Collected Counsel – Steven Isserlis revisits Schumann’s Advice to Young Musicians

Steven Isserlis meets the pearls of wisdom in Robert Schumann’s Advice to Young Musicians, originally meant to accompany the master’s renowned 1848 piano suite, Album for the Young, with directness and allure. Isserlis relates guidance from his vast experience as a performer, educator and writer/broadcaster, which, while closely based on Schumann’s precious aphorisms, adds his own didactic playfulness. His revised suggestions and bonus chapter, which outline his personal interpretations on Schumann’s original work in...
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Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust – shtetl buoyancy re-invented

Soulful violist and composer/arranger Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin was featured in Ljova and the Kontraband’s Sunday afternoon concert at Brooklyn’s new home for the all-inclusive new music scene, National Sawdust. Going by ‘Ljova,’ the kindred version of his traditional Russian-Hebrew name, Lev, the artist and his Kontraband filled the room, which had been arranged cabaret-style, with tuneful energy. Folksy tango tunes with virtuosic viola passages next to Yiddish folk songs performed with great gusto by...
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Bridging Music and Poetry – Mohammed Fairouz and David Handler at Le Poisson Rouge

photos and article by Ilona Oltuski – GetClassical.org   The newly launched series, Return to Language, which seeks to imaginatively blend text and music into an amalgamate of artistic substance, provided a perfect opportunity for a special presentation featuring Le Poisson Rouge’s own David Handler and American-Arab composer Mohammed Fairouz. Fairouz’s January 2015 release of Follow, Poet on Deutsche Grammophon marks the artist’s debut on the yellow power label – excellent timing for a...
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The joyous spirit of sound – cellist Ani Aznavoorian

I know the price of Silence When on the threshold of sound, It congeals in the contour of emptiness Blends with the beating heart.    (Part of the poem “Insomnia” – by Lera Auerbach) Painting by Lera Auerbach Cellist Ani Aznavoorian and pianist/composer, all around artistically creative tour de force, Lera Auerbach were roommates during their mutual years at Julliard. Perhaps it is this personal familiarity that connects two exceptional musicians, or perhaps it is...
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Pianist/Composer Michael Brown – Music’s Wingman

(photo credit: Jeanette Beckman) When American pianist Michael Brown listened to the radio as a teenager, he fell in love with a specific contemporary classical piece: the First Piano Concerto by composer George Perle. There was something about this composer’s work that attracted his curiosity and fascination; it made him sit down at his piano and learn another one of Perle’s pieces for piano: Six Celebratory Inventions. He felt a strong connection and knew...
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Christopher Rouse's Requiem at Carnegie Hall

On May 5, Carnegie Hall launches the fourth and final season of its Spring for Music festival with a massive staging of Requiem, a work commissioned by the international sacred music foundation Soli Deo Gloria from the Pulitzer Prize-winning current composer-in-residence of the New York Philharmonic, Christopher Rouse. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Herman The innovative series Spring for Music presents unusual programs for one-evening-only performances by visiting North American Orchestras, realizing, as Alan Gilbert puts...
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Huang Ruo’s Opera ‘Dr.Sun Yat-Sen’ – a contemporary masterpiece re-evaluates Asian Fusion

Photo: Huang Ruo at Asia Society (GetClassical) As a preview to its upcoming American premiere, composer Huang Ruo and the creative team of the Santa Fe Opera introduced excerpts of the strikingly lyrical, modernist opera sung in Mandarin and Cantonese dialects at the Asia Society on December 2nd. In a panel discussion moderated by journalist Ken Smith and featured composer Huang Ruo, stage director James Robinson, costume designer James Schuette, choreographer Sean Curran, and conductor...
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OMW – Original lifestyle in Music

 Brooklyn has become a meeting of the minds between music and entrepreneurship. One of the big new players is Paola Prestini, who was recently highlighted in The New Yorker.  The young “composer-impresario,” whose current project is orchestrating Oceanic Verses for its European premiere at the Barbican with the BBC Symphony Orchestra this May, was recently named artistic director of Brooklyn’s forthcoming venue, Original Music Workshop. Photo by Kevin Dolan: OMG – Williamsburg, Brooklyn  Wythe Avenue/Corner...
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Vivian Fung – Dreamscapes

The audience, having taken their seats in a large, traditional room in the American Society’s Upper East Side townhouse, waits in great anticipation for Vivian Fung’s Dreamscapesrelease. Andrew Cyr, the resourceful Grammy-nominated conductor and artistic director of Metropolis Ensemble, gestures for the pianist to commence the evening’s program by plucking the strings of  the grand piano.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Photo: Andrew Cyr in conversation with Tim Martyn Two slit-drum players from his orchestra send mystic and strangely...
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Pianist Fred Hersch

I first heard about Fred Hersch — who, now in his mid-fifties, has played gigs in about every major New York Jazz venue — in a very different way. In The Insanity Hoax, author Judith Schlesinger makes her convincing point that the surplus in creativity, inherent in a great musician’s/ great artist’s life, does not necessarily make for mad geniuses and that, if anything, our great geniuses ought to be celebrated, not diagnosed. Hersch,...
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