Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)
Helmut Walcha (1907-1991)
Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997)
Dominick Argento (1927-2019)
Julius Eastman (1940-1990)
Håkan Hardenberger (1961)
c (1978)

and

Lee Krasner (1908-1994)
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Zadie Smith (1975)

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758)
Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972)
György Pauk (1936)
Christine Brewer (1955)
Natalie Merchant (1963)
Sakari Oramo (1965)

and

Andrei Bely (1880-1934)
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)
John Arden (1930-2012)
Andrew Motion (1952)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)
Johann Strauss II (1825-1899)
Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Don Banks (1923-1980)
Galina Vishnevskaya (1926-2012)
Peter Lieberson (1946)
Diana Burrell (1948)
Colin Carr (1957)
Midori (1971)

and

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
John Berryman (1914-1972)
Anne Tyler (1941)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Ferdinand Hiller (1811-1885)
Imre [Emmerich] Kálman (1882-1953)
Conrad Leonard (1898-2003)
Paul Csonka (1905-1995)
Tito Gobbi (1913-1984)
Luciano Berio (1925-2003)
George Crumb (1929)
Sofia Gubaidulina (1931)
Malcolm Bilson (1935)
Bill Wyman (1936)
George Tsontakis (1951)
Cheryl Studer (1955)

and

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879)
Moss Hart (1904-1961)
Denise Levertov (1923-1997)
Norman Rush (1933)

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Vancouver Symphony plays at the casino - preview in The Columbian




The Vancouver Symphony is still in search of a concert venue, becuase the Washington State school district will not allow outside organizations to rent from their facilities (Skyview Concert Hall belongs to Skyview High School). So they will perform at the ilani casino this weekend.

My preview of the concert appeared in The Columbian here.

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)

Friday, October 22, 2021

Today's Birthdays

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

andv
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.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Zinman and Trpčeski and Oregon Symphony create memorable concert

The Oregon Symphony delivered a stellar concert (October 16) with guest conductor David Zinman and pianist Simon Trpčeski at the newly revamped Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. It was my first time to see Zinman, who has a storied career that includes five Grammys. Now at 85, he used a cane to get to the podium and directed from a chair. But once seated, he synced up with Trpčeski for a brilliant Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, and topped that off by collaborating with the orchestra to in marvelous interpretations of works by Sibelius and George Walker.

Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is a beloved piece that could sound old and stale, but in the hands of Trpčeski, it was amazingly fresh and inspired. With an impeccable technique and pianism, the music sparkled with outstanding dynamic contrasts. During the cadenza in the first movement, he perfectly balanced the notes in the upper register with those in the lower register. The lyrical themes in the second movement had just a hint of playfulness, and the lighthearted third movement was just plain fun to hear. In addition to impressing everyone with his artistry. Trpčeski made it all look effortless.

The audience brought Trpčeski back to center stage several times, and before engaging the keyboard once more, he said that he had performed in Portland 17 years ago. The encore that he played was not nearly as engaging as his Tchaikovsky, but it would be great to hear him again with the orchestra some day in the near future.

Although Sibelius did not intend for his Third Symphony to depict a particular landscape or story, it was easy to close one’s eyes and imagine a forest or a scene from the far North. Some of the passages evoked a rustic, almost brawny sound while others were more sinewy and refined. High notes from the violins contrasted wonderfully with low tones from the basses. The woodwinds had a field day creating all sorts of magical moments – especially the bird-like phrases in the second movement. The rich, full chorus of cellos and violas in the third – joined by the entire ensemble – brought the piece to a satisfying conclusion.

The concert opened with George Walker’s delicate and somber “Lyric for String.” Sans baton, Zinman guided the ensemble with great sensitivity, so that the tenderness and gentleness of the piece filled the hall with warmth. It was as if a band of murmuring angels wafted about for a few exquisite minutes. Perhaps the orchestra would consider recording more of Walker's music someday.

Overall, from my perch in the upper mezzanine, the voices of the lower instruments could be heard more clearly than ever before. So the new sonic treatment in the hall does give listeners a fuller musical experience. Ergo, the orchestra is sounding better than ever.

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 (1926-2020)
Shulamit Ran (1949)
Hugh Wolff (1953)

and

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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)

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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)

Monday, October 18, 2021

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)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998)
Rolando Panerai (1924-2019)
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.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
Franz [Ferenc] Doppler (1821-1883)
James Lockhart (1930)
Derek Bourgeois (1941)
Marin Alsop (1956)v 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)v
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."

Friday, October 15, 2021

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)v Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007)
Italo Calvino (1923-1985)
Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

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)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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 (1924-2020)
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)

Monday, October 11, 2021

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 (1928-2020)
David Rendall (1948)

and

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

Sunday, October 10, 2021

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.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

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)

Friday, October 8, 2021

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)

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Review of Oregon Symphony opener published in Classical Voice North America



My review of the Oregon Symphony's opening night concert featuring Mahler's 2nd plus works by Gabriela Lena Frank and Kenji Bunch (world premiere) is now available in Classical Voice North America.

