Around The Classical Internet: November 4, 2011

Pianist Helene Grimaud performing in Montpellier, France in 2010.

Pianist Helene Grimaud performing in Montpellier, France in 2010. PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
  • The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of pianist Hélène Grimaud: "She cheerily recalls the story of bringing her father's letter opener into class one day, with the intention of stabbing a teacher who, she felt, had treated another child unfairly. The weapon fell out of Grimaud's bag as she tried to hide it in her desk, and it was confiscated. 'I was very disappointed to have shown so little character and not gone through with my plan while I still could,' she says."
  • The New York Times published an account of the musical "divorce" that has sundered Grimaud and conductor Claudio Abbado. The cause of their dispute? A brief moment in a Mozart concerto: "What it took to end it all, it seems, was 1 minute 20 seconds of music, a cadenza of a mere 30 measures."
  • Musicians have refused the Louisville Orchestra management's last offer.
  • Meanwhile, the management is now trying to recruit new players, despite being on the union's "unfair" list. In the comments to this blog post, a reader reports that at least one major music school is urging its students — and faculty — to ignore the call for applications.
  • The Tokyo String Quartet will bid goodbye to its last two members who are actually from Tokyo (or even Japanese), including the group's founding violist.
  • Young soprano Stafford Hartman was shot in a robbery just a few days earlier, but she still sang in the Memphis Opera production of Tosca — from a wheelchair.
  • The young composer Nico Muhly on the even younger Nico Muhly: "There comes a time when you're becoming like 11, 12, 13, 14, as a pianist you're meant to be playing Rachmaninoff, and I was like Gibbons, and strange transcriptions of Frescobaldi, whatever, like these weird things."
  • Here's some serious girl power: Canadian composer Ann Southam, who passed away last year at age 73, bequeathed $14M Canadian to the Canadian Women's Foundation, whose mission is to end violence against women and help move low-income women out of poverty.
  • An ardent devotee of Janacek: Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. "Mr. Murakami's latest novel begins with a fanfare: a taxi stuck in Tokyo traffic, a young woman dressed up for a business appointment in the back seat, and Leoš Janáček's Sinfonietta, with its glittering masses of brass, blasting from a stereo system of suspiciously good quality. The music is so strange and powerful that it literally propels the heroine, Aomame, out of the taxi and into the subtly changed reality of 1Q84."
  • Mighty Five: Hallé Orchestra Music Director Mark Elder picks the five most influential symphonies, starting with Haydn.

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