Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Albert Lortzing (1801-1851)
Miriam Gideon (1906-1996)
Denise Duval (1921-2016)
Ned Rorem (1923)
Lawrence Foster (1941)
Toshio Hosokawa (1955)
"Weird Al" Yankovic (1959)
Brett Dean (1961)

and

Robert Bridges (1844-1930)
Johnny Carson (1925-2005)
Nick Tosches (1949)
Laurie Halse Anderson (1961)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Sir Donald McIntyre (1934)
Elizabeth Connell (1946)

and

John Reed (1887-1920)
John Gould (1908-2003)
Doris Lessing (1919-2013)

In 1883, the grand opening of the original Metropolitan Opera House in New York City with performance of Gounod's "Faust" with Auguste Vianesi, conducting.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957)
Egon Wellesz (1885-1974)
Howard Ferguson (1908-1999)
Alexander Schneider (1908-1993)
Sir Georg Solti (1912-1997)
Dizzy (John Birks) Gillespie (1917-1993)
Sir Malcom Arnold (1921-2006)
Marga Richter (1926)
Shulamit Ran (1949)
Hugh Wolff (1953)

and

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896)
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Charles Ives (1874-1954)
Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941)
Adelaide Hall (1901-1993)
Alfredo Campoli (1906-1991)
Adelaide Hall (1909-1993)
Robert Craft (1923-2015)
Jacques Loussier (1934)
William Albright (1944-1998)
Ivo Pogorelich (1958)
Leila Josefowicz (1977)


and
Christopher Wren (1632-1723)
Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)
John Dewey(1859-1952)
Robert Pinsky (1940)
Elfriede Jelinek (1946)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Sidonie Goossens (1899-2004)
Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966)
Karl-Birger Blomdahl (1916-1968)
Emil Gilels (1916-1985)
Robin Holloway (1943)
Robert Morris (1943)

and

Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)
Auguste Lumière (1862-1954)
Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1974)
Jack Anderson (1922-2005)
John le Carré (David John Moore Cornwell) (1931)
Philip Pullman (1946)
Tracy Chevalier (1962)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Preview of Portland Baroque Orchestra's season opener in The Oregonian

My article about PBO's opening concert series, featuring all of the Brandenburg Concertos, appears in today's edition of The Oregonian and online here. It was a lot of fun to interview Monica Huggett.


Today's Birthdays

Luca Marenzio (1553-1599)
Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785)
Lotte Lenya (1898-1981)
Alexander Young (1920-2000)
Egil Hovland (1924-2013)
Chuck Berry (1926-2017)
Wynton Marsalis (1961)

and

Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811)
Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)
Ntozake Shange (1948)
Rick Moody (1961)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review of Oregon Symphony - Colin Currie - Andy Akiho concert

My review of  last weekend's Oregon Symphony concert, which featured a world premiere of Colin Currie playing Andy Akiho's Percussion Concerto is now posted on Classical Voice North America here.


Today's Birthdays

Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998)
Rolando Panerai (1924)
Reiner Goldberg (1939)
Stephen Kovacevich (1940)

and

Georg Büchner (1813-1837)
Nathanael West (1903-1940)
Arthur Miller (1915-2005)

and from the Composers Datebook:


On this day in 1978, President Jimmy Carter presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to singer Marian Anderson.

and from The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1933 that Albert Einstein officially moved to the United States to teach at Princeton University. He had been in California working as a visiting professor when Hitler took over as chancellor of Germany. Einstein’s apartment in Berlin and his summer cottage in the country were raided, his papers confiscated, and his bank accounts closed. He returned to Europe and handed in his German passport, renouncing his citizenship. He considered offers from all over the world, including Paris, Turkey, and Oxford. Einstein eventually decided on Princeton, which offered him an attractive package teaching at its Institute for Advanced Study — but he had his hesitations about the university. For one thing, it had a clandestine quota system in place that only allowed a small percentage of the incoming class to be Jewish. The Institute’s director, Abraham Flexner, was worried that Einstein would be too directly involved in Jewish refugee causes, so he micromanaged Einstein’s public appearances, keeping him out of the public eye when possible. He even declined an invitation for Einstein to see President Roosevelt at the White House without telling the scientist. When Einstein found out, he personally called Eleanor Roosevelt and arranged for a visit anyway, and then complained about the incident in a letter to a rabbi friend of his, giving the return address as “Concentration Camp, Princeton.” In 1938, incoming freshmen at Princeton ranked Einstein as the second-greatest living person; first place went to Adolf Hitler.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
Franz [Ferenc] Doppler (1821-1883)
James Lockhart (1930)
Derek Bourgeois (1941)
Marin Alsop (1956)
Erkki-Sven Tüür (1959)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (1962-2017)

and

Noah Webster (1758-1843)
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)
Günter Grass (1927-2015)
Thomas Lynch (1948)

And from the Writer's Almanac:

In 1882, during a tour across the US, Oscar Wilde lectured to coal miners in Leadville, Colorado, where he saw a sign on a saloon that said, "Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best," and called it "the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across."

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Bernhard Crusell (1775-1838)
Dag Wirén (1905-1985)
Harold Blumenfeld (1923-2014)
Karl Richter (1926-1981)
Barry McGuire (1935)
Suzanne Murphy (1941)
Peter Phillips (1953)

and

Virgil (70 B.C.E.- 19 B.C.E.)
Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)
Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844-1900)
P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)
Varian Fry (1907-1967)
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007)
Italo Calvino (1923-1985)
Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Alexander Zimlinsky (1871-1942)
Gary Graffman (1928)
Rafael Puyana (1931-2013)
Enrico di Giuseppe (1932-2005)
La Monte (Thorton) Young (1935)
Sir Cliff Richard (1940)
Kaija Saariaho (1952)

and

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
E. E. Cummings (1894-1962)
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)
Katha Pollitt (1949)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Art Tatum (1910-1956)
Hugo Weisgall (1912-1997)
Gustav Winckler (1925-1979)
Paul Simon (1941)
Leona Mitchell (1949)
Kristine Ciesinski (1950)
Melvyn Tan (1956)
Mark Applebaum (1967)

and

Conrad Richter (1890-1968)
Arna Bontemps (1902-1973)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750)
Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780)
Arthur Nikisch (1855-1922)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Healey Willan (1880-1968)
Carlos López Buchardo (1881-1948)
Gilda Dalla Rizza (1892-1975)
Erich Gruenberg (1924)
Pilar Lorengar (1938-1996)
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)
Daryl Runswick (1946)
Penelope Walker (1956)
Chris Botti (1962)

and

Robert Fitzgerald (1910-1985)
Alice Childress (1916-1994)
Robert Coles (1929)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Today's Birthdays

