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Around the U.S.

Wynton Marsalis Pens Concerto That Swings, Boogaloos — For Tuba!

PORTLAND, Ore. – Choo-choo propulsion, high-energy syncopations, and a big band vibe converged in Marsalis' new concerto played by the Oregon Symphony and principal tubist JáTtik Clark conducted by David Danzmayr.

Adès In Full Bloom: His Epic Ballet ‘Dante’ Sees Great Promise Realized

LOS ANGELES – The LA Philharmonic's U.S. premiere of Thomas Adès' 91-minute work, based on The Divine Comedy, showed the composer as master of complex structure, a large orchestra, and a sweeping range of emotions.

‘Lucia’ In The Rust Belt: Met Abandons Scotland And Scores A Gritty Hit

NEW YORK – Simon Stone’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor is the boldest attempt ever to bring full-on “regie” theater to the Met, updating the opera to a Rust Belt town beset with drugs, poverty, and a desperate patriarchy. And it works.

Young Composers Meet The Challenge And Hear Their Music Take Wing

ORLANDO – At the final "composium" of the 13th National Young Composers Challenge, open to aspiring youths ages 13 to 18, winners heard their works played by a chamber ensemble and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wielding Terrible Swift Sword Of Words In Art Pitched Against Racism

PORTLAND – My Words Are My Sword, a multi-media work written and performed by actor Phil Darius Wallace with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, delivered a trenchant message about the history of Black people in America.

Puts’ Spacey ‘Contact’ Is A Close Encounter For Trio And Orchestra

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – As an opera composer, Kevin Puts tells stories, but that instinct also extends to his latest work for symphony orchestra, a triple concerto called Contact that he wrote for the crossover string trio Time for Three.

Not Always Composing To A Libretto, But Ever From The Book Of Life

CHICAGO – Some composers are happy writing works with generic titles like Symphony No. 2. But as her inventive titles such as These Worlds In Us and Orpheus Undone make clear, Missy Mazzoli wants her music to be about something.  

Met’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ Mires Fine Singing In Swamp Of Busy Excess

NEW YORK – Conductor James Gaffigan and a cast of singers headed by Igor Golovatenko and Ailyn Pérez delivered musically quite well, but this revival of Deborah Warner's 2018 production remains ponderous and overstocked with extras.

A Vivid Opera Recreates Hounding, Exoneration Of The Central Park Five

PORTLAND – Anthony Davis' Pulitzer Prize-winning work, recounting the story of Black and Latino teenagers falsely accused and imprisoned for the rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park in 1989, was staged by Portland Opera.

Agile Voice, Savvy Art Lend Charm To Recital Of Spanish, Latin Song

PHILADELPHIA – Soprano Ana María Martínez and pianist Craig Terry were set to present their program for the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia when the Covid curtain dropped two years ago. Finally, delightfully, it happened.

Bringing Raw Conviction To The Bleak World Of ‘Wozzeck’ In A Concert

NEW YORK – The Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons, co-starred with Danish baritone Bo Skovhus in the title role and soprano Christine Goerke as Marie in a gritty and persuasive performance at Carnegie Hall.

Charlotte SO, Chorale Echo Troubled World: ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’

CHARLOTTE – With bombs raining on Ukraine, Vaughan Williams' enduring plea from the 1930s, renewed by the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Master Chorale led by Christopher Warren-Green, carried a profound poignancy.

Ancient Chinese Myths Invoked In Allegory Of Earth’s Climate Change

BROOKLYN – Huang Ruo’s theater piece Book of Mountains and Seas, for 12 singers and two percussionists, is a reminder that terrifying changes in our planet have been discussed since antiquity. It connects clearly with modern fears.

‘St. Matthew Passion,’ Sung (And Danced) In Its Original Epic Length

LOS ANGELES – The LA Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by James Conlon and Grant Gershon, respectively, presented Bach's score complete, but with a major twist: This version featured dancers from the Hamburg Ballet.

Voices Of Stile Antico Tap Into Deep Roots Of Evergreen Renaissance

NEW YORK – In a program titled "Toward the Dawn," the 12-voice unaccompanied English group, singing mostly in Latin with a sprinkling of French and Italian, solved the trick of devising a concert that's appealing to listeners 600 years on.

Botstein, Orchestra Now Frame Stravinsky Like Picasso Cubist Painting

NEW YORK – In a performance-lecture at the Met Museum, musicologist and conductor Leo Botstein drew comparisons between Stravinsky's 1920s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments and Picasso's Still Life with a Bottle of Rum (1911).

Shrouded In Mystery, Shadowed With Doubt, A Brilliant New Opera

PITTSBURGH – Rarely does a new opera emerge so perfectly formed, or so musically and visually stunning, as Pittsburgh Opera achieves with In a Grove, an elusive tale from composer Christopher Cerrone and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann.

Jazz Icon Shorter’s New Opera On Iphigenia Is More Than A Little Iffy

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Wayne Shorter, the 88-year-old saxophone great, revisited a project he began when he was 19. He had some stellar collaborators in bringing the opera to life. I truly regret to report that it’s an ambiguous mess.

All In For Modernism, Dauntless Orchestra Celebrates 25 Years

BOSTON – Hundreds of works by a host of composers who can claim many awards, but not much of an audience, have been performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and recorded with founding director Gil Rose.

As Marin Alsop Leads Chicago SO, Ravinia Affirms Their Rapport

CHICAGO – On the same day Alsop led a rewarding concert with the Chicago Symphony at Orchestra Hall, the Ravinia Festival, where the CSO has a summer residency, announced her three-year extension as chief conductor.
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