Michael Christie, former music director of CMF, wins Grammy for Best Opera Recording

Live Recording from Santa Fe Opera also features CU alumnus Wei Wu

By Peter Alexander Feb. 12 at 12 noon

Michael Christie, who was music director of the Colorado Music Festival 2001–2013, won a Grammy for a live recording from the Santa Fe Opera.

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Santa Fe Opera: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Photo by Ken Howard.

The two-CD set of composer Mason Bates’ and librettist Mark Campbell’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs was recorded during the world premiere run of the opera at the Santa Fe Opera’s summer festival in 2017. It was released on the PENTATONE label. It beat a recording from the Metropolitan Opera and three other nominees to win the category.

Christie, who was recently appointed music director of the New West Symphony in Thousand Oaks, Calif., conducted the opera in Santa Fe, and later at the Indiana University Opera Theater in Bloomington, Ind.

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Wei Wu celebrates his Grammy.

Among other cast members, the recording includes a performance by bass Wei Wu, an alumnus of the CU College of Music, as Jobs’ guru Kobu. Others in the cast included tenor Garrett Sorenson, mezzo-soprano Mariya Kaganskaya, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, baritone Kelly Markgraf, baritone Edward Parks, and soprano Jessica Jones.

Christie is currently conducting performances of Verdi’s La Traviata at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was unable to attend the Grammy ceremonies. He issued a statement this morning: “I can say the whole experience was quite surreal.

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Michael Christie

“I’m in Chicago at the moment getting ready to open La Traviata at the Lyric Opera of Chicago so couldn’t be present in LA for the award. I have to tell you though, I’m not sure I could have handled being in the audience waiting for that envelope to be opened! Instead, I was in Macy’s (so grateful they provided wifi in the store!!!) alternately shopping for socks and watching the live stream when the award was announced! I just started laughing.

“Any one of the five outstanding nominees should have won and yet they called out ours. I’m so grateful to Santa Fe Opera, our marvelous colleagues of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and its powerful chorus, (CD producer) Elizabeth Ostrow, creators Mason Bates and Mark Campbell, my amazing colleagues on stage.

“I also want to shout out to the extraordinary artists at Indiana University who gave the second performances of the opera in September. You all made an indelible impression on the piece and you share in its history.

“Congratulations to everyone involved!”

Christie joins a distinguished roster of Grammy winners in the Best Opera Recording category, including Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Alan Gilbert, Kent Nagano and Sir Charles Mackerras.

The recording of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs can be purchased from ArkivMusik or Amazon.

Other nominees for Best Opera Recording were John Adams’ Doctor Atomic by the BBC Symphony and BBC Singers John Adams conducting; Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Alceste by Les Talents Lyriques and Choeur de Chamber de Namur, Christophe Rousset conducting; Richard Strauss’ Der Rosnekavalier by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Sebastian Weigle conducting; and Verdi’s Rigoletto by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and the Men of the Kaunas State Choir, Constantine Orbelian conducting.

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Colorado Music Festival announces Music Director and 2019 season

Peter Oundjian takes the helm for a season exploring Beethoven’s influence

By Peter Alexander Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.

Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Peter Oundjian. Photo by Dale Wilcox.

The Colorado Music Festival has announced that distinguished conductor and violinist Peter Oundjian will be the festival’s music director.

Oundjian, who served as the Artistic Advisor for the 2018 festival, becomes the fourth music director in CMF’s 42-year history. Previous music directors were Giora Bernstein (1977–2000), Michael Christie (2001–2013) and Jean-Marie Zeitouni (2015–2017). Oundjian will lead seven concert programs during the six-week summer season, which runs June 28 to Aug. 3.

Other conductors appearing with the CMF orchestra will be the former music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni, for two concert programs; David Danzmayr, who appeared as guest conductor in 2018, for two concert programs; and Pittsburgh Symphony associate conductor Earl Lee, who will lead the family concert July 7 (see full schedule below).

The move to CMF marks a transition in Oundjian’s career. The former first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet (1981–95), he recently concluded tenure as music director of the Toronto Symphony (2004–18) and the Scottish National Orchestra (2012–18). In a news release from the CMF, Oundjian is quoted: “After leading a number of orchestras year-round, this [summer festival] is an exciting change of pace.”

Elizabeth McGuire, the CMF’s executive director, said that Oundjian’s appearances at the festival in 2018 convinced the CMF board to offer him a contract. “His rapport with the audience is at a level that I’ve never experienced,” she says. “He makes each individual audience member feel as if he’s talking directly to them.”

