Friday, April 30, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Franz Lehár (1870-1948)
Louise Homer (1871-1947)
Frank Merrick (1886-1981)
Robert Shaw (1916-1999)
Günter Raphael (1903-1960)
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (1939)
Garcia Navarro (1940-2002)
Vladimir Tarnopolsky (1955)

and

Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967)
John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974)
Winfield Townley Scott (1910-1968)
Annie Dillard (1945)
Josip Novakovich (1955)

And from the New Music Box:

On April 30, 1932, the very first Yaddo Festival of Contemporary Music began in Saratoga Springs, NY. Works programmed that year included Aaron Copland's Piano Variations as well as piano works by Roger Sessions, Henry Brant, Vivian Fine and Roy Harris, songs by Charles Ives and Paul Bowles, string quartets by Marc Blitzstein and Louis Gruenberg, and a suite for unaccompanied flute by Wallingford Riegger.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

PSU Steinway Piano Series Features Anton Nel in Free Virtual Residency

From the press release:

The PSU Steinway Piano Series is proud to announce its 2021 feature artist, the internationally celebrated and “uncommonly elegant pianist,” (The New York Times) Anton Nel. An acclaimed interpreter and former first prize winner of the Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall, Nel performs with “a beautifully weighted tone and a nearly flawless legato.”(Chicago Tribune) Through the PSU Steinway Piano Series, Nel will star in a solo concert on May 1st featuring a beautifully balanced, one-of-a-kind program of music by Bach, Mozart, Debussy and Granados, preceded by a masterclass on April 30th.


Designed to maximize the at home listening experience and spread the joy of world class piano performance, both events on this season’s PSU Steinway Piano Series are open to the public,  free with RSVP, and will be available for viewing on PSU’s YouTube channel for 72 hours following their initial broadcast. 


PSU Steinway Piano Series 2021: Anton Nel


MASTERCLASS: LIVE  broadcast at 7pm PT on Friday, April 30th
showcasing PSU students in solo and small chamber ensemble performance
RSVP includes a public option to attend by Zoom and pose questions

CONCERT: Premiere broadcast at 7pm on Saturday, May 1st
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829
Mozart: Sonata in D Major, K. 311
Debussy: La serenade interrompue, Voiles, and Minstrels from Preludes, Book 1
Granados: Allegro de Concierto, Op. 47


WHERE: PSU YouTube Channel; RSVP, donate and receive concert links at: pdx.edu/music-theater/steinway-piano-series


More about Anton Nel: A native of South Africa, Nel has an active repertoire of more than one hundred works for piano and orchestra, and his four decades of concertizing includes performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the symphonies of Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, and London, among many others. As recitalist, he has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection in New York, at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, Davies Hall in San Francisco, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Internationally he has performed recitals in major concert halls in England (Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls in London), France, Holland (Concertgebouw in Amsterdam), Japan (Suntory Hall in Tokyo), Korea, China, South Africa, and Canada. A favorite at summer festivals, he has performed at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as at the music festivals of Aspen and Ravinia (where he is on the artist-faculties), Vancouver, Cartagena, and Stellenbosch, among numerous others. 


A highly sought-after educator, in September 2000, Anton Nel was appointed as the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor of Piano and Chamber music at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches an international class of students and heads the Division of Keyboard Studies. Nel became the university’s first holder of the new Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Chair in Piano in January 2010, and also received two Austin-American Statesman Critics Circle Awards, as well as the University Cooperative Society/College of Fine Arts award for extra-curricular achievement. In 2001 he was appointed Visiting "Extraordinary" Professor at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, and since 2015, Nel has presented an annual series of masterclasses in piano and chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York as Visiting Professor. He also teaches regularly at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto and continues to teach master classes worldwide. Former positions include professorships at the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Michigan, where he was chairman of the piano department. 


The PSU Steinway Piano Series brings internationally recognized performers and educators to Portland for a weekend of public recitals and masterclasses each year. Acting as a bridge between world-class stages and the college classroom, the series elevates awareness for PSU’s outstanding music program while providing students and concertgoers with access to a broad spectrum of the highest level professional pianists performing today. 


Founded in 2015 and directed by piano professor Dr. Susan Chan, the PSU Steinway Piano Series is sponsored by the Arima Schumann Fund of Schwab Charitable, Steinway & Sons, Layzell Family Foundation, Michelle’s Piano Company, and other donors with additional support from PSU College of the Arts and PSU School of Music & Theater.