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)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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)v Caroline Gordon (1895-1981)v
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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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.

Monday, October 4, 2021

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.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

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)

Saturday, October 2, 2021

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)

Friday, October 1, 2021

Second volume of piano pieces by Gary Noland published


Portland composer Gary Noland's COLLECTED PIANO WORKS: Volume 2 (also 286 pages) is now available to pre-order from Amazon at: 



Here is a recording of his GRANDE RAG BRILLANTE Op. 15, which is included in that collection:


And here (for those who missed it) is a link to his COLLECTED PIANO WORKS Volume 1 (also 286 pages), which was released earlier this month:


BTW: Noland is preparing for the release of his chamber works in the near future.

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, included 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.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Portland Opera announces Damien Geter as its interim music director

BTW: I interviewed Geter just a few months ago for this article in Classical Voice North America. Take a look at the last sentence in the article!

From Portland Opera's press release:

Portland Opera is delighted to announce that Damien Geter has been named interim Music Director as the company plans for the launch of the 21/22 season. “I think Damien is a genius,” says Sue Dixon, General Director of Portland Opera. “This moment represents the connection of two perfect opportunities: next steps and growth for the company, and next steps and growth for the brilliant work Damien is already doing as an artist and leader in our community and field. In this role, his contributions will shine at Portland Opera in a new way—one that directly impacts our artistic goals for continued excellence as an ensemble.” 


Geter is an acclaimed composer based in Portland, OR, whose growing body of work includes chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. 
As a composer, Geter infuses classical music with various styles from the black diaspora to create music that furthers the cause for social justice. Recently, his compositions have been commissioned for Resonance Ensemble (An African American Requiem), The Washington Chorus (Cantata for a Hopeful Tomorrow), Washington National Opera, Opera Theater Oregon (Invisible), the University of Michigan (The Justice Symphony), and All Classical Portland (Neo-Soul). We Cannot Walk Alone for Imani Winds, co-commissioned by Anima Mundi Productions, Chamber Music Northwest, and The Oregon Bach Festival, will premiere in 2022. Future commissions include world premieres in 2022, 2024, and 2025. 

 

Geter is also an acclaimed bass-baritone and actor, with performance credits ranging from the operatic stage (appearing with Portland Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, and other companies across the U.S.) to the television screen.  He is the Artistic Advisor for the social justice-focused award-winning vocal ensemble Resonance Ensemble and is a scholarly author (Music in Context: An Examination of Western European Music Through a Sociopolitical Lens published by Kendall Hunt), and educator. This past season, he curated Portland Opera’s production of Journeys to Justice, in tandem with the launch of Portland Opera Onscreen. Since July of 2020, Geter has acted as co-Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera—where his diverse artistic background, mentorship, and vision continues to impact artistic and company planning.  

 

A native of Chesterfield County, VA, Damien is an alumnus of the Austrian American Mozart Festival and the Aspen Opera Center. In addition to his artistic activities as a composer and performer, Geter has a history with the conductor’s baton. After studying voice and trumpet in his undergraduate work, Damien received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Old Dominion University, and continued on to earn a master’s degree in conducting at Indiana State University.

“I am so humbled to be a part of an esteemed group of colleagues who are shepherding this art form into the 21st century,” says Damien Geter. “As Portland Opera’s interim Music Director, I hope to help shape musical experiences that will be deeply impactful for our audiences to internalize and enjoy!” 

 

Maestro Geter will pick up the baton as interim Music Director for Portland Opera beginning October 1, 2021; joining newly appointed Artistic Director Priti Gandhi as the newest members of the executive team, led by General Director Sue Dixon.  Portland Opera’s 21/22 season is set to commence with Tosca on October 29, 2021, at the Keller Auditorium, directed by Linda Brovsky, and conducted by Tiffany Chang—who makes her Portland Opera debut. Tickets and information can be found at portlandopera.org.  

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 (1927-2019)
Truman Capote (1924-1984)
Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Violin virtuoso Fullana provides mesmerizing Saint-Saëns to open Vancouver Symphony season

Guest artist Francisco Fullana delivered an outstanding performance of Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor in the Newmark Theatre on Saturday evening (September 25) to mark the reopening of the Vancouver Symphony’s live-in-person performances. His amazing technical prowess and artistry were unfortunately heard by only a sparse audience of perhaps 150 people in the hall, although hopefully the online audience was much larger. Yet even though the number of in-house listeners was small, they enthusiastically rewarded Spanish violinist with a standing ovation.

The light turn-out at the Newmark was due to the fact that the orchestra, notified just a couple of weeks before its season opener, could not use its usual venue, Skyview Concert Hall. This came about because of a last-minute ruling by the Vancouver School District, which has prohibited outside organization from renting any facility under its jurisdiction. Hence, the orchestra scrambled to find an alternate venue and fortunately landed in downtown Portland at the Newmark.