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Peter Oundjioan with the CMF Festival Orchestra. Photo by Michael Quam.

She also praised his ability to make connections between different pieces and programs in a way that fits the Boulder audience. “He has a real depth of understanding of the history and the people and their lives, and he really makes deep connections between the pieces,” she says. “In 2018, that was one of the things that really appealed to us.

“Because he’s so knowledgeable, he’s able to extract details from that big picture and make connections between concerts that are really interesting and play into Boulder’s sense of highly-educated concertgoers. And despite his amazing talents as a performer, he’s very down to earth and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. That’s what makes him good for Boulder.”

The 2019 festival continues the basic pattern of recent seasons: Festival Orchestra concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings, separate orchestral programs on Sunday evenings, and chamber concerts on Tuesdays. Four of the six Festival Orchestra concerts will be presented twice, as Thursday-Friday pairs. The season opens Thursday, June 27, and concludes with the “Season Finale” concert Saturday, Aug. 3. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in Boulder’s historic Chautauqua Auditorium.

One theme of the 2019 season is the influence of Beethoven on the music of the 19thand 20thcenturies. This theme was developed by Oundjian in anticipation of the 250thanniversary of Beethoven’s birth, to be celebrated in 2020, and represents the kind of comprehensive season planning that McGuire likes. “We appreciated that he was able to conceive of an entire season with one underlying common denominator,” she says.

Jan-Swafford

Jan Swafford

This year many of the orchestral works include a work by Beethoven and works that are in some ways related to or influenced by Beethoven’s music. The season concludes with Mahler’s Third Symphony, which was heavily influenced by Beethoven, including references to Beethoven’s last string quartet in the symphony’s finale. As part of exploration of Beethoven’s influence on later generations, the scholar Jan Swafford, author of Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph (2014) will present an evening of discussion of the composer.

A two-concert mini-festival will be devoted to music by Mozart. Titled “Magnificent Mozart,” the concerts July 21 and 28 will feature works in several genres including symphonies, concertos and a divertimento.

The summer’s extensive list of guest artists features pianist Natasha Paremski, violinist James Ehnes, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, pianist Coco Ma, violinist Jan Vogler, violist Mira Wang, pianist Lilya Zilberstein; pianist Gabriela Montero, violinist Stefan Jackiw, cellist Kian Soltani, clarinetist Jörg Widmann, violinist Robert McDuffie, mezzo-soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme, the ensemble Really Inventive Stuff, the St. Martin’s Festival Singers, and the Boulder Children’s Chorale.

Tickets to CMF performances can be purchased through the Chautauqua Box Office (303-440-7666). The box office is currently accepting renewals of previous CMF season subscriptions. New subscriptions and single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, March 18.

# # # # #

COLORADO MUSIC FESTIVAL
Schedule of Concerts, 2019 Season
All performances at the Chautauqua Concert Hall

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Chautauqua Auditorium. Photo by Jonathan B. Auerbach.

7:30 p.m. Thursday& Friday, June 27 & 28
OPENING NIGHT: BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO ROMANTICISM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Natasha Paremski, piano

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Natasha Paremski

Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Verdi: La forza del destino Overture
Respighi: Pines of Rome

7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30
BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO MODERNISM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with James Ehnes, violin

Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
R. Strauss: Wind Serenade
Beethoven: Grosse Fuge

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 2
BRAHMS & DVOŘÁK
CMF Chamber Players

Brahms: Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano in E-Flat Major
Dvořák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major

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Jon Kimura Parker

7:30 p.m. Friday July 5
REVOLUTION AND FREEDOM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Jon Kimura Parker, piano

Copland: Outdoor Overture
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F
Rossini: La gazza ladra Overture
Tchaikovsky: Overture 1812
Sousa: “Washington Post March”; “Liberty Bell March”; “Stars and Stripes Forever”

3 p.m. Sunday, July 7
FAMILY CONCERT “PETER AND THE WOLF”

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Earl Lee

Earl Lee, conductor, with Really Inventive Stuff ensemble

Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
Sensory-friendly Performance

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9
STRINGS AT SUNSET
CMF Chamber Players

Mozart: String Trio in B Flat Major for Two Violins and Cello
Boccherini: String Trio No. 5 in G Minor
Dvořák: String Quintet in G Major

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Jean-Marie Zeitouni

7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday July 11 & 12, 7:30 PM
ROMANTIC DUOS
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor, with Mira Wang, violin, and Jan Vogler, cello

Fauré: Pelleas et Mélisande Suite
Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Violoncello
Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture
Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane, Suite No. 2

7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14
BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO NEOCLASSICISM
Conductor: Jean-Marie Zeitouni, with Lilya Zilberstein, piano

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16
QUINTESSENTIAL HARP
CMF Chamber Players

Arnold Bax: Quintet for Harp and String Quartet
Ravel: Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet
Ravel: String Quartet
Brahms: String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major

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Gabriela Montero. Photo by Colin Bell.

