While the Classical Beaver makes it seem like we in the Oregon Symphony are doing keg stands, beer bongs, wet t-shirt competitions, and slathering sunscreen all over each other’s bodies during spring break, it’s often quite different for some of us. Yes, there are some lucky musicians who have scraped together the funds to head for a sunny clime for a much-deserved getaway. But for others there are obligations at home to take care of, and for others of us, like me, there are chances to perform out of town that otherwise would not be possible. Continue reading
The XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition has announced the competitors that have made it through to the first live rounds. The categories are piano, violin, cello and voice.
It’s also interesting to see how the nationality breakdown works out – here are my findings: Continue reading
The Oregon Symphony’s Beethoven Festival (rehearsals begin today) kicks off May 15th with the Lenore Overture No. 3, the Piano Concerto No. 2, and the Triple Concerto. Arnaldo Cohen is the amazing pianist who will be playing all of the concertos. He’ll be joined in the Triple by OSO concertmaster Jun Iwasaki and cellist Quirine Viersen (who played the Dvorak Concerto this past weekend).
In this first video, pianist Mitsuko Uchida plays the Concerto No. 2 with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.
and here is a portion of the first movement of the sprawling Triple Concerto, featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-yo Ma, and pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim with the Berlin Philharmonic.
As a violist, I’m a big fan of Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione (an now-defunct six-stringed instrument resembling a cello). It has all the great melodic lines that you expect of Schubert, and it’s one of the great pieces written for any instrument. Cellists like to claim it as their own, but there is nary an instrument that it hasn’t been stolen and arranged for.
French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras has long been a favorite musician of mine, and I recently discovered his recording of the Arpeggione Sonata with pianist Alexandre Tharaud (along with other Viennese works by Berg, Schubert, and Webern). It’s an astonishing recording. The Schubert is masterfully played, with such a variety of colors and the use of anywhere from no to quite a lot of vibrato, and Queyras simply makes me forget that he’s playing an instrument, it simply becomes an extension of his musical will. Highly recommended.
Of course, it’s in China.
Pianist Mark André Hamelin has composed this ode to that most disturbing and recognizable ring tone – the Nokia Song.
Saturday, December 19th, the quartet played the Newport Performing Arts Center in Newport, Oregon as part of the Newport Symphony’s 2009-2010 season. We were invited by the NSO’s music director Adam Flatt, who Heather and I know well from his years as an apprentice conductor with the Oregon Symphony over a decade ago. He asked for a French program, and little did we know how demanding that would be, with three pieces that would normally anchor a program or recital on their own, all on the same concert! We had a great crowd of very enthusiastic music lovers, and the concert was very well received. We hope to return to their season in the future – it was a shame that we weren’t able to stay after the concert and meet more people and see more of Newport. Unfortunately, we had to drive back to Portland for an Oregon Symphony rehearsal and concert Sunday morning.
Our guest pianist for the Franck Piano Quintet was one of our favorite artists in Portland, pianist Cary Lewis. He played with passion and sensitivity, and really brought this work to life for us!
We also had the great fortune of having another wonderful guest cellist for this concert, and we stayed in the family after having invited Trevor Fitzpatrick to perform with us at the OHSU concert earlier this year. This time his wife, Marilyn deOliveira, also a member of the Oregon Symphony, was able to perform a highly demanding program with great grace, humor, and artistic excellence. Thank you, Marilyn!