But enough lamenting about circumstances caused by COVID-19. The Vancouver Symphony, which performed a complete season of online concerts last year, was elated to be in front of a live audience again for the first time in almost 19 months. With microphone in hand, music director Salvador Brotons practically gushed about being on stage again. The string members of the orchestra wore masks the entire time on the stage while woodwinds and brass slipped their masks on and off according to when they would play. That all went absolutely smoothly.

Fullana showed complete command of the Saint-Saëns, playing with great sensitivity. Whenever he went to a full-bodied tone, it was rich and gorgeous. With fleet fingers, he executed immaculate runs that were absolutely thrilling. The ending of the first movement gained speed and finished with a flourish that was electrifying. Fullana created a genuinely sweet sound for the beautiful melody of the second movement, and he kept it from being overly sentimental. He also made whispery-clean high notes that perfectly matched the subtle sound from principal clarinetist Igor Shakhman. Fullana performed all of the technically tricky parts of the third movement with flair and gusto and still made the music sing. It was just fantastic.

The applause and cheering from the audience brought Fullana back to the stage several times, and he responded with an encore, a transcription of “Asturias (Leyenda)” by Isaac Albenez. Again, Fullana played the piece impeccably and with terrific artistic understanding. He had everyone in thrall.

The main orchestral work on the program was Schubert’s Symphony No 4, which is known as the “Tragic” symphony even though its sentiment is mostly playful and uplifting. In introducing the piece, Brotons pointed out that he selected this work, because it requires fewer musicians than other pieces from the Romantic era and, as a result, fits well with pandemic limitations.

Urged on by Brotons, the orchestra expertly delved into the dynamics of the symphony with crescendos and decrescendos that kept the music fresh. Briefly accented phrases and excellent, unified strings made the first movement very satisfying. The orchestra gently conveyed the beautiful melodic lines of the second movement with a choir of woodwinds and strings wrapping it all up in a pillowy soft ending. The third movement danced along in a playful way, and the fourth movement, which had a couple of ragged moments in the violins, motored through at a swift pace and concluded the symphony on a triumphant note.

The concert opened with Beethoven’s Overture to “Coriolan,” a highly dramatic piece that Brotons and forces captured very well. It might have sounded better in a warmer hall. The Newmark was built for theater performances and, consequently, the sounds produced in there do not get the benefit of reverberation. Still, the musicians caught the spirit of the piece and expressed its drama with verve.

Today's Birthdays

Jacques-Martin Hottetere (1674-1763)
Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska (1829/1834–1861)
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)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Article about the new acoustical solution in The Schnitz published in The Oregonian





The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall has undergone an significant acoustical upgrade that is quite impressive. The Oregonian just published the story I wrote about this amazing transition. Here is the link to the article.

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

Monday, September 27, 2021

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)v
and

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

Sunday, September 26, 2021

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.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

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)

Friday, September 24, 2021

Preview of Vancouver Symphony opener in The Columbian newspaper

My preview of the Vancouver Symphony's first concert of the season was published in The Columbian newspaper today. The online version was posted Thursday evening. The orchestra's home venue at Skyview High School has been closed to organizations that are not part of the Vancouver School District;; so the orchestra will play its opening concert at the Newmark Theatre in downtown Portland. Click here to link to the preview.

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 Hanns 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.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

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)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Arthur Pryor (1870-1942)
Mikolajus Ciurlionis (1875-1911)
Henryk Szeryng (1918-1988)
William O. Smith (1926-2020)
Hugh Bean (1929-2003)
Leonardo Balada (1933)
Anna Tomowa-Sintow (1941)
John Tomlinson (1946)
Vladmir Ghernov (1953)
Michael Torke (1961)

and

Fay Weldon (1931)

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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)

Monday, September 20, 2021

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 (1928-2018)

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Gustav Schirmer (1829-1893)
Allan Pettersson (1911-1980)
Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011)
Blanche Thebom (1918-2010)
Arthur Wills (1926-2020)
Bonaventura Bottone (1950)

and

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

Saturday, September 18, 2021

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 (1971)

and

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

Friday, September 17, 2021

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)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Robert Benchley (1899-1945)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

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 (1916-2020)
Ivan Klíma (1931)
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1934-2002)
Renzo Piano (1937)

Monday, September 13, 2021

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)
Linda Colley (1949)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

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.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

In Detroit for annual classical music writers meeting

 I am in Detroit, Michigan, for the annual meeting of the MCANA (Music Critics Association of North America). Only 13 of us are here and others will attend virtually. We will see the opera "Blue" this evening at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater.



