Inside This Issue

PreViews & Features

Opera Circle to stage Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana at First Baptist

by Daniel Hathaway


One of the most popular of all opera titles came about through a contest. 27-year-old Pietro Mascagni barely made the deadline for a new opera competition set up by Milanese publisher Edoardo Sonzogno in 1888, but won out over 72 other aspiring young Italian composers who fulfilled the entrance criterion of never before having had an opera staged. His winning entry, the one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana, received its premiere in Rome in 1890.

Although Mascagni lived until 1945 and penned fourteen other stage works, none ever received the attention that “Cav” attracted. Cleveland’s Opera Circle, having previously produced Mascagni’s second opera, L’Amico Fritz, will mount two staged performances of Cavalleria rusticana on Friday evening, November 21 and Sunday afternoon, November 23, at First Baptist Church in Shaker Heights. [Read More…]

CIM Orchestra@Severance November 19: a conversation with violist Leah Ferguson

by Carlyn Kessler

FERGUSON-LeahLeah Ferguson is delighted to be performing Béla Bartók’s skillfully-crafted Viola Concerto in the Cleveland Orchestra’s beautiful home of Severance Hall. On Wednesday, November 19th, beginning at 8:00 pm, guest conductor Kimbo Ishii will lead the CIM Orchestra in a dynamic concert that also includes Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture and Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Originally from Wilmette, Illinois, Leah is a senior at CIM studying with Robert Vernon and has recently participated in festivals including Ravinia, Music@Menlo, the Perlman Music Program, and the Sarasota Music Festival. She has collaborated with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, and members of the Cleveland, Orion and Tokyo quartets. Most recently, Leah appeared with Joshua Bell on the television program “A YoungArts Masterclass,” which aired on HBO last October. [Read More…]

Colin Davin to appear on Letterman with opera legend Jessye Norman

DAVIN-ColinClassical guitarist Colin Davin, a native of Bay Village, will appear with Jessye Norman on The Late Show with David Letterman on Thursday, November 20 at 11:35 pm EST on CBS.

Davin currently lives in New York, where he received his master’s degree from Juilliard. He has performed throughout the U.S., in France and Spain, and is a regular teacher at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul and the Aspen Music Festival and School. (ClevelandClassical’s video interviews with Davin from Kabul can be viewed here.)

Akron Symphony Orchestra: Levi Hammer to perform Ravel concerto

by Mike Telin

Hammer-at-Piano“I love this concerto so much, I almost don’t know what to say,” pianist and Akron Symphony Associate Conductor Levi Hammer told us during a recent conversation. “It’s one of those pieces that’s been with me for most of my life, and I’m so happy to be able to play it again.”

On Saturday, November 22 at 8:00 pm, in the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall, Levi Hammer will perform Ravel’s jazz-inspired Piano Concerto in G major with the ASO under the direction of Christopher Wilkins. The concert will also include Fauré’s Pavane, Mozart’s Symphony No. 34 in C and his “Coronation” Mass in C, featuring the Akron Symphony Chorus.

Ravel composed the G-major concerto between 1929 and 1931 following a 1928 concert tour of the United States during which he met George Gershwin, who introduced him to Harlem jazz clubs. During the same tour, Ravel visited New Orleans, where he also took in that city’s vibrant jazz culture. [Read More…]

No Exit Begins new season with concerts on November 22 & 24

by Mike Telin

NoExitThe new music ensemble No Exit will launch their 2014-15 concert season next week by shining a spotlight on the works of area composers, including the debut of two world premiere pieces. The performances will take place on Saturday, November 22 at 8:00 pm in Spaces Gallery and on Monday, November 24 at 8:00 pm in Cleveland State University’s Drinko Auditorium.

No Exit artistic director Timothy Beyer says that, “While we have always been very passionate in our focus on Cleveland-area composers, this concert is unique in that with the exception of the Jacob Druckman piece, the entire program consists of living composers from our area. I think that we live in an age where ʻregionalismʼ, in regard to art music, is not such a meaningful term anymore. Itʼs become a much bigger world than that. However, there is still something quite singular and extraordinary about so much music coming out of our neck of the woods. We wanted to present a program that reflected this.” [Read More…]

Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra opens its season on Sunday, November 23

by Mike Telin

COYO-Mitchell“When we held auditions this past May, it became clear that we would have a great group of players coming on board,” Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) music director Brett Mitchell said during a recent conversation. “I just had the feeling that we were going to have a very special year.” On Sunday, November 23 at 8:00 pm in Severance Hall, Mitchell and his young players will present their first concert of the 2014-15 season. The program will feature music by John Adams, Roy Harris and Tchaikovsky.

It appears that Mitchell’s gut feeling was correct. He pointed out that once a student becomes a COYO member, they can remain a member until they graduate high school. However, the downside is that he could end up losing anywhere from a quarter to a third of his orchestra each year. “And of course the ones you lose are the most experienced players. That can present a real challenge with regard to programming.” [Read More…]

duo parnas to perform on LCCC Signature Series

by Mike Telin

Duo-ParnasOn Tuesday, November 25, Lorain County Community College’s Signature Series will continue with a performance by duo parnas, Madalyn Parnas, violin, and Cicely Parnas, cello. The free concert, which begins at 7:30 pm in the Studio Theatre at the Stocker Center for the Arts, includes music by Haydn, Tcherepnin, Moravec, and Handel-Halvorsen.

“This is our Northeast Ohio debut and I’m looking forward to the concert; it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Madalyn said during a telephone conversation from Washington D.C. where she and her sister were performing the Brahms Double Concerto with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. “I love the program. It’s repertoire that audiences don’t often get to hear.”

I asked Madalyn Parnas to say a bit about each of the works on their program. [Read More…]