Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Georg Anton Benda (1722-1795)
John Duke (1899-1984)
Lena Horne (1917)
James Loughran (1931)
Giles Swayne (1946)
Stephen Barlow (1954)
Esa-Pekka Salonen (1958)


John Gay (1685-1732)
Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958)
Nelson Eddy (1901-1967)
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)
Frank Loesser (1910-1969)
Bernard Hermann (1911-1975)
Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996)
James Dick (1940)
Joelle Wallach (1946)
"Little Eva" Boyd 1945-2003)
Anne-Sophie Mutter (1963)


Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1900-1944)
James K. Baxter (1926-1972)
Oriana Fallaci (1929-2006)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1888 that a snippet of George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Israel in Egypt" was recorded on a wax cylinder. It is one of the earliest surviving recordings of music.

In December of 1877, Thomas Edison (books by this author) filed for a patent for his phonograph, a device to record and play back sound. It all started with a little toy he made — when you spoke into a funnel, the vibrations it made on a diaphragm engaged a ratchet wheel and made a little figure of a man saw wood. He wrote later: "I reached the conclusion that if I could record the movements of the diaphragm properly, I could cause such record to reproduce the original movements imparted to the diaphragm by the voice, and thus succeed in recording and reproducing the human voice." And he did just that.

In 1888, the Handel Festival was held at the Crystal Palace in London, a royal tradition that was celebrated regularly since 1784. The performance of his oratorio "Israel in Egypt" took place on Friday at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 11 and a cost between 7 and 25 shillings. Almost 24,000 people attended the show.

Thomas Edison had an agent named Colonel George Gouraud who sold phonographs to the European market and lived in South London. For the "Israel in Egypt" concert, Gouraud got permission to put the phonograph in the theater's press gallery. There was an orchestra of about 500, and a choir of at least 3,000 people. The recording is scratchy and the music is indistinct not only because the technology was so new, but also because there were so many voices and the phonograph was too far away. But it is still recognizable as choral music, and it is the earliest live concert that survives.

A year later, the Columbia Phonograph Company started up and sold gramophones for peoples' homes. In 1890, they produced the first record catalog, which was a one-page list of wax cylinders; two years later Emile Berliner offered discs in place of cylinders. Over the next few years, the recording industry took off, and many homes had some sort of phonograph in them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Napoléon Coste (1805-1883)
Joseph Joachim (1831-1907)
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979)
Arnold Shaw (1909-1989)
Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996)
George Lloyd (1913-1998)
Giselher Klebe (1925)
Philip Fowke (1950)
Thomas Hampson (1955)


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
John Wesley (1703-1791)
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
Mark Helprin (1947)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Friedrich Silcher (1789-1860)
Toti Dal Monte (1893-1975)
Karel Reiner (1910-1979)
George Theophilus Walker (1922)
Ruth Schönthal (1924-2006)
Anno Moffo (1932-2006)
Hugh Wood (1932)
Daniel Asia (1953)
Nancy Gustafson (1956)
Magnus Lindberg (1958)
Robert King (1960)


James Smithson (1765-1829)
Frank O'Hara (1926-1966)
Lucille Clifton (1936)
Alice McDermott (1953)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Hugues Cuénod (1902)
Wolfgang Windgassen (1914-1974)
Giuseppe Taddei (1916)
Syd Lawrence (1923-1998)
Jacob Druckman (1928-1996)
Claudio Abbado (1933)


Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Gustave Charpentier (1860-1956)
Arthur Tracy (1899-1997)
Bill Russo (1928-2003)
Kurt Schwertsik (1935)
Carly Simon (1945)


Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926)
George Abbott (1887-1995)
George Orwell (1903-1950)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Harry Partch (1901-1974)
Pierre Fournier (1906-1986)
Milton Katims (1909-2006)
Denis Dowling (1910-1984)
Terry Riley (1935)


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
John Ciardi (1916 - 1986)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oregon Symphony's president inks another 4 years

Charles Noble reports on his blog that Elaine Calder has signed an agreement to be the Oregon Symphony's president for another four years. This is terrific news for the orchestra because Calder has done a tremendous job of keeping the budget in line, growing the orchestra's audience, carefully managing the endowment, and maintaining a harmonious relationship with orchestra members and staff and donors. Not a mean feat! Three cheers for Calder and the orchestra. This bodes well for the future.

