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September 2013
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Archive for September, 2013

Those Radical Juilliards

Juilliard String Quartet, photo by Steven J. Sherman

Long before they were known as one of the top quartets, there was something different, something edgy about the Juilliard String Quartet. It’s hard to think back to what that might have been like; their style defined a generation of string quartet playing, and shaped the genre as we know it today

Playing Music Isn’t Enough

Jessie Montgomery of the Catalyst Quartet

Whether it’s fighting for equal treatment, equal opportunity, or just trying to understand someone else, most people struggle with diversity in our society. Classical musicians are accustomed to diversity, they don’t necessarily even speak the same language as some of the people they play with, but they’ve all experienced one type of prejudice: prevailing stereotypes toward classical music can leave a player feeling pretty bruised

Is it Scary to Sing for Muti?

Riccardo Muti rehearsing the Chicago Symphony Chorus, photo by Todd Rosenberg

For Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth, which opens this weekend at Symphony Center, nearly three hundred people will come together under his baton; a chorus, an orchestra, and soloists who’ve collectively logged lifetimes in the practice room. One chorister admits, “When Muti comes out for that first rehearsal, it’s terrifying—but it’s amazing. He’s incredible.” For the wide-eyed alertness that his presence commands

The Private World of Shostakovich

Lynn Harrell, photo by Chad Batka

One of the finest cellists in the world today, Lynn Harrell travels the globe, sharing music and good will. He’s done a fair share of that with WFMT, creating a poignant and revealing window into the artistic process in the broadcast “Songs My Father Taught Me”…(hear his comments on Shostakovich)…

Elgar’s Dream

Sir Edward Elgar, 1931

So much has changed since Elgar composed The Dream of Gerontius. Today, many will rush to defend him as England’s greatest composer, but in 1900 he had many detractors. A piano tuner’s son, he was painfully self-conscious of his humble origins in Victorian and Edwardian England; and then there was the sectarian problem

Tuesday Night Opera Libretto

Giuseppe Verdi

(Tuesday at 8:00 PM) WFMT has been serving up a delicious series of operas by Giuseppe Verdi since the first of the year. His 200th birthday is fast approaching on October 10th, and commemorations abound. In the next couple weeks, Chicagoans can hear three Verdi operas live: Joan of Arc by Chicago Opera Theater, MacBeth by Riccardo Muti

Nicholas Phan: A 21st Century Tenor

Tenor Nicholas Phan

(LISTEN) NPR named him their “Favorite New Artist” in 2011. This tenor is completely comfortable in his shoes as artist, public figure, and regular guy; treating his fan base as an extension of his own friends. His blogs are personal

Profile: Albina Shagimuratova

Albina Shagimuratova in "Rigoletto," photo by Dan Rest

Her Lyric Opera debut displayed the kind of technique that inspires wonder in the most exceptional athletes, which she wielded, adding layer upon layer to Gilda’s character, making people drop their jaws, and clamor for more… (listen)

Muti Takes Orchestra to Cicero High School

Maestro Riccardo Muti

If you believe what you read, the town of Cicero has a troubled history. Iniquitous associations linger for decades, while saying nothing of the men and women who live, work, and raise families here. On Wednesday, the people of Cicero had the opportunity to show something of their fiber: world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti

Video: Highlights from Beethoven Fest

Portrait of Beethoven by Mike Cuffe, 2013 Festival

In 2010, the International Beethoven Project exploded into prime-time with a new piece by Beethoven—a work that no one in modern times had ever heard. The excitement spread across the globe in such a fury