Orli Shaham shines with the VSO in Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto

Orli Shaham really knows Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto inside and out. She delivered a thoroughly marvelous performance of the concerto with the Vancouver Symphony at Skyview Concert Hall and Saturday afternoon (April 24) as part of the orchestra’s online-only season.

Shaham’s mastery of this concerto cannot be overstated. Her playing was graceful and effortless, aided by impeccable technical skill that added to the high artistry and made the music a tremendous joy to hear. I loved the cadenza at the end of the first movement where her fingers were flying to opposite ends of the keyboard with bass notes briefly rumbling underneath an opposing series of treble notes before it all comes to a rest and then regenerates enthusiastically to sweep in the orchestra.

In the second movement, Shaham’s playing evoked a sense of unhurried suspension of time. She delivered wonderful delicate passages that were elegant and sort of melted into your ears.

That slow movement perfectly set up the joyful exuberance of the final movement with its slightly off kilter style that seemed to spring forward. Shaham’s pianism and sense of fun teased us along right through the transition to the key that unifies with the orchestra.

The video closeups of Shaham’s fingers on the keyboard showed her terrific command. She would switch from loud to soft from one note to the next, demonstrating incredible agility that made the piece absolutely fresh. She also communicated especially well with conductor Ken Selden and the orchestra, often turning to the violins w’s henever there was a gap after finishing a passage

This was the largest ensemble that the Vancouver Symphony has placed on stage this season. The strings were augmented with a flute, two French horns, two oboes, and two bassoons. It was almost like a normal orchestra setting even though all of the musicians were spread out across the stage six feet apart from one another.

To signal his directions, Selden may have used larger gestures than normal. Towards the end of the third movement, it looked like he jumped with enthusiasm. That was inspiring to see, and with the encouragement of Shaham, the orchestra played better than ever, making the concerto a highlight of its online season.

After the concerto, Shaham and the orchestra collaborated for an encore, Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” (Turkish March) with Shaham using her head and shoulders to conduct from the keyboard. Again, Shaham demonstrated excellent phrasing and dynamics, increasing and decreasing the tempo within a phrase, and the piece was just a whole lot of fun to hear.

The concert opened with Sibelius’ “Andante Festivo,” a solemn and brief piece that he wrote for the 1939 World’s Fair. The orchestra’s sound, guided expertly by Selden, showed an excellent blend from top to bottom giving the music a slightly sweet but not not too sentimental feeling.

Dvořák’s “Serenade for Strings” received a spirited performance from the orchestra but suffered at times from problems with intonation. I thought that the fourth movement, “Larghetto,” and fifth, “Finale: Allegro vivace,” benefited from the best ensemble playing. Accents were crisp, the dynamics more pronounced, plus Selden and company made sure that the piece ended with an uplifting surge.

Today's Birthdays

Thomas Beecham (1879-1961)
Wallingford Riegger (1885-1961)
Sir Malcom Sargent (1895-1967)
Edward "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974)
Harold Shapero (1920-2013)
Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014)
Willie Nelson (1933)
Klaus Voormann (1938)
Leslie Howard (1948)
Eero Hämeenniemi (1951)
Gino Quilico (1955)

and

Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933)
William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951)
Robert Gottlieb (1931)
Yusef Komunyakaa (1947)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1906, Victor Herbert conducts a benefit concert at the Hippodrome in New York City for victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Today's Birthdays

John Jacob Niles (1892-1980)
Paul Sacher (1906-1999)
Margaret Vardell Sandresky (1921)
Zubin Mehta (1936)
Jeffrey Tate (1943)
Nicola LeFanu (1947)
Elise Ross (1947)
Michael Daugherty (1954)

and

James Monroe (1758-1831)
Karl Kraus (1874-1936)
Erich Salomon (1886-1944)
Robert Anderson (1917-2009)
Harper Lee (1926-2016)
Carolyn Forché (1950)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Johann Adam Reinken (1623-1722)
Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883)
Serge Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Nicolas Slonimsky (1894-1995)
Guido Cantelli (1920-1956)
Igor Oistrakh (1931)
Hamish Milne (1939-2020)
Jon Deak (1943)
Christian Zacharias (1950)

and

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Samuel Morse (1791-1872)
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
Ludwig Bemelmans(1898-1962)
C(ecil) Day Lewis (1904-1972)
Coretta Scott King (1927-2006)
August Wilson (1945-2005)

And from the former Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1667, the poet John Milton sold the copyright for his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, for 10 pounds. Milton had championed the cause of Oliver Cromwell and the Parliament over the king during the English Civil War, and published a series of radical pamphlets in support of such things as Puritanism, freedom of the press, divorce on the basis of incompatibility, and the execution of King Charles I. With the overthrow of the monarchy and the creation of the Commonwealth, Milton was named Secretary of Foreign Tongues, and though he eventually lost his eyesight, he was able to carry out his duties with the help of aides like fellow poet Andrew Marvell.

