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Classical News & Reviews

Wall to Wall Bernstein at Symphony Space on Saturday – and It’s Free!

ZEALnyc, May 15, 2018 One of New York City’s most enduring performance hosting venues just happens to have started out as a food hall (the Astor Market) in 1915, was a short-lived ice skating rink (the Crystal Palace), and eventually evolved into the iconic performing space and film center ...

Out of the Pit and Into the Spotlight — the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Kicks Off Its End-of-Season Series at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 10, 2018 The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is one of the world’s finest orchestras, and their highly anticipated appearances at Carnegie Hall are a highlight of the season. Unleashed from the pit of the opera house and taking center stage, it is a ...

Review: Mariss Jansons Leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony in a ‘Riveting’ Mahler’s 7th at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 8, 2018 The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra reinforced their stature as one of the finest ensembles in the world in a riveting performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 in E Minor. Under the revered baton of Mariss Jansons, their chief ...

In Film Camp, There's Always Popcorn

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, May 17, 2018 The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), a nonprofit cultural arts center in Pleasantville, New York, has a dual mission. Their five-screen art house theater shows independent documentaries and world films, while across the street, a 27,000-square foot media ...

Review: ‘Me and My Girl’ Underwhelms at Encores!

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, May 16, 2018 In the 1980s, the landscape for Broadway musicals was bleak. As the decade wore on, American musicals were fewer and fewer in number, to the point where, in a number of seasons, there weren’t enough new musicals to ...

Wall to Wall Bernstein at Symphony Space on Saturday - ...

ZEALnyc, May 15, 2018 One of New York City's most enduring performance hosting venues just happens to have started out as a food hall (the Astor Market) in 1915, was a short-lived ice skating rink (the Crystal Palace), and eventually evolved into the iconic performing space and film ...

Art Break: Nature Captured in Art By Georgia O'Keeffe at ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, May 14, 2018 Art is amazing for many reasons. One of the best is helping us reexamine and redefine our understanding and relationship to history, culture, people, or even everyday items. Case in point: all our Art Break picks this week. ...

A Day @: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Will Lift You Out of ...

By Anne Marie Kelly, Contributing Writer, May 11, 2018 Are you tired of feeling trapped inside cars, trains and buses? Or being surrounded by glass, concrete and industrial lighting? Taking a stroll through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden might change your mind. This stunning 52-acre garden in the ...

Commentary: Inspirational Fashion By Way of the Catholic Church at ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, May 11, 2018 For many people, fashion isn’t just something to cover (or reveal) the body: in their eyes, fashion is practically a religion. These devotees travel to cities famous for designers and stores, buy items that are cherished for ...

Out of the Pit and Into the Spotlight — the Metropolitan ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 10, 2018 The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is one of the world’s finest orchestras, and their highly anticipated appearances at Carnegie Hall are a highlight of the season. Unleashed from the pit of the opera house and taking center stage, it ...

Launching 'A Day @:' Series — Exploring the Not-To-Be-Missed Throughout the ...

ZEALnyc, May 9, 2018 New York City may be our oyster, but where are the pearls? With so many museums, performances, street fairs, shopping, special interest events — how are we supposed to cull out the real gems from the enormous smorgasbord of possibilities? ZEALnyc is here to ...

Jazz Notes: Iconoclastic Jazz Master Ornette Coleman Receives a Rousing ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, May 8, 2018 Ornette Coleman, who dared to step to the edge of jazz boundaries and break the rules in search of improvisational freedom with his free jazz, was once considered a renegade and outsider. In testament to his alto saxophone ...

Review: Mariss Jansons Leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony in a ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 8, 2018 The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra reinforced their stature as one of the finest ensembles in the world in a riveting performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7 in E Minor. Under the revered baton of Mariss Jansons, their chief conductor, ...

Review: Trifonov Transcends In ‘Decades’ at Zankel Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 7, 2018 Daniil Trifonov’s monumental Perspectives recital at Zankel Hall on Friday night is the stuff legends are made of. Calling the recital “Decades,” the 27 year old Russian virtuoso, already renowned for dazzling Liszt and ...

Review: Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes Rises Above an Unruly Audience and an Ungracious Acoustical Setting

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 4, 2018 Leif Ove Andsnes deserves an apology for the unsupportive behavior of the New York audience at the start of his recital at David Geffen Hall which concludes his artist-in-residency at the New York Philharmonic this season. Alas, amidst a stream of ...

Boston Lyric Opera’s Upcoming Bernstein Double-Bill Is All About Transforming an Ice Rink Into a 1950s Nightclub

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, May 3, 2018 This spring the Boston Lyric Opera brings its season to a close with a premiere pairing of two Leonard Bernstein one-act operas: Trouble in Tahiti (1952) and Arias and Barcarolles (1988). The music itself is enough to grab your attention with the ...

