June 19, 2018

in: Reviews

Montrose and Shiffman: Gravitas, Badinage, and Panache

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Rockport Chamber Music Festival invited a fairly new piano trio consisting of three not-so-new musical heavyweights as it third act. The Montrose Trio gave us one near novelty and two beloved standards Saturday night.    [continued]

June 19, 2018

in: Reviews

Considering a Dreadful Dad Before Father’s Day

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Alon Nashman nervously gaited across the stage, sitting down behind a cages with a handful of black, dusty feathers before beginning with feather pen in hand, “Dearest Father.” The one-man-show with live and canned music of Golijov ran Saturday at Shalin Liu Center.    [continued]

June 18, 2018

in: Reviews

Rockport Casts Spells

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Pianist Frederick Chiu Sunday concert with cellist Andrés Diáz and clarinetist Todd Palmer lived up to the Rockport Chamber Music Festival season’s  “r:EVOLUTION” billing.    [continued]

June 16, 2018

in: Reviews

Boffo Opening for Rockport

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From the blazing six-gun salute to Souvenir de Florence to the last notes in the poignant fadeout of Oswaldo Golijov’s Ayre, an eclectic and exuberant new era at Rockport Music’s Shalin Liu Performance Center began on Friday night.    [continued]

June 11, 2018

in: Reviews

Four Hands Provide Extra Zing

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James Barkovic and Terry Halco mingled Mozart, Gershwin, Fauré, Moszkowski, Dvořák and Oldham to the delight of a summery Sunday afternoon flock in the Harvard Epworth Concert Series.    [continued]

June 2, 2018

in: Reviews

Semiosis Quartet: Attuned, Unrattled, Freaked

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The foursome fearlessly, efficaciously, and fully signified in new music at the New School in Cambridge.    [continued]

May 29, 2018

in: Reviews

“Ain’t I A Woman?”

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Castle of our Skins mixed historical instruction, poetry, and music by composers of color at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury on Saturday.    [continued]

May 22, 2018

in: Reviews

Striking Gold in the Choral Periphery

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John Ehrlich’s Spectrum Singers introduced Sunday’s First Church Congregational, Cambridge audience, to largely unfamiliar choral works: the original version of Dvořák’s Mass in D Major, Op. 86, and the a cappella Mass for Double Choir by Martin.    [continued]

May 21, 2018

in: Reviews

Sarasa—Reflecting Well

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Seven excellent instrumentalists lustrously collaborated at the Cambridge Friends Meeting House in “Mirrors,” which began with an unofficial celebration of the 350th anniversary of the birth of the prolific keyboardist and composer François Couperin.    [continued]

May 15, 2018

in: Reviews

BLO Adds Trouble to Barcarolles

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Boston Lyric Opera’s Trouble in Tahiti at a drained ice rink is far and away the most effective version I’ve experienced—theatrically alive from beginning to end, and warmly human.    [continued]

May 15, 2018

in: Reviews

Pianist Shines Polychrome Penumbra

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The publisher salutes the multihued throwback artistry of Vietnamese-Canadian pianist Dang Thai Son.    [continued]

May 15, 2018

in: Reviews

Faire Be the Cantata Singers

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Extraordinarily beautiful music we rarely hear, Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum, Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Messe, and William H. Harris’s Faire is the Heaven, closed Cantata Singers’ 54th season.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Big Back Bay Fuels Vaughan Williams

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With large chorus and orchestra came a rare American excursion into the realm of Ralph Vaughn Williams. “Essential Voices” unfolded at Sanders Theater before a strong and clearly enthusiastic Mothers’ Day crowd.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

The RenMen Visit Opera

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The excited energy and eager advocacy for hidden gems and chestnuts alike in “A Night at the Opera” delighted the small audience gathered in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Newton Lower Falls on Saturday night.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Unitas Almost Didn’t Have a Concert

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When the authorities suddenly closed Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, conductor Lina Gonzalez-Granados had just a few hours to find a new venue for her Latina composer’s concert on Friday.    [continued]

May 14, 2018

in: Reviews

Unfulfilled Promise: The Prison Co-Premieres

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The Cecilia Chorus of New York combined forces with a freelancer’s orchestra in an artistically uneven mounting of Ethel Smyth’s The Prison (1930) and  Mozart Requiem at Carnegie Hall on last Friday.