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)

Friday, September 10, 2021

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)

Thursday, September 9, 2021

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)

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

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)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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)

Monday, September 6, 2021

Emerson String Quartet announces its retirement

The Emerson String Quartet, one of the world's preeminent best, has announced that it will retire from concertizing in 2023. Here is the press release from its website:

The Emerson String Quartet, the incomparable American ensemble, will retire at the end of summer 2023, forty-seven remarkable years after it was initially formed at Juilliard in 1976.  All four members of the Quartet – Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer, Lawrence Dutton and Paul Watkins – will continue to perform and teach individually; as a group, they will continue to coach and mentor young ensembles through the Emerson String Quartet Institute at Stony Brook University, along with cellist David Finckel, who was a member of the quartet for 34 years.  The Quartet’s original members were Drucker, Setzer, violist Guillermo Figueroa, Jr. and cellist Eric Wilson. Lawrence Dutton joined the group in 1977; cellist David Finckel became a member in 1979 and was succeeded by Paul Watkins in 2013. 

The Emerson Quartet, named “America’s greatest quartet” by Time Magazine, is one of the most celebrated classical music quartets of all time. The ensemble is the recipient of not only the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s coveted “Ensemble of the Year” Award, but also nine GRAMMYs® (including two for Best Classical Album) and three Gramophone Awards. 

In the words of Eugene Drucker, one of the group’s founding members:

“Looking back on more than four decades of life in the Emerson String Quartet, it is with a mixture of pride and nostalgia that we announce our retirement at the end of the summer of 2023. In addition to the great music we’ve been privileged to share with audiences and with each other, it is the opportunity to connect with close friends that has meant the most to us over the years. Each city on our itineraries has had its own unique associations for us, giving atmosphere, texture and the all-important personal dimension to our recollections of the passing seasons. Presenters, managers, record label executives, colleagues and audience members have all played important roles in our experience. Now, as we contemplate our future careers, which will afford us the opportunity to continue performing as individuals and to pass the fruits of our experience on to younger generations of chamber players, we also wish to express our gratitude to all the instrumentalists, singers, composers, actors and directors with whom we have been honored to collaborate.”

Seeking out new works and experimental projects has been central to the Quartet’s music-making, as evidenced by groundbreaking music and theater collaborations like The Noise of Time (Simon McBurney) and Shostakovich and the The Black Monk (James Glossman). The Emerson’s penultimate season includes the New York premiere of André Previn’s last work, Penelope, with a libretto by Tom Stoppard, to be performed at Carnegie Hall in January 2022. This project, which premiered at Tanglewood in 2019, features a collaboration with soprano Renée Fleming, actress Uma Thurman, and pianist Simone Dinnerstein. A further performance of Penelope will take place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in February (with works by George Walker and Samuel Barber). Penelope was co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Also this season, the Quartet members will return to the Chamber Music Society of Louisville in October, where they will perform the second half of a Beethoven cycle they began in early 2020. Additional stops on their itinerary include Pittsfield, MA; Charleston, SC; Wooster, OH; Houston, TX; Sandy Springs, GA; Chicago, IL; Sanibel, FL; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; and Stony Brook University in New York.

A six-city tour of Europe in March 2022, with stops in Athens, Madrid, Pisa, Florence and Milan, will culminate with the first three concerts of a Shostakovich cycle at London’s Southbank Centre, to be completed the following November.

Additional details of the Emerson Quartet’s final season will be announced at a later date.

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)

Sunday, September 5, 2021

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)

Saturday, September 4, 2021

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)

Friday, September 3, 2021

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 (1926-2020)
Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Malcolm Gladwell (1963)
Kiran Desai (1971)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

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)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

George Manahan exits as music director of Portland Opera

From the Portland Opera press release:

George Manahan, Portland Opera’s esteemed Music Director, will step down from the role after 9 years with the company. Portland Opera will celebrate his leadership and tenure with a concert in his honor, featuring the Portland Opera Orchestra and Chorus, as well as special guests, on May 14, 2022 at 7:30 PM, at the Keller Auditorium. 

As a leader in the field, award-winning conductor, and greatly respected educator, Maestro Manahan’s legacy at Portland Opera is one of excellence and ensemble-building, within the broader context of his extraordinary and celebrated career. His artistic contributions have been hailed by audiences and critics alike, and he has led the company through a phase of increased quality and musical development that positions the ensemble and company for an amazing next chapter.   

  

“We are so grateful to be shaped and inspired by Maestro Manahan’s deep love of opera, and Portland Opera,” says Sue Dixon, General Director. “His expertise, excellence, and dedication led the company to great artistic achievements, and his warmth and spirit made him a beloved colleague. We cannot wait to celebrate him with the May concert!”  

 

Manahan made his Portland Opera debut in 2006 conducting Verdi’s Macbeth and was a regular guest artist with the company prior to being named Music Director in 2012. Throughout his time with Portland Opera, Manahan conducted over 20 productions with the company, most recently Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Gounod’s Faust. He conducted the company’s first Big Night concert in 2011 and continued the tradition in subsequent seasons, including the digital production of An Evening with Portland Opera during winter of 2020.  


