Saturday, March 28, 2015

RIP Ronald Stevenson (1928 - 2015)

The sad news has just reached us that one of the giants of contemporary music in the UK has died. The great Ronald Stevenson, composer and pianist - indeed, composer-pianist - was described by some as a Lisztian figure for our times. A composer outside the mainstream, with Busoni among his most powerful influences, he held true to the integrity of his own voice throughout, was immensely loved and respected, and has been deeply influential - and will remain so for years to come.

Learn more about Stevenson and his life and music at the Ronald Stevenson Society, here.

Here is an introduction to one of his most celebrated pieces, the gigantic Passacaglia on D-S-C-H, from Marc-André Hamelin and Stevenson himself.



And here is an incredibly beautiful piece entitled 'In the Silent Night', from L'art nouveau de chant appliqué au piano, Vol 1, played by Stevenson's friend and devoted advocate, Murray McLachlan.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Oh, all right then...

... it's Friday, it's gone 4 o'clock and it's high time we had a quick look at what Jonas Kaufmann is up to.

Singing Walther in Meistersinger in Munich, that's what - on the near horizon. Opening night is 16 May 2016, Kirill Petrenko conducts, Sara Jakubiak sings Eva and Wolfgang Koch is Hans Sachs.

It will be Kaufmann's first time in the role on stage - he sang it once before in concert at the Edinburgh Festival - and the Bayerische Staatsoper has issued this trailer in which he and the director David Bösch talk about the challenges that Wagner's glorious opera poses for them both. (With English subtitles.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More workshops for Morley - details

Morley College has announced the next in its series of workshops for young women music students to try their hands at conducting, led by the conductor Alice Farnham:


CONDUCTING WORKSHOPS FOR FEMALE MUSIC STUDENTS

WC4In March 2014 Morley College ran its first Women Conductors weekend workshop. This was developed in response to wide spread media coverage at the time that commented on the lack of female conductors in the industry. It is designed to create more opportunities for young women to try out orchestral conducting, and is led by acclaimed conductor Alice Farnham.
With generous funding and support from Arts Council England the weekend workshops will run during 2015-16. They will be led by Alice Farnham with stagecraft and body language coaches Alma Sheehan and Shirley Keane. In addition students will be given practical experience of conducting small professional ensembles. View the weekend workshop programme and learn more about the tutors.
Upcoming workshop dates:
9-10 May 2015, Oxford University
30-31 May 2015, Leeds College of Music
Further workshops will be held throughout the UK during 2015/16.
The workshops are open for application from women aged 16-25 or in full-time music education either in conservatoires, university or in sixth form and planning to study music full time. Whilst students who already have conducting experience will find this rewarding and challenging, it is also open to students who may think conducting is not for them, but are willing to try it out.
Outstanding workshop participants will be selected to take part in the final masterclass day with a leading female conductor and a full orchestra, as part of the Women Conductors at Morley event in 2016.
Fees:
Participant fee = £150
Observer fee = £40
How to apply:
Send a one page CV alongside a 500 word statement on why you would like to take part in the workshop to womenconductors@morleycollege.ac.uk

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Two opera singers were aboard the doomed Germanwings plane

The opera world is in shock at the news that mezzo-soprano Maria Radner and bass Oleg Bryjak were on the Germanwings plane that has crashed in the French Alps. 150 people are believed to have been aboard the flight and it is expected that nobody has survived. Everyone's thoughts and hearts are with those who have lost loved ones in this appalling tragedy

Monday, March 23, 2015

Softer, sweeter, finer...

...and no, it's not just the cats. I've had a busy weekend's work and here is the latest, therefore, from our Amati Magazine:

a) My interview with the brilliant Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen about Gypsy style, classical stye and what it's like to have a bit of both;

b) The Monday Newsround, with the latest from London, New York, Norfolk and more.

Today I'm doing the Editor's Lunch interview for May. This is nice. I get to take a star to lunch at a wonderful restaurant. This particular star suggested going Italian, so we are - but I'm hoping that the place I've selected will give him a lot more than he bargained for.