7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday, July 18 & 19
TCHAIKOVSKY’S SYMPHONY NO. 6 “PATHETIQUE”
David Danzmayr, conductor, with Gabriela Montero, piano

Golijov: Sidereus
Grieg: Piano Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”)

7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21
MAGNIFICENT MOZART MINI-FESTIVAL I
David Danzmayr, conductor, with Stefan Jackiw, violin

Mozart: Symphony No. 32
Violin Concerto No. 5 (“Turkish”)
Overture from Don Giovanni
Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”)

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23
RUSSIAN MASTERS
CMF Chamber Players

Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor
Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A Minor

7:30 p.m. Thursday & Friday, July 25 & 26
SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE
Peter Oundjian, conductor with Kian Soltani, cello

Vivian Fung: Dust Devils
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique

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Jörg Widman. Photo by Marco Borggreve

7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28
MAGNIFICENT MOZART MINI-FESTIVAL II
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Jörg Widmann, clarinet

Mozart: Divertimento in D Major
Clarinet Concerto in A major
Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1
BEETHOVEN’S PATH TO MINIMALISM
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Robert McDuffie, violin

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”)
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 1

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Janice Chandler-Eteme

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3
FESTIVAL FINALE
Peter Oundjian, conductor, with Janice Chandler-Eteme, mezzo-soprano, St. Martin’s Festival Singers and the Boulder Children’s Chorale

Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Each Thursday and Friday night orchestral concert will be preceded by a “Talk Under the Tent,” just outside the North doors to Chautauqua Auditorium. Talks will be presented by scholars, journalists, and CMF musicians.

Previous Subscription may currently be renewed. New subscriptions and single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, March 18.
Purchase tickets through the Chautauqua Box Office HERE or by phone at 303-440-7666.

 

LSO’s new executive director: Longmont reminds her of her native Italy

Giorgia Ghizzoni plans for the continued growth and development of the orchestra

By Peter Alexander Jan. 14 at 3:00 p.m.

Italian native Giorgia Ghizzoni, the new executive director of the Longmont Symphony, feels right at home.

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Giorgia Ghizzoni

“There’s such an Italian feel to Longmont in the sense of community,” she says. “We found it so welcoming and inclusive. A few months was enough for us to realize that we would like to call Longmont home.”

Ghizzoni took up her duties Jan. 7, succeeding Kay Lloyd, who retired from the position after 12 years as executive director. Lloyd remains with the orchestra as principal flute and is the orchestra librarian.

“Thank God she will still be there,” Ghizzoni says. “She promised she’s going to be there in case I have questions. She has been such an asset and a value to the organization.”

Ghizzoni has an extensive background in music and business. She received a bachelor’s degree in cello performance in Italy and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from the Utrecht (Netherlands) School of Economics. She studied arts management in Finland, and has lived in Switzerland, New York, and most recently, Sonoma County, California.

Her professional experience includes work in community outreach and audience development at Carnegie Hall and as an intern at Alliance Artist Management in New York. She also established Experience Classical Music! (ExClaM!), a company focused on artist development.

In a press release, LSO board president Robert Pilkey was quoted saying “She has an impressive musical background, stellar administrative skills, fundraising experience and an abundance of energy. She also has an appreciation for the community’s long-held love affair with its symphony orchestra.”

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LSO with conductor Elliot Moore

Ghizzoni arrives only a year and half after the arrival of the orchestra’s new music director, Elliot Moore. “Giorgia and LSO’s music director Elliot Moore speak the same language and will make a great partnership,” Pilkey wrote.

Now that she has the job, Ghizzoni has lots of ideas for the orchestra. “The Longmont Symphony is an organization full of people with gigantic hearts,” she says. “I think of the LSO as an ambassador and identity of the City of Longmont itself: fast development, new people coming in from all walks, and expansion in a welcoming and inclusive way. And everybody is looking forward to improving themselves and to being more and more meaningful to more and more people, and this is just fantastic.

