PHILADELPHIA – Bass-baritone Davóne Tines delivered the "sermons" – readings from African American writers – as preludes to vocal works, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Philadelphia Orchestra in historically aware Beethoven.
PHILADELPHIA – Robin Holcomb's 10-minute Paradise, played by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, unfolds as a series of sonic pictures, a soundtrack to Holcomb's inner dialogue that we don’t actually visualize but feel.
NEW YORK – After the pandemic drought, here were the five-hours-plus of Wagner's only mature comedy, the Met Opera's sole Wagnerian outing this season. If many in the audience seemed thrilled, a lack of rehearsal time was evident.
NEW YORK – When composer Richard Danielpour asked Simone Dinnerstein to perform his prodigious piano solo, An American Mosaic, in 2020, this fearless musician conquered his score. In a recent recital, she revisited that tour de force.
SEATTLE – As Emerald City Music launched its sixth season of concerts in Seattle and Olympia, in a welcoming and inclusive environment, the glow of gratitude and relief at being engaged with live music again could be felt throughout the space.
NEW YORK – Bach’s Goldberg Variations have withstood myriad interpretations, and I tried to keep an open mind, but Lang Lang's Romantic flourishes tempted me to join the escapees and make a dash for the Carnegie Hall exits.
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.
PERSPECTIVE – Jaap van Zweden's six-year stint will have been one of the strangest tenures of any music director of a major American orchestra. New Yorkers never got to know him. But after he departs in 2024, they will be missing a lot.
PORTLAND, Ore. – It was a night of high emotions as the Oregon Symphony audience welcomed new music director David Danzmayr. Also on display for the first time was the electronically buffed up sound in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
SAN FRANCISCO – In a debut effectively deferred for one season by the pandemic, Esa-Pekka Salonen's first "real" program came with multi-colored lights, a jazz combo, a thrust stage for dancers, and a fervent response to every piece.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – After long years of problematic musical direction, the Rochester Philharmonic opened its first season under conductor Andreas Delfs, who led a program that displayed well-honed ensemble and a rich orchestral sound.
NEW YORK – Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the first Black-authored opera to be presented at the Met Opera in its 138-year history, is the unflinching and distinctive work of composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Kasi Lemmons.
NEW YORK – Songwriter Alison Loeb interviewed dozens of her neighbors – German-Jewish immigrants who had fled from the Nazi peril to upper Manhattan. She wrapped their memories in Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words.
CHICAGO – Music director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra celebrated their return to live, in-person performance for the first time in 20 months with a profound account of Beethoven’s monumental Eroica Symphony.
OJAI, Cal. – The best news that could have possibly come from the 75th Ojai Music Festival Sept. 16-19 is that it happened at all. After missing a year because of the pandemic, the festival's spirit of adventure was alive again in far-ranging fare.
HOUSTON – As much a pep rally as a first night, the Houston Symphony Orchestra's 2021-22 season opener under music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada served up a stylish Beethoven Triple Concerto and a blazing Fifth Symphony.
DETROIT – Blue, composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson's intimate and compelling music drama about a Black cop whose teenage son is shot dead by another cop, struggled against conditions in a 6,000-seat arena.
NEW YORK – On Site Opera boarded a 19th-century tall ship Aug. 28 for What Lies Beneath, an immersive music theater event weaving the slave trade and other vicissitudes of the high seas into a mournful and affecting program.
PHOENICIA, N.Y. – This woodsy hamlet has grown the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice into an energetic and engaging event that saw productions this summer of Mascagni's L'amico Fritz, Verdi's Rigoletto, and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.
BREAKING NEWS - The creation of a diverse team under the collective aegis of The Industry, Sweet Land, invoking America's untold story, is the winner of the 2021 Music Critics Association of North America’s Best New Opera Award.