RECENT: Defining Our Field - what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences? Read John Dante Prevedini's essay, watch the panel discussion and make your own comments.
Classical Music Daily publishes a high resolution PDF monthly newletter, normally on the first day of each month. The Art of Thinking, our June 2020 newsletter, has just been published. It has sixteen pages and twenty-two illustrations. This 2.6Mb download can be accessed by following the link below.
The short news items below have all been included in the newsletter, so you may prefer to read them there.
The USA is experiencing more than its due share of troubles currently. Anthony McGill, principal clarinettist at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, has led the online musical demonstration (#TakeTwoKnees) in protest of the death of George Floyd. 'Replies', also by video, include those from tenor Lawrence Brownlee, flautist Demarre McGill, composer and flautist Allison Loggins-Hill, trombonist Weston Sprott, dancer Alicia Graf Mack and trumpeter Billy Hunter. Anthony McGill commented: Earlier this year, before the pandemic, I performed in Birmingham, Alabama and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The challenging history of those places speaks for itself, but in those two trips, I met some of the nicest people that you’ll ever meet in this country. I also pondered how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go in terms of treating everyone with respect and decency. We live alongside that reality all across America. What the news this week and most weeks of my life demonstrates, however, is that Black lives didn’t matter in our glorified past, and still don’t matter that much today…. Now’s the time to protest… let’s try and #TakeTwoKnees in the struggle for justice and democracy. No guidelines. Your message, your voice, your mission, your focus. : twitter.com/mcgillab/status/1266017555753439233
Responses to the current COVID-19 crisis vary enormously from country to country. Some organisations have cancelled their summer festivals completely, deferring their programmes until 2021 and/or announcing their 2021 programming now. Some have instead gone online and others are attempting to stage modified festivals this summer, complying with local guidelines. Giuseppe Pennisi has updated us on the state of the 2020 Salzburg Summer Festival and on this summer's Italian Festivals. Also in Italy, but this time firmly online, Coccia Theatre in Novara is presenting Alienati - 'the first Smart Working Opera' on the evening of 2 June 2020.
In France, harmonia mundi's new online store has just opened, offering the latest hm releases on CD, plus a large selection from the company's rich catalogue. New releases, including those recently reviewed here - Les siècles, Les Plaisirs du Louvre and Stabat Mater - can all be found, and forthcoming releases can be pre-ordered. The new online store is at store.harmoniamundi.com
American conductor Ryan Bancroft has been appointed Artist in Association to Tapiola Sinfonietta, the orchestra of the city of Espoo in Finland. The arrangement is for a three year period beginning in Autumn 2021. Bancroft won the 2018 Malko Competition for Young Conductors, and in Autumn 2020 he will become Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, assuming that this orchestra still exists at that date - rumours are currently circulating about amalgamation of various BBC orchestras. Details: tapiolasinfonietta.fi
Long Beach Opera (Long Beach, California, USA) has announced four productions for its 2021 'Season of Solidarity', beginning in January. These are The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies (23, 30 and 31 January), Enfants Terribles by Philip Glass (20, 27 and 28 March 2021), Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and Kate Soper's Voices From the Killing Jar (17 and 18 April 2021) and Comet / Poppea by George Lewis and Claudio Monteverdi (20, 26 and 27 June 2021). Details: longbeachopera.org
Also in the Los Angeles area, The Broad Stage gives a 2020/21 season preview. The season launches in Autumn 2020 with the first performances of Mark Grey and Júlia Canosa i Serra's mobile theatrical chamber opera Birds in the Moon, which will be performed outdoors, at various sites, physically distanced and free to the public. The company is working with Santa Monica College to present a modified in-theatre season, running from January until July 2021. Details: thebroadstage.org
On 21 May 2020, American record label Bright Shiny Things released If The Night Grows Dark - American soprano Camille Zamora's survey of four centuries of Spanish song, which also features Turkish-born guitarist Cem Duruöz.
New releases from Ablaze Records include Backwards from Winter by Douglas Knehans, for soprano, electric cello and electronics, recorded live at the Dark MOFO Festival, plus a new recording by American cellist Paul York of Witold Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto. Orchestral Masters Vol 6 features new orchestral music by sixteen contemporary composers from around the world, played by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Mikel Toms. Details: ablazerecords.net
Parma Recordings is working hard during the COVID-19 crisis, with many new online releases, such as Finnish-Canadian composer Jan Järvlepp's CONCERTO 2000 - tonal orchestral works played by the Janáček Philharmonic, Moravian Philharmonic and Zagreb Festival Orchestras. Another new release from The Crossing, conductor Donald Nally's professional chamber choir, is Carthage, which presents six works by James Primosch, winner of the 2020 Virgil Thomson Award. Both of these releases are on Navona Records - the most classical-flavoured of Parma's several record labels. The company's Parma Live Stage features regular concerts online. Coming soon are members of Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava playing live-streamed chamber music at 1pm EDT (or 17:00 UTC/GMT) on 4 June 2020. Details: parmarecordings.com
Bang on a Can announces its second Bang on a Can Marathon, live online, 3-9pm EDT on Sunday 14 June 2020 (or 19:00 on 14 June until 01:00 on 15 June 2020, UTC/GMT), to include first performances of ten newly-commissioned works, and twenty-five live performances from Canada, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Switzerland and the USA. All the performers and commissioned composers are being paid, and the marathon will be free to stream. Details: marathon2020.bangonacan.org
American pianist Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart is another feature of the COVID-19 crisis. Each Wednesday she makes available a different single movement from her forthcoming recording of Mozart Piano Sonatas: orlishahammozart.com
The Jupiter String Quartet announces its new album Metamorphosis, featuring Beethoven's Quartet Op 131 and Ligeti's Quartet No 1, 'Métamorphosis nocturnes'. The release date is 12 June 2020 on Marquis Classics, with physical CDs available on 7 August 2020: jupiterquartet.com
One piece of good news coming from England is that Dawsons Music is being rescued from administration. Established in 1898 in Warrington, Dawsons is one of the UK's oldest and largest retailers of musical instruments and equipment. Its network of stores in Belfast, Chester, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Reading were forced to close in March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the company has been continuing to trade online. The retailer has been bought out of administration by Manchester music entrepreneurs Andrew and Karen Oliver, and all seventy-five members of staff will keep their jobs. dawsons.co.uk
The 140-year-old Blackheath Conservatoire, part of London (UK)'s oldest purpose-built arts centre, is re-inventing itself by going online. Art, music and drama classes are being offered for students of all ages and abilities, with special offers being rolled out on social media. The South London charity has completely revised its creative output, and classes are available digitally to students internationally. Details: conservatoire.org.uk
London's prestigious Bach Choir is offering a series of free online choral workshops with conductor David Hill. This coming Wednesday evening, 3 June 2020, 6.30-8pm BST (or 17:30-19:00 UTC/GMT), singers joining the session on the ubiquitous Zoom system, will be offered vocal warm-up exercises before being led through the choruses of the Verdi Requiem: thebachchoir.org.uk
Posted 1 June 2020 by Keith Bramich