Iceland Emerges on World Classical Music Stages

Don’t be surprised to see a wooly sweater or two if you’re on the streets of Los Angeles next spring. The Los Angeles Philharmonic said Tuesday that it will present a Reykjavik Festival in April 2017, featuring five concerts of Icelandic music from across the stylistic map, along with film screenings, lectures and visual art events. Continue reading “Iceland Emerges on World Classical Music Stages”

Why the Same Few Operas Seem to Be Staged Over and Over

There are many reasons why certain operas stay popular year after year, irrespective of the director or casting choices: It often boils down to the right combination of compelling stories, relatable characters and great melodies.  Continue reading “Why the Same Few Operas Seem to Be Staged Over and Over”

These Are the 15 Most Popular Orchestras on Spotify

The most popular orchestras on Spotify are predominantly British, according to the streaming music service’s latest public data on its monthly listenership. Four out of the top five most-listened-to orchestras are located in London and seven of the top 15 are U.K.-based. Continue reading “These Are the 15 Most Popular Orchestras on Spotify”

Shostakovich and Cold War Anxieties in ‘Bridge of Spies’

Director Steven Spielberg is so closely associated with the epic scores of John Williams that it’s easy to overlook the moments in which he has used classical music in his films, from Bach in “Schindler’s List” to Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony in “Minority Report.” Continue reading “Shostakovich and Cold War Anxieties in ‘Bridge of Spies’”

Gorecki’s Fourth Symphony: Sequel to an Unlikely ‘Hit’

Classical recordings today rarely sell a million copies, and when they do we assume the performers’ success involved a YouTube breakthrough or perhaps a reality-television appearance.  Continue reading “Gorecki’s Fourth Symphony: Sequel to an Unlikely ‘Hit’”

Benjamin Millepied Moved Opera Ballet into Digital Space

With their distinct issues and personalities, the worlds of ballet and classical music rarely share the same news cycle. But last week’s surprise announcement that Benjamin Millepied is quitting as director of the Paris Opera Ballet will have repercussions beyond the world of dance. Continue reading “Benjamin Millepied Moved Opera Ballet into Digital Space”

Can Young, Charismatic Conductors Strike the Right Chord?

The news on Thursday that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has hired Lithuanian conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, 29, as its next music director has generated has a degree of excitement not always seen in announcements of this sort. Continue reading “Can Young, Charismatic Conductors Strike the Right Chord?”

3 New Films About Florence Foster Jenkins: A Users’ Guide

In an apparent fluke of timing, there are no fewer than three films currently in production or release about Florence Foster Jenkins, the socialite who became infamous in the 1920s and ’30s for her tone-deaf renditions of opera arias by Mozart, Verdi and other composers. Continue reading “3 New Films About Florence Foster Jenkins: A Users’ Guide”

New Orchestras Focus on the ‘Now’ and ‘Nu’

“The musicians you see here are not from central casting—they’re conservatory-trained,” Bard College president and conductor Leon Botstein assured audiences on Friday night as he introduced The Orchestra Now, Bard’s new graduate training ensemble. Continue reading “New Orchestras Focus on the ‘Now’ and ‘Nu’”

New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Music Director

The New York Philharmonic has found its successor to Alan Gilbert. The orchestra announced on Wednesday that its next music director will be Jaap van Zweden, a fastidious Dutch conductor who will lead the ensemble as it embarks on a multi-year hall renovation set to begin in 2019. Continue reading “New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Music Director”