News of the Classical World March 5th – 9th, 2012

A collection of classical news stories for the week of March 5th, 2012

March 5th, 2012

Wallis Giunta lets Rufus Wainwright’s classical music shine

Soprano Wallis Giunta
The Globe & Mail’s Colin Eatock reviews soprano Wallis Guinta’s performance of Rufus Wainwright’s modern compositions.

The combination of Giunta’s impressive talent and her admiration for this music virtually guaranteed a fine performance. And it was about as fine as it could have been, as the mezzo tapped into the emotional content of the songs – composed in 2010 as Wainwright’s mother, the folk singer Kate McGarrigle, was dying of cancer. Except for three songs, which are settings of Shakespeare sonnets, all lyrics are by Wainwright – and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
(The Globe & Mail)

[Read the entire story on theglobeandmail.com]


March 6th, 2012

ENO launches worldwide search for opera creators

The English National Opera has launched Mini Operas, a worldwide search that aims to “preserve and redefine the future of opera.”

Gilliam will pick one winner from each category at the finale of the competition, to be held at the British Film Institute in the autumn. Each of the lucky three will be mentored by a leader in his or her chosen field: writer and director Jeremy Sams, composer Nico Muhly and Leo Warner, who has produced visuals for the National Theatre and Metropolitan Opera.
(Gramophone)

[Read the entire story on gramophone.co.uk]


March 7th, 2012

Pinchas Zukerman leaving NAC in 2015

Pincas Zukerman
Conductor Pinchas Zukerman has a announced that he will be leaving the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2015. Zukerman has served as the music director at NAC for what will be 16 years in 2015.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1948, Zukerman’s career trajectory reads almost like legend, having been first introduced by his father to the recorder and clarinet, and then the violin, before attracting the attention of Isaac Stern, who helped bring him to New York in the early 1960s. Zukerman has since recorded more than 100 titles and has won two Grammy Awards.

The search for Zukerman’s replacement hasn’t begun yet. Usually this is a very slow process which takes a year or more, yet Deacon said he wanted to emphasize to the NAC’s audience goers that Zukerman still has another three years with the orchestra. “I’m trying to remind them to renew their subscriptions,” Deacon said.
(The Globe & Mail)

[Read the entire story on theglobeandmail.com]


March 8th, 2012

Musical Borrowing Under Scrutiny

Composer Osvaldo Golijov has been under scrutiny for what many call excessive borrowing from “Barbeich,” by Michael Ward-Bergeman.

Mr. Golijov won a pair of Grammys in 2007 for his opera “Ainadamar” and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. He will be in residence at Carnegie Hall next season and will be an artistic adviser to its Latin American festival.

He has long been known for his magpie technique of borrowing from various sources and different musical traditions. And borrowing from other composers in classical music is as traditional as a Gregorian chant. Bach, Schubert and Beethoven all did it.
(The New York Times)

[Read the entire story on nytimes.com]


March 9th, 2012

Anne Midget on classical music and critical thinking

Washington Post critic Anne Midget dares other critics to think critically about classical music, and to hold back their tears (if possible).

Yes, classical musicians can be amazing, and their performances are the result of a kind of intense dedication (those hours of practice) that rightly inspire respect in those who don’t do it themselves. Yet all artists spend hours and hours making their art, and few other artists are greeted with the same kind of awe simply for doing what they do (“You wrote a BOOK? All those WORDS? Wow!”). Classical music has a reputation of being something smart – indeed, its fans are often stereotyped as nerds and eggheads – but the way that people engage with it often seems to me anything but, as if it renders otherwise smart thinkers uncritical. Smith can write thoughtfully about Herzog, but the musician reduces her to effusion.
(Washington Post)

[Read the entire story on washingtonpost.com]


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