Category Archives: Blog

Angst and Flow at the Rehearsal

“It make you think of what it takes to put it together, what went into it,” said Betsy Foote, who with her husband Tad was attending a Cleveland Orchestra open rehearsal for donors and students at the Knight Hall. She confessed that she had “to move with the music” and couldn’t keep still in her seat, a normal response to the fact that The Rite of Spring is basically a dance. And she said watching the rehearsal, as Franz Welser-Möst fine-tuned the performance, would enhance her experience at the concert. Interestingly, neither of the Footes is a classical musician nor … Continue reading

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Master Classes by Cleveland Virtuosi for Very Young Students

At Toussaint L’Ouverture Elementary School Wednesday afternoon, Isabel Trautwein was leading three violin students, two of them sisters, in what looked for all the world like a physical education class with a violin in tow. Leg lifts, leg bends, body twists, body bends, arm swings, and, in the end, making like a bubble head. It was all part of the Cleveland Orchestra violinist’s coaching students in Miami Music Project —  modeled after and connected to Venezuela’s famous El Sistema. While the students lifted legs, bent their bodies and bubbled their heads, they played scales on their violins, and, yes, they … Continue reading

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Stravinsky’s Savage Birth of the Modern

A couple of years ago, when I greeted Giancarlo Guerrero at a Cleveland Orchestra event at the beginning of the Miami season, he looked flushed with excitement and said to me in Spanish, the language we were using, that he had just done la consagración. I was puzzled. The consecration? Had the conductor joined a monastic order and taken religious vows? It took me a moment to remember that what I knew as The Rite of Spring or Le sacre du printemps is called in Spanish, La consagración de la primavera, which Giancarlo had just conducted. A sacred work in … Continue reading

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Holly Hudak named Managing Director of Cleveland Orchestra Miami

Ms. Hudak is currently the chief executive of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and previously was a senior executive with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading

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The Game Change According to Saint Osvaldo

So the question is, who is Osvaldo Golijov and why is he such a big deal? That is, such is the question on the outside chance that someone who reads a blog in a Cleveland Orchestra site is not familiar with the composer of the songs soprano Dawn Upshaw will sing this weekend at Knight Hall. But not everyone who cares about classical music cares about contemporary work enough to follow it.  So skip this if you know it already; otherwise, hang with me for a short while. Though he’d been around long enough to study with George Crumb, earn a Ph. … Continue reading

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Original Copy — A Classical Scandal Ripples Into Town

  American soprano Dawn Upshaw, who will sing three songs by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov this weekend with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall, finds herself connected to the hottest controversy of the moment in classical music. For Golijov, who a decade ago became as much of a rock star as one can be in his field, has recently been accused of plagiarism by critics and scholars, and provoked a debate about originality, creativity, and ethics in the high arts. “I haven’t talked to Osvaldo about it,” said Upshaw at the Arsht Center, where she is rehearsing. The three songs she … Continue reading

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Cleveland Orchestra Miami Gets Serious

Little more can be added to what has already been said about this weekend’s Cleveland Orchestra concerts – see South Florida Classical Review. About Bronfman’s mastery, for example. Or the flawless interpretation of the Shostakovich 6. But one point is worth underscoring. The orchestra is bringing us a rich offering, unafraid of performing anything but the most beloved chestnuts. The 6 is not Shostakovich’s most performed and though the Russian master is hardly an unknown, he is a modern and that itself puts his work in a more than crowd-pleasing category. Brahms is, after Beethoven, the quintessence of the canon. … Continue reading

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Sounding Off on Sound: Bronfman’s Brahms Blunted

A couple of concertgoers told me they could not hear Yefim Bronfman’s piano, which they found wonderful anyway, as clearly as they would’ve liked to. I always thought the acoustics at Knight Hall were near perfect and any seat was an excellent one — excepting wishes to see and be seen, and, more importantly, the pleasure of a good sight of a soloist, in this case, his hands. Anyone else encounter such issues at the hall, at this or any other concert?

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Hot Scenes of Winter: Shepherd In the Subtropics

Perhaps it was because I first encountered Sean Shepherd’s music online, that most disembodied medium, but when I finally heard him performed by the Cleveland Orchestra at Knight Hall, I closed my eyes. There. That makes the most sense. One is usually curious about who is making what sounds, how deftly an instrument is fretted and bowed, what physical energy is fueling the feelings, in what manner the conductor is pulling and pushing a composition. But after a few minutes of watching, it felt better not to. As if Shepherd’s Wanderlust emanated from another dimension. An inner one. Touched by an outer one. One … Continue reading

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Is the Rest Silence?: Music In the Time Of the Crisis

Walking into the middle of a session for U of Miami Frost School of Music composition students guided by Sean Shepherd at a room in the Knight Hall is like entering a scene from an elegant and spare art movie. The room is modern. So is the music. Most of the characters are young and casually attired. Everyone is very intense and intent on playing and listening. With Cleveland Orchestra musicians interpreting the work with the same seriousness they play the masters, this was the first time these young composers heard their music precisely, sharply, as they wrote it. Which was enlightening, for … Continue reading

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