Saturday, March 25, 2017
Never first to break the glass ceiling, New York has followed Dallas Opera (pic) and London’s Royal Philharmonic Society with an initiative to help women advance in the podium. At present, 91 percent of US music directors are male, a proportion that has not changed in ten years. press release: New York, NY: On March 17th, 2017 New York Conducting Institute (NYCI) will hold a four day workshop for women conductors at the National Opera Center. Maestro Diane Wittry of the Allentown Symphony will lead the event that includes sessions on baton technique and coached podium time in front of a sextet and a full orchestra. Additionally, clinics, that deal with career topics, will be held. Also scheduled will be panel discussions with pioneering women conductors such as: Victoria Bond, Teresa Cheung, Janna Hymes and Gisele Ben-Dor. The repertoire for the workshop will be Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 version) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Workshop participants will be considered for Conducting Fellow positions with the Allentown Symphony. “I am very excited to be teaching the First International Women’s Conducting Workshop in New York. It is so important that we nurture and develop the talent that we have and that we encourage women to pursue their careers as conductors of orchestras all over the world,” Ms. Wittry said. “I am very passionate about developing avenues for mentorship and lifetime learning and growth for women conductors.” “For this workshop, we are trying to ensure that women are prepared to enter the pipeline of qualified conducting candidates,” said NYCI co-founder, Alicia Lieu. About NYCI: NYCI’s mission is to help leaders transform the world through the power of music by providing opportunities for conductors at all levels of experience to study repertoire from the orchestral, ballet, and operatic canon with exceptional pedagogues. Alicia Lieu and Mun-Tzung Wong began organizing conducting workshops in 2013 and incorporated New York Conducting Institute in 2016 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. www.newyorkconductinginstitute.org
Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb in ‘Rubies’ from Jewels, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2013 A trip to the jewellers’ Inspired by a trip to the legendary jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels , George Balanchine ’s Jewels is an extravagant abstract ballet in three parts, each drawing on a different jewel, a different composer and a different age in ballet history. Jewels itself turns 50 on 13 April this year, having been created for New York City Ballet in 1967. Jewels in London and around the world The Royal Ballet first performed ‘Rubies’ in 1989, but it was not until 2007 that all three parts found their way to the Covent Garden stage, in a production with sumptuous new sets by Jean-Marc Puissant . Jewels has returned a number of times since then and this Season The Royal Ballet’s production is broadcast live to cinemas around the world for the first time. ‘Emeralds’ The elegant poise and grace of Romantic France come to the fore in Balanchine’s first part. A corps of ten women shimmer around a series of refined solo numbers for four women and three men, in an act that evokes the 19th century of composer Gabriel Fauré , and ‘the France of elegance, comfort, dress, perfume’, as Balanchine put it. ‘Rubies’ One of a number of Balanchine ballets to set Stravinsky , ‘Rubies’ is a gloriously bustling setting of the Russian composer’s 1929 piano concerto Capriccio. Many commentators have seen in the ballet’s thrilling energy the furious pace of New York City, Balanchine’s adoptive home. The vivacious outer movements, full not just of leaping but also jogging, frame an enigmatic and athletic pas de deux. ‘Diamonds’ Balanchine turns not only to Tchaikovsky for his grand finale, but also to the Imperial Russian tradition of Petipa and Ivanov , in a ‘white act’ that is a dazzling display for the corps de ballet. ‘Diamonds’ is set to the final four movements of the composer’s Third Symphony, enclosing an enthralling pas de deux before reaching the opulent, full-company climax. Jewels runs 1–21 April 2017. Tickets are still available. The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 11 April 2017. Find your nearest cinema. The production is given with generous philanthropic support from Julia and Hans Rausing, Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman, Lady Ashcroft, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson, Peter Lloyd and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund .
Royal Academy of Music/Knussen (Linn)There’s an American tradition of asking venerable composers to take the speaking roles in Stravinsky’s 1918 Faustian music-theatre fable The Soldier’s Tale. Babbitt and Carter did it as nonagenarians; Copland played Narrator to the Devils of John Cage and Virgil Thomson. The custom is honoured here with Oliver Knussen conducting Harrison Birtwistle as a superbly laconic Soldier – it sounds as though he couldn’t care less when his luck is down; the despondency is glorious – and George Benjamin makes a deliciously supercilious Devil. The contrast is bizarre and joyous, perhaps tinged with a darker message akin to Yeats’s The Second Coming. Harriet Walter narrates adeptly; the playing of the Royal Academy’s Manson Ensemble is taut, fearless and detailed. In typical Knussen programming, the rest of the disc is a web of composers commemorating each other in tender miniatures, including the tributes to Stravinsky by Peter Maxwell Davies and Birtwistle. Continue reading...
Balissat/Poullos/Chartin/Kielland/Walker/Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne/Suisse Romande O/Reuss (Mirare)Like almost all of Arthur Honegger’s output, the “dramatic psalm” Le Roi David is rarely performed now. It was first conceived in 1921 as a four-hour dramatic spectacular, involving spoken dialogue, solo and choral numbers and dance, using a text based on historical and biblical sources. Honegger was drafted in at the last moment to provide the score, partly on Stravinsky’s recommendation. The show, in Mézières, Switzerland, was a huge success and made Honegger’s name, but it proved far too costly to stage elsewhere. Instead, Honegger reworked the score, replacing the swaths of dialogue with a more concise narration, but retained the 17-strong instrumental scoring, with its wind band, keyboards (piano, harmonium, celesta) and percussion.He later made a full-orchestra arrangement, but it’s the stripped-down version of Le Roi David, first performed in 1923, that conductor Daniel Reuss opts for in this wonderfully clear, crisp recording. Dramatically and musically, the whole work is a model of economy, taking just over 70 minutes to tell the story of King David, from his rise to power as king of Israel, subsequent fall from grace and punishment for adultery, to his death, in 27 numbers that alternate the brief stretches of spoken narration with set pieces, hymns, psalms, songs and dances. The music is punchy and often astringent, ranging stylistically from plainchant to hints of early jazz in the soundworld of early neoclassicism. The predominance of wind instruments gives it an unmistakable tang that contrasts with supple and expressive vocal writing. Continue reading...
ŸIgor Stravinsky: The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. While this amazing composer wrote a lot of other music, these three works created an indelible mark on the development of music for the following 100 years. Stravinsky: The Firebird Petrushka The Rite of Spring On this recording the performers are the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson Conducting. Here is the ballet “Petrushka”, as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra:
The 2016 BCO Summer Conducting Seminar focuses on building musicianship and technical control. Held on the campus of the Peabody Conservatory, the 11-day Summer Conducting Seminar offers 10 Fellows the opportunity to conduct the internationally acclaimed Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in orchestral works by Dvorak, Brahms and Mendelssohn, and – with members of BCO – smaller works by Stravinsky, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and […]
Igor Stravinsky (17 June 1882 - 6 April 1971) was a Russian-born, naturalized French, later naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential composers of 20th century music. He was a quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. He became a naturalized French citizen in 1934 and a naturalized US citizen in 1945. In addition to the recognition he received for his compositions, he also achieved fame as a pianist and a conductor, often at the premieres of his works. Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911/1947), and The Rite of Spring (1913). The Rite, whose premiere provoked a riot, transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure, and was largely responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary, pushing the boundaries of musical design. In the 1950s he adopted serial procedures, using the new techniques over his last twenty years. Stravinsky's compositions of this period share traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few two- or three-note cells, and clarity of form, of instrumentation, and of utterance.
Great composers of classical music