When Covid restrictions caused the cancellation of the 2020 Three Choirs Festival I regretted that decision on many levels. One of my main disappointments was that the cancellation deprived us of the opportunity to hear the world premiere of a major new work by Gabriel Jackson, The World Imagined. Happily, it has been possible to reschedule the premiere and include it in the plans for the 2021 Three Choirs Festival. I have been an admirer of this composer’s music, especially his choral works, for many years now so the prospect of such a significant new score is enticing. Consequently, I seized the chance to discuss the new work with Gabriel, albeit in a socially distanced way.
Dr Samantha Ege in conversation withAntoine Lévy-Leboyer
Florence Price (1887-1953) was an Afro-American Composer who wrote a very significant amount of music: symphonies, concertos, chamber music, Lieder and some quite simply outstanding piano music. As was the case for numerous composers who, after their death, were somewhat forgotten, Price has found a formidable interpreter in pianist Samantha Ege who has championed her works in concert, recordings and at conferences.
Pianist Lisa Maria Schachtschneider in conversation with Gregor Tassie ‘The female in music is my contribution on the way to equality’ is the heading for the young German pianist Lisa Maria Schachtschneider’s debut recording. Through neglect and ignorance, the question of women in music is a perennial problem to overcome and is exacerbated by recent … Read more
This season was to be a celebration of Christopher Hahn’s twentieth anniversary with the Pittsburgh Opera. It was, but not as anyone could possibly have imagined a year ago. Hahn was appointed General Director of the Pittsburgh Opera in 2008, having served as Artistic Director since 2000. During his tenure, the company has been transformed. … Read more
Even in the midst of a pandemic, a Zoom call with Brandon Ridenour and Ben Russell is an upbeat experience. Their plans for performances, tours and just about everything else hit a brick wall in March, as they did for just about everyone on the planet. For Russell, it has been a peripatetic few months: circumstances required him to leave Brooklyn early in the pandemic and, since then, he and his wife have stayed in a cabin in Maine and with family in California and Mississippi. Apart from a few brief trips out of New York, Ridenour has stuck it out in Brooklyn.
They are two of the five members of Founders, the award-winning, Brooklyn-based ensemble, a songwriting collective that is reimagining the boundaries of musical styles. In addition to Russell (violin/vocals) and Ridenour (trumpet/piano), the other members of the group are Hamilton Berry (cello/vocals), Yoonah Kim (clarinet) and Greg Chudzik (bass). All are conservatory-trained musicians.
Individually, they have worked with songwriters such as James Taylor, Sufjan Stevens, Sting, and Björk, as well as with classical ensembles such as Canadian Brass, A Far Cry and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. They have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as on television broadcasts such as The Late Show and Saturday Night Live.
January saw the release of Founders’ latest recording, Songs for the End of Time, Vol. 1, which features Russell and Ridenour’s arrangement of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Their adaptation of this seminal work received its world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca New Music Festival. With this thoughtful, imaginative and at times stunningly beautiful rethinking of Messiaen’s Quartet, Founders is introducing it to audiences that might never have encountered it before.
Vienna violinist Johannes Fleischmann spoke to Seen and Heard on the release of his new album EXODUS: The Men Who Shaped Hollywood, celebrating the music of two Jewish Austrian composers who fled World War II to California: Erich Korngold and Eric Zeisl. Antoine Lévy-Leboyer: For those who do not live in Vienna and who would … Read more
Julian Gargiulo and María Dueñas talk to Rick Perdian
Julian Gargiulo is a pianist, composer and recording artist who has performed widely in North America, Europe and Asia. He was named a Steinway Artist in 2014, a title conferred upon the best pianists of the day. Like other Steinway Artists, Gargiulo has chosen to perform exclusively on Steinways, possesses his own Steinway piano and receives no remuneration for doing so. The latter is unique among product endorsements, as is Getting to Carnegie, the annual international music competition founded by Gargiulo in 2015.
Robert Beattie in conversation with pianist and author Jack Kohl Jack Kohl is a pianist and writer from the north shore of Long Island, New York. In 2019 he published a series of essays, Bone over Ivory: Essays from a Standing Pianist. In 2021 he follows this up with a new series of essays, From … Read more