JPR Classics

Classical music posts.

An Old Danish Dance In The Key Of Melancholy

Oct 8, 2017

Classical and folk music continue to intermingle in fascinating ways. The intersections stretch back far beyond Bach, who cleverly slipped a German folk song into his Goldberg Variations. Later, composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók combed the countryside, collecting tunes from villagers.

A Young Lion Tamed By Chopin's 'Fantasy'

Oct 4, 2017

When Daniil Trifonov was 20, he scored a double victory, taking home top prizes at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein International Piano Competitions. That was six years ago, and by now he has secured a spot as one of the most revered – perhaps even feared – classical pianists on the scene today.

Bill Murray has come a long way since his early days as Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live. He made screwball comedies like Caddy Shack and Stripes. Then he made serious films, like Lost in Translation.

Singing With New Lungs In 'The Encore'

Oct 1, 2017

Some of the great roles for sopranos are often compellingly fragile — and disarmingly forceful – women: Gilda, the favored daughter in Rigoletto; Violeta, the doomed love in La Traviata.

Charity Tillemann-Dick has sung those roles onstage, but her greatest role may be her own life. She is one of 11 brothers and sisters of a Mormon-Jewish family, and was studying at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music when she was diagnosed with a debilitating and ultimately fatal lung disease.

Featured Works for October – First Concert
(*Indicates October birthday)

Oct 2 M Johann Peter Pixis: Piano Concertino
Oct 3 T Ludwig van Beethoven: Consecration of the House Overture
Oct 4 W Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring
Oct 5 T Eduard Franck*: Cello Sonata in F major
Oct 6 F Karol Szymanowski*: Variations on a Polish Folk-Theme

Jonas Kaufmann: A Tenor At The Top

Sep 28, 2017

What does it take to be an opera superstar? Jonas Kaufmann should know. He's been called "the world's greatest tenor."

Kaufmann has the voice. He's also got the onstage charisma, the movie-star good looks, the ambition, even a little controversy — and a brand new album.

This week, I went to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to sit in on a conducting class led by Marin Alsop, the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The Maestra was showing several Peabody students — aspiring young conductors — some of the fine points of leading an orchestra, as they led musicians through Don Juan, the dramatic tone poem by Richard Strauss.

At first glance, Devonté Hynes and Philip Glass might appear like musical opposites. Hynes, the 31-year-old British producer and songwriter who performs under the name Blood Orange, makes hit records with Solange and Carly Rae Jepsen.

We Shall Not Be Moved is a new opera that takes its name from both the old spiritual-turned-civil-rights anthem and the Philadelphia black liberation group, MOVE. That group might be best-remembered for a 1985 tragedy: A police helicopter bombed the MOVE house, and the resulting fire killed 11 people and destroyed 62 homes in the neighborhood.

The opera, presented by Opera Philadelphia with the Apollo Theater, had its world premiere Sept. 16. It revisits that house and its ghosts, while remaining centered on stories about young people in Philadelphia today.

By now you have probably heard that JPR will be moving in to a new facility early next year. If you’ve ever moved a music collection to a new house, you know just how heavy CDs can be… especially those albums you don’t really want to keep. Well, we’ve got THOUSANDS of them that we simply don’t want to move to the new building. SO… on Saturday, September 23rd with your help, we’re going to try to find them new homes. YOURS!

Turn It Down: Morton Feldman's Silent Revolution

Sep 6, 2017

The intrepid pianist Marc-André Hamelin has a reputation for embracing the toughest, strangest music. His new recording of For Bunita Marcus by Morton Feldman is a fine example. For nearly 75 minutes the music never rises above a whisper and the damper pedal is always pressed down, allowing single notes to ring out into vast, silent spaces.

You never know just where Bill Murray might show up. From house parties to the White House, the actor and comedian has a penchant for crashing events and leaving everyone in his wake surprised.

The lobby of a Silicon Valley tech company is not where you would expect to hear a soprano belting out a Puccini aria, but that was exactly what happened at the first performance of Arias in the Office.

With "Ch'il Bel Sogno," soprano Katharine Gunnink kicked off the new pop-up series at Adobe's San Jose headquarters at the beginning of August. The initiative by Opera San José aims to introduce people to the very concept of opera as something that can be fun and enjoyable.

Featured Works for September – First Concert
(*Indicates September birthday)

Sep 1 F Engelbert Humperdinck*: The Royal Children

Sep 4 M Darius Milhaud*: Saudades do Brasil
Sep 5 T Johann Christian Bach*: Symphonie Concertante in B flat major
Sep 6 W Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Sep 7 T François André Philidor Danican*: Flute Quartet in C major
Sep 8 F Luigi Cherubini*: String Quartet No. 3

The Venezuelan government has cancelled the upcoming U.S. tour by the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and its star conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who is also the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

El Nacional, a major Venezuelan paper, reported yesterday that the cancellation was ordered by the presidency.

The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will have a guest conductor this week: Dennis Prager. He'll conduct Haydn's Symphony No. 51 at an orchestra fundraiser.

Unrest continues on the streets of Venezuela after the country’s new constitutional assembly declared itself more powerful than all other branches of government on Tuesday. But pro-democracy protesters are missing a key member of their movement — the 23-year-old musician Wuilly Arteaga, who has braved tear gas and riot police with just his violin, was detained by Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard on July 27.

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