The Pacifica Quartet brought a challenging program to Maverick Concerts on Sunday. Two late works of Elliott Carter stretched the audience’s ears, and the last quartets of Mendelssohn and Beethoven were far from candy. The alert, involved performances kept the audience enthralled. [continued]
In her third appearance for the Fredericks’ Collection, Junghwa Lee* opened its milestone season Sunday afternoon in the sanctuary of the Ashburnham Community Church with a brilliant performance of music by the Schumanns on the Collection’s 1830 Tröndlin. Her consummate handling of the piano and this music gave us brilliant, powerful, and spectacular sound moderated at times by classic French restraint. [continued]
For the second consecutive day the Maverick Concerts program was unusually long. The Jupiter String Quartet played Mozart, pianist Ilya Yakushev played Bach-Busoni, and they collaborated on Strauss’s rare Piano Quartet and Brahms’s deservedly popular Piano Quintet in performances which generally served the music well. [continued]
Works of competition laureate Josh Newton along with some Vivaldi and Brahms concluded the season for the Portland Chamber Music Festival Saturday at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center. There were no grounds for cavil at the performances. [continued]
The annual chamber orchestra concert at Maverick Concerts in Woodstock was indeed an “extravaganza,” lasting 3 hours and 15 minutes, and including two mezzo-sopranos, a pianist, and a widely varied chamber orchestra. All the Lorca-related music was performed very well, but there may have been too much of it. [continued]
Featuring works of Boccherini, Copland and Elgar, the final weekend of this year’s Portland Chamber Music Festival kicked off on August 21st was dedicated to the memory of Marc Johnson, long-time cellist of the Vermeer Quartet and PCMF participant for the past five years. [continued]
Local Baroque keyboardist and musicology scholar Matthew Hall essayed all Bach on the Fisk Organ in the Old West Organ Society summer series last Tuesday to mixed results but with much promise. [continued]
The spirit of Bernstein smiled Saturday night on a first-rate rendition of his convoluted farce by the BSO, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Bramwell Tovey, and a coterie of soloists. [continued]
Old instruments fought imbalances as a half-dozen sterling musicians, alone and together, created a wide-ranging and effective festival tribute to founder Samuel Sanders at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival last Friday. [continued]
There was a buzz in the air on a brilliant Sunday afternoon as the young residents of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra entered the Koussevitzky Shed stage with conductor Charles Dutoit for the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert. This year’s all-Russian affair offered Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and Stravinsky’s Firebird (complete). [continued]
As in the rest of his Bayreuth Ring, Frank Castorf’s Götterdâmmerung came and went with unclear messages and happenings. By many accounts, he did not look at Wagner’s score or evidently listen to much of it. [continued]
Under Deneve leading the BSO, Ax and the Emperor were plenty polished Friday in the Shed, but it was Prokofiev and Manistina who took us beyond the movie to the inspiring battlefield. [continued]
A second Bayreuth report comes from our far-flung correspondent and local pianist/gadfly Deveau, reporting further on a strange Ring featuring high-quality singing and playing along with assault weaponry and happy crocs. [continued]
For three hours last night in Ozawa Hall, Nicholas McGegan led Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and an amazing ensemble of singers in a stellar concert performance of Handel’s Teseo.
Pianist Jeremy Denk offered Ozawa Hall listeners a superb recital Wednesday comprising only two works, both colossal: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and Charles Ives’s Concord Sonata. [continued]
Child’s play, dying power, and sophisticated drama made for a full and beautiful afternoon of Tchaikovsky at Tanglewood. [continued]
Last Saturday Stéphane Denève led a satisfying Tanglewood BSO program of Debussy, Szymanowski, and Tchaikovsky, each piece seeming effortlessly to spring from the others. [continued]
Another submission from one of BMInt’s far-flung correspondents follows, this time the first of three Bayreuth reviews from pianist and gadfly David Deveau. [continued]
The solo recital portion of the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts music festival at Walnut Hill concluded with most satisfying renderings, by pianist Pi-Hsien Chen, of works big and small and full of color and character. [continued]more reviews →
On last Wednesday evening, 15 years of research to shed light on a long-overlooked page of Boston’s rich history culminated with a gala reception and performances by the Rowe’s Lane Quartet of compositions of F. J. Haydn, Filippo Trajetta and George Onslow. The Commemorative Ceremony honoring the American Conservatorio of Boston, founded in 1800 by three immigrant musicians, Francis Mallet, Gottlieb Graupner and Filippo Trajetta, was celebrated courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Boston Hotel. A memorial plaque in recognition of this historic “first” conservatory of music in Boston and in the United States is installed on the Bedford Street facade of the Church Green Building, where Summer Street and Bedford Street converge.