“The years I’ve spent with Portland Opera have been some of the most gratifying of my life,” says Maestro George Manahan. “Working with this amazing chorus and wonderful orchestra has been a constant joy, as well as collaborating with the superb administration and board. I want to express my deepest gratitude to Christopher Mattaliano for inviting me to guest conduct in Portland and later appointing me Music Director. I wish everyone the best in continuing the great tradition of Portland Opera.” 

 

As an influential award-winning leader in the field of classical music and opera, Maestro Manahan has served as Director of Orchestral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music for over a decade, as well as Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra. He was Music Director of the New York City Opera for fourteen seasons, and the Richmond Symphony for twelve seasons. He is an award-winning conductor, hailed by Columbia University and honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers for his “career-long advocacy for American composers and the music of our time.” His many guest appearances include working with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous symphonies, and opera companies including Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris, Sydney, Bologna, St. Louis, the Bergan Festival in Norway, and Puerto Rico’s Casals Festival. His performances at the baton have been televised many times, including the Emmy Award-winning New York City Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly. He has numerous recording credits, and has conducted celebrated world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat, Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and Terence Blanchard’s Champion. Portland Opera remains inspired by his many contributions to advancing the art of opera, and his dedication to the company and its patrons.  

 

Portland Opera’s celebration of Maestro Manahan “George and Friends” will take place on May 14, 2022 at 7:30 PM at Keller Auditorium.  Maestro Manahan will remain a close advisor and beloved colleague for the company as the baton is passed, and the search begins for Portland Opera’s next Music Director. Tickets for this special concert will go on sale to the public in November, 2021. 

 

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)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

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."

Monday, August 30, 2021

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)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Helge Rosvaenge (1897-1972)
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)

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)
Alfred Baldwin Sloane (1872-1925)
Ivor Gurney (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)

Friday, August 27, 2021

THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2021 Collected piano works of Gary Noland published


Congratulations are in order for composer Gary Noland's COLLECTED PIANO WORKS: Volume One (286 pages), which is now available on Amazon here:


and on Barnes and Noble here:


For more information about GN and his compositions, check out his web site here:




Today's Birthdays

Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979)
Eric Coates (1886-1957)
Lester Young (1909-1959)
Barry Conyngham (1944)
Ann Murray (1949)
Sian Edwards (1959)

and

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)
Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)
C. S. Forester (1899-1966)
Ira Levin (1929-2007)
William Least Heat-Moon (1939)

Thursday, August 26, 2021

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)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Recommended fall concerts in The Oregonian


My list of recommended classical music concert for this fall has been posted in the online edition of The Oregonian. Here is the link.

It will be published in the print edition this weekend.

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)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

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.

Monday, August 23, 2021

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.
PS from James: in 1936 this festival moved to Lenox, Mass. where it was renamed the Tangelwood Festival.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Josef Strauss (1827-1870)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
John Lee Hooker (1917-2001)
Ivry Gitlis (1922-2020)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)
Tori Amos (1963)

and

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

Saturday, August 21, 2021

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)

Preview of Vancouver Symphony (WA) season published in The Columbian

My piece on the Vancouver Symphony's 2021-2022 season appeared in The Columbian newspaper print edition on Friday. Here is a link to the online version which was posted Thursday evening.  - James

Friday, August 20, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Jacopo Peri (1561-1633)
Mario Bernardi (1930-2013)
Dame Anne Evans (1941)
Maxim Vengerov (1974)

and

Eliel Saarinen (1873-1950)
Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
Eero Saarinen (1910-1961)
Jacqueline Susann (1918-1974)
Heather McHugh (1948)

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Today's Birthdays

William Henry Fry (1881-1864)
Georges Enescu (1881-1955)
Allan Monk (1942)
Gerard Schwarz (1947)
Rebecca Evans (1963)

and

Samuel Richardson (1689-1761)
Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Frank McCourt (1930-2009)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)
Benjamin Godard (1849-1895)
Basil Cameron (1884-1975)
Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973
Dame Moura Lympany (1916-2005)
Goff Richards (1944)
Tan Dun (1957)

and

Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809)
Margaret Murie (1902 -2003)
Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008)

and from The Writer's Almanac:

Italian-born Viennese composer Antonio Salieri, born in Legnago, in the Republic of Venice (1750). Although he was quite popular in the 18th century, he probably wouldn't be well known today were it not for the movie Amadeus (1984). The movie was based on Peter Shaffer's play by the same name (1979), which was in turn based on a short play by Aleksandr Pushkin, which was called Mozart and Salieri (1830). These stories all present Salieri as a mediocre and uninspired composer who was jealous of Mozart's musical genius; Salieri tried to discredit Mozart at every turn, and some versions of the story even accuse him of poisoning his rival.

