Category Archives: Blog

Arsht center announces new works for 10th anniversary season

By Jordan Levin Robert Battle, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, joined President & CEO John Richard of The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on Tuesday February 24, 2015 as they unveiled 10@10, a series of 10 commissions that will be presented during the Center’s 10th anniversary season. The series will include a new dance by Battle for the Ailey troupe, Miami’s performing arts center took so long to launch that for a while proponents took to wearing buttons saying “In My Lifetime.” That long gestation — which lasted three decades — makes the … Continue reading

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Sketch of Spain

Miloš Karadaglić is not the first classical music rock star, but he’s the rock star of the moment. Milos — he goes by that name alone — is young, handsome and a guitar hero. Not loud, though; on the contrary, he claims his interpretation of Joaquín Rodrigo‘s Concierto de Aranjuez, which he will play with the Cleveland Orchestra on its Miami season premiere November 14 and 15, emphasizes a softness he learned from Miles Davis‘ dictum that “the softer you play it, the stronger it gets.” Rodrigo’s piece is a recording and concert warhorse, and its second movement has been interpreted over and over … Continue reading

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A New Season

Much to be said about each concert, but let me post my 2-cents worth of preview. We expect a concert of chestnuts to open The Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami Residency and this season is no exception. However, if there’s one chestnut I never get tired or hearing it’s Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, no matter that it’s been performed and reinterpreted ad nauseam. No nausea for me, just the vertigo of overwhelming Spanish romanticism, to which conductor Giancarlo Guerrero would seem perfectly suited. The Beethoven/Shostakovitch pairing that follows in the next two concerts is bracing: how politics and ideology intersect with classical composition. It’s … Continue reading

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No Miami, No Cry: Hoops and Orchestra

An NPR piece Monday on Lebron James was themed “A Tale of Two Cities”, adding to the growing commentary on the Miami Heat superstar going back to his home roots with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Much was made of the grief felt by fans in Cleveland when he left for South Florida and the compensatory grief felt now among Heat fans. The story tried to get some juice from the fact that Julia Tuttle, the “Mother of Miami” hailed from Cleveland. They could have gotten some more interesting juice not far from where Lebron made his mark with the Heat. When I … Continue reading

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Over and Out (to Jupiter and Beyond)

The Cleveland Orchestra season closed with bravura. One doesn’t think of Mozart as mellow, but, in truth, the Overture from The Abduction from the Seraglio that opened the concert was but an amuse-gueule, given what followed.     Jennifer Higdon‘s Percussion Concerto, written for Colin Currie, who performed it, is nothing but dazzling. After his performance, I asked Currie if he was into Afro-Cuban percussion, and he said there was some of it in the piece, though, of course, it was a very deep subject. It had occurred to me that the Cuban-Americans in the audience might have been stirred by … Continue reading

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The Delights of Stravinsky’s Ghost

The ghost of Igor Stravinsky hovered, in a friendly way, over MOCA, the North Miami art museum, Thursday evening as The Cleveland Orchestra and the Frost School of Music presented an evening of chamber ensembles. The works included two works by Frost composition students, and before the second presentation, Apollonian Echo, composer Peter Learn, who was introduced by Frost School professor Lansing McLoskey, told the audience that by coincidence he and the other Frost composer of the evening, Richard Yates, had written works that quoted Stravinsky. Learn said it had to do with 2013 marking the centennial of the (raucous) premiere of … Continue reading

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The Best and Future Audience: 4th Graders Visit The Planets

Forget Peter and the Wolf. I can’t think of a better work for introducing young people to the symphony orchestra than Gustav Holst‘s The Planets, particularly when enhanced with a projection of NASA imagery. 4th graders from 33 Miami-Dade public schools were treated to a concert of most of that piece, performed by The Cleveland Orchestra Thursday at Knight Hall, under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero. The conductor burst onto the stage in his usual energetic manner and led the orchestra on a brief passage, after which the auditorium full of young students applauded and cheered. He then began to … Continue reading

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Percussion Up Front

As a kid, I always got a big thrill from the percussion section of a symphony orchestra. Maybe it was the memory of the beating of my mother’s heart or simply a child’s love of hitting things and making a big noise. Perhaps it was having watched the second version of Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much which leads up to that tense moment when the cymbals will mask the firing of an assassin’s gun. Or that I grew up in a culture of percussion: claves, maracas, cowbell, gourds, drums, drums, drums. It still thrills me. Those musicians up … Continue reading

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The Music of the Spheres

A long, but not too long, time ago in our own solar system . . . a composer set out to capture that very solar system in music. Gustav Holst‘s The Planets — along with much of Wagner, quite a bit of Stravinsky and a good share of Schoenberg— is the fountainhead of sci-fi music. And Holst’s inspiration having been more astrological than astronomical is fitting for this birth; after all, what is astrology but the original science fiction? Holst first wrote most of it for two pianos, but it’s the full orchestral treatment that best projects the big cosmic … Continue reading

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Talking Toward Ensemble

Music performance is always a conversation. Between musician(s) and public, to be sure. But also among musicians. The conversation can be scripted, like a play, with room for interpretation, also like a play, and that is the case of classical music. It can be lightly scripted with lots of room for improvisation, and that’s jazz. It can be rowdy, and that’s rock’n’roll. It can be pious, in church, or profane, anywhere where liquor is served and sensuality is in the air. And it can also be just that, conversation, actual talk, which is what happens in a rehearsal. Frost School … Continue reading

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