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Muti, Chicago SO Select Jessie Montgomery As Composer In Residence

CHICAGO – Given this city's diverse musical heritage, ranging from European classicism to the Great Migration, music director Riccardo Muti's choice of an African American woman comes as a notable next step for the Chicago Symphony.

He’s Singer, Composer, A Musician Of Parts. (He Has A Baton, Too.)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Whether singing, writing music, or giving artistic advice, bass-baritone Damien Geter has been one busy fellow despite the pandemic. His opera American Apollo debuts May 1 at the Washington National Opera.

Après Le Déluge: Music May Come Back Better, Buoyed On Virtual Raft

PERSPECTIVE – It is now possible to hope that the pandemic that has terrorized humanity for more than a year will eventually begin its retreat. And it is arguable that classical music in most of its many forms will be all right. Maybe even stronger.

Alone With Stravinsky: In His Closing Silence, Echo Of ‘Sacre’ Raged

PERSPECTIVE – Stravinsky died 50 years ago on April 6, 1971. And so I found myself there, a music student all alone with his casket at the funeral home, the sounds of his music racing through my brain: Firebird, Petrouchka, Sacre du printemps.

Opera Artists, Critics Peer Into The Future: Watch Now Via Zoom

COMMENTARY – What lies ahead for opera now? Gathering via Zoom, composer Ellen Reid, librettists Tazewell Thompson and Royce Vavrek, producer Kristin Martin and critics Heidi Waleson and Alex Ross discuss the transformative impact of this challenging year.

Opera’s Mysticism, Vibrant On Stage, Rings True On CD

DIGITAL REVIEW – David Hertzberg’s fanciful opera The Wake World, premiered in a visually potent production at Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O in 2017, revels in a lush new sound recording under the baton of Elizabeth Braden.

Streaming Music: Like Concertgoing, Sans A Few Details

COMMENTARY – Will the pandemic's digital concerts become the new normal? Will audiences accustomed to consuming free music online trouble themselves to schlep downtown and pay good money to hear an orchestra?

Opera Is Awaiting A Green Light On The Blue Danube

VIENNA – Austria will allow group rehearsals starting June 1 under tough – some artistic directors say unrealistic – distancing rules. Vienna’s opera houses plan to reopen this fall as usual. Meanwhile, television provides a lifeline.

Andriessen At 80, Celebrated From Many Perspectives

BOOK REVIEW – Why is the iconoclastic composer Louis Andriessen so admired? This tribute, a collection of conversations transcribed from documentaries and new essays by composers he mentored, closes the case.

‘Lucas Debargue: To Music’ Explores His Multi-Faceted Gifts

DIGITAL REVIEW – The searching, wide-ranging musical persona of French pianist Lucas Debargue, who first drew attention in the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition, is profiled in a new documentary by his friend, Martin Mirabel.

In Florence Price, A Composer Ripe For Rediscovery

BOOK REVIEW – From the 1930s to her death in 1953, Price’s talent brought her wide notice. Then, being black and a woman brought her neglect. A new biography by Rae Linda Brown sets the composer's life in historical context.

Baroque Treasures For Voices, From North And South

DIGITAL REVIEW – Great sacred vocal music abounded in the Baroque period. Happily, there always seems to be more of it to discover, as two recent recordings – one with music of Germany, the other of Spain – demonstrate.

Students, Faculty Staying Together While Kept Apart

COPING WITH CRISIS – The coronavirus pandemic has forced music schools across the nation to move instruction online. They’re making the best of a bad situation, and taking a few innovative strides forward at the same time.

Levit’s Beethoven: At Blazing Speed, Blistered Sonatas

DIGITAL REVIEW – Igor Levit's now complete nine-CD cycle of the 32 sonatas, begun with the late sonatas six years ago when the pianist was only 26, displays astonishing technical skill but often feels short on flexibility and drama.

Music Of Spheres: Kronos’ ‘Sun Rings’ Gets Sound Prize

DIGITAL – The Kronos Quartet's Nonesuch CD Terry Riley: Sun Rings won a 2020 Grammy for sound by Leslie Ann Jones, who captured what violinist David Harrington calls "the hugeness, intricacy, and beauty of nature."

Bold Aizuri Leaps Across Eras With Quartet Ventures

HOUSTON – Known for its innovative and thoughtful programming, the Aizuri Quartet offered a stimulating concert on the theme of "Music and Isolation," ranging from Hildegard von Bingen to Beethoven and Nancarrow.

A Shed Shimmers In Verdi Requiem With Film Gloss

NEW YORK – Conductor Teodor Currentzis, the tenacious Greek super force behind Siberia’s musicAeterna Orchestra and Chorus, brought a powerful performance of Verdi's Requiem to one of Manhattan's newer venues.

Coming Events: Collaborations Kick Off Season

DATEBOOK – With a Billy Budd in San Francisco to mark Melville's 200th (at right), a Sonatathon in Cincinnati for Beethoven's 250th, and novel new roles for composers and composer-performers, the 2019-20 season is ready to go.

The Devil Is At It Once Again In Heggie’s Latest

SAN FRANCISCO – In If I Were You, a Merola Opera Program commission, the composer’s captivating music and the outstanding performances at the Aug. 1 world premiere upstaged the oft-told tale of body-jumping souls.

Glimmerglass Lifts Verismo Mirror To American Tragedy

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – In Blue, Jeanine Tesori ’s new opera with librettist Tazewell Thompson, a black cop and his wife raise their son. A heated, raw, all-too-familiar story ensues, closely tracked by the singable, expressive score.
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