Issues in the Arts

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.

Classical Radio’s Magic Still Rules In Face Of Change

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By John Fleming

How is classical music radio adapting to the digital world? Directors of enduring stations and programs in the U.S. paint a picture of an industry in flux. They pledge to compete by accenting on-air programs that are live – and lively.

Warmed Over Gala Fare Stirs Hunger For Fresh Entrees

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By Barbara Jepson

Orchestras tend to pack their inaugural concerts with the tried and true, but The Bass Whisperer, featuring soloist and co-composer Victor Wooten, for the Nashville Symphony, is one of this season’s intriguing departures.

At Cedille Records, 25 Years Rounded By A Little Curve

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – James Ginsburg, founder of Cedille Records, quit law school to focus on his Chicago-based label, which is marking its 25th anniversary of off-beat and new compositions packaged in unexpected ways.

Reviving Forgotten Gems Is New Grail For Chicago Critic

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By Nancy Malitz

Do you know the composers shown above? You will if the American Music Project, founded by Lawrence A. Johnson, succeeds. “There is quality music in great variety that is being ignored,” he says. And he has a plan.

Tanglewood’s New Music Fest Honors Enduring Legacy

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By Leslie Kandell

LENOX, Mass. – The annual Festival of Contemporary Music bifurcates Tanglewood for five days each year. This year’s music featured Tanglewood fellows and teachers, a who’s who of the last half century or so.

Maazel In His 80s Rode In To Rescue Chicago SO Tour

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By Nancy Malitz

Lorin Maazel was 84 when he died July 13 of complications from pneumonia. But in early 2013, he was vigorous, mentally sharp, and openly thrilled to be able to step in for ailing Riccardo Muti on a Chicago Symphony Asia tour.

Like Super Heroes, Subs Often Save The Musical Day

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By Adeline Sire

Kristine Opolais’ back-to-back role debuts as both Butterfly and Mimi within 24 hours at the Metropolitan Opera is just one example of last-minute bravery that occurs regularly, often with mad chains of events backstage.

Chicago Academy Is Major Key For Young Musicians

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO — How many cello concertos did Mozart write? A music theory contest caps the elite academy school year at the Music Institute of Chicago with applause, cheers and laughter, but the dedication to learning is serious.

NY Phil Biennial Boosts New Music By Reaching Out

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By George Loomis

NEW YORK – A wealth of participants in the first-ever NY Phil Biennial, currently underway, includes the Gotham Chamber Opera, which brought Toshio Hosokawa’s monodrama “The Raven,” inspired by Poe.

A Far Cry Makes Diverse Music In Democratic Spirit

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By Adeline Sire

BOSTON – The chamber orchestra A Far Cry comprises musicians, called Criers, who perform everything from 12th-century pieces to newly commissioned works. Each player has a say in repertorial and interpretive matters.

Chicago to D.C.: Rutter’s Tale Of Two Cities

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – As she prepares to leave the presidency of the Chicago Symphony to take up the reins at the Kennedy Center, Deborah Rutter talks about the accomplishments and challenges of running esteemed arts organizations.

B’way, Opera Join In Chicago Lyric’s Sound of Music

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO — An ambitious venture into the golden era of Rodgers and Hammerstein pursues an increasingly recognized connection between the mid-century American musical and the European tradition of operetta.

What Makes Any Music Classical? Tradition!

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By Richard Nilsen

COMMENTARY – Pittsburgh-raised Lorin Maazel soaked up the Viennese tradition like a sponge, reflecting the reality that classical music is “classical” because it has been handed down. A score tells us only so much.

Forget Wagner, Quartet Dials Up New Ring Cycles

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – Among life’s minor annoyances are cheesy ringtones, but the Spektral Quartet has just the antidote: Mobile Miniatures. It has recorded more than 60 ringtones, alerts and wake-ups by 46 composers.