George Bridgetower (1780-1860)
Fernando De Lucia (1860-1925)
R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)
Albert Stoessel (1894-1943)
Eugene Weigel (1910-1998)
Art Blakey (1919-1990)
Ennio Morricone (1928)
David Rendall (1948)

and

Mason Locke Weems (1759-1825)
Eleanor Roosevelt (1883-1962)
Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)
Thich Nhat Hanh (1926)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Vernon Duke (1903-1969)
Paul Creston (1906-1985)
Thelonious Monk (1917-1982)
Gloria Coates (1938)
Sir Willard White (1946)
John Prine (1946)
Steve Martland (1959)
Evgeny Kissin (1971)

and

Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)
Harold Pinter (1930-2008)

And from The Writer's Almanac:

It’s the birthday of the composer Vernon Duke, born Vladimir Dukelsky, in Parafianovo, Belarus (1903). He was a talented classical musician, educated at an elite conservatory, but his family fled Russia after the revolution and he wound up playing piano in cafés in Constantinople (now Istanbul). From there, his family rode steerage class on a ship to America, went through Ellis Island, and ended up in New York in 1921. There the teenage Dukelsky met George Gershwin, who was only a few years older, and the two became good friends. Dukelsky played Gershwin what he described as “an extremely cerebral piano sonata,” and Gershwin, who was also trained in classical music, suggested this: “There’s no money in that kind of stuff, and no heart in it, either. Try to write some real popular tunes — and don’t be scared about going low-brow. They will open you up.” He also suggested that Dukelsky shorten his name, as he himself had done — Gershowitz to Gershwin. So Vladimir Dukelsky came up with the name Vernon Duke, but he didn’t use it for a while.

First, he went to Paris. There, he met and impressed the great ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Dukelsky wrote later about their first meeting — that Diaghilev had drawled: “‘Ah, a good-looking boy. That in itself is most unusual. Composers are seldom good-looking; neither Stravinsky nor Prokofiev ever won any beauty prizes. How old are you?’ I told him I was 20. ‘That’s encouraging, too. I don’t like young men over 25.’” And so Diaghilev commissioned him to write a ballet, and he wrote Zephire et Flore, with sets by Georges Braque, choreography by Léonide Massine, and costumes by Coco Chanel. It got a great reception, and Dukelsky was taken in by the not-quite-as-good-looking Stravinsky and Prokofiev. For a few years he divided his time between Paris, where he continued to write classical music, and London, where he wrote show tunes and used the name Vernon Duke. Then in 1929, he decided to go back to America, and he wrote some of the biggest hits of the 1930s — “April in Paris” (1932), “Autumn in New York” (1934), “I Can’t Get Started” (1936), and “Taking a Chance on Love” (1940). And he wrote the music for the Broadway show and film Cabin in the Sky (1940). By that time, he had become an American citizen and officially changed his name to Vernon Duke.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Harry Lawrence Freeman (1869-1954)
Carl Flesch (1873-1944)
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Roger Goeb (1914-1997)
Einojuhani Routavaara (1928-2016)
Alfons Kontarsky (1932-2010)
John Lennon (1940-1980)
Jackson Browne (1948)
Sally Burgess (1953)
Roberto Sierra (1953)

and

Ivo Andrić (1892-1975)
Bruce Catton (1899-1978)
Léopold (Sédar) Senghor (1906-2001)
Belva Plain (1915-2010)
Jill Ker Conway (1934)
James Howe McClure (1939-2006)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)
Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785)
Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
Will Vodery (1885-1951)
Paul V. Yoder (1908-1990)
James Sample (1910-1995)
Kurt Redel (1918-2013)
Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)
Johnny Ramone (1948-2004)
Robert Saxton (1953)
Carl Vine (1954)
Tabea Zimmermann (1968)
Bruno Mantovani (1974)

and

John Cowper Powys (1872-1963)
Walter Lord (1917-2002)
Philip Booth (1925-2007)
R.L. Stine (1943)
Elizabeth Tallent (1954)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Today's Birthdays

William Billings (1746-1800)
Joe Hill (1879-1915)
Alfred Wallenstein (1898-1983)
Shura Cherkassky (1911-1995)
Charles Dutoit (1936)
John Mellencamp (1951)
Yo-Yo Ma (1955)
Li Yundi (1982)

and

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
Helen Clark MacInnes (1907-1985)
Desmond Tutu, (1931)
Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones) (1934-2014)
Thomas Keneally (1935)
Dianne Ackerman (1948)
Sherman Alexie (1966)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Today's Birthdays

William Bradbury (1816-1868)
Jenny Lind (1820-1887)
Julia Culp (1880-1970)
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Maria Jeritza (1887-1982)
Edwin Fischer (1886-1960)
Paul Badura-Skoda (1927-2019)
Dennis Wicks (1928-2003)
Udo Zimmermann (1943)
Keith Lewis (1950)

and

Le Corbusier (1887-1965)
Caroline Gordon (1895-1981)

From the Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1600 that the opera Euridice was first performed, at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. It is the oldest surviving opera.

Euridice was performed for the wedding celebrations of Henry IV of France and Maria de' Medici. It was written by Jacopo Peri, a beloved composer and singer. He had already written Dafne a few years earlier, which is considered to be the first opera, but that music has been lost.

Euridice is a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, in which the gifted musician Orpheus falls in love with the beautiful Eurydice, but just after their wedding she is bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus is heartbroken, and he journeys to the underworld, to Hades, to try to bring her back. He charms the king of the underworld, also named Hades, and his wife, Persephone, and they agree to return Eurydice to Orpheus on one condition: that he get all the way back to the upper world without looking back to see if Eurydice is following. He almost makes it, but right as he is walking out into the sunlight he turns back, and Eurydice is still in the underworld, so he loses her forever. Peri not only wrote the opera, but he sang the role of Orpheus. The climax of the opera came during "Funeste piagge," or "Funeral shores," when Orpheus begs Hades and Persephone to release his beloved.