“The Longmont Symphony used to be a community orchestra. In one and half years it became a semi-professional orchestra, and with this change come a lot of new needs that need to be addressed. Now we need fund raising, major sponsorship, more collaboration, so lots of research to be done. [There are] younger patrons that we would like to touch with the gift of music, so how about being active on social media? All of this is a new definition of what an executive director will do from now on.”

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Giorgia Ghizzoni

Ghizzoni fell into the position almost by accident—a lucky accident, as it turns out. She was living in Longmont and wanted to meet the director of the local orchestra. “I’m an artist developer,” she says. “If some of his orchestra musicians need me in whatever sense, I’m here.” So she and Moore met before she knew that the LSO had a position open.

“We speak for five minutes, and he’s like, ‘I’m confused. I thought you wanted to meet me about the job opening.’ ‘What job opening?’ ‘You don’t know that we just opened our executive director position?’ No, I had no idea.”

To Ghizzoni, becoming the executive director of an orchestra looked like the perfect next step in her career. “I told the search committee on my last interview ‘I was this and I was that, I was an artist developer, but I have never been the executive director of a symphony orchestra. That’s exactly my next level.’”

With all of her past travels—Italy to Finland to Netherlands to Switzerland to the US—Ghizzoni has been a bit of a nomad. How likely is she to stay put in Longmont?

“I will just tell you this much,” she says. “We were here a couple of months and we bought a house.”

CU professor’s book is for musicians, administrators, patrons and board members

Jeffrey Nytch: The Entrepreneurial Muse

By Peter Alexander Jan. 4 at 4:20 p.m.

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Jeffrey Nytch

Jeffrey Nytch is a composer, an associate professor at the CU College of Music, director of the CU Entrepreneurship Center for Music, author of a text book—and sometimes a translator.

What he translates is the language of business. He translates it into language that anyone can easily grasp, and he does it through teaching as well as through his recently published book, The Entrepreneurial Muse: Inspiring Your Career in Classical Music.

“I feel like I’m a translator taking concepts that are well established in business but foreign to people in the arts,” he says. “It’s being able to say, let’s take ‘opportunity recognition.’ Let me explain to you what that means—translate it such that it demystifies it and helps the artist see that it is relevant to what they do.”

Written as a text book for classes such as “Building Your Music Career,” one of the courses he teaches through the College of Music, The Entrepreneurial Muse also aims at a larger audience. “It’s something that we talked a lot about in the conceptual stage of the book,” he says. “Oxford University Press is an academic press. They know how to market to educational institutions, so it’s been a little bit tricky in that regard.”

Nevertheless, he says, “I do think of a broader readership. I tried to write it in a conversational way, [with] the personal stories that are woven into it. Yes it’s a text book, but I wanted it to be a good read too.”

nytch.museMaking it “a good read” starts at the very beginning, with a personal experience we can all understand, what Nytch calls “The Popcorn Epiphany” (Prologue, p. xv; but you’ll have to read it for yourself). Those kinds of informal, accessible anecdotes can be found throughout the book.

Of course, it necessarily reads like a textbook in some chapters. Nytch is careful to lay the groundwork, explain the concepts, define the terms—in other words, translate the business language for his audience of musicians and music administrators.

One thing that makes the book understandable is that lot of what Nytch describes—concepts like latent and inchoate demand, and long-tail markets—are things that musicians and audiences will intuitively recognize, even if they don’t know the vocabulary. And as you move into the book, it becomes more and more fascinating to anyone who is active in the world of music, as a performer, professional administrator, supporter or consumer. Insights abound.

Music entrepreneurship has emerged as an important field over the past 20–30 years. CU created the first entrepreneurship program in the arts in 1999, and Nytch came to CU as head of the program in 2009. “Now, [the field] has really started to take off,” he says.

“In the last 20 years the numbers of [music students] have continued to grow and there are no longer the jobs for all of those students. Performing arts schools in general and music schools in particular began to recognize that we need to prepare our graduates for professional lives beyond just preparing them to be performers.”

