Next Sunday, June 23, an impressive lineup of local classical musicians will come together for a concert to benefit the Literacy Council of Clermont & Brown Counties. Reach for the Stars will take place at 4 p.m. June 23 at Knox Presbyterian Church in Hyde Park.
Spearheaded by Suzanne Bona, host of the nationally broadcast public radio program “Sunday Baroque” and an accomplished musician, the concert aims to raise awareness and funds for adult literacy.
“With the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we thought it would be fun to feature music with astronomical themes such as Holst’s ‘Mars’ and Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata,” said Bona. “Plus, Reach for the Stars is what the clients of the Literacy Council do every day as they open up the world of possibilities reading can bring.”Read More »
It’s amazing that Carl Maria von Weber’s 1821 opera, “Der Freischütz,” is rarely performed in the United States. The early German romantic opera – which Queen City Opera loosely translated as “The Magic Bullets,” has a rich orchestral score, wonderful choruses and arias and a supernatural story. It’s easy to see how it paved the way to the German opera that was to come, especially that of Richard Wagner.
Isaac Selya, founder and artistic director of Queen City Opera and conductor for the production, told me in an interview for the Cincinnati Business Courier that the opera has only been performed once before in Ohio, by Cincinnati Opera in 1933. According to Operavore, the Met last performed this early romantic gem in 1972.
On Sunday, I joined many other opera lovers who were curious to see and hear Weber’s under-appreciated work, which was staged by Rebecca Herman. Read More »
Awadagin Pratt’s 2019 Art of the Piano Festival will pair legendary soloists with young artists from around the globe starting this weekend, May 25 through June 15 at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
The ninth annual festival will feature 15 renowned artists in recitals and conducting public master classes with rising stars. Besides Pratt, a CCM faculty member, the festival includes the return of legendary pianist Leon Fleisher, as well as Christopher O’Riley, Alexander Korsantia, Boris Berman, Jura Margulis, Maria Murawska and Vladimir Feltsman.
There are also recitals by young artists. The festival will include pre-concert gatherings with food, wine, and talks with the artists and talk-backs with the artists at the close of their concerts.Read More »
Friday night’s review of Mark Simpson’s “The Immortal” is published on the national website, Classical Voice North America, free to read by clicking here.
And Saturday’s review is published locally by the Cincinnati Business Courier. Remember that the Arts Front is always free, but you may need to register for a FREE subscription. Click here for the review, and click here to read the season preview.
Tonight, May 23:Craig Hella Johnson leads Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble in a performance of his own oratorio, “Considering Matthew Shepard.” The work provides “a space for reflection, consideration and unity around (Matthew Shepard’s) life and legacy,” Johnson says. Rod Caspers, stage director. 7 p.m., Corbett Auditorium, CCM. (Note the show is moved from PCT due to ticket demand.)
Friday, May 24: Music director laureate James Conlon returns to the Festival for the first time since 2016 to lead Mussorgsky’s Prologue and Farewell Scene from “Boris Godunov,” Boito’s Prologue from “Mefistofele” and Mahler’s “Das Klagende Lied,” with soloists Morris Robinson, Sarah Vautour, Taylor Raven, Richard Trey Smagur, John Siarris and Donnie Ray Albert. Conlon gives the preconcert lecture at 7 p.m. in Springer Auditorium.
NOTE THE EARLY START TIME, Saturday, May 25: Juanjo Mena leads J.S. Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” with soloists Berit Norbakken Solset, Carlos Mena, Werner Güra, James Newby, Andrew Stenson and Hanno Müller-Brachmann and the May Festival Youth Chorus. 7 p.m., Music Hall (Note the early start time).
It’s hard to categorize Roomful of Teeth, a vocal octet that calls itself a “vocal project.” On Wednesday, the singers — Abigail Lennox and Martha Cluver, sopranos; Alexandra Colaizzi and Virginia Kelsey, altos; Eric Dudley, tenor (former assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); Avery Griffin, baritone; Thann Scoggin, bass-baritone, and Cameron Beauchamp, bass — amazed a sold-out house with their vocal pyrotechnics at the Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine.
There were about 150 music lovers, with a space for standing room, for this sold-out “extra” concert, a first at the 146-year-old Cincinnati May Festival.
It’s safe to say that their style of singing is unusual, if not revolutionary. Their musical palette — some of which was showcased in their first number, Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices — included whispering, throat singing, bending of tones, yodeling and possibly some Bulgarian belting, one of their specialties. It was performed with amplification, but nothing, I’m told, was electronically manipulated — which made the feats they achieved even more stunning.Read More »
I’m always inspired when I hear a recital by a remarkable pianist. Frederic Chiu returns to Cincinnati this Sunday, 2:30 p.m. April 28, in Xavier University’s Gallagher Center Theater for an all-Prokofiev program for the Xavier Piano Series.
Chiu’s early career followed a traditional path — such as winning an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and becoming perhaps more famous as a “non-winner” of the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition than the actual winner because of the uproar caused by his elimination.
Since then, his career has been anything but traditional. For starters, he’s a savvy marketer on the Internet. His Chopin Etudes have gone viral on YouTube, with more than 200,000 views.
Then, there’s Prokofiev’s music, to which he’s devoted a lifetime to performing and recording. Here is his Q&A with me, where he explains how he developed his affinity for the Russian composer — and much more.
Q: When it comes to Prokofiev, have you made more recordings than anyone of his complete piano literature?
When you say complete piano recordings, it can be many different things. I think my complete Prokofiev is perhaps the most extensive collection, because I’ve included a number of transcriptions and added my own, so I feel like I’ve covered a lot more ground that most.Read More »
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has announced that Stefani Matsuo, its new associate concertmaster, will perform as soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in the season finale concerts, May 10 and 11 in Music Hall.
The second half of the program led by Music Director Louis Langrée remains unchanged with Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
Matsuo joined the CSO in 2015 and was appointed associate concertmaster in 2018. With the orchestra undergoing a search for a concertmaster, she has performed a number of solos this season, including a sold-out Baroque program with Richard Egarr in January. (Here’s the review.)