Previews & Features
Classical Guitar Weekend: May 23-25
by Daniel Hathaway
The thirteenth annual Classical Guitar Weekend sponsored by Guitars International and held at the Cleveland Institute of Music, begins a day earlier than usual this year with a master class by Belgian guitarist Raphaella Smits on Thursday, May 23 at 2:00pm and ends with a Saturday evening recital by British-born guitarist Jonathan Leathwood on May 25 at 8:00 pm. Inbetween, lovers of the classical guitar and its music can enjoy recitals by Jason Vieaux and friends, Jiyeon Kim from Korea, Colin Davin from the USA, and Raphaella Smits, interleaved with lectures, panel discussions and exhibits. See the entire schedule here. Following are interviews with four of the featured recitalists.
Classical Guitar Weekend: a conversation with American guitarist Colin Davin
by Mike Telin
Hailed as “the real thing, a player with a virtuoso’s technique, a deeply expressive musicianship, and a probing imagination” by the American Record Guide, guitarist Colin Davin is quickly emerging as one of today’s most dynamic young artists. His recent recital appearances include Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (on historic instruments from the museum's collection), New York Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall, and venues in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Austin, and Cleveland.
As an educator, Davin has taught at the Aspen Music Festival as the teaching assistant to Sharon Isbin, and in January 2013, he was a guest artist-faculty at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul, Afghanistan.
On Friday, May 24 beginning at 8:00 pm in Mixon Hall, Colin Davin presents a recital featuring the music of J.S. Bach, Britten, Erin Rogers and Joan Tower. On Saturday, May 25 from 1:00 until 4:00, Mr. Davin will give a master class in CIM Studio 113.
We spoke to the Bay Village native by telephone from his home in New York and we began by asking him why he chose the two Bach sonatas for his Classical Guitar Weekend recital. >>read on
Classical Guitar Weekend: a conversation with British guitarist Jonathan Leathwood
by Mike Telin
"Jonathan Leathwood is a genius." Writes Therese Wassily Saba of Classical Guitar [UK]. One of the few guitarists to perform on six-string and ten-string guitars, Leathwood’s innovative programs are a mix of modern and traditional works. His recent recital appearances have taken him to Italy, the UK, Germany, Turkey, France, Belgium, Holland, and the United States. On Saturday, May 25 beginning at 8:00 pm in Mixon Hall, Jonathan Leathwood presents a recital featuring the works of J.S. Bach, de Falla, Gerhard, Goss, José, and Lindberg. Additionally Mr. Leathwood will give a master class on Friday, May 24 from 1:30 until 4:30 in CIM studio 113.
Equally noted as a teacher and writer on music, Jonathan Leathwood writes and lectures on a range of topics from Bach to Elliott Carter. In 2001 he conceived and edited Guitar Forum, a new scholarly journal for the classical guitar published in the United Kingdom by the European Guitar Teachers’ Association (EGTA UK). Currently he is a lecturer at the University of Denver. >>read on
Classical Guitar Weekend: a conversation with Belgian Guitarist Raphaella Smits
by Daniel Hathaway
Belgian guitarist Raphaella Smits will be making her fourth visit to Cleveland for this year's Classical Guitar Weekend to play a solo recital in Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music on Saturday, May 25 at 4:30 and to conduct a master class on Thursday, May 23 at 2:00 pm. A frequent visitor to our shores, Smits has made some 95 solo and educational appearances during her distinguished career, which includes having been the first woman to win Spain's prestigious Certamen Internacional de Guitarra Francisco Tarrega Competition.
We reached Raphaella Smits via Skype video conference at her home outside Antwerp. Of course I have to ask her first if she admires Rubens's paintings.
Raphaella Smits: Yes of course. They are everywhere. We are living about ten minutes outside town and we're lucky to have a really huge, beautiful garden. It's spring and all the leaves and flowers are out.
Daniel Hathaway: I've been reading about how you got started on the guitar, but it would be fun for you to tell us that again in your own words! What first attracted you to the instrument?
RS: Why not! In the beginning I wasn't attracted to it at all because I didn't even know it existed. But I grew up with a lot of culture. >>read on
Classical Guitar Weekend: a conversation with Cleveland guitarist Jason Vieaux
by Mike Telin
On Thursday, May 23rd beginning at 8:00 pm in CIM's Mixon Hall, Classical Guitar Weekend kicks off its 2013 edition with a recital by Jason Vieaux that features the music of Paganini, Piazzolla, Ponce, and Sor. Vieaux, who heads the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Guitar department and serves on the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, will be joined by hi CIM colleagues violinist Jinjoo Cho, violist Jeffrey Irvine, and cellist Melissa Kraut.
On Friday, May 24 beginning at 9:00 am, also in Mixon Hall, Vieaux will lead a master class via Distance Learning. Guitar students from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Royal Danish Academy of Music will perform on and off site via CIM's innovative Distance Learning audio/video hook up and be coached by Jesper Sivebak, head of the RDAM guitar department.
