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In This Season Farewell, An Orchestral Grab Bag Revealed A Silk Lining

VANCOUVER – On paper, music director Otto Tausk’s season ender for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra had a miscellaneous look, but it all worked in a concert highlighted by Brahms’ Violin Concerto with soloist Stefan Jackiw.

Music Festival Retains Tradition While Honing Fresh, Edgy Relevance

BERGEN – An enduring past-present-future feeling marks Bergen's international festival, where city jewels such as the Philharmonic and Camerata Bergen are on display. This year, the Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen sang the title role in Tosca.

Chamber Music Contest Proves Classy Marathon For Polished Ensembles

OSAKA – Thirty-three ensembles, 98 musicians, and nearly 50 hours of music packed into eight days: That was the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and Festa 2023, reputedly the largest competition of its kind in the world.

Pianist Spans Centuries On CD Featuring Music By Female Composers

DIGITAL REVIEW – At Play, the third and final disc in this project by pianist Sarah Cahill, which she initiated in 2018, stands out for the many living composers included. It shows her commitment to the series title, The Future is Female.

Slow Food For Thought: Late Beethoven Quartet Mulled At A Snail’s Pace

DIGITAL REVIEW – Slow Beethoven is a recording project – a sonic journey­, a composition­­­, an exploration of reverberation – that transforms the opening fugue of his String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, in a new, elongated perspective.

A Reconfigured ‘Aida,’ As Critique Of War In Male-Controlled World

MUNICH – The production at the Bayerische Staatsoper was so brilliantly conceived and integrated that it felt as if themes intrinsic to the opera had lain dormant for well over a century, awaiting the right genius to bring them forward.

Met’s All-New ‘Flute’ Spins Mozart Forward To Freshening Present

NEW YORK – Soprano Erin Morley and tenor Lawrence Brownlee star in this modern-dress take on The Magic Flute. While it unfolds with the usual mix of parts that are wonderful and others that are not, it's also an ostensible and justifiable hit.

On Portland’s Vibrant Music Scene, New Is Nourished Everywhere

PORTLAND, Ore. – This city has become a busy hub for new music. Its vigorous creativity ranges from chamber ensembles dedicated to contemporary music to companies that explore the latest operas. The place is jumping.

A Ring Of Authenticity: ‘Das Rheingold’ Played On Period Instruments

PERSPECTIVE – Kent Nagano led the early-music ensemble Concerto Köln in a version based on lengthy research by a special committee that sought the sound Wagner might have hoped for when composing the piece in the 1850s.

Michael Tilson Thomas Returns To SF Podium In Warm Homecoming

SAN FRANCISCO – His characteristic erect posture unaltered by the recent physical and emotional challenges of brain-tumor surgery, MTT, who turns 77 on Dec. 21, led the San Francisco Symphony in his own music and Schumann's.

Hail, Bright Abode! Life (And Art) Reaffirmed At The Resurgent LA Opera

LOS ANGELES – Defiantly back in business after a long pandemic-induced hiatus, the LA Opera took a giant step toward normalcy by staging Wagner’s Tannhäuser, the company’s first production of anything by Wagner in eight and a half years.

Not Bass, Not Baritone, Davóne Tines Revels In A Register All His Own

PERSPECTIVE – Tines, who has burst onto the world's music stages, commands a range of more than three octaves, from low D to high E-flat. He says he is neither a bass nor a baritone: “It’s a broader conception of how to think about voice.”

Summer Fests: Warm Air Renews Its Familiar Lure Across Midwest

PREVIEW – At last, some good news! William Grant Still's opera Highway 1, U.S.A. is among the offerings this summer as Midwest opera and orchestra festivals offer their novel enticements to draw people back into the concert habit.

Sleuths Pursue Chopin As Genius And Enigma Across Pages Of Time

BOOK REVIEW – Three recent books about the composer-pianist offer rich insights into his life as man and musician. All three offer much to ponder, and time and again had this reader reaching for a score or a recording to follow up.

Composer Schwantner, Marching To His Own Drum, Chimes, Crotales

PERSPECTIVE – Even with some 60 works and a Pulitzer Prize to his credit, Joseph Schwantner's far-ranging sound palette and distinctive voice remain something of a hidden treasure, unfamiliar to much of the concertgoing public.

On Foot And In Song, Retracing Stony Course Of Blacks In New York

NEW YORK - In its series of site-specific operas in unconventional locations throughout the city, On Site Opera now offers The Road We Came, walking tours with streamed music recalling the richness and the trials of Black history here.

Radio Host Is Bridging Gap Between Blacks, Classical Music World

PERSPECTIVE – Terrance McKnight has always lived his life "between the two worlds" of being Black and being part of the classical music culture. He wants to bring everyone’s culture to the table, "not putting one above the other."

‘Insurrection Songs’: Rzewski Redux, Only This Time It’s Global

DIGITAL REVIEW - Echoing his prodigious, politically inspired variations The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, for solo piano, Frederic Rzewski offers a still more ambitious work, Songs of insurrection. Pianist Thomas Kotcheff nails it.

Juilliard Turns Table, Creates Splendid New Music School in China

TIANJIN – Chinese students have long enjoyed a presence at The Juilliard School in New York. Now Juilliard has brought to China an impressive single-building campus with an international faculty to focus on ensemble training.

One Pianist’s Rising Sun Streams A Fresh Light On Black Composers

DIGITAL FEATURE – Lara Downes' recording project, called Rising Sun Music and offered on streaming platforms, explores the neglected legacy of composers ranging from Hazel Scott and Nora Holt to Benny Golson and Eubie Blake.
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