What do you think of Music Hall’s new color scheme?
I’ve been noticing that more performing arts organizations seem to be turning to multimedia to augment their presentation. Opening this weekend, the Cincinnati May Festival has hired as its creative partner Gerard McBurney, who will “curate” and “design” two evenings dubbed “Dream Project” at the festival this year. It means adding visuals, projections, actors, atmospheric lighting — whatever — to enhance what otherwise would just be a performance by chorus and orchestra.
It’s being done around the country — such as in Chicago (where McBurney designed “Beyond the Score” events for the Chicago Symphony), and in San Francisco, where designer/director James Darrah has collaborated on a number of productions. I saw his vision for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting, which included screens, actors wandering over platforms, projections of the text jumbled up, lighting… To me, it all detracted from the masterpiece at hand and was just too much to absorb.
And yes, the Cincinnati Symphony is also experimenting in a three-year “Pelleas Project” with extra-musical elements, also designed by Darrah. Continue reading
Four UC College-Conservatory of Music alumni will compete in the Semi-Final round of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which will take place in New York on Sunday, March 12.
The prestigious competition for young singers has four rounds: District, Regional, Semi-Final and Final. Ten of the semi-finalists will move on to the final round, where five of them will be pronounced winners. Each winner receives $15,000, and the other finalists receive $5,000 each. This year’s final round will take place on Sunday, March 19 on the stage of the Met Opera.
The four CCM alumni who will participate in the Met Council Semi-Finals are Jessica Faselt, soprano (MM Voice, 2016); Summer Hassan, soprano (MM Voice, 2014); Andrew Manea, baritone (MM Voice, 2016); and Cody Quattlebaum, bass-baritone (BM Voice, 2015). Read their bios below to learn more about these outstanding young musicians.
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Pianist and CCM professor Sandra Rivers is stepping in for André Watts to perform two extra programs for the Phoenix Chamber Music Society this week. Piano legend Watts is unable to perform for the Winter Festival due to ongoing cancer treatments, according to the festival’s website.
Rivers, who has collaborated with stars such as Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Kathleen Battle, was already slated to perform Brahms sonatas with the wonderful violist/violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama last Sunday. But after arriving, she was invited to add a heaping plate of repertoire at the last minute for performances on Monday and Wednesday, as well.
“It’s very exciting,” Rivers said by phone on Sunday. “I’ve been in nonstop rehearsals since I arrived.”
Last night she played the four Brahms Op. 119 piano pieces (Klavierstücke), as well as the lovely Brahms Sonata Op. 120, No. 1 for piano and clarinet with David Shifrin, who also directs the festival.
And tomorrow night, she will join four other artists to anchor Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452. This one will be in the Music Pavilion at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. It’s sold out. Rivers only concern: What to wear so as not to clash with the very red room!
Meanwhile, we send good vibes and our best wishes to Mr. Watts for a quick recovery! I hear that he hopes to be back on the concert stage by this summer.
Attention friends in the Phoenix area!
CCM Professor of Collaborative Piano Sandra Rivers will perform in three concerts at thePhoenix Chamber Music Society’s Eighth Winter Festivalnext week.
Rivers will play piano in concert with violist and violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama on Sunday, March 5 and she will join clarinetist David Shifrin to play works by Brahms on Monday, March 6. Both concerts will be held in private homes in Phoenix, Arizona.
On Wednesday, March 8, Rivers will play a concert of works by Beethoven and Mozart with Shifrin, clarinet; Stephen Taylor, oboe; Julie Feves, bassoon; Frank Morelli, bassoon; William Purvis, horn, and fellowship students from the Yale School of Music. The concert will be held at the Music Pavilion of the iconic Taliesin West home, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The national historic landmark is located in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Society invited…
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Congratulations to these students. I was able to hear some of them, and was very impressed!
Five voice students were named winners of CCM’s 2017 Opera Scholarship Competition, which was held on Saturday, Feb. 25, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.
Since its inauguration in 1976, the annual competition welcomes current and incoming CCM voice students to compete for scholarships and cash prizes, and a panel of judges composed of opera industry professionals selects each year’s class of prizewinners.
The 2017 CCM Opera Scholarship Competition winners are:
Nicolette Book (first year Artist Diploma student)
From Minneapolis, Minnesota, studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Corbett Award ($15,000)
The Corbett Award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Caitlin Gotimer (second year Master of Music student)
From Long Island, New York, studying with Kenneth Shaw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Italo Tajo Memorial Award ($15,000)
This award is supported by the Italo Tajo Memorial Scholarship Fund (established by…
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It’s always interesting to see a different side of an artist. On Sunday, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra music director Louis Langrée departed from his day job to collaborate at the piano with mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in a program of French and German art song at the Linton Series. It was a beautiful recital, and reminded me of other conductor-pianists who have performed at the keyboard in concert: Native son James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas… and Thomas Schippers played the Organ Symphony with the CSO. Watch for my review.