JPR Classics

Classical music posts.

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.

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

Aug 1 T Jerome Moross*: Suite from The Cardinal
Aug 2 W Christoph Willibald Gluck: Selections from Orphée et Eurydice
Aug 3 T Gioachino Rossini: Overture to William Tell
Aug 4 F Jan Dismas Zelenka: Capriccio No. 1

Don't bother trying to pigeonhole the music of Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist, who record under the name From the Mouth of the Sun. If their mission in this instrumental miniature is nothing more than beauty itself, they have succeeded on a disproportionate scale.

The music in "Light Blooms In Hollow Space" summons exactly what its title suggests. A simple, two-note piano figure ticks like a clock while wheezy organ chords slowly emerge and a sprinkle of ukuleles falls from above. The space may be hollow, but it's painted with impressionistic detail.

Mark Campbell is one of the most prolific and celebrated librettists in contemporary American opera. But, as he recently told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum, not everyone thought his latest project was a good idea.

So what do you do if you're a recently crowned head of state and you're already facing opposition — even from within your own family? One answer is optics. Make a big, public splash; throw a lavish party with A-list musical entertainment. That's just what happened in London — 300 years ago Monday.

Most people love to sing, but in Estonia, they take their singing very seriously. At the Estonian Song Festivals, for example, over 30 thousand singers routinely show up to form one gigantic chorus. Among the Baltic country's smaller, professional vocal ensembles, the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is considered one of the world's best. When the group releases a new album, fans of choral music listen up.

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

July 3 M Philippe Gaubert*: Trois aquarelles
July 4 T Aaron Copland: Canticles of Freedom
July 5 W Joseph Haydn: Piano Concerto No. 11 in D major
July 6 T Gaetano Donizetti: String Quartet No. 15 in F major
July 7 F Gustav Mahler*: Totenfeier

Earlier this month, the New York Philharmonic's outgoing music director Alan Gilbert said goodbye to his orchestra in a series of concerts. Today, he is saying hello to a brand new job in Hamburg, Germany.

Mozart And 'The Peanut Vendor' In Havana

Jun 22, 2017

Last month, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein was in Cuba preparing for her current North American tour with an orchestra of young musicians from Havana. She fondly recalls one very hot rehearsal.

Fame Is A Boomerang

Jun 8, 2017

As far as flashy, oversize coffee table books go, opera star Maria Callas is a fitting subject. A larger-than-life figure, she had a complicated off-stage story that played out with as much searing drama as the operas she sang. With hard work and sacrifice, Callas vaulted to the top of her art while pushing it to new levels of intensity. In her personal life, she searched for love, found it, then lost it and died young.

Renée Fleming and Francis Collins have something unexpected in common: music.

Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, plays guitar. Fleming, of course, is a renowned soprano.

Reyna Gordon was an aspiring opera singer fresh out of college when she began contemplating the questions that would eventually define her career.

"I moved to Italy when I finished my bachelor of music, and I started to take more linguistic classes and to think about language in the brain, and music in the brain," she says. "What was happening in our brains when we were listening to music, when we were singing? What was happening in my brain when I was singing?"

Those questions led her to a graduate program in neuroscience in Marseilles, France.

Trying to make out what someone is saying in a noisy environment is a problem most people can relate to, and one that gets worse with age.

At 77, Linda White hears all right in one-on-one settings but has problems in noisier situations. "Mostly in an informal gathering where people are all talking at once," she says. "The person could be right beside you, but you still don't hear them."

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

June 1 T Mikhail Glinka*: Variations in E major
June 2 F Johannes Matthias Sperger: Symphony in B flat major

June 5 M Igor Stravinsky*: Danses Concertantes
June 6 T Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite No. 4
June 7 W Benjamin Britten: Four Sea Interludes from “Peter Grimes”
June 8 T Erwin Schulhoff*: Moonstruck
June 9 F Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda: Violin Concerto No. 5

How is this for a first day on the job: Maurice Murphy, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)'s late principal trumpet player, spent his very first day with the orchestra recording Star Wars' iconic opening theme, with its incredible brass fanfare — and Murphy leading the trumpets.

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