Monday, June 29, 2009

Running tally

An update from BSO staffer Kathleen Drohan:



Orchestra running wild

Just underway this afternoon!
On June 29, at 2 p.m., at the entrance to Symphony Hall at 301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, BSO bassist Todd Seeber, along with 20 other musicians and staff members, as well as a life trustee, will begin a relay run, introduced by a brass fanfare and starter pistol, to the main gate of Tanglewood, to mark the opening of the 2009 season. The run will continue over 33 legs, each between 3.5 and 7 miles, and will arrive at the Tanglewood Main Gate at approximately 1:15 p.m. on June 30, in anticipation of the first BSO rehearsal at Tanglewood on July 1 and the opening night program on July 3, featuring an all-Tchaikovsky program led by BSO Music Director James Levine. Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra located in Lenox, MA.
A group of 26 runners—fourteen Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops musicians, several of their family members, six staff members, and a life trustee—will run the 150 miles cross state relay. Each leg will be run by one to four participants. The average run pace will be 6 miles an hour or 10-minute miles. BSO bassist Todd Seeber and BSO violinist James Cooke, both longtime runners, conceived of the Run to Tanglewood. In addition to Seeber and Cooke, BSO musicians participating in the run include principal violist Steven Ansell, associate principal violist Cathy Basrak, violist Rachel Fagerberg (along with her two children), oboist John Ferrillo, bassist Benjamin Levy, cellist Alex LeCarme, horn player Jonathan Menkis, bassoonist Richard Ranti (with his wife and two children), and principal horn James Sommerville.
The Lenox community will be invited to Tanglewood to cheer the runners on the final leg of the run from the Tanglewood Main Gate to the Tappan House on the Tanglewood grounds. For further information about the run or to sponsor a runner, visit

Friday, June 26, 2009

Founder of Round Top

The International Festival-Institute at Round Top continues through July 11th. Host John Clare recently sat down with James Dick, educator-pianist-founder of the festival.

Gone but not forgotten

The only thing worse than getting old is not getting the chance. The tragedy is compounded when the person is gifted and does not reach their potential. On the Piano this Sunday two recent releases of young pianists that amazed us and all too quickly left the stage, Youri Egorov and William Kapell perform music close to their hearts. A rare recording from Kapell's last tour of Australia and Egorov plays Schumann this Sunday afternoon at 5 on Texas Public Radio

host Randy Anderson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

YOSA Summer Camp

YOSA (Youth Orchestras of San Antonio) presents a summer camp for string players, July 5-19th. John Clare recently spoke with the executive director about the two week event.
Hear the interview with Steven Payne [mp3 file]

Here is a video from last year's camp as well:

Falletta @ Round Top

The International Festival-Institute at Round Top continues through July 11th, in Round Top, TX. Last weekend, grammy award winning conductor JoAnn Falletta presented a concert in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Ballets Russes. John Clare spoke to her about the festival:

The festival continues this weekend with a Homage to Haydn, American music on July 4th and 5th, and ends with fireworks July 11th in a program of Tchaikovsky & Beethoven.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're guessing no love lost

He writes articles and books that get lots of responses, both positive and negative - and was a regular columnist at the Standard...
From The Stage:
Norman Lebrecht, arts columnist and former assistant editor of the Evening Standard, has announced he is to leave the recently rebranded newspaper this week.

Norman Lebrecht, who joined the paper in March 2002 with a brief to revitalise its arts coverage, said: “After writing a weekly column for 15 years I owe myself a short sabbatical and my desire for a break coincided with a change of direction at the Standard.

“The new editor, Geordie Greig, very kindly asked me to stay on, but I have a new series coming up on BBC Radio 3, a novel coming out next month and a sheaf of plans to continue writing about the arts in my own particular way, so it seemed a good moment to make a clean break. I wish the Standard and those who work in it nothing but the best for the future.”

Greig added: “Norman Lebrecht has been an extraordinary presence in the Standard and a great commentator on the arts in general. Norman has told us about his exciting plans for the future, and we wish him the very best on his new radio series and his new book.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Classical click and concerts

The Classical Archives (, showcases its array of unique offerings with two feature spots in addition to a number of free concerts.
There is now a special page, in partnership with the New York Philharmonic, dedicated to the New York Philharmonic’s heroic celebration of Maestro Lorin Maazel’s tenure as Music Director (2002-09). It features a live digital recording of The Complete Mahler Symphonies, Part 1: Symphonies 1-5 (recorded 2003–2006) – complete with an overview of the symphonies, original liner notes, and PLAY buttons to enjoy each symphony performance with one click.