The Underground Railroad and Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Provide Inspiration for World Premieres at Carnegie With the Oratorio Society of NY

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, May 1, 2018 The Oratorio Society of New York, one of the city’s finest choruses and one of its oldest cultural institutions, brings its 145th season to a close on Monday, May 7, 2018, at Carnegie Hall, with two world premieres: an oratorio about the ...

Review: Gardner Guides the New York Philharmonic In a Passionate Performance

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 30, 2018 Making his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic last week, British maestro Edward Gardner, currently chief conductor of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic, is clearly on the rise. Also this season, he makes his first appearances with ...

The Oratorio Society of New York Maintains Its Relevance With Two World Premieres at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2018 Founded in 1873, the Oratorio Society of New York is celebrating its 145th season as one of New York City’s longest enduring musical institutions. Having made Carnegie Hall its home since the hall was inaugurated in 1891, and anchored by a ...

Review: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee Addresses the Black Male Experience In ‘Cycles of My Being’ at Zankel Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2018 Lawrence Brownlee, one of the busiest singers around, in demand for bel canto opera roles all over the world, has a commanding stage presence, flawless intonation, and crystal-clear diction. The son of a church choir director, music is in his ...

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie In Fine Form Under the Baton of Marcelo Lehninger

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 23, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony, one of Michigan’s more prominent performing arts organizations, has spent the last several years increasing its visibility around the country. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2005, and unlike many more ...

Review: With Jaw-Dropping Technique, Cellist Andrei Ioniță Dazzles at Zankel Hall

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, April 23, 2018 Andrei Ioniță, a Romanian cellist who won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, dazzled the audience at his April 19 Zankel Hall recital from the instant he started playing. His opening piece, Pietro Antonio ...

Review: A ‘Candide’ That’s The Life of the Party, But Still Loses Sight of Its Origins

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, April 20, 2018 Carnegie Hall’s “One-Night-Only Benefit Concert in Celebration of the Bernstein Centennial” took the form of selections from the concert version of Candide currently licensed by the Leonard Bernstein Office, performed by a ...

Grand Rapids Symphony Brings More Than Great Music to Carnegie

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 17, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony arrives in New York this week for its first Carnegie Hall appearance in thirteen years with 85 players, a 135-member chorus, the world-renowned pianist Nelson Freire and its dynamic conductor Marcelo Lehninger. But according ...

Review: The Drama of Mozart’s Music (and Life) Fills Geffen Hall In NY Philharmonic’s ‘Amadeus: Live’

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 The New York Philharmonic’s April 14 screening of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning movie Amadeus, with the musical score performed live, was bittersweet; Forman died the day before, at eighty-six. Conductor Richard Kaufman dedicated the ...

From Rio With Love — Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie With Music Director Marcelo Lehninger

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 20 for the second time in the orchestra’s 88-year history. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary there in 2005, the orchestra returns with the 140-member ...

Ecstatic Music Festival Features Diverse Programming and Collaborative Performances

By Leonard Bopp, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, now in its eighth year, presents collaborative performances from a broad, diverse range of musical groups. As Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos notes, “since Kaufman Music ...

Review: Collegial Camaraderie Highlights the Voyage of the Four Nations Ensemble at Merkin

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, April 11, 2018 Taking off from Watteau’s ambiguous, evocative painting L’Embarquement pour Cythère, the Four Nations Ensemble came up with an ambiguous, evocative and, in the end, deeply stirring program of French music ranging over the ...

Review: Vietnam War-Inspired Programming Results In the Sublime to the Questionable

By Christopher Johnson, March 26, 2018 No one could have anticipated that the climactic event in Carnegie Hall’s months-long festival The ’60s: The Years that Changed America would coincide with the March for Our Lives, one of the biggest protests since the Vietnam War Moratoriums of 1969 and ...

Pop-Up Concerts Return To The Miller Theatre — Just In Time for Cocktails

ZEALnyc, March 23, 2018 Planning ways to connect with friends and colleagues can often be challenging, but what if you could find a way to combine socializing while hearing a cutting-edge concert and also enjoying a drink? All for free? Impossible? No. The Miller Theater at Columbia University ...

Review: Curtis Opera Theatre Brings a Newly Revised ‘A Quiet Place’ to Kaye Playhouse

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, March 16, 2018 Let’s not beat about the bush: A Quiet Place, Leonard Bernstein’s second opera, is a frustrating thing, brimming over with musical ideas of great interest and occasional beauty, but saddled with an unpleasant, implausible cast of ...

