AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Crunch Time

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
This article was first published today in the above papers.

Every classical music indoor season brings two or three dates when crunches pop up as seemingly every organization decides to schedule an event on that particular day. Summertime has largely escaped these conflicts but this year — specifically Sat., June 29 — will force folks in the San Gabriel Valley to make a choice among three different orchestras.

The California Philharmonic will open its second season at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia on Jan. 29 as Music Director Victor Vener leads his band in a program entitled “Beatles, Beethoven and the Beach Boys.”

On the same date — indeed, at the same time (7:30 p.m.) — a quarter-mile away at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, the Pasadena Pops will be playing its second concert of the season with Broadway star Bernadette Peters as the centerpiece. Larry Blank returns to conduct the orchestra.

Finally, on the same day and time at Caltech’s Beckman Mall in Pasadena, Rachael Worby and her ensemble, Muse-ique, will begin its three-concert summer season with a program that features vocalist Patti Austin.

Pasadena Pops management, which announced its season several weeks ago, said that June 29 was the date chosen by Peters. A spokesperson for Muse-ique said, “Clearly each organization draws different audiences,” which sounds somewhat dubious to me but, hey, what does a lowly music critic know? The Cal Phil noted that each of its five concerts during the summer repeat Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. indoors at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Last year the Pops and Cal Phil scheduled their concerts on non-competing weekends but that has changed this year. The two organizations will have programs on July 13. The Pops plays the second of three programs being led by its new principal conductor, Michael Feinstein, this summer, while Cal Phil counters with one of Vener’s favorite programming concepts, “Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Puccini.” On Aug. 10, the Cal Phil’s “Rodgers and Hammerstein and Gershwin” evening will go up against the Pops’ own Beatles-oriented program.

Meanwhile, on July 27, Muse-ique comes up with a program of movie music featuring cellist Matt Haimovitz as soloist, which the Cal Phil offers “Dance Fever.”

One of the potential problems when the Pops and Cal Phil perform on the same night is traffic. Although those attending Cal Phil concerts enter on the northeast side of the park, which is quite a ways from the Arboretum, traffic for both concerts coming from the west exits the 210 Freeway at Baldwin Ave.

Hollywood Bowl has concerts on each of the above weekends but the crossover issue seems less likely based on the Bowl’s programming as none of the Bowl’s programs involves orchestras.

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(c) Copyright 2013, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

(Revised) OVERNIGHT REVIEW: Michael Feinstein debuts as Pasadena Pops conductor

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
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Pasadena Pops Orchestra; Michael Feinstein, conductor
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2013 • Los Angeles County Arboretum
Next performance: June 29
Information: www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org
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Feinstein-White
Michael Feinstein and Lari White perform at last night’s concert by the Pasadena Pops at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. Photo from Pasadena Pops
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Midway through the Pasadena Pops concert last night at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, Michael Feinstein thanked the audience for accompanying him and the orchestra on what he called an “experiment” in pops programming.

The description was spot-on. This was Feinstein’s first concert as the orchestra’s Principal Conductor and his first time conducting a full-sized orchestra. Whatever you thought of his conducting ability, there was no doubting the uniquely fascinating nature of the evening’s program, Of the 19 pieces performed, I can only remember two or three that I had ever heard on an orchestra pops program in my decades of reviewing.

Feinstein played to his numerous strengths. His commentary was, for the most part, erudite and witty and many of the works were pieces he had either exhumed in his archival wanderings or had rarely been played before. Nearly all were from the mid- to late-20th century, an era in which Feinstein has focused in what has become known as the “Great American Songbook.”

As a conductor, Feinstein seemed uncomfortable at times and in his element in others. There were occasional ragged entrances and cutoffs but, for the most part, the orchestra acquitted itself well, especially considering that for many of the players a healthy slice of the program was music they were playing for the first time. Feinstein will undoubtedly get better on the podium; most fledgling conductors cut their teeth on student or community ensembles, not on a stage before several thousand people.

In the first half of the evening vocalist Lari White delivered powerful performances of Jump for Joy and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, both arranged by Nelson Riddle, whose birthday was on June 1. She then concluded with poignant renditions of Where is it Written? and A Piece of the Sky from the movie Yentl.

