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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Who am I? Iím an American composer born in Mississippi in 1895. I was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony played by a leading orchestra, and the first to have an opera performed by a major company. I attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where I studied with George Whitefield Chadwick. I was a music arranger for W.C. Handy's band and later arranged for radio and films. I am often referred to as the Dean of African-American composers. Who am I? Answer >>

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      QUIZ: What American Composer Are You?

      Take this quiz to find out which dean of American music you're most like! Are you sparse and minimal like Philip Glass? Or do you prefer the sis-boom-bah John Philip Sousa? Do you prefer Samuel Barber's sonic landscapes of America, or Scott Joplin's Ragtime portraits of American life? more...

      Our Country, ‘Tis of Thee: How Marian Anderson Broke Boundaries for Singers of Color

      Younger generations of Americans take it for granted that the United States has been legally desegregated. But, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, segregation was the norm, including in concert halls across America. Contralto Marian Anderson (1897 – 1993) broke many boundaries for more... more...

      15 Queer Composers You Should Know

      June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. We celebrate the music of LGBTQ composers all year long since it’s hard to escape a concert season without hearing works by Handel, Tchaikovsky, Britten, and others. But we wanted to recognize a few notable figures, past and present, who do did not or do not identify as heterosexual. Some more... more...

      Live from the Martin Theatre

      The Juilliard String Quartet plays Haydn’s Quartet in G (H III:41); Berg’s Quartet Op 3; Schubert’s Quartet #14 in D Minor, D 810, “Death and the Maiden.” more...

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      The Tchaikovsky competition: time to correct an historic anomaly

      Research by pianist Kirill Gerstein has revealed that the standardly performed version of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto differs substantially from what the composer actually wrote. It’s a shame this year’s competitors haven’t taken the opportunity to perform the authentic version

      Today’s third and last instalment of the final round of the piano division of the Tchaikovsky competition will feature Daniel Kharitonov and Dmitry Masleev. Both play two concertos on the same evening, following hard on the virtuosic heels of Sergey Ridkin, George Li, Lucas Debargue and Lukas Geniušas (you can watch all of their performances here), and their performances will undoubtedly bring the usual deluge of double-octaves, pianistic pyrotechnics and bruised egos. And yet amid all the performances of Tchaikovsky’s music (each of the six finalists must play one concerto by Tchaikovsky, plus one other barnstorming showpiece of their choosing), and despite the fact that five out of the six have chosen by far Tchaikovsky’s most famous concerto, the First, you won’t actually be hearing the piece the way the composer himself knew it. In other words, the “Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto” that every pianist plays is not the same version of the piece that the composer himself conducted for his last concert in St Petersburg’s Philharmonia (the hall where the violin division of the Tchaikovsky also has its ultimate concert tonight), just days before his death in 1893.

      It’s one of the most egregious anomalies in the history of classical music’s warhorses, and it’s thanks to pianist Kirill Gerstein and his recent recording that the version that Tchaikovsky actually played and conducted can finally reach a bigger audience. The facts, as Gerstein reveals are these: Hans von Bülow premiered the work in Boston in February 1875, in a version that Tchaikovsky was reluctant to change, even in the face of criticism from pianist and conductor Nikolai Rubinstein. The Russian premiere came in October 1875, when Sergei Taneyev played it with Rubinstein conducting, the latter’s doubts apparently assuaged. Tchaikovsky himself made some changes to the score after this performance, as Gerstein says, changes that “made it more sonorous and playable while leaving both the musical material and the overall structure intact”. This version was published in 1879, and this was the text of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto that stood for the rest of the composer’s life.

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      16th-century music returns to the setting for which it was written

      Choral music preserved in the hand-illustrated Caius Choirbook is being performed in the 13th-century royal chapel at Westminster

      Breathing new life into the long-unheard polyphonic harmonies of an illuminated Tudor choirbook would be a fascinating act of musical resurrection at the best of times. But to perform the music in as authentic a style as possible in the very setting for which it was written 500 years ago adds a unique historical frisson.

      Today, a touch of Wolf Hall will come to Westminster when the music of the Caius Choirbook, a vast hand-illustrated tome in the library of Cambridge college Gonville & Caius returns to its musical home just a few metres from the present Commons chamber.

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      Gunther Schuller obituary

      American conductor, author, horn player and composer of more than 200 solo and orchestral works, whose interests stretched from chamber music to opera and jazz

      The American musician Gunther Schuller, who has died aged 89, was one of the most effective leaders of the avant-garde revolution in the 1960s and 70s. He was a prolific composer, with more than 200 works to his name (more than 50 of them for full orchestra), an instrumentalist, conductor, writer on music, impresario, festival director, music publisher, record company owner, jazz musician and arranger. In fact, there were few points on the compass of music production where Schuller’s inexhaustible energies did not bear fruit, and thus both he and his music, even though many of the fashions it embodied were relatively short-lived, occupied a high profile in the US for more than half a century.

      But there was nothing populist about Schuller. Although he coined the expression “third stream” in the late 1950s as a suitable epithet for his own amalgam of classical and jazz forms, his music was technically complex and demanding. Hence it never secured a wide and sympathetic audience in his lifetime.

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      Sugarloaf Mountain

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      Glass: Piano Music

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      Gidon Kremer: New Seasons

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