Friday, September 25, 2015

9 Classical Musician Program Bios That Aren't Terrible

Cameron Carpenter, organistCameron Carpenter, organist (

The Independent newspaper in London recently asked why classical musician biographies are so numbingly dull. Noting that these articles that appear in Playbills are usually formulaic lists of past and future performance dates, the piece demanded more interesting, personalized prose.
However, some performers are already writing more creatively about themselves, including the following nine, who share a quite a bit of personality in their texts. Read

One-hit Wonders!!

One-hit wonders refer to those with a single career success — from the playing fields to book publishing and everything in between.

But today, National One-Hit Wonder Day, is reserved for glorifying that special category of artists with one Top 40 hit or signature song.
Among the more recent staples of the not entirely flattering category are: Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby,” Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” Los del Río’s “Macarena” and Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?
The “one-hit wonder” label isn’t so easy to remove. Take the Norwegian band, A-ha. It’s famous for “Take On Me,” a No. 1 smash on the Billboard chart in 1985.
The band followed it up with a second Billboard Top 40 single, “The Sun Always Shines on TV,” and is still touring and recording (the ban released its 10th album, “Cast in Steel,” this month). But the band rarely fails to make a “one-hit wonder” chart.
“For us, you have to make peace with that song because it’s stronger than you in a way,” Morten Harket, a band member, recently said. “It’s not going away.”
The one-hit phenomenon is beginning to fizzle a little. Songs are staying on the chart longer, taking up space that would be going to new hits and the next potential contender for greatest one-hit wonder.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Must Opera Be 'Relevant'?

Željko Lučić as Iago and Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role of Verdi's 'Otello'Željko Lučić as Iago and Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role of Verdi's 'Otello' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)
The new opera season is upon us in New York as the Metropolitan Opera prepares to raise its curtain—though it rarely uses its iconic gold silk curtain anymore—on Monday. The company will present a new production of Verdi’s Otello by Bartlett Sher, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Sonya Yoncheva, Aleksandrs Antonenko and Željko Lučić. 
In fact, September marks the reopening of most of the great opera houses of Europe and North America as well as many smaller companies everywhere that provide a huge service to the art form and to adventurous audiences who are willing to try something new.  More

New labels in Naxos Music Library!

naxos InformationTake a look at the new material available at Naxos Music Library!! offers access to all the labels of the Naxos group of companies as well as to Artek, BR-Klassik, C Major, Campanella Musica, Capriccio, Capriole, Carpe Diem, CD Accord, Dacapo, Cedille, First Edition, Ondine, Phoenix Edition, OUR Recordings, Solo Musica, Dorian Sono Luminus, TwoPianists, Vienna Philharmonic, White Cloud, Naxos Classical Archives and Naxos Rock Legends.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Key Igor Stravinsky work found after 100 years

Stephen Walsh, a world expert on the composer, tells how lost score was found in piles of dusty manuscripts
Stravinsky in exile: the expatriate modernist was regarded as a non-person in the Soviet Union. Photograph: Roger Viollet/Rex

An important early orchestral work by one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, thought for more than 100 years to have been irretrievably lost, has turned up at last in a pile of old manuscripts in a back room of the St Petersburg Conservatoire.

Igor Stravinsky composed his Pogrebal’naya Pesnya (Funeral Song) in memory of his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, shortly after Rimsky’s death in June 1908. The 12-minute work was performed only once, in a Russian symphony concert conducted by Felix Blumenfeld in the Conservatoire in January 1909, but was always thought to have been destroyed in the 1917 revolutions or the civil war that followed. Read More

Music copyright hits again -- Band unhappy with use of 'Eye of the Tiger' for Kim Davis

The use of "Eye of the Tiger" at a rally for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has Survivor's Jim Peterik "risin' up to the challenge" -- and threatening action.
Peterik, who co-wrote the stirring "Rocky III" theme song, is upset that Davis emerged from jail Tuesday to the strains of his song. Davis, the Rowan County clerk, had been held in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
"I have not authorized the use of Eye of the Tiger for use by Kim Davis and my publisher will issue a C&D (cease and desist order). This does not reflect my views," Peterik wrote on Twitter.  Read more

Jon Batiste Will Lead ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Band in a Style He Sees Fit

There comes a point in almost any scheduled performance by Jon Batiste when he pops up from the piano and strides into the crowd, tootling his melodica, a toylike wind instrument, with bandmates in tow. It’s a trademark shtick that happens to carry a whiff of the authentic, given Mr. Batiste’s lifelong familiarity with New Orleans second-line parades. Naturally, it was one of the factors that led to his role as bandleader on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” which makes its debut on CBS on Tuesday.