Peri wrote a long preface to Euridice, in which he explained the new musical form he was working in, which we now call opera. He said that he was trying to write the way he imagined the Greeks would have, combing music and speech into the ultimate form of drama. One of the people who came to Florence to see Euridice was Vincenzo Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua. And he probably brought his servant, Claudio Monteverdi. A few years later, in 1607, Monteverdi premiered his first opera, L'Orfeo, which was also a retelling of the legend of Orpheus. Monteverdi elevated the opera form to new heights, and L'Orfeo is considered the first truly great opera, with all of the dramatic orchestration and lyrics that are so central to the drama.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Oregon Symphony opens the season with magnificent Mozart and Brahms

The Oregon Symphony hit a couple of grand slams by opening its season on September 28 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with the music of Mozart and Brahms. Guest artist Garrick Ohlsson put his amazing technical skills and artistry on display once again with the Oregon Symphony. He has an incredible facility to summon just the right dynamics to make the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25 sounded as fresh as ever. His playing was immaculate. His sound refined and elegant but not prissy. Each movement captivated listeners so much that spontaneous applause erupted from the audience. In the second movement, he created crystalline tones that were not glancing – as if he had somehow personally rounded off each one. The last movement was playful and cheerful, putting everyone in good spirits that caused thunderous acclamation from the entire hall. He graciously returned to the keyboard with an encore, Chopin’s Waltz in E flat, Op. 18, and again stunned listeners with a superb performance that resulted in another clamorous response from patrons.

After intermission, the orchestra, guided by Music Director Carlos Kalmar, gave a marvelous performance of Brahms Second Symphony. The orchestra played with vigor, agility, and great sensitivity, including several delicate entries in the second movement. The music alternated wonderfully between noble, stirring melodic lines and those that were lighter and happier. All of the musicians displayed an impressive degree of articulation, but the exchanges between the strings and woodwinds in the third movement demonstrated were exquisite. Each section excelled throughout the piece, but a significant highlight, highlighted by Joseph Berger’s horn glowing solos. The audience responded to each movement with applause, and the joyful, strong finale resulted in an enthusiastic, heartfelt standing ovation.

The concert opened with the world premiere of “Remaking a Forest” by British-American composer Oscar Bettison. Concertmaster Sarah Kwak started the piece with simple, brief phrases that trickled into the orchestra. But all the notes were different and felt random and disconnected. Sounds would drip or slide off pitch. Sometimes a booming punch from the percussion section would interrupt. At other times a clarinet might quietly insinuate itself into the mix and then drop out. The one-movement piece also featured snarling trombones and enigmatic passages from the brass sections that suggested a descent into a deep cavern. The strings pierced the air with slashing, sharp sounds. Amidst the blur, I heard little bells ringing and sandpapery sounds. I thought that everything would coalesce into something harmonic, be it never did. Perhaps a forest was remade – I am not sure. The composer made an appearance on stage to a polite round of applause, but the piece was rather cool and puzzling.

Today's Birthdays

Cyril Bradley Rootham (1875-1938)
Jürgen Jürgens (1925-1994)
John Downey (1927-2004)
Iwan Edwards (1937)
Ken Noda (1962)

and

Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Helen Churchill Candee (1858-1949)
Flann O’Brien (1911-1966)
Václav Havel (1936-2011)
Edward P. Jones (1950)
Neil deGrasse Tyson (1958)
Maya Ying Lin (1959)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1930, The New York Philharmonic begins its famous series of weekly Sunday afternoon national broadcasts with a program from Carnegie Hall conducted by Erich Kleiber. The first-ever radio broadcast of the New York Philharmonic had occurred on August 12, 1922, when a summer-time concert from Lewisohn Stadium conducted by Willem van Hoogstraten was relayed locally over WJZ in New York.

My note: Willem van Hoogstraten was the conductor of the Portland Symphony (former name of the Oregon Symphony) from 1925 to 1938.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Fanny Tacchinardi‑Persiani (1812-1867)
Alain Daniélou (1907-1994)
Alain Lombard (1940)
Richard Wilson (1941)
John Aler (1949)
Fransico Araiza (1950)
Marc Minkowski (1962)
David Dzubay (1964)

and

Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Damon Runyan (1880-1946)
Buster Keaton (1895-1966)
Brenden Gill (1914-1997)
Jackie Collins (1937-2015)
Roy Blount Jr. (1941)
Anne Rice (1941)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1921, the American Academy in Rome awards American composer Leo Sowerby its first two-year composition fellowship. American composer Howard Hanson was awarded the second two-year composition fellowship on November 9, 1921. The third fellowship was awarded to Randall Thompson on June 6, 1922. The fellowship awards continue to this day.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Vancouver Symphony and Feltsman open season with exciting Tchaikovsky concerto

Vladimir Feltsman signing CDs during intermission
Vancouver Symphony didn’t open its season with a light-weight overture or a festive fanfare. Instead, it got right down to business with guest artist Vladimir Feltsman, who delivered a scintillating performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. The electrifying concert delighted the near standing-room-only audience at Skyview Concert Hall on Saturday afternoon (September 28), kicking off the orchestra’s 42nd season in grand style.

Generating a bold, bravura sound in the opening statement, Feltsman immediately conveyed the grandeur of Tchaikovsky’s piece. He terrifically expressed its full range of dynamic qualities. The lyrical passages floated effortlessly. His accelerandos were exciting. Fortes could be heard above orchestra, and pianissimos gave listeners the sense of intimacy, especially during the slower cadenzas.

The orchestra, conducted by Music Director Salvador Brotons, supported Feltsman with great sensitivity. The big, sweeping phrases were lush and warm. The brass supplied extra punch, and passages tapered off with finesse as needed. Oboist Fred Korman and flutist Rachel Rencher supplied lovely solos.

Going into the finale, Feltsman didn’t hold back anything, and the orchestra matched him enthusiastically. The final notes were followed with thunderous applause and a standing ovation that brought Feltsman back to the stage several times where he was given a bouquet of flowers.

After intermission, the orchestra played Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony, which Brotons, in his introductory remarks to the audience, noted is a “love song from beginning to end.” The hour-long performance was rewarding to hear, with the orchestra creating the lush melodies and delving into the many emotional contrasts and colors of the music. The violins supplied a unified sound, the French horns had many golden moments, the woodwinds contributed with distinction, and brass choir was stirring. Highlights of the performance included fine playing by Karen Strand (English horn), Igor Shakhman (clarinet) Barbara Heilmair (bass violin), and Eva Richey (violin).

