NPR logo Around The Classical Internet: September 9, 2011

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Around The Classical Internet: September 9, 2011

Conductor James Levine rehearses the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007. AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Conductor James Levine rehearses the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

AFP/AFP/Getty Images
  • After suffering a fall on a Vermont vacation, James Levine has pulled out of all his fall performances at the Metropolitan Opera, which seems to have triggered the start of a new era at the house: Fabio Luisi has been brought on as principal conductor.
  • Alex Ross thinks Luisi's permanent appointment is still something of a stopgap measure, and adds that General Manager Peter Gelb's "intermittently dubious artistic decisions — notably, hiring Robert Lepage to direct a so far dramatically inert, at times inept production of Wagner's Ring — suggest the need for a decisive musical intelligence on the staff."
  • Tenor Salvatore Licitra's death, ten days after the 43-year-old was in a severe scooter accident, rocked the opera world. The funeral was held today in Monza, Italy, near Milan.
  • Yo-Yo Ma will get a Kennedy Center honor that's overdue, says Anne Midgette: Predicting it "was rather like forecasting snow in January; it was pretty much certain to happen one of these years. It's only surprising it took so long."
  • The San Francisco Symphony just celebrated its centennial in style.
  • Composer Nico Muhly offers an entirely reasonable plea: Let composers have access to recordings of their own music performed by orchestras. But the responses, he says, tend to be anything but: "What then happens is an unbelievable series of Kafkaesque email threads, out-of-office messages, invented holidays, bizarre threats, secret handshakes. If you're lucky, and very very persistent, you might end up with a CD of it, along with a note saying that 'this never happened' and 'don't tell anybody you have this.'"
  • A bass player with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Rick Robinson, is taking a one-year sabbatical from his job to try to to reach young African-Americans: "We need to go outside the church — the traditional concert hall — to bring in new parishioners ... In this country, blacks lead the pop music scene in a lot of ways. By playing classical music, I'm making the statement that it's OK to leave your culture."
  • Lots of good news for the Montreal Symphony this week: They have a new hall and a new pay deal for their musicians.
  • Remember that a couple of weeks ago the Louisville Orchestra axed its September and October concerts? Now November's off as well.
  • Siemens is pulling the plug on its sponsorship of the Bayreuth Festival, for which it hosted public screenings and webcasts of performances: "The baby has grown up and learned to walk on its own, and now we wish to pursue other projects."
  • There was a charming documentary on The Knights — the exciting orchestra founded by two brothers who also comprise half of Brooklyn Rider — on the New York PBS station Channel Thirteen last night. Here's hoping for wider distribution.
  • A profile of bass Hao Jian Tang and his Beijing opera boot camp for American and European singers: "Tian arrived penniless in the U.S. nearly 30 years ago, knowing just three words of English. Within a decade, he was performing at the Met."
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