Toronto Symphony Salutes Armenian Music And Artists

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – A packed house heard the orchestra give a concert featuring such musicians of Armenian descent as violinist Sergey Khachatryan, soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, and music director Peter Oundjian.

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Houston Walküre Showcases Two Starry Sopranos

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By William Albright

HOUSTON – When casting Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Houston Grand Opera probably didn’t think of the frothy, fidelity-testing comedy as a potential breeding ground for future Wagnerians. But that’s what it has turned out to be.

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Nézet-Séguin Triumphant In Montreal Return

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By Robert Markow

MONTREAL – The Canadian music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra could have told the Orchestre Métropolitain he no longer had time for them. Yet he returns each season to conduct, and the results are remarkable.

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Gardiner Applies Special Touch To Sacred Monument

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By Geoffrey Simon

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Opening a tour through the U.S. with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner led a dramatic account of Monteverdi’s Vespers, which inspired him to found the choir in 1964.

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John Eliot Gardiner (Opus 3 Artists)

Denk And Bartók: Nothing But Love Since Student Days

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By John Fleming

TAMPA – Jeremy Denk’s season-long focus on Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 includes a recent visit to the Florida Orchestra and a prior stop at the pastoral Asheville inn where Bartók penned its bird songs. Cleveland is next.

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Alabama SO Adds Indie Star Dessner To Rock Collection

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By Michael Huebner

BIRMINGHAM – When rock guitarist Bryce Dessner isn’t touring with The National, he writes for ensembles world-wide. At a recent Alabama Symphony Classical Edge event featuring his work, he also played electric guitar solo.

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Cav/Pag Miss/Hit In Met’s Debut Of McVicar Stagings

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By David Shengold

NEW YORK – Replacing the garish Zeffirelli double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the Metropolitan Opera, David McVicar’s production — with tenor Marcelo Álvarez doing double duty — proves a mixed affair.

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Australians Float U.S. Journey On Water Premiere

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By Richard S. Ginell

PALO ALTO – The music of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood has been steadily gaining footholds in film and classical circles. Now the Australian Chamber Orchestra offers the rolling U.S. premiere of Water, which is brimming with ideas.

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Around the U.S.

Haitink Revels In Many Wonders Of Mahler’s Seventh

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

CHICAGO – Bernard Haitink has been a champion of the Mahler symphonies for decades, and nowhere was this more evident than in his subtly authoritative performance of the Seventh Symphony with the Chicago Symphony.

Ample Passion Animates Bach For H+H Bicentennial

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By Sarah Bryan Miller

BOSTON – Bach’s St. Matthew Passion received its first complete American performance in 1879 by the Handel and Haydn Society, which recently gave the work a splendid reading to mark its 200th anniversary.

Handel and Haydn Exhibit Provides 200-Year Overview

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By Marvin J. Ward

BOSTON – The Handel and Haydn Society is marking its bicentennial with concerts, publications, and an exhibition at the Boston Public Library tracing its transformation from amateur choral organization to professional leader.

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Around Canada

Period Keyboards Recast Beethoven Works With Cello

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – How would you feel if you were brought out of 168 years of retirement? This locally owned Broadwood piano lent an authentic sound to an all-Beethoven weekend with pianist Robert Levin and cellist Steven Isserlis.

Pianist Eve Egoyan Surveys Landscape Of Modern Music

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By Holly Harris

WINNIPEG – For 24 years, the contemporary music series GroundSwell has offered a steady diet of cutting-edge artists. The latest, adventurous Canadian pianist Eve Egoyan, offered solo concerts including two of her own commissions.

‘Not For TV,’ But Lizée Work Still Prime-Time Fare

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – In a small space called the Orpheum Annex, Nicole Lizée’s “This Will Not Be Televised” anchored a concert entitled “Displaced Emotion,” part of the Vancouver Symphony’s continuing nod to the new.

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International

Yannick Displays Russian Sound Of Rotterdam In U.S.

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By Rick Schultz

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – In his seventh year leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Yannick Nézet-Séguin says Russian music is still in its blood, a gift of his predecessor. After a start in the American west, the U.S. tour heads east.

Lucia di Hyannis Port? Bel Canto Madness Updated

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By Rebecca Schmid

MUNICH – The staging, set in 1950s America, drowned in clichés, but Diana Damrau in the title role fused music and drama into a consistent whole. Every outburst and coloratura line were endowed with convincing expression.

Beyond The Galop, Dancing Horses Sashay To Mozart

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By Rebecca Schmid

SALZBURG – Conductor Mark Minkowski and horseman-impresario Bartabas staged Davide penitente and other late works as equestrian ballet. The sight was mesmerizing at times, but some movements lacked dramatic orientation.

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Issues in the Arts

Hey, What About Lisitsa’s Take On Rachmaninoff?

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By Arthur Kaptainis

TORONTO – Tweet-happy Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa found herself out of an engagement when the Toronto Symphony decided that her comments were too extreme to warrant her playing Rach 2.

Images Slow-dance To Bach Behind Violinist Shaham

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By Kyle MacMillan

Gil Shaham tells his children to try new things and not be afraid of making mistakes. But the renowned violinist realized a few years ago that he had not done a very good job of following his own advice, so he decided to revisit Bach.

The Worldly Wag Behind Cherubino, Rosina And Figaro!

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By Susan Brodie

Beaumarchais’ own dashing story rivals the operas he inspired, and John Corigliano has written him into The Ghosts of Versailles, based on the last of the French scribe’s Figaro trilogy. A project at LA Opera prompts a closer look.

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Disc and Stream

American Classics Resound On Fine CD From Oregon

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By Paul Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Carlos Kalmar and the Oregon Symphony continue the ensemble’s tradition of focusing on American music with a program of music by Walter Piston, George Antheil, and Aaron Copland.

Hovhaness’ Image Of Andromeda Has Aspect Of Far East

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By Richard s. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Prolific beyond understanding, Alan Hovhaness died in 2000 with many works left unrecorded, among them his “Vision of Andromeda,” the 48th of 67 symphonies. The 1982 opus makes its disc debut at last.

Partch Advocates’ Sensibility Makes Sense Of Bizarre

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – The word on Harry Partch (1901-1974) is spreading slowly, thanks to latter-day disciples like the ensemble simply called Partch. Its second Partchmusik album actually won a Grammy Award a few weeks ago.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

Peter Schickele and the Armadillo Quartet – 25 Years Together

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Monday night, the Shatto Chapel within the massive First Congregational Church near Wilshire Blvd. was the …

Richard S. Ginell - From Out of the The West

Pierre Boulez on his 90th Birthday – A Personal Memoir

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
On Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday, I’d like to share a few memories of watching this once-controversial, …

Richard S. Ginell - From Out of the The West

What do Pharrell Williams and Anton Bruckner Have In Common?

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Some rants about the verdict that a misguided jury slapped upon Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams …

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