Because the Second Symphony seems to ebb and flow at times like ocean waves coming onto the shoreline, it is difficult to create an arc to the piece. Impressively conducting from memory, Brotons urged his forces, but the music got a bit lost on the listeners despite the big finale. Perhaps they were still swimming in the sound of the Tchaikovsky concerto.

Today's Birthdays

Antoine Dauvergne (1713-1797)
Stanisław Skrowaczewski (1923-2017)
Steve Reich (1936)

and

Emily Post (1873-1960)
Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938)
Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993)
Gore Vidal (1925-2012)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Frantisek Tuma (1704-1774)
Henry Février (1875-1957)
Leroy Shield (1893-1962)
Francis Jackson (1917)
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn (1927-2014)
Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988)
Michel Plasson (1933)
Phill Niblock (1933)
Peter Frankl (1935)
Ton Koopman (1944)
Jonathan Summers (1946)

and

Mahatma Gandhi, (1869-1948)
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
Groucho Marx (1890-1977)
Graham Greene (1904-1991)
Jan Morris (1926)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Today's Birthdays

J. Friedrich Eduard Sobolewski (1808-1872)
Henry Clay Work (1832-1884)
Paul Dukas (1865-1935)
Vladimir Horowitz (1904-1989)
Sylvano Bussotti (1931)

and

Jimmy Carter (1924)
Tim O'Brien (1946)

and from the Composers Datebook:

This day in 1924 marked the opening of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, funded by a gift of $12.5 million from the American patroness Mary Louise Curtis Bok, who had inherited her fortune from the Curtis Publishing Company. The faculty, providing instruction for 203 students, includes Leopold Stokowski and Josef Hofmann heading conducting and piano departments, respectively. Polish-born coloratura Marcella Sembrich. Hungarian violinist Carl Flesch. French-born harpist/composer Carlos Salzedo. and Italian composer Rosario Scalero.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Johann Svendsen (1840-1911)
Sir Charles V. Stanford (1852-1924)
Václav Smetáček (1906-1986)
David Oistrakh (1908-1974)
Dame Julie Andrews (1935)
Johnny Mathis (1935)
Alan Hacker (1938-2012)
Jonathan Lloyd (1948)
Andrew Rindfleisch (1963)

and

W.S. Merwin (1927-1919)
Truman Capote (1924-1984)
Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Jacques-Martin Hottetere (1674-1763)
Joaquin Nin (y Castellanos) (1879-1949)
Gene Autry (1907-1998)
Richard Bonynge (1930)
Jerry Lee Lewis (1935)
Jean-Luc Ponty (1942)

and

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)
Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936)
Enrico Fermi (1901-1954)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Johann Mattheson (1681-1764)
Florent Schmitt (1870-1958)
Vivian Fine (1913-2000)
Rudolf Barshai (1924-2010)
Edward Applebaum (1937)
Catherine Robbin (1950)
Michaela Comberti (1952-2003)

and

Confusius (551 BCE - 479 BCE)
Caravaggio (1571-1610)
Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923)
Edith Pargeter (1913-1995)
Simon Winchester (1944)

and

from the Composers Datebook

On this day in 1951, the Sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" opens in theaters across America, featuring memorable score by Bernard Herrmann that included eerie, other-worldly sounds imitating the electronic instrument known as a "Theremin" (after its Russian-born inventor, Leon Theremin). In the movie, actress Patricia Neal's rendition of the space alien command "Gort: Klaatu barada nikto" prevents Earth's destruction by a death-ray robot from outer space.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Preview of Vancouver Symphony season opener in The Columbian

My preview of the Vancouver Symphony's season opening concert, featuring pianist Vladimir Feltsman and an all-Russian concert, appears in today's printed edition of The Columbian newspaper. You can  also read it online here.

Today's Birthdays

Cyril Scott (1879-1970)
Vincent Youmans (1898-1946)
Jean Berger (1909-2002)
Igor Kipnis (1930-2002)
Dame Josephine Barstow (1940)
Misha Dichter (1945)
Chris Merritt (1952)
Dimitry Sitkovetsky (1954)

and

Sir William Empson (1906-1984)
Joyce Johnson (1935)
Kay Ryan (1945)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Alfred Cortot (1877-1962)
Charles Munch (1891-1968)
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Yvonne Levering (1905-2006)
Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966)
Salvatore Accardo (1941)
Dale Duesing (1947)

and

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)
Jane Smiley (1949)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1957, 20 years after George Gershwin died, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. It was not immediately successful. It only became famous when it was turned into a film in 1961 and won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It’s based on the story of Romeo and Juliet, but it is set in the gang-ridden streets of New York.

During the weeks leading up to the opening of West Side Story, the news was full of stories of gang violence and racial confrontations. At the end of August, Strom Thurmond filibustered for more than 24 hours to try to prevent passage of the Voting Rights Act. The day before the show’s opening, federal troops forcibly integrated Little Rock High School.

In general, critics responded favorably to West Side Story, but all the major Tony Awards went instead to The Music Man, a bubbly, nostalgic musical about a small town in Iowa.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Johann Nikolaus Hanff (1663-1711)
Jean-Phillippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897)
Roberto Gerhard (1896-1970)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013)
Glenn Gould (1932-1982)
Stella Sung (1959)

and

William Faulkner (1897-1962)
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893-1929)
Sir Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
Vaclav Nelhybel (1919-1996)
Cornell MacNeil (1922-2011)
Alfredo Kraus (1927-1999)
John Rutter (1945)
Marc Neikrug (1946)

and

Horace Walpole (1717-1797)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
Eavan Boland (1944)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1947, German-born composer Hans Eisler is questioned about his former membership in the Communist Party by the House Committee on Un-American activities. Eisler had been a member of the Party in the 1920s, left Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933, and had been working in Hollywood on film scores and as the musical assistant to Charlie Chaplin. He left the U.S. in 1948 and settled in East Germany - where he composed that country's national anthem.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Jacques Féréol Mazas (1782-1849)
William Levi Dawson (1899-1990)
Jarmila Novotná (1907-1994)
Soulima Stravinsky (1910-1994)
Alexander Arutiunian (1920-2012)
Ray Charles (1930-2004)
John Coltrane (1926-1967)
Robert Helps (1928-2001)
Bruce Springsteen (1949)
William Shimell (1952)

and

Euripides (ca 480 BC - 406 BC) - today is the traditional day for Greeks to celebrate his birthday.
Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)
Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1865-1947)
Walter Lippmann (1899-1974)
Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Arthur Pryor (1870-1942)
Mikolajus Ciurlionis (1875-1911)
Henryk Szeryng (1918-1988)
William O. Smith (1926)
Hugh Bean (1929-2003)
Leonardo Balada (1933)
Anna Tomowa-Sintow (1941)
John Tomlinson (1946)
Vladmir Ghernov (1953)
Michael Torke (1961)

and

Fay Weldon (1931)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Today's Birthdays