Today's Birthdays

Carl Reinecke (1824-1910)
Mieczyslaw Horszowski (1892-1993)
George Russell (1923)
Adam Faith (1940-2003)
James Levine (1943)
Nigel Osborne (1948)
Nicholas Cleobury (1950)
Sylvia McNair (1956)


Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Francesco Manfredini (1684-1762)
Étienne Nicolas Méhul (1763-1817)
Frank Heino Damrosch (1859-1937)
Jennie Tourel (1900-1973)
Walter Leigh (1905-1942)
Sir Peter Pears (1910-1986)
Hans-Hubert Schönzeler (1925-1997)
Pierre Thibaud (1929-2004)
Libor Pešek (1933)
Pierre Amoyal (1949)
Christopher Norton (1953)


Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970)
Joseph Papp (1921-1991)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732-1795)
Harry Newstone (1921-2006)
Lalo Schifrin (1932)
Diego Masson (1935)
Philippe Hersant (1948)
Judith Bingham (1952)
Jennifer Larmore (1958)


Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1972)
Mary McCarthy (1912-1989)
Ian McEwan (1942)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)
Wilfred Pelletier (1896-1982)
Chet Atkins (1924-2001)
Ingrid Haebler (1926)
Eric Dolphy (1928-1964)
Arne Nordheim (1931)
Mickie Most (1938-2003)
Brian Wilson (1942)
Anne Murray (1945)
André Watts (1946)
Lionel Richie (1949)


Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)
Lillian Hellman (1905-1984)
Vikram Seth (1952)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Today's Birthdays

François Rebel (1701-1775)
Johann Wenzel Stamitz (1717-1757)
Carl Zeller (1842-1898)
Alfredo Catalani (1854-1893)
Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915)
Guy Lombardo (1902-1977)
Edwin Gerschefski (1909-1988)
Anneliese Rothenberger (1926)
Elmar Oliveira (1950)
Philippe Manoury 1952)


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Tobias Wolff (1945)
Sir Salman Rushdie (1947)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831)
Sir George Thalben-Ball (1896-1987)
Edward Steuermann (1892-1964)
Manuel Rosenthal (1904-2003)
Sir Paul McCartney (1942)
Hans Vonk (1942-2004)
Anthony Halstead (1945)
Diana Ambache (1948)
Eva Marton (1948)
Peter Donohoe (1953)


Richard Powers (1957)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Hermann Reutter (1900-1985)
Einar Englund (1916-1999)
Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006)
Sir Edward Downes (1924)
Christian Ferras (1933-1982)
Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
Derek Lee Ragin (1958)


M. C. Escher (1898-1972)
John Hersey (1914–1993)
Ron Padgett (1942)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Opera Theater Oregon holding auditions for upcoming project

Know any great singers with a penchant for drama, or are you one yourself? Read on then; the following message is from Katie Taylor, artistic director of Opera Theater Oregon.

Dear Friends of OTO,

General auditions for upcoming OTO projects are Sunday, June 27, 4:00 - 8:00 pm.

Auditions are by appointment only, so please drop a line if you'd like to sign up. No phone calls, please! - - I'm really terrible about returning them - - but text messages fine, as long as you include your full name, voice type and email address.

We'll send instructions regarding location and audition format when we assign your time slot.

Auditions are open to singers (chorus and principal) and instrumentalists. Since OTO's goal is to bring opera back into pop culture, here are some of the qualities we look for in performers:

Great voice/musicianship

Acting chops


Ability to pick up music from sheet music or by ear (not required, but very helpful)

Ability to sing/play other types of music stylistically.

