Author: bfc-admin

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Administrative: Tucson Symphony Orchestra

Arizona’s Tucson Symphony Orchestra has named Steven P. Haines president and chief executive officer. Haines was previously vice president for The POPS of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and president and CEO of Peter Nero and the Philly Pops for nearly eight years prior to that. Haines served as associate director of marketing and then marketing manager of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, and he was marketing and concert director for the Palm Beach Pops. From 1991 to 1994, he was director of marketing and public relations for the Florida Symphonic Pops. Most recently, Haines was CEO of The Young Americans, a performing arts college and touring organization. He has served as vice president of strategic growth and marketing at the San Francisco Zoo, and was executive director of San Francisco’s Stern Grove Festival, a leading presenter of free concerts and community engagement programs. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, with a degree in French and international communications.

Posted December 10, 2019

Reading List: December 2019

Stephen Walsh’s Debussy: A Painter in Sound, combining musical analysis with biography, has been published by Vintage Books. In February 2020, Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish pianist Stephen Hough’s essay collection Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More. Sebastiano de Filippi and Daniel Varacalli Costas’s The Other Toscanini: The Life and Works of Héctor Panizza, about Argentinian conductor and composer Héctor Panizza (1875-1967), has been published by University of North Texas Press. W.W. Norton & Company has published Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great Wear through the Cold War, by Jonathan Rosenberg, a professor of twentieth-century U.S. history at Hunter College at the City University of New York. A collection of essays by multiple authors entitled Over Here, Over There: Transatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I, has been published by the University of Illinois Press.  

Posted December 10, 2019

Obituary: Violin bow-maker Paul Siefried, 69

“One of Port Townsend’s master violin bowmakers, who helped make this a place known for bow making, died on Nov. 28,” writes Lily Haight in Wednesday’s (12/4) Leader (Port Townsend, WA). “Paul Siefried, who was a restorer of antique bows for musical instruments and a bow maker for more than four decades, died at the age of 69. His bows—light, delicate, ornate carved pieces of art—are scattered around the world, in the hands of artists who use them day in and day out to create music. According to The Strad magazine … his bows ‘were in the genre of Peccatte and Maire, but with the vibrancy, sensitivity and resilience of bows by legendary makers like Tourte and Voirin.’ Born in Chicago in 1950, Siefried … started at a leather shop after leaving art school…. He found a job as an apprentice at Cremona Violin Makers and Dealers in San Francisco. From there, he moved to Los Angeles to work at Hans Weisshaar…. It was there that he refined his skills…. In 1991, Siefried moved to Port Townsend with his wife and two children and set up shop in his backyard. He began making and restoring bows for musicians around the world.”

Posted December 10, 2019


Review: Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and her sisters in works by Clara Schumann

“A few weeks ago, in an online poll by BBC Music Magazine, Clara Schumann was voted the greatest composer of all time, beating out, among others, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and her husband, Robert,” writes Matthew Guerrieri in Saturday’s (12/7) Washington Post. “Friday’s Library of Congress concert celebrating Schumann’s 200th birthday, organized by pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, let Schumann’s music advocate for her. The argument was sound…. Piano works revealed Schumann as a quick, curious student of the latest trends…. A selection of six lieder, sung with big, filigree-gold tone by soprano Susanna Phillips, McDermott providing sympathetic accompaniment, further underlined Schumann’s craft…. To complete the portrait, McDermott was joined by her sisters [violinist Kerry McDermott and cellist Maureen McDermott] for Schumann’s chamber music…. The Op. 17 piano trio … a compact exercise in more extended forms … seems to foreshadow larger efforts that never arrived. Schumann, burdened with child-rearing while maintaining a busy concert career after Robert’s death, published only 23 works, with just a handful more emerging after she died. Perhaps a larger output might have meant a more prominent place in the canon…. Clara Schumann left us the music that she did. What she left is pretty great.”

Posted December 10, 2019

Pastreich: from orchestra to ballet

“Michael Pastreich isn’t shy about making one big admission: He took the job as the new executive director of The Washington Ballet in part because he wanted to work with Julie Kent,” writes Michael McCarthy in the December issue of Modern Luxury DC (Washington, D.C). “The legendary ballerina is now the creative director of the company, and Pastreich, who has been president and CEO of the Florida Orchestra for the past 11 years, says the experience has been fascinating.” Prior to the Florida Orchestra, Pastreich was executive director of the Elgin Symphony in Illinois and operations director of the San Jose Symphony. “Q: What has surprised you most about DC? Pastreich: I expected everything to be far more politicized. I have no idea of the political leanings of most of my board members—and I don’t need to. Everyone comes together to make great ballet and checks their political affiliations at the door. Q: What’s your professional mantra for leadership? Pastreich: Part of leadership is about knowing how to develop and when to spend social capital…. Q: Who are your artistic heroes? Pastreich: Yo-Yo Ma…. He’s … an apostle for great art.”

