Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Now Let Us Praise ... And Keep Time

"The profound influence of pianist Gilbert Kalish as an educator and pianist in myriad performances and recordings has established him as a major figure in American music-making. For his outstanding contributions to music in America, he was awarded the Peabody Medal by the Peabody Conservatory in May of 2006. In 1995, the University of Chicago presented him with the Paul Fromm Award for distinguished service to the music of our time. He has pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for 30 years, and was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a group that flourished during the 1960s and 70s in support of new music. He is particularly known for his partnership of many years with mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani, as well as for current collaborations with soprano Dawn Upshaw and cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnik. As an educator and performer he has appeared at Swarthmore College [1966-74], the Banff Centre, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, the Marlboro Music Festival, and Music@Menlo; from 1985 to 1997 he served as chairman of the Tanglewood faculty. His discography of some 100 recordings embraces both the classical and contemporary repertories; of special note are those made with Ms. DeGaetani and that of Ives' Concord Sonata. A distinguished professor at SUNY Stony Brook, Mr. Kalish has been an Artist of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2006."

Photo credit: (c) Nan Melville and the New York Times 2007.


Gilbert Kalish master class and chamber performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music:


Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano

Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op 47

Monday, September 27, 2010

Washington National Opera Officially Enters Post-Placido Domingo Era; Company Will Seek To Revive National Stature And Importance


The first U.S. staging of KOANGA [an Ante Bellum Aida?], and of any Delius opera, was by the Opera Society of Washington [today's Washington National Opera] in late 1970 and early 1971.

Randel, William (April 1971). "Koanga and Its Libretto". Music & Letters 52 (2): 141–156.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Longest Post-WWII U.S. Recession Officially Over; Economy Has Officially Recovered 70 Per Cent Of Income/Output (If Not Jobs) Lost Since End Of 2007

Business Cycle Dating Committee, National Bureau of Economic Research

USA National Phenology Network

It is presently autumn in Zhytomyr and Lviv, Ukraine, Future European Union; but will not be autumn until Thursday in Washington, D.C. and Berkeley.

Header credit: Zhytomyr Житомир [Peaceful Rye], Ukraine, Future European Union was officially founded in 884, Common Era.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Citing Recent Recession, NEA Chair Calls For Simultaneous Performance Of Opera In The Outfield, The Vivaldi Project, Magma And Sonic Circuits Festival

The World of MAGMA, by Peter Thelen

Imagine a world, many centuries into the future, when society as we know it has decayed into chaos and degradation, void of spiritual guidance. The colonization of space is well underway, and space travel has become commonplace. It is in this setting that a handful of enlightened Earth people seeking a better existence finance the construction of a private spacecraft and leave the planet in search of a new world where a new, more spiritually guided civilization can be reborn. They finally find that new home after a long and hazardous journey on the distant planet Kobaia, where the party settles and begins anew.

MAGMA is a concept band whose albums explain the origins and development of the new civilization on Kobaia, and their interactions with the people of Earth and other planets. All of their lyrics are sung in the language of the new civilization, 'Kobaian.' As one might expect, the music from Kobaia several hundred years from now is very unlike what we are accustomed to on twentieth century planet earth. MAGMA's music is very strange, beautiful, and ultimately rewarding, but it does require an open mind on the part of the listener. It is music that must be experienced fully with body, heart and soul: not simply a cerebral performance of some kind of space opera by clever musicians, but a full blown spiritual experience with the music acting as the connecting vehicle between performer and listener.

(c) Peter Thelen

Image credits: (c) Copyright controlled 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

'Cutting For Stone' ... I Mean David Carlson's 'Anna Karenina' Reigns On The San Jose, California Opera Stage; Philip Glass Coming To KC Opera House

I imagine that the Washington National Opera's current so-called administration considered David Carlson and Colin Graham's opera "Anna Karenina" too provincial for its highly affluent Kennedy Center Opera House audiences.

According to favorable reviews, fortunately the Opera San Jose did not. The San Francisco Chronicle calls Opera San Jose's production (eight performances) of Anna Karenina "first rate - a visual and vocal delight."

Meanwhile, Philip Glass is coming to the Kennedy Center Opera House. However, as the Washington National Opera reorganizes itself, he will be coming without one of his operas.

Lifetime Honors: National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors October 22, 2010. The John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts Opera House.