Flexibility (our shows place unusual demands on the performer ((don't worry - nothing immoral or dangerous)), and singing in a bar or movie theater for a noisy, enthusiastic crowd that has had a few beers is quite different from what many opera singers are used to)

A few specific roles we are looking to fill this time around:

ALL ROLES, OTO 'Werther' (Massenet), 6 performances in February 2011; 3-day film shoot in early- to mid-September. As usual, we're cutting the show to 90 minutes and rescripting it in English. This production updates the story to a small New England town at the end of the Korean War. The production will be done in the style of the lavish '50s melodramas of Douglas Sirk and Vincente Minnelli. The live production will incorporate closeups and flashbacks projected directly onto the set. Roles include:

Werther (tenor) - 20s/30s - a drifter, pensive and dreamy; intensely lonely; orphaned in childhood, served overseas in the medical corps. Back stateside after the war ends, he drifts to the idyllic New England hometown described to him by a dying officer (Albert), and meets and falls in love with the officer's fiancee (Charlotte).

Charlotte (mezzo soprano or soprano with good low register) - mid- to late 20s - responsible for taking care of her father and her younger sisters from an early age, Charlotte has never been allowed to be young. Before she died, Charlotte's mother made Charlotte promise to marry Albert, knowing he would be solid and dependable. Werther ignites Charlotte's hunger for reckless passion and, as time goes on, also engages her eternal, guilt-ridden sense of duty.

Albert (baritone) - 20s/30s - Charlotte's fiance - declared MIA early in the war and believed dead. The telegram announcing his discovery in a liberated POW camp goes missing, and he arrives home to an empty house. Albert's experiences in the war have changed him from an uncomplicated, sweet young man to a traumatized mess, still desperately pretending to be an uncomplicated, sweet young man. Albert believes that marrying Charlotte and resuming his former life will restore his untroubled peace of mind and make him well again.

Sophie (soprano) - early 20s, late teens - the eldest of Charlotte's little sisters, exuberant Sophie actually is what Albert once was - untroubled contentment, joy in life, ignorance of pain and suffering, an energetic, uncomplicated fondness for festivals and holidays. Unequipped to understand the tragedy unfolding in her peaceful home, the only thing she knows how to do is to try to restore cheer.

Officer O'Mara (Le Bailli) (baritone) - 50s - Father of Charlotte - career police officer; proud member of the fraternal order of the Moose (Lodge No. 79).

Officer Schmidt (Schmidt) - 50s - crony and lodge brother of Officer O'Mara.

Officer Riley (Johann) - 50s - crony and lodge brother of Officer O'Mara.
Charlotte's sisters - four girls, Adele, Jeanette, Yvette and Collette, ages 10-18
CHORUS (townspeople, soldiers, students)

Most of the roles in Werther will be cast locally. We do, however, expect the principal roles for this production to be difficult to cast, and are willing to consider bringing in an out-of-town performer. Written and directed by Katie Taylor, arrangements and musical direction by Erica Melton; film direction by Jen Wechsler; technical direction by Robin Greenwood.

If none of these roles suit you, we'd still love to hear you! Sometimes we choose projects based on who we've heard that we'd like to work with.

All the best,
Katie Taylor
Artistic Director
Opera Theater Oregon
Tel: 503 234 4515

Today's Birthdays

Niccolò Vito Piccinni (1728-1800)
Helen Traubel (1899-1972)
Willi Boskovsky (1909-1990)
Sergiu Comissiona (1928-2005)
Lucia Dlugoszewski (1931-2000)
Jerry Hadley (1952-2007)
David Owen Norris (1953)


Joyce Carol Oates (1938)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Franz Danzi (1763-1826)
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Ernestine Schumann‑Heink (1861-1936)
Guy Ropartz (1864-1955)
Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981)
Sir Thomas Armstrong (1898-1994)
Otto Luening (1900-1996)
Geoffrey Parsons (1929-1995)
Waylon Jennings(1937-2002)
Harry Nilsson (1941-1994)
Paul Patterson (1947)
Rafael Wallfisch (1953)
Robert Cohen (1959)


Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nicholas McGegan awarded an Order of the British Empire

This tidbit of news from Schwalbe and Partners, Nicholas McGegan's agents:



Nicholas McGegan, one of the world’s leading conductors of baroque and classical repertoire, has been made an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) ‘for services to music overseas’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list published on June 12th 2010.

