Here's our guide to the wonderful, sometimes wacky world of classical music blogs. You'll find commentary on local, national and international happenings. Jump in and join in! If we’ve missed one of your favorites, send us an email at email@example.com.
PME Blog (The Pacific Mozart Ensemble)
The members of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble share there experiences in the chorus. The entries can sometimes have an "inside baseball" feel, but they provide a different perspective on the goings of a Bay Area performing institution.
PostClassic (Kyle Gann)
Bard College professor (and former Village Voice music critic) Kyle Gann writes in-depth posts about musicology and theory. He is particularly focused on microtonal music and will occasionally post keynote speeches and lectures.
Prima la musica, poi le parole (Sarah Noble)
Richard Scheinin covers classical music for the Mercury News. This blog is an extension of that work so expect reviews and previews of coming attractions focusing on the South Bay and Peninsula.
LA film composer Roger Bourland writes about music and his life as a professor at UCLA.
Salon97 (Cariwyl Hebert)
Born out of experiences at SWSX '08, Cariwyl Herbert and the folks at Salon97 host periodic classical music Salons around the Bay Area and beyond. The Salon97 blog keeps readers aware of classical music news items and upcoming events. They also host a radio station centered on music featured in the salons.
Sandow (Greg Sandow)
Greg Sandow writes a column that is directed squarely at the performers, promoters and other working professionals in the world of classical music. The posts often engender discussions amongst his readers on such topics as copywriter vs creativity, promotion, funding for the arts, etc...
Scanning the Dial
Classical music radio insiders Mike Janssen and Marty Ronish discuss the ins and outs of the classical music business.
Steve Layton edits this blog that gives new music composers a forum to discuss their work, each others' work and anything else of interest. The blog features a link to the individual blogs of each contributor as well.
SFist Arts & Events (Brock Keeling)
SFits Arts & Events blog runs the gambit of SF entertainment.
When Ton Koopman heads the San Francisco Symphony's two-week celebration of Bach, in one series of concerts, prominent members of the orchestra will be featured as soloists.
Associate Principal Cellist Peter Wyrick plays the solo in C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto in A Major, and Principal Trumpet Mark Inouye is up front for J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 51, with soprano Carolyn Sampson.
Wyrick has held the position since 1999, the chair now endowed by Peter and Jacqueline Hoefer. He has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony numerous times, including performances of the “Meditations” from Bernstein's Mass, Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante, and Tan Dun's Crouching Tiger Concerto.
In addition to his orchestral work, Wyrick is also an active soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Wyrick was the principal cellist of the Mostly Mozart Orchestra at Lincoln Center and the associate principal cellist of the New York City Opera Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Wyrick has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Jeremy Denk, Julia Fischer, Edgar Meyer, and others.
Inouye holds the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation Chair. Both a classical and jazz musician, he has held principal trumpet positions with the Houston and Charleston Symphonies and has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. He made his San Francisco Symphony solo debut performing in Copland’s Quiet City in 2010. Inouye played with the Empire Brass Quintet, which toured the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Canada.
He is an active composer and has released his debut jazz album, The Trumpet & The Bull. Most recently, Inouye was featured in SFS performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, both at Davies Symphony Hall and on the orchestra’s European tour to Birmingham, London, Paris, Geneva, Dortmund, Luxembourg, Prague, and Vienna. He appears with the SFS April 24-26 in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, conducted by James Conlon, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist.
The second week of performances with Koopman, May 8-10, focuses on works that J.S. Bach composed during his 27-year tenure as director of music in the principal churches of Leipzig, where he remained until his death in 1750. Koopman leads the orchestra in Bach’s Cantata No. 207a, Auf, schmetternde Töne der Muntern Trompeten, and the SFS Chorus joins the orchestra in the Kyrie and Gloria from the Bach Mass in B minor. The soloists in these concerts are soprano Teresa Wakim, mezzo-soprano Bogna Bartosz, tenor Tilman Lichdi, and bass Klaus Mertens.
