founder Paul Nash with surprise guests.

Joe’s Pub will open its doors at 6 p.m., with the music to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Project 440 winners announced

The winners of Project 440 were just revealed during intermission tonight at Carnegie Hall: Alex MincekClint NeedhamAndrew Norman and Cynthia Lee Wong
Project 440 is an exciting new commissioning program created by Orpheus in partnership with WQXR. Beginning with the selection of 60 composer nominees in June, Project 440 has invited the community to listen to, learn about, and discuss new music from emerging compositional talents around the world. The project has been marked by multiple rounds of elimination, first to 30 semi-finalists and then to 12 finalists. The four winners of the competition, selected by a committee of Orpheus musicians and industry professionals, will receive a commission from the orchestra to be premiered in 2012. Click here for more information. 

Alex Mincek (b. 1975) is a New York-based composer and performer. He studied composition with Tristan Murail and Fred Lerdahl at Columbia University and with Nils Vigeland at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a Master of Arts. Mincek's music has been performed at major music festivals, including Festival Présences of Radio France, Voix Nouvelles at the Abbaye de Royaumont, Festival des Musiques Démesurées, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Contempuls Festival in Prague and the Ostrava New Music Days. Mincek is the artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a group dedicated to experimental contemporary music, which he founded in 1998.

The music of Clint Needham (b. 1981) has been described as "wildly entertaining" (New York Times), "easy to smile at" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and "fresh and spicy" (Courier-Post). Recently named recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Needham's music has been recognized with two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, the William Schuman Prize/BMI Student Composer Award, the Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, First Prize in the International Ticheli Composition Contest, the Heckscher Prize from Ithaca College, a Lee Ettelson Composer Award and the coveted Underwood New Music Commission from the American Composers Orchestra. Clint recently earned his doctorate degree from Indiana University, where he was a four-year Jacobs School of Music Doctoral Fellow in composition.

Andrew Norman (b. 1979) is a composer of chamber and orchestral music. A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Norman studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale University. A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Norman writes music that is often inspired by forms and ideas he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of sounds and usually features some combination of bright colors, propulsive energy, a healthy dose of lyricism and the fragmentation of musical ideas into little pieces.
A composer of what the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung calls "shamelessly beautiful" music for not only the avant-garde but "for all classical enthusiasts or indeed all music lovers," Cynthia Lee Wong is much in demand by ensembles throughout the world. Current commissions include a work for the Duo Slaato Reinecke, a piano sonata-fantasy for Soo Jin Anjou and a piano quartet for the Santa Fe Music Festival and the La Jolla Music Society, which will receive performances in 2010 and 2011. Wong is a graduate of the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Music program at the Juilliard School.
A self-governing organization, Orpheus was founded in 1972 by cellist Julian Fifer and a group of fellow musicians who aspired to perform diverse orchestral repertoire using chamber music ensemble techniques. Today, Orpheus continues to uphold this philosophy, performing without a conductor and rotating musical leadership roles for each work. The effect is extraordinary: The Chicago Tribune gushes, "Orpheus Chamber Orchestra shattered the mold, becoming in the process one of the more memorable events in this festival's 13-year history." 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That brillant TED

Some observations from Julian Treasure about sound:
1.) You are a chord.
2.) One definition of health may be that that chord is in complete harmony.
3.) We see one octave; we hear ten.
4.) We adopt listening positions.
5.) Noise harms and even kills.
6.) Schizophonia is unhealthy.
7. Compressed music makes you tired.
8. Headphone abuse is creating deaf kids.
9. Natural sound and silence are good for you.
10. Sound can heal.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

440 is coming for Orpheus

Next week, New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will begin its 2010-2011 season. On October 14, Orpheus will deliver its New York season premiere performance, featuring the internationally-recognized piano virtuoso Garrick Ohlsson and broadcast live on WQXR. During the intermission of the Opening Night performance, the four winners of Project 440,Orpheus' innovative new commissioning contest, will be announced on the air. Then, on October 15, students at the Manhattan School of Music will perform a final concert as part of the orchestra's Orpheus Institute.
A self-governing organization, Orpheus was founded in 1972 by cellist Julian Fifer and a group of fellow musicians who aspired to perform diverse orchestral repertoire using chamber music ensemble techniques. Today, Orpheus continues to uphold this philosophy, performing without a conductor and rotating musical leadership roles for each work. The effect is extraordinary: The Chicago Tribune gushes, "Orpheus Chamber Orchestra shattered the mold, becoming in the process one of the more memorable events in this festival's 13-year history." 
As the only American ever to win the Chopin International Piano Competition in Poland, Garrick Ohlsson is known around the world as a master of Chopin. Since winning that coveted prize in 1970, Ohlsson has developed a powerful, electric style that prompted a New York Times review entitled, "In a Pianist's Expanding Repertory, Currents of Energy, Humor, and Drama." Next week, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will welcome Ohlsson as guest soloist for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, rounding out a program that also features Schubert's Symphony No. 4, "Tragic," and Berg's Lyric Suite. Orpheus and Ohlsson perform the same program on October 13 at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, and on October 15 at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.
Founded in 2000, the Orpheus Institute finds members of the orchestra working directly with student chamber groups and ensembles to help develop a vital set of skills for collaborative music-making, including administrative problem solving, marketing, communication, and rehearsal management. Following the success of this program, Orpheus is in the process of securing funding for a major expansion of the Orpheus Institute. This expansion, set to begin in fall 2011, will feature a broader range of partnerships with different conservatories and universities across the country, including cross-curricular courses taught by Orpheus members. Click on the image to the left to watch an introductory video.
Project 440 is an exciting new commissioning program created by Orpheus in partnership with WQXR. Beginning with the selection of 60 composer nominees in June, Project 440has invited the community to listen to, learn about, and discuss new music from emerging compositional talents around the world. The project has been marked by multiple rounds of elimination, first to 30 semi-finalists and then to 12 finalists. The four winners of the competition, selected by a committee of Orpheus musicians and industry professionals, will receive a commission from the orchestra to be premiered in 2012. Click here for more information, available on the WQXR website.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy 4th

October 4 is World Animal Day! The holiday began in Florence, Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists, with the goal of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a patron saint of animals and the environment. In 2009, over 80 countries celebrated the holiday, with a vast array of events and programs that took place all over the globe.

World Animal Day has now gone far beyond being the celebration of a Christian saint and is observed today by animal lovers and stewards of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. The official World Animal Day website ( was launched in the UK on October 4, 2003, encouraging people to commemorate their care and respect for animals, and to celebrate humankind’s special relationship with the animal kingdom. One aim is to help improve standards of animal welfare and protection of their ever-diminishing habitats.
Since its declaration, the holiday has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life. Animal blessings have been held in churches, synagogues, and by independent Animal Chaplains in parks and fields. Animal rescue shelters hold fundraising events and open adoption days, wildlife groups organize information displays, schools undertake animal-related project work and individuals and groups donate to animal welfare charities. In 2009, over 80 countries were involved, with a vast array of events from small grassroots groups to high-end galas and award ceremonies.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Today in Music History:  October 2
  • 1854 -- Inauguration of the Academy of Music in New York City with the operaNorma.

