CCM professor emeritus Walter Levin. Photo by Sandy Underwood.
It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of emeritus faculty member Walter Levin, founding member and first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet and a CCM faculty member from 1953 until 1986. Levin passed away in Chicago on Aug. 4, 2017, at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evi, and two sons, David and Tom.
Born in Berlin on December 6, 1924, Levin and his family emigrated to Tel Aviv in 1938. Levin was accepted to Juilliard in 1946, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Hans Letz. The LaSalle Quartet was formed during this period, taking its name from the nearby LaSalle Street where the Quartet members rehearsed. Upon graduation, the Quartet comprised of Levin, Henry Meyer, Peter Kamnitzer and Jack Kirstein became quartet-in-residence at Colorado College.
There are a lot of misconceptions in the online posts I’ve read about the Music Hall bridge that the city now says it will demolish and rebuild over Central Parkway. The elephant in the room that people are missing: There is no easy and safe pathway to the front door of Music Hall on Elm Street if you park behind the building, in the Town Center Garage on Central Parkway.
If the city-owned bridge, which leads from Town Center Garage to Music Hall, is rebuilt, the renovation team is pledging to construct a passageway into Music Hall from the Ballroom entrance on the second level — the new back door.
Somehow amid expenditures of at least $135 million, planners decided not to provide a rear entrance to Music Hall. This intentional omission adversely affects many of the organizations that make Music Hall their home. People have been deciding not to renew subscriptions or to attend fewer concerts because of inconvenience and pedestrian safety.Continue reading →
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 →
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.
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.
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.