Nytch himself came into the field of music entrepreneurship almost accidentally. Before taking the job at CU he had received a doctorate in composition, managed the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and co-founded a non-profit service organization. As he explains it, “I did not recognize that I was laying the groundwork for this new career. I was just trying to figure out how to keep music in my life and make a living.”

ecmmusicThen in 2008 he heard about the job opening at CU. “I’m reading the job description,” he recalls. “I’ve got a DMA in music, I have 15 years as a freelance composer, I’d run a small arts organization and my day job for six years was being the operations director for a small business. Basically, I checked every box that they were looking for. I read that job description, and I knew it was for me.”

The textbook emerged from his experience teaching entrepreneurship. “The educators, my colleagues in the arts entrepreneurship field, need resources for their own teaching,” Nytch says. In addition, “there are music students, there are individual musicians who are out in the world, especially folks that are in the earlier stages of their career.

“Entrepreneurship is also useful for traditional art management programs. A lot of arts organizations, symphony orchestras and opera companies and chamber music societies, they could benefit from learning to think entrepreneurially as well.”

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Jeffrey Nytch teaching at the Entrepreneurship Center for Music

One part of the music world in particular gets Nytch’s attention: the amateurs who support professional organizations, as patrons or contributors or board embers. “Those folks are invested in the future of their organizations, but they may not have the mechanism to think about options in a strategic way.

“A lot of boards end up doing what I call shucking peanuts. They say ‘We ought to do this,’ and ‘Actually, we ought to do this,’ or ‘Maybe we could try this.’ You go around the table and you spend two hours shucking peanuts. Some of those might be good ideas, some of them might be terrible ideas. But if there’s no way to evaluate them, then you’re never going to get any further than shucking peanuts. So thereis an audience who would find [the book] useful.”

In other words: If you are a musician in the early stages of your career, you should read this book; if you know a musician, buy it for them. If you are an arts administrator, you should read this book; if you know an arts administrator, buy it for them. If you are a board member of an arts organization, you should read this book; if you know a board member, buy it for them.

More concisely, I recommend this unique and valuable book to anyone who makes, supports or listens to music. It fills a unique and important space in the music world, and it does it extremely well.

The Entrepreneurial Muse: Inspiring Your Career in Classical Music by Jeffrey Nytch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. 240 pages. ISBN: 9780190630980 $24.99 (paperback; also available in hardback and E-book formats)

Can also be purchased from Amazon.

Edited 1/5/19 to update top photo of Jeffrey Nytch.

 

 

 

Hail and Farewell

Some of the musicians we lost in 2018

By Peter Alexander Dec. 31 at 4:45 p.m.

May the memories of these great musicians, who have enriched so many lives as performers, teachers and leaders, be a blessing to us all.

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Robert Mann

Jan. 1: Robert Mann, founding first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, whose robust style helped them achieve international renown, 97

Jan. 7: Maurice Peress, conductor who worked with both Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, and an ardent advocate for the influence of Dvořák on American music, 87

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Hugh Masakela

Jan. 23: Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter, singer and anti-apartheid activist, 78

March 2: Harvey Schmidt, composer of the long-running (42 years) off-Broadway sensation The Fantasticks, and also 110 in the Shade, 88

March 2: Jesús López Cobos, Spanish conductor, former music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Cincinnati Symphony, and other orchestras, 78

March 12: Ivan Davis, internationally known American pianist, a protégé of Vladimir Horowitz, 86

March 16: Buell Neidlinger, versatile bassist who played free jazz as well as John Cage and Igor Stravinsky premieres, and recorded with Dolly Parton and the Eagles, 82

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José Abreu

March 24: José Abreu,founder of El Sistema, the Venezuelan free-music program aimed at impoverished children that produced the conductor Gustavo Dudamel and remarkable youth orchestras, 78

Mach 31: Michael Tree, founding member of the Guarneri Quartet and the Marlboro Trio, as well as a much loved teacher at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and other institutions, 83

April 5: Cecil Taylor, classically-trained jazz pianist, band leader, and sometimes poet, 89

April 10: Yvonne Staples, the baritone voice of the soul group Staples Singers, 80

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Jean-Claude Malgoire

April 14: Jean-Claude Malgoire, energetic French conductor and champion of his nation’s early music repertoire, 77

May 1: Wanda Wilkomirska, a Polish violinist who performed world wide and was also known for her stand in support of the Solidarity movement, 89

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Clarence Fountain

June 3: Clarence Fountain, the last living co-founder of the iconic gospel singing group Blind Boys of Alabama, 88

June 12: Bonaldo Giaiotti, operatic bass who was discovered singing in celebration of his soccer’s team victory in a bar in northern Italy and went on to become a fixture of the Metropolitan Opera, 85

