Archive for October, 2009

Guest Conductor

by: Ian

It is becoming almost a standard rite of passage for young musicians: their first experience with some legendary conductor. Whether this takes place at a summer festival, all-state orchestra, or in the college/conservatory field, it is almost always a memorable experience. Musicians know what I’m talking about. You’re probably thinking about that time you played under Michael Tilson Thomas, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Bernstein, I could go on…

In a recent article, the New York Times chronicles a visit by veteran conductor, Bernard Haitink, to the Juilliard School in New York. Haitink conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam for over 25 years, and for a time was the principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony. He is the quiet type, meaning, it would not surprise you to go through an entire symphony without hearing so much as a peep from his lips. When he does speak, you can be sure that the entire orchestra is listening.

Detailing 2 days worth of rehearsals, a comedic episode when fellow conductor Michael Tilson Thomas just decided to stop by, and all the ups and downs of an intense concert program featuring Brahms’ Second Symphony, the article is a worthy read, and sure to take you back to a great memory of your first summer at Tanglewood.

Getting to Know You, and the Score Too

Michelle Obama Advocates for Classical Music

Turns White House Into Concert Hall

by: Colin Oettle

A post on WQXR reports that First Lady Michelle Obama will host an event at the White House on Friday to advocate extra-curricular arts programs. The event will feature world class musicians Joshua Bell, Sharon Isbin, Awadagin Pratt, and Alisa Weilerstein, all of whom will teach 120 middle and high school students from around the country. Following their seminars, the musicians will give a recital in the White House’s East Room. The concert will be attended by the students and guests, as well as the First Family.

Source: WQXR.

Exclusive: Interview with Susan Waterbury

by: Ian

I had the pleasure of sitting down today with Susan Waterbury, Associate Professor of Violin at Ithaca College. In this Sound Post exclusive interview, Ms. Waterbury talks about the inspiration for her upcoming recital, the experience of collaborating with Jeffery Meyer, and the importance of musicians reaching out into their communities to spread their talent.

Susan Waterbury is Associate Professor of Violin at Ithaca College and a former member of the renowned Cavani Quartet. Waterbury has given masterclasses and recitals in major conservatories both in the US and abroad. She studied with Donald Weilerstein.

Check out her recital on Sunday November 1 at 4pm in Hockett Recital Hall at Ithaca College. Video after the link.
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Levine’s Return Delayed Further

Maazel to lend a hand

by: Ian

Some unfortunate news for fans of the BSO and Metropolitan Opera: James Levine, who was scheduled to return to the podium last week, is now not expected to return until December.

In case you didn’t know, Levine recently underwent back surgery. An initial prognosis for no more than a handful of missed performances has now been amended into almost half his season. The surgery comes as the latest in a string of health problems for the Maestro, who had rotator cuff surgery in 2006, and had a cancerous cyst removed from a kidney in July of 2008.

Perhaps the most disappointed are fans of the BSO, who are in the midst of a complete cycle of the Beethoven Symphonies, all of which Levine has pulled out of. While some patrons may be content with the recent announcement that Lorin Maazel, former music director for the NY Philharmonic, will conduct at Symphony Hall between October 30 and November 7, it is of no doubt that many are feeling a sense of dismay.
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Alan Fletcher Resigns From Post At Aspen

Never liked cold to begin with

by: Ian

‘Tis the season for change apparently. Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the acclaimed Aspen Music Festival and School, has announced his intention to resign at the end of the month. After only three summers, the decision has surprised patrons and teachers alike.

Speculation is that heated politics towards the end of the 2009 summer were a catalyst for the move. Similar action was taken by former president and CEO of Aspen, Don Roth, who resigned in 2005 after idiosyncratic attacks on his personal life.

Disparagement of Fletcher began when he announced cutbacks in the budget for 2010. Several faculty members got a pink slip, the concert calendar lost a week, and the maximum student enrollment dropped from 750 to 625.

Fletcher’s resume sports a long list of impressive positions, such as Provost and Senior Vice President at the New England Conservatory, and Head of Music at Carnegie Mellon University. So we doubt he will be disappearing from the classical scene any time soon. We wish you luck Mr. Fletcher.

Aspen Music Festival CEO steps down

Andrew Lloyd Webber Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

by: Ian

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

But this theater legend has already shown his resilience. In a statement released by publicists on Sunday,

“Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year.”

It is a particularly busy time for Webber, who recently announced a sequel to his highly acclaimed musical, Phantom of the Opera, entitled Love Never Dies. The production already has a scheduled premiere in London this coming March, with Broadway scheduled for November.

From all of us at The Sound Post, here’s to a quick recovery for a great icon in musical history.

Exclusive Interview: August Kleinzahler on Music I-LXXIV

by: Ian

Here it is! My exclusive interview with August Kleinzahler. If you aren’t familiar with this man, you soon will be.

Fighting jet lag from his recent trip to Birmingham, England, Augie sat down with The Sound Post for a midnight interview about his latest book, Music I-LXXIV. A collection of essays from his weekly column in the San Diego Reader and other publications, the New York Times praises the book, “The battered, roomy, intellectual charm of his poetry floods these music pieces; they’re offhanded and penetrating at the same time.”

In this Sound Post exclusive interview he discusses everything from the day he cut study hall and first tried his hand at poetry, to his hatred of iPods. This lighthearted interview really captures the man behind the words.
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New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Gets New Maestro

by: Colin Oettle

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra announced that Jacques Lacombe will succeed Neeme Järvi as music director. The 46 year old French Canadian is joining the organization during a period of frozen wages and a reduced concert schedule with the intent of revitalizing both orchestra and audience.

Lacombe says that in order to invigorate the classical scene a conductor must be inventive with his programming. While his preferences lean towards 19th century repertoire with 20th century classics, Lacombe remains fluid with his vision, saying that he doesn’t “want to be labeled,” and that he is still “discovering things.”

While the Ledger regards Lacombe as “untested,” he has many conducting credits including the Met. Where Jäarvi brought experience and renown, Lacombe will hopefully bring new energy and perspective.

Source: The Star Ledger

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