François Francoeur (1698-1787)
Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)
Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
Meinrad Schütter (1910-2006)
Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
Jill Gomez (1942)
Andrei Gavrilov (1955)
Nina Rautio (1957)

and

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498)
Sir Edmund Gosse (1849-1928)
H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells (1866-1946)
Sir Allen Lane (1902-1970)
Stephen King (1941)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Preview of upcoming NW Art Song concert in The Oregonian

My preview of Northwest Art Song's Fem Love concert appeared in the print edition of The Oregonian today. You can read it in the Oregonlive edition here.

Today's Birthdays

Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968)
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (1885-1941)
Uuno Klami (1900-1961)
David Sheinfeld (1906-2001)
John Dankworth (1927-2010)
Jane Manning (1938)
Laurie Spiegel (1945)
John Harle (1956)

and

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
Maxwell Perkins (1884-1947)
Stevie Smith (1902-1971)
Donald Hall (1928)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Gustav Schirmer (1829-1893)
Allan Pettersson (1911-1980)
Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011)
Blanche Thebom (1918-2010)
Arthur Wills (1926)
Bonaventura Bottone (1950)

and

William Golding (1911-1993)
Amalia Hernández (1917-2000)
Roger Angell (1920)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748)
Lord Berners (1883-1950)
Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960)
Meredith Willson (1902-1984)
Josef Tal (1910-2008)
Norman Dinerstein (1937-1982)
Thomas Fulton (1949-1994)
John McGlinn (1953-2009)
Anna Netrebko (1970)

and

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault (1819-1868)
Paul Zimmer (1934)
Alberto Ríos (1952)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Saverio Mercadante (1795-1870)
Vincenzo Tommasini (1878-1950)
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920)
Isang Yun (1917-1995)
Hank Williams (1923-1953)
Vincent La Selva (1929-2017)

and

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
Frank O'Connor (1903-1966)
Ken Kesey (1935-2001)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Paul Taffanel (1844-1908)
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)
Hans Swarowsky (1899-1975)
B. B. King (1925-2015)

and

John Gay (1685-1732)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950)
Elizabeth McCracken (1966)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1920, Italian tenor Enrico Caruso makes his last records (selections by Meyerbeer, Lully, Bartlett, and Rossini) for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey. He would make his last operatic appearance at the old Metropolitan Opera House on Christmas Eve in 1920 (an evening performance of Halevy's "La Juive"), and die the following summer in Naples.
On this day in 1977, opera diva Maria Callas dies of a heart attack, age 53, in Paris

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Horatio William Parker (1863-1919)
Bruno Walter (1876-1962)
Frank Martin (1890-1974)
Henry Brant (1913-2008)
Richard Arnell (1917-2009)
Cannonball Adderley (1928-1975)
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (1933-2014)
Jessye Norman (1945)
Richard Suart (1951)

and

Robert Benchley (1899-1945)
James Fenimore Cooper (1789

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
Vittorio Gui (1885-1972)
Alice Tully (1902-1993)
Lehman Engel (1910-1982)
Rolf Liebermann (1910-1999)
Martyn Hill (1944)
Raul Gimenez (1950)

and

Eric Bentley (1916)
Ivan Klíma (1931)
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1934-2002)
Renzo Piano (1937)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Bill Monroe (1911-1996)
Robert Ward (1917-2013)
Maurice Jarre (1924-2009)
Mel Tormé (1925-1999)
Nicolai Ghiaruv (1929-2004)
Werner Hollweg (1936-2007)
Arleen Auger (1939-1993)
Steve Kilbey (1954)
Andreas Staier (1955)

and

Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941)
J.B. Priestley (1894-1984)
Roald Dahl (1916-1990)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Karl Doppler (1825-1900)
Herbert Lincoln Clarke (1867-1945)
Ernst Pepping (1901-1981)
Gideon Waldrop (1919-2000)
Tatiana Troyanos (1938-1993)
Phillip Ramey (1939)
Barry White (1944-2003)
John Mauceri (1945)
Vladimir Spivakov (1946)
Leslie Cheung (1956-2003)

and

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Alfred A. Knopf Sr. (1892-1984)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1910, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") received its premiere in Munich, with the composer conducting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Today's Birthdays

William Boyce (1711-1779)
Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832)
Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904)
Vally Weigl (1894-1982)
Harry Somers (1925-1999)
Arvo Pärt (1935)
Catherine Bott (1952)

and

O. Henry (1862-1910)
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Reed Whittemore (1919-2012)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Niccolò Jommelli (1714-1774)
Tor Aulin (1866-1914)
Mikolajus Ciurlionis (1875-1911)
Judith Nelson (1939-2012)
Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014)
Sir Thomas Allen (1944)
Michael Schønwandt (1953)

and

Hanna Webster Foster (1758-1840)
Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961)
Franz Werfel (1890-1945)
Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)
Mary Oliver (1935)
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)

Monday, September 9, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Joan Cererols (1618-1680)
Edwin Lemare (1865-1934)
Edward Burlingame Hill (1872-1960)
James Blades (1901-1999)
Olly Wilson (1937)
Otis Redding (1941-1967)
Miriam Fried (1946)
David Rosenboom (1947)
Adam Fischer (1949)
Rachel Masters (1958)

and

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Paul Goodman (1911-1972)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703)
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Ninon Vallin (1886-1961)
Lionel Salter (1914-2000)
Christoph von Dohnányi (1929)
Eric Salzman (1933-2017)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016)
Dezső Ránki (1951)
Ilan Volkov (1976)

and

Wilhelm Raabe (1931-1910)
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
Grace Metalious (1924-1964)
Ann Beattie (1947)
Michael Schermer (1954)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Today's Birthdays

