Around The Classical Internet: July 1, 2011

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  • Struggling to emerge from the shadows of allegations of unfair voting, the latest Tchaikovsky Competition has just concluded. The winners? No violinist was awarded the gold, but Russia's Sergey Dogadin and Israel's Itamar Zorman both won silver. Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan won gold in his category, and piano honors went to Russia's Daniil Trifonov.
  • Two South Koreans took top vocal honors: soprano Sun Young Seo and baritone Jon Min Park. (The overall contest winner won't be announced until July 3.)
  • But some of the biggest drama in Moscow has been going on outside the actual performances.
  • Russian conductor Mark Gorenstein allegedly directed an ethnic slur at Hakhnazaryan; Gorenstein apologized and stepped down.
  • The piano jurors have been taking heat about their choices in earlier rounds.
  • The best thing about the Tchaikovsky Competition?: "The audience, one of the most interactive, involved and opinionated groups of music lovers anywhere." But you can decide for yourself: for the first time ever, the public has been able to watch the rounds live online. They're now archived as well.
  • The premiere of Nico Muhly's Britten-shaded Two Boys at the English National Opera has drawn some of the most mixed reviews we've seen in ages.
  • For the prosecution, the Telegraph: "It turns out to be a fairly straightforward detective yarn, like an episode of 'Prime Suspect' in which Helen Mirren for some reason sings her way through the sifting of evidence."
  • The defense, from the Independent: "The most surprising thing about 'Two Boys' is the consonance and quiet sensuality of the score. Many words spring to mind: elegiac, mournful, poetic, melismatic." And from the New York Times: "Two Boys is Mr. Muhly's best work yet ... a landmark in the career of an important artist."
  • Back to the job board: Robin Ticciati is taking over as the new music director at Glyndbourne as of 2014. He began at that opera company as an assistant conductor at age 21; he'll be just 31 when he takes the reins.
  • Ludovic Merlot has taken on another new gig: he'll be the chief conductor at La Monnaie in Belgium starting in the 2012 season — just a year after becoming the Seattle Symphony's music director.
  • The perils of globalization have spread to California classical music festivals, says Mark Swed: "Musical locavores go hungry."
  • Composer Ken Ueno's essay on his journey into music: "When I first heard Bartók's Fourth String Quartet at Berklee, I felt like my body understood it. It was visceral. It spoke to me on a plane similar to the Metallica and Black Sabbath I was playing with my friends."
  • Anthony Tommasini on the New York Philharmonic's decision to swap out their free summers for a 9/11 memorial concert of Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony and, separately, a cash-raising performance with Andrea Bocelli: "It makes a gesture ... that the parks concerts are expendable. And that worries me." Music director Alan Gilbert responded: "I am making a personal promise that these beloved free concerts will return next summer, and continue for many years to come."
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra's musicians are demanding proof of their board's claim that the endowment can't be used to fund pensions.
  • Meanwhile, New York City Opera musicians have taken to playing outdoors to protest the company's impending move from Lincoln Center.
  • The death knell seems to be ringing for British TV singing competition "Popstar to Operastar."
  • Anne Midgette asks, does being a musician mean that you're more apt to attend your local symphony? "There's not an automatic correlation between the love of making music and the love of going to it."
  • This week, we celebrated the centennial of Bernard Herrmann's birth; Terry Teachout points us to a 1992 documentary about the master film scorer's life.
  • "In in a lifestyle of wall-to-wall wi-fi and instant tweets, the concert hall is one of the few places where we become reachable, where we can switch off our lifelines and surrender to a form that will not let us go."
  • Finally, the burning question that has occupied us for days now: Which composer is the biggest badass?



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