   [continued]

May 13, 2018

in: Reviews

For BSCP, Equality in Composers

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Boston Symphony Chamber Players closed its Jordan Hall season on April 22nd with four attractive works: Viennese classical, German Romanticism, French Romanticism, and contemporary American.    [continued]

May 12, 2018

in: Reviews

There’ll Always Be a Parry

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Conductor Edward Elwyn Jones’s “A Parry Premiere: Invocation to Music, and a Variety of Tidbits” with the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, orchestra and soloists made a case for reclaiming the music of Hubert Parry in a enthusiastic outing at Sanders last night.    [continued]

May 12, 2018

in: Reviews

A Vision in Luxe Technique With Emerging Repose

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Yuja Wang brought Russian Romantics in the main to Jordan Hall for the Celebrity Series last night with a musicianship that was volcanic, caressing and fearless.    [continued]

May 10, 2018

in: Reviews

Tactfully Sacred and Profane from Tactus

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The ensemble’s “Drinking Songs & Lamentations” took neither noun literally at Harvard University’s Memorial Church Tuesday.      [continued]

May 9, 2018

in: Reviews

Fandango Fiesta Is Memorable

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Laury Gutièrrez led Rumbarroco’s fusion of Mexican, Guatemalan, Venezuelan and Dominican rhythms mixed with 16-17th century compositions by Diego Ortiz, Santiago de Murcia, Rafael Antonio Castellanos and Antonio Soler at the intimate Gordon Chapel of Old South Church on Sunday.    [continued]

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June 15, 2018

in: News & Features

Meditating on the “Bounded Fields of Time”

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Oliver Caplan, featured composer

All of us — well, except those who achieve Nirvana — rebel against time. We want to hold onto it, retrieve it, freeze it, even reverse it. And humans have always yearned for a release from time’s iron grip – an impossible return to an Edenic existence. (And what is a heavenly afterlife but lux aeterna in a timeless realm free from pain and striving?) In the founding Judeo-Christian narrative, Adam and Eve brought humankind sin, misery and death (not to mention the pain of childbirth) by eating that damned apple and acquiring a godlike knowledge of good and evil.

In one way and another, Boston debut of the New Hampshire Master Chorale will be a meditation on time and human existence through wide-ranging contemporary music including the premiere of Bostonian Oliver Caplan’s response to the 2017 racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. His We Exist, pleads for a universal humanity.

The 22-voice Chorale and chamber orchestra under the direction of Dan Perkins will perform the show at Friday, June 22nd at First Church Boston at 8:00 P.M, Saturday the 23rd at 7:00 P.M. in the First Congregational Church in Concord, NH on Sunday the 24th at 4:00 P.M. at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Plymouth, NH. My program notes summarize it thus: [continued…]

June 8, 2018

in: News & Features

Concert Marketing 101

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Inspiring the next Sol Hurok

New England Conservatory recently announced the inaugural group of NEC’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship (EM) Nova Fellows, a new student-run music-presenting collaborative sponsored in part by a generous anonymous donor. EM Nova, a transformation of Symphony Nova, a professional development fellowship program founded in 2007 for orchestral musicians, will be integrating its operations into NEC’s entrepreneurial musicianship department.

Next fall’s six-fellow team represents a cross-section of the student body, with participation from the classical, jazz, and contemporary improvisation departments. The fellows will be directly overseen by EM faculty, providing resources for students’ creative paths. Interim NEC president Tom Novak points out that “This is an incredible opportunity for students to experience every component of producing a concert series. It is a great enhancement to the offerings provided by the entrepreneurial musicianship department, as NEC aspires to prepare students for the professional world.” Students will have an unprecedented opportunity for hands-on learning, as they will be responsible for all areas of managing the EM Nova program, which will offer not only new, eclectic presentations to the Boston community but also professional development and performance opportunities to students.

We had to learn more. [continued…]

May 30, 2018

in: News & Features

Fempowering Opera

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Soprano Kathryn McKeller (T-Stop Pictures for OperaHub)

Nine divas from two centuries locked in the afterlife and pitted against one another will fight for the soul of opera—what couldn’t go right? OperaHub’s timely new play with music DIVAS is a female-powered world premiere written by Boston playwright Laura Neill and packed with true stories, extravagant fashion, and gorgeous music. Including 13 selections from Purcell to Puccini, DIVAS, both hilarious and poignant, showcases larger-than-life women whose voices reverberate across the centuries.

Boston’s self-described “opera punks” break out the ballgowns to ask, “What is the power of opera? Can women harness it to new ends?”  The piano-accompanied production runs June 21st -30th in the Plaza Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts.