François Philidor (1726-1794)
Joan Cross (1900-1993)
Sir Harry Secombe (1921-2001)
Arthur Ferrante (1921-2009)
Madeleine Dring (1923-1977)
Leonard Rosenman (1924-2008)
Hugh Aitken (1924-2012)
Sonny Rollins (1930)
Buddy Holly (1936-1959)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet (1961)
Angela Gheorghiu (1965)

and

Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951)
Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)
Joe Klein (1946)
Jennifer Egan (1962)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Anton Diabelli (1781-1858)
Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941)
William Kraft (1923)
Arthur Oldham (1926-2003)
Evgeny Svetlanov (1928-2002)
Joan Tower (1938)
Cynthia Haymon (1958)
Detlev Glanert (1960)
Shih-Hui Chen (1962)

and

Fanny Wright (1795-1852)
Jane Addams (1860-1935)
Robert Pirsig (1928-2017)
Alice Sebold (1963)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)
Amy Beach (1867-1944)
John Cage (1912-1993)
Peter Racine Fricker (1920-1990)
Karita Mattila (1960)
Marc-André Hamelin (1961)
Lars Vogt (1970)

and

Frank Yerby (1916-1991)
Justin Kaplan (1925-2014)
Ward Just (1935)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Portland Opera charts a new course

From the company's website:

During the 18/19 season, the Portland Opera Board of Directors and Metropolitan Group led the company through a strategic planning initiative, resulting in an exciting set of ideas for Portland Opera’s next chapter. On this page, we invite you to learn more about the three interrelated strategies at the core of the plan.
Please keep in mind that this is a living and changing plan—it is a roadmap, not a finished product. While we’ve already begun some of this work, the next phases will be spent continuing to listen to, and work with, our team and community to figure out exactly how to achieve these goals and strategies.

SUMMARY

In September 2018, Metropolitan Group was contracted to develop a strategic plan for Portland Opera. Portland Opera has been part of the community since its founding in 1964. It has seen many ups and downs, and changes, and remains a cornerstone of the arts and cultural landscape in Oregon. We learned that the organization has faced operating shortfalls for the past several years. Cumulative operating cash flow losses since the FY 2015–16 change to a summer season could result in the opera drawing down its endowment completely in seven years if decisive action is not taken now.
We also discovered multifaceted solutions and organization-wide strategies to make improvements.
Staff and Board members felt strongly that their voices needed to be heard throughout this process. We designed an approach to give adequate space for this while seeking new ideas and perspectives. Following a review of existing research, reports, literature, and assessments from Portland Opera, we implemented a research phase that engaged internal and external stakeholders, including subscribers, funders, partners, businesses, and other admired arts organizations in Portland and other markets across the country, to solicit their input on the areas of opportunity they felt that Portland Opera should pursue. We also engaged with OPERA America (the national opera service organization) to provide a larger regional perspective.
We presented our research findings and recommendations to the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee and executive staff over the course of the 18/19 season. Our thinking and strategies reflect input from the strategic planning committee, as well as Portland Opera staff and other local and national experts. This plan includes three interrelated strategies, starting with the concepts that will have the fastest impact. Metropolitan Group believes that if Portland Opera just implemented strategies one and three, Portland Opera could extend its financial viability by a number of years. However, the ceiling to truly grow and serve the community will be limited, and the ability to create a sustainable operating model and the size and diversity of a support-base needed is less likely without strategy two. Strategy two includes larger longer-term strategies (beyond the five-year duration of this plan), that could catapult Portland Opera into a new level of community connection and leadership. Patience, flexibility, collaboration, and shared determinations will be vital to achieving the fullest potential of this plan.
–Metropolitan Group

STRATEGIES

Strategy One: Immediate Impact – Patron Experience
Our first category contains relatively short-term actions that Portland Opera can take to align more closely with patron and community feedback, and impact revenue. Specific actions to take in this strategy:
  • Move back to a fall–spring primary schedule, starting with the 20/21 season, in response to overwhelming community, audience, and patron feedback; collaborate with chorus and orchestra members to determine how this will work.
  • Adopt a venue mix that reflects the desire for both grand and intimate experiences while improving the annual performance gross margin, and continue to present repertoire that balances classic and contemporary work.
  • Invest in technology and systems in order to build clearer paths for ticketing and donation operations and company functionality.
Strategy Two: Positioning Portland Opera for the Future
The next strategy in this plan is part of a vision down payment for the future. The first set of actions is around amplifying the Portland in Portland Opera:
  • Transform and define an artistic point of view that is a reflection of community, through production and ancillary programming choices that celebrate classic and contemporary works.
  • Curate collaborations or commissions that harness the creativity and spirit that is unique to this place.
  • Explore different opera experiences that may serve new and existing audiences in new ways, while continuing to honor the traditional repertoire that our art form is built upon.
The second big strategy in this section is exploring a longer term vision and feasibility to redevelop the Central Eastside waterfront property that Portland Opera owns, through opportunities that could mutually benefit Portland Opera, other arts organizations, and the entire community.
Strategy Three: Fundamental Progress
The final set of strategies are closely linked to the success of the first two strategies, and strengthen the organization by building on our existing efforts to connect with the community and deepening these relationships. Specific steps in this category include:
  • Strengthen connection to the community. This might mean:
    • Developing new methods of volunteerism, and sharing a more active role in support of other community organizations and causes.
    • Bringing opera experiences into unexpected places to meet people where they are, and continuing to break down barriers to experiencing the beauty and breadth of the art of opera—and its power to inspire our imaginations and change our lives.
    • Exploring enhanced civic, social, and artistic practices.
  • Update Portland Opera’s mission, vision, values and brand identity to better reflect the work of the entire organization.
  • Activate an organizational commitment to equity, diversity & inclusion—in order to create the opera, and the Portland Opera, of the future.

CONCLUSION

Metropolitan Group believes that these three interrelated strategies will lead Portland Opera down a path of growth, service to the community, national prominence, and enhanced financial stability.  The elements of each strategy will require time, effort, collaboration, and investment to evaluate and pursue, and the details of the strategies should be modified over time as progress towards their goals is measured. Growth will require ongoing attention, but Metropolitan Group believes if these strategies are followed, Portland Opera will be a major artistic leader for the community for many years to come.
The leadership team of Portland Opera is so grateful to the board members, staff members, artists, musicians, community members, patrons, movers and shakers, and everyone who shared feedback about where we’ve been as an organization, and where we’re headed.  Our plan is to build upon the successes that we’ve already created together, while adjusting course to align with patron and stakeholder feedback. We are inspired by the exciting thinking and ideas that forged this plan. We look forward to creating a more sustainable financial path forward so that we can continue to serve the community for decades to come.
Portland Opera’s commitment while we embark on this work is simple: we will continue to listen to the community and artistic voices that remain at the heart of our future. We are a company that belongs to this amazing community, and we intend to grow.



