Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:41 pm
There are those who consider John Cage to be one of America's most important avant-garde composers, and consequently the recent flurry of celebrations and album releases honoring what would have been his 100th birthday continues. On the other hand, many conservative listeners tend to dismiss his pieces as preposterous gimmickry, rendering the performers little more than Foley artists.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 10:55 am
Over the course of an exceptionally long and productive life, the late Elliott Carter was championed by many leading conductors, soloists and ensembles. Among the most prominent is pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, who has premiered many of Carter's works.
One hundred fifty years ago today, Giuseppe Verdi first mounted his opera La Forza del Destino ("The Force of Destiny") on a stage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Today, La Forza is considered one of Verdi's masterpieces, but it wasn't always that way. The story of Don Alvaro, whose love for the aristocratic Leonora incurs the wrath of her family, is violent and chaotic, and it flopped on its first run.
When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.
Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 4:30 pm
There comes a time in the life of most string quartets when, for better or worse, Beethoven must be confronted. For the acclaimed Belcea Quartet (named after its first violinist Corina Belcea), that time is now. The London-based group, founded at the Royal College of Music in 1994, is thoroughly steeped in Beethoven's 16 string quartets — pieces written throughout the early, middle and late stages of his career in an epic sweep of compositional mastery and imagination.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 9:29 am
American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been attracting intense heat over the last few years. Not only did she win a 2011 MacArthur "genius" grant, but in 2009 she gave a blistering performance of Kodaly at the White House for President and Mrs.