When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Milton was imprisoned as a traitor and stripped of his property. He was soon released, but was now impoverished as well as completely blind, and he spent the rest of his life secluded in a cottage in Buckinghamshire. This is where he dictated Paradise Lost — an epic poem about the Fall of Man, with Satan as a kind of antihero — and its sequel, Paradise Regained, about the temptation of Christ.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Erland von Koch (1910-2009)
Pierre Pierlot (1921-2007)
Teddy Edwards (1924-2003)
Wilma Lipp (1925-2019)
Ewa Podleś (1952)
Patrizia Kwella (1953)

and

David Hume (1711-1776)
John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
Anita Loos (1889-1981)
Bernard Malamud (1914-1986)
I. M. Pei (1917-2019)

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Portland Opera's "Journey To Justice" effectively spotlights the Black experience

Portland Opera strongly addressed racism with a thought-provoking concert of powerful art songs mostly written by composers of color and sung by gifted, young opera singers of color. Directed by Chip Miller and filmed for an online audience, this concert, entitled Journey To Justice, was curated by singer/composer Damien Geter, and the timing couldn’t be much more on the spot due to Derek Chauvin trial and the ongoing prevalence of race-related problems across the nation.

The concert opened with “Songs for the African Violet” written by Jasmine Barnes (both music and text) in praise of Black women. Soprano Leah Hawkins ardently delivered vivid lines such as “Brown like the Earth but much richer” and “She birthed generation and they hate her.” Later she asks if it is fair to be judged by the color of your skin, and after a crashing chord on the piano declaims “no, it isn’t.” “Flowers, water your flowers,” is tenderly poignant. The last movement, “Crown” breaks into a jazzy-gospel passage and ends with an ecstatically.

Shawn Okpebholo’s “Two Black Churches,” movingly sung by Michael Parham, relates the story of a little girl who wants to participate in a Freedom March but is told by her mother to go the church instead to avoid the problem of hate and racism. The girl goes to church which is bombed by racists – just like it was in Birmingham, Alabama in 1964. The second church conveys the grief after the shooting of parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The slow visual flashes at the end of the piece suggest a transition to a future that is undefined.

Stephen Charles Flaherty’s “Your Daddy’s Son” from the musical “Ragtime” was sung with conviction by soprano Lynnesha Crump. Although the music was simpler and less complex than all of the other pieces on the program, the context of the song – a mother dealing with no father to help her raise her baby – was tremendously effective.

Narrator Ithica Tell, mezzo-soprano Jasmine Johnson, and a small chorus (all separated six feet apart) presented Damien Geter’s “The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact with the Police” with conviction. “The Talk” is no-nonsense and straightforward. The moving element of this piece is the fact that the talk is necessary for people of color to stay alive. It was an excellent setup for the next piece.

“Night Trip,” a one-act opera by Carlos Simon with a libretto by Sandra Seaton received terrific performances, led by Jasmine Johnson as Conchetta, 16-year-old girl excited to travel from the city to a small town where she has freedom to run around and visit her aunts. She is driven there by her Uncle Wesley, sung with steely nerve by Edwin Jhamal Davis, and her Uncle Mack, whose vulnerability was sung charismatically by David Morgans Sanchez. The trip goes awry after they have to stop at a gas station of fill up. The music conveys tension and drama in a compact space with an outcome that is sobering and still hopeful.

The concert ended on high ground with Lynnesha Crump delivering inspiring words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Songs of Love and Justice” by Dr. Adolphus Hailstork. “Good men must overcome the terrible deeds of evil men” was one of the many meaningful lines that emphasized the importance of love to bring about a better world.

Evocative piano accompaniment by Nicholas Fox and Sequoia enhanced each piece as did the lovely playing of cellist Dylan Rieck in “Songs for the African Violet” and bass clarinetist Louis DeMartino in ““Your Daddy’s Son.”

