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.
July 24, 2013 |
"The Rite of Spring," having reached the 100th celebratory anniversary of its clamorous Paris premiere this spring, is the new "Four Seasons. " Igor Stravinsky's ballet score has become ubiquitous. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night in what might have seemed like yet another "Rite. " But it wasn't. The Spanish conductor produced a sizzling riot of instrumental color that properly and excitingly reminded us of what all the fuss is about.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 2013 |
Paul Smith, a jazz pianist, arranger-composer and music director for stars such as Sammy Davis Jr., Anita O'Day, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, Sarah Vaughan and Rosemary Clooney, has died. He was 91. Smith died of heart failure Saturday at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, publicist Alan Eichler said. At 6 feet 5, with hands that easily spanned the piano keyboard well beyond octaves, Smith was an impressive sight on stage. Playing with a versatility comparable to that of Oscar Peterson and a harmonic richness similar to the work of Bill Evans, he was both a brilliant soloist and an accompanist who was highly praised by the many singers with whom he performed.
January 22, 2013 |
One particular moment stood out during Barack Obama's first four years as a musical-minded president, and he delivered it in sweet falsetto. Offered with casual confidence at the Apollo Theater in Harlem almost exactly a year ago at a fundraiser, the president of the United States cooed the melody from "Let's Stay Together" by the Rev. Al Green. It was a mere three words along with an introductory wail - "Heeey, let's stay together" - but within it lay a quote packed with subtext.
December 6, 2012 |
"Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home" is an absorbing, at times heartbreaking look at several former and current denizens of downtown L.A.'s Skid Row, a 50-block area that one observer here respectfully calls "an open asylum for the mentally ill. " As the documentary's director Thomas Napper makes clear, the neighborhood is that and so much more. True, it's a community wracked by the forces of gentrification, drug addiction, crime and, some contend, an overly assertive police presence.
October 21, 2012 |
In March 2010, Robin Ticciati, a 26-year-old British wonder, made his debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A Simon Rattle protégé, Ticciati was at the time a newly appointed music director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and was said, perhaps, to be the next Dudamel. Since then his career has continued to rocket, as every year he adds more prestigious orchestras and opera companies to his guest-conducting card. He is principal guest conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, one of the best in Germany.