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      Pianist Amy Briggs on What’s New in Music

      Pianist Amy Briggs has a passion for pristine and rugged terrains, be it a trek in the Spanish Pyrenees or a virtuosic piano score that no one's ever performed before. As a working pianist and Director of Chamber Music and Lecturer in Music at the University of Chicago, Ms. Briggs knows her way around the standard repertoire of Brahms and Beethoven. But it is the music of our own time that finds its way more...

      Champion Plays Ravinia

      He calls Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin "a big friend of mine." His heroes are Vladimir Horowitz and star hockey center Sergei Fedorov. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who has "epic technique" according to the Boston Globe, is not shy about talking sports. In a 2009 Impromptu, he told WFMT that as a youth in Siberia, he could hardly be kept indoors. He played either soccer or ice hockey "about seven hours a day. Music was second." Speaking with a gentle Russian growl, he laughs more...

      Cedille Day on WFMT

      With over 30,000 recordings in WFMT's "record" library, the staff seldom focuses on a single record label for very long. When it happens, it's usually because an artist has an exclusive agreement with a label; and the programming staff is featuring that artist. On Friday, WFMT honors a record label that has made it its mission to enhance the cultural life of Chicago. Cedille Records Day celebrates the Chicago-based record label that for 25 years has been recording the gifted and diverse musicians and composers more...

      WFMT Gets an Upgrade

      After being off-line for two months, WFMT's Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio is open for business. With a new mixing board, new recording equipment, and a sassy blue paint job (better for shooting photographs and video), the studio re-opened last week for a recording with composer Lita Grier, followed by a live broadcast of "Folkstage" more...

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      Rock'n'roll pioneer Chuck Berry wins Polar music prize in Sweden

      Keith Richards pays tribute to ground-breaking singer and songwriter, as opera director Peter Sellars is also recognised

      Keith Richards has paid tribute to Chuck Berry as the American rock'n'roll pioneer was honoured in Sweden with an award regarded, perhaps, as the world's most prestigious music prize.

      Berry and the opera director Peter Sellars, a fellow American, were each made laureates of the Polar music prize founded 25 years ago as a music equivalent of the Nobel prize.

      Continue reading...






      Kronos Quartet perform first world war multimedia project Beyond Zero: 1914-1918 for Edinburgh international festival

      In this exclusive video for the Guardian the Kronos Quartet's leader David Harrington introduces their latest work which blends an emotive score by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov with archive footage from the first world war reclaimed by film-maker Bill Morrison.

      Produced in association with the Edinburgh Film Company and Edinburgh international festival

      More in this series:
      Patricia Kopatchinskaja plays Bartók
      Michael Houstoun plays Ravel
      Collegium Vocale Gent perform Bach
      The Hebrides Ensemble perform Stravinsky Continue reading...






      CBSO/Nelsons review vivid but slightly uncertain

      Symphony Hall, Birmingham
      The CBSO plays Elgar's Second Symphony brilliantly, but Wagner's Parsifal extracts felt mundane

      Since he took over the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2008, Andris Nelsons has conducted relatively little Elgar. But the Second Symphony is featured prominently on the orchestra's forthcoming European tour, and the Birmingham audience was given a preview of that performance in a concert that juxtaposed it with Wagner extracts from Parsifal and Lohengrin in which the soloist was Klaus Florian Vogt, the tenor with whom Nelsons has been working in Lohengrin at Bayreuth this summer.

      Though it seemed as if Nelsons was coming to Elgar through Wagner a perfectly valid approach after all, for Wagner's influence on Elgar extended well beyond the obvious link between Parsifal and The Dream of Gerontius the details of his performance of the symphony, superlatively well played by the CBSO, pointed up more connections with Richard Strauss than anyone else. But it was a reading that for all its vividness and energy had begun with slight uncertainty, with the opening movement a series of brilliantly lit episodes rather than a single, sweeping arc, while elements of the Larghetto weren't quite as effective or tragic as some conductors make them. But the final pair of movements was irresistible, and with refined pianissimo playing from the Birmingham strings, the closing bars were as magical as they should be.

      Continue reading...






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