Seattle Symphony Stages Concert to Celebrate Immigrants

The Seattle Symphony staged a kind of protest concert on Wednesday night, featuring composers and performers from the seven Muslim majority countries that Donald Trump has sought to bar from entering the United States. Continue reading “Seattle Symphony Stages Concert to Celebrate Immigrants”

Philip Glass on Piano Music, Memories and Motorcycles

On a blustery afternoon in early December, Philip Glass climbed the massive staircase that leads up to the Juilliard School lobby, and barely winded, sat down for a long conversation about this music, life and career. Our talk, which formed the basis of a cover story for the February issue of BBC Music Magazine, veered from topic to topic, and one was struck by his candor on matters like the business side of his career. Continue reading “Philip Glass on Piano Music, Memories and Motorcycles”

Carnegie Hall Feeling Groovy With ’60s Festival in 2018

If you’re at Carnegie Hall next season, don’t touch the brown acid. The venerable venue this week announced its 2017-18 season, one that includes a two-month festival (January 14-March 24, 2018) dedicated to the 1960s. Continue reading “Carnegie Hall Feeling Groovy With ’60s Festival in 2018”

The Crown Uses Classical Music to Dramatize Monarchy

In the Netflix original series “The Crown,” music plays a significant role in heightening the drama and majesty of the British throne. A glance at the show’s IMDB page reveals this is no shoestring operation: The music staff numbers some 20 editors, producers, engineers and composers, with much of the soundtrack supplied by British film composer Rupert Gregson-Williams. The cinematic title theme, by Hollywood veteran Hans Zimmer, broadly alludes to the ceremonial music of Henry Purcell. Continue reading “The Crown Uses Classical Music to Dramatize Monarchy”

Eight Takeaways from Classical Music in 2016

In a year in which the 2016 presidential campaign impacted all corners of public life in the U.S., classical music often served as a diversion or even a refuge for many listeners. But musicians didn’t live in a vacuum either, as several news stories demonstrated. Continue reading “Eight Takeaways from Classical Music in 2016”

New Opera at the Met Fizzles, Houston Finalizes a Premiere

Questions about the Metropolitan Opera’s involvement with new opera have emerged this week after the company called off a long-planned new work by the composer Osvaldo Golijov, due to “conflicting schedules.” Meanwhile, a company 1,600 miles south of New York City has been rather quietly preparing a major new opera for its premiere this Friday. Continue reading “New Opera at the Met Fizzles, Houston Finalizes a Premiere”

Louis Andriessen: A Political Composer for the New York Philharmonic?

The New York Philharmonic this week announced that Dutch composer Louis Andriessen is the recipient of its Marie-Josée Kravis Prize, an award consisting of $200,000 and a commission for the orchestra. Something of a lifetime achievement award, the prize has previously gone to Frenchman Henri Dutilleux (2011) and Danish composer Per Nørgård (2014). Continue reading “Louis Andriessen: A Political Composer for the New York Philharmonic?”

Yoga in the Concert Hall: Not Such a Stretch?

Among American orchestras, the definitions of community outreach and engagement seem to be constantly in flux. One of the latest efforts to reach a new audience on its own terms comes from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. On November 16, the DSO will host OM @ The Max, in which a yoga instructor – who also happens to be the orchestra’s librarian – leads a group yoga session while a string trio performs. It takes place in the Cube, the orchestra’s black-box venue. Continue reading “Yoga in the Concert Hall: Not Such a Stretch?”

Halloween is Classical Music’s Most Entertaining Holiday

Halloween brings certain songs and compositions that never seem to grow old, in part because their annual moment is so fleeting and the music so evocative, colorful and hair-raising. Continue reading “Halloween is Classical Music’s Most Entertaining Holiday”

The Leeds Competition and Jury Reforms

Competitions have a long history as being classical music’s talent mills. While almost all aim to launch artists’ careers, in practice, their track record is famously inconsistent. One frequent complaint holds that interesting and idiosyncratic performers often get bypassed in favor of “consensus” candidates that win over juries. But musicians continue to compete and the biggest contests still generate a certain amount of media attention (albeit nowhere near the level of Van Cliburn’s 1958 win at the Tchaikovsky Competition, pictured above). Continue reading “The Leeds Competition and Jury Reforms”