As a second-generation Bostonian, I had always believed that New England Conservatory and Boston Conservatory were the “first” conservatories of music in Boston and in the United States (due to their founding date in 1867), but my belief of such “firsts” was being challenged in 1999 by what I read in a then-recently published book “The Italian Americans of Greater Boston,” Arcadia Publishing, Copyright 1999 by William P. Marchione, Ph.D. Chapter One, The Lure of Italy, has the following information: “Filippo Trajetta, a Venetian conductor and composer…established the first American conservatory of music in Boston.” [continued...]
As a huge fan of choral music—okay, I might consider myself infatuated—I sometimes wonder what it means to be a “choral ensemble.” What is choral singing?
The latest attempt to answer that question may be from WGBH-TV, in the form of an 11-part cattle call and beautyfest for local groups. Beginning this fall, a friendly competition called Sing That Thing! makes its debut, as it happens, in something of a swan song for the newly departing Ben Roe, who had only left his previous role as WGBH radio’s Director of Classical Services last January. (The next chapter in Roe’s working life opens at the Heifetz International Music Institute, a six-week summer program for string students, based in Staunton Virginia. We wish him well there.)
According to Roe and WGBH-TV GM Liz Cheng, along with Boston Children’s Chorus conductor Anthony Trecek-King, the station is creating an exciting and novel program. The initiative intends to celebrate the choral tradition by hosting a multi-round competition that encourages choruses of all sizes, dynamics, and genres. In the final rounds there will be discussions, as a way to engage and educate audience, to better understand the inner workings of this fascinating ensemble form. [continued...]
The recent, very unexpected death of Donald Teeters fills me with profound sadness.
Former Music Director of The Boston Cecilia, former Music Director of All Saints Parish, Brookline, and current Professor of Music at the New England Conservatory, Donald apparently died of heart disease just shy of his 78th birthday, which we were to celebrate—as we do annually on September 2nd—with a lobster dinner in my home in Gloucester.
Donald was a mentor extraordinaire, teaching hundreds of students at the conservatory and coaching countless singers and instrumentalists. One of his many passions was to seek out young, highly gifted musicians, and give them a chance on the Boston stages such as Jordan Hall or Sanders Theatre.
Of all the melody instruments, the most important during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was unquestionably the violin; the transverse flute trailed forlornly at a distant second place. Yet the first modern superstar to emerge from the early music ranks was neither a violinist nor (primarily) a traverso player. His instrument was the one favored by countless thousands of early music enthusiasts—the recorder. He was a Dutchman named Frans Brüggen (b. 1934). His enormous public success surpassed anything previously conferred on an early instrument specialist (except perhaps for harpsichordist Wanda Landowska two generations earlier). [continued...]
In 1951, I used the GI Bill to study composition at Juilliard. I had no background other than listening to and being moved by every form of music I had heard since childhood. After discharge from the Army, in 1946, I started to study the trumpet; as a child of the movies, I fantasized playing blues in smoky nightclubs. I wrote some short pieces for orchestral instruments at that time, and a musician friend urged me to apply to Juilliard. I resisted, but then gave in, and was accepted provisionally.
I was older than the other students. They were already professionals, and I believe I was admitted because I had a modicum of talent, a lot of desire, but mainly because I was a returning veteran. I guess the faculty had some hope for me, so I was given the chance. [continued...]
