Despite the rather glib title, there is a serious intent behind this post. As someone who has taken two performance diplomas in fairly quick succession (less than 18 months apart), I want to offer some advice and support to those who are preparing for diplomas. First and foremost, don’t be under any illusions about these […]
The launch of the London Piano Meetup Group at Peregrine’s Pianos on Saturday 18th May was a very enjoyable and successful event, very well-attended, and friendly. Hosted by Lorraine Liyanage and myself, we had six performers playing repertoire by Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Brahms and Rimsky-Korsakov, and all the playing was of a very high standard. […]
For all my anticipation seeing Simon Rattle onstage with the Philadelphia Orchestra last night at Carnegie Hall, it was soprano Barbara Hannigan who unapologetically stole the show. Hannigan, who hails from Canada, is one of today's most sought-after contemporary musicians, with over 70 world premieres to her credit. She is also one of today's most charismatic singers, known for writhing about the stage like a woman possessed. Hannigan's calling card is Mysteries of the Macabre: a three-part aria taken from Gyorgy Ligeti's absurdist opera Le grande macabre. Hannigan, portraying the Chief of the Secret Political Police, wore a black wig, lycra dress and thigh-high boots with 4 inch heels, which she used at one point to ...
by Robert LeeperLast Tuesday night, fresh from curating and performing in his own festival, A Scream and An Outrage, Brooklyn-based composer Nico Muhly returned to New York for two shows at (le) Poisson Rouge. The evening consisted of a broad range of works based loosely around a preview of his upcoming opera, Two Boys, premiering at the Metropolitan Opera in October. With a libretto by celebrated American playwright Craig Lucas, Two Boys examines issues associated with the darker corners of the Internet and online chat rooms. The production is an important part of Met General Manager Peter Gelb’s larger effort to bring opera to a younger demographic, and the nature of the issues explored firmly drags opera into ...
Until I heard Alarm Will Sound perform scenes from The Hunger, your work-in-progress about the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852, my idea of traditional Irish music was the Clancy Brothers! The sean-nós (“old style”) recordings you incorporate are at once uplifting and haunting, but Rachel Calloway’s rendition of Annals of the Famine had me a [...]
Movie composer John Williams turned 81 in February, and no orchestra stepped up to celebrate the passing of his perfect nine square birthday. Perhaps they were all exhausted by the Tanglewood celebration of his 80th last year. Williams may be America’s most successful movie composer; his music revels in the film’s narrative, loudly commenting on [...]
Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career? My mother brought home from the public library a recording by Vladimir Horowitz. Already, I was studying music and learning to play the piano; but it was those sounds that ignited my musical interest. Who or what were the most […]
Schubert: Fantasy in C ‘Grazer’, D 605a Vriend: JOY (2011) Chopin: Sonata in g, opus 65, Nocturne, opus 62/1 Debussy: Estampes Lutoslawski: Grave Joy Lisney, violoncello / James Lisney, piano Catalogue No. WOODCD811 (1 CD) ‘Schubertreise’ is the fanciful name for a concert series presented by pianist James Lisney at London’s Southbank Centre (from 2001 [...]
It would be foolish of me to attempt to review harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani’s magical Wigmore Hall recital in detail, as I have neither the knowledge of the mechanics of the instrument nor familiarity with the repertoire to do justice his performance. I “dabbled” with the harpsichord while at school, playing continuo in a Baroque group, [...]