Issues in the Arts

Weill Fest Explores Music’s Advocate For Social Progress

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By Rebecca Schmid

BREVARD, N.C. – Perhaps only in the current age of stylistic pluralism may it be possible to reconcile Kurt Weill’s German and American phases. In a mix of scholarly talks and performances, the Brevard Festival takes a stab.

New Opera Award Goes To Mazzoli, Vavrek For Waves

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By John Fleming

Breaking the Waves, with music by Missy Mazzoli (right) and libretto by Royce Vavrek, is the first winner of the Music Critics Association of North America’s Best New Opera Award. The presentation will be made July 19 in Santa Fe.

Fine Book Details Cliburn’s Victory At Tchaikovsky

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By Colin Eatock

BOOK REVIEW – In When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph and Its Aftermath, Stuart Isacoff brings a pianist’s insights and historian’s rigor to an event that shook the world nearly six decades ago.

Think Like A Pro To Get Big Sound At Your Desktop

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By Michael Gray

DIGITAL – You may be surprised that you can enjoy great musical sound from your computer. To get there, you need to address some basic questions, ranging from what you expect to hear to the space available on your desk.

Anton Coppola, Feted At Age 100, Still The Maestro

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By John Fleming

TAMPA – Conductors tend to be durable, but maestro and composer Anton Coppola, still active, hit the century mark on March 21. Four days later, Opera Tampa honored the ageless Coppola at a two-hour concert – which he conducted!

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.