  • 1935 -- Hungarian pianist Peter Frankl is born in Budapest.

  • 1944 -- Birth of Ton (Antonius) Koopman, conductor, organist, harpsichordist and founder of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, in Zwolle, the Netherlands.

  • 1964 -- The Borodin Quartet makes its New York City debut at Carnegie Hall.

  • 2010 -- Sebastian Lang Lessing leads first concert as music director of the San Antonio Symphony.
  • Friday, September 10, 2010

    Nine years ago

    I was living in Dallas, packing for Las Vegas...since then, I have lived in Pennsylvania, and now in Texas.
    I have made my first visit to Europe, ultimately filming in Vienna, Copenhagen and this summer in China.  I spent countless nights in New York City and visited composers like George Crumb, Peter Schickele, John Corigliano and Chris Brubeck in their studios.  I was honored with a Deems Taylor Award by ASCAP and feel really good about the work I do.
    Hard to believe it has been nine years since 9/11. The world has changed and so have I...

    Thursday, September 09, 2010

    Acting credits to be added to her resume!

    Just listened and watched this new video with Janine Jansen...moving, charming and amazing playing!

    Project 440 update

    The 12 final composers from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's Project 440 will be announced live on New York Public Radio at 10 a.m. this morning. The project, which began with 60 composer candidates and will conclude with the selection of four Orpheus commission recipients later this year, offers the public a rare glimpse into the ways new orchestral commissions come to be. Prior to this round of selection, the original 60 composers were narrowed to 30 semi-finalists on August 2. Out of the 12 finalists announced today, the four winners of the competition will be selected and revealed in early October.

    The 12 composers selected to advance to the final round in Project 440 are:

    Timothy Andres
    Tyondai Braxton
    Yu-Hui Chang
    Eric Guinivan
    Alexandre Lunsqui
    Dylan Mattingly
    Alex Mincek
    Clint Needham
    Andrew Norman
    Paola Prestini
    Sean Shepherd
    Cynthia Wong

    Orpheus designed Project 440 in keeping with the passion for new music and for transparency of the creative process that has been a hallmark of the orchestra since its inception in 1972. The project is documented online on the WQXR website and on Facebook, where fans and members of the public have engaged in lively debate about each of the candidates and Project 440 as a whole. Each composer nominee has a profile page that features samples of his or her previous work and the opportunity for the public to post reactions and comments. The Project 440 website has fostered dialogue about the nature of commissioning, elements of the project that resemble a popularity contest, and a number of other topics. All of the decisions regarding the elimination of candidates are made by a Selection Committee comprised of Orpheus musicians and staff as well as previously commissioned composers.

    Orpheus cellists and Selection Committee members Jonathan Spitz and Eric Bartlett have created a series of videos to document the project from their perspective as well. Those videos are available through the Orpheus YouTube channel.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2010

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    NY concert - toy piano

    On Sunday, September 12, toy pianist Phyllis Chen opens the fifth season of Barbès Classical, Concert Artists Guild’s monthly second-Sunday series at Barbes Bar & Performance Space in Park Slope, Brooklyn. This concert celebrates the release of Ms. Chen’s second CD, Mesmers, a compilation of miniature works composed by Ms. Chen for miniature pianos, various music boxes, live electronics and bowls. Additionally, this serves as a preview for spring 2011 when Ms. Chen will at Barbès in a residency focusing on cross-genre compositions and collaborations.
    This performance will feature music from the CD, which is bookended by Carousel and Cobwebbed Carousel; the latter was written by Ms. Chen for toy pianist Margaret Leng Tan in response to Ms. Tan’s enthusiasm for the former. Other works include Colure for toy piano and bowls, Double Helix for toy piano and bowls, Taroko for music box and effects, Hypnos for two toy pianos, Passageway for sampled music box and prepared piano and Munin Raven for music boxes and live-electronics.
    This new CD is representative of several diverse projects for Phyllis Chen, an artist whose pursuits take her in numerous directions as a toy pianist, pianist, composer and performance artist. In addition to Mesmers, Ms. Chen launches The Looking Glass ReWondered in 2010-2011, a multimedia program inspired by fairytales and created in collaboration with video artist Rob Deitz. Sounding Off: A Fresh Look at Classical Music, a recent six-city tour with cellist Johannes Moser, was a great success, merging the classical canon with the cutting-edge. Ms. Chen was the featured musician for the world premiere and ensuing six-week run of Stephin Merritt’s Off-Broadway production, Coraline, and she is a member of ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), a Chicago and New York-based collective dedicated to the performance and promotion of new works.
    Concert Artists Guild is a not for profit arts service organization whose mission is to discover nurture and promote young musicians. CAG helps talented artists, identified through its annual international competition, to build sustainable careers. Barbès Classical is the flagship series of CAG’s New Music/New Places initiative which presents CAG artists in non-traditional venues such as bars, clubs and galleries, introducing diverse audiences to concert music. Competition winners are also presented on the CAG Winners Series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The CAG Records label enables roster musicians to get their music onto disc and into the marketplace. The CAG Commissioning Program ensures that classical music continues to be a living art form by fostering collaborations between performers and composers.

    ________LISTING INFORMATION_________

    Barbès Classical
    Sunday, September 12, 7:00 pm – Barbès Bar and Performance Space, 376 Ninth Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
    PHYLLIS CHEN, toy piano
    CD Release Concert - Mesmers
    $10 suggested contribution

    Mesmers track listing:
    Carousel for toy piano and hand-cranked music box
    Colure for toy piano and bowls
    Double Helix for toy piano and bowls
    Taroko for music box and effects
    Hypnos for two toy pianos
    Passageway for sampled music box and prepared piano
    Munin Raven for music boxes and live-electronics
    Cobwebbed Carousel for toy piano and hand-cranked music box

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    CMA Live Chat 7/14/10 12pm central

    Join in the discussion Wednesday July 14th, 12pm central

    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    Yazz Festival

    Wonderland of the Americas, formerly Crossroads Mall, in conjunction with the Balcones Heights Convention and Visitors Bureau and Clear Channel Radio, is hosting the 17th Annual Balcones Heights Jazz Festival at the new Wonderland of the Americas Amphitheater, located at 4522 Fredericksburg Road, 78201.
    The Jazz Festival will be held every Friday starting July 9th through August 6th from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Admission is FREE and open to the public with outdoor seating in the Amphitheater on a first-come, first-served basis. Food and beverages are available for purchase at a variety of booths, as well as the adjacent Food Court inside Wonderland of the Americas.
    In addition to the great music and food, Wonderland of the Americas will be holding a raffle throughout the entire five-week Jazz Festival. The Mall will be giving away a total of five, 50” LG Plasma TVs. The actual give-away and winner announcement will take place at the conclusion of each Jazz Festival, on stage at the Americas Amphitheater. The winner must be present to win.
    The line-up for the 17th Annual Balcones Heights Jazz Festival includes:
    · July 9th Eric Marienthal Saxophonist
    Groove Therapy Smooth/Straighahead

    · July 16th Peter White Guitarist
    Lynn Riley Saxophonist

    · July 23rd Cindy Bradley Trumpet/Flugelhorn
    Fingerprints Smooth/Soul/R & B

    · July 30th Four80East Smooth Jazz Band
    Will Donato Saxophonist

    · August 6th Jackiem Joyner Smooth/Soul/R & B
    The Brew Latin

    For more information, visit or call 210-732-0055.