Posted December 10, 2019

Opinion: Women composers, topping Bay Area’s 2019 musical highlights

“For 2019, the Bay Area’s classical and new music scene had just one lesson to impart…. It’s time to give more attention and support to the music of female composers,” writes Joshua Kosman in Tuesday’s (12/10) San Francisco Chronicle. “You could make this case just on the basis of fairness and social justice … but my argument is … based on the fact that music by women provided an astonishing preponderance of the past year’s highlights…. I want more like these: Anna Thorvaldsdottir, ‘Metacosmos.’ For his first guest appearance with the San Francisco Symphony since being named the next music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen unveiled … [Thorvaldsdottir’s] gorgeous, engrossing new orchestral tone poem…. Florence Price, Symphony No. 3.… The Oakland Symphony’s vivid performance of this enchanting work under music director Michael Morgan on Jan. 25 was a knockout.” Also on Kosman’s list: chamber music by Betsy Jolas (at Cal Performances), Jessie Montgomery’s Banner and Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No. 3 (Oakland Symphony), Katherine Balch’s Artifacts (California Symphony), Stacy Garrop’s Glorious Mahalia (Kronos Quartet), Meredith Monk’s Atlas (LA Phil), Kristin Kuster’s When There Are Nine (Cabrillo Festival), Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves (West Edge Opera), and chamber music by Grazyna Bacewicz (Bard Festival West). 

Posted December 10, 2019

In photo: composer Florence Price (1887-1953)

Marin Alsop on creating a “global ode to joy” based on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

“Ever since Beethoven’s iconic Ninth Symphony premiered May 7, 1824 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, it has remained arguably the most popular composition in the classical music canon,” writes conductor Marin Alsop on Saturday (12/7) at National Public Radio. The article accompanies an audio interview with Alsop that includes music clips. Beethoven was “proposing nothing less than a philosophy for humanity…. We inherently know and feel these aspirations when we hear Beethoven’s Ninth…. My teacher and mentor, Leonard Bernstein, conducted a version of Beethoven’s Ninth at the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall where he changed Schiller’s word ‘freude’ (joy) to ‘freiheit’ (freedom) [which] inspired me to create a new project, ‘All Together: A Global Ode to Joy,’ marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 2020…. We’ll bring new texts to each location, plus added music…. In Baltimore, the new text has been created by rap artist, Wordsmith…. At Carnegie Hall, former U.S. Poet Laureate, Tracey K. Smith will do the honors. In Africa, the new text will be in Zulu…. Above all, Beethoven’s (and Schiller’s) themes of unity, tolerance, equality, love and joy … could not be more relevant today, when we see far too much disorder, misunderstanding and extremism.”

Posted December 10, 2019

Photo of conductor Marin Alsop by Grant Leighton. Inset photo: Ludwig van Beethoven

Register now for the League’s Mid-Winter Managers Meeting and Pre-Meeting Seminars, January 25-27

Now is the time to register for the League of American Orchestras’ 2020 Mid-Winter Managers Meeting next month in New York City. This national gathering for orchestra executive directors and youth-orchestra administrators provides opportunities to network with orchestra leaders from around the country, hear from experts, share ideas, and learn the latest about what is happening in the orchestra field. Keynote speaker Henry Timms, president and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and an expert in building digital movements as co-founder of #GivingTuesday, will explore the participatory, peer-driven “new power” of today’s interconnected world and how it affects orchestras. In addition to the meeting itself, there will be two compelling Pre-Meeting Seminars: Creating a Culture of Innovation, led by Derek Young of YMG Enterprises, LLC, and Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement, led by Bruce Thibodeau of Arts Consulting Group.

The 2020 Mid-Winter Managers Meeting takes place January 25-27 in NYC. Learn more and register for the Mid-Winter Managers Meeting

Posted December 9, 2019

Annapolis Symphony’s Academy, in second year, promoting diversity in classical music

The Annapolis Symphony Academy, an educational program of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, will present a free holiday concert on December 15 featuring musicians from the academy’s introductory, junior, and senior ensembles. The concert at Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold, Maryland will include music by Samuel Barber, J.S Bach, and Peter Warlock, plus holiday tunes and Festival Gigue, a new composition by composer Ajibola Jeremy Rivers, who will be in attendance. The concert will be conducted by ASO Concertmaster Netanel Draiblate (introductory ensemble); ASO violinist Heather Haughn (junior ensemble); and Simeone Tartaglione, music director of the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra and Newark (Delaware) Symphony Orchestra, will lead the senior ensemble. Founded in 2018, the Annapolis Symphony Academy offers music instruction to elementary through high school students, regardless of ability to pay, with a mission of promoting diversity in classical music. Said Netanel Draiblate, founder and director of the Annapolis Symphony Academy, “Our mission is to nurture musical talent and promote diversity, so we were thrilled to introduce our students to [Ajibola Jeremy Rivers’] amazing work and give them an opportunity to hear from the composer on building a musical career in today’s classical field.”

Posted December 9, 2019

In rare move, Metropolitan Opera adjusts season calendar to add three “Porgy” performances

“The Metropolitan Opera’s sold-out production of the Gershwins’ ‘Porgy and Bess’ has been so successful this season that the company is doing something without precedent in its modern history: It is adding several performances to the run,” writes Michael Cooper in Thursday’s (12/5) New York Times. “The show, which opened the season in September, was scheduled to return on Jan. 8 for seven performances, through Feb. 1. On Thursday, the Met announced it would add three more, on Feb. 4, 12 and 15. Big repertory companies … rarely have the flexibility to add performances … but the Met had an unexpected hole in its schedule [after] technical difficulties … with its plans to stage Robert Lepage’s complex production of Berlioz’s ‘La Damnation de Faust.’ … ‘Porgy’ … has become a runaway hit at a time when the Met has struggled with declining attendance. Starring Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles, one performance this fall broke a Met record, officials said: Because the company increases prices as demand rises, the performance took in 113 percent of its anticipated box office revenue. The Met said that most of the original cast would be able to perform the extra dates.”

Posted December 9, 2019