Photo credits: Opera San Jose production photos of Anna Karenina opera (c) Pat Kirk 2010 via Splash Magazines Worldwide. Copyright controlled.


[Click on image for enlargement.]

"WASHINGTON — Leaders of the U.S. Helsinki Commission today marked the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Ukrainian journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and expressed concern over recent reversals of media and other freedoms in Ukraine.

“I am disturbed that ten years after Mr. Gongadze’s murder, and five years after the Orange Revolution sparked democratic progress in Ukraine, we now see backsliding with respect to media freedoms there,” said U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. “I am especially concerned over the recent disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Vasil Klymentyev, who, like Gongadze, was known for his investigative reporting."

The Other American Culture: 43.6 Million Americans -- 1 in 7 -- Lived In Poverty In 2009 -- Highest Number in 51 Years

Poverty rate in 2009 at end of Reagan/Bush era at 14.3 per cent; highest percentage since poverty rate of 22.4 per cent in 1959 at end of Eisenhower era.

Multi-dimensional, experimental supplemental poverty measure to be released in September 2011.

Header credit: (c) Copyright controlled 2005.

Opera in the Outfield Anyone?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

San José National Opera Pinch-Hits For Struggling Washington National Opera By Staging Eight Performances Of American David Carlson's Anna Karenina

Opera San José/San José National Opera

The eight productions (two casts) of this new American operatic masterpiece are sponsored by the Carol Franc Buck Foundation.

Interview with American composer David Carlson on his opera based upon a libretto by Colin Graham.

Photo credit: (c) Copyright controlled.

Copland v. Gershwin: Interviews with Post-Classical Ensemble’s Angel Gil-Ordóñez & Joseph Horowitz: Reintroducing Gershwin to American Audiences

“Copland’s view was that Gershwin wasn’t a ‘real’ composer; he never included him in his lists of the most important American composers… This prejudice against Gershwin is finally dissipating"

-- Joseph Horowitz, Musicologist and Post-Classical Ensemble Artistic Director

The excellent Post-Classical Ensemble's The Gershwin Project: Russian Gershwin at the Clarice Smith Center, University of Maryland, September 24.


Upcoming Post-Classical Ensemble concerts and seminars focus on two other twentieth century Western classical and folk/world music masters: Lou Harrison and Igor Stravinsky.

Header credits: American Memory Project, the Library of Congress.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unacknowledged Legislators Speak Out In Israel For Peace And For The Two State Solution

"[A] group of Israeli actors, directors and playwrights [has] declared that they would not take part in productions at a new performing arts center in Ariel. Their letter drew a statement of support by a group of prominent Israeli authors and intellectuals, and more than 150 Israeli academicians announced that they would not lecture or join seminars at the Ariel University Center or in any other settlement, because they were in occupied territory.

The statement by the theater professionals caused an uproar and was condemned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a boycott "from within." But the debate raised the question of whether there was indeed a public consensus that Ariel, which appears on Israeli weather maps and highway signs, should become part of Israel in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians."

Joel Greenberg "Israeli enclave thrust into debate' Washington Post September 13, 2010

Header credit: Palestinian victim of Israeli occupation. (c) Copyright controlled.

Placido Domingo’s Los Angeles National Opera To Give World Premiere Of American Composer Daniel Catán's Il Postino Starring Placido Domingo

Friday, September 10, 2010

Obama, Migration, And The Great And Restless American Middle-Class … America, Migration, And The World’s Great And Restless (For Now) Masses

[Click on graphs for enlargments.]

President Obama said today that his administration has enacted policies to foster American middle-class growth.


“If people who migrate expect to be placed in the middle of the national income distribution of the receiving country, they will be focused primarily on country’s mean income. But if people who migrate expect to end up in the bottom of the recipient country’s income distribution, whether the recipient country is egalitarian will be of significant importance in their decision-making. And the reverse if they expect to end up in the top of income distribution of the recipient country.”

“For the middle classes, distribution is relatively unimportant – because income shares of the middle groups do not vary much across nations.”

Branko Milanovic "Global Inequality of Opportunity" The World Bank June 2008

Graph Credits: Goldman Sachs Research.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Caravaggio’s Stolen 'Kiss Of Judas' Returns From Germany To Museum of Western and Eastern Art, Odesa, Ukraine, Future European Union

Museum of Western and Eastern Art, Odesa, Ukraine, Future European Union.