    Thursday, July 01, 2010

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    GTOC: Back home

    Happy to be back in the US. Luggage will arrive later today, whew!
    My general impression of China is fairly negative - it's a polluted, money grubbing communist state. There are some gorgeous scenery and nice people, but on a whole, I'll pass.
    More soon!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    GTOC: update Tokyo

    We are delayed in Tokyo and will head out Friday morning on our #greattourofchina. It has been very long, but grateful to be in a hotel and confirmed for the morning flight. I celebrated with a Rocky Patel cigar in the hotel bar on the top floor.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    GTOC: Bon voyage concert

    It was a delightful sendoff for YOSA at Convenant Presbyterian Church last night. The first group heads out today and the rest of us leave tomorrow, meeting up in Beijing on Thursday night!

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    GTOC: YOSA Rehearsal

    The first rehearsal for YOSA's #greattourofchina got underway this morning! They are playing some fun rep, here's Troy Peters in action with the group.
    The farewell concert is Monday night at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the tour goes June 16-28. Follow my travels with YOSA on the KPAC Blog here and I'll post more personal details here, ooo ohh. ;)

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Up on the rooftop

    Three friends hanging at a party downtown! Soon Dave & Steph will be at the Grand Teton Festival - while I head to China and New York this summer. We got to spend some good time last night though downtwon at Artpace!

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    China behind the scenes

    Here we are in San Antonio talking about next week's concert of YOSA before we head out to China. Troy Peters is here and I'm behind the camera along with YOSA's marketing person, Nicte Hayes.

    Tuesday, June 01, 2010

    RIP Lees

    I was really bummed to hear about the passing of Composer Benjamin Lees this last weekend. I first met Lees in 1994 in Wichita for their 50th anniversary and a celebration work he wrote for the orchestra ans Zouhuang Chen.
    Years later (about 10) I interviewed him for 20/20 Hearing in Las Vegas. I will post that audio soon.
    Then friend in a chamber ensemble brought his name up having worked with him on a few quartets.
    Rest in peace.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Monday, May 24, 2010


    A new feature, David Mollenauer discussing wine!

    From a recent Argentine dinner at the Mollenauers!

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    More prep

    So I am very excited about going to China next month. I'm covering the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) tour and it is a delightful 12 days. This week there is a meeting for the tour group and next month a series of rehearsals and concerts. Last fall I taped a short segment of rehearsal and since have been doing paper work, etc for it.
    As the final stretch gets closer, I'll do some more interviews, and music research. I've also set up for my uncle to stay with my parents while I am gone (and through my time at West Branch International Music Festival & Institute as well).
    Yesterday I had time to look at some luggage, and after the meeting make a final decision about what I will take, etc.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    CT Live

    Jennifer Higdon was the focus of the very first Composing Thoughts LIVE. It was nice to sit down with her for a few minutes and talk with her about music, the Pulitzer Prize, eighth blackbird and so much more. (Photo by Xi Wang)

    Keep an eye out for our HD video on the CT website,

    Old friends

    I first spoke with Jennifer Higdon while in Las Vegas working for KCNV. Later we actually met in Philadelphia when I worked at WITF. Now at KPAC, we caught up in Dallas.
    (photo by Xi Wang)

    Dallas visit

    I had a great time last night in Dallas, hearing a new work by Jennifer Higdon with Hilary Hahn.
    I had a chance to catch up with Jennifer, a dear friend: here we are at the Meyerson Symphony Hall beforehand speaking for an episode of Composing Thoughts. (picture by Xi Wang)

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Creme brulee anyone?

    A friend was impressed with my new lighter (seen left).

    It is a joy to light up cigars with, and I will have to now make some dessert too! :)


    Lots of things go into work, including research, communication, I prepare to document a concert or event, I make sure cameras are ready, know what the program will, etc.
    I'm looking forward to two big projects this summer and the prep work started last November! YOSA will tour in China next month and I will go along for Texas Public Radio and cover their journey. It's going to be fun to see sights, experience new things and share with others what is happening with a local youth arts group on an international tour! (I'll also get to see a talented & gorgeous composer friend from Dallas who will be visiting her family in China at the same time!)
    In July, I'll be at the West Branch International Music Festival & Academy in upstate New York. The prep work for this started in February and included a great trip to Copenhagen in March. Just recently I was in New York and did more interviews and filming (watch for some updates soon!) on location.
    Basically I'm amazed at the length of time to craft some things - and yet have always realized that you should not rush into anything. Quality takes time.
    I'm also reminded relationships are this way too, like a project, that take time. You can't rush into something.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    Beethoven Brakes and Beauty

    Gosh, I let April slip by without an entry here - but what an April, turning 40. Although I did lots of blogging for KPAC and Composing Thoughts - check them out if you don't already!
    Today I rehearse Beethoven 7th & Emperor Concerto with Mid Texas Symphony (I play 2nd violin) and then play a concert with UIW Orchestra (where I play very HIGH 1st violin) - Barber, Poulenc & Copland, a very nice program also. I just finished changing the passenger side brake pads and rotor on my Saturn. (the brake part of the title).
    It took about 15 minutes this morning, once I was awake with coffee and cigar in hand, to do the brakes. While my dad and I don't see eye to eye on politics these days, when it comes to automotive work, we click. His dad was a mechanic, and my dad passed along all of his knowledge to us boys. When it comes to cars, my dad is aces. So with the past few days having lots of stress and health concerns, this morning was very enjoyable for my dad. In fact, I bet his blood pressure went down!
    Last night I heard the San Antonio Symphony in a delightful program of Turina, Piazzolla and Rachmaninoff with a friend. She is young, gorgeous and fun. We've spent the last few days getting to know each other even more and it's exciting. (The beauty part of the title.) We really enjoyed the symphony program - with wonderful dynamic and tempo changes, the orchestra turned on a dime in Rachmaninoff's Third Symphony! I joked that I didn't know if Sergei (the composer) or Josep (the conductor) was more schizophrenic, with tenmpo changes that sped up and slowed down, giving romantic Hollywood sound and excitement.
    Ertan Torgul was the soloist in the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, and was stellar. He's the acting concertmaster of the SA Symphony, and a good friend. We joined him and the conductor with a few friends afterwards (they had dinner, we had dessert) for even more fun at Oloroso. I had mentioned to my date that we were invited to hang afterwards with the conductor and soloist, and later said, great, how am I going to top this?! (I'll manage, hehehe, I'm sure, I seemingly have great luck!) [pictured are Ertan Torgul and his wife Kim]
    So now, I need to go warm up and practice both Beethoven and the UIW program. I'll carpool with another violinist (who is a great composer/preformer) who is doing both gigs.
    But I plan to keep this up more often with updates - there is a trip Monday to NYC and West Branch Fishing lodge for AMC and WBIMF.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Behind the Scenes: WBIMF 3

    A look at this year's West Branch International Music Festival with founder and artistic director Odin Rathnam. Filmed at the Phoenix Hotel in Copenhagen, using pictures from the Royal Danish Opera House rehearsal, and from the West Branch 2009 Music Festival.

