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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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      Classical music students - the future's bright, just use your imagination

      Earlier this month, Julian Lloyd Webber gave a speech to music students at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Here, we reprint it in full.

      In 1977 I won a bet with my brother Andrew. This meant that he finally had to write me the cello piece he had been promising for years. The trouble was that he decided it should be a piece for cello and rock band - and the classical music world was a lot stuffier then than it is now. That was the time when melody, rhythm and harmony were taboo in contemporary classical music and I was warned by friends and colleagues alike that I would literally ruin my career by recording it. But I believed in the piece so I took the chance.

      And it didnt ruin my career. Variations (aka the South Bank Show theme) was unexpectedly successful. Perhaps because audiences were actually crying out for melody, rhythm and harmony. Perhaps because we had shown that pushing at boundaries need not be a bad thing. But more likely it was because I never left my classical roots behind because - much as I liked to experiment - I knew that my bedrock as a solo cellist would always be based on that five-hundred-year treasure trove called classical music.

      The life of a solo musician is tough and exhausting, both physically and mentally, but I would definitely make the same choice again. For in the end, there is something which sustains you through all the difficulties, something far stronger than ambition, wealth or fame. Let that great cellist, Pablo Casals, say it for me. After a particularly moving performance he was asked:

      Mr Casals, can you tell me, are we in heaven or still on earth?

      Continue reading...






      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...






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      Join Peter Van De Graaff for a trip to Montreal & Quebec City this September!

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      new releases

      Reminiscences: Wagner, Liszt & Strauss

      Claves 50-1303

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      Behind the Lines

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 2472

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      Khachaturian: Film Music

      Naxos 8.573389

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      Fibich: Orchestral Works

      Naxos 8.573197

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      Faure: Requiem

      Choir of King’s College KGS-0005

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