Tanya Richardson's "Kaleidoscopic Odessa: history and place in contemporary Ukraine" [U. of Toronto Press 2008] on Google Books

Photo credits: (c) 2010 and (c) dpa 2010. Copyrights controlled.


The Ukrainian Parliament has adopted a draft law “On Culture.”

The draft law defines state policy in the cultural arena and provides for the legal basis for public relations concerned with the creation, use, distribution, and preservation of cultural values.

Multiculturalism In Three UNESCO European World Heritage Sites In Ukraine, Germany, And Hungary

Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul in Kamyanets-Podilsky, Ukraine, Future European Union; anti-Semitic Christian window in National Picture Gallery, Berlin, Germany [from Koln, Germany?]; Minaret of the Jakovali Hassan Mosque, Pécs, Hungary, 2010 Cultural Capital of Europe. [Not to be confused with the famous Mosque of Pasha Qasim in central Pécs, Hungary, Present-day European Union. Today, the Mosque of Pasha Qasim is a Catholic Church and a museum, while the Jakovali Hassan Mosque is today an Islamic Mosque and a museum.]

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

While Washington National Opera Reconsiders Its Future, Los Angeles National Opera To Give World Premiere Of Daniel Catán's Il Postino

September 23 world premiere performance by the Los Angeles National Opera of Daniel Catán's Il Postino

Image credit: George Tooker, Subway, 1950
Egg tempera on composition board, 18 1/8 x 36 1/8 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Purchased with funds from the Juliana Force Purchase Award.

(c) Whitney Museum of American Art 2010.


Washington National Opera/John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: WNO Project


George Tooker received the National Medal of Arts from George W. Bush in 2007, at approximately the same time the Washington National Opera started planning to abandon its commitment to Congress to stage an American classical opera every season.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

While Washington National Opera Reconsiders Its Future, San José National Opera To Give West Coast Premiere Of David Carlson's Anna Karenina

Opera San José, September 11 - 26, 2010

Interview with American composer David Carlson.


Washington National Opera/John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: WNO Project

Header image: Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren, circa 1891, Oil on canvas; 45 x 32 in.; 114.3 x 81.28 cm.. Acquired 1927. American Art Collection, The Phillips Collection. (c) The Phillips Collection 2010.

The Labor And Rest And Labor, Maintenance, And Rebuilding Of Civilization

The Phillips Collection, in Washington, D.C., reopens after fire to historic museum house on Thursday.

Image credit: (c) The Phillips Collection 2010.


Unusually for his time, Duncan Phillips saw American modern artists as fully equal to their European counterparts, often hanging their works side by side. For an introduction to the American collection, the Phillips Collection's interactive website on American Art.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Long Live The Phillips Collection!

The Phillips Collection was assembled by Duncan Phillips and his wife Marjorie, herself a painter, and focuses on modern art and its sources. The nearly 2,500 original items included works by many now-famous late 19th and 20th-century artists (van Gogh, Degas, Homer, Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse, O'Keeffe, Rothko) as well as earlier artists whose work Phillips believed anticipated modern art (Chardin, Goya, El Greco, Daumier). Phillips also championed many artists who were not well known at the time (Milton Avery, Pierre Bonnard, Karl Knaths, John Graham, Nicolas de Staël) and sometimes provided stipends to them (Arthur Dove, Augustus Vincent Tack).

Image credit: Pinkham Ryder (1847–1917) "Dead Bird"
(c) Phillips Collection 2010. Copyright controlled.


David M. Morens and Jeffery K. Taubenberger "Influenza and the Origins of The Phillips Collection" January 2006

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Would Philippe Auguin Champion Henze, Birtwistle, Reimann, Ruzicka And American Classical Opera As Music Director Of The Washington National Opera?

Can European musicians Philippe Auguin (above) and Christoph Eschenbach (below) save the Washington National Opera or -- alternatively -- the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/WNO Project?

Photo credits: (c) Copyright control.


This afternoon, Karen Rosenak gave an absolutely superb performance of Oliver Messiaen's solo piano masterpiece "Canteyodjaya" from 1949.

On Friday night, Terry and Gyan Riley perform at the brutalist, current Berkeley University Art Museum, curated by pianist Sarah Cahill. Revised plans for the new Berkeley University Art Museum will be revealed shortly.