    WBIMF: Odin Rathnam from John Clare on Vimeo.

    Learn more at

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Behind the Scenes: WBIMF 2

    Coming up this July, the chamber music scene and orchestral world expands in New York with the West Branch International Music Festival. From July 18 to August 1, students and concertgoers will enjoy music with some of the world's greatest musicians including Lars Bjornkjaer, Sara Sant'Ambrosio, Odin Rathnam and Arianna Zukerman!
    One of the faculty for West Branch International Music Festival is Christian Hørbov-Meier, violinist and conductor. He will lead performances of Grieg, Sibelius, Mozart and more. I spoke with him recently about the upcoming festival:

    While West Branch International Music Festival is accepting under 40 students, scholarships are available for many! Apply online and find out more information at:
    Look for more interviews ahead with Odin Rathnam and performance videos!

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Behind the Scenes: WBIMF

    Coming up this July, the chamber music scene and orchestral world expands in New York with the West Branch International Music Festival. From July 18 to August 1, students and concertgoers will enjoy music with some of the world's greatest musicians including Anker Buch, Wendy Warner, Odin Rathnam and Anthony McGill!
    One of the faculty for West Branch International Music Festival is Sir Lars Bjornkjaer, concertmaster of the Royal Danish Opera. I spoke with him recently about the upcoming festival:

    While West Branch International Music Festival is accepting under 40 students, scholarships are available for many! Apply online and find out more information at:
    Look for more interviews ahead with Odin Rathnam and Christian Hørbov-Meier!

    Friday, March 19, 2010


    Well, it was a pretty easy trip to Copenhagen. My flight to Atlanta was uneventful and filled with the gorgeous, yet obnoxious LaCrosse team from Bowdoin. While waiting to board, they did a roll call, which while cute, made me be quite glad I brought several pairs of earplugs.
    The next, longer leg was fine, I had the center row (three seats!) to myself. They had three great movies which I watched in and out of sleep: Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Invention of Lying (I really want to see this!), and Star Trek.
    The cab ride to the hotel was mercifully short and the room is really amazing - looking out to the square. Odin is here and we have talked about rehearsal and dinner.
    I just got back from a nice walk, cigar, and a yummy hot chocolate (mixed milk & dark) before a nap.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Joyce @ the Met

    Don't miss the YANKEE DIVA herself!
    Rossini’s "Le Comte Ory" will have its Met premiere on March 24, 2011. The production will star Juan Diego Flórez in the title role, Diana Damrau as Countess Adèle and Joyce DiDonato as Isolier. The production will be broadcast to cinemas on April 9, 2011.

    JC as emcee

    I'm hanging with CCSA this Saturday in San Antonio - to benefit the Children's Chorus. Come out to Radius!
    I'll see you there!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Creative SA


    San Antonio-based Creative Civilization, known for its high-profile and award-winning work, is enjoying a week filled with numerous accolades for its creative and public relations campaigns, including 12 ADDY Awards from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and two statewide awards from the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA).
    Creative Civilization will accept 12 ADDY Awards at a special presentation on Saturday, February 20, 2010 for creative work produced for University Health System, American State Bank, San Antonio Opera, George Gervin Youth Center, The Magik Theatre, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and agency self-promotion. The award winning work includes a variety of categories including television, print, outdoor, video and collateral materials.
    “These awards are a reflection of our agency culture and mantra,” says Al Aguilar, Chairman and CEO of Creative Civilization. “‘Inspiration is all around us’ is more than just words – it’s our way of viewing the world. “
    In addition to the agency’s creative awards, Creative Civilization will also receive two statewide accolades from the Texas Public Relations Association on March 4, 2010. The agency won a Silver Spur award from the TPRA in the “Special Events” category for the George Gervin Celebrity Roast and a Best of Texas Award for the San Antonio Opera.
    “Our public relations work continues to demonstrate the power of PR,” says Gisela Girard, President and COO of Creative Civilization. “It is an integral part of our integrated approach to the market.”
    The George Gervin Celebrity Roast, held in March 2009, honored San Antonio Spurs legend, George “The Iceman” Gervin. The high-profile event was attended by more than 1200 guests including basketball legend Hall-of-Famers Bill Russell and Julius “Dr. J” Erving, among others. The roast benefited the George Gervin Youth Center’s “Legends of the Future” Capital Campaign. Funds from the Celebrity Roast helped the organization reach its goals to break ground on the George Gervin Fitness and Wellness Center in June 2009.
    The agency won a Best of Texas Award from the TPRA for the San Antonio Opera 2009-2010 “Vacation for the Soul” season brochure, which was created to communicate opera’s ability to transport people around the world. The San Antonio Opera’s season was kicked off in September 2009 with a futuristic production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.
    Creative Civilization, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a nationally recognized advertising agency representing regional and national clients in the general, Hispanic and business-to-business markets. Inspiration Is All Around Us™ is the agency’s mantra that fuels creative solutions across all agency disciplines. Founded in 1999 by advertising leaders Al Aguilar and Gisela Girard, Creative Civilization offers a wide range of services, including research, strategic planning, account management, creative, media planning and buying, public and media relations, promotions, event marketing and grassroots initiatives. For more information, visit

    Happy 125


    Today, Friday, February 19, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops announce details of the orchestra’s 125th anniversary season, May 4-June 20, 2010, outlining programs that celebrate the orchestra’s rich tradition of performing the great music of this country’s past and present, for which the Boston Pops is so well known. Season details are also available at TICKETS FOR THE 125TH BOSTON POPS SEASON, PRICED FROM $20-$99, GO ON SALE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, THROUGH BOSTONPOPS.ORG OR BY CALLING 888-266-1200.