Since winning the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Competition at the age of nineteen, Jason Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressive gifts and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music. >>read on
Manfred Honeck conducts The Cleveland Orchestra in its four-concert season finale this weekend
by Mike Telin
This weekend The Cleveland Orchestra concludes its 2012-13 Severance Hall season with four concerts beginning on Thursday, May 23 and running through Sunday afternoon, May 26. The performances, under the direction of Manfred Honeck in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, include Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring the German-born, London-based pianist, Lars Vogt, and the Cleveland premiere of Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson’s Open Mind. This series also includes a popular KeyBank Friday@7 series concert with a pre-concert performance by saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio and a post-concert party featuring the Brooklyn, N.Y. based funk band MOKAAD.
Austrian-born conductor Manfred Honeck attended the Academy of Music in Vienna studying violin and viola, and spent more then ten years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Following his decision to pursue a conducting path, Honeck has held positions at the Zurich Opera House, MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, Norwegian National Opera, Staatsoper Stuttgart and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Honeck also served as principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2011, a position he will resume from 2013 to 2016. In North America, Manfred Honeck is most well known as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, a post he was appointed to in 2007. >>read on
Quire Cleveland invites Jameson Marvin to conduct a Palestrina Fest on May 25
by Daniel Hathaway
Quire Cleveland will celebrate Memorial Day weekend with an all-Palestrina concert at Historic St. Peter's Church in downtown Cleveland on Saturday evening, May 25. Quire's founders, Ross W. Duffin and Beverly Simmons, have invited a distinguished choral specialist to guest conduct the professional ensemble for the occasion: Jameson Marvin, who retired last year after thirty-two years as director of choral activities at Harvard, including the Harvard Glee Club, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and the Radcliffe Choral Society (Marvin's last Cleveland appearance was with the Glee Club in March of 2010).
The Quire Cleveland invitation came about through personal connections, he told us in a phone call from his home in Lexington, MA. “Ross and Bev's son David sang with the Collegium when he was at Harvard. They came to several concerts and really liked what we were doing, especially with Renaissance polyphony. Interestingly, I had met Bev at workshops I offered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in the summer of 1979 and 1980. The fact that Ross and Bev went to Stanford the same time I did means that we see things similarly, though they've gone much more in depth into musicological areas and I into performance areas. When they came to Cambridge, I would see Ross after concerts and he told me about Quire Cleveland and invited me to come and conduct the group at some convenient time.” >>read on
Good Company: a vocal ensemble at Lakewood Presbyterian (May 19)
by Daniel Hathaway
Though the title of the program (“Plaintive Notes”) and the graphic on the flyers and posters (an eye weeping into a pool) may have suggested a mournful selection of repertory, the well-sung concert that Good Company presented at Lakewood Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon, May 19, was equally decked out with delightful, light-hearted pieces. Artistic director Karen Weaver conducted the 28-member chorus with the assistance of the Amethyst String Trio and Patrick Wickliffe, who played organ, harpsichord and piano (and offered a brief organ prelude as well). The short program was the perfect length for a warm Spring afternoon.
The concert began on a somber note with John Rutter's De Profundis from the Requiem. >>read on
Patti Austin with The Cleveland Orchestra
by Guytano Parks
The evening shimmered, both musically and visually as the Grammy Award-winning singer Patti Austin took to the Severance Hall Stage in The Music of Ella and Ellington with The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by James Feddeck on Saturday, May 18. Miss Austin made an elegant entrance in a bejeweled silver grey gown which fit right in with Severance Hall's luxuriously opulent decor. “Look at that ceiling, did you ever see anything quite as beautiful?... my house would look so great with that ceiling,” she said with an upward gaze. Her stage manner and banter immediately endeared her to the audience. And her voice was in particularly fine form, distinctively rich and colorful, ranging from the seductive and smoky to the vibrantly clear.
Feddeck and the orchestra opened the concert with a vigorous and exciting account of Bernstein's Overture to West Side Story. Biting brass and driving rhythms were energized by the percussion section while lush strings and colorful woodwinds imparted character and atmosphere to one of musical theatre's most beloved scores. >>read on
Bootsy Collins and CYO in “Rock the Orchestra” at CSU (May 17)
by Mike Telin
For the past seventeen seasons the Contemporary Youth Orchestra under the direction of its always-creative founder and music director Liza Grossman, have presented an end-of-season Rock the Orchestra concert. Past concerts have given CYO members the chance to work with some of the greats from the world of Rock including the likes of Graham Nash, Jon Anderson, Pat Benatar, Donnie Iris and Paul Jefferson Starship. On Friday, May 17 in Cleveland State University’s Waetjen Auditorium, legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins joined forces with CYO in an electrifying concert titled Psychotic Bump School.
