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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: It's another edition of "Do the Math!" Start with the number of Beethoven symphonies...add the number of Mozart symphonies...subtract the number of Brahms symphonies...and divide by the number of Brahms piano concertos. What's the answer? Answer >>


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      From YouTube to Lyric: Composer Jimmy López on his Operatic Debut

      Composer Jimmy López never could have imagined that uploading some of his music on YouTube could have landed him his first opera commission, and at Lyric Opera of Chicago, no less. Read more about the creation of this new opera before it has its world-premiere this fall in a behind-the-scenes interview with the composer during tech rehearsals. more...

      How One Man Designed the Most Musical Park in America

      Chicago’s Millennium Park is one of the most popular parks in the United States, according to TripAdvisor. Part of the Park’s allure comes, no doubt, from the incredible amount of free music that audiences can enjoy there each summer. The Grant Park Musical Festival, the nation’s only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind, has been providing visitors with more... more...

      Chicago Sinfonetta Founder Paul Freeman Dead at 79

      Paul Freeman, the founder of the Chicago Sinfonetta, is dead at age 79. The Sinfonetta announced Freeman’s death on its website, saying the conductor had been fighting several ailments in recent years. He retired in 2011. Sinfonetta director of operations Courtney Perkins says Freeman died late Tuesday in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife, Cornelia, more... more...

      12 Musical Works About “Food, Glorious Food”

      Shakespeare once said, “If music be the food of love, than put some whipped cream and a cherry on top of it.” Or, something to that effect… Good music and good food harmonize so well together. It’s no surprise that countless composers from Bach to Bernstein have written works about their favorite foods. Check out this more... more...

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      'I'm going to pidgin this up' - performer brings voice of Africa's pidgin to new opera

      Inspired by Wagner, Nigerian Helen Parker-Jayne Isisbor’s quest to champion her often-derided west African vernacular has spawned the first pidgin opera

      Mami Wata , Africa’s answer to the mermaids and sirens sprinkled throughout folklore the world over, rises from the waters and sways to the beat of hand drums. “Dey use dem bad medicine to scare, to bring you down,” she sings, her voice punctuated by stringed instruments, an electric guitar and a steel pan that gives the sound a haunting edge.

      This is opera, but not as you know it: it is the world’s first opera in pidgin, the language spoken by some 50 million people in West Africa’s most populous nation of Nigeria, alongside variants in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and it debuted in London last week.

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      BCMG/Ollu review – consummate expertise with teeming, tangled Boulez

      Cadogan Hall, London
      The French composer’s most substantial recent piece and a clutch of premieres provided colourful scoring

      The four Saturday afternoon Proms at Cadogan Hall this year divide between baroque and new music, with the contemporary strand woven around a 90th-birthday tribute to Pierre Boulez. The first, given with consummate expertise by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and conductor Franck Ollu, ended with the teeming, furiously tangled ensemble writing of Boulez’s most substantial recent work, Dérive 2, which reached its current 45-minute form six years ago. But the concert had begun at the beginning of Boulez’s composing career, with arrangements by Johannes Schöllhorn of three of the piano Notations of 1945 – not sumptuous orchestral elaborations of the kind that Boulez himself has been working on for more than 30 years, but spiky, note-for-note transcriptions for ensemble, to which Schöllhorn has added his own postscript and tribute, La Treizième, made up of a bar from each of the original set of miniatures.

      In between came three premieres, two of them BBC commissions. Shiori Usui’s Ophiocordyceps unilateralis takes its title from a parasitic fungus, and the five short movements follow different stages in its life history and that of its unfortunate ant host; they are neatly worked and colourfully scored, and certainly never dull. Joanna Lee’s song cycle Hammer of Solitude, composed for contralto Hilary Summers, to texts by Rory Mullarkey, makes unlikely links between Boulez’s Le Marteau sans Maître and the life and poetry of Sylvia Plath; the settings begin engagingly enough but never really fulfil that quirky promise, or create a convincing unity.

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      Song Queen: a Pidgin Opera – audio excerpt 1

      An excerpt from the world's first opera to be sung in pidgin, an often-derided language spoken by 50 million people in west Africa

      Inspired by Wagner, Nigerian Helen Parker-Jayne Isisbor created Song Queen: a Pidgin Opera, about African water-spirits known as Mami Wata. It debuted in London last week

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