    The 125th season opens on May 4 with a gala concert featuring multiple Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel and the inimitable Doc Severinsen, who holds the distinction of having performed under the batons of Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart—a perfect addition to a program honoring the leadership legacies of the three most famous Boston Pops conductors. During the season the Pops will present the world premiere of a new work in honor of the Kennedy brothers, mark the 10th anniversary of the popular radio and TV show “From the Top,” focus on esteemed artists from the fields of jazz, musical theater, and pop, including Dave Brubeck, Kelli O’Hara, and Maureen McGovern, and honor the legacies of such musical titans as Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Daniel Bernard Roumain, who in concert melds his classical music roots with his own Haitian-American cultural references and vibrant musical imagination, and Ozomatli, the multi-Grammy award-winning, genre-defying sensation, join the orchestra for programs that continue the Pops tradition of focusing on the best and brightest new talent on the musical scene today. Returning to the Pops schedule is the legendary film music series under the direction of John Williams, this year marking his 30th anniversary with the Pops, and one of the newest Pops traditions, Gospel Night with Charles Floyd. To bring the 125th season to a close in June, the Boston Pops will present one of this country’s greatest living legends—the incomparable Arlo Guthrie. A complete program listing appears at the end of this press release.
    Photos, video, artist bios, and a Boston Pops 125 timeline and history are available at


    On May 18, Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and several celebrity narrators will perform the world premiere of “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers,” honoring Massachusetts native sons John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy. Written by Peter Boyer, composer of Ellis Island, which many rank as one of the most successful large-scale American orchestral works of the last decade, and Lynn Ahrens, lyricist of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Ragtime, “The Dream Lives On” pays tribute to the call to public service, drive for social change, and the legacy of optimism for America’s future, a spirit epitomized by the Kennedy brothers. This new piece will feature four narrators: three male voices representing the three Kennedy brothers and a female voice for the portions of the narration that are not quotes. The new work will also be featured in concert on May 19, 20, 21, and 22. With these performances, the Boston Pops also marks the 40th anniversary of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. BOSTON POPS 125th TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY TO AIR ON PBS IN SPRING
    A Boston Pops 125th documentary, to air nationally on PBS this spring (further details about broadcast dates to be announced at a later date), will highlight the Pops as an intrinsic part of this country's musical heritage by celebrating its past, present, and future. The tribute recalls how Arthur Fiedler (1930-79) created the modern-day Pops, establishing the orchestra as a national icon and introducing innovations that continue today. The program will also reflect on how Conductor Laureate John Williams (1980-1993) and present-day conductor Keith Lockhart (1995 to present) have shepherded the orchestra through three decades of change in the world of music. The Boston Pops 125th documentary was made possible by a grant from the Mugar Foundation.

    This special program will feature interviews and/or performances by Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Vanessa Williams, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Sarah Vaughan, and Roberta Flack. Rare footage of favorite artists past and present, including Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Sammy Davis, Jr., John Raitt, k.d. lang, Patti LaBelle, and Elvis Costello, as well as Broadway stars Ethel Merman, Bernadette Peters, Nathan Lane, and Jerry Herman will also be featured. The program is being produced by longtime Evening at Pops producer, Susan Dangel.
    The Boston Pops is also announcing a national contest to bring a family of four to Boston for the Boston Pops' Fourth-of-July concert on the Charles River Esplanade, with airfare, hotel and ground transportation to and from Logan Airport provided by the travel partners of the Boston Pops: American Airlines, The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, and Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation. Contestants must submit a 125-character-or-less message describing why the Pops should choose their family for a trip to Boston's famous July 4 celebration this year. Entries can be submitted via text message by cell phone, on the Pops Facebook and Twitter pages, or on the Boston Pops website. All submissions are due by May 15. For more information about this contest, please visit
    [DBR will be in San Antonio the end of February @ the Carver Center!]
    The Boston Pops will present a special 125th anniversary education program at three area schools to bring music into the classroom by creating connections between music and the lives of today's students. The program, headed by Keith Lockhart, joined by composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain and members of the Boston Pops in performance, will feature in school lecture-demonstrations, and provide students the opportunity to attend live performances at Symphony Hall. To accompany the in-school program and reach out to other kids, the Pops will create an online, interactive feature as part of this new initiative. The details will be announced in the spring.
    Following the phenomenal success of its launch in 2009, Fidelity FutureStage at the Boston Pops returns to Symphony Hall in 2010. Developed by Fidelity Investments to expand its long-standing support of the arts through music and other arts education programs in local communities, the Fidelity FutureStage at the Boston Pops Music Competition is open to full time students grades 9-12 attending any public high school in Boston or Cambridge. Up to four instrumental and/or vocal grand prize winners will be selected to perform at a special Boston Pops Concert on May 26 at Symphony Hall. Applications for the 2010 music competition are now available and will be accepted through March 26, 2010. For more information and application details, visit or
    125 WEB INITIATIVES AND WEEKLY WGBH CONCERTS celebrates the Pops 125th anniversary season with an interactive timeline of the Pops and its history and a weekly series of Pops video podcasts throughout the season. Highlights will include details about the Pops inception by civil war veteran and Boston Symphony Orchestra founder Henry Lee Higginson; its explosion into the public awareness during the 50-year tenure of the charismatic maestro Arthur Fiedler; its Hollywood partnerships under the baton of John Williams; and its continuing evolution under the leadership of Keith Lockhart, all of which will be illustrated in a colorful, interactive interface with historic and current day images. The site will also feature weekly video podcasts throughout the 125th season, each taking a closer look at the week's programming with interviews with Keith Lockhart and special guest artists. The Boston Pops is online at, part of, the largest and most visited orchestra site in the world, receiving more than 7.5 million visitors annually.

    In addition, WGBH's 99.5 All Classical station will air weekly Saturday-evening Boston Pops broadcasts throughout the season, May 4-June 20.
    Boston's Shops at Prudential Center will mark the Boston Pops' 125th anniversary with an archival exhibit at the Huntington Avenue Arcade, starting in mid-April for three weeks. The focal point of this special display will be a Boston Pops 125 timeline that will give viewers a look into the orchestra's storied history and the many accomplishments that collectively have made the Boston Pops one of Boston's and the country's most treasured traditions. Photos and video of past and present times, along with archival materials including old album covers, programs, and menus, as well as special features on Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart, are just a few of the highlights of this 125th exhibit.
    Performing ensembles made up of members of the Boston Pops will present a series of parks concerts, bringing their music to communities throughout the Greater Boston area.
    In honor of the Pops 125th Anniversary, the annual Presidents at Pops fundraising event, now in its 29th year, will present a program marking this landmark year for the Pops. The evening will begin with a pre-concert celebratory reception in festively decorated Symphony Hall. The evening's program, including a performance of the Pops' new work, “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers,” honoring Massachusetts native sons John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, will pay special homage to the history of the orchestra by highlighting the unique contributions of the Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart eras, with special guests joining the orchestra for this anniversary celebration. Although tickets to this event have traditionally been available exclusively to the Boston business community, individual tickets and special ticket packages will be offered to the general public. Further details about this gala fund raiser will be announced at a later date.