Marc Cherry proved to be the evening’s comedic highlight with a rollicking performance of Mrs. Worthington by Noel Coward. Cheyenne Jackson delivered over-wrought performances of I Get Along With You Very Well and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, but was effective in channeling Sam Cooke in A Change is Gonna Come. Jackson noted that Barbara Cook once admonished him to talk less and sing more. He should have heeded her advice.

Feinstein concluded the evening by singing a touching rendition of The Way We Were from the keyboard, a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, who died last August (which is how Feinstein ended up as the Pops leader). Feinstein’s opening concert offered a great deal of promise for what he will bring in the two other programs he will conduct this summer and, perhaps, into the future.
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Hemidemisemiquavers:
• The Pops will appear June 9 at the Ford Amphitheatre (in the Cahuenga Pass, across the 101 Freeway from Hollywood Bowl) with vocalist Mandy Patinkin. The performance is part of the inaugural “Zev Yaroslavsky Signature Series” at the Ford (Yaroslavsky’s L.A. County supervisorial district encompasses both the Ford and the Bowl). Info: www.fordtheatres.org
• Last night’s ambience was enhanced greatly by what seemed like hundreds of young volunteers who helped people to their seats and, in particular, provided light on the footpaths leading to the parking lots following the performance.
• Concertmaster Ainme Kreston led a somewhat lugubrious rendition of The Star Spangled Banner from her first-violin chair.
• Feinstein had a lot of fun with the Arboretum’s peacocks, many of whom were in fine voice Saturday night.
• The Pops second concert of the season, on June 29, will center on Broadway star Bernadette Peters. Feinstein will return on July 13 for an evening of music from MGM movies, and will conclude the season on Sept. 7 in an evening of the music of George and Ira Gershwin. In between those two, Martin Herman will lead the orchestra in a program featuring music of the Beatles.
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(c) Copyright 2013, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Five-Spot: What caught my eye on October 20, 2011

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

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Each Thursday morning, I list five events that peak my
interest, including (ideally) at least one with free admission (or, at a
minimum, inexpensive tickets. This week I actually have three such events — to
make up for last week when I had none.

 

Here’s today’s grouping:

______________________

 

Today and Tomorrow
at 8 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

In advance of the Phil’s trip to San Francisco next week,
Dudamel conducts John Adams’ Short Ride
in a Fast Machine
and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Johannes Moser will be
the soloist in the world premiere of Magnetar,
Concerto for Electric Cello,
by Mexican composer-guitarist Enrico Chapela. “What,”
you ask, “is an electric cello?” Yamaha, creator of the instrument, provides
details in the following link.

Electric cello release.doc

Concert info: www.laphil.com

 

Saturday at 8 p.m.
at the Greek Theatre

Pasadena Pops; Marvin
Hamlisch, conductor. Idina Menzel, vocalist

If you still need a Pops fix, Marvin Hamlisch and the Pops
play back up for Menzel, who won a Tony Award in 2005 for her role as Elphaba
in Wicked on Broadway. The program
will reportedly include selections from pop, musical theater favorites
(including Wicked and Rent), as well as selections from her
album of original songs, I Stand.
Info: www.greektheatrela.com

 

And the weekend’s “free admission” programs …

 

Saturday at 7:30
p.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church

Cappella Gloriana

This San Diego professional chorale opens the church’s “Friends
of Music” series of nine free concerts performing music by its founder and
director, Stephen Sturk, with organist Martin Green and the San Diego Harmony
Ringers Handbell Choir. Info: www.ppc.net

 

Saturday at 8 p.m.
at Ambassador Auditorium

The Colburn
Orchestra. Yehuda Gilad, conductor

Gilad will conduct Shostakovich’s Festival Overture and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. Colburn student
Estelle Choi will be the soloist in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1.
There’s a wait list available for the free tickets. Info: www.colburnschool.edu

 

Sunday at 6 p.m. at
Royce Hall, UCLA

American Youth
Symphony. Alexander Treger, conductor; Rod Gilfry, baritone

Treger leads another of the region’s top-notch training
orchestras in Bernstein’s Candide Overture
and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Rod
Gilfry will be the soloist in selections from CarouselTrouble
in Tahiti
Sweeney Todd
and The Most Happy Fella. For my profile on this concert,
click HERE. The concert is free (although a $10 donation is suggested); make
reservations through the orchestra’s Web site. Info: aysmphony.org

