Issues in the Arts

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.

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.