    WEEK ONE, MAY 4-8
    Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in a concert that celebrates the 125-year storied history of the Boston Pops in a three-part program that showcases the Pops—past, present, and future—starting with the modern-day Pops, ushered in by Arthur Fiedler starting in the 1930s. The program begins with an exploration of the legacy of Arthur Fiedler and how he put the Pops on the musical map, highlighted by a performance of George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” by pianist Michael Chertock. The program continues with musical selections that consider the singular contributions of conductor/composer John Williams, with a special focus on the great film scores he brought to the Pops. An appearance by the inimitable Doc Severinsen, former band leader of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and one of the few artists to have performed with Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart, will also be featured. For the final portion of the program, Keith Lockhart presents musical selections that highlight the orchestra's present-day accomplishments, while also providing a lighthearted glimpse into the Pops' future and imagining what might be in store down the road for this great orchestra. This portion of the program will feature multiple Tony Award-winning actress and vocalist Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked) who will sing her Broadway hits and a selection from her new CD “I Stand.”

    Broadway powerhouse Idina Menzel – the multiple Tony Award-winning singer/actress who played "Elphaba" in the international blockbuster Wicked – joins Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for two nights this spring, May 5 and 6. Idina Menzel, considered one of the great vocal performers of our time, with a repertoire that focuses largely on classic pop and musical theater favorites, will sing hits from Wicked and Rent, as well as songs from her album "I Stand." Recently in the news, Ms. Menzel will be featured on the popular FOX TV show "Glee!" this spring.
    Winners of multiple Grammy Awards, Ozomatli perform a genre-defying blend of Latin, hip hop, rap, funk, and rock. The group is well known for going beyond the bounds of the usual performance space, playing in the aisles, and creating a party atmosphere that adds both fun and excitement to all their performances. These performances by Ozomatli continue the Pops tradition of bringing the best and brightest new talent on today's music scene to the Boston Pops stage.
    Ozomatli, designated U.S. Cultural Ambassadors, have showcased their unique sound in appearances on TV's Sex and the City, Dancing with the Stars, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and in the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed as well as in concerts at Coachella, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Berkshire Music Festival, and on tour as the opening act for Carlos Santana.
    WEEK TWO, MAY 11-15
    John Williams, the highly acclaimed composer and conductor behind blockbuster films including Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the Harry Potter series, brings audiences a night showcasing some of the most memorable movie music of all time. Currently Boston Pops Conductor Laureate and celebrating his 30th anniversary with the Pops, John Williams served as Boston Pops Conductor from 1980-1993. The May 15 performance is SOLD OUT.
    When John Williams succeeded Arthur Fiedler in 1980, he was the most highly acclaimed composer in Hollywood, and today, with 45 Academy Award nominations, he is the most-nominated living person in Academy history. With the Pops, John continued the orchestra's prolific recording tradition and entertained audiences with live orchestral accompaniment to some of the great film clips of the 20th and 21st centuries. He brought in the great arrangers of the day to produce new and exclusive Boston Pops arrangements of American songbook classics and legendary hits of the jazz, swing, and big band eras. And he brought a bit of Hollywood to the Pops stage, with special appearances by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Frank Langella, not to mention Darth Vader, R2D2, and C3PO.

    WEEK THREE, MAY 18-22
    “American Heroes” concerts celebrate the legacy of many of our great nation's leaders, servicemen, and everyday citizens, whose lives and principles are forever woven into the fabric of American history. The program features the world premiere performances of “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers,” honoring Massachusetts native sons John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy. Written by Peter Boyer, and Lynn Ahrens, the new work pays tribute to the call to public service, drive for social change, and the legacy of optimism for America's future, a spirit epitomized by the Kennedy brothers. With these performances, the Boston Pops also marks the 40th anniversary of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
    These concerts also feature a very special Star-Spangled Banner, The National 9/11 Flag – the flag that was hanging before, during, and after the attacks across from the South Tower – accompanied by members of the New York and Boston Fire Departments, as well as volunteers who travel to disaster areas to help rebuild in a mission to “Pay It Forward.” The flag presentation includes a preview of a feature-length documentary film by Scott Rettberg and Megan Sleeper, called “New York Says Thank You,” which will make its world premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. The presence of the 9/11 Flag is an especially appropriate accompaniment to these Boston Pops concerts premiering “The Dream Lives On,” as President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which for the first time officially recognized September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Also, in the aftermath of 9/11 Senator Kennedy personally called the 177 Massachusetts families who had lost loved ones in the attack.
    The May 19 program is the annual Presidents at Pops gala, described earlier in the release. The May 18 and 20 performances are SOLD OUT.
    Peter Boyer is one of the most celebrated young composers working today. His work has been commissioned and performed by more than 80 orchestras worldwide including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Dallas Symphony. In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is an active film and television arranger and has twice arranged and orchestrated music for the Academy Awards. His . His Grammy-nominated work Ellis Island : The Dream of America, which premiered in 2002, was broadcast on NPR's SymphonyCast and recorded with actors including Barry Bostwick, Blair Brown Olympia Dukakis and Eli Wallach.
    Writer and lyricist Lynn Ahrens began her career writing songs for "Schoolhouse Rock." In her longtime partnership with composer Stephen Flaherty, she's enjoyed tremendous Broadway success with shows including Once on this Island, Dessa Rose, Seussical the Musical, and Ragtime for which Ahrens won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. The pair also collaborated on the animated movie Anastasia. Her songs have been recorded and/or performed by Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah, Johnny Mathis, Richard Marx and Donna Lewis, Renée Fleming and Bryn Terfel, Donny Osmond, Deana Carter, Audra McDonald, and many others.
    WEEK FOUR, MAY 25-29
    Maureen McGovern, one of America's most popular vocalists, performs a concert that features songs from her newest album, A Long and Winding Road, celebrating the music that inspired her beginnings as a singer in the late '60s. The album features an eclectic mix of songs from such groundbreaking singer-songwriters as Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Carole King, and Paul McCartney, including “The Times They Are a-Changin',” “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” “Fire and Rain,” and “Let It Be.” The May 27 performance is SOLD OUT. The May 26 concert will feature on-stage performances by the winners of the Fidelity FutureStage Music Competition.
    Maureen McGovern burst onto the music scene in the early 1970s and quickly became known for her hit theme songs to The Poseidon Adventure,The Towering Inferno, and Gold, and later for her appearance as Sister Angelina, the singing nun, in the 1980 disaster movie spoof Airplane. Ms. McGovern has also been acclaimed for her success on the Broadway stage, with roles in The Pirates of Penzance, Nine, Three Penny Opera, and most recently as Marmee in Little Women. Her CD, "A Long and Winding Road," was released in 2009 and is a tribute to the music of her baby boomer childhood.
    The legendary Ray Charles set the standard for greatness during a remarkable career that spanned more than five decades. This Boston Pops concert, under the direction of Robert Bernhardt, features Ray Charles's protégé Ellis Hall singing hits including “Georgia on My Mind,” “Hit the Road Jack,” and “Unchain My Heart.” The May 28 performance is SOLD OUT.
    The first and only artist signed to Crossover Records, the record label formed by his mentor Ray Charles, Ellis Hall is a dynamic multi-instrumentalist (piano, bass, drums, and guitar) and singer who has performed and recorded with many musical giants including Patti LaBelle, John Mayer, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, Earth Wind & Fire, the Spinners, Natalie Cole, Michael McDonald, James Taylor, and Stevie Wonder, as well as Ray Charles himself. Hall was featured as the lead vocalist for Kenny G on his debut hit single "What Does it Take," was lead vocalist, keyboardist, songwriter, arranger, and producer for the group Tower of Power, and enjoyed tremendous acclaim as a member of the multi-platinum group the California Raisins. Conductor Robert Bernardt has been described in the press as having a "high energy conducting style and easy stage presence." A frequent guest on the Boston Pops podium, Bernhardt serves as music director of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera and principal pops conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. He has performed with artists from all arenas of the musical world including Ray Charles, Wynona Judd, Ben Folds, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and PDQ Bach.
    A Library of Congress “Living Legend,” 90-year-old pianist Dave Brubeck and his acclaimed quartet perform orchestral arrangements of “In Your Own Sweet Way,” “A Salute to The Count – The Basie Band Is Back in Town,” “Unsquare Dance,” and “The Duke.” The program also features a special nod to the fiftieth anniversary of the chart-topping “Take Five,” performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album Time Out, which remains one of the best known jazz standards ever.
    2009 Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck’s signature innovative rhythms and unusual time signatures have made him one of the most popular jazz musicians of all time. The Dave Brubeck Quartet has been performing to sell-out audiences since their first crossover hit "Take Five" was released over fifty years ago.
    The Pops and jazz vocalist Dee Daniels pay homage to Duke Ellington, one of the most influential figures in American music. Duke Ellington, who recorded with Arthur Fiedler and the Pops, wrote over 3,000 songs during his lifetime, but is best known for “It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Mood Indigo,” “Solitude,” and “Satin Doll,” all of which will be performed by the Boston Pops. The June 3 performance is SOLD OUT.
    Known for her powerful four-octave voice, jazz vocalist Dee Daniels has performed with some of the R&B, gospel, blues, and jazz world's best-known musicians including Sarah Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Bill Charlap, and Toots Thielemans. She has also performed in solo concerts with symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. Considered "one of the best pops conductors in America," Jeff Tyzik, principal pops conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, is known for his creative arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences.
    WEEK SIX, JUNE 8-12
    For the past decade, “From the Top” has been the preeminent showcase for America's best young musicians through its weekly NPR radio series and its recent television show on PBS. The Boston Pops celebrates the 10th anniversary of this successful program with a concert featuring young musicians from Boston and across the country, who join Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for a live taping of the popular radio program, this time with acoustically acclaimed Symphony Hall serving as backdrop. Renowned pianist Christopher O'Riley, who shares a special rapport with the musicians, will serve in his role as program host.

