Roberto Prosseda, the celebrated pianist known for his solo work and extensive playing with world-renowned orchestras, will bring his musical mastery to the Jan Popper Theater at the University of California, Los Angeles, tonight; Thursday, Feb. 21. Prosseda is a master interpreter of the catalog of Felix Mendelssohn, having recorded the composer's complete piano works over the course of 10 years for Decca. He will bring his expertise to UCLA with a special mini-recital that features Mendelssohn's Rondò Capriccioso, along with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Fantasia K 475 and Franz Schubert's 4 Impromptus op. 90.
After Prosseda plays these special selections, he will join with students from UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music and lead a master class that goes over the following compositions: Claude Debussy's Bergamasque Suite (two movements), Ludwig van Beethoven's Concerto #4 (first movement) and Johann Sebastian Bach's Chaconne. Prosseda has played with the likes of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic and Moscow State Philharmonic, among many others. He is also a go-to performer of the pedal piano, having offered more than 50 concerts playing the instrument.
Recently Hollywood Soapbox Q&A'd with Prosseda about his upcoming recital. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style. READ IT
Taking an extraordinarily bold step just five years into her recording career, Lyn Stanley showcases her stylistic range and heartfelt intuition as a vocalist on this epic, warmly produced, playfully titled 17 track tribute to legendary jazz and pop singer Julie London. While emotionally resonant, Stanley's voice isn't anywhere near as husky and smoky as her muse's, but she makes each song he own - beautifully conveying a sense of hushed intimacy on ballads like "Cry Me A River" and "I've Got a Crush on You" and subtle swing on various tunes, including "Blue Moon" and the lively opener "Goody Goody."
READ THE FULL JWVIBE REVIEW
With her Warner Classics album; Songplay, Joyce DiDonato takes a new and creative angle on vocal music from the Baroque and Classical periods, as well as from the 20th century. The 14 tracks on Songplay succeed in being simultaneously familiar and unexpected. The album serves up music by Vivaldi in both its customary Baroque purity and swinging to the heady rhythm of a samba. It brings a tango sizzle to an aria by Vivaldi's contemporary Marcello, and it plays with the voice of Bach in George Shearing's ‘Lullaby of Birdland'. "Songplay, as a title, suggests exactly what this album is," says the pianist Craig Terry, who developed the concept for the album along with Joyce DiDonato.
In conjunction with the album release, JD has agreed to sit down with radio stations throughout the US, today - February 21. Please watch for our tweets throughout the day updating the proceedings.
For centuries, the world of classical music has been a proverbial boys club: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Herrmann, Bernstein, Williams. Now, it's the ladies' turn with "Holes in the Sky," a pioneering national tour that launches this Saturday night at Sixth & I in Chinatown presented by Washington Performing Arts. "This is all music by women," pianist Lara Downes told WTOP. "I'm doing a bunch of solo stuff with everything from Billie Holiday and Nina Simone and Jodi Mitchell to world premieres by composers who are living and working today. It's very genre-fluid, all over the musical map."
The project is spearheaded by Downes, whose "America Again" was named one of NPR's "10 Albums that Saved 2016" and whose follow-up "For Lenny" won the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award. The live show will also feature Grammy-winner Rhiannon Giddens, star of CMT's "Nashville" and recipient of the 2017 MacArthur "Genius Grant."
READ THE WTOP Q&A & LISTEN
Something happens when you get a chance to see Afro-Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez perform. First of all, his smile radiates. It's hard to imagine someone happier than he is to make music in front of people; and as we saw during his turn behind Bob Boilen's desk, he mesmerizes with this almost otherworldly talent on congas. His hands can be a blur because they move so quickly. To the untrained eye, it's hard to see exactly what he is doing to draw out the sounds he does from his drums. I even know a little about playing hand drums and it still doesn't make it easier to fathom his remarkable talent.
Pedrito Martinez has gathered around him musicians who are helping him make the music he hears in his head. As you'll hear, it's full of twists and turns and unexpected stops that resolve into grooves so ferocious it's hard to resist moving your entire body in appreciation.
This particular performance at the Tiny Desk is highlighted by a stunning, unaccompanied conga solo that dazzled both neophytes and long-time fans of Afro-Cuban music.