But Salieri was a talented and successful composer, writing the scores for several popular operas. He had a happy home life with his wife and eight children. And because he had received free voice and composition lessons from a generous mentor as a young man, he also gave most of his students the benefit of free instruction. Some of his pupils included Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Franz Schubert. He was the Kapellmeister — the person in charge of music — for the Austrian emperor for 36 years. He and Mozart were competitors, but their rivalry was usually a friendly one; Salieri visited Mozart when he was dying, and was one of the few people to attend his funeral.

After the turn of the 19th century, Salieri's music began to fall out of fashion. "I realized that musical taste was gradually changing in a manner completely contrary to that of my own times," he wrote. "Eccentricity and confusion of genres replaced reasoned and masterful simplicity." He stopped composing operas and began to produce more and more religious pieces. He suffered from dementia late in his life and died in 1825. He had composed his own requiem 20 years earlier, and it was performed for the first time at his funeral.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Henri Tomasi (1901-1971)
Abram Chasins (1903-1987)
George Melly (1926-2007)
T.J. (Thomas Jefferson) Anderson (1928)
Edward Cowie (1943)
Jean-Bernard Pommier (1944)
Heiner Goebbels (1952)
Artur Pizarro (1968)

and

Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957)
Mae West (1893-1980)
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
V. S. Naipaul (1932-2018)
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
Jonathan Franzen (1959)

and from the Writer's Almanac:

On this date in 1982, the first compact discs for commercial release were manufactured in Germany. CDs were originally designed to store and play back sound recordings, but later were modified to store data. The first test disc, which was pressed near Hannover, Germany, contained a recording of Richard Strauss's An Alpine Symphony, played by the Berlin Philharmonic. The first CD commercially produced at the new factory and sold on this date was ABBA's 1981 album The Visitors; the first new album to be released on CD was Billy Joel's 52nd Street, which hit the stores in Japan — alongside the new Sony CD player — on October 1. The event is known as the "Big Bang of digital audio."

Monday, August 16, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Heinrich Marschner (1795-1861)
Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937)
Jacinto Guerrero (1895-1951)
Ralph Downes (1904-1993)
Bill Evans (1929-1980)
Sarah Brightman (1959)
Franz Welser-Möst (1960)

and

Catharine Trotter Cockburn (1679-1749)
William Maxwell (1908-2000)
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
Albert Spalding (1888-1953)
Jaques Ibert (1890-1952)
Leon Theremin (1896-1993)
Lukas Foss (1922-2009)
Aldo Ciccolini (1925-2015)
Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)
Rita Hunter (1933-2001)
Anne Marie Owens (1955)
James O'Donnell (1961)

The Woodstock music festival began on this day in 1969.

and

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859)
Edna Ferber (1885-1968)
T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935)
Julia Child (1912-2004)
Benedict Kiely (1919-2007)
Denise Chávez (1948)
Stieg Larsson (1954)

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)
Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988)
Pierre Schaeffer (1910-1955)
Jan Koetsier (1911-2006)
Ferruccio Tagliavini (1913-1995)
Georges Prêtre (1924-2017)
Yuri Kholopov (1932-2003)
Cecilia Gasdia (1960)
Beta Moon (1969)

and

Ernest Thayer (1863-1940)
John Galsworthy (1867-1933)
Russell Baker (1925-2019)
Danielle Steel (1947)
Gary Larson (1950)

Friday, August 13, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Sir George Grove (1820-1900)
John Ireland (1879-1962)
Luis Mariano (1914-1970)
George Shearing (1919-2011)
Louis Frémaux (1921-2017)
Don Ho (1930-2007)
Sheila Armstrong (1942)
Kathleen Battle (1948)
Gregory Vajda (1973)

and

Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)
Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690)
Heinrich Biber (1644-1704)
Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929)
Porter Wagoner (1927-2007)
Buck Owens (1929-2006)
Huguette Tourangeau (1940)
David Munrow (1942-1976)
Pat Metheny (1954)
Stuart MacRae (1976)

and

Robert Southey (1773-1843)
Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)
Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959)
Donald Justice (1925-2004)
William Goldman (1931-2018)
Anthony Swofford (1970)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Today's Birthdays

J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954)
Ginette Neveu (1919-1949)
Raymond Leppard (1927-2019)
Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008)
Tamás Vásáry (1933)

and

Louise Brogan (1897-1970)
Alex Haley (1921-1992)
Andre Dubus (1936-1999)

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)
Douglas Moore (1893-1969)
Leo Fender (1909-1991)
Marie-Claire Alain (1926-2013)
Edwin Carr (1926-2003)
John Aldis (1929-2010)
Alexander Goehr (1932)
Giya Kancheli (1935)
Bobby Hatfield (1940-2003)
Dmitri Alexeev (1947)
Eliot Fisk (1958)

and

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
Joyce Sutphen (1949)
Mark Doty (1953)
Suzanne Collins (1962)

