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      Carl Grapentine

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      Chicago Classical Calendar

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      Top Stories

      Winners of Genius Grants “Inspire us all”

      People who win don't even know they've been considered, but on Wednesday they were identified by international news agencies as "21 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all." Some are scientists; others are historians, poets, or lawyers. There's an artist, a jazz musician, and a cartoonist. They are the 2014 MacArthur Fellows, recipients of what's often called the genius grant, a $625,000 cash prize – no strings attached more...

      Fisching for Excellence in Chamber Music

      This week's Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert welcomes the 2014 Fischoff Competition gold medalists. They had walked away with the silver medal in 2012, before clenching the gold in 2014. In July, the Akropolis Reed Quintet was presented with the 2015 Fischoff Educator Award for their imaginative programming for children more...

      The Devil Gets a Second Act

      "L'histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier's Tale") is a curiosity. It's theater. It's a musical composition. It's a work rich in orchestral color, but has only six players. With a unique ensemble of actors, dancers and instruments, it's been a one-of-a-kind for nearly 100 years – until now. more...

      A British Import: the BBC Proms

      They gave the world Monty Python and the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Leave it to the British to organize something as inexplicable and wonderful as the BBC Proms, with a subculture of devoted attendants, some of whom line up hours before a concert for a £5.00, standing-room-only ticket more...

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      Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's crisis matters for orchestras everywhere

      The musicians are locked out, the conductor devastated: this world-class orchestras dispute has devastating implications

      Whats going on at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra? The short answer is Nothing. No concerts, no rehearsals, not a hint of music. Instead of preparing for the opening concert of their season, scheduled for 25 September, the 88 players of the orchestra, one of the finest and most famous in the US, are picketing outside their headquarters at the Woodruff Arts Centre in a protest against a lockout by their own management, with their pay withdrawn and their health insurance about to disappear. The story, like the recent problems at the Metropolitan Opera, ought to be solved with an outbreak of good old-fashioned common sense, or at least the intervention of a federal mediator.

      But neither looks likely in Atlanta, and its unique story of compromise, cuts and cock-ups is creating shockwaves across the American orchestral world, and could have wider repercussions elsewhere.

      The lockout is essentially the board and management punishing the orchestra: it means they have no access to the place where they work, where they make music; it means their health costs are not going to be paid. And what on earth has that punishment got to do with two invested parties in a discussion-finding consensus? Its a one-sided attempt to force the orchestra to its collective knees. It also paints the orchestra as this intransigent group of musicians. But in fact they have shown extraordinary willingness to come to a common agreement, as what happened two years ago proves. The fact that it should have come to a lockout again is simply devastating.

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      John Butt: a rightful Gramophone award winner

      He may be an unlikely podium hero, but his recording of Mozarts Requiem with the Dunedin Consort, complete with echoes of a 1920s jazz band, is a delight

      James Galway and Riccardo Chailly win at Gramophone classical awards

      Every April an email arrives from Gramophones editor-in-chief James Jolly, aimed at mobilising his troops for the long listening journey ahead, as the time has come to begin voting for the Gramophone awards. Ive been writing for the magazine for 10 years, and still Jamess email feels like the big one, as soon I know that an implausibly large crate of the years best CDs and DVDs will arrive in the post in order to listen, filter and distil. Somewhere within that box of musical delights are the 12 releases that will become shortlisted for recording of the year.

      The awards are a great leveller. As the process unfolds, we are obliged to listen far beyond our specialist areas. And as a Gramophone scribe usually associated with modern composition and with all due respect to George Benjamin, Harrison Birtwistle and Julian Anderson, nominated in the contemporary music category this year it was the Glasgow-based conductor John Butt, music director of early music group the Dunedin Consort, who most convincingly quenched my never-ending thirst for the sound of surprise.

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      James Galway and Riccardo Chailly win at Gramophone classical awards

      Flautist honoured alongside Neville Marriner, with the evenings top honour going to Riccardo Chaillys recording of Brahms with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

      Tonights Gramophone classical music awards have handed out their top prize to Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig for their Brahms Symphony Cycle, released on Decca.

      Chailly and his orchestra were in London last autumn to perform the cycle at the Barbican, where the conductors fresh approach to Brahms was hailed by the Guardians Andrew Clements as both mindful of the performing traditions and critical of them in the best, most constructive way.

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      new releases

      Igor Kamenz Plays Scarlatti

      Naïve V-5399

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      Lisa Batiashvili Plays Bach

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 2479

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      Daniel Hope: Escape to Paradise

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 2954

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      Ian Maksin: Soul Companion

      Blue Griffin Recording BGR-345

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      Benjamin Grosvenor: Dances

      Decca 478 5334

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