British honours are awarded on merit, for exceptional achievement or service; Orders of the British Empire are awarded mainly to civilians and service personnel for public service or other distinctions.

His other awards include the Halle Handel Prize, and an honorary professorship at Georg-August University, Gottingen.

Today's Birthdays

Simon Mayr (1763-1845)
John McCormack (1884-1945)
Heddle Nash (1894-1961)
Rudolf Kempe (1910-1976)
Stanley Black (1913-2002)
Natalia Gutman (1942)
Lang Lang (1982)


Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)
John Bartlett (1820-1905)

Today's Birthdays (June 13)

Elisabeth Schumann (1888-1952)
Carlos Chavez (1899-1978)
Alan Civil (1929-1989)
Gwynne Howell (1938)
Sarah Connolly (1963)
Alain Trudel (1966)


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bellevue, Washington gets $25 million for new concert hall

According to this article in the Seattle Times, the Tateuchi Foundation is giving $25 million toward the creation of a 2,000-seat performance center in downtown Bellevue.

Today's Birthdays

Vanni Marcoux (1877-1962)
Leon Goossens (1897-1988)
Maurice Ohana (1913-1992)
Ian Partridge (1938)
Chick Corea (1941)
Oliver Knussen (1952)


Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Anne Frank (1929-1945)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1672-1749)
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Shelly Manne (1920-1984)
Carlisle Floyd (1926)
Antony Rooley (1944)
Douglas Bostock (1955)
Conrad Tao (1994)


Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
William Styron (1925-2006)
Athol Fugard (1932)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Interact with Cathedral

From the New Music Box:

On June 10, 1997, Cathedral, an on-going interactive work of music and art designed specifically for the internet by media artist Nora Farrell and composer William Duckworth, made its debut on the web. Its primary components are: the PitchWeb, a virtual musical instrument designed to allow site visitors to perform with each other online; the Cathedral Band, a group of improvising musicians who gives periodic live performances from venues around the world, during which global PitchWeb players frequently sit in; and the Website, which features a variety of interactive musical, artistic, and text-based experiences, all focused on 5 mystical moments in time (the building of the Pyramids and Chartres Cathedral, the Ghost Dance Movement among the Plains Indians of North America, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb, and the birth of the World Wide Web

Today's Birthdays

Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900)
Frederick Loewe (1904-1988)
Ralph Kirkpatrick (1911-1984)
Bruno Bartoletti (1925)
Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960)


Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)
Saul Bellow (1915-2005)
Maurice Sendak (1928)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today's Birthday

Otto Nicolai (1810-1849)
Carl Nielsen (1865-1931)
Cole Porter (1891-1964)
Dame Gracie Fields (1898-1979)
Ingolf Dahl (1912-1970)
Les Paul (1915-2009)
Franco Donatoni (1927-2000)
Charles Wuorinen (1938)
Ileana Cotrubas (1939)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Michael Kaiser tells arts world to mix it up

According to this report in the Huffington Post, Michael Kaiser has seen too much of the same arts programming during his national tour of all 50 states. Kaiser, the president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is on the verge of completing his tour with a presentation in Boise, Idaho and admits to seeing a lot of fine artistic events, yet he concludes: "But I was depressed to see how many venues I visited presented performances that were entirely interchangeable with performances at other venues."

It would be interesting to know more details on this. Hopefully, he will file a more a thorough report (for the public) sometime in the near future.

Today's Birthdays

Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1750)
Nicolas Dalayrac (1753-1809)
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
Reginald Kell (1906-1981)
Emanuel Ax (1949)


Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Leopold Auer (1845-1930)
George Szell (1897-1970)
Ilse Wolf (1921-1999)
Philippe Entremont (1934)
Neeme Järvi 1937)
Sir Tom Jones (1940)
Jaime Laredo (1941)
Prince (1958)
Roberto Alagna (1963)
Olli Mustonen (1967)