    Spotlighting the extraordinary talents of Broadway star Kelli O'Hara, these programs pay special tribute to legendary composer/songwriter Cole Porter, one of the best-known contributors to the Great American Songbook. Vocal Fellows from the Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Symphony's prestigious summer music academy for young professional musicians, will also be featured in this program, to include such Cole Porter hits as “I've Got You Under My Skin,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Love for Sale,” “Night and Day,” and “Don't Fence Me In,” as well as favorites from the Tony award-winning musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate.
    Kelli O'Hara recently starred on Broadway as Nellie Forbush in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific. She has also appeared on Broadway in A Light in the Piazza, for which she was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards, The Sweet Smell of Success opposite John Lithgow, and with Harry Connick, Jr., in The Pajama Game.
    Conductor Charles Floyd, special guests, and the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, bring thrilling performances of the some of America's best contemporary Gospel music to Symphony Hall. The passion, delight, and sense of celebration that these programs have consistently evoked, have made them one of the highlights of every Pops season.
    In January 2009, Charles Floyd conducted the HBO pre-inaugural concert “We Are One” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for President Barack Obama. Leader of the beloved Gospel Night at Pops since 1993, Charles Floyd has worked with orchestras throughout the country and world and enjoyed an eleven-year tenure as music director for singer Natalie Cole. Projects with Ms. Cole have included the multiple Grammy Award-winning tribute to Nat King Cole entitled Unforgettable, With Love, the Emmy Award-winning PBS Great Performances concert video of the same title, as well as the Grammy-winning releases Take a Look and Stardust. Charles Floyd has created arrangements and orchestrations for wide variety of artists, including Sting, Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Grace Bumbry, James Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Mark O'Conner, k.d. lang, Stevie Wonder, and Wynona Judd.
    WEEK SEVEN, JUNE 15-20
    Re-mastered clips from the great movie musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein come together with the films' original vocals and a live orchestra soundtrack by the Boston Pops for this inventive program honoring two of America's most revered musical theater figures. Prime-time anchor of Turner Classic Movies television network Robert Osborne hosts the evening of memorable scenes from classic films such as Oklahoma! and Carousel, both starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, South Pacific starring Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi, The King and I starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, and The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Audiences will hear these iconic performances of the past reinvigorated by the presence of full orchestral sound.
    Dynamic American conductor Emil DeCou serves as the associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra and as the NSO @ Wolf Trap festival conductor. He has conducted orchestras throughout the country, most recently, at the request of soloist Renée Fleming, leading a performance with the Colorado Symphony and the NSO's traditional Labor Day performance on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Turner Classic Movies network's Robert Osborne hosts four primetime movies each night on the network, was a longtime columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, and is the author of the book 80 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards, released in 2008.
    Folk music icon and legendary artist Arlo Guthrie will be featured in performances of the unforgettable classics so long associated with the Guthrie Family legacy. With his singular voice as both a singer-songwriter, story teller, and social commentator, Guthrie will also share timeless stories that have captivated and entertained audiences over many decades. The evening will also feature the Boston Pops debut of the ground-breaking string trio Time for Three, who will perform the Boston premiere of a new work, “Travel in Time for Three,” by Chris Brubeck.
    Singer, songwriter, social commentator, and folk music icon Arlo Guthrie has been performing for more than four decades and has a fan base that spans the globe. Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," "City of New Orleans" and "The Motorcycle Song," along with his memorable appearance at 1969's Woodstock Festival, have made him a household name. Guthrie has previously joined the Pops at Symphony Hall in a concert that was broadcast on Evening at Pops and on the Esplanade for the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular in 2001. String trio Time for Three, whose music melds elements of classical, country western, gypsy, and jazz to create a sound all their own, have performed with artists ranging from the Philadelphia Orchestra to k.d. lang. Chris Brubeck began performing with his father, the legendary Dave Brubeck in the 1970s. Having distinguished himself as an innovative jazz and rock performer on the bass, trombone, piano and guitar, he has recently earned international acclaim as a composer.
    This special Father's Day concert features the Boston Pops debut of Haitian-American artist Daniel Bernard Roumain, the innovative composer, performer, violinist, and bandleader, who melds his classical music roots with his own cultural references and vibrant musical imagination. Mr. Roumain is composing a new work for six string violin and orchestra to receive its world premiere at the June 20 concert. This interactive program will feature two of the most beloved classic works written for children: the timeless tale Peter and the Wolf and the whimsical suite Carnival of the Animals. In a dynamic collaboration with the Underground Railway Theater of Cambridge, young members of the audience will participate in the performance using movement and puppetry. The program will also include some of the iconic film score themes of John Williams.
    As a composer, Daniel Bernard Roumain has written works that range from orchestral scores and chamber pieces to music for film, theater, modern dance, and electronica. He has been spotlighted as a "New face of classical music" by Esquire Magazine, served as assistant composer-in-residence at the Orchestra of St. Luke's and music director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and recently collaborated and performed with Lady Gaga on FOX's American Idol. Underground Railway Theater works to create dynamic connections between high-quality professional theater and community. Combining actors, puppets and music, URT presents theater of social content and great visual beauty— theater that challenges and delights, informs and celebrates.
    Tickets for the 2010 Boston Pops season at Symphony Hall, priced from $20-$99, go on sale at 10 a.m. on February 22. All performances start at 8 p.m. with the exception of the Sunday Family Concert at 3 p.m. on June 20. Tickets for “Opening Night at Pops” on May 4 are priced from $40 to $119.
    Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with a $5.50 handling fee for each ticket ordered online or by phone). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Symphony Hall box office, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 1 p.m. through the first concert intermission on concert dates. Most major credit cards and cash are accepted at the box office. For Group Sales of 25 or more, please call 617-638-9345 or 800-933-4255.
    Tickets to the gala fund raiser, Presidents at Pops, on May 18, start at $500, with some options including tickets to an exclusive Boat Cruise and Esplanade Concert on July 3, as well an additional Pops 125 event to be announced soon. For further information, call 617-638-9466.
    The Boston Symphony has a dedicated line for disabled patrons who would like to purchase tickets to BSO, Boston Pops, or Tanglewood concerts, or who need information about disability services at Symphony Hall or Tanglewood. This line can be reached by dialing 617-638-9431. For access via TDD/TTY, please call 617-638-9289. Patrons with disabilities can access Symphony Hall through the Cohen Wing on Huntington Avenue or through the Massachusetts Avenue entrance.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Spend your summer

