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November 2014
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Archive for November, 2014

The Language of Pierre Boulez


Just about everyone in the classical music world holds Mr. Boulez in the highest esteem, though some might add to that a hint of perplexity. Barbara Jepson in The Wall Street Journal put it this way,”[He is a] pioneering composer of thorny modernist works.” She then argues “Why Pierre Boulez’s Répons Is a Masterpiece.”

Cellist Lynn Harrell’s Chicago Roots are Showing


In August of 1965, Billboard magazine printed a recap of the Ravinia festival, which had opened on a 40-degree evening in the middle of June. Aaron Copland and Igor Stravinsky had conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that summer. “Ravinia perennial” Elizabeth Schwarzkopf sang; their 29-year-old music director Seiji Ozawa conducted, and Ella Fitzgerald

“Lucrezia Borgia” from Caramoor Festival


The curious characters behind New York state’s Caramoor Festival couldn’t have been more colorful, if they had climbed from the pen of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Caramoor property was acquired by Wall Street financier Walter Rosen and his wife, Lucie, in 1928, and named for the previous owner, Carolyn Moore Hoyt (Caramoor is a contraction of Carolyn and Moore). Caramoor’s Italian garden was instantly appealing to Walter and Lucie who were avid travelers and art collectors

Ian & Ani Live on WFMT


Last spring, they gave a series of shows called “Tango Obsession” at the Chopin Theatre – eight were sold out. Ian & Ani are putting a different spin on chamber music and bringing their sexy, passionate approach to programming and performance to non-traditional venues around the world.

Check out Russian cellist Ian Maksin and Bulgarian pianist Ani Gogova

How Close is Mahler to Today’s New York Phil?

Composer and conductor Gustav Mahler

In its 172 years, the New York Philharmonic has been the locus for many great moments in American music. Gustav Mahler’s tenure as music director of that orchestra (1909-1911) ranks high on the list for many music lovers. Of course, New Yorkers felt lucky to get him, because he was one of the most celebrated conductors of his time. They weren’t so sure about his symphonies.

It would be decades before

Why Not Haydn the Opera Composer?

Cecilia Bartoli in Haydn's "Orfeo" at Covent Garden

Franz Joseph Haydn is often regarded as the father of the symphony and the father of the string quartet. That’s an extraordinary legacy; so what’s the story with Haydn and opera? Of course, opera was over 100 years old when Haydn came along, so he couldn’t have been its progenitor. What’s puzzling, however, is that most people don’t even know that Haydn wrote operas. He did

New Talent at Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center

Tenor Jesse Donner, left; tenor Jonathan Johnson, top right; bass Bradley Smoak, bottom right

Monday’s Ryan Opera Center recital introduces three talented singers who entered the program this summer: tenor Jonathan Johnson, bass Bradley Smoak, and tenor Jesse Donner. The singers will deliver a program based on one of opera’s favorite topics: women.

The Ryan Opera Center is Lyric Opera of Chicago’s training program for young artists, which gives them everything from one-on-one coaching with the stars of the main stage, to actual roles in Lyric’s main stage productions. In fact all three of Monday