Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Henri Dutilleux, Leading French composer, Dies at Age 97

Henri Dutilleux, one of France’s leading composers, died Wednesday in Paris at the age of 97, his family said.

Known for his symphonies, concertos and other orchestral pieces, he was prized for his subtle blends of ear-catching colors and formal rigor. Though steeped in the French modernist tradition that spans Debussy through Messiaen and Boulez, Dutilleux was also notably independent minded, unwilling to chase the latest fashions in composition.

During his nearly eight-decade career, Dutilleux composed pieces for many prominent soloists and ensembles including the soprano Renée Fleming, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Juilliard String Quartet, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Read

Using Bike Share to Get to the Concert on Time in NY

Even the most punctual concertgoers have had the frustrating experience of being stuck on a delayed subway or halted in gridlocked traffic while trying to make a 7:30 pm recital or opera. And don't even get crosstown commuters started. So with the introduction of the nation’s largest bike-sharing program on Monday, New Yorkers now have another way to try and make the curtain and avoid ushers' scowls.  Read

SongWorks for Children: A Video Library of Children Making Music

Peggy D. Bennett, Professor of Music Education at the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College is the Director of the early childhood MusicPlay program (grades PK-5). The MusicPlay program is based on her distinguished pedagogical research that has been published under the title SongWorks.  This video library is of video clips taken from eleven years of the MusicPlay program.  You will see teachers and parents being playful, interacting with children and music in ways that capture imaginations, focus attentions, stimulate senses, and elicit responsiveness.  You will see three-, four-, and five-year-old children “being themselves” as they make music in Oberlin’s MusicPlay classes. 

Each clip is categorized by music genre (Classics, Foreign
Language Songs, Nursery Rhymes, Pops, or Singing Games) and activity (fingerplay, reading, playlet, movement, and so on). Videos are further searchable by a feature (Behavior, Feedback, Imagination, Literacy, Music Skills, Questions, and Social Skills).  The site includes some 700 clips in the video library that will be a valuable resource for music teachers, early childhood caregivers, classroom teachers, teacher educators, and parents. Print sources for activities are cited with nearly every video description.

First-time visitors should start by clicking on the About MusicPlay and SongWorks as well as the Voices from MusicPlay as they will find delightful comments from teachers and parents.  This project was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Five Colleges of Ohio.  Check it out SongWorks for Children:  A Video Library of Children Making Music

Friday, May 3, 2013

Osmo Vänskä Threatens to Resign

Osmo Vänskä Threatens to Resign
OsmoVanska_5-3-13Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä has tightened the screws on the dispute between players and management, threatening to resign if the lockout is not resolved soon.

In a letter to the orchestra's board sent on Tuesday, he says the dispute has already cost the orchestra several of its players and concertmaster Erin Keefe had told him she has been offered positions elsewhere. No concertmaster, no music director, Vänskä told the board, stating: "my own position as music director may become unsustainable."

The tipping point for Vänskä will be if the orchestra loses four planned concerts at Carnegie Hall starting November.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Now Minnesota loses its principal clarinet

We hear that Burt Hara, principal clarinet of the locked out Minnesota Orchestra, has won the audition for Associate Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It will mean a sunnier life for Burt and his family, but it’s another sickening for Minnesota, which is shedding more and more of its best players in the unending lockout. More

Cellist Raphaël Merlin has instrument seized at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Customs officers at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, seized Raphaël Merlin’s cello on the morning of 27 April. The cellist was returning to his native France after a US tour with the Ébène Quartet. He has still not recovered the 1680 Andrea Guarneri instrument (pictured, with Merlin), which he has played for the past four and a half years.  More