“Journeys To Justice” is augmented by excellent videos that discuss the selection of the pieces in the program, the perspective of Black singers and composers in the world of opera, and Oregon’s history of racism. These presentations and the concert make Journeys To Justice well-worth the trip, which is available for online streaming until May 31st. Kudos to Portland Opera and all involved.

Today's Birthdays

Gottlieb Muffat (1690-1770)
Ella Fitzgerald (1918-1998)
Astrid Varnay (1918-2006)
Siegfried Palm (1927-2005)
Digby Fairweather (1946)
Truls Mørk (1961)

and

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)
Howard R. Garis (1873-1962)
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937)
Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965)
David Shepherd (1931-2017)
Ted Kooser (1939)
Padgett Powell (1952)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1841, at a fund-raising concert in Paris for the Beethoven monument to be erected in Bonn, Franz Liszt performs Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto with Berlioz conducting. Richard Wagner reviews the concert for the Dresden Abendzeitung. The following day, Chopin gives one of his rare recitals at the Salle Pleyel, and Liszt writes a long and glowing review for the Parisian Gazette Musicale.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Giovanni Martini (1706-1784)
Charles O'Connell (1900-1962)
Violet Archer (1913-2000)
John Williams (1941) - guitarist
Barbara Streisand (1942)
Norma Burrowes (1944)
Ole Edvard Antonsen (1962)
Augusta Read Thomas (1964)
Zuill Bailey (1972)
Catrin Finch (1980)

and

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)
Willem De Kooning (1904-1997)
Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989)
Stanley Kauffmann (1916-2013)
Sue Grafton (1940)
Clare Boylan (1948-2006)
Eric Bogosian (1953)
Judy Budnitz (1973)

From the former Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1800, the Library of Congress was established. In a bill that provided for the transfer of the nation's capital from Philadelphia to Washington, Congress included a provision for a reference library containing "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress — and for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein ..." The library was housed in the Capitol building, until British troops burned and pillaged it in 1814. Thomas Jefferson offered as a replacement his own personal library: nearly 6,500 books, the result of 50 years' worth of "putting by everything which related to America, and indeed whatever was rare and valuable in every science."
First opened to the public in 1897, the Library of Congress is now the largest library in the world. It houses more than 144 million items, including 33 million catalogued books in 460 languages; more than 63 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world's largest collection of films, legal materials, maps, sheet music, and sound recordings.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Preview of Orli Shaham concert with the VSO (WA) in The Columbian today

My article about Orli Shaham's concert this weekend with the Vancouver Symphony is in today's newspaper, but it is accessable by subscription only. Here is the link.

Today's Birthdays

Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521)
Andrea Luchesi (1741-1801)
Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)
Arthur Farwell (1872-1952)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Artie Shaw (1910-2004)
Jean Françaix (1912-1997)
Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009)
Robert Moog (1934-2005)
Roy Orbison (1936-1988)
Joel Feigin (1951)

and

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
James Patrick (J. P.) Donleavy (1926-2017)
Coleman Barks (1937)
Barry Hannah (1942-2010)
Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)

From the former Writer's Almanac:

Today is the birthday of Roy Orbison (1936), born in Vernon, Texas. One day, during a songwriting session with his partner Bill Dees, Orbison asked his wife, Claudette Frady Orbison, if she needed any money for her upcoming trip to Nashville. Dees remarked, “Pretty woman never needs any money.” Forty minutes later, Orbison’s most famous hit, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” had been written.
And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1993, Morten Lauridsen's "Les Chanson des Roses"(five French poems by Rilke) for mixed chorus and piano was premiered by the Choral Cross-Ties ensemble of Portland, Ore., Bruce Browne conducting.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709)
Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)
Eric Fenby (1906-1997)
Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953)
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)
Charles Mingus 1922-1979)
Michael Colgrass (1932-2019)
Jaroslav Krcek (1939)
Joshua Rifkin (1944)
Peter Frampton (1950)
Jukka-Pekka Saraste (1956)

and

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
Louise Glück (1943)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in 2001, the Philharmonic Hungarica gives its final concert in Düsseldorf. The orchestra was founded by Hungarian musicians who fled to West Germany after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. For London/Decca Records the Philharmonic Hungarica made the first complete set of all of Haydn's symphonies under the baton of its honorary president, the Hungarian-American conductor Antal Dorati.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Randall Thompson (1899-1984)
Leonard Warren (1911-1960)
Bruno Maderna (1920-1973)
Locksley Wellington 'Slide' Hampton (1932)
Easley Blackwood (1933)
Lionel Rogg (1936)
John McCabe (1939-2015)
Iggy Pop (1947)
Richard Bernas (1950)
Melissa Hui (1966)

