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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Later this morning we will hear Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. Initially titled "Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon," it had its first performance November 22, 1931 at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago (!) The composer, Ferde Grofe, was a master orchestrator and arranger. It was he who arranged and orchestrated another American classic which had its premiere in February of 1924 in New York. What is the name of that work? Answer >>

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      Tap Dancing Steps into the Future

      The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) is currently presenting its 25th festival celebrating American tap and contemporary percussive arts, Rhythm World. I sat down with Lane Alexander, CHRP’s artistic director and co-founder, as well as several Rhythm World instructors and guest artists, to learn more about this unique festival, which honors tap’s past while helping it step into the future. more...

      Leonard Slatkin’s 10 Forgotten American Masterpieces

      The following is a list of ten pieces, each received well at the time of composition but fortune has not been so kind to over the years. Of course, there are more than 10 and this selection barely scratches the surface. Perhaps it is not just the pieces, but also the composers who seem to more... more...

      Dvořák Symphony No. 6

      Thomas Wilkins conducts the Sunday Symphony by the prolific William Grant Still, the “Dean of all African-American composers.” The evening concludes with Dvořák’s beautiful large-scale work, his Sixth Symphony, which recalls the Czech folksongs of his native Bohemia. Grant Park Orchestra Thomas Wilkins, Guest Conductor Goldsmith: Fireworks Still: Symphony No. 3, Sunday Symphony Dvořák: Symphony more... more...

      Composer-Pianist Plays “Super” Music on Nintendo Themed Piano

      It’s a truth universally acknowledged by music students around the world that at any given moment in any conservatory, there’s at least one person in the practice rooms playing Bach, Beethoven, and the songs from Nintendo’s classic game Super Mario Bros. The video game, released in 1985, has some pretty memorable music: six songs composed by Koji more... more...

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      Access all arias: how a 16th-century choral work is helping us reach new audiences

      Classical music will only survive if it persuades younger audiences to give great music a chance. In Bristol and across Britain, programmers are reaching out to new listeners in exciting and imaginative ways

      Related: Why it's do-or-die for classical music at the Bristol Proms

      Unless the classical music world finds ways to attract new audiences, it risks losing not just the baby and bathwater, but the whole bathtub. As I wrote last year, musicians and audiences are hungry for change. Here in Bristol at the Old Vic’s summer Proms week – now in our third year – our mission is to feed them with as much of it as we can dream up. Our concerts have included such innovations as big-screen live relays, digital imagery, lasers, robotics, and Google Glasses, all designed to bring audiences as close to the heart of the listening experience as they can conceivably get. We’re not the only ones heeding the call: the Hallé has just created a brilliant pay-what-you-like scheme for an informal concert later this year, and around the country there are concerts in pubs, in nightclubs, opera in the open air, and orchestras in car parks. But before traditionalists begin spluttering, I want to stress that this isn’t gimmickry. It’s about concentrating on the music, presenting it simply and directly, and breaking down the very real barriers that keep people from experiencing it.

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      La Monte Young: 'I'm only interested in putting out masterpieces'

      The godfather of minimal music is still performing at 79, and since few recordings exist of his work, his live performances are more essential than ever

      Like many fans of minimalist-music godfather La Monte Young, I have often wished he’d put out more recordings. Long out-of-print CD copies of his multi-hour masterwork The Well-Tuned Piano occasionally fetch over $1,000 on the secondhand marketplace. A pair of other albums released by the now-defunct Gramavision label are occasionally easier to come by. (All of those albums have been widely bootlegged on the internet, though with unfortunate audio quality – and without Young’s essential essay booklets.)

      Moreover, those releases only represent a small fraction of Young’s compositional and performance-based work over the last 60 years. For a legendary output that has had such an outsized influence on other artists – not just fellow minimalists like Terry Riley, but also performers of the order of Anthony Braxton and the Velvet Underground – this can seem unfortunate. (At least from the acquisitive music nerd’s standpoint.)

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      Why you won’t catch a British politician at the opera | Martin Kettle

      Unlike Angela Merkel, our leaders rarely flaunt their cultural tastes. It’s to the detriment of national life

      Last Saturday I sat in something very close to rapture just a few feet away from Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. But Merkel wasn’t making a speech. She wasn’t giving a press conference. And, although I live in hope, she wasn’t giving me an exclusive interview for the Guardian about Britain and the EU either.

      Merkel was doing the same thing I was doing. She was at the opera house, listening to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. And not just in any old opera house. We were at the Bayreuth festival theatre, the legendary Wagner shrine in Bavaria. It was the opening night of the 2015 festival. Merkel was the guest of honour there, as she often is.

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      new releases

      Music of Gaspard Fritz

      Musiques Suisses MGBCD-6283

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      Eschenbach: Romantic Piano Music

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4624 (6 CDs)

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      Vadym Kholodenko: Concertos

      Harmonia Mundi HMU-907629

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      I have set my hert so hy

      Avie AV-2286

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      Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 5059

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