Music@Menlo's 12th chamber music festival and institute, July 18 through Aug. 9, is called "Around Dvořák," and it will focus — according to festival directors David Finckel and Wu Han — "on the unfolding dynamic at the end of the Romantic era between the Viennese Classical tradition and the passionate nationalist expressions of a generation of Central European composers." Dvořák's connections are further described as:
Despite his humble self-identification as “a simple Bohemian musikant,” Antonín Dvořák in fact possessed a richly complex musical identity, nurtured by the multinational and multiethnic environment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where he grew up. With a craftsmanship rooted in the Viennese Classical tradition of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, Dvořák further developed his musical style in some of his mature works under the mentorship of Brahms. He likewise turned an eager ear to inspirations from diverse cultures ranging from Russia through his native Czech lands and the British Isles all the way to African American spirituals of the United States.
There will be eight thematically programmed concert programs, four artist-curated Carte Blanche concerts, together featuring 48 world-renowned artists. Composers included in festival programs are Bartók, Dohnányi, Reicha, Janácek, Kodály, Ligeti, Haydn, Beethoven, Hummel, Chopin, Schubert, and Brahms. Also on schedule are rarely performed works by Erwin Schulhoff, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Charles Ives, and George Crumb, among many others.
There are some additions to be made to last week's San Francisco Performances season announcement:
* Dubravka Tomsic's program is music by Haydn, Beethoven, and Chopin.
* Yuja Wang will perform Schubert's Sonata in B-flat Major, D960, and works by Chopin, Scriabin, Albeniz, and Granados.
Manuela Hoelterhoff has a fascinating article about the present and future of opera in Bloomberg News. It opens with:
Mad scenes help make opera so enjoyable. Think of Lucia di Lammermoor, her nightgown soaked in blood, singing cuckoo duets with a flute.
But it helps if the people running opera houses and music halls are generally sound of mind.
These last few weeks, it’s hard to ignore evidence that not being nuts (or clueless or greedy) is no longer a requirement for top jobs in many aspects of the classical entertainment business.
And goes on to deal with problems, crises, and death rattles at the Met, memories of the recently deceased New York City Opera, the theoretically departed San Diego Opera (see below), and then says this of salaries in music, inviting militantly parsimonious Paul Ryan to do his destructive best:
National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington: Where was everyone when departing KC president Michael Kaiser renewed his pallid friend Christoph Eschenbach’s contract for another two years? Putting on party hats?
Eschenbach, 74, has been paid an astounding $1.93 million. In the U.S., only Chicago’s Riccardo Muti and San Francisco’s Michael Tilson Thomas make more, but they are in a different league entirely. Eschenbach is neither an international star nor a locally venerated cultural leader.
That’s quite a housewarming present for Deborah Rutter, who arrives in September now that Kaiser was nudged out the door.
Let’s see. According to the 2014-15 calendar, Eschenbach is down for 31 performances, which comes to about $62,246.02 per appearance, and yes, I realize he probably rehearses which can be strenuous. An unusual example of a public-private partnership, the Kennedy Center receives federal funding. Paul Ryan, be my guest.
Last month, Hoelterhoff proposed a 10-point reform program for the Met, including some simple creature comforts, and then going for the guts:
Hire a charismatic music director to articulate a vision for the future and excite a new generation. James Levine, here since 1971, has never become a public personality identified with New York. What is wrong with “emeritus”? The Met needs a visible, socially engaged leader to supplement general manager Peter Gelb. We need someone like Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles or Riccardo Muti in Chicago. It’s time for a change.
Last weekend had another series of dramatic events in and around San Diego Opera, now possibly/officially/maybe demised. The local NBC station reports:
As the battle to keep the San Diego Opera open rages on, NBC 7 has learned that the president of its board of directors has resigned, along with a dozen other directors.
President Karen Cohn tendered her resignation at a four-hour, closed Board meeting in La Jolla on Thursday, according to Director of Media Relations Edward Wilenski. Twelve others followed suit and were seen storming out of the meeting. Carol Lazier was then voted in as acting board president.
Along with the shakeup in administration, the remaining board members voted to defer the company's closing date to at least May 19. The deadline was originally set for April 29.
During the meeting, the board heard from an Opera America consultant about alternatives that could keep the opera open for the 2015 season — its 50th year. The reorganization presentation included a plan to scale back the operations and initiate significant fund-raisers.