A more detailed article can be found here.
In the light of allegations of sexual misconduct, Placido Domingo has resigned from his position as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, a company which he helped found. This just days after pulling out of scheduled performances with the Metropolitan Opera.
A more detailed article can be found here.
(Photo and obit from ECM)
Georgian composer Giya Kancheli has died in Tblisi, aged 84. A highly original musical thinker, Kancheli often attributed his artistic independence to his early listening. It was a love of jazz, firstly, that brought him to the composition classes of the Tblisi Conservatoire with dreams of writing for big band after the manner of Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton. A performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring turned his world upside down, as he put it, as did exposure to the music of Bartók and Webern. “If everything had happened in logical sequence”, Kancheli once said, “my scale of values would have been different, and I would, correspondingly, have written different music.” Coming late to the full scope of contemporary composition, hard to hear in the Soviet Union of the 1950s, he looked to Shostakovich’s work for guidance: “His symphonies were almost my only models of contemporary art under the conditions of my information isolation.” Lasting friendships were gradually formed with other composers of his generation, composers with whom he felt a spiritual affinity, including Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt and Valentin Silvestrov. Kancheli’s music however is its own universe, often distinguished by extreme dynamic contrasts, from a whisper to a thunderous roar. At all volume levels a yearning, deeply melancholic quality resonates in its timbres.
In 1991 Kancheli moved to the West, first to Berlin and later to Antwerp, always remaining resolutely Georgian in spirit. Kancheli’s moving song cycle Exil, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski and released on ECM New Series in 1995 – with settings of verses of Paul Celan and Hans Sahl – was interpreted by some critics as an autobiographical work, a view Kancheli strove to dispel: “Nobody expelled me from anywhere. If I had left in Soviet times, when you couldn’t go back, it would have been an entirely different matter.” He travelled frequently to his homeland, where he was a revered figure, widely known for his writing for film and theatre as well as for his orchestral works.
Giya Kancheli’s music was first heard on ECM New Series in 1992 with Vom Winde beweint, performed by his long-term supporters violist Kim Kashkashian and Dennis Russell Davies, who was also the conductor on Trauerfarbenes Land, Caris Mere (including clarinettist Eduard Brunner), Abii ne viderem and Diplipito.
Mstislav Rostropovich who appeared together with conductor Jansug Kakhidze on Magnum Ignotum, said: ‘I love this composer for his independence. Olivier Messiaen revealed for me the limitlessness and endlessness of time, and the same is true for Kancheli.’
Gidon Kremer is one of the most loyal interpreters of Giya Kancheli’s music, first appearing on Lament, which was recorded in the composer’s homeland Georgia with the Tblisi Symphony Orchestra. On Chiaroscuro, Kancheli’s most recent ECM release, Kremer played together with Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Further musicians and friends who served Giya Kancheli’s wide musical oeuvre with their artistry are Thomas Demenga, Oleg Maisenberg, the Hilliard Ensemble, Dino Saluzzi and Jan Garbarek.
Noted soprano Jessye Norman passed away Monday of septic shock and multiple organ failure. She was 74.
The New York Times has a full report here.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse passed away this week at a hospice in Towson, MD.
Rouse was suffering complications of renal cancer.
His final work, his Symphony no. 6, will premiere on October 18 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, led by Louis Langree.
Rouse was 70. The Washington Post has more here.
The Baltimore Symphony musicians and board members held a press conference on Monday to announce agreement on a one-year contract. The contract is a compromise, with the orchestra members receiving a 2.4% wage increase, with an additional $1.6 million bonus fund which will be split among the musicians.
It was further announced a short time ago that the board chair, Barbara Bozzuto, has been replaced. It remains to be seen whether there will be other casualties.
The BSO will open its season tonight at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, with Marin Alsop conducting. On the program, Verdi's overture La forza del destino Overture, Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 4, and a piece by composer Christopher Rouse who passed away earlier this week at the age of 70.
Anne Midgette, music critic for the Washington Post, has resigned her post after 11 years.
Musical America reports that she said "...I don't want journalism to be the only thing I do with my life...I have always wanted to write more books. I have had my say about DC's classical music institutions, and I think a change is good for everyone, readers and musicians as well as writers."
She plans to remain in Washington DC with her husband Greg Sandow (who is also a music critic as well as a teacher and composer) and their son.
The Sydney International Piano Competition is scheduled for July 8-25, 2020. Applications are open now through December 2.
22 prizes are available ranging in value from $3000 to $50,000. In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, the first place winner will receive concert engagements in Australian and Europe. There are prizes for accompanists as well as soloists.
All the details can be found here.
Hilary Hahn is 39, the mother of two children, and has decided to take a year off from performing.
You can read a post in her own words here.
This report just out from Associated Press.
You can read it here.
After the recent lockout of the Baltimore Symphony, the state legislature got involved, passing a bill that would provide extra funding to the orchestra, but also created a work group consisting of representatives of the musicians, management and board of directors.
They met earlier today, and made little progress.
The Baltimore Sun has details here.
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