But this concert amounted to far more than a celebrated artist playing his or her beloved tunes backed up by an orchestra; this performance was all about the collaborative nature of music. >>read on
Cleveland Pops Orchestra and Chorus at Severance Hall (May 17)
by Daniel Hathaway
The troops were out in force for Cleveland POPS' thirteenth annual Armed Forces Salute at Severance Hall on Friday, May 17 — not the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard who were honored in a medley of official songs, but in addition to the orchestra and its new Cleveland POPS Chorus, the evening featured a Joint Veterans Honor Guard, the Gates Keystone Club Police Pipes and Drums, the Mutual Gifts Gospel Choir (employees of Medical Mutual, who sponsored the evening) and a celebrity narrator, former Cavs star Austin Carr, aka “Mr. Cavalier.” All these participants were masterfully deployed and led by POPS conductor Carl Topilow, chorus master William Zurkey and gospel choir leader Jimmy L. Wilcher, Jr. in an evening of rousing patriotic and military-inspired music that brought the spirit of the Fourth of July indoors a few weeks early. >>read on
Akron Baroque “Goes Rococo” at First Congregational Church (May 16)
by Daniel Hathaway
Short symphonies by Michael Haydn, his older brother Joseph Haydn, and J.S. Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian Bach, were the Rococo entries on the final concert of Akron Baroque Chamber Orchestra's season on Thursday, May 16 under the direction of Guy Victor Bordo, but the 17-member professional ensemble, founded by Amy Barlowe, also recalled its central mission with a Vivaldi concerto starring the violin-bass duo of Amber and Maximilian Dimoff. (Amber is a member of Akron Baroque; her husband is principal bass of The Cleveland Orchestra).
Presented in the fine acoustical ambiance of the sanctuary of First Congregational Church with its elegant, wrap-around balcony, the 90-minute concert followed solidly in the tradition the ensemble has established: attractive and accessible music masterfully played on modern instruments with a nod to historical performance practice but without any self-conscious fussiness. >>read on
Ensemble HD — Live at The Happy Dog
by Mike Telin
Today, May 15, 2013 is here and so marks the official release of the highly anticipated recording Ensemble HD – Live at The Happy Dog. So much has happened since June 23, 2010 when Cleveland Orchestra principal flutist Joshua Smith and Happy Dog proprietor Sean Watterson decided to take the plunge by bringing live “classical” music to a venue more known for presenting local rock and polka bands. But what this album celebrates most is the shared vision and philosophy of creating something that would put a new face on classical music which Smith and Watterson brought to a reality.
In the album's informative liner notes, Charles Michener insightfully writes
“Yet, perhaps what ails classical music has less to do with the audience, the nature of the music or the people who play it, then it does with the places and the manner in which it is usually played.” Michener suggests, “What if one could experience Beethoven and Bartok in a setting other then a shrine-like auditorium…? What if the players arrived not in formal evening dress but as people who look and act just like the rest of us? What if you could enjoy Beethoven and Bartok in a casual public watering hole on an ordinary urban street while chatting with your companion, ordering food and drink, and even glancing occasionally at a TV monitor where an NBA or NFL game is in progress.” >>read on
Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra with cellist Hannah Moses (May 12)
by Guytano Parks
“Over 1,300 students have been members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra during the past twenty-seven seasons, representing a remarkable group of talented young people. For some, their interest in music has carried them forward into careers as educators and performers. For others, music continues as an important part of their lives and careers in business, the arts, and community service.”
So read the printed program from the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra's final concert of the season at Severance Hall. It describes in advance the thirty-nine graduating seniors who were congratulated with individual descriptions of the next step in their musical journeys. Among them is Hannah Moses, winner of the orchestra's 2013 concerto competition and soloist in Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor.
Miss Moses, a member of COYO since 2007, is a senior in CIM's Young Artist Program studying with Richard Weiss of The Cleveland Orchestra. Winner of many scholarship and concerto competitions, she will continue her studies at CIM, majoring in cello performance. >>read on
Church of the Covenant unveils splendid new organ in a day of celebration (May 12)
by Timothy Robson
In a day of music and celebration on Sunday, May 12, the Church of the Covenant in Cleveland's University Circle formally unveiled and dedicated its brilliant new organ, the Newberry Organ, built by the Richards, Fowkes & Company of Ooltewah, Tennessee. The new organ was tested to its limits in a festival service in the morning featuring multi-choir works with Baroque-style instruments, and three other organs (two small Dutch portative organs as well as the church's large mid-20th-century American Classic organ), followed by a concert in the afternoon by Oberlin Conservatory organ faculty head James David Christie, with a repeat of the multi-choral works from the morning. In between the two major events, the church's director of music, Jonathan Moyer, gave a lecture on the new organ. >>read on
Brian Thornton's Lev Aronson tribute CD to be released May 29
Cleveland Orchestra cellist Brian Thornton's new Kickstarter-funded CD honoring his teacher and holocaust survivor Lev Aronson will be released online through CD Baby and iTunes on Wednesday, May 29. A release party is scheduled for that evening at 7 pm at the Maltz Museum (reservations required). The first annual Lev Aronson Festival will be held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas from June 10-15, where Thornton and participating cellists Lynn Harrell and Ralph Kirchbaum were students of Aronson. The Latvian-born cellist also served as principal cellist with the Dallas Symphony.
Tuesday Musical names new executive director
Jarrod Hartzler, currently general manager of the Ashland Symphony and managing director of the Wooster Chamber Music Series, has been appointed executive director of Akron's Tuesday Musical Association, succeeding Barbara Feld, who has served in that position for 24 years.
Neighborhood Connections and CAC announce funding partnership
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture will expand its