It seems an ideal moment for DIVAS. As a layered historical exploration of female theater leadership, the stories of these nine divas are full of emotional, physical, and financial mistreatment, the truths for many women in theater and opera over the ages. As the current public reckoning with sexual harassment and power abuse makes plain, this is the daily experience of contemporary women in the arts and beyond. You don’t have to be a diva.

The characters dress sumptuously and sing fabulously, and at first are wary of one another’s power. They must find common cause, however, in order to resist the oppressive force keeping them captive. Alongside contemporary questions about opera’s place in the world today, DIVAS poses: Can women work its power to produce new outcomes?

DIVAS tells of nine renowned singers representing 200 years of opera who, each in her own way, changed the world. Powerful musicians they were, thwarting the stigma attached to performers while working in the revolutionary revaluation of women’s place in society. [continued…]

May 25, 2018

in: News & Features

Like Halcyon Barques to Portsmouth’s Shores

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Heng-Jin Park

“What sorts of images and associations does the term ‘halcyon’ bring to mind,” our writer Mike Rocha wondered three years back. Honey-colored light and dappled shade? Warm summer zephyrs? Nostalgic yearnings? For its fifth season, the Halcyon Music Festival will offer six exuberant chamber music concerts at the sumptuously decorative and acoustically rich confines of Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s St. John’s Episcopal Church and two at Bratton Recital Hall at the University of New Hampshire Durham, its “summer camp for its musicians.” The festivities run from June 21st to the 30th. Having attended a number of these events, we can attest to the accuracy of Founder and Artistic Director Heng-Jin Park evocation of blissful ‘halcyon’ days’ immersions. The complete calendar is HERE.

Park and her high-octane artists live and work together for the duration of the festival, producing a series of concerts that generate quite a collaborative vibe. This season’s roster, in addition to pianist Park includes well known soloists and orchestra section leaders: violinists Robyn Bollinger, Gabriela Diaz, Ben Sayevich, Emma Frucht, Solomiya Ivakhiv, Zenas Hsu, Irina Muresanu, and Monica Pegis; violists Tim Deighton, Jason Fisher, Carol Rodland, Jessica Thompson, and Robert Meyer; cellists Karen Ouzounian, Peter Stumpf, Loewi Lin, Jonah Ellsworth, Alexei Gonzales, and David Hardy; along with Erik Higgins, double bass; Paul Cigan, clarinet; and pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich. [continued…]

May 19, 2018

in: News & Features

NEC Celebrates Itself & Sings Tchaikovsky

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Tatyana Dudochkin, a member of the NEC Preperatory School piano faculty, will present her 28th-annual Jordan Hall concert honoring a composer in an anniversary year. This year, the Conservatory itself will share the spotlight with Tchaikovsky on Thursday at 7:30. Each year, she told BMInt, “I consider several composers until I am burning with enthusiasm, then I have to find performers who are available.

The evening includes a mix of acclaimed performers, NEC faculty, and highlights the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School students who will open and close the event. Conductors, David Loebel and Jonathan Richter are to lead the NEC Youth Chorale and the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra—showcasing 183 of Boston’s most advanced youth musicians. The NEC Youth Chorale is a highly celebrated mixed chorus for advanced singers in grades 9-12. Founded over 50 years ago, the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) is the senior-most orchestra at NEC’s Preparatory School and is comprised of gifted young musicians between the ages of 14–18. NEC Prep is one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation. Every week, 1700 students from across New England—absolute beginners to the most advanced young musicians—participate in lessons, classes, and ensembles. 

Additional worthy participants will include WCRB personality Ron Della Chiesa, the Verona Quartet, Temple University Music Preparatory Division Youth Chamber Orchestra,  and soloists Tatyana Dudochkin herself, InMo Yang, Yelena Dudochkin, Adam Klein, Eugene Kaminsky, Mikhail Svetlov, Leo Plashinov, and Brannon Cho. The complete program is detailed at the conclusion of the article. [continued…]

May 17, 2018

in: News & Features

Cambridge Acoustician Recognized

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The Acoustical Society of America presents its prestigious Wallace Clement Sabine Award “to an individual of any nationality who has furthered the knowledge of architectural acoustics, as evidenced by contributions to professional journals and periodicals or by other accomplishments in the field of architectural acoustics.” The most recent winner, named last fall (it is not a yearly award), is Cambridge acoustician and sometime BMInt contributor David Griesinger.