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

 

 

(Revised) OVERNIGHT REVIEW: Marvin Hamlisch and Pasadena Pops conclude season at the Rose Bowl

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

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Pasadena Pops
Orchestra; Marvin Hamlisch, conductor

Saturday, August 27, 2011 The Lawn Adjacent to the Rose
Bowl

______________________

 

Marvin Hamlisch and the Pasadena Pops Orchestra concluded
their 2012 season last night, Hamlisch’s first with the orchestra and the
ensemble’s second and last at The Lawn Adjacent to the Rose Bowl (they move to
the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia next season). What appeared to be
the largest crowd of the season came out on a balmy evening to hear music from
the movies.

 

Hamlisch spent somewhat more time regaling the audience with
funny stories than he did in his last concert and the musical selections were
longer than has occurred this summer; the evening included, among other things,
multi-work pastiches from composers George and Ira Gershwin and Max Steiner.
One of the evening’s highlights was a tribute to dancer-director-actor Gene
Kelly, which featured a “tap-dancing” display by percussionist Jason Goodman who
had the shoes (and argyle socks) on his hands so that the audience could see, as
well as hear.

 

Vocalist Susan Egan was a sparkling soloist in pieces by
Judy Garland (ending, of course, with Over
the Rainbow)
and from the musical Cabaret
(Egan played the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway in the 1988 revival).

 

As has become standard for Hamlisch concerts with the
Pasadena Pops, he offered a “special unannounced guest,” in this case, Melissa
Manchester, who sang Through the Eyes of
Love
(the theme song written by Hamlisch for the movie Ice Castles) and the title song from The Way We Were, for which Hamlisch won an Academy Award in 1973.

 

The second half opened with the music written by John
Williams for Star Wars, which was
supposed to be accompanied by space images from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
but they never appeared.

 

The evening’s “official” program closed with George
Gershwin’s An American in Paris, the
most extensive piece Hamlisch has conducted so far with the Pops. Hamlisch
alternated between catching the jazz influences of this important piece and
dutifully beating time. However, the orchestra, which played splendidly
throughout the evening, shone in Gershwin’s famous 1928 piece, which was
subsequently used in the 1951 MGM musical that starred Gene Kelley and Leslie
Caron.

 

Along the way were spiffy solo offerings by orchestra’s
principals: Trumpeter Melissa Benedict, Flutist Louise DiTullio, Clarinetist
Donald Foster, Oboist Leanne Becknell and Concertmaster Amy Hirshberger.

_______________________

 

Hemidemisemiquavers:

Before the concert, CEO Paul Jan Zdunek reported that
ticket sales for next season have already exceeded 500% of the recently completed
season. Since he didn’t provide hard numbers, it’s a little hard to judge that increase
effectively but it does appear that the move to the Arcadia facility seems to
be popular with many people.

Helicopter are a nuisance at all outdoor concerts but the
low-flying and circling aerial intruder last night wins the year’s award as the
summer’s most obnoxious distraction, so far.

The video camera work continues to be very spotty, batting
about .333 in landing on the correct soloist at any orchestral point in the
program. In an area that makes a gazillion movies, TV shows, TV commercials,
et. al, one would think that the direction and camera work could be better.

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

PREVIEW AND LINK: Pasadena Pops adds “special guest” to Saturday’s program

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

 

In each of his first two concerts as principal conductor of
the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, Marvin Hamlisch has slipped a “special guest” onto
the program. Apparently that’s going to happen again Saturday night as the Pops
makes its final appearance at The Lawn Adjacent to the Rose Bowl before moving
to the Los Angeles County Arboretum next season.

 

And who might this special guest be? “Without giving it
completely away,” says CEO Paul Jan Zdunek, “as Marvin wants it to be a
surprise, here’s a hint: this singer started as the back-up artist for Bette
Midler, went on to win a Grammy for Best Female Vocalist and was the first artist
in the history of the Academy Awards to have two nominated movie themes in a
given year, making Oscar history by performing both on the telecast.”

