August 14, 2011 |
Youth has its advantages, as Gustavo Dudamel proves every time he mounts a podium. But age offers compensations too. Just ask Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, the Spanish maestro who has become a beloved guest conductor throughout the world. Better yet, ask some of the musicians who labor under his benign yet authoritative hand, including those at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The orchestra will play two different programs under Frühbeck's baton at the Hollywood Bowl this week. "I think I represent the majority of the orchestra in saying that he's one of our favorites," said Barry Gold, a cellist in the Philharmonic.
March 25, 2012 |
Jennifer Higdon, who won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2010, says her desire to write classical music as hospitable as a Southern dinner stems from a childhood trauma: seeing performance art in the 1960s. She blames her father, a "hippie before the hippie movement," who took her and her younger brother to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta when they were kids. One "art happening," Higdon says, featured an artist, dressed in black, covered with rubber cement, strapped to a black canvas.
November 14, 2010 |
Reporting from Media, Pa. ? Despite having turned 81 less than three weeks ago, American composer George Crumb remains deeply absorbed in his craft. The native of Charleston, W.V., has been nestled in his suburban Philadelphia home for 45 years. Thanks to an Emeritus professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, he can afford to not compose on commission. "I have always been a slow writer," he confesses. Slow he may be, but he is by no means uninspired. He composes every morning and rewards himself with a scotch and water ?
April 15, 2012 |
The perfect "first opera" for a newcomer to the art form? Puccini's "La Bohème," of course. It is funny, it is sad. It is directly emotive, it is highly sophisticated. It is full of good tunes and doesn't go on too long. "La Bohème" appeals to young people who see themselves in the characters and to older audiences for whom it calls back the shadows of soirees past. We recognize its heroes and heroines: Didn't we just see poet Rodolfo in a Silver Lake cafe? Or philosopher Colline, buried in the stacks of the library?
April 8, 2012 |
The public doesn't warm to every instrument it hears. Every winter audiences are enchanted by the celesta, a kind of keyboard glockenspiel, because Tchaikovsky made its sweet sound famous in "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "Nutcracker. " The jury is out on the siren. Edgard Varèse shocked listeners in 1930 when they heard its high-pitched wailings in his all-percussion "Ionization. " The siren will get another hearing when percussionist Steven Schick joins 47 other percussionists in a performance of John Luther Adams' outdoor piece, "Inuksuit," at the Ojai Music Festival in June.
November 18, 2011 |
Ringing arias? Definitely. Acting chops? Absolutely. Stage presence? Unquestionably. But where on a tenor checklist do you find the box to mark for "effortlessly scales 8-foot fences"? Currently generating critical raves and audible audience gasps at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Vittorio Grigolo, in his local debut starring in L.A. Opera's "Romeo and Juliet," is not your average earthbound Italian tenor. Excessive carb-loading is out, Cirque-like skills are in. The 34-year-old's physicality powers a vital Romeo rare in theater or ballet, much less in French Grand Opera's take on the tale.