News, Commentary on Classical Music, Jazz, Theater, Dance & More


EXCLUSIVE: Lisa Moore on 'Stone People' Cantaloupe Premiere at LPR Feb. 23

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Lisa Moore >>

Lisa Moore is more than just a seminal New York pianist who founded the iconic Band on a Can All-Stars. Her dynamic performances incorporate elemental designs that help her channel a unique flow in the way she plays the instrument. In a one-of-a-kind, one-night only showing, Lisa Moore will take to the downtown dwelling (Le) Poisson Rouge this Tuesday, Feb. 23 for a release show of her new album The Stone People.

Joan La Barbara

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Joan La Barbara >>

The Avant Music Festival 2016 is upon us! With events held from February 20th to March 5th, attendees can experience the full breadth of artistic expression in the uninhibited caverns of The Wild Project, at 195 E. 3rd St. in Manhattan. Since its founding in 2010 by Randy Gibson and Megan Schubert, the Avant Music Festival has fulfilled its pledge to be a "platform for contemporary American composers to experiment with long-form concerts and the full programmatic experience of their work." It is within this setting that maverick vocalist Joan La Barbara will be performing John King's "Mini-Operas" series with fellow vocalist Gelsey Bell on February 27th.

Hristo Vitchev

EXCLUSIVE: Jazz Guitarist Hristo Vitchev on Jazz, Composing and His Band >>

Hristo Vitchev deserves to be heard. His website describes him as an impressionistic, modern jazz guitarist. However, one listen of his new CD In Search of Wonders, you are struck by the timelessness of Mr. Vitchev's music. The guitarist fronts a tightly structured quartet that features him on guitar, Jasnam Daya Singh on piano, Dan Robbins on bass and Mike Shannon on the drums. In real life, they are four different individuals but, as a band, they are one, as Mr. Vitchev will be the first to tell you.

Helene Grimaud

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Hélène Grimaud >>

Water, it is the source of life and death. It is sustains and corrodes. When it pours outside our window, it torments us but also it comforts us, heals our weaknesses. If there is a greater power on earth, it has yet to be found. Water or lack thereof can bring a country, a state or a city to its knees faster than economic sanctions. Like many in the art world through the ages, French classical pianist Helene Grimaud is fascinated by water, as a muse, a metaphor and bringer of life. Her didactic approach to the project was due to her strong belief in environmentalism. Classicalite sat down to talk with Ms. Grimaud about water and Water.

Jesse Cook

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Jesse Cook >>

Aladdin Theater, Milwaukie Street, just off busy Powell Boulevard in Southeast Portland, Oregon. This was where I would meet the man who has been dubbed one of the most influenial figures in nuevo Flamenco music, the very affable and witty Jesse Cook. The guitarist's charm and easy sense of humor reminded my date and me of another performer we had seen recently--the slightly more famous Hugh Laurie. Jesse began a new version of his One World Tour on an unseasonably warm day for Portland. But before anything else could happen, the globe-trotting guitarist had to be dad and put his kids to bed in Toronto.

EXCLUSIVE: Anna Thorvaldsdottir Talks 'Streaming Arrhythmia' Premiere at Pioneer Works

EXCLUSIVE: Anna Thorvaldsdottir on NYC Premiere of 'Streaming Arhythmia' at Pioneer Works >>

To say Anna Thorvaldsdottir works with large sonic structures is an understatement. Her music, instead, embodies a more enormous sense in composition, one dealing with the environment we live in and its volatility. A force of nature impacts our lives more so than a song. So, how is it that Ms. Thorvaldsdottir's music equals weather in force?

EXCLUSIVE: Mohammed Fairouz Talks W.H. Auden, 'No Orpheus' Release and Feb. 17 at (L)PR

EXCLUSIVE: Mohammed Fairouz on W.H. Auden, 'No Orpheus' and (L)PR Dates >>

Mohammed Fairouz is one of this generation's most celebrated--and performed--and composers. His works have been heralded by New Yorker magazine who claim Fairouz is an "expert in vocal writing." Touching on social issues far and wide, his virtuosity with texts archaic and new have earned him the title as a post-millennial Schubert.

EXCLUSIVE: Nico Muhly on Bedroom Whale Watching, Nadia Sirota's Friendship, Diving with Joanna

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Nico Muhly >>

With Nadia Sirota finishing up her much-anticipated residency at Symphony Space, so, too, has her latest episode of WQXR-Q2's Meet the Composer podcast just wrapped with everyone's favorite working composer, Nico Muhly. And for their parts together, Sirota and Muhly will soon be packing up to hit the road with one of our own favorite working composers' collective, Iceland's Bedroom Community--for the third iteration of their grand "Whale Watching Tour."