 

Actually, the program, “Marvin Does Marvin” (which begins at
7:30 p.m.), which includes vocalist Susan Egan (her Broadway credits include
Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Sally
Bowles in Cabaret and Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie as soloist, is
worth seeing on its own, but a little icing on the cake never hurts. The program
is scheduled to include selections from Star
Wars, Cabaret, Gigi, An American in Paris, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind,
and
Hamlisch’s own score for The Informant. LINK

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

NEWS AND LINKS: Pasadena Pops announces 2012 season at Los Angeles County Arboretum

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

 

54720-MichaelFeinstein.jpg

Michael Feinstein will
perform with the Pasadena Pops on July 21, 2012 at the Los Angeles County
Arboretum in Arcadia.

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When the Pasadena Pops shifts its summer season to the Los
Angeles County Arboretum next year, it will do so with a boost in soloist star
power. Marvin Hamlisch, who took over this summer as the Pops principal
conductor, will lead three of the four programs in the Arcadia facility next
summer (Hamlisch and the Pops conclude their 2011 season on Aug. 27 at The Lawn
Adjacent to the Rose Bowl with a program devoted to movie music — LINK).

 

The 2012 schedule:

 

JUNE 16

Lucie Arnaz and Robert Klein will perform together in a
concert version of Hamlisch’s They’re
Playing Our Song,
part of a program that will include a tribute to Arnaz’s
parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

 

JULY 21

Singer and pianist Michael Feinstein, one of the forces
behind The Great American Songbook, will
join with Hamlisch and the Pops. The 54-year-old Feinstein has five Grammy nominations to
his credit along with several platinum-selling recordings.

 

AUGUST 18

Michael Krajewski, who opened this summer’s Pops season,
returns to lead the orchestra in a program that will feature the singing group
Poperazi, a trio whose numbers range from (to quote the media release) “Pavarotti
to Jersey Boys, Sinatra to the Rolling Stones.” Krajewski, who proved to be a
stylish, witty host and conductor last June, is principal pops conductor for
the Houston, Jacksonville and Atlanta Symphonies.

 

SEPTEMBER 8

Hamlisch will return to lead the Pops in a program of music
entitled “Gershwin on the Green.” American
pianist Kevin Cole will be the evening’s soloist.

 

All concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Single tickets are
priced from $90-$25 (unchanged from this summer). Subscription packages will include
discounted prices and free onsite parking.


Information:
626/793-7172, ext. 16; www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org

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(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

FOLLOWUP: “Porgy and Bess” — opera or musical?

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

 

Last Saturday in the Pasadena Pops concert, the orchestra’s
new principal conductor, Marvin Hamlisch, alluded to a new production of Porgy and Bess now being prepared back
east, declaring that he was pleased that it was being produced as a Broadway
musical instead of an opera In my review (HERE), I responded, “I do, however,
take issue with Hamlish’s contention that Porgy
and Bess
is a musical. I realize that director Diane Paulus is
working on a new production of what she calls The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, which is supposed to recast
the work as a musical, but, in the words of Ira Gershwin, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily
So’ — i.e., it’s an opera.”

 

I’m not the only one who doesn’t agree with the production.
An article by composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim in today’s New York Times castigating the concept
is HERE (it also appears in a number of other media outlets).

 

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/stephen-sondheim-takes-issue-with-plan-for-revamped-porgy-and-bess/?ref=music

 

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(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Cleaning out the inbox

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

A shorter version of this
article was first published today in the above papers.

 

THE PASADENA POPS
AND THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY ARBORETUM
have finalized a contract for the
orchestra to appear at the Arcadia facility beginning next summer. The
three-year agreement with an "evergreen" clause will also see the Pops become
the Arboretum's presenting partner. Dates for the Pops' concerts in 2012 are
June 26, July 21, August 18 and September 8. Happily for fans of both the Pops
and the California Philharmonic -- which shifts from the Arboretum to next-door Santa
Anita Racetrack next summer -- that means the two organizations will not
conflict on dates, a good thing from a parking and traffic point of view. The
Pops also envisions "family concerts, outdoor theatre, silent films, as well as
Asian-influenced performances, to name a few," according to Paul Jan
Zdunek, CEO of the Pasadena Symphony Association; programming details will follow
in the coming weeks. MORE