June 16: Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Russian conductor known for performing the works of Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina and other contemporary composers, and for the emotional intensity of his performances, 87 

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Liliane Montevecchi

June 29: Liliane Montevecchi, Tony-Award winning actress, dancer and singer who performed with the Folies Bergère in Las Vegas and Paris, in addition to Broadway and film roles, 85

June 29: Franz Beyer, a German  violist and musicologist who prepared a revised edition of Mozart’s unfinished Requiem in the early 1970s, 96

July 3: Bill Watrous, a widely respected and acclaimed trombonist, bandleader and teacher, known for studio work with artists including Quincy Jones and Frank Sinatra, 79

July 9: Oliver Knussen, British composer and conductor best known for his opera Where the Wild Things Are based on the beloved children’s book by Maurice Sendak, 66

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Aretha Franklin

Aug. 16: Aretha Franklin, “The Queen of Soul” and one of the most widely loved and revered singers in America with a 100 singles in the Billboard charts and 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 76

Aug. 23: George Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer and teacher at Rutgers and other institutions, whose Lyric for Strings was performed during the 2018 Colorado Music Festival, 96

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Inge Borkh

Aug. 26: Inge Borkh (born Ingeborg Simon), German/Swiss soprano known for her intense performances as Salome, Elektra, and other daunting roles, 97

Aug. 29: Ellie Mannette, a Trinidadian musician who, as a builder, tuner and teacher of steel drums, help create one of the most recognizable and joyful musical sounds, 90

Sept. 6: Claudio Scimone, Italian conductor and founder of I Solisti Veneti, with which he toured internationally and made many recordings, 83

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Tito Capobianco

Sept. 8: Tito Capobianco, operatic stage director at the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and San Diego Opera, and general director of Pittsburgh Opera for 17 years, later a faculty member at Indiana University, 87

Sept. 18: David DiChiera, founder and director of Michigan Opera Theatre in 1971, who helped bring culture into downtown Detroit and stimulate the downtown revival, 83

Sept. 21: Katherine Hoover, flutist and composer who wrote for her own instrument and for strings, woodwinds, full orchestra, and other media, 80

Oct. 1: Charles Aznavour, celebrated French popular singer, song writer and film star who sold more than 100 millions records, and who was also known for his political support of the Armenian people, 94

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Montserrat Caballé

Oct. 6: Montserrat Caballé, Spanish prima-donna soprano known for the purity of her voice as well as the adulation of her fans, 85

Oct. 31: Wolfgang Zuckerman, developer of the “Z-Box,” the first build-it-yourself harpsichord kit, 96

Nov. 15: Roy Clark, guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle virtuoso and country singer who was much more than this TV personality on “Hee-Haw,” a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, 85

Dec. 6: Andrew Frierson, groundbreaking African-American bass-baritone who sang at the New York City Opera and other opera stages around the world and at the 1963 March on Washington, was a voice professor at Oberlin and other schools, and co-founded the Independent Black Opera Singers, 94

Dec. 17: Galt MacDermot, Grammy-award winning composer of Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona, 89 and 364 days

Dec. 29: Aldo Parisot, legendary Brazilian-born cellist and teacher who was the longest-serving faculty member ever at Yale University, 100

 

Grace Note: Boulder International Chamber Music Competition Announces Winners

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By Peter Alexander Oct. 14, 2018, at 3:20 p.m.

The Boulder International Chamber Music Competition: The Art of the Duo concluded its competitive rounds Saturday (Oct. 13).  The winners were announced that evening, and the winners concert was held Sunday afternoon, Oct. 14, in the Gordon Gamm Theater of the Dairy Arts Center.

The winners are:

First Prize: Iwo Jedynecki (Poland) & Aleksander Krzyżanowski (Poland), accordion and piano
Best Performance of Commissioned Piece, “True Green” by Tomasz Golka
Audience Favorite Award
Second prize winners (tie): YuEun Kim (South Korea) & Sung Chang (South Korea), violin and piano; and
Matthew Cohen (U.S.) & Zhenni Li (China), viola and piano
No third prize was awarded.

Boulder International Chamber Music Competition presents duos from around the world

Live rounds and winners concert will be open to the public, Thursday–Sunday

By Peter Alexander Oct. 9 at 4:10 p.m.

Twenty classical music duos are arriving in Boulder this week from all over the world.

