Around The Classical Internet: July 29, 2011

Conductor Roberto Paternostro leads a rehearsal with the Israel Chamber Orchestra on July 25, 2011 at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. i i

hide captionConductor Roberto Paternostro leads a rehearsal with the Israel Chamber Orchestra on July 25, 2011 at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany.

Frederic Happe/AFP/Getty Images
Conductor Roberto Paternostro leads a rehearsal with the Israel Chamber Orchestra on July 25, 2011 at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany.

Conductor Roberto Paternostro leads a rehearsal with the Israel Chamber Orchestra on July 25, 2011 at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany.

Frederic Happe/AFP/Getty Images
  • In a stunning turn from tradition, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, led by Roberto Paternostro — the child of a Holocast survivor — played Wagner at Bayreuth this past week, receiving an emotional standing ovation.
  • Says Paternostro, via Ha'aretz: "Must everyone who produces a masterpiece like 'Guernica' or the St. Matthew's Passion necessarily be a good person? The answer is no. Even criminals took off their blood-stained uniforms and played the most divine music."
  • Yet Paternostro and his orchestra have also faced some serious criticism back home; a Jerusalem Post writer called the performance "shameful" and a "national disgrace."
  • Riccardo Muti turned 70 this week. In an Austrian interview, he noted that he'll be cutting back on his podium time: operas only in Rome and in stage versions at the Chicago Symphony. (That means no more Salzburg.)
  • The father of the modern album cover, Alex Steinweiss, passed away earlier this month at age 94. His work mixed art and commerce, and forever altered the way music was marketed.
  • Somehow, the Cincinnati Art Museum forgot about an astonishing trove of about 800 musical instruments languishing in storage — a collection that rivals the Metropolitan Museum's collection.
  • There's a new director at the Wagner bicentennial Ring cycle at Bayreuth, after film director Wim Wenders pulled out.
  • This is geared towards classical neophytes, but the New York Times has done a little roundup of classical music apps for smartphones. (We also learn that writer Bob Tedeschi loves Alec Baldwin. Who doesn't?)
  • A look at how Robert Spano is doing in getting the Aspen Music Festival back in order after turmoil. Says Veda Kaplinsky, a pianist who has been on the faculty for eight years: "Last year was a nightmare, and this year has been bliss."
  • Nike Wagner, descendant of both Liszt and Wagner is talking about her famous family, including her "old Nazi" grandmother who lived next door and her conflicted father.
  • Dallas Opera is canceling its production of Katya Kabanova next season, due to financial difficulties.
  • Did the castration performed on legendary 18th-century singer Farinelli to preserve his treble voice into adulthood actually ruin his mind?
  • The musicians and management at the Philadelphia Orchestra are still wrestling over the release of financial information related to the orchestra's endowment, even as their bankruptcy bills continue to mount.
  • David Mermelstein at the Wall Street Journal profiles the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming: "It does not aspire to improve young musicians. Nor does it serve as a showcase for one major orchestra, or as a place where burnished ensembles alight to entertain the rich. Instead, it is a place where some of this country's best orchestral players gather annually to make music with each other."
  • Placido Domingo's newest role: fighting piracy. (The recording kind, not the Gulf of Aden kind.) He notes that one motivation was a decline in his own income.
  • A new documentary pays moving tribute to former Boston Symphony Orchestra harpist Ann Hobson Pilot — the first African-American woman to serve as a principal player in a major orchestra.

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