 

MUSE-IQUE, the
new ensemble headed by former Pops music director Rachael Worby, will appear in
a free concert of American music on the steps of Pasadena's City Hall at 6 p.m.
on Sept. 11 commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 

THE LOS ANGELES
PHILHARMONIC
has promoted outgoing associate conductor Lionel Bringuier to
the new post of resident conductor through the 2012/2013 season. MORE

 

GUSTAVO DUDAMEL,
music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will be featured on a new DGG box
set of CDs next month conducting the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra of Sweden
(one of three orchestras he currently helms) in Bruckner's Symphony No. 9,
Sibelius's Symphony No. 2 and Nielsen's Symphonies No. 5 and. 4 (The Inextinguishable).

 

Gramophone Magazine
(which is published in England) devotes its cover story for the August 2011
issue to Dudamel and this new recording. It's an interesting article but not
easy to find. The print edition costs $10 (U.S.) and the only way to find it
online at this point is to subscribe ($63.14 per year or $16.21 for three
months). Like other digital magazines, you get the full pages and have to
scroll through them (i.e., they're not converted to easily readable text).
However, the publication does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not
satisfied.

 

Los Angeles Times
Music Critic Mark Swed dwells on Dudamel's upcoming DGG release, which Dudamel
recorded at the beginning of his tenure with the Swedish orchestra (he became
that ensemble's music director in 2007; next season will be his sixth and last
in that capacity, although he will continue to work with the ensemble as its "honorary
conductor").

 

Two things make this upcoming recording intriguing, as Swed
points out in the article. First, the works are pieces that Dudamel has yet to
conduct in Los Angeles. Second, the performances show him at a very young age
(he was 26 when he came to Sweden) and he talks with Swed about how his
concepts have changed -- and are changing -- even in just a few years. The
article shows us a different side of Dudamel than we've seen so far in L.A.
BTW: there's a great photo of young Gustavo -- wearing glasses and with short
hair. You might not recognize him without the caption!

 

THE L.A. PHIL has
announced the 2011-2012 participants in the Dudamel Fellowship Program: Joshua Dos Santos of Venezuela, Mihaela Cesa-Goje of Romania (the first
woman ever selected for the fellowship), Courtney
Lewis
of Northern Ireland and Boston, and Santtu Rouvali of Finland.

 

Each of the four conductors spends 4-6 weeks working with
Dudamel, Phil musicians and with students in LAPO education programs. During
their time (Santos, Lewis and Rouvali will have two time blocks), the fellows
will both observe and gain hands-on experience. The Dudamel Fellowship was
instituted in 2009. One of the inaugural class, Perry So, is leading Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings on Tuesday's Hollywood Bowl program and a
member of last year's class, Joshua
Weilerstein,
was recently named as one of two assistant conductors at the
New York Philharmonic (MORE). Details on the new class are HERE.

 

JOANN FALLETTA,
who once headed up the Long Beach Symphony, has renewed her contracts with the
Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony and been named principal conductor
of the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

 

The Buffalo Philharmonic contract takes her through the
2015-2016 season; she was the first woman to head a major orchestra when she
took over that position in 1999 at the age of 45. The Virginia Symphony
contract is for another three years with an option for an additional two years.
She becomes the first American and first woman to serve with the Ulster
Orchestra.

 

Violinist JOSHUA
BELL,
who is appearing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic next week at
Hollywood Bowl (DETAILS), has been named music director of the

Academy of
St.-Martin-in-the-Fields in London. According to Gramophone, Bell will conduct performances from the violin chair as
opposed to standing on a podium (at the Bowl he will lead the Phil in Vivaldi's
The Four Seasons while playing the
solo parts). Kenneth Sillito remains as the ASMF artistic director and will
also conduct. Pianist Murray Perahia has been the group's principal guest conductor
for several years.

 

THE L.A. PHIL has
announced the 2011-2012 participants in the Dudamel Fellowship Program: Joshua Dos Santos of Venezuela, Mihaela Cesa-Goje of Romania, Courtney Lewis of Northern Ireland and
Boston, and Santtu Rouvali of
Finland.