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Dairy Arts Center, location of the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, “The Art of the Duo”

They are coming for the second Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, “The Art of the Duo,” which will unfold in the Gordon Gamm Theater of the Dairy Arts Center Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 11–14. The duos (listed here) include standard duo pairings, including violin and piano, cello and piano; other common pairings, including flute and piano, clarinet and piano, trumpet and piano; and one surprising pair, accordion and piano.

They are arriving from many parts of the globe. There are contestants from South Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Poland, as well as the U.S. and Canada.

All live portions of the competition are open to the public, with semi-final rounds Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11-12, the final round on Saturday, Oct. 13, and the winners’ concert Saturday, Oct. 14 (see schedule below). All performances will be in the Gordon Gamm Theater. Tickets for the four-day event, or for each individual day of the competition, are available through the Dairy Web page.

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Mina Gajić

The competition is the brainchild of its artistic director, pianist Mina Gajić, who put together the first competition in 2016. Like many music contests, it will be held every two years.

“With each new iteration of the competition we’ll be able to continue promoting this kind of competition [for duos], which is pretty rare in the classical music world,” Gajić says. “At the same time we’re promoting Boulder as an arts destination and bringing even more visibility to our cultural life that is already rich.”

Gajić has assembled a jury of three accomplished musicians to judge the live rounds, representing three different instrument families represented in the competition:

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    Jon Kimura Parker. Photo by Tara McMullen

    Pianist Jon Kimura Parker, an internationally recognized performer and director of the Honens International Piano Competition and Festival in Calgary;

  • Violinist Ani Kavafian, professor in the practice of violin at Yale University who has performed as soloist and chamber musician with leading ensembles around the world; and
  • Clarinetist Richie Hawley, who teaches at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and appeared with the Boulder Bach Festival in Longmont in 2017.
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Ani Kavafian

“Our judges are some of my favorite musicians,” Gajić says. “They are world-class performers and teachers, equally as soloists and chamber musicians.”

The application process for the competition began last summer. The deadline was in July, after which a four-person panel—Gajić, Zachary Carrettin of the Boulder Bach Festival, plus the 2016 winning duo of cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki—heard to and watched more than 100 online application videos. After an intensive two-week period, the semi-finalists who would come to Boulder were announced Aug. 1.

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Richie Hawley

“I listened several times to all the videos,” Gajić says.“It’s a really big responsibility to be the one who says this duo can enter can enter, and this duo cannot, but that’s just the nature of a competition.”

Even narrowed down to the 20 semifinalists, two full days is a lot of music by duos. “Those are long days, but our audience is really devoted to this event,” Gajić says. “I was amazed how many people stayed the whole time in 2016. Audience members develop a relationship with the performers and want them to advance to the finals, to win a prize!”

As in 2016, the competition has commissioned a work to be performed by all contestants in the semifinal round. This year’s piece, “True Green,” is by Tomasz Golka, director of the Riverside (Calif.) Philharmonic and an accomplished violinist. It is an interesting challenge for the composer to write a piece that can be played by duos with differing instruments and sonic capabilities.

The challenge for the performers is to come up with their own interpretation of a piece they have never heard or seen before, and make it fit the individual character of their instrument. “It’s really great to hear the same piece performed 20 different ways, in 20 different instrumentations, 20 different interpretations,” Gajić says.

Like most musical organizations in U.S., the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition is supported by a combination of grants and individual gifts. “I have great support from the Boulder Bach Festival, who serves as the fiscal agent, so that is extremely helpful,” Gajić says. “And we get really great support from the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, who have supported us in many different ways, because we bring valuable arts tourism to Boulder.

“We’re promoting the classical music scene here, and we’re also attracting contestants ages 18–35 who are discovering Boulder. This is an event where (young artists) can gain experience, see a beautiful town in the United States, win some substantial cash prizes, and get other performance opportunities.

“I would encourage anybody to come and experience this live, because it’s something really special, and it’s happening right her in Boulder.”

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The Art of Duo
Boulder International Chamber Music Competition

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Semifinal rounds:
2–5 and 6:30–9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11
3–5:30 and 6:30–9 p.m. Friday, Oc.t 12
See the full list of participating duos here.

Finalist rounds and announcement of winners
1–9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

Final concert: Three prize-winning duos
2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14

All performances in the Gordon Gamm Theater, Dairy ArtsCenter
Tickets available through the Dairy Arts Center Web page