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."
With both European bona fides (that Watson fellowship with Nadia Boulanger in Paris) and studies with composers that can sound European (those PhD lessons with Leon Kirchner at Harvard), American composer Robert Sirota remains precisely that: a quintessentially American composer. In his mature works, thorny chromaticism often plays nicely within rounded, deliberate forms. And there's always a true economy of means -- no motive where none intended. European-inspired, maybe, but his is a curious blend, no doubt informed by Sirota's many academic appointments up and down America's eastern seaboard (NYU, BU, Peabody, Manhattan School of Music). Not that Robert Sirota is an ivory tower, himself. Case in point: Sirota's brand new, beguiling work for Sandbox Percussion, Spindrift.
It was announced earlier this week via Facebook that Minnesota Orchestra music director, Osmo Vänskä, and concertmaster Erin Keefe are engaged. An office romance indeed.
Breaking the bow of violinist Leonidas Kavakos has landed a violin shop in Burbank, California, in hot water. The shop's owner, apparently, snapped the violinist's bow, which has been appraised at a massive $80,000. From Courthouse News comes a report that the incident happened in January 2013, when Kavakos brought the bow to the professional Gevorkian Nazareth Violins to get to the bottom of a most unnatural bend. Kavakos, thus, claims that once the owner began applying pressure, per WQXR, to "the Henry Bow, at which time the Henry Bow snapped in two pieces." The official complaint was filed last Friday, Jan. 2, in California Superior Court. The case has weight due to Kavakos's international fame, and it claims that Nazareth Mchsi-Gevorkian should have first heated the bow before applying pressure. A critically acclaimed and world-renowned piece, the Joseph Henry bow dates back to 1850. It is of high-class ornamentation, adorned with tortoise shell and silver and, unfortunately, is irreparably damaged. Having paid $77,350 — or 65,000 euros — obviously Kavakos would be a little, uh, perturbed.
The young pianist Igor Levit and New York City-based performance artist Marina Abramović will collaborate on an avant-garde presentation of Bach's Goldberg Variations at Park Avenue Armory's Drill Hall in December 2015. As the Armory puts it, the work will reflect on music and will provide an interactive landscape for audience and performer.
Subway jazz musicians and "Showtime!" dance stoppers take note: A Southern California director is planning an opera, "Hopscotch: A Mobile Opera for 18 Cars," that takes place inside 18 cars on the streets and highways of Los Angeles.
Tomorrow, tune in to WQXR as John Luther Adams presents a pre-release listening of his album Become Ocean, to be released on Cantaloupe Records.
Earlier this summer, WQXR polled a series of listeners asking what their favorite idea would be for a 24-hour, new-music marathon. After a back-and-forth race, the contest concluded that the majority or people wanted Female Composers.
The New York Philharmonic Biennial program is currently underway and as the title may indicate, Beyond Recall, the performance may not be entirely beyond one's grasp.
The Metropolitan Opera's stuff has been hitting the fan lately. Those financial troubles still threaten to take down the New York City institution. And now, musicians of the opera orchestra may go on strike--if their contract talks with Peter Gelb and Co. should fail.
In learning about Hughes in school, I had assumed the poet had a penchant for music. But now, courtesy of Classicalite's favorite terrestrial radio station WQXR, we're all made aware that Hughes--yes, a music lover--collaborated with composers and musicians on his work.
Classical radio station WQXR will host a Google Hangout on air with pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who will play music of J.S. Bach and talk about the composer's music with a group of special guests, including composer Nico Muhly and writer Paul Elie, author of Reinventing Bach.
Brick may now have Brooklyn, but I've always had J&R Computer World on Park Row. By far, one of the best emporiums for classical music, jazz and "speciality" records, it's losing the fight against the internet. Woe are we, indeed.
UPDATE: Well, it's official now in Kalamazoo. 28-year-old polish pianist Rafal Blechaz (pronounced BLEH-hatch) has received the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award.
Every four years, the Gilmore Artist Award is presented to an international pianist who receives a one-time award of $300,000. The 2014 award will be announced on Wednesday, January 8, during an awards ceremony that will be webcast live on WQXR.org at 5:30 p.m. EST.