Friday, January 23, 2015

A new 'human' piano is unveiled in Budapest

Promotional websites are brilliant, aren’t they? With promises of a “revolutionary piano” and its strapline “Sound Beyond Time” (I have literally no idea what that means) comes the Bogányi piano, named after its creator, the Hungarian pianistGergely Bogányi. Those incomprehensible claims might bring to mind some wild new mechanism for the production of sound through the digital activation of a piano key: so what is it, a keyboard that lets you produce light as well as sound (like Scriabin wanted) or maybe a set of ivories that turns the piano into a Marty-McFly-style musical DeLorean? Alas, it’s none of the above, in fact: in the flesh – or rather in photographs, since the piano was only unveiled today in Budapest – it looks like a swooshy reinterpretation of the piano form, a bit like a Steinway reimagined by Umberto BoccioniMore

Book launch party & music for Abromeit's new reference book on spirituals!! Join the fun Feb 5th 4:30-5:30 Con Lounge!

Music by  Ryan Dearon, Amber Monroe, and Anthony McCain! Have some cake, and share the joy!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ward Swingle 1927-2015 ‒ a cappella king dies

1960's portrait of the Swingle Singers (Ward Swingle is third from right)1960's portrait of the Swingle Singers (Ward Swingle is third from right) (RB/Redferns)

Ward Swingle, the American musician who founded the Swingle Singers, the vocal ensemble known for scat singing their way through the preludes and fugues of J.S. Bach, died Monday in Paris.
He was 87, according to the Swingle Singers organization. A cause of death was not given.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Swingle moved in the early 1960s to Paris, where he studied piano with Walter Gieseking and became a founding member of the jazz vocal group Double Six of Paris. The group soon disbanded, however, and Swingle but another idea: to take the idea of jazz scat singing and apply it to intricate works of J.S. Bach. Unlike the Double Six, the Swingles did not overdub recordings, and sought to remain close to Bach’s written scores, albeit with perky swing rhythms accentuated by drums and double bass. More

Listen: New York Philharmonic, London Musicians Pay Tribute to Charlie Hebdo

In New York, London, Paris and other world cities, classical music organizations have honored the 12 victims of the terrorist attack against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and defended the freedom of expression.
At Avery Fisher Hall on Thursday night, New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert appeared on stage at 7:35 pm to announce that the evening's concert was being dedicated to the victims "and to the fundamental principal of freedom of speech." More

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Menil Repurposes Sacred Space For Contemporary Art

ByzantineChapelMuseumWhen the Byzantine Fresco Chapel at the Menil Collection in Houston opened in 1997, it displayed a group of 13th-century Greek Orthodox frescoes. But after restoration of the works, which the Menil had rescued from looters for the Church of Cyprus, the museum returned the frescoes to Cyprus as a donation when the agreed loan expired in 2012.
So what to do with that chapel (at right), which has now been deconsecrated? The Menil has commissioned a year-long installation from the team of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet has been a hit wherever it is installed, but especially when in 2013 it was place in the Cloisters’s 12th-century Spanish chapel, as the first work of contemporary art ever to be shown at the Met’s medieval art branch. More

Friday, December 5, 2014

Grammys 2015: List of Classical Nominees

In-house orchestra labels had a particularly strong showing in the nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards, which were announced on Friday afternoon.
Dominating the orchestral categories are Seattle Symphony Media (three nominations), the Atlanta Symphony's ASO Media (two different albums, each receiving one nod), and Berlin Philharmonic Recordings (one nod). Seattle scored two further nominations with its recording of John Luther Adams's Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean, released on the Cantaloupe label. More

Classical Recordings Distributor Goes Belly Up

Classical Recordings Distributor Goes Belly Up
Another classical recording distributor has collapsed. This time it is Netherlands-based T2 Entertainment group, whose labels included Brilliant Classics, Alia Vox, Col Legno, Membran, Preiser, ARC, and Newton Classics, a reissue label of about 230 titles, most of them from the archives of Decca, Philips, and EMI.

Its demise follows that of Qualiton in the U.S., Harmonia Mundi Iberica in Spain, Codaex in Benelux and--just a few months ago--Fuse Group of Australia.

Theo Lap, founder of Newton Classics, in receivership when T2 took it over, has been hired by Brilliant, one of T2's backers, to set up an independent distribution network. Lap reports that he already has agreements with "quite a few important labels."

Much of the distribution business had moved from business-to-business to business-to-consumer, he said. subscribers read the full story