Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann Gets (Another) Opera Award

JonasKaufmann_8-10-12U.K.'s Opera magazine has jumped on the annual award bandwagon, with Oper Frankfurt and tenor Jonas Kaufmann among the first recipients, for "opera company" and "male singer," respectively. The awards, at a gala dinner in London, are to be known as "the Operas" and were established by the magazine's editor, John Allison, and British businessman Harry Hyman. There are 23 categories in all, with "accessibility" going to the Metropolitan Opera, presumably for the HD initiative. Among other winners were the Cape Town Opera in the chorus category, Salzburg as opera festival, Antonio Pappano as conductor, George Benjamin's Written on Skin as world premiere, Nina Stemme as female singer, and the MET Orchestra for opera orchestra.

Among the ten jurors, the majority of them male, were San Francisco Opera Artistic Director David Gockley; Salzburg Easter Festival Managing Artistic Director Peter Alward; Joan Matabosch, artistic director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Guus Mostart, manager of the Nationale Reisopera in Enschede; and Brit journalists Hugh Canning, Rupert Christiansen, and Andrew Clements.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Watch: Boston Symphony Musicians Pay Tribute to Marathon Bombing Victims

Boston Symphony assistant principal viola Cathy Basrak and principal violist Steven Ansell play in marathon gear Boston Symphony assistant principal viola Cathy Basrak and principal violist Steven Ansell play in marathon gear (Stu Rosner)
With security in Symphony Hall increased in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Boston Symphony Orchestra paid tribute to the victims of the attacks and their families during its concert Thursday night.

A video supplied to WQXR by the BSO shows the orchestra's assistant principal violist, Cathy Basrak, who ran the marathon on Monday, introducing the concert from the stage. Wearing her marathon jacket and a running watch over her black evening gown, Basrak reads a quote from Leonard Bernstein and leads a moment of silence.  More

iTunes Celebrates a Decade, Faces New Challenges

NEW YORK (AP) -- When Apple launched its iTunes music store a decade ago amid the ashes of Napster, the music industry - reeling from the effects of online piracy - was anxious to see how the new music service would shake out.

"The sky was falling, and iTunes provided a place where we were going to monetize music and in theory stem the tide of piracy. So, it was certainly a solution for the time," said Michael McDonald, who co-founded ATO Records with Dave Matthews and whose Mick Management roster includes John Mayer and Ray LaMontagne.  More

Janos Starker, A Master Of The Cello, Dies At 88

Cellist Janos Starker has died at 88, ending a life and career that saw him renowned for his skills as a soloist, his prodigious work with orchestras, and his commitment to teaching. Starker was born in Budapest in 1924; his path to becoming an international star included surviving life in a Nazi labor camp.

Prolific as well as talented, Starker's recording career spanned more than 50 years. His discography numbers more than 165 recordings, according to his .

"Among his most acclaimed discs are the Bach cello suites and the Dvořák concerto, both recorded for Mercury Living Presence," reports , "and the 1992 Grammy Award winning recording of the Bach suites for RCA."  More

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Composer, educator Robert Ward dies

— Robert Ward, grand old man of American opera and a major figure in North Carolina music since the 1960s, has died.

Ward passed early Wednesday morning at his apartment in a Durham retirement home, after a period of failing health. He was 95 years old.

Ward remains best known for composing the music to the opera version of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1962. He also wrote another seven operas, seven symphonies and numerous choral works and chamber-music pieces.   more

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/03/2799101/composer-educator-robert-ward.html#storylink=cpy

Library of Congress Adds Glass Opera, Van Cliburn to Recording Registry

“Einstein on the Beach” is headed to the Library of Congress. On Thursday, the library announced its 25 newest additions to the National Recording Registry. Among them is the landmark multimedia opera by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson.
The library selects said it selects albums for “their cultural, artistic and historic importance to the nation's aural legacy."

Also among the new additions is a recording from April 1958 of Van Cliburn, then 23 years old, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for the finals of the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. And a 1959 "A Program of Song" by the soprano Leontyne Price was also added.  More

Monday, April 1, 2013

Steinway to Sell West 57th St. Showroom to Condo Developer

Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. is selling its stake in the Steinway Hall building in New York to JDS Development Group for about $46 million.

The musical instrument maker said Tuesday that 247,000-square-foot, 16-story office building is home to its flagship retail showroom. Steinway Hall opened in 1925 and is located on West 57th St. in Manhattan.

The deal gives Steinway, which is best known for its pianos, the right to occupy the building rent free for 14 months after closing and to extend the occupancy an additional four months subject to an agreed upon rent.

Steinway expects cash proceeds of about $43 million from the sale at closing after paying transfer taxes. It expects to recognize a taxable gain of $22 million once the deal closes. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.  More

The Gospel According to the Other Mary received its New York premiere

NEW YORK -- John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary received its New York premiere Wednesday night in Avery Fisher Hall with Gustavo Dudamel conducting soloists, dancers, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It was quite a spectacle.

Like Adams's El Niño, the piece has an inspired and inventive musical score wedded to a libretto assembled by Peter Sellars that mixes biblical scenes with what naysayers might call bleeding-heart-liberal expressions of solidarity with the downtrodden and the oppressed, whether by virtue of economic injustice or discrimination--perennial Sellars themes. Political views aside, one can wince at a passion story that juxtaposes Jesus's arraignment before Pilate with negotiations between César Chavez, representing farm workers, and the Teamsters. Dramatic coherence and structural shape are simply not present. 

Met Announces Sills Award Winner

BryanHymel_3-29-13Tenor Bryan Hymel has joined a rather distinguished group of singers in receiving the eighth annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers. Overseen by the Metropolitan Opera, named for the famed vocalist/arts administrator, funded by an endowment gift from the late Agnes Varis, the $50,000 award is for singers between ages 25 and 40 who are considered "extraordinarily gifted" and have already sung a major role at the Met.

Hymel made his house debut earlier this season, a last-minute replacement for Marcello Giordani singing Aeneas in Berlioz's Les Troyens. Ultimately, he took over the full run (including the HD broadcast), when Giordani decided to "retire" the role from his repertoire. It was a stroke of luck for Hymel, and his debut was a triumph.