Pulitzer Compass Key To Mapping American Music

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By Johanna Keller

TOKYO – At the recent institute on Music From Japan, I was asked to sum up musical trends in North America today. A brief survey of the last eight Pulitzer winners reveals a rich landscape: chaotic, diverse, experimental, many-faceted.

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Queen Of Spades Gets Reshuffled As Stark, Cool Drama

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By Rebecca Schmid

SALZBURG – Two maverick stage directors took their first cracks at Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades” and Monteverdi’s “The Coronation of Poppea.” The former looked unemotional; the latter veered from captivating to senseless.

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Brevard Festival Basks In Bounty Of Diverse Bernstein

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By Paul Hyde

BREVARD, N.C. – In an idyllic setting of lofty trees and mountains, the Brevard Music Center summer festival went all out for Leonard Bernstein to celebrate his 100th birthday. The major work was the composer’s Mass.

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New CD Unearths Three Diamonds, All In The Rough

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Works by David Diamond, including the first commerical recording of his Symphony No. 6, are roundly unsatisfying in performances by Indiana University ensembles conducted by Arthur Fagen.

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Starry Wagnerian Quartet Highlights Restrained Parsifal

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By David Shengold

MUNICH – A cast including Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, René Pape, and Christian Gerhaher brought sonic luster to Pierre Audi’s stark staging of Parsifal that featured sets by Georg Baselitz at the Bavarian State Opera.

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Măcelaru Sparkles With Modern Fare At Cabrillo Festival

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By Richard S. Ginell

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Music director Cristian Măcelaru is bringing a crowd-pleasing style to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. His programming ranges from loud, flashy showpieces to an elegy on the migrant crisis.

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In A Swift Turn, Festival Honors Knussen Legacy

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By Leslie Kandell

LENOX, Mass. – Adding a Tanglewood tribute to his late colleague Olly Knussen, who died July 8, Thomas Adès fashioned a Festival of Contemporary Music finale that also featured works by Lutosławski and himself.

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American Director, Polish Lohengrin Bow At Bayreuth

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By David Shengold

BAYREUTH – The innovative Yuval Sharon became the first American stage director employed in Wagner’s fabled precincts, and tenor Piotr Beczala scored a debut triumph in the production led by Christian Thielemann.

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Around the U.S.

Early Romantic Opera, Joined With Its Sound World

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By Susan Brodie

PURCHASE, N.Y. – Ending twenty years at Caramoor, Will Crutchfield moved his summer festival and renamed it Teatro Nuovo. Rossini’s Tancredi reflected historically informed style, but the drama was
hampered by blandness.

Rubinstein Opera Revival Beset By Rash Of Demons

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By John Rockwell

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon (1871) offers an uneven score with an uneven structure, and the Bard SummerScape production conducted by Leon Botstein has its own ups and downs.

Chamber Music (And Prices) Fit For The Hamptons

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By Tim Diovanni

BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y. – In 1984, when flutist Marya Martin planned the first Bridgehampton Chamber
Music Festival, her neighbors doubted it could last. But it has grown to a dozen main programs, and lots more.

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Around Canada

Magic Of Mozart, In A Staging Both Novel, Traditional

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By Arthur Kaptainis

QUEBEC CITY – The Festival d’opéra de Québec’s marquee production affirms stage director Robert Lepage’s status as a leading conservative of our time. Mozart’s humanistic message shines through Ex Machina’s dazzling visuals.

Banff Goes Gluck One Better With Modernized Orphée

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By Bill Rankin

BANFF, Alberta – Joel Ivany directed an enhanced take on the 1859 Berlioz version of Gluck’s French rethinking of Orphée et Eurydice, now newly retitled Orphée+. Like Gluck in his day, Ivany said he wanted to add innovative touches.

In Beethoven Trek, Kent Nagano Hews To Middle Of Road

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By Arthur Kaptainis

MONTREAL – In leading the Montreal Symphony through the nine symphonies, music director Kent Nagano brought a contemporary golden mean of interpretation: neither old-fashioned tempo manipulator nor neo-Baroque martinet.

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International

Music From Japan Builds Noteworthy New-Music Catalog

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By Michael Huebner

FUKUSHIMA, Japan – With the help of government and private funding, co-founders Naoyuki Miura and Mari Ono have commissioned 76 works by Japanese composers and nine by American composers influenced by Japan.

St. Luke Passion Opens Salzburg Fest Under Nagano

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By Arthur Kaptainis

SALZBURG – Whether heard as a landmark of modernism or its repudiation, Penderecki’s
various materials made a fluid whole under Kent Nagano’s baton. He led his Montreal Symphony and choirs from Krakow and Warsaw.

A Packed Festival Of Music From Japan, In Japan

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By Richard S. Ginell

TOKYO – Ten writers from the Music Critics Association of North America traveled to Japan for a week’s immersion in a distant yet surprisingly approachable culture. One critic kept a diary of concerts in Tokyo and Fukushima.

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Issues in the Arts

Archive Retrieves Golden Interviews With Studs Terkel

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – When Louis “Studs” Terkel left WFMT in 1997 after 45 years on the air, he took more than 5,600 of his reel-to-reel tape chats with the A-list of culture at large. That treasury of incredible stories is getting new digital life.

Carnegie’s Season Of Glass Retraces Path Of A Master

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By John Rockwell

NEW YORK – How times have changed for 81-year-old Philip Glass. An outsider spurned by the establishment in the early 1970s, the composer’s vast output and its impact were on display all season long at the epicenter of American music.

Orchestra Festival Lit Up Uniqueness Of U.S. Ensembles

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By John Fleming

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2018 SHIFT Festival threw its spotlight on four diverse U.S. orchestras whose musical reach extended from the Kennedy Center to the corners of the nation’s capital – even to a concert at Union Station.

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Disc and Stream

Torke Symphony Raises Voice To American Spirit

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Leading the Philadelphia Orchestra’s new recording of Michael Torke’s Unconquered, which was inspired by the Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolution, Cristian Măcelaru proves that his star is rising.

Two Impressions Of Debussy (Who Hated That Word)

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Maurizio Pollini and Alexander Melnikov offer quite different approaches to Debussy’s Préludes Book II, not only in conception and tempo, but also in the sonic character of the pianos they play.

De Sabata CD Set Proves Conductor Giant Of His Time

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – From pre-war and post-war, this new four-disc treasury, which restores many of Victor de Sabata’s most important recordings to the catalogue, could make his name familiar to a new generation.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

Unreleased Coltrane CDs Stir Up The Jazz World – Again

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Everyone in jazzland seems to be weighing in on the release this week of Both Directions …

Fanciful Turandot Takes The Stage At Lyric Opera Of Chicago

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By Dorothy Andries: Windy City Arts

A China-that-never-was opened on the stage of Lyric Opera of Chicago, complete with a giant eye-popping dragon, which hovered with considerable menace in Puccini’s “Turandot.”

Richard S. Ginell - From Out of the The West

Muti/Chicago Play it Safe with All-Brahms at Disney Hall

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West

The CSO remains a phenomenal instrument – they never miss – yet the most phenomenal features about these performances were the little things.

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