    I hope you will consider coming and seeing a concert or two at the West Branch Music Festival this July!
    If you are a musician, I would also ask that you take a look at the roster and recommend your students to apply for some amazing training with some of the world's great music makers! Check it out for yourself!

    Wishing them well

    Here's to the SA Symphony and Sebastian Lang-Lessing on four good years together.

    Monday, February 08, 2010

    Sunny SA

    Take a look at the blue sky! I enjoy showing off where I live, and San Antonio is one of the most popular places I have lived, judging how many friends have come to visit!

    Monday, January 25, 2010


    Rehearsal was great this morning, piano had arrived before we did, and the coffee place next to the gallery is just amazing.
    At lunch, we were talking about movies, etc and our waiter joined in, knowing the movie Stepbrothers. It was hilarious.

    Delighted about the press SOLI is getting, and excited about the concerts coming up. Watch for video soon!

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Show of shows

    I'm particularly happy with today's show on KPAC called Classical Spotlight, take a listen if you like! Featured are Aaron Jay Kernis, Star Wars and More, plus interviews on baroque music, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet.
    MP3 file

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010


    I had a lovely chat with one of the great pianists of our day, Imogen Cooper. She has just released volume 2 of live performances of Schubert piano works, and later this year volume 3 will come out.
    She took some time to talk about the project and Schubert.
    This will be produced for TPR, but I wanted to share her brilliant manner with you unedited and raw. I came away energized and inspired.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Voices of Change

    I caught Soundings Margaret Brouwer yesterday in Dallas. It was delightful, a wine tasting paired with a solo flute piece. Voices of Change perform tonight - catch it if you can!
    (left is Brouwer, on the right is composer Xi Wang)

    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    NY Concerts

    You might be interested in these if you're in NYC or going to be visiting!

    January 17th, 3pm $40 ($35 senior, $20 student)
    2 Cadman Plaza West At the Fulton Ferry Landing
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
    (718) 624-2083

    Bach and Enescu Program:
    Selections from the Art of Fugue J. S. Bach
    Sarabande for solo violin Enescu
    Airs in Romanian Folk Style Enescu
    Sonata No. 3 "Dans le caractere populaire roumain" Enescu
    Piano Quintet Op. 29 Enescu


    January 21st 8pm
    Paul Recital Hall, The Juilliard School, NY NY
    Paul Recital Hall is located on 65th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.

    Airs in Romanian Folkstlye for Solo Violin (circa 1926)
    Sonata for violin and Piano No.3 Op.25 (1926)
    "Dans le caractere populaire roumain"
    Sarabande for Solo Violin (circa 1910-1915)
    US Premiere
    Piano Quintet Op.29 (1940)

    Enescu Chamber Players are Don Weilerstein, violin, Jennifer Curtis, violin, Nicholas Mann, viola, Claire Bryant, cello, and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, piano.

    Donald Weilerstein has concertized extensively throughout the world as soloist and chamber musician. Mr. Weilerstein has taught and performed at such major American and European music festivals as Caramoor, Aspen, Ravinia, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Berlin, Israel, Salzburg, Luzern, and many more.

    Jennifer Curtis is the winner of Astral’s 2006 National Auditions, violinist Jennifer Curtis is also the recipient of the inaugural MILKA/ASTRAL VIOLIN PRIZE, designated for a violinist invited to join the Astral Artists roster. Also an accomplished composer, her works have been performed in New York City, at Italy’s Spoleto Festival, and at the Verbier Festival de Musique in Switzerland.

    Nicholas Mann has performed extensively as a recitalist and soloist. He has been a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School since 2002 and is now Chair of the String Department at the Manhattan School of Music.

    Cellist Claire Bryant has appeared as a soloist with orchestra including the Kuopion Symphony Orchestra of Finland, the National Symphony of Honduras in Tegucigalpa, the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, and the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. She is the founder, producer, and artistic director of the acclaimed chamber music series With Strings Attached.

    Vivian Hornik Weilerstein has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the world and is a frequent collaborator with many of today’s most eminent artists and ensembles. Ms. Weilerstein has appeared as a soloist with the Kansas City Symphony and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale di Torino, and has toured throughout Europe and Japan. Ms. Weilerstein is an active member of the highly acclaimed Weilerstein Trio, which is in residence at the New England Conservatory.