and

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)
John Muir (1838-1914)
Elaine May (1932)
Nell Freudenberger (1975)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1937, Copland's play-opera for high school "The Second Hurricane," was premiered at the Grand Street Playhouse in New York City, with soloists from the Professional Children's School, members of the Henry Street Settlement adult chorus, and the Seward High School student chorus, with Lehman Engle conducting and Orson Welles directing the staged production. One professional adult actor, Joseph Cotten, also participated (He was paid $10).

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
Lionel Hampton (1908-2002)
Christopher Robinson (1936)
John Eliot Gardiner (1943)
Robert Kyr (1952)

and

Pietro Aretino (1492-1556)
Harold Lloyd (1893-1971)
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Sebastian Faulks (1953)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1928, in Paris, the first public demonstration of an electronic instrument invented by Maurice Martenot called the "Ondes musicales" took place. The instrument later came to be called the "Ondes Martenot," and was included in scores by Milhaud, Messiaen, Jolivet, Ibert, Honegger, Florent Schmitt and other 20th century composers.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (1785-1858)
Max von Schillings (1868-1933)
Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
Ruben Gonzalez (1919-2003)
Dudley Moore (1935-2002)
Bernhard Klee (1936)
Kenneth Riegel (1938)
Jonathan Tunick (1938)
David Fanshawe (1942-2010)
Murray Perahia (1947)
Yan-Pascal Tortelier (1947)
Natalie Dessay (1965)

and

Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727)
Etheridge Knight (1931-1991)
Sharon Pollock (1936)
Stanley Fish (1938)

and from the New Music Box:

On April 19, 1775, William Billings and Supply Belcher, two of the earliest American composers who at the time were serving as Minutemen (militia members in the American Revolutionary War who had undertaken to turn out for service at a minute's notice), marched to Cambridge immediately after receiving an alarm from Lexington about an impending armed engagement with the British.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Limited, in-person organ concert at Trinity Episcopal features stunning artistry of Stephen Buzard


On the evening of Friday, April 16, I walked into Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and experienced my first live-in-person concert since March of 2020. Only 50 or so people were able to obtain tickets; so the large nave (which can seat up to 600 people) looked empty. Still, there was an expectant vibe in the air and the listeners, who wore masks and sat at least six feet from each unless they were a family or group that was on very friendly terms. Concerts programs were not printed, but could be read from a QR code or from an email that had been sent by Trinity Episcopal. The idea behind that, of course, was to reduce any touching whatsoever.

Stephen Buzard, music director of St. James Cathedral in Chicago and one of the most eminent organists in the nation, gave a concert of Twentieth Century music with dance as a celebratory theme. This was Buzard’s first recital in thirteen months, but his wizardly technique on the magnificent Rosales organ was flawless.

I enjoyed the unusual sounds of Jehan Alain’s “Trois Danses.” Alain, a French composer who died in combat during WWII at age 29, was influenced by music of the orient as well the occident. The piece began with bright, rolling phrases that underwent a lot of nuanced changes. Later, slightly repetitive passages transitioned into a loud, swirling section that dissolved into a quiet plaintive cry and dove to the depths of a single low note that sounded like a death rattle before rising in a determined and defiant way.

Buzard played the “Air” and “Toccata” movements from Florence Price’s gentle “Suite for Organ.” Price, an African-American composer whose works have recently been rediscovered, created a contemplative setting that was pleasant and soothing. It acquired an uplifting feeling when a spiritual-like melody snuck in and gradually took over. This the culminated in a grand finale that was filled with joy.

Herbert Howell’s “Psalm-Prelude Set 2, No. 2” also had a meditative and introspective quality. It went from light to dark and back to light again before ending in a subdued and tender way.

The concert impressively kicked off with three selections from Calvin Hampton’s “Five Dances.” The first dance, entitled “The Primitives” captured everyone’s attention with its rollicking and rough-sounding opening. A tromping bass line produced a chaotic yet playful atmosphere that threatened to get out of hand but never did. This was followed by a refined and airy “At the Ballet” and an all-to-brief “Those Americans.”