Longy School of Music of Bard College begins its second annual El Sistema Summer Academy on its Cambridge campus on August 11th. Designed by the Longy faculty and staff especially for students from local El Sistema-inspired programs, the two-weeks of musical training mentored by Longy faculty, guest faculty and graduate students also includes extra-musical activities like yoga, singing, dance and theater games.
More than 80 students are participating altogether. They play the full range of orchestral instruments, range in age from 7 to 12, and come from El Sistema-inspired music programs in Chiapas, Mexico and the greater Boston area.
The culmination will come in two concerts, both free and open to the general public, featuring all the Summer Academy students performing works by Brahms, Rossini and Merle Isaac alongside members of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra and Summer Academy faculty Marielisa and Mariesther Alvarez, Jorge Montilla, Courtney Getzin, Taide Prieto and David Hurtado, all under the direction of Jorge Soto. The first concert will be performed in Harvard Square at 3 p.m. on August 21st. The second will be at 4 p.m. on August 22nd at Longy’s Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall.
BMInt: This summer’s program at Longy sounds like something of a music camp. Does it go beyond that? [continued...]
The admirable Dr. Catherine Tan Chan 譚嘉陵and her Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts have done enormous service to the Boston area classical music community over the last 23 years. One of the most valuable and perhaps most unsung examples (at least among general audiences) is the Summer Music Festival at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick. Each summer 40 students from age 14 to whatever are enrolled in an intensive three-week program with a really illustrious faculty. Not only are there private lessons, but also chamber music ensembles, orchestra readings, masterclasses, workshops, and, of most interest to BMInt readers, concerts with faculty members; the public events begin with a piano recital by Yinfei Wang at 7:30 on Thursday, July 31st. Other concerts we recommend include piano recitals by Hung-Kuan Chen, George Li, Ming-Chieh Liu, Pi-Hsien Chen, and a concerto competition’s winner in recital with Mercury Orchestra at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The complete calendar including masterclassess and lectures is here, and the public events are highlighted in BMInt’s “Upcoming Events” as well as on the summary here. [continued...]
Austrian Manfred Honeck, who conducted memorably with the BSO at Symphony Hall last season, including an arresting Eroica, is about to make a last-minute debut at Tanglewood to cover for Christoph von Dohnányi, taking the latter’s programs intact. Friday night is Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture and then Mozart Piano Concerto 12 with Paul Lewis before concluding with the Mendelssohn Italian Symphony. On Saturday it will be Mahler’s Second. BMInt had a long and interesting conversation with Honeck:
FLE: You work a lot with our mutual friend Till Fellner, but do you have an ongoing collaboration with that other Brendel protégé Paul Lewis?
MH: I have never worked with Paul Lewis, but he was on my radar, and he’s a very serious and eloquent and clear and pure pianist with a fantastic reputation and recordings of Beethoven. And now to do Mozart with him: I’m really looking forward. I know what commitment Brendel had for all his students, and Till Fellner is for me one of the best Viennese classical players, and I expect the same from Lewis. Knowing that he is in a musical environment around Alfred Brendel gives me a good feeling that it will be a wonderful collaboration. [continued...]
For Boston Opera Collaborative’s next production, the award-winning team of conductor Andrew Altenbach and director Katherine Carter bring Benjamin Britten’s delightful British comedy Albert Herring to the stage of the Strand Theater. Performances from Thursday to Sunday offer FREE ADMISSION through a generous grant from The Free for All Concert Fund, Inc. The third BOC production in the historic Strand, located Uphams Corner, Dorchester, this is also BOC’s third collaboration with The Free for All Concert Fund, Inc., which has helped BOC bring performances throughout the Boston community.
The scene: The zany residents of Loxford, England are preparing for their local May Day festivities. The problem: The town lacks any young ladies sufficiently chaste to be named the May Queen. The solution: The May Day committee identifies the local greengrocer, young Albert Herring, for the dubious honor of May King. Follow Albert Herring as he discovers that sometimes it’s OK to break the rules. [continued...]more news & features →