August 30, 2013 |
The Hollywood Bowl is meant to be an exceedingly pleasant place to spend a mild Southland summer evening. The real truth is that this unseasonable summer has probably been a gift to the Bowl gift shop, at least for selling sweat shirts to the unprepared. Thursday night, however, the gods of global warming were content. The temperature was warm enough for the Los Angeles Philharmonic players to remove their jackets but not sweltering for the audience. Brahms' most lyrical symphony, his lullaby-laden second, was on the bill.
August 29, 2013 |
Pasadena Pops conductor Michael Feinstein and his partner, Terrence Flannery, have bought a retreat in Carpinteria for $3.7 million. Set on 27 acres with panoramic ocean and coastline views, the contemporary estate was remodeled in 2012 and includes about 4,000 square feet of living space. Among features are floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, a library, four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. There is a swimming pool, a fruit orchard and vegetable gardens. About five acres is devoted to growing avocados.
August 28, 2013 |
They laughed when Leon Botstein became president of Bard College in 1975, at the very idea that a 28-year-old could enliven a venerable New York liberal arts college. They laughed in 1990 when Botstein started the Bard Music Festival, which had the appearance of a vanity operation for his own seemingly dubious ambitions as a conductor. They laughed once more when he became music director of the American Symphony Orchestra 20 years ago, especially after some rocky early performances and scathing reviews.
August 23, 2013 |
A good place for the Los Angeles Philharmonic to try out new talent, the Hollywood Bowl can be curiously hospitable to odd couples. Concerts are one-night stands, so there is less to lose than at downtown subscription concerts, where programs are repeated three or four times. But the complicated Bowl schedule can mean an almost haphazard mix and match between soloist and conductor on occasion. It requires speed dating, given that the typical program has a single rehearsal the morning of the concert.
June 29, 2013 |
Warner Bros., where Bugs Bunny was born in 1940, understood the power of music. The studio's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series avidly used music from Wagner, Rossini and Brahms, showed Bugs Bunny as an orchestra conductor, ballet dancer and an opera singer, and sometimes offered parodies of noted operas. A few years after Looney Tunes' inception in 1930 and Merrie Melodies' a year later, Warner Bros. brought on composer Carl Stalling as a staff member to set the animation to music.
June 27, 2013 |
Last summer the New York Philharmonic attempted Stockhausen's devilishly difficult “Gruppen” for three orchestras. Each orchestra has its own conductor. Music director Alan Gilbert sweated bullets conducting one. The composer Magnus Lindberg sweated bullets conducting a second one. Both demonstrated why the work is rarely performed. Only for the third orchestra did the conductor seem in his element and the music pop out with the arresting immediacy that demonstrated why "Gruppen" is a landmark of the 1950s avant garde.