EXCLUSIVE: Student Teaching - Kurt Gottschalk at Ostrava Days 2015 [REVIEW]

EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Gottschalk's Student Dispatches from Ostrava Days 2015 >>

Besides being a festival of contemporary composition the likes of which isn't often seen this side of the Atlantic, the Czech Republic's biennial Ostrava Days plays host to a two-week institute for composers and performers, where students get the opportunity to workshop with and have their works reviewed by some of the the major figures invited to the nine days of concerts, which follow on the heels of the institute. But once the festival proper is underway, such hierarchies evaporate, as students perform with and have their work presented alongside the headliners.

EXCLUSIVE: Small Ensembles Thinking Big - Kurt Gottschalk at Ostrava Days 2015 [REVIEW]

EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Gottschalk's Chamber Dispatches from Ostrava Days 2015 >>

Ostrava, a smallish Czech city of some 300,000 people about 10 kilometers from the Polish border, hosts the biennial Ostrava Days, a small festival, itself, but with audiences usually numbering a couple hundred. Both city and fest think big. In recent years, Ostrava has seen a remarkable amount of development via commerce and construction, as well as a laudable push to renovate the industrial facilities if its mining past into theaters, galleries and other art spaces. For its part, Ostrava Days is oriented toward big music--the 2015 edition even featuring a night of works for three orchestras--all the while making room for smaller-scale compositions.

'Bolshoi Babylon' Out Now on HBO Go

EXCLUSIVE: HBO's 'Bolshoi Babylon' Director Nick Read on Filin, Dimitrichenko, Urin and Kremlin >>

When the Bolshoi Ballet took a hit following the 2013 acid attack on the company's artistic director and former dancer Sergei Filin, it was hard to recover in the public eye. For filmmaker and director Nick Read, it became the center focus of their latest documentary 'Bolshoi Babylon' and proved to be an aid in discerning the facts. It also unveiled the political interference and scandal that encapsulates the Bolshoi both in its dancers and in management.

REVIEW: Opéra de Montréal's 'Elektra' Looms Large Under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Michel Beaulac

REVIEW: Lise Lindstrom Looms Large in Strauss' 'Elektra' at Opéra de Montréal >>

Opéra de Montréal gave that city's first staging of 'Elektra' in November--and the first production ever by a resident Montreal company--finessing a presentation both stark and expansive, starring the brilliant American soprano Lise Lindstrom. Filling the titular role, Lindstrom easily carried the weight of Strauss' demanding single-act, 100-minute opera. But the spotlight wasn't hers alone; she shared it with a massive, 25-foot statue of King Agamemnon and the equally enormous vision of the company's artistic director, Michel Beaulac.

EXCLUSIVE Lang Lang Debuts 'In Paris' Chopin-Tchaikovksy, Talks Hall of Mirrors and More

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Lang Lang >>

The classical crossover smash, Lang Lang, has released his most recent disc to date, Lang Lang in Paris. The LP is heavily rooted in the pianist's affinity for Chopin and Tchaikovsky. In the package is an exclusive performance from Lang Lang in the Hall of Mirros at the Chateau de Versailles in Paris, also--where he feels the music is most authentic and where he felt the pieces were presented most accurately.

Exclusive Q and A with Father Cassian Folsom of Norcia Monks Talks Chart-Topper 'Benedicta' LP, Gregorian Chants and His Home Brew

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Cassian Folsom of Norcia Monks >>

It seems, for lack of a better word, unconventional for an album of religious chants to take the number one spot on Billboard's Classical Traditional Chart in its first week of release. And it's even more unconventional that it has maintained the spot for two weeks straight.

EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Gottschalk's Orchestral Dispatches from Ostrava Days 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Gottschalk's Orchestral Dispatches from Ostrava Days 2015 >>

While the biannual Ostrava Days in the Czech Republic features, primarily, a wide array of post-1950 solo and small ensemble pieces, it is, at its heart, a symphonic endeavor--founded and curated by Czech composer/conductor Petr Kotik. Over the course of nine expansive nights in August, running this year from the 21st to the 29th, the festival hosted three different orchestras, and all three together on the first night. The Ostrava-based Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and resident ensemble Ostravská Banda did plenty of heavy lifting over the course of the fest, with the Miners Band from Stonava (a brass group from that nearby town in coal-mining Moravia) joining them on opening night.

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