The ASA award is named, of course, for the young Harvard physics instructor who got enlisted in the late 1890s to solve the problems of unintelligible university lecture halls, resulting in pathbreaking research that led to Sabine’s being asked to consult to Symphony Hall Boston—whose famed acoustics remain unsurpassed today.

The ASA citation for Griesinger reads “. . . for contributions to the understanding of electroacoustics and human perception of sound”. Like Sabine, Greisinger was academically trained in physics, not specifically acoustics much less psychoacoustics. His colleague Stephen Barbar’s bio (lightly edited) gives the overview:

David Griesinger was born in Cleveland Ohio. He attended Harvard, earning in physics a BA in 1966, and PhD in 1976. In graduate school, he met his wife, Harriet, who is also a physicist. They have a son, Ben, and one grandchild.

Griesinger is as well the recipient of the Gold Medal of the Verband Deutscher Tonmeister, Silver Medal of the Audio Engineering Society, and the Peter Barnett Award from the Institute of Acoustics. [continued…]

May 11, 2018

in: News & Features

Chamber Fest Rocks On Anew

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Minsoo Sohn to play at Rockport

The first Rockport Chamber Music Festival under the artistic direction of Barry Shiffman opens Friday June 15th and continues through Sunday July 15th. The dramatic theme for 2018 is r:EVOLUTION. Building on the its history of presenting high-caliber classical musicians, Festival artistic director Shiffman is making several enhancements: composer-in-residence (Osvaldo Golijov this season) , Rockport Fellows program, Pop-Up performances, plus a new late-night series called Classical Cabaret. The festival will bring such world-class artists as the Brentano Quartet, pianist Stephen Prutsman, A Far Cry, violinist James Ehnes, the comedic duo Igudesman and Joo, and will close with the great Emerson Quartet with cellist Colin Carr. A special “annex” performance in August will bring the Pinchas Zukerman Trio.

With emphasis this year on presenting the next generation of stars, the Festival will additionally introduce exciting artists on the rise, including Cliburn winner Yekwon Sunwoo, breakout vocal sensation Davóne Tines (with the Rolston Quartet) presenting a special program “Were You There?,” the Dover and Attacca Quartets, and mezzo Samantha Hankey. Shiffman also expands the festival with three primary initiatives: community engagement, investment and innovation, and performance excellence. Composer-in-residence Golijov will have works featured throughout, including his spectacular song cycle Ayre, which will be presented in a beautifully staged theatrical presentation revealing the musical intermingling of Christian, Arab, and Sephardic Jewish cultures. As part of its theme, the Festival will bring films and a one-act theatrical presentation of Kafka and Son (set to the music of Golijov).

Click HERE for the full schedule.

Barry Shiffman recently answered some BMInt questions. [continued…]

May 7, 2018

in: News & Features

Invoking the Purcellian Parry

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Hubert Parry smiling upon the empire

The Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus’s veddy British “A Parry Premiere: Invocation to Music, and a Variety of Tidbits,” on Friday at 8:00 at Sanders Theater, will include the U.S. premiere of C. Hubert H. Parry’s Invocation to Music: In Honour of Henry Purcell, a cantata of melodic grandeur. Blest Pair of Sirens, a favorite of the British Royal Family and also on the agenda, is sure to be played at the upcoming wedding, along with the Parry/Blake “Jerusalem,” Britain’s unofficial national anthem. The greatest English choral composer of his day, he influenced Elgar and Vaughan Williams, among others.

Edward Elwyn Jones, who will conduct chorus, orchestra, soprano Deborah Selig, tenor Gregory Zavracky,  and baritone Sumner Thompson, tells us more his essay.

Purcell possessed an instinct for the true relation between the accents of musical melody and declamatory recitative, which has never been surpassed by any composer of the same nationality.

Thus wrote Sir Hubert Parry in his 1893 text The Art of Music. Purcell’s reputation had been undergoing a renaissance since the mid-19th century, and Parry (along with Stanford) was instrumental in this re-evaluation. Parry’s major contribution to Purcell’s bicentennial celebrations was an ode based on the earlier composer’s Cecilian models which was premiered at the Leeds Triennial Festival in 1895. Written in “Honour of Henry Purcell,” the text was provided by Parry’s friend from Eton and Oxford, Robert Bridges (later to be Britain’s Poet Laureate), and the work forms the centerpiece of the concert coming this Friday. [continued…]

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