WATCH THE SEGMENT
Defining ‘contemporary classical' music is fraught with complications: should we include film music, for example, and what about music that uses amplification? From Adès to Zimmer, the canon is thrillingly diverse, and features various nooks and crannies within which exciting sounds emerge. It's a soundworld that listeners are just as likely to encounter via curated streaming platforms as in major venues, on the small and silver screen, and in clubs as well as concert halls.
Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (2012) is a key example of this collision of classical-electro-ambient music, a strange juxtaposition of old and new, high versus so-called ‘low' art. It is akin to listening to a Cubist version of the Vivaldi classic, with fragmented melodies that are looped and overlaid, shared between laptop and strings. Richter is one of a new school of composers who combine multiple stylistic ideals.
Various names have been given to this particular branch of contemporary music: alternative classical, neo-classical, post-classical. In a digital world, life becomes easier if we can define a searchable genre. But when a style is in its infancy, this can be restrictive.
Critics of this soundworld claim that many of the pieces are unimaginative pastiche. Writing in The Wire, Philip Clark asked ‘how you would feel if visiting Tate Modern you found the Rothkos, Matisses and Picassos had been replaced by Athena poster art', in the context of Deutsche Grammophon's decision to include the likes of Richter, Karl Jenkins and Ludovico Einaudi alongside its starry back catalogue of 20th-century composers.
DG continues its commitment to this music with the recent re-release of Richter's 2004 The Blue Notebooks, with words adapted from Kafka's Blue Octavo Notebooks, and the upcoming release of Recomposed by Peter Gregson: Bach – The Cello Suites, which follows in Richter's footsteps.
Post-classical music attracts a broad audience, in part because the music is becoming so widely accessible. Composers such as Ólafur Arnalds, whose atmospheric solo albums sit alongside his screen writing (such as the soundtrack to TV series Broadchurch) are attracting an increasing listenership. The late Jóhann Jóhannsson found popularity with his soundtrack to The Theory of Everything and his disc Orphée (DG, 2016), as well as gaining fans for his more experimental music, including a suite for string orchestra and a retro IBM computer.
Another example is Dustin O'Halloran, who scored Amazon show Transparent, for which he won an Emmy Award. O'Halloran is also one half of duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen who performed at a BBC Prom co-curated with BBC Radio 6 Music in 2015 – another indication that boundaries are shifting.
While historically post-classical music was the preserve of smaller, independent labels – such as FatCat and Erased Tapes – the last few years has seen greater interest from larger-scale organisations. In the spring, Sony Classical announced that it had signed German pianist-composer Volker Bertelmann – known to fans under the moniker Hauschka – with a collection of solo piano works in the pipeline. Hauschka is part of a group of performers who are re-energising interest in prepared piano, adding modern-day extras – ping-pong balls and pegs – to change timbres and bringing newcomers to the world of John Cage.
In 2017, Decca Records launched Mercury KX, an imprint for post-classical music. ‘I felt that a new label, with no specific ties to any one genre, was the best way to achieve the best possible environment for these artists to thrive and to speak to their specific audience,' says Alex Buhr, Mercury KX founder.
The freedom encourages experimentation with technology in ways that artists may not have been able to with more traditional routes. Mercury KX artist Arnalds has just started working with his Stratus Pianos: two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos that are triggered by a central piano played by Arnalds himself, using custom-built software created by the composer and audio developer Halldór Eldjárn.
READ THE FULL BBC Music Magazine ARTICLE
Grammy Award-winning cellist and activist Yo-Yo Ma is planning a Day of Action in Flint on Feb. 28 - hosting a local exhibit of the arts, meeting with residents and hosting a conversation with community leaders. The event - called "Flint Voices: Culture, Community, and Resilience" - includes more than 30 Flint-based organizations and partners exploring the power of culture to create lasting change in a community. Ma will participate alongside community partners, local artists, and activists to discuss how to build a connected, thriving community.
A free, public celebration is being hosted by Ma from 4-6 p.m. at Berston Field House, featuring performances and presentations that show off Flint's cultural attributes, diversity, and story. Notable Flint artists, including musician Tunde Olaniran, artist Natasha Thomas-Jackson, and Kevin Collins' African Drum and Dance, are among the participants. "Culture matters because it helps us connect and understand one another," Ma said, "And it's only through connection and understanding that we can create strong, inclusive, and resilient communities and build a better future. I have watched with the nation as Flint has done just that." The visit is part of Ma's Bach Project, launched in 2018. The Bach project uses Johann Sebastian Bach's 300-year musical legacy as an example of how culture spans generations and connects people of all backgrounds. His Days of Action are public events and creative experiences that aim to mobilize communities to build new relationships and create change using culture as the impetus.