Today's Birthdays

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
Frederic Curzon (1899-1973)
Rudolf Schock (1915-1986)
Irwin Gage (1939)
René Pape (1964)

and

Mary Renault (1905-1983)
Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Adriano Banchieri (1568-1634)
Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764)
Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975)
Francesco Mignon (1897-1986)
Robert Thurston Dart (1921-1971)
Rudolf Kelterborn (1931)
Valerie Coleman (1970)

and

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)
Louis H. Sullivan (1852-1924)
Sally Benson (1897-1972)
Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Alison Lurie (1926)
Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Malcolm Gladwell (1963)
Kiran Desai (1971)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Today's Birthdays

George Böhm (1661-1733)
Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921)
Laurindo Almeida (1917-1995)
David Blake (1936)
Greg A. Steinke (1942)
John Zorn (1953)
Paul Goodwin (1956)

and

Eugene Field (1850-1895)
Joseph Roth (1894-1939)
Grady Nutt (1934-1982)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Emanuel Schikaneder (1751-1812)
Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921)
Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957)
Conway Twitty (1933-1993)
Seiji Ozawa (1935)
Júlia Várady (1941)
Leonard Slatkin (1944)
Reza Vali (1952)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Amicare Ponchielli (1834-1886)
Alma Mahler (1879-1964)
Ifor James (1931-2004)
Wieland Kuijken (1938)
Itzak Perlman (1945)
Daniel Harding (1975)

and

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)
William Shawn (1907-1992)
William Saroyan (1908-1981)
Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986)

Memorable quote from William Shawn: "Falling short of perfection is a process that just never stops."

Friday, August 30, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Ernesto Cavallini (1807-1874)
George Frederick Root (1820-1895)
Buddy Rich (1917-1987)
Regina Resnik (1922-2013)
David Maslanka (1943-1917)
David Schiff (1945)
Simon Bainbridge (1952)
Dimitris Sgouros (1969)

and

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)
Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)
R Crumb (1943)
Molly Ivins (1944-2007)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Helge Rosvaenge (1897-1972)
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Charlie Parker (1920-1955)
Norman Platt (1920-2004)
Gilbert Amy (1936)
Anne Collins (1943-2009)
Lucia Valentini Terrani (1946-1998)
Michael Jackson (1958-2009)
Kevin Walczyk (1964)

and

John Locke (1632-1704)
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894)
Karen Hesse (1952)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Gabriel Kahane appointed to new artistic position with Oregon Symphony

The Oregon Symphony is shaking things up!

From the press release:

The 2019/20 Season is one of innovation and growth for the Oregon Symphony as it expands its Classical programming, presents the next installment of its groundbreaking SoundSights Series, and now, appoints American composer and singersongwriter Gabriel Kahane to the newly-created post of Creative Chair. In the 2017/18 Season, Kahane stunned Symphony audiences with his oratorio, emergency shelter intake form, which examined inequality through the twin lenses of housing and homelessness. As Creative Chair, he joins the OSO through the 2021/22 Season taking on a variety of responsibilities. In addition to writing and performing three substantial works over the next three seasons, Kahane will serve as an advisor for contemporary programming on the Classical series. And crucially, he will produce two new concert series: Open Music, a composer-driven chamber series to be held in smaller Portland venues, and an as yet unnamed indie concert series in which marquee pop artists will collaborate with dynamic composers and orchestrators. 

“I couldn't be more thrilled to be entering into a long term partnership with the Oregon Symphony,” says Kahane. “Working with the organization on emergency shelter intake form has been a career highlight, and I'm honored and humbled to have been invited to take on a more substantial role with the OSO in the coming years.”

In describing his new position with the Symphony Kahane emphasizes that, “Governing all of my planned curatorial activities with the orchestra is a desire to see an increasing commitment to new music at the OSO, and, in particular, music written by those who've been historically shut out of the concert hall. I take that responsibility seriously, and also consider it a gift to help introduce Portland to so many dynamic voices who are making essential music of the 21st century.”
For the Open Music Series, Kahane will invite a composer or musician featured on the Symphony’s classical program that weekend to examine their creative approach by curating a concert of their own design with music as well as art in other forms that inspires their work. Kahane will be on stage as moderator, friend, conversationalist, and occasionally a cameo performer; a small ensemble from the Oregon Symphony will serve as house band.

Kahane observes that “Writing music is a mysterious thing; those of us who do it professionally are continually baffled and astonished by our sublime and ridiculous pursuit of finding language, meaning, and expression in sound and silence. With Open Music, I want to create an intimate space in which audiences can get a little closer to this ineffable creative path.”

In addition to producing these new series, Kahane has been commissioned to premiere work once a year on the Symphony’s Classical Series. This season he brings the world premiere of Pattern of the Rail, six orchestral settings from his 2018 album Book of Travelers, inspired by a cross country train trip through America following the contentious 2016 presidential election, as well as the premiere of the full orchestral version of “Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.)”  from his acclaimed 2014 album, The Ambassador. Kahane will present these works December 7-9, 2019 on the Symphony’s Prokofiev Fifth program at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. 

From the Kennedy Center to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Kahane is in demand across the country. “The Oregon Symphony is thrilled to deepen its relationship with Gabriel,” says Oregon Symphony President and CEO Scott Showalter. “Working with him as our creative chair is a boon for our community.”

ABOUT GABRIEL KAHANE
Gabriel Kahane is a singer-songwriter, pianist, and composer, whose work lives increasingly at the intersection of art and social practice. His 2018 Nonesuch Records debut, Book of Travelers, hailed by Rolling Stone as “a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America”, chronicles an 8,980 mile transcontinental train trip that he embarked on the morning after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Gabriel is grateful to be working with and within an incredibly vibrant and supportive community of musicians. Among his most memorable collaborations have been projects with Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Caroline Shaw, Brooklyn Rider, Blake Mills, Chris Thile, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, for whom he served as composer-in-residence from 2011 til 2013. He has been commissioned by, among others, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Crossing, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, A Far Cry, The Knights, yMusic, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. 

