Thoughts on ‘La Vecchia’ from a curator

“His paintings are all shrouded in mystery in terms of subject matter, and this one more so than most. ” — Peter Jonathan Bell, associate curator, Cincinnati Art Museum

It’s always enlightening to get a private tour from an art curator. The other day, I was at Cincinnati Art Museum just as “La Vecchia” (Italian for “the old woman”) by Italian Renaissance painter Giorgione, was being unveiled following a major conservation. It will be on view through May 5.

Here are some thoughts about the painting from Peter Jonathan Bell, Cincinnati Art Museum associate curator of European paintings, sculpture and drawings:

“It’s both a portrait and an allegory. Giorgione is a foundational Renaissance artist, for the Venetian Renaissance in particular. It’s incredibly rare. There are by some counts only a couple dozen paintings that survived by him. He only had a career of about 15 years, around 1500. but because of him, Titian is who he is. Titian painted with Giorgione.

“His paintings are all shrouded in mystery in terms of subject matter, and this one more so than most. He was painting for a new class of private collectors, so many of his paintings have very complex layers of meaning.Read More »

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Choral couple to leave area as Christopher Eanes takes on role at National Cathedral

Christopher Eanes. Courtesy of the Cathedral Choral Society

Christopher Eanes has been appointed the executive director of the Cathedral Choral Society at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, KellyAnn Nelson announced the end of their tenures as co-directors of the Cincinnati Boychoir on Facebook on Monday night. Eanes will also be departing Collegium Cincinnati, the ensemble he founded at Christ Church Cathedral.

Nelson, founding director of the Young Professionals Choral Collective, will continue her role with YPCC through the 2019-20 season. She grew the group of singers — all busy young professionals in the Cincinnati area — from a few who came together to sing in a bar in Dec. 2011 to a roster of more than 1,200 singers who perform concerts and sing carols city-wide.Read More »

Covenant-First Presbyterian to host first annual organ festival

The historic Austin Pipe Organ at Covenant-First Presbyterian Church

Covenant-First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cincinnati is inaugurating its first annual organ festival in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, March 3 and 4 at the Elm Street church.

The church will host a free recital at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, with renowned organist Andrew Henderson. A public master class will follow on March 4.

Currently director of music and organist at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, Dr. Henderson is chair of the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music and organ instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is also the associate organist at New York City’s Temple Emanu-El, one of the world’s largest Jewish houses of worship.

The native of Thorold, Ontario, received degrees from Cambridge, Yale University and Juilliard.

“Andrew Henderson is an acclaimed organist who works as a performer, teacher, conductor, and musician of churches and synagogues in many of Manhattan’s most distinguished venues. His diverse program will highlight the color, depth and power of the organ at Covenant-First Presbyterian Church,” said Michael Unger, professor of organ and harpsichord at CCM. “He is an engaging, dynamic and thoughtful musician.”

Organist Andrew Henderson

Henderson will perform on the church’s historic, century-old Austin Pipe Organ. Built by the Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Connecticut and installed in 1915, it was considered one of the largest organs in this part of the country, with 51 stops and more than 3,100 pipes.

His program –music of J.S. Bach, Bruhns, Sowerby and Mulet — includes works by composers with connections to his current post at New York’s Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.

On Monday, 10 a.m. to noon, March 4, Henderson will lead a masterclass/workshop that will showcase the talents of CCM students in Unger’s studio. The event will focus on topics for church musicians.

Both events are free and open to the public at Covenant-First Presbyterian Church, 717 Elm Street, downtown.

The church will also sponsor a dinner at Moerlein Lager House for Dr. Henderson, Dr. Unger and CCM organ students.

The Austin Pipe Organ was given by Mrs. W. W. Seely in memory of her husband, Dr. William Wallace Seely. Following a fire in April, 1960, the organ was completely restored by Charles D. and James Hildreth and has since been updated and renovated in 1974, 1999, and 2000.

For more information, visit covfirstchurch.org; 513-621-4144.

Randy Brecker to visit Caffe Vivace

It’s a chance to see a world-class trumpeter in a venue not much bigger than your living room, says Brent Gallaher, co-owner of Caffe Vivace in Walnut Hills.

