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August 2014
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Archive for August, 2014

Video: William Bolcom and Grant Park

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom

It’s fitting that the Grant Park Music Festival should commission a piece by William Bolcom to celebrate its 80th anniversary. The two have had a long relationship. In fact, it was at a 1986 Grant Park Orchestra performance of Bolcom’s “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” that then Lyric Opera General Director Ardis Krainik

Today’s Mexican Composer

Mario Lavista, born in Mexico City, 1943

This week, WFMT’s Fiesta!, the popular Latin American music series hosted by Elbio Barilari, zeros in on the new music scene in Mexico. Of course there have been a number of prominent composers to come out of Mexico, like Carlos Chávez, Manuel Ponce, and Silvestre Revueltas

Video Exclusive with Ravinia Soloist Saimir Pirgu

Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu

He’s a favorite with Chicago’s maestros. In March, Saimir Pirgu sang “Lucia de Lammermoor” with James Conlon at the Los Angeles Opera. In July it was the Verdi Requiem with Riccardo Muti. He returns in February for a Mozart Requiem with Mr. Muti; and this week he joins Mr. Conlon at Ravinia for Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” “Conductors like to work with people they know

Classic “Cav and Pag”

Italian tenor Franco Corelli

“Cav and Pag” almost sounds like a Napa Valley blend; it’s actually opera-lover lingo for “Cavalleria rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni and “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. For lots of reasons, those two operas are bedfellows

Why You Should Hear this Composer

Christopher Theofanidis

The glass ceiling between living composers and those of a hundred years ago seems to be splintering. One of the principal agents is Dallas-native Christopher Theofanidis. He is one of the most sought-after composers today, with performances by over seventy orchestras worldwide. While he’s had plenty of attention

This Week LA, Next Week Ravinia

A Hollywood Moment: actor and director Woody Allen visits with James Conlon and Saimir Pirgu backstage at the LA Opera

Two of the three principals on Saturday’s Los Angeles Opera broadcast of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor are in Highland Park these days, preparing to perform two Mozart operas back-to-back in Ravinia’s Martin Theatre

“Relevant Tones” Thinks Global, Acts Local

"Relevant Tones" host Seth Boustead

Chicago composer Seth Boustead thought he was well-networked and well-positioned to create a local new music show for WFMT with producer Jesse McQuarters – that was then. He’s had to adjust his thinking a bit.

In the last year, Relevant Tones went national

Exclusive: Backstage with Pink Martini’s Storm Large


“Rock, metal, and jazz” vocalist – that’s Storm Large, according to Wikipedia. Never mind the fact that her band Pink Martini is described as a “jazz, Latin, lounge music, classical” group.

By design, Storm Large defies classification (she’s also been a playwright, an actor, and had a cult-like following as a punk rocker).

The aptly named Storm Large

Want to See Northern Lights? Either the Arctic Circle or Grant Park Will Do

Grant Park Music Festival, Pritzker Pavilion, c. Christopher Neseman

While the Grant Park Orchestra season coincides with the dog days of summer; and composer Christopher Theofanidis hails from the desert southwest, their upcoming concert together goes to another extreme: the northern lights in the dead of winter.

The light shows of the aurora borealis have long been seen as omens

CSO Principal talks Elgar and Muti

CSO Principal Cello John Sharp, Madrid, c. Todd Rosenberg

Anyone who has seen Riccardo Muti catch air on the podium, might be hard-pressed to think of him as an old dog. Last spring, the youthful, now 73-year-old conductor demonstrated his willingness to learn new tricks: he led the CSO in his first-ever performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto.