Composer Alexey Shor in conversation with Colin Clarke

Alexey Shor (c) ALIKHAN

It is an exciting time for composer Alexey Shor. I personally first came across his music on a Delos release entitled Classical Music Stars in Malta in which four of his chamber pieces (Farewell Nocturne; Addio; King Matt the First; Coming of Age) shared disc space with music by Ilya Dimov, Khachaturian, Joseph Vella, and the fabulous Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia. Then, the superstar violinist Maxim Vengerov, no less, performed Shor’s St. Elmo Barcarolle at the Barbican in January this year under the baton of a conductor who is a tireless champion of Shor’s music, Sergey Smbatyan (review); and Vengerov’s encore, after Bruch’s First Violin Concerto and Ravel’s Tzigane, was another work by Shor: his Elegy for violin and orchestra.

Read more

Pianist Leon McCawley in conversation with Robert Beattie

Leon McCawley is one of the UK’s leading concert pianists. He has forged a highly successful career since winning first prize in the 1993 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition the same year. Since then, his concert performances and extensive discography have established him as a … Read more

INTERVIEW WITH THE CONDUCTOR VASILY PETRENKO – ‘CULTURE IS WHAT KEEPS US UNITED AND INTEGRATED’

Young-Jin Hur in conversation with Vasily Petrenko

Vasily Petrenko, © Svetlana Tarlova

The world is complex in its embrace of seeming opposites. There is joy in sad music; individual preferences coexist with societal norms; natural tendencies may complement acquired processes. The world is complex, but it is simple in its consistent presence of contradictions. This complexity also holds true for life’s challenges. The truism that bearing difficulties strengthens the self is elevated to metaphysical heights in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. In the realm of music, Igor Stravinsky viewed that ‘the more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.’ A time of difficulty and limitation, thus, seems also a story of hope.

Read more

A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL BROFMAN, FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE BROOKLYN ART SONG SOCIETY

Rick Perdian spoke with Michael Brofman, founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn Art Song Society, about the impact of the pandemic on the organization and its plans for the future

Michael Brofman © Meg Goldberg

In the midst of its tenth anniversary season, the Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS) had to cancel everything when New York became the global epicenter of the novel coronavirus in March. For its 2020-21 season, BASS is going digital and will celebrate the legacy of Franz Schubert, the first and arguably the greatest composer of German Lieder, with five programs of more than 100 of his songs. In addition, BASS will launch the New Voices Festival, which seeks to reimagine the art song for the twenty-first century.

Read more

We’ll be back! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra weathering the Covid-19 storm

CBSO perform Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ (c) Andrew Fox

On 4 March 2020 I went to Symphony Hall, Birmingham to hear the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the CBSO Chorus give a fine performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem conducted by the orchestra’s charismatic Osborn Music Director, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (review). Though the Coronavirus alarm bells were ringing ever more loudly by that point, little did I imagine that this would be the last time that I would be able to hear the CBSO during their 2019/20 season. I had plans to review several more of their concerts, most notably their planned performance of Britten’s War Requiem on 20 June. Not long after that Brahms concert, though, the UK was put into lockdown and the orchestra was obliged to cancel future concerts on an incremental basis, including a 12-concert tour of Germany and Austria. Eventually, on 30 April, they bowed to the inevitable and cancelled the remainder of the season.

Read more

ACCOMPANIST OR PARTNER? PIANIST SUSIE ALLAN IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN QUINN

Susie Allan talks to John Quinn

Susie Allan (c) Bill Wyatt

A little while ago I read two online reviews of the same Lieder recital. The singer and pianist involved were both highly distinguished musicians in their own right and, in addition, have worked together in recital quite frequently in the past. Both reviews were written by experienced and knowledgeable reviewers but there was a significant difference between them. One, admittedly the longer of the two, commentated on both the singer and the pianist in almost equal measure. The other addressed the work and the performance of the singer but the contribution of the pianist was covered in a final short paragraph which consisted of just two sentences.

Read more

APOLLO FIRE’S JEANNETTE SORRELL DISCUSSES O JERUSALEM!

Jeannette Sorrell of Apollo’s Fire talks with Mark Sebastian Jordan about ‘O Jerusalem!’

Jeannette Sorrell addresses an audience

In its first quarter century, Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland baroque orchestra, has made creative programming a cornerstone — a key part of engaging and building a dedicated public throughout northeast Ohio and beyond. In 2018, the ensemble unveiled a program entitled O Jerusalem! Crossroads of Three Faiths, which I reviewed in concert at that time. Now the group is bringing the program back for a second look and taking it on tour to New York City and Chicago. I spoke with harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell as she was returning to her hotel from a rehearsal for the group’s current tour.

Read more