Earlier this year, he appeared as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony in a broadcast of the radio program ‘Live from Here with Chris Thile’; Kahane will make several more appearances on the show throughout the 2019-2020 season.  

An avid theater artist, Kahane has been commissioned twice by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which in 2014 presented The Ambassador, directed by Tony Award-winner John Tiffany, and in 2017 presented 8980: Book of Travelers. Last year, he made his Broadway debut with a score for Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, starring Elaine May and Lucas Hedges. 

A graduate of Brown University, Kahane lives in Brooklyn. 

Recommendations for concerts this fall in Portland

My list of recommended concerts - accompanied by brief descriptions - has been posted in Oregonlive here. It will appear in the printed edition this Friday.

Today's Birthdays

Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)
Alfred Baldwin Sloane (1872-1925)
Ivor Burney (1890-1937)
Karl Böhm (1894-1981)
Paul Henry Lang (1901-1991)
Richard Tucker (1913-1975)
John Shirley-Quirk (1931-2014)
Imogen Cooper (1949)

and

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
John Betjeman (1906-1984)
Rita Dove (1952)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)
Alfred Baldwin Sloane (1872-1925)
Ivor Burney (1890-1937)
Karl Böhm (1894-1981)
Paul Henry Lang (1901-1991)
Richard Tucker (1913-1975)
John Shirley-Quirk (1931-2014)
Imogen Cooper (1949)

and

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
John Betjeman (1906-1984)
Rita Dove (1952)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Willem de Fesch (1687-1761)
Luis Delgadillio (1887-1961)
Arthur Loesser (1894-1969)
Humphrey Searle (1915-1981)
Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923-2013)
Nicholas Braithwaite (1939)
Sally Beamish (1956)
Branford Marsalis (1960)

and

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)
Lee de Forest (1873-1961)
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Julio Cortázar (1914-1984)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Robert Stolz (1880-1975)
Stefan Wolpe (1902-1972)
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
José Van Dam (1940)
Keith Tippett (1947)
Elvis Costello (1954)

and

Brian Moore (1921-1999)
Charles Wright (1935)
Martin Amis (1949)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Resonance Ensemble awarded $100k grant to fund Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem

Wow! Congratulations!

From the press release:

PORTLAND, OR —Resonance Ensemble has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights Initiative. The grant will help fund the world premiere of composer Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem, a pivotal work memorializing the lives of African Americans lost to racist violence in the United States, and the first work of its kind to be performed in Oregon. The work, a commission by Resonance Ensemble, will be presented by Resonance in partnership with the Oregon Symphony on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
“Resonance is thrilled to receive this grant from The Oregon Community Foundation,” offers Resonance’s Artistic Director Dr. Katherine FitzGibbon. “As yet, there has not been a Requiem written in memory of African Americans who have lost their lives to racial violence; this will be a groundbreaking project that we believe can have a tremendous impact on all Oregonians. We are proud to partner with the Oregon Symphony as a conduit for Damien Geter’s incredibly important work.” 
This concert-length work draws upon classical, jazz, and folk traditions. The Requiem uses the traditional Latin Requiem text for many movements but also incorporates spirituals and texts from civil rights activists Ida B. Wells, Eric Garner, Jamilia Land, and Antwone Rose. The final movement is scored for orchestra and narrator, with words penned and performed by African American poet and Portland resident S. Renee Mitchell.
“I am so grateful to The Oregon Community Foundation for seeing the value in our work,” says Geter. “This funding will help us to have timely and crucial conversations with Oregonians and hopefully beyond. I consider myself an activist through my art, and this Requiem is a perfect marriage of these passions.”
The premiere will feature a choir specially assembled by FitzGibbon, the African American Requiem Choir, featuring professional singers of Resonance Ensemble and Kingdom Sound Gospel Choir and representatives of other area choirs, and four renowned African American singers: Brandie Sutton, soprano; Karmesha Peake, mezzo-soprano; Bernard Holcomb, tenor; and Kenneth Overton, baritone. 

Today's Birthdays

Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747)
Théodore Dubois (1837-1924)
Bernhard Heiden (1910-2000)
Niels Viggo Bentzon (1919-2000)
Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)
Carlo Curley (1952)

and

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
Oscar Hijuelos (1951-2013)
John Green (1977)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1456 that the first edition of the Gutenberg Bible was bound and completed in Mainz, Germany. The Gutenberg Bible was the first complete book printed with movable type. The press produced 180 copies of the Bible. Books had been printed on presses before, in China and Korea, with wood and bronze type; but Gutenberg used metal type, and made a press that could print many versions of the same text quickly. His contributions to printing were huge: he created an oil-based printing ink, he figured out how to cast individual pieces of type in metal so that they could be reused, and he designed a functioning printing press. But others before him had come up with similar ideas. Probably the most important thing that Gutenberg did was to develop the entire process of printing — he streamlined a system for assembling the type into a full book and then folding the pages into folios, which were then bound into an entire volume — and to do it all quickly. The techniques that Gutenberg refined were used for hundreds of years, and the publication of the Gutenberg Bible marked a turning point in the availability of knowledge to regular people.
and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1968, Czech conductor and composer Rafael Kubelik launches an appeal to world musicians to boycott performances in the five nations which invaded Czechoslovakia on August 20-21 until their military forces evacuate the country. The appeal was joined by Igor Stravinsky, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Otto Klemperer, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Arrau, and others.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925)
Ernst Krenek (1900-1991)
William Primrose (1903-1982)
Constant Lambert (1905-1951)
Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1977)
Mark Russell (1932)
Brad Mehldau (1970)

and

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1934, the Berkshire Symphonic Festival in was founded in Stockbridge, Mass., by American composer and conductor Henry Hadley, with the participation of the New York Philharmonic. The Festival later became associated with the Boston Symphony under Serge Koussevitzky.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Josef Strauss (1827-1870)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
John Lee Hooker (1917-2001)
Ivry Gitlis (1922)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)
Tori Amos (1963)

and

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)
Annie Proulx (1935)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)
Count (William) Basie (1904-1984)
Tommy Reilly (1919-2000)
Willhelm Killmayer (1927-2017)
Gregg Smith (1931-2016)
Dame Janet Baker (1933)

and

X. J. Kennedy (1929)
Robert Stone (1937-2015)
Ellen Hinsey (1960)