The program concluded with the “Passacaglia” from Leo Sowerby’s “Symphony in G Major.” Buzard commanded this piece with panache, exploring a series of variations that was just plain fun to hear. The audience responded with a sustained ovation that brought him back to the lectern to announce an encore, a transcription that Buzard made of a memorable improvisation by organist Jeffrey Brillhart at St. Thomas Church in New York City in 2012. It was a fitting conclusion to a concert that will hopefully help us to draw a closing curtain on the pandemic.

Extra credit: I have had my two-doses of Pfizer vaccine. That doesn't ensure me again COVID-19, but it does - with the mask - help.

Today's Birthdays

Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674)
Franz von Suppé (1819-1895)
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977)
Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995)
Sylvia Fisher (1910-1996)
Penelope Thwaites (1944)
Catherine Maltfitano (1948)

and

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)
Bob Kaufman (1925-1986)
Susan Faludi (1959)

Also a historical tidbit from (the former) Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1906 an earthquake struck San Francisco. The earthquake began at 5:12 a.m. and lasted for a little over a minute. The world-famous tenor Enrico Caruso had performed at San Francisco's Grand Opera House the night before, and he woke up in his bed as the Palace Hotel was falling down around him. He stumbled out into the street, and because he was terrified that that shock might have ruined his voice, he began singing. Nearly 3,000 people died.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729)
Jan Václav Tomášek (1774-1850)
Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)
Maggie Teyte (1888-1976)
Harald Saeverud (1897-1992)
Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976)
Pamela Bowden (1925-2003)
James Last (1929-2015)
Anja Silja (1940)
Siegfried Jerusalem (1940)
Cristina Ortiz (1950)

and

Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen (1885-1962)
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975)
Brendan Kennelly (1936)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1906 - on tour in San Francisco with the Metropolitan Opera touring company, the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso sings a performance of Bizet's "Carmen" the day before the Great San Francisco Earthquake.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
Mischa Mischakov (1895-1981)
Henry Mancini (1924-1994)
Herbie Mann (1930-2003)
Dusty Springfield (1939-1999)
Stephen Pruslin (1940)
Leo Nucci (1942)
Richard Bradshaw (1944-2007)
Dennis Russell Davis (1944)
Peteris Vasks (1946)

and

John Millington Synge (1871-1909)
Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)
Merce Cunningham (1919-2009)
Sir Kingsley Amis (1922-1995)
Carol Bly (1930-2007)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758)
Karl Alwin (1891-1945)
Bessie Smith (1894-1937)
Sir Neville Marriner (1924-2016)
John Wilbraham (1944-1998)
Michael Kamen (1948-2003)
Lara St. John (1971)

and

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Henry James (1843-1916)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1931, Copland's "A Dance Symphony," was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. This work incorporates material from Copland's 1923 ballet "Grohg," which had not been produced. The symphony was one the winners of the 1929 Victor Talking Machine Company Competition Prize. The judges of the competition decided that none of the submitted works deserved the full $25,000 prize, so they awarded $5000 each to four composers, including Copland, Ernest Bloch, and Louis Gruenberg, and gave $10,000 to Robert Russell Bennett (who had submitted two works).

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Jean Fournet (1913-2008)
Paavo Berglund (1929-2012)
Morton Subotnick (1933)
Loretta Lynn (1935)
Claude Vivier (1948-1983)
John Wallace (1949)
Julian Lloyd Webber (1951)
Barbara Bonney (1956)
Mikhail Pletnev (1957)
Jason Lai (1974)

and

Christian Huygens (1629-1695)
Arnold Toynbee (1853-1882)
Anton Wildgans (1881-1932)
Tina Rosenberg (1960)

From the former Writer's Almanac:

It's the legal birthday of the modern printing press, which William Bullock patented on this day in 1863 in Baltimore. His invention was the first rotary printing press to self-feed the paper, print on both sides, and count its own progress — meaning that newspapers, which had until then relied on an operator manually feeding individual sheets of paper into a press, could suddenly increase their publication exponentially.

The Cincinnati Times was likely the very first to use a Bullock press, with the New York Sun installing one soon after. Bullock was installing a press for The Philadelphia Press when he kicked at a mechanism; his foot got caught, his leg was crushed, and he died a few days later during surgery to amputate. His press went on to revolutionize the newspaper business.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Felicien David (1810-1876)
William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875)
Milos Sadlo (1912-2003)
George Barati (1913-1996)
Frederic Rzewski (1938)
Margaret Price (1941-2011)
Della Jones (1946)
Al Green (1946)
Mary Ellen Childs (1959)

and

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)
Eudora Welty (1909-2001)
Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1958, American pianist Van Cliburn wins the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the first American to do so.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Profile of Damien Geter published in CVNA magazine



My article about the exciting opera singer, composer, and artistic advisor to the Resonance Ensemble and Portland Opera has just been posted in the Classical Voice of North America magazine. I hope that you enjoy reading it. Just click on this link.

