News

Jan-6-2021 —

Michigan’s Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will present the long-awaited world premiere of Michael Brown’s Concerto for Piano and Strings on April 30, 2021, with Music Director Julian Kuerti conducting and Brown at the keyboard. Brown’s concerto—inspired by Beethoven and composed in 2020, a year rife with celebrations surrounding the 250th anniversary of that composer’s birth—was co-commissioned by the Kalamazoo-based Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Poland’s NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra. The initial performances were originally scheduled to take place during the Beethoven year with the Gilmore Festival Orchestra under Kuerti and in Wroclaw, Poland, under NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra Music Director Joseph Swensen. Both had to be cancelled as concert life came to a temporary halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brown composed the concerto while in residence at Copland House in Peekskill, NY. The three-movement work, he says, “seeks to integrate my own musical language with that of Beethoven, by weaving musical fragments of his various works into my own harmonic landscape. Specific Beethoven references include long pedal markings blurring harmonies and sonorities, as in the Largo of the Third Piano Concerto; extended use of trills; and the interweaving of small motivic fragments throughout the work. I have often dreamed of being a fly on the wall observing Beethoven playing his own creations, and I hope this may pay homage to him from the perspective of my being both a composer and a pianist.”

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s April 30 performance will take place at 7 pm EST and is being streamed on the orchestra’s website, where it will be available for viewing through May 30.

 

Dec-30-2020 —

Violinist Melissa White makes her solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra this winter in a pair of concerts led by Music Director Louis Langrée. On a program titled “Traveling with Mozart,” she will perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216, dubbed “Strasburg” because of the theme in its opening Allegro movement. The concerts, which also include Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 (“Paris”) and Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”), will take place in Cincinnati’s Music Hall at 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 13 and 2 pm on Sunday, March 14.

 

Dec-29-2020 —

In advance of the spring release of “Bach’s Long Shadow,” his second solo album on the Orchid Classics label, Francisco Fullana will release a single featuring an historically informed performance of J.S. Bach’s famous Partita No. 2 in D Minor for Solo Violin. An expert in period performance practice, Fullana is playing the work using gut strings and Baroque tuning. The single is being recorded in January 2021 and will be available the following month. The “Bach’s Long Shadow” album, due out in May 2021, will showcase Fullana’s violinistic virtuosity in a range of styles and nationalities. In addition to Bach’s D Minor and E Major partitas for solo violin, it includes Asturias, a work by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909); Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909); the Sonata for Two Violins by Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931); and Recitativo and Scherzo by Fritz Kreisler (1875-1932). Fullana’s current instrument is the 1735 "Mary Portman" ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, kindly on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Dec-14-2020 —

For the 2021-22 season and beyond, Harlem Quartet will once again be sharing the stage with famed Cuban pianist/composer Aldo López-Gavilán, rekindling the joyously energetic concert experience that these five musicians brought to such cities as Seattle, Phoenix, Calgary, Washington, Houston, Denver, Tucson, Rockport (MA), and Chautauqua (NY) in the years between 2015 and 2018.

Dec-3-2020 —

On December 4, 2020, First Hand Records released a single from its forthcoming album The Stradgrass Sessions: a performance by violinist Tessa Lark and bassist Edgar Meyer of the dramatic finale to Meyer’s Concert Duo for Violin and Bass. The Lark/Meyer single (FHR100S2), available on all digital channels and in a short film, is drawn from an album that explores the violin’s stylistic capabilities in multiple ways, featuring Lark in duo collaborations with Meyer, jazz pianist Jon Batiste, fiddler extraordinaire Michael Cleveland and mandolinist Sierra Hull, as well as in two compositions for solo violin including the world premier recording of STOMP, a bluegrass-inspired work by John Corigliano.

Sep-22-2020 —

Violinist Melissa White has been appointed adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, where she joined the Music Artist Faculty on September 12. She begins her teaching duties this fall on a virtual basis pending the resumption of in-person instrumental instruction at the school. A concert soloist and founding member of Harlem Quartet, White has extensive teaching experience through her work with the quartet, which has been committed to community outreach since its inception and has held educational residencies at London’s Royal College of Music, Music Mountain in Falls Village (CT), the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Youth Symphony, and numerous other institutions. A native of Michigan, she holds performance degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory, where her teachers included Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, and Miriam Fried.

Jun-3-2020 —

Pianist-composer Michael Brown, an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, was the first musician featured in that organization’s new Front Row: Artist Series—a weekly virtual concert series showcasing eight CMSLC artists. Brown also made a little bit of musical history this spring as the first artist to collaborate virtually, rather than live and in person, with educator/musicologist/composer Rob Kapilow on Kapilow’s long-running What Makes It Great? program.

Jun-1-2020 —

Harlem Quartet is known for the unique eclecticism of its repertoire, and the ensemble’s newest recording affirms that legacy. Cross Pollination, a self-produced CD to be released on July 17, features music from the European canon (Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10); classic American jazz (Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night in Tunisia, as arranged by Dave Glenn and Harlem Quartet); a take on Ragtime by a contemporary European-American composer (William Bolcom’s Three Rags for String Quartet); and Cuarteto en guagancó, an African dance-inspired work by another eminent living composer, Cuba’s Guido Lopéz-Gavilán (father of Havana-born Ilmar Gavilán, Harlem Quartet’s first violinist).

 

May-13-2020 —

As the pandemic has brought a temporary halt to live performances everywhere, one orchestra near the nation’s capital is continuing to bring its sound to the community while also honoring the heroic healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19 . . .

 

Feb-16-2020 —

Souvenirs, debut album of the Rolston String Quartet, has been selected as a recording of the month for March 2020 by BBC Music Magazine. Commenting on the all-Tchaikovsky album in the magazine’s official website, classical-music.com, Erik Levi writes, “This beautifully recorded debut release confirms not only the Rolston String Quartet’s superb technical accomplishment and their impeccably blended sound, but also a maturity of interpretative approach that can only be achieved after long and patient engagement with the music.” Released last year . . .

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