Coming Up and Of Note

2015 Glimmerglass Preview: Verdi, Vivaldi, Mozart and Bernstein, April 19, Germantown, New York

Glimmerglass Opera Festival. Photo 2010 Karli Cadell.

Lucking into one of the first few nice days of a late spring, I attended the annual Glimmerglass Festival kickoff, hosted at Midwood, the secluded Germantown home of philanthropist Joan K. Davidson. This beautiful Sunday afternoon offered the enticements of the summer opera fare in Cooperstown along with hors d’oeuvres and wine. Francesca Zambello, the transformational Artistic & General Director of the Glimmerglass Festival, invited several young artists, veteran performers, and composers to further the cause.



Before Bach: Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Music at Carnegie Hall — a Month-Long Series in April and May

L'Arpeggiata. Photo Helmut Lackinger.

For years, New York City seemed to have missed out on the extraordinary efflorescence of research, study, and practice, which has made historically informed performance such an essential part of music-making in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The early music scene was hardly non-existent, but it was thin in comparison to centers like Boston, London, Amsterdam, and Paris, patronized by a small band of enthusiasts who at one time actually looked the part, crowding into Manhattan’s less fashionable churches in colorful woolen tunics, knitted caps, and Earth Shoes. There don’t seem to be many of those people left around, and a much larger range of audiences, spanning all age groups, now hear historical performances in the major venues, especially Carnegie Hall

Hotel Elefant’s “speakOUT,” featuring composer Paola Prestini

Paola Prestini

Hotel Elefant’s spring concert continues their third season theme “speakOUT,” representing artists who are utilizing music to reflect on issues both personal and political. Not only will the program “speakOUT” by focusing on these issues, but the program itself will raise its voice by featuring an all-female cast of composers, presenting innovative work by featured composer Paola Prestini along with emerging composers Lainie Fefferman and Leaha Maria Villarreal. The ensemble will perform Prestini’s Yoani, with a libretto by Royce Vavrek, including a brand new movement from the work, and Inngerutit; the world premiere of Lainie Fefferman’s Hotel Elefant-commissioned piece Impostor Syndrome; and the world premiere of Leaha Maria Villarreal’s This is How We Love.



pianoSonoma, a Unique Music Festival in the Sonoma Wine Country

Jessica and Michael Shinn

I have just recently learned about a different kind of music festival, pianoSonoma, which convenes annually in late July and early August at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, under the benevolent guidance of Co-Founders and Co-Directors Michael and Jessica Chow Shinn, both faculty members at the Juilliard School.

People attend music festivals for different reasons, most of which are passive, unless they happen to be Tanglewood Music Center Fellows or “young professionals” at Marlboro. They go as members of the audience to hear star musicians they would not normally find in their area, or they like to continue their experiences at Carnegie or Davies Hall in some pleasant rural setting suitable for a summer holiday. Their active participation is usually limited to laying out a picnic, consuming it, a listless read of tedious program notes, uncritical applause, and coping with post-concert congestion in the parking lots, especially after a manifestation of Lang Lang or Yo-Yo Ma.



Extraordinary Brahms and Shostakovich from Tonu Kalam and the UNC Symphony Orchestra

Tonu Kalam Conducting the UNC Symphony Orchestra

It’s not our custom to review performances we post, but I will say a few words about this concert. Brahms’s Third Symphony is notoriously difficult to perform successfully. I have heard great conductors fail in it. The Toscanini story is famous. None of his NBC Symphony performances quite gel, and there was always much discussion about why this particular symphony, which seemed so well-suited to his temperament evaded him, until his splendid performance with the Philharmonia Orchestra became generally available as a recording many years after his last visit to London at the very end of his career. The puzzlement about Nelsons’ recent performance with the BSO is another case in point. Tonu Kalam has no such problem here. By adopting a gentle, lyrical approach to the work, Kalam achieves a performance that is musically and emotionally coherent—one of the finest I’ve heard.



Beethoven: a Premiere Anniversary on Saturday, March 1, at 7:30PM at the Church of the Epiphany

Grand Harmonie

For the last two years Grand Harmonie has presented concerts of early chamber music – and sometimes larger ensemble music – that feature historically accurate wind and brass instruments. Now this group of young musicians from New York and Boston is growing into a full period instrument orchestra focused on 19th-century repertoire.



Joanna Gabler, “Emigrés – Where is Home?” at Gallery Ehva, Provincetown: October 25-November 5, 2013 – Opening Friday, October 25, 6-8 pm

Joanna Gabler, Transcape, 2013

Joanna Gabler,  “Emigrés – Where is Home?” at Gallery Ehva, Provincetown: October 25-November 5, 2013 – Opening Friday, October 25, 6-8 pm. 74 Shank Painter Road Provincetown, MA 02657 (508) 487-0011 On view in the Gallery Ehva in Proveincetown is…
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