Today's Birthdays

Pietro Nardini (1722-1793)
Joseph Lanner (1801-1843)
Johnny Dodds (1892-1940)
Lily Pons (1898-1976
Imogen Holst (1907-1984)
Thomas Hemsley (1927-2013)
Herbert Khaury (aka Tiny Tim) (1932-1996)
Henri Lazarof (1932-2013)
Montserrat Caballé (1933-2018)
Herbie Hancock (1940)
Ernst Kovacic (1943)
Stefan Minde (1936-2015)
Christophe Rousset (1961)

and

Beverly Cleary (1916-2021)
Alan Ayckbourn (1939)
Tom Clancy (1947-2013)
Gary Soto (1952)
Jon Krakauer (1954)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Jean-Joseph Mouret (1682-1738)
Charles Hallé (1819-1895)
Karel Ančerl (1908-1973)
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
Gervase de Peyer (1926-2017)
Kurt Moll (1938-2017)
Arthur Davies (1941)

and

Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549)
Christopher Smart (1722-1771)
Mark Strand (1934-2014)
Ellen Goodman (1941)
Dorothy Allison (1949)

From the New Music Box:

On April 11, 1941, Austrian-born composer Arnold Schönberg became an American citizen and officially changed the spelling of his last name to Schoenberg. He would remain in the United States until his death in 1951. Some of his most important compositions, including the Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, and the Fourth String Quartet, were composed during his American years.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Michel Corrette (1707-1795)
Eugen d'Albert (1864-1932)
Victor de Sabata (1892-1967)
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith (1891-1971)
Harry Mortimer (1902-1992)
Luigi Alva (1927)
Claude Bolling (1930)
Jorge Mester (1935)
Sarah Leonard (1953)
Lesley Garrett (1955)
Yefim Bronfman (1958)

and

William Hazlitt (1778-1830)
Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911)
David Halberstam (1934-2007)
Paul Theroux (1941)
Norman Dubie (1945)
Anne Lamott (1954)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1868, Brahms's "A German Requiem," was premiered at a Good Friday concert at Bremen Cathedral conducted by the composer.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Johann Kaspar Kerll (1627-1693)
Georg Matthias Monn (1717-1750)
François Giroust (1737-1799)
Supply Belcher (1751-1836)
Theodor Boehm (1794-1881)
Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)
Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1888-1953)
Sol Hurok (1888-1974)
Efrem Zimbalist Sr. (1889-1985)
Julius Patzak (1898-1974)
Paul Robeson (1898-1976)
Antal Doráti (1906-1988)
Tom Lehrer (1928)
Aulis Sallinen (1935)
) Jerzy Maksymiuk (1936)
Neil Jenkins (1945)

and

Charles-Pierre Baudelaire (1821-1867)
Gregory Goodwin Pincus (1903-1967)
J. William Fullbright (1905-1995)
Jørn Utzon (1918-2008)

From the former Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1860, the oldest known recording of the human voice was made — someone was singing Au Clair de la Lune. French inventor Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville captured sound waves on glass plates using a funnel, two membranes, and a stylus. He made the recording 17 years before Edison made his, but he didn't invent anything to play the recording back.

When researchers discovered these recordings three years ago, they assumed the voice singing was a woman's, so they played it at that speed. But then they re-checked the inventor's notes, and they realized that the inventor himself had sung the song, very slowly, carefully enunciating, as if to capture the beautiful totality of the human voice.

You can hear the astonishing recording at both speeds at firstsounds.org.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Claudio Merulo (1533-1604)
Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770)
Sir Adrian Boult (1889-1983)
E. Y. (Yip) Harburg (1896-1981)
Josef Krips (1902-1974)
Franco Corelli (1921-2003)
Walter Berry (1929-2000)
Lawrence Leighton Smith (1936-2013)
Meriel Dickinson (1940)
Dame Felicity Lott (1947)
Diana Montague (1953)
Anthony Michaels-Moore (1957)

and

Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857)
Edmund Husserl (1859-1938)
Harvey Cushing (1869-1939)
Robert Giroux (1914-2008)
Seymour Hersh (1937)
Barbara Kingsolver (1955)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1865, American premiere of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertate in Eb, K. 364(320d) for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra took place in New York, with violinist Theodore Thomas and violist Georg Matzka (A review of this concert in the New York Times said: "On the whole we would prefer death to a repetition of this production. The wearisome scale passages on the little fiddle repeated ad nausea on the bigger one were simply maddening.”).