Monday, August 9, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Michael Umlauff (1781-1842)
Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947)
Albert William Ketèlbey (1875-1959)
Solomon Cutner (1902-1988)

and

Izaak Walton (1593-1683)
John Dryden (1631-1700)
P. L. Travers (1899-1966)
Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

and from The Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1928, Australian-born American composer Percy Grainger marries Swedish poet and painter Ella Viola Strom at the Hollywood Bowl in front of an audience of 22,000 concert-goers. Grainger conducted the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of his "To a Nordic Princess," dedicated to his bride.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944)
Adolf Busch (1891-1952)
André Jolivet (1905-1974)
Benny Carter (1907-2003)
Josef Suk (1929-2011)
Jacques Hétu (1938-2010)

and

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953)
Valerie Sayers (1952)
Elizabeth Tallent (1954)

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Henry Litolff (1818-1891)
Sir Granville Bantock (1868-1946)
Karel Husa (1921-1916)
Felice Bryant (1925-2003)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1936-1977)
Garrison Keillor (1942)
Ian Hobson (1952)
Christian Altenburger (1957)

Friday, August 6, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)
Mary Carr Moore (1873-1957)
Karl Ulrich Schnabel (1909-2001)
Udo Reinemann (1942-2013)

and

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Marc Antonio Cesti (1623-1669)
Leonardo Leo (1694-1744)
Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896)
Hans Gál (1890-1987)
Erich Kleiber (1890-1956)
Betsy Jolas (1926)
Stoika Milanova (1945)
Mark O'Connor (1961)

and

Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)
Wendell Berry (1934)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1978, the citizens of Patowan, Utah, decided to name a local mountain Mr. Messiaen, in honor of the French composer, Olivier Messiaen, who spent a month in Utah in 1973 an composed a symphonic work, "Des canyons aux etoiles" (From the canyons to the stars), which glorified the natural beauty of the region

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Henry Berger (1844-1929)
Italo Montemezzi (1875-1952)
Albert W. Ketèlbey (1875-1959)
Louie "Satchmo" Armstrong (1901-1971)
William Schuman (1910-1992)
David Raksin (1912-2004)
Arthur Butterworth (1923-2014)
Jess Thomas (1927-1993)
David Bedford (1937-2011)
Simon Preston (1938)
Deborah Voigt (1960)
Olga Neuwirth (1968)v
and

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Raoul Wallenberg (1912-1947?)
Robert Hayden (1913-1980)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1705, in Arnstadt, J.S. Bach and a bassoonist named Johann Heinrich Geyersbach cross paths late a night and an argument ensues. Geyerbach threatens Bach with a stick and Bach draws his sword. Both are hauled up before the city magistrate and reprimanded for their behavior.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Louis Gruenberg (1884-1964)
Antonio Lauro (1917-1986)
Tony Bennett (1926)
James Tyler (1940-2010)
Simon Keenlyside (1959)

and

Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841-1885)
Ernie Pyle (1900-1944)
P. D. James (1920-2014)
Hayden Carruth (1921-2008)
Diane Wakoski (1937)
Marvin Bell (1937)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in 1668, German composer Dietrich Buxtehude marries the daughter of Franz Tunder, retiring organist at St. Mary's Church in Lübeck, as a condition to succeed Tunder in his position at St. Mary's. Years later, Buxtehude offered his position in Lübeck with a similar caveat that the new organist must marry his daughter. It is thought that both Handel and J.S. Bach were both interested in the position - but not in Buxtehude's daughter.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Arthur Bliss (1891-1975)
Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963)
Marvin David Levy (1932-2015)
Anthony Payne (1936)
Gundula Janowitz (1937)
Richard Einhorn (1952)
Angel Lam (1978)

and

Irving Babbitt (1865-1933)
James Baldwin (1924-1987)
Isabel Allende (1942)

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)
Hans Rott (1858-1884)
Morris Stoloff (1898-1980)
William Steinberg (1899-1978)
Jerome Moross (1913-1983)
Lionel Bart (1930-1999)
Ramblin' Jack Elliott (1931)
Jordi Savall (1941)
André Gagnon (1942)
Jerry Garcia (1942-1995)

and

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889)
Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Ernst Jandl (1925-2000)
Madison Smartt Bell (1957)

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)
Robert Planquette (1848-1903)
Ada Clement (1878-1952)
Norman Del Mar (1919-1994)
Steuart Bedford (1939)
Reinhard Goebel (1952)
Randall Davidson (1953)

and

Mary Harris Jones, or "Mother Jones" (1837-1930)
Primo Levi (1919-1987)
Kim Addonizio (1954)
J. K. Rowling (1965)

Friday, July 30, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Gerald Moore (1899-1987)
Meredith Davies (1922-2005)
Moshe Atzmon (1931)
Buddy Guy (1936)
Paul Anka (1941)
Teresa Cahill (1944)
Alexina Louie (1949)
Christopher Warren-Green (1955)

and

Emily Brontë (1818-1848)
Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929)
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
William Gass (1924-2017)

