Issues in the Arts

New Light On Nazi Rule In Orchestras Of Vienna, Berlin

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By Paul E. Robinson

BOOK REVIEW – The Political Orchestra by Fritz Trümpi provides important new information and a broader context for understanding how the two greatest orchestras in the German-speaking world were affected by politics.

Hear, Hear! New Halls Diverge In Acoustic Designs

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By Nancy Malitz

When it comes to concert hall acoustics, controlled comparisons are difficult, but the temptation was irresistible on a Chicago Symphony tour of new halls in Paris, Hamburg and Aalborg, Denmark, followed by two old gems.

Critics, Gathered In Charleston, Honor A Leader

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By John W. Lambert

IN MEMORIAM – Robert Paul Commanday, who died in 2015 at the age of 93, was fondly remembered in Charleston, S.C., where the Music Critics Association of North America heard a tribute to his guiding force in a transitional age.

Canada Tempest: Debating Critic’s Role In Our Time

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By Allan Kozinn

ANALYSIS – A publicist for Canadian Opera took issue with a National Post critique of Maometto II, an editor yanked the review, the critic was in the dark, emails went viral and things went downhill from there. What’s at stake here?

Robert W. Gutman Altered Views Of Mozart, Wagner

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By James L. Paulk

APPRECIATION – The American scholar, who died May 13 at the age of 90, was best known for landmark biographies of two seminal figures. The books dispelled myths and provided fresh and surprising perspectives.

Arts Groups Tweak Sights, Aiming For A Younger Crowd

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – Renée Fleming helped launch Lyric Young Professionals as a new generation support network aimed at ages 21-45. The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s effort, part of a national trend, revisits an old standby, the subscription.

Music From Japan: Bearing The Stamp Of Global Fusion

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By Richard S. Ginell

NEW YORK – Music From Japan, in its 41st year of concerts, featured works by Misato Mochizuki and eight other composers, all written after 2000 in the freeing spirit of what the event’s curator has dubbed “neo-Japonism.”

Steven Stucky’s Twin Legacies Of Music And Light

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, who died of brain cancer Feb. 14 at age 66, was an inspiring teacher, lecturer and author whose long association with top orchestras left a lasting impression on many lives.

Extra Special: Evolving Role Of Supernumeraries

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By Barbara Jepson

All of those non-singing performers on opera stages are there to help fulfill the director’s vision for a production — from serving as warriors in Aida to wearing a fish head in the dream sequence in Hansel and Gretel.

In Classical Guise, Rock Music Finds Symphonic Haven

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By John Fleming

In 1995, conductor-arranger Brent Havens put the Virginia Symphony together with music of Led Zeppelin in a classic rock and classical music pairing. The concert sold out in one day, he says, and his cottage industry was born.

A Visionary Critic, Commanday Saw Future In The Web

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By Paul Hertelendy

SAN FRANCISCO – We lost one of our most prominent music critics with the death of Robert Commanday, 93. He wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, created San Francisco Classical Voice, and sparked this website’s genesis.

Chicago’s Lyric Casts Opera Lure Via Social Media

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – If you want to share your excitement about opera with your college-age nephew or your grandchild, how do you go about it? Do you send a letter? Leave a voicemail? Take your cue from Lyric Opera. Try social media.

WFMT’s American Salute Seeks Out Neglected Masters

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By Wynne Delacoma

There’s a lost generation or three at the heart of 20th-century American classical music, and that loss feels grievous as July 4, 2015, rolls around. With help from Leonard Slatkin, WFMT radio promotes some slighted oldies.

European Jewish Culture Preserved In Song Collection

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By Gail Wein

The Stonehill Jewish Song Collection — over a thousand songs on 39 hours of recordings — provides a reminder of a once-stable life in the old country. Dr. Miriam Isaacs has spent three years working on the project.

Church And Patner Memorialized At Critics Gathering

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

The fraternity of music critics lost two beloved and esteemed members in the last year, Francis L. Church and Andrew Patner. They were honored at the 2015 meeting of the Music Critics Association of North America in San Francisco.

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.

Exhaustive Tome On Schubert Songs Is Beguiling, Too

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By Rodney Punt

BOOK REVIEW – Graham Johnson’s definitive survey of Schubert’s lyric art is at one stroke the indispensable reference for singers, pianists, scholars, lovers of music in general, and Schubert fans in particular. It arrives Dec. 16.

5-Day Boot Camp Drills Reality Of Music Criticism

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By Mike Telin

SAN FRANCISCO – One budding writer chosen to train with the pros at the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism likened the experience to competing in a TV reality show like Top chef, complete with a $10,000 prize.