Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Performer Profiles: A Series (and a breeding ground for crazy schemes)

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5:29 AM

This is a pretty picture of a euphonium
This blog got me a paid gig within 10 days of my first post.


Marketing my performances wasn't even really my goal in starting to write here--nicest darn surprise I've gotten in years. My mom and I have retooled our Polish-American program to include more Chopin, more Gershwin, and more music that's personal and specific to our family history. It's now called Songs Our Mothers Taught Us, and we'll be bringing it to several venues in Poland and to the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex during the 2014-2015 season. Hurray!

I'm hoping it can get you one, too. (more after the jump)


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Friday, April 25, 2014

Live Art Music In & Around Raleigh 4/28-5/4

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9:31 AM

William Henry Curry, resident NC Symphony conductor
Raleigh

- STRAUSS & MOZART, a fun light program featuring opera & operetta overtures and waltzes from the NC Symphony, 5/2 at 12 PM, Meymandi Concert Hall. tickets


- BEAU CHANT, an evening of 19th-c. art song themed around the museum's Rodin exhibit featuring mezzo Shannon French, soprano Erin Matson Murdock, and collaborative pianist Margaret Singer of the Paris Opera's Atélier Lyrique, 5/4 at 3 PM, NC Museum of Art's East Building Auditorium. tickets $12 at door

Durham

- ROMEO AND JULIET, from Carolina Ballet with critically-acclaimed choreography & Prokofiev's gorgeous score, 5/3 at 8 PM, DPAC. tickets

Chapel Hill

- NC OPERA AT THE SPRING GARDEN TOUR, featuring soprano Andrea Edith Moore, 5/3 at 3:30 and 4:30 PM, UNC Botanical Garden. tickets 

Apex

- IT'S SPRING, featuring a new work for saxophone and piano by Apex-based composer Karel Husa as well as John Williams' arrangement of "'Tis a Gift to be Simple" for President Obama's inauguration, 5/4 at 3 PM, Halle Cultural Arts Center. tickets

FREE

- OCTAVIA, Meredith College's piano ensemble playing transcriptions for two pianos eight hands of the Egmont and Coriolan Overtures of Beethoven, an unusual set of pieces for piano six hands by Jean Cras, and several pieces for piano four hands by Amy Beach. 5/1 at 7:30 PM, Carswell Recital Hall. free

- SUSAN MOESER, organist of the UNC faculty, playing Messiaën, Bach, Couperin, and others, 5/1 at 7:30 PM, Chapel of the Cross. free

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Quirky Venues: Fullsteam Brewery (AND VIDEO OF LITTLE BABIES DANCING)

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7:25 AM
Who goes to see live contemporary classical music? Generally not little babies.

If you are a little baby, then like the rest of the little baby population, you may find yourself put off by the solemn atmosphere of the concert hall. The cerebral parlor tricks of modern composers may rankle against the anti-intellectual sentiment so typically held by the little babies of today.

But of course, contemporary classical can't be put into a box like that. Plenty of it is poppy and fun. In the constant search for new, more diverse & younger art music audiences, sometimes half the battle is won if you can just bring the music to new people instead of trying to do the work of convincing them they'll like it beforehand. [hilarious video after the jump]
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Live Art Music In and Around Raleigh 4/14-4/27

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8:31 AM
Benjamin Grosvenor at Duke 4/27, photo credit Patrick Allen

Raleigh

BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2 with Yefim Bronfman and the NC Symphony, Program also includes the composer's Coriolan overture and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6.  4/25 and 4/26 at 8PM, Meymandi Concert Hall. tickets

RACHMANINOV DIVINE LITURGY sung by the NC Master Chorale (a cappella! in Old Slavonic!). 4/26 at 8 PM in Binkley Chapel, 4/27 at 3 PM, Broughton High School Auxiliary Gym. tickets

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Interview with Composer D. Edward Davis

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7:59 PM
D. Edward Davis (that's how it's spelled, he told me, but it's pronounced "Eddie"), a Ph.D. candidate in Composition at Duke, is working on a brass piece for this year's Summer Institute of Contemporary Performance Practice and a one-man opera about ghost towns. Determinedly individual, he composes music built around field recordings and studded with pockets of silence and electronic sound. When we met up at Cocoa Cinnamon last week, he was eager to share his thoughts about about the importance of silence in music, the connections between performance and visual art, and the role of the artist in society. He got started before I could even break out my scripted questions. I set my iPhone on the table and he asked how I planned to record the interview.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Live Art Music in & Around Raleigh 4/14-4/20

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12:00 PM

bu-ku: delicious food that also makes you feel fancy
Raleigh

     - SOUNDBITES AT THE PUB, featuring musicians from the NC Symphony playing Ysayë's violin concerto and a Mendelssohn string quartet while you eat an ambrosial 3-course dinner, 4/14 at 6 PM, at bu-ku (official watering hole of the NC Opera chorus). tickets menu

     - JAZZ AT NC STATE, featuring the school's multiple jazz combos, 4/15 at 7 PM in Frank Thompson Hall, tickets

 

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Amadeus at Leviathan Theatre Co. Pt. 2

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4:49 PM
From the program: amazing masks from Kurtzman & Deedler
Read part 1 of this review

There's a kind of weird for weird's sake that grates. The Leviathan Theatre Co.'s Amadeus flirts with it, but is saved by two things.

The first is the handling of the supporting characters. They're animals. (See picture to the left.)

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Amadeus at Leviathan Theatre Co.

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6:34 PM
I'm throwing up Part 1 of this review before the rest is done so that I can tell you before the day ends to go see Amadeus. (Edit: Read Part 2 here!) There are three more shows, and Saturday (4/12) is already sold out. If you like theater, classical music, and/or strange innovations and you're free on Thursday or Friday, GO.

As soon as I heard Leviathan was putting on Amadeus, I knew I was going to have to see it and write it up for the blog. While I always want music to remain firmly the focus here, I'm writing a play review and will likely write more because I like the idea of occasionally dipping into other cultural happenings around the Triangle. I like it because it's fun, and I like it because--amid all today's discussion of classical music's death possible mortal injury and how to stop the bleeding--I think one of the best things we can do is see it as more intersectional with other art forms. It's hard to think of a better marriage between classical music and theater than Peter Shaffer's play.

Also because Wolfie.

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Interview with Composer Jamie Keesecker

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8:14 AM
He also plays the accordion
His mom is a pianist, he dabbles in jazz bass, and he chose the French horn in middle school band after falling in love with John Williams's Star Wars scores--eclecticism is Jamie Keesecker's musical bread and butter. As a Ph.D. candidate in composition at Duke and co-creator of the score for a new touring ballet with the Dance Theatre of Harlem,
the composer builds musical mosaics from elements of jazz, classical chamber music, and electronic sound. But as the leader of the Duke New Music Ensemble [dnme], he also creates opportunities for other composers, with the idea that music should be fun and every compositional style should have a place at the table. We sat down for coffee at Parker and Otis this week, and Jamie answered some questions for me about his time in Durham, his creative process, and his music.
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Live Art Music in & around Raleigh 4/7-4/15

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8:20 PM
UNC's Javanese-inspired Gamelan Nyai Saraswati
Get out your calendars; lots to hear this week:

     - AN IMPROVISATION RECITAL BY YURI YAMAMOTO, the Raleigh-based pianist and composer, 4/7 at 7:30 PM, Carswell Recital Hall at Meredith College. free

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Odds and Ends 3/31-4/6

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6:54 AM
     -Very positive and well-written reviews have continued to crop up for Rusalka

     - This was Dvořák's week: that production took place on Sunday 3/30, Monday 3/31 was the 113th anniversary of the opera's first performance, and on Tuesday 4/1 the composer would have celebrated his 173rd birthday somebody on Facebook totally got me with the most benign yet oddly specific April Fool's joke I've ever seen
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Singing in Rusalka with North Carolina Opera

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7:59 PM
Joyce El-Khoury as Rusalka, photo by Curtis Brown,  
© 2014 by North Carolina Opera

 Rusalka, which had its one, lonely showing on Sunday, was the fourth NC Opera show for which I've sung in the chorus. The others were, in order, Aïda, Così, and Bohème--all operas that I love, fantastic productions, and rehearsal processes I immensely enjoyed (I may or may not have cried tears of joy while sitting on the floor 10 yards from Angela Brown during her "O Patria Mia" in a staging rehearsal). But by the time each one closed, I was ready to see the back end of it. Not frantic, but ready--no matter how beautiful the music, it can get repetitive after a couple months. It's also always nice to be able to go home at the end of the day instead of rushing to rehearsal from the day job; and even nicer to eat something that doesn't come from the Jimmy John's equidistant between my day job & Meymandi.
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