Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra opens the 92Y season with two life-affirming works: a premiere by George Tsontakis and Mozart’s Concerto No 23, in A major with pianist Jeremy Denk.

Opening night of this season at the 92Y featured its two rather contrasting highlights in the first half of the evening: George Tsontakis’ New York premiere of O MIKROS, O MEGAS, and Mozart’s Concerto No.23 in A major with pianist extraordinaire, MacArthur Fellow Jeremy Denk, performing as soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO). Photos: Courtesy 92Y In its 58th season, the SPCO certainly may be regarded as a very remarkable chamber ensemble...
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In HBO’s ‘The Night Of,’ Composer Jeff Russo Scores Emotions into Vision

With haunting anticipation, Jeff Russo’s opening theme for HBO’s eight-part summer series The Night Of widens with each of its deliberate, rhythmic reiterations. Musical sustenance and orchestral tonal layers are gradually added to the cello’s persevering melodic lines, giving a voice to the dark mood that will escort the inner turmoil of its central characters throughout the show’s unhurriedly evolving plot: musical drama unfolding at the vanguard of cinematography. PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON BLOG CRITICS Russo’s score is...
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A Retrospective: MOSTLY MOZART 50 Years – Making the most of Mozart’s genre bending spell

capture by Tony Leonardo Cimino An integral part of the ever mounting – and at times interlacing – culture cycles initiated by Lincoln Center, the festival, now middle-aged, expands its efforts to rejuvenate and expand its communal presence. Exploring the impacts of varied programs and settings in different social contexts, the festival creates diverse concert experiences, with broader accessibility and intimate immersion in music its goals. Keeping with tradition, today’s Mostly Mozart avoids fixating on...
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Guest Post by Roland Colton, author of "Forever Gentleman," offering a free copy here!

WRITING MUSIC INTO FICTION By Roland Colton As an amateur pianist with a passion for classical music who also loves to read great fiction, I have often lamented the dearth of novels in this genre. Several years ago, a story began to form in my mind that centered upon a gifted young pianist in Victorian England. It took me a while to put pen to paper as the task of writing a novel seemed...
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National Youth Orchestra at Carnegie Hall: Signing up for excellence – standing for cultural outreach

Short of the national “red, white and blue,” the National Youth Orchestra’s featured dress code on Carnegie Hall’s stage incorporated red slacks, white shirts and black blazers, with Converse-style sneakers adding a youthful touch. Despite the teenagers’ adolescent appearance, they could be judged on a rather adult level of performance as they cautiously, but deliberately held back in Mozart’s subtle virtuoso passages, so as not to undermine master pianist Emanuel Ax, known endearingly as...
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CMS Chamber Music Encounters – on a perpetual quest for inspired music making

American cellist David Finckel and Taiwanese pianist Wu Han need no further introduction to visitors of “Chamber Music Encounters,” an intense 6-day educational chamber music workshop, and their latest brainchild under the auspices of Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center. Culminating in a free concert performance at Alice Tully Hall, audiences shared the results of a dynamic coaching effort focused on communal mentorship between CMS’ Encounters renowned faculty and new talent. In the sessions,...
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Evgeny Kissin’s Well-Tempered Departure Published on BlogCritics.com

Pianist Evgeny Kissin, concluding thePerspectives series at Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary season – which also celebrated his illustrious pianistic solo debut here 25 years ago – wooed audiences once more with Rachmaninoff’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 2, before taking a previously announced leave of absence from concertizing in the USA. The concert amounted to a farewell observation on the series’ narrative, revealing the artist’s uniquely personal artistic journey. Capture by Simone Massoni    This article was published...
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The Arts Circle – I Am Something, We Are Everything

Elena Baksht is something – again. The Russian pianist, founding director of the Southampton Arts Festival and music educator has now implemented “The Arts Circle,” into New York’s cultural scene. A recital evening at the venerable Koscuiszko Foundation on the Upper East Side, featured the inspired pianist with the eminent Italian flutist Mario Carbotta, in a program titled A poetic journey from Prokofiev to Fellini and Kundalini. The connection between both musicians had been made through...
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Concerts and the City – Urban storytelling with Daniel Libeskind

There is a deeply affecting quality about star architect Daniel Libeskind’s simple, elegant elucidations, which possesses an air of truth that never fails to inspire. Perhaps most essentially, they offer a glimpse into the deeply enthusiastic and positive worldview so inherent in all of his endeavors. “You have to bring hope,” Libeskind tells Listen. “without a positive sense of the future, you can’t build architecture, because you are laying foundations.” This article was published...
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Violinist Stefan Jackiw – “music connects you with humanity”

I am reconnecting with the slender, young looking 31 years old violinist, Stefan Jackiw, who impressed me deeply when I had heard him perform several years ago, at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. Home of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players – just a block from Lincoln Center – less frequently performed repertoire is presented here in an accessible way, by musicians belonging to the former orchestral ensemble led by the late Jens Nygaard and upcoming...
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