Monday, June 9, 2014

#musicmonday: Songs Our Mothers Taught Us (video)

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5:33 PM
This photo was taken at the wedding of my great-great-grandparents, Adolf and Paulina Drewitz, in Warsaw, Poland in 1896. She was five months pregnant--check out that terrifying corset action. Miraculously, the baby boy who would grow up to be my mom's "Grandpa D" was born alive and whole. He came to the states with his parents in 1900, survived their scandalous divorce and the loss of his dad a year later, lived for polka and early Broadway music, married a first-generation French-American girl, and raised a daughter who played the piano in a badass WWII-era all-girl swing band.

I've posted before about my mom's and my connection to Polish music and the performing we've gotten to do in Poland--and I've even mentioned the revamp of our Polish-American program that we'll be performing, locally and on the other side of the pond, next season. A Chopin program--which is how we initially billed our show, even though it also contained Gershwin and Kern like Grandpa D listened to--is a pretty natural choice for any pianist + collaborator. But the seed of our deeply personal program was really planted when we started investigating our Polish roots around 2006. [more + VIDEO after the jump]

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Classical Newbies of Raleigh

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10:01 AM
A sold out house = a beautiful sight
A few months ago, as the San Diego Opera fiasco unfolded, I read this post on the blog of Kim Pensinger Witman, fabulous director of Wolf Trap Opera.

It took me over an hour tonight to read all of the various outpourings on my Facebook feed. [ ... ] The vehemence and emotion is overwhelming. It almost seems more violent than during last fall’s NYCO death spiral. Perhaps we can no longer as easily hide behind the 2008 recession as the primary reason [opera houses are failing]. Perhaps we're finally being pushed over the edge.

Yikes. But good news--for opera, for San Diego, for Raleigh & for readers of this blog--after the jump.
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