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April 2014
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Author Archive

A Trippy Composer

Claude Vivier

The composer writes, “Then he removed a dagger from his jacket and stabbed me through the heart.” At that point the music stops abruptly.

That’s pretty intense, right? Never mind that it really happened.

Claude Vivier was only 35 years old when a male prostitute stabbed him

Baroque&Before: Can You Read Medieval Music?

Introit from Missa verspertina in cena Domini

We know the Neandertals made flutes of bone some 43,000 years ago. More recent came hieroglyphs with harps, flutes, and lute-like instruments. The art of the ancient Greeks and Romans have similar images. Keeping that in mind, figures like the treble clef or the quarter note are newcomers to the human timeline. How those ancient musics sounded has been lost. It wasn’t until medieval monks

A Conductor for the 21st Century

Carlos Miguel Prieto

Mexican maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto is getting a lot of attention from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra’s audience seems to love him, he’s great with kids, and speaks Spanish—all important assets for the CSO, as the organization works to engage the greater Chicago community.

When it comes to the importance of acknowledging a community’s diverse population, Prieto not only gets it

The Many Lives of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

People are always saying William Shakespeare is the greatest English language writer. Did you know he translates well, too? Giuseppe Verdi supposedly kept the complete Shakespeare (in Italian) beside his bed.

This week on Exploring Music, Bill McGlaughlin explores the synergies between Shakespeare’s words and different composers around the world

Pianist Says ‘Technically Simple’ Can Be the Hardest

Josu de Solaun

Valencian pianist Josu de Solaun offers perspective on what makes a piece hard. The “Rach 3,” the Third Piano Concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff is famous for having fistfuls of notes; it was written to be played by the huge hands of the composer himself at Carnegie Hall

Earth Day 2014: A Composer’s Habitat

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

One only has to hear Vivaldi’s Goldfinch Concerto from 1728, or selections from John Dowland’s 16th century songbooks to know that the celebration of nature is as old as the hills. Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day 2014. WFMT’s celebration will include Richard Strauss’s epic tone poem An Alpine Symphony

Dozens of Stars, One Teacher


DeLayed Reaction: there are thousands of music schools throughout the world, few can claim a teacher having the cachet of Dorothy DeLay. Teacher to Itzhak Perlman, Midori, and Gil Shaham, the gentle lady from Kansas became a kingmaker from her studio at the Juilliard School, a teaching career that

The Met Presents Arabella


Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal struck gold when they put their musical and poetic heads together. The most famous, and most lucrative of their collaborative efforts was Der Rosenkavalier, which exploded into the opera world in 1911. Over a 19-year period, Strauss went back to von Hofmannsthal for libretti again and again. Arabella opened in 1933; alas the librettist died

Web Exclusive: Anne Akiko Meyers on the Mason Bates Concerto


Composer Mason Bates loves to tell a story—this time it’s prehistoric creatures emerging from the primordial ooze in the form of a violin concerto.

The genesis of the Concerto evolved over many years between two friends: the composer and violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

Vermeer Quartet: A Bittersweet Reunion


The four members of the Vermeer Quartet decided to hang it up in 2007, but annually return for their Holy Week tradition of performing Joseph Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ.

Sadly, this year’s reunion is incomplete