 

Each of the four conductors spends 4-6 weeks working with
Dudamel, Phil musicians and with students in LAPO education programs. During
their time (Santos, Lewis and Rouvali will have two time blocks), the fellows
will both observe and gain hands-on experience. The Dudamel Fellowship was
instituted in 2009. One of the inaugural class, Perry So, is leading
Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings on
Tuesday's Hollywood Bowl program and a member of last year's class, Joshua
Weilerstein, was recently named as one of two assistant conductors at the New
York Philharmonic (MORE). Details on the new class are HERE.

 

UPCOMING NOTABLE
CONCERTS:
The Cal Phil plays
today at 2 p.m. in Walt Disney Concert Hall and concludes its 2011 summer
season on Aug. 21 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and 22 at Disney Hall
(DETAILS)

 

Southwest Chamber
Music
concludes its summer festival at The Huntington Library tonight at
7:30 p.m. and August 20-21, also at 7:30 p.m. (DETAILS)

 

John Mauceri returns to conduct the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which he founded 20 years ago, on Aug.
19, 20 and 21, playing the score to Walt Disney's 1940 movie classic "Fantasia"
while the movie is shown on the Bowl's large screens. (DETAILS). This is one of
my "don't miss" concerts of the Bowl season.

_____________________

 

(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

NEWS AND LINKS: 9/11 Concerts beginning to appear on schedule

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
News

 

The question about how classical music will commemorate the
10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks isn’t really “how” but “how many?” Because
9/11 falls on a Sunday this year, most churches will likely pay tribute in
their worship services. However, details of special musical events are also
beginning to emerge.

 

The Pasadena Master
Chorale
will honor the day with a performance of Faur’s Requiem at 4 p.m.
at La Crescenta Presbyterian Church. Artistic Director Jeffrey Bernstein will
lead the concert, which will open with four a cappella American works: a
traditional setting of Psalm 137, By The
Waters of Babylon;
Virgil Thompson’s My
Shepherd Will Supply My Need
; Words
To Be Spoken
, by Ross Lee Finney; and Bernstein’s own arrangement of America the Beautiful.

 

The Faur Requiem is a logical choice for this type of
concert. As Bernstein notes, “Perhaps the lightest of the well-known Requiem
settings, Faure’s Requiem is tuneful and direct, ending with music of ethereal
beauty and promise.” Soprano Krystle Casey and Baritone Cedric Berry will be
the soloists in the Requiem, which will be accompanied by Edward Murray on the
church’s pipe organ. DETAILS

 

Incidentally, the PMC will present a summer concert entitled
“My Spirit Sang All Day” on Aug. 14 at 4 p.m. at La Crescenta Pres. Bernstein
will conduct music ranging from Purcell, Elgar, William Billings and Ralph
Vaughan Williams to Ernst Krenek and Matthew Harris. DETAILS

 

The first group out of the block on 9/11 commemorations
was the Los Angeles Philharmonic,
which will use its Hollywood Bowl concert on Tuesday, Sept. 13, as a tribute to
those who died in the attack. The program will include the other “most obvious”
musical choice — Mozart’s Requiem — and pair it with Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Bramwell Tovey, who
for the past two seasons was the Phil’s principal guest conductor at the Bowl,
will lead the orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale and soloists Heidi Stober, soprano;
Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Phan, tenor; and Matthew
Rose, bass-baritone. Chichester
Psalms
calls for a boy treble but he hasn’t been named yet (at least the
name isn’t on the Web site). DETAILS

 

BTW: the Bowl’s concert on 9/11 will be a rock concert
featuring The National;

Neko Case,
with special guest T Bone Burnett
; and Sharon Van
Etten
in what the HB Web site describes as “an evening of
triumphant, powerful and poetic American rock music [celebrating] our spirit
and resolve under the stars of the summer sky.” DETAILS

 

Muse-ique, Rachael
Worby’s new ensemble, has announced it will participate in a free concert of
American music at 6 p.m. on the steps of Pasadena’s City Hall, but no details
have been forthcoming.

 

More will surely arrive in the in-box during the weeks
ahead.

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.