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Sigmund Romberg (1887-1951)
Frank Loesser (1910-1969)
Charles Farncombe (1919-2006)
Avet Terterian (1929-1994)
Mikis Theodorakis (1925)
Peter Schreier (1935)
Bernd Weikl (1942)
Olga Borodina (1963)

and

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Don Marquis (1878-1937)
Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006)
Paul Taylor (1930-2018)
T.J. Stiles (1964)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Rued Langgaard (1893-1952)
Rudy Vallée (1901-1986)
Kenneth Alwyn (1925-2020)
Riccardo Muti (1941)

and

Ludwig A Feuerbach (1804-1872)
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Beatrix Potter (1866-1843)
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957)
John Ashbery (1927-2017)

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Ernő Dohnanyi (1877-1960)
Harl McDonald (1899-1955)
Igor Markevitch (1912-1983)
Mario del Monaco (1915-1982)
Leonard Rose (1918-1984)
Carol Vaness (1952)

and

Joseph Mitchell (1908-1996)
Elizabeth Hardwick (1916-2007)
Bharati Mukherjee (1940)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1966, Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Torn Curtain" opens in New York — without the film score that Bernard Herrmann had composed for it. The famous director fired Herrmann during the score's first recording sessions when Hitchcock discovered Herrmann had composed a "symphonic" score and not the "pop" score that Hitchcock had specifically requested.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Today's Birthdays

John Field (1782-1837)
Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844)
Francesco Cilea (1866-1950)
Serge Koussevitsky (1874-1951)
Ernest Schelling (1876-1939)
Georges Favre (1905-1993)
Tadeusz Baird (1928-1981)
Alexis Weissenberg (1929-2012)
Anthony Gilbert (1934)
Roger Smalley (1943-2015)
Mick Jagger (1943)
Kevin Volans (1949)
Angela Hewitt (1958)

and

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Carl Jung (1875-1961)
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Jean Shepherd (1921-1999)
Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Chamber Music Northwest presents two world-premieres plus Mozart and Messiaen

The graceful and effortless motion of birds taking flight and swirling upward into the heavens was artfully conveyed in Kenji Bunch’s “Vesper Flight” by flutist Tara Helen O’Connor and pianist Monica Ohuchi in its world premiere performance on Saturday, July 10th, at Kaul Auditorium as part of the Chamber Music Northwest summer festival. Inspired by the common swift, a species of bird noted for its evening ascent to very high altitudes where it flies for long periods of time, “Vesper Flight” exuded a series of climbing runs that evoked a flock on its way into the skies. As a kind of underlayment against the rising, fluttering tones, Ohuchi would lay down a bass line that may have been quoting Purcell’s “Evening Hymn.” (In his introductory remarks, Bunch said that he would quote from that Purcell piece), nicely tying a bow around the idea of a vesper prayer, which typically takes place at sundown. A rhapsodic passage ended with a loud, high sound from the flute followed by a whispery whistle that faded wonderfully into the distance, like swifts disappearing beyond the clouds.

“Vesper Flight” was preceded by a mesmerizing performance of “Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus” (“Praise for the Immortality of Jesus”) from Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Violinist Bella Hristova and pianist Gloria Chien (who is CMNW’s co-artistic director) created a soulful yet refined sound that transcended time and space. Absolutely ethereal!

David Ludwig’s “Les Adieux,” written in honor of David Shifrin, who helmed CMNW for 40 years and is now its Artistic Director Emeritus, featured clarinetist Shifrin as the soloist surrounded by a chamber orchestra of 17 musicians under the baton of Earl Lee. Divided into three movements: The Farewell, The Absence, and The Return, “Les Adieux” started with Shifrin modulating above and beyond his colleagues, who created a sound that was muffled and clouded in descending lines. This overall concept persevered into the next movement as well with Shifrin flawlessly executing a number of sustained runs and notes that he seemed to hold forever while the orchestra finally got to play an optimistic rising series of notes. In the last movement the pace quickens for a while but again settled into another slow dance that ended with Shifrin exhibiting incredible breath control with several long notes. Overall, it seemed that the piece didn’t really go anywhere, but it did showcase Shifrin’s amazing virtuosic talent.

An all-star ensemble gave a superb performance of Mozart’s “Viola Quintet in C Major” (K. 515) to close out the concert. Violinists Soovin Kim (who is also CMNW’s co-artistic director) and Rebecca Anderson, violists Paul Neubauer and Paul Laraia, and cellist Fred Sherry polished this gem of a piece with verge and terrific artistry. Highlights included the lovely conversational quality between Kim and Sherry in the first movement, the refined ebb and flow of the second with Sherry masterfully finishing phrases, Neubauer’s poignant viola solo and elegant duet with Kim in the third, and the robust and joyful playing by the entire ensemble – with pinpoint pauses – in the final movement. Kudos to the musicians for outstanding balance and dynamics throughout. Bravi!

Still, for this reviewer, it was the Messiaen piece that stuck with me the most and makes me want to hear it again and again and again.