Caffe Vivace, the hip new coffee house by day, jazz venue by night, is hosting Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker in its listening room next weekend. He’ll play four sets over two nights — Feb. 15 and 16 — with two different groups of outstanding local musicians.Read More »

Young musicians encouraged to apply for unique scholarship

Scholarship winners who performed last spring at Greenacres

Young musicians from across the Tristate area are invited to compete for the Nancy F. Walker Memorial Scholarships (total of $50,000) for singers and instrumentalists now being offered by Matinée Musicale Cincinnati.

These have been made possible by recent generous donations in memory of Nancy Fuldner Walker and a bequest from the estate of Louise Dieterle Nippert.

As an extension of its longtime mission to advance the careers of young instrumentalists and singers, Matinée Musicale invites applications from juniors and seniors in college and high school. Awards will be given to both instrumentalists and singers.Read More »

Chamber Orchestra clarinetist to perform at Holocaust & Humanity Center opening

John Kurokawa

As part of the community celebration of the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center on Sunday, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra principal clarinetist John Kurokawa will lead a program of music celebrating our nation’s diversity driven by immigration, and touching on local survivors’ stories featured in the new Holocaust Museum.

The Center opens to the public at its new home at Union Terminal on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Kurokawa performs a FREE concert of about an hour in length at 3 p.m. in Reikert Auditorium at Union Terminal.

His program includes  “Viktor’s Tale” from the movie The Terminal; Bonia Shur’s “Fleeting Thought” (the late composer at HUC was a Latvian native who escaped the Nazi invasion, fleeing to Israel and later moving to the United States where he would become a major musical force in the Reform Jewish Movement in America); and Messiaen’s “Abyss of the Birds,” a movement from the “Quartet for the End of Time,” which was written and premiered in a prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz, Germany.

Sarah Weiss, executive director, talks about the mural at the entrance of the new location of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center at Union Terminal during a hard hat tour last month.

There will also be selections from the movie “Schindler’s List” as well as the music of Bella Kovacs, a celebration of Klezmer music.

Kurokawa will also perform the Sonata for clarinet and piano by Francis Poulenc, dedicated to the memory of his friend Arthur Honneger, which Kurokawa says is “a wistful and somber remembrance of his friend as well as a celebration of life.”

Read more about the new Holocaust and Humanity Center at Bizjournals.com/cincinnati. Remember, the Arts Front is free, but you may need to register for a FREE subscription.

Many refugees came through Union Terminal during World War II

Here’s the whole Grand Opening schedule on Sunday, Jan. 27:

1:00 PM Holocaust survivor & descendants processional followed by opening ceremony and ribbon cutting
2:00 PM Holocaust survivor Renate Frydman shares her husband’s survival story
3:00 PM Special performance by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s John Kurokawa
Union Terminal was a welcome sight for the U.S. service men and women returning from the war, as well as for refugees.

4:00 PM The making of Cincinnati’s Newest Museum panel discussion with exhibit designers Berenbaum Jacobs & Associates and Jack Rouse Associates

For more info: holocaustandhumanity.org

Reviews in the New Year

I’m ,thinking how fitting it was to hear “Winter” from “The Four Seasons” this weekend, and then wake up to this. I meaasured 9 inches on my patio.

In case you missed the CSO reviews of the first two concerts of 2019, here are the links. Remember that you can sign up for a FREE subscription to the Arts Front at bizjournals.com/cincinnati.

Fireworks at Rach 3 in first concert of year. It’s amazing to think that Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor was the composer’s own calling card to play on an American tour in 1909. Like his more famous Second Concerto (which he played in Cincinnati on that tour), it is lushly scored and features one great romantic tune after another. But technically, the Third goes a step further with nonstop fireworks for the pianist.

Benjamin Beilman in his debut with the CSO, conducted from the harpsichord by Richard Egarr. Photo by Lee Snow

Beilman wows in Four Seasons with CSO. I don’t think I’ve heard Baroque music played with such atmosphere and emotion while maintaining the “historically informed” performance style of clear textures and brisk tempos.