READ THE FULL Flint Side ARTICLE
The Comet Is Coming - Trust In The Life Force Of The Deep Mystery
In a world narrative dominated and controlled by powerful, wealthy individuals with vested interests in skewing the truth, what trust can be placed in our governments, our leaders and our sources of information to guide us to evolve as a species?
The great weapon is art.
I have dreamed about The French Suite Kit ever since I first heard Glenn Gould talk about the possibility of a "New Listener" who would take some measure of control over their participation in the listening process.
A selection of Coltrane's 1963 Impulse! recordings, derived from the original albums Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Dear Old Stockholm, Newport ‘63 and Live at Birdland
In the brief, bright arc that is the career of John Coltrane, 1963 marks a point of transition between past jazz masterpieces and future work, which would transcend the boundaries of the music itself.
At the suggestion of bandoneonist, arranger, and composer Raúl Jaurena, I set out to create a body of work for bass and string quartet, in order to feature the bass not only as foundation and a melodic instrument, but as a driver of rhythm.
Igor Levit 'Life' is beautifully played, beautifully felt, beautifully conveyed / STAGEADNCINEMA
Posted: January 12, 2019 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Along with Daniil Trifonov, pianist Igor Levit's concerts and CDs must recall what it first felt like to encounter Gilels and Richter, two other super-talented Russian pianists who brought excitement to classical music. When I saw Igor Levit live, one of the most striking aspects for this sensitive and strong pianist was the fascinating combination of music choices. So it wasn't surprising that the pieces for his latest solo CD are as varied as night and day: included works are by Busoni, Bach, Schumann, Rzewski, Wagner, Liszt, and Bill Evans, whose "Peace Pipe" couldn't get a more sensitive rendering.
Returning to the studio after three years, Levit reflects on both being and being beaten by the gaping gorge of grief, selecting works as a musical journey as a way of reflecting on and memorializing the accidental death of an intimate friend. Yet even as the origin of the album is death, the title is Life - suggesting that music, no matter how sad, is consoling and supportive and life-affirming. This Sony Classical release will simply make you glad to be alive. It is beautifully played, beautifully felt, and beautifully conveyed piano playing.
Sparked by the tragic death of a close friend in an accident, Igor Levit's piano playing reflects upon an experience of loss encompassing grief, despair, resignation and solace. He concentrates on works whose gloomy grandeur and melancholy beauty have occupied him for years. Each of them pays tribute to the virtuoso possibilities of the piano. Poetic moments of contemplative silence blend with life-affirming and extremely sensual music with a direct physical fascination. ...
Sony Classical announces the release of Pianist Igor Levit's third album - Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski. Available October 30, the album includes Bach's Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, long considered acid tests of the performer's art, plus Frederic Rzewski's gigantic cycle on the Chilean revolutionary song ¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!, which has the reputation of being nearly unplayable. Not content with canonized masterpieces, Levit is equally drawn to the physical challenge of Rzewski's virtuosic tightrope walks.
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Igor Levit has recorded the Partitas by this incommensurable Bach, BWV 825-830: it's the second release by the 27-year-old pianist, whom many regard as the greatest talent of his time. With his debut album, featuring the late Beethoven sonatas, Levit already enjoyed great success and international critical acclaim: the album rose to no. 46 in Germany's Top 100 album charts.
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"Unlike those technically brilliant young pianists who dazzle briefly and disappear, Levit is pre-eminently a real musician who seems built to last." – The Guardian
For the last three years, Igor Levit's name has been the first to be mentioned whenever there has been talk of the most exciting of the younger generation of pianists. What is so surprising about Levit is not only the maturity of his interpretations, but his boundless appetite for new repertoire of works as difficult and demanding as possible. For his long awaited debut album, the twenty-six-year-old Levit has chosen some of the most challenging repertoire ever written for piano: Beethoven's last five piano sonatas. On his two-CD debut set, Levit is not just another young aspiring pianist releasing his debut album, but rather an outstanding artist who meets the exceptionally high demands of this extraordinary music. Levit's technical and artististic command in the difficult "Hammerklaviersonate" op. 106 is sure to be recognized as one of the most astounding accomplishments in recent history of Beethoven recordings.