Paul Gaugin (1848-1903)
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)
Nikki Giovanni (1943)
Orham Pamuk (1952)
Louise Erdrich (1954)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987)
Iain Hamilton (1922-2000)
Serge Nigg (1924)
Klaus Tennstedt (1926-1998)
Louis Andriessen (1939)


Pierre Corneille (1606-1684)
Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)
Thomas Mann (1875-1955)
Maxine Kumin (1925)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

On meeting John Wooden

Although this blog is dedicated to classical music, I have to tell about meeting the great basketball coach John Wooden, who died yesterday at the age of 99. During my first two years at Pacific Lutheran University, I played on the chess club and in my sophomore year went to a state regional chess tournament at Washington State University in Pullman. The UCLA mens basketball team happened to be in town, so my college roommate, Dick Harris (who was also on the chess team), and I went to the game in which we saw the Bruins thrash the Cougars. The next morning, Dick and I and another member of the chess club (I have forgotten his name) went to a breakfast spot that was attached to a motel. As we stepped into the restaurant, I immediately saw Bill Walton and other members of the UCLA team. They were standing around near a bar (that was closed) in separate part of the restaurant. My chess colleagues and I took a booth in the main eating area, and noticed that Wooden was talking to the WSU basketball coach George Raveling in a booth about ten feet from us. The chess friend (whose name I can't recall) said that his younger brother had an autograph collection of famous people, and he wanted Wooden's signature. But the fellow was too chicken to ask Wooden for it, because he would have to interrupt Wooden and Raveling's conversation. Dick didn't want to do it either. So, after some deliberation, I took it upon myself to get the autograph. One of us had a pen and I took a paper napkin with me. I quietly stood at the table where Wooden and Raveling were talking and, after a few seconds, they acknowledged my presence. I mumbled something about getting their autographs and placed the napkin and pen in front of them. They signed it without saying much of anything, but also without looking annoyed. I said thank you and returned to the booth and gave the napkin to my friend. He was ecstatic. We ate our breakfast, and watched as Wooden and Raveling departed. The rest of the day seemed brighter...

Today's Birthdays

Sir Arthur Somervell (1863-1937)
Sir Robert Mayer (1879-1985)
Daniel Pinkham (1923-2006)
Peter Schat (1935-2003)
Anna Reynolds (1936)
Martha Argerich (1941)
Bill Hopkins (1943-1981)


John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)
Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)
Alfred Kazin (1915–1998)
Sir David Hare (1947)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Evgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988)
Alan Shulman (1915-2002)
Robert Merrill (1917-2004)
Irwin Bazelon (1922-1995)
Anthony Braxton (1945)
Cecilia Bartoli (1966)


Josef Sittard (1846-1903)
Karl Valentin (1882-1948)
Robert Anderson (1917-2009)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today's Birthdays

Jan Peerce (1904-1984)
Valerie Masterson (1937)
Curtis Mayfield (1942-1999)
Greg Sandow (1943)
Lynne Dawson (1956)


Josephine Baker (1906-1975)
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
Larry McMurtry (1936)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today's Birthdays

James Cutler Dunn Parker (1828-1916)
Felix Weingartner (1863-1942)
Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Jozef Cleber (1916-1999)
Marvin Hamlisch (1944)
Mark Elder (1947)
Neil Shicoff (1949)
Michel Dalberto (1955)


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The influence of Ernest Bloch

From the New Music Box:

On June 1, 1925, Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch conducted the premiere of his Concerto Grosso No. 1 for strings and piano in Cleveland. That work was a pivotal composition of neo-classicism and foreshadowed subsequent concertos for orchestra written and premiered in the United States by his student Roger Sessions (Pulitzer Prize 1982) as well as Béla Bartók (1943), Elliott Carter (1970), and Steven Stucky (#1 - Pulitzer Prize Finalist 1989, and #2 - Pulitzer Prize Winner 2005).

Today's Birthdays

Georg Muffat (1653-1704)
Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857)
Werner Janssen (1899-1990)
Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
Nelson Riddle (1921-1985)
Edo de Waart (1941)
Richard Goode (1943)
Frederica von Stade (1945)
Arlene Sierra (1970)


Naguib Surur (1932-1978)