Friday, December 16, 2011

Awkward Classical Music Photos Friday Edition

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Adams and Clare in NYC

Uncle Tom at Times Square

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Naughty or nice?

Join me as Santa!

December 16 & 17 at 8 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre
Ken-David Masur, conductor
San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers, Dr. John Silantien, director
Stiletto, vocalists
John Clare, Santa Claus

Sunday, December 18 at 1:30 p.m. at Laurie Auditorium

And while I won't be Kris Kringle at this concert, you should go!

Monday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Coker United Methodist Church
The members of the San Antonio Symphony are offering a varied program that will include Handel’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 1; Beethoven’s Octet in E flat for Winds; Allain’s “A Christmas Carol” with narrator, Deirdre Saravia from Texas Public Radio; and, the Brass section will be playing a selection of Holiday favorites to conclude the concert.

The purpose of the concert will be to help the Food Bank restock its shelves at a time of year when their stocks become most depleted due to the proximity of the two biggest Holidays of the year. This will be accomplished through the donation of non-perishable items as well as free will offerings made by our audience. 100% of the collection, food and money, will be given to the Food Bank.

For Symphony tickets call (210) 554-1010 or visit

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

(They did the) Mozart Mash

It was a graveyard smash!

A mashup of three different Mozart K 488 recordings, Abbado, Grimaud and Lubin for some fortepiano!

Listen to the mp3 :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's nice but...

John Williams is having statues made in Tanglewood of composers...very sweet.  He should probably erect some busts of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Strauss soon, as he has made his entire career from ripping them off.  Oh, and Korngold and Dvorak as well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Political commission!

I'd love to see a canidate have a new opera that is broadcast by the Met and concerts with an orchestra, stop paying for bad ads on tv and really do something for the economy and the arts.  Stop talking and put your money where it can be seen and heard by all, in a profound way.
Not in for a commission? How about having Nixon in China produced? A concert with Sousa and real American composers produced.
Come on Tea Party, Democrats and Republicans - do the right thing!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Mark O'Connor 50 years

Congrats and happy birthday today to Mark O'Connor, fifty years young!
Thought you might enjoy an interview we did a few years ago at his place in NYC:
mp3 file

Here is some of Mark's artistry:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brat burger!

Returning to one of my favorite haunts, Big Dogs, in Las Vegas and tackled this awesome bratleburger!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Preparing for a recital this Friday, Thomad Steigerwald works with his teacher Kenneth Thompson

Monday, June 06, 2011

Vote for Barbie

Not that Barbie, Genghis Barbie in the Battle of the Boroughs!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Domingo in SA

Placido Domingo sings June 1
I spoke with legendary tenor Placido Domingo today about singing in San Antonio.
Listen to our chat here. [mp3 file]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Release Beau Soir

Janine & John in Washington, DC
THE release for 2011 (Beau Soir will be on all of the "best of" lists I predict!) came out last Tuesday, February 22nd, with violinist Janine Jansen and pianist Itamar Golan. I had a chance to talk with Janine about Beau Soir, and her New York performances at the NY Phille poisson rouge...listen to our conversation here:

We also talked about her documentary "Janine" and this promotional video for Beau Soir, Faure's After a dream:

She was delighted to include some new works by composer Richard Dubugnon on the new Decca cd, and has this interview with him:

With sonatas by Debussy and Ravel, this disc is appealing but the outstanding colors of Messiaen's Theme and variations has never been captured so vividly or passionately. Add gems with a nocturnal theme and this makes the perfect gift for anyone. Run, don't walk to download this release or get it at your local classical record retailer!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wish come true

So incredibly happy about this:
May 25 & 26, 2012

Alondra conducts Copland
8 p.m., Majestic Theatre
Classics Series
Alondra de la Parra, conductor
Mikhail Simonyan, violin

Khachaturian Concerto for Violin
Copland Symphony No. 3

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Classical Grammys

Congrats for the winners:
Best Classical Album: Verdi Requiem
Crossover Album: Tin, Christopher: Calling All Dawns
Contemporary Composition: Michael Daugherty
Vocal Performance: Cecilia Bartoli
Small Ensemble Performance: Jordi Savall & Hesperion XXI
Chamber Music Performance: Parker Quartet
Solo Instrumental Performance: Paul Jacobs
Soloist Performance: Mitsuko Uchida
Choral Performance: Chicago Symphony Chorus/Muti
Opera Recording: Saariaho L'Amour de Loin
Orchestral Performance: Nashville Symphony
Producer of the Year: David Frost
Best Engineered Album: Tie - Daugherty & Porter

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Composing Thoughts Valentine's Day

Here is a special selection for Monday, February 14, 2011:
An interview and feature with composers Augusta Read Thomas and Bernard Rands
(click on the links to hear the mp3 file)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Music and conversation with composers who are married and make/create beautiful music!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

When Milton Was Ninety Years Old

Milton Babbitt and John Clare
There was a time when I was interviewing two or three artists a day. Usually there was a composer involved but sometimes it was just a performer or artist for a feature. But more often than not, I would set up a morning interview, plan a meal break and do another interview in the afternoon, sometimes even another. Half the time artist interviews could be done on the phone, but I always tried to make composer interviews in person, in their studio or if need be, a "tape sync" where the composer was at another radio station and we would combine the tracks so the audio quality was the highest it could be.
My first in person interview at a composer's house was George Crumb. I know, what a start. He even performed what he composed that morning, and we played with his dog Yoda! (Read about that day here and here.)
Interviewing Milton
Later that year, in August 2006 after corresponding with Ed Matthew at G Schirmer, I set up an interview with Milton Babbitt in Princeton and also an interview in Manhattan with composer/conductor Jose Serebrier.  When I book an interview, I always read up on the subject and listen to everything I possibly can. Mind you, since high school I have been trying to learn and listen to everything I can get my hands on in new music, so often it is returning to works. On top of that, for years, my reading has been on industry related books and articles, so when a new record guide or composer biography comes out, I'm on it. It is just a passion.
I don't write down questions, but usually when I am nervous, or know I'm going to talk with a legend in the field, I consult friends and colleagues what they might ask.  At the time for these interviews, the "executive producer" and music director was Dick Strawser, an invaluable resource. I do try to ask some of the same questions, "How did you become a composer?" "What are you writing currently?" but always try to listen as we warm up so that it is a conversation, and that we explore great points and stories that the interviewees share.
Before I interviewed Milton, I made sure I read and talked with Frank Oteri who was also very helpful with his materials when he interviewed Babbitt; there was also the famous "article" which Milton passionately explained.
So Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 I left with Casey Houtz, the audio engineer, to drive to Princeton and then NYC. The trip was easy and in no time we were setup.
Our interview is here, unedited and complete, running 71 minutes. Milton was
After the interview, Milton walked us out and showed us how close we were to the RCA Studios he used to work at for so many years!

Later, we put together some outtakes that would not run in the radio show, but made us smile. Listen to the wav file here.
I originally blogged about the day I talked with Milton here.

Last weekend when I heard the news Milton had passed away, I was moved, and quite sad. I listened to Reflections and smoked a cuban cigar.  I was especially touched by Davey Rakowski's remembrance. Cheers, Milton!

(The title of this entry is inspired by Arvo Part's work, When Sarah Was Ninety)