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Charles Burney (1726-1814)
Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846)
Robert Casadesus (1899-1972)
Billie Holiday (1915-1959)
Ravi Shankar (1920-2012)
Ikuma Dan (1924-2001)

and

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998)
Donald Barthelme (1931-1989)
Daniel Ellsberg (1931)
Francis Ford Coppola (1939)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1918, the German conductor of the Boston Symphony, Karl Muck, is arrested and interned as an enemy alien after American enters World War I.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Johann Kuhnau (1660-1772)
André‑Cardinal Destouches (1672-1749)
Friedrich Robert Volkman (1815-1883)
Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961)
Andrew Imbrie (1921-2007)
Edison Denisov (1929-1996)
André Previn (1929-2019)
Merle Haggard (1937-2016)
Felicity Palmer (1944)
Pascal Rogé (1951)
Pascal Devoyon (1953)
Julian Anderson (1967)

and

Raphael (Rafaello Sanzio da Urbino) (1483-1520)
Joseph Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936)

From the New Music Box:

On April 6, 1897, the U.S. government granted Thaddeus Cahill a patent for his Telharmonium, or Dynamophone, the earliest electronic musical instrument. Cahill built a total of three such instruments, which utilized a 36-tone scale and used telephone receivers as amplifiers. The first one, completed in 1906 in Holyoke, Massachusetts was 60 feet long and weighed 200 tons. It was housed in "Telharmonic Hall" on 39th Street and Broadway New York City for 20 years.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Louis Spohr (1784-1859)
Albert Roussel (1869-1937)
Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989)
Goddard Lieberson (1911-1977)
Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000)
Richard Yardumian (1917-1985)
Evan Parker (1944)
Julius Drake (1959)

and

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
Arthur Hailey (1920-2004)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731)
Bettina Brentano von Arnim (1785-1859)
Hans Richter (1843-1916)
Pierre Monteux (1875-1964)
Joe Venuti (1898-1978)
Eugène Bozza (1905-1991)
Muddy Waters (1915-1983)
Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)
Sergei Leiferkus (1946)
Chen Yi (1953)
Thomas Trotter (1957)
Jane Eaglen (1960)
Vladimir Jurowski (1972)

and

Robert E. Sherwood (1896-1955)
Marguerite Duras (1914-1996)
Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in 1954, Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (age 87) leads his last concert with the NBC Symphony, an all-Wagner program

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Jean‑Baptiste‑Antoine Forqueray (1699-1782)
Edward Elzear "Zez" Confrey (1895-1971)
Sir Neville Cardus (1888-1975)
Grigoras Dinicu (1889-1949)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)
Louis Appelbaum (1918-2000)
Sixten Ehrling (1918-2005)
Kerstin Meyer (1928-2020)
Garrick Ohlsson (1948)
Mikhail Rudy (1953)

and

Washington Irving (1783-1894)
John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Herb Caen (1933-1997)
Dr. Jane Goodall (1934)

Friday, April 2, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Franz Lachner (1803-1890)
Kurt Adler (1905-1988)
April Cantelo (1928)
Marvin Gaye (1939-1984)
Raymond Gubbay (1946)

and

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)
Émile Zola (1840-1902)
Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Camille Paglia (1947)

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Today's Birthdays

Jean‑Henri d'Anglebert (1629-1691)
Ferrucco Busoni (1866-1924)
F Melius Christiansen (1871-1955)
Serge Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Dinu Lipatti (1921-1950)
William Bergsma (1921-1994)

and

Edmond Rostand (1868-1918)
Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011)
Milan Kundera (1929)
Francine Prose (1947)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1888, the eccentric Parisian composer and piano virtuoso Alkan is buried in the Montmatre Cemetery. Isidore Philipp, one of only four mourners who attend Alkan's internment, claimed to have been present when the composer's body was found in his apartment and said the elderly Alkan was pulled from under a heavy bookcase, which apparently fell on him while Alkan was trying to reach for a copy of the Talmud on its top shelf. This story has been discounted by some Alkan scholars.