BLO’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ Is As Timely As Ever Through Its Creatives’ Vision

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, March 8, 2018 The Boston Lyric Opera is bringing back to stage writer Bertolt Brecht’s and composer Kurt Weill’s 1928 classic The Threepenny Opera, exposing a theme that has never really gone out of style. Topically, in fact, the subject matter is right ...

Review: Anne-Sophie Mutter Triumphs Through Technique and Keen Interpretive Powers

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, March 6, 2018 Anne-Sophie Mutter takes command. Those straggling late-comers? Let them shuffle in — she begins her performance as if they aren’t there, immediately seizing control of the room and setting the tone. Those (alas, seemingly inevitable) ...

Review: The Metropolitan Opera Revives Its Compelling ‘Elektra,’ And Comes Very Close to Success

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, March 1, 2018 The House of Atreus fell apart again tonight, as the Metropolitan Opera revived its crisp Patrice Chéreau production of Elektra with the American soprano (New York’s own to be specific) Christine Goerke making an anticipated New York debut as ...

Review: Dudamel Leads the Stellar Vienna Philharmonic With Humble Authority at Carnegie

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 27, 2018 Sunday’s appearance at Carnegie Hall by the venerated Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel provided art and artistry of numerous contrasts. First, the pairing of this great European ensemble, an institution with roots ...

Review: New York Polyphony Makes Beautiful Music, But At What Cost?

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 26, 2018 Thomas Tallis (1505?-1585) and his colleagues may have left virtually no information about how they wanted their sacred choral music to be performed, but they were abundantly—well-nigh exuberantly—clear about why they wrote it and ...

Review: Ax, Kavakos and Ma Achieve Greatness In Brahms Trios at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 26, 2018 Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax, longtime chamber music partners, have been joined by violinist Leonidas Kavakos in a brilliant recent recording of the three Johannes Brahms piano trios on Sony Classical, and are now touring the U.S. ...

Review: Anna Caterina Antonacci Captivates and Conquers in a Rare Recital Appearance at Zankel Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 21, 2018 New York City Opera brings the celebrated Anna Caterina Antonacci to Carnegie Hall for a rare, intimate recital and audiences should run, not walk. It is a privilege to experience vocalism of this caliber, and this former mezzo turned soprano, ...

Review: The Met Revives the Rare ‘Semiramide’ With a Golden Cast

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 19, 2018 Offering palace intrigue and plot twists that would make a Trump White House blanch, the Metropolitan Opera tonight revived its beautiful production of Rossini’s Semiramide, swathed in blue and gold and filling the house with impressive ...

Review: Drama Reigns at the New York Philharmonic, and Not All of It Onstage

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 16, 2018 Those weren’t boos you heard at Thursday night’s Philharmonic concert at Geffen Hall—they were howls of rage and contempt, and cries of “What an idiot!,” and a shouting-match that might have led to fisticuffs if a graybeard in ...

Review: Clémentine Margaine’s ‘Haunting Vocalism’ Highlights Muti Leading Chicago Symphony at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 12, 2018 One of the Second City’s greatest cultural institutions, the revered Chicago Symphony Orchestra, visited Carnegie Hall in a varied program under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Of particular interest was the New York premiere a newly ...

Review: The Dynamic Duo of Bell and Denk Deliver a Powerful Memorial Concert at Carnegie

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 9, 2018 With an eagle’s wingspan and a long arching torso, Bell’s charismatic playing fills the Isaac Stern Auditorium. In a recent, lofty, recital program alongside his frequent pianist, the expressive Jeremy Denk, paid tribute to the ...

Review: Matthias Goerne and Daniil Trifonov Join Forces for ‘Magnificent Music-Making’ at Carnegie Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 7, 2018 No one ever accused Matthias Goerne of being a cutup, and his joint recital with Daniil Trifonov—ninety minutes of disappointment and death in a single uninterrupted sweep—will yield no exception. It was too much: the flutter of ...

Review: Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin Steals the Show in Met Opera’s ‘Parsifal’ Revival

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 5, 2018 Tonight demonstrated that the Metropolitan Opera has made a brilliant choice, and perhaps the only real choice, in its replacement of James Levine. Levine, who conducted regularly at the Met after retiring from his monumental four-decades as music ...

Review: Conductor Stéphane Denève Brings Passion to Prokofiev With the NY Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, January 29, 2018 Led by guest conductor Stéphane Denève, the New York Philharmonic recently presented an exhilarating all-Prokofiev program, which I attended on Friday afternoon, January 26. Denève’s program bio states that he has a special affinity ...

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