An intriguing review of Sony’s new release Bach in Havana, where the spicy adaptations by Latin Jazz group Tiempo Libre are directly compared to the original source works by J.S. Bach. The original works include those performed by a stellar roster of classical artists such as: Hélène Grimaud, Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Wanda Landowska, and many others. The Classical Archives features works by more than 7,800 composers and over 27,000 artists.

In addition to the feature spots, Classical Archives continues to offer free top-notch concerts by celebrated artists. The site’s new Home page layout offers dynamic presentations of this week’s Featured Composer (Tchaikovsky); Featured Artist (pianist Piotr Anderszewski); and an array of New Releases by the major classical labels.

Classical Archives is also showcasing its free One-Click Concerts™, including a 2-hour Modern era concert generously provided by the Naxos label. Each program offers a brief commentary to introduce the newcomer to classical music with some guidelines and important considerations, as they enjoy these musical tours.

You can sign up for a 14-day free trial at

Friday, June 19, 2009

Schumann's favorite Sonata

In 1826, ill and struggling desperately to succeed as a composer or die trying Franz Schubert wrote his big G major Piano Sonata. Starting with a chord reminiscent of the solo piano opening to Beethoven's 4th Concerto Schubert seems to have briefly inherited Beethoven's magisterial calm. A great and very classical sonata is the result. One of three sonatas published in Schubert's lifetime, it was Robert Schumann's favorite and in time it influenced his music as well.

Hear a new recording of Schubert's big G major Sonata and the latest remastering of recordings by one of the greats of the twentieth century, Walter Gieseking on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host Randy Anderson

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New concerto?

Something a friend passed along that we thought you might enjoy as well!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Igor

From host John Clare:
Sometime last winter, I was invited on Facebook to attend a "listening party" for Stravinsky's 127th birthday!
There are around 100 confirmed guests, a few who said maybe, and even a few more who declined...

I was way impressed this morning to find that Google is celebrating Stravinsky's birthday as well, with a Google logo:

I also thought I would share this from a friend and former colleague:

Stravinsky's Tavern
by Dick Strawser
It was a dark and stormy night but then almost every night was dark and stormy in this godforsaken little mining town, stuck in the coal region of Eastern Pennsylvania like a wart on the back of an old sow. It was always the economy, stupid - meaning no disrespect, of course. Once the mines had closed and the factories shut down, there was no place to go, nothing to do. The sidewalks, even on weekends, rolled up not long after sundown. The young people moved away as soon as they could, whether or not they finished school, promising to send money back to their families once they struck it rich in the big cities. Either they forgot or they just never struck it rich because once they left, no one ever heard from them again. It was a pity, what was happening to the young people of Coalton - they were just disappearing.
Oh, not that way, not through any violence or anything supernatural – that anyone knew of at any rate. It was the town itself that drove them away, the bleak houses and mangey streets of a town where many thought their problems were the result of some ancient curse. You could feel it in the air. You could taste it in the water. You could also scrape it off the bottom of your shoes, but that was a more modern curse. Still, it stuck to your sole.
Years ago, they had changed the name of the town, thinking it might help. Not even the most nostalgic old-timers really remembered the original name any more, something Indian, probably from the Delaware tribe (or were they from New Jersey), that meant “Land Where Beavers Come From Miles Around to Pee” or was it something about a trailer park? No one was quite sure.
Everything in town was gray. Yes, this was an improvement over earlier decades when everything was basically black from all the coal dust in the air. As the mines gave way, the factories in the region closed and as coal itself became a thing of the past, slowly but surely the grime started to wear off. But the annual spring rains and the occasional flood when Skunk Run overflowed its banks didn’t really help. It took time, and time was what the citizens of Coalton had plenty of.
The Winter Doldrums which usually began in mid-October eventually gave way, with the advent of milder weather, to the Spring Doldrums. By the time summer rolled around, everybody was so numb, nobody cared what season it was until it started getting cooler and darker earlier and earlier, then everybody wondered where the summer went. Half the time, kids were so bored they sat around counting the days until school began. And before long, the snow would start again. It was gray, too.
With names on the map like Coal Street, Slag Avenue and Collier Park connecting neighborhoods called Canary Row, Methane Manor and the relatively posh suburb of Anthracite Circle, the whole town literally lived and breathed coal. Coal dust, they joked, flowed in their veins. The kids might leave, their elders said, but they carried the legacy of the Coalton mines with them, regardless.
One person who did not seem to mind any of this was, by some standards, a relative new-comer, arriving in the midst of World War II, having given up on the fame and fortune in cosmopolitan Europe and on a brilliant musical career, as well. Coalton may be drab compared to Paris with its light or his native St. Petersburg with its pastel colors, but Igor Stravinsky liked the town though he could never really explain why.
In order to make ends meet, he and his wife opened a bar on Coal Street near the center of town. They called it – what else? – “Stravinsky’s Tavern.”
You can continue to read more of it here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Opera Idol: Singer of the World


All ears turned to Cardiff last week for the 14th biennial BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko was the triumphant winner on Sunday evening, with Italian tenor Giordano Lucà taking the Audience Prize. Two days earlier Czech bass Jan Martiník had taken the Song Prize.

More than 600 singers from 68 countries were auditioned in 44 locations worldwide before a richly varied short list of 25 was decided upon. They descended on the Welsh capital for the preliminary rounds which took place from Sunday June 7 at St David's Hall, the national concert hall of Wales, with recitals for the Song Prize starting the previous day at the city's New Theatre.

The five highest-scoring singers from the heats (not necessarily each evening's winner, although this year that was the case) were put through to the final. Shcherbachenko, having stunned the audience and jury in Round 2 with an astonishing Letter scene from Eugene Onegin, performed "Ah! Je ris" from Gounod's Faust, a miraculously poised "Signore, ascolta!" from Turandot, and "No word from Tom" from The Rake's Progress. She was presented with the trophy and a cheque for £15,000 by the competition's Patron, Dame Joan Sutherland.

Behind Dame Joan, the jury and winners on the stage were the members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the evening's two conductors, Paul Daniel and Lawrence Foster, who, along with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, had provided attentive accompaniment throughout the competition.

The Audience Prize, chosen by television viewers in a telephone vote and each evening's audience in the Hall by ballot, is worth £2000 and went to Giordano Lucà, the youngest competitor, who sang an all-Italian programme including "Una furtiva lagrima" and "La donna è mobile". The other finalists were Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura, Ukrainian countertenor Yuriy Mynenko, and Jan Martiník, the Czech Republic's entrant.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going to Havana?

It will be nice when restrictions finally come down on travel to Cuba. Not only will John Clare be able to enjoy a genuine "Cubano", we will have opportunities to experience a varied and lively arts scene in Havana. I'm James Baker, and I often speak to the topic of the vitality of the making of art, music, and culture throughout Latin America. The problem for the traveler, however, is knowing what to see and hear and where to go for culture in the various capitals of Latin America. For example, Mexico City is only about 2 hours away from San Antonio and it is alive with arts and culture. Forget about the bullfights, the Friday market in Toluca, and even the mariachis at Garibaldi Plaza. (Don't take me too literally here. I would miss the bullfights but try to make it to Toluca and Garibaldi.) Instead, take in an opera at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Or go down to the Sala Nezahualcoyotl on the campus of the National University (UNAM) and hear a concert in this world class acoustic space.

But wait! All these good ideas, but where is the calendar? How do I know what is showing where? And that's the problem, not only as it relates to Mexico City, but also to Caracas, Bogota, Sau Paulo or Buenos Aires. But go to Havana and here is where you would look ahead of time in order to plan your agenda. Won't it be nice when there are similar listings readily available for those other great Latin American cities?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Operatic Weekend: SA Opera in Trovatore!

Coming up this weekend is a great work by Guiseppe Verdi. John Clare had a chance to talk with a cast member, Lawrence Harris about the production, and his unique background!
Interview [mp3 file]

Il Trovatore tells a story of troubadours, gypsies, ill-fated lovers and a terrible dark secret. The tragic, mistaken identity of a baby sacrificed in vengeance leads to a lifelong feud between two men, their fate entangled with a gypsy who brought it all to pass. Unexpected twists and turns abound as they - and the women they both love - are propelled toward certain destruction. San Antonio Opera rounds out their 2008-09 season with a performance this weekend.
Founder & Artistic Director Mark Richter was quoted, “I feel we have pulled out all the stops in bringing some of the most powerful voices in opera to San Antonio. Coupled with the return of Mexican conductor, Enrique Patron de Rueda and the stage directing debut of Sam Mungo, the opera will be something not to be missed.”
The cast is led by Kerri Marcinko, playing the role of Leonora, and Met favorite Allan Glassman as Manrico. Returning, after a resounding success in the company’s production of La Traviata, former NFL star Lawrence Harris will tackle the powerful role of Count di Luna. Another fixture in major opera houses around the world, Eugenie Grunewald will make her San Antonio debut in the spine-chilling role of the witch, Azucena. Returning bass Christopher Dickerson will sing the role of Ferrando.
The opera runs 2 hours and 45 minutes and is sung in Italian with English translations above the stage. Tickets can be purchased by calling the opera Box Office at 225-5972 or ticketmaster.

Alpha & Omega

In their lifetimes Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms were seen as opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Liszt was perceived as emotional and virtuosic while Brahms methodic and serious was thought to follow in the footsteps of the great masters.

Is this still true today? Find out on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wanna travel?

Today is the dealine for a great trip with other Texas Public Radio listeners...treat yourself (and loved ones/friends) to tropical Coasta Rica this November!
Partial Itinerary

Day 1: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica
Lush forests and stunning waterfalls…rumbling volcanoes and endless coastlines…Costa Rica is truly a slice of paradise. Your tour begins in the colorful capital city of San Jose. Upon arrival, relax and soak up the sights of your new surroundings.

Learn more here or call 1-800-622-8977 to have a reservation packet sent to you.

SA Candidate in the news

Another gig for Rossen:
Rossen Milanov, associate conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra and artistic director of The Philadelphia Orchestra at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, has been named music director and conductor of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, effective July 1. The announcement was made Tuesday at The Nassau Club in downtown Princeton.
The news, which coincides with the announcement of the orchestra’s 30th anniversary season, is the result of an intensive, two-year search. Mr. Milanov has signed a three-year contract with the Princeton Symphony.
Mr. Milanov is also music director of Symphony in C in Camden (formerly the Haddonfield Symphony), one of three professional training orchestras in the United States, and the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria.
A sought-after guest conductor on the international music scene, Mr. Milanov has been hailed as “one who bears watching by anyone who cares about the future of music” (Chicago Tribune).
Mr. Milanov began his association with The Philadelphia Orchestra as assistant conductor in 2000 and was promoted to associate conductor four years later. In this role, he leads the orchestra in subscription, family, educational, community, and holiday concerts. In March 2006, Mr. Milanov was named artistic director of the orchestra’s summer series at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
With the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Milanov’s recent concert highlights have included critically acclaimed concerts on the orchestra’s summer series at the Mann Center; subscription performances of Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations; Adams’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15; a highly-praised production of Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” and the world premiere of Nicholas Maw’s English Horn Concerto.
He was music director of the Chicago Youth Symphony from 1997 to 2001, and he has participated in numerous summer festivals, including Tanglewood and the Interlochen Arts Festival.
His recording of works by the Russian composer Alla Pavlova with the Moscow Philharmonic is available on the Naxos label.
Mr. Milanov studied conducting at the Juilliard School (recipient of the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship), the Curtis Institute of Music, Duquesne University, and the Bulgarian National Academy of Music.
Current season highlights include debuts with Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Komische Oper, Berlin, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera (with a ballet triple-bill), and he makes his Carnegie Hall debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

See our interview with Milanov, and all the other candidates for Music Director of the San Anttonio Symphony here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Come on Mily just finish it!

On the Piano this Sunday music for anyone who procrastinates. Mily Balakirev spent forty years getting around to starting the second movement of his E-flat Piano Concerto. The second movement done he realized that he wouldn't live long enough to finish the work so he left sketches of the finale to his friend Liapunov to wrap up. You can hear the entire work this Sunday. To round out the program Scriabin's Eight Etudes Opus 42 in a new recording with Garrick Olhsson. The Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 here on KPAC and KTXI

host, Randy Anderson

Monday, June 1, 2009

How do you say that again?

San Antonio fans of Philip Glass have reason to celebrate this week, as Texas Public Radio's Cinema Tuesdays series brings a public screening of the 1983 film "Koyaanisqatsi" to the big screen at the Bijou at Crossroads theater. The highly influential film, directed by Godfrey Reggio, uses only the music of Philip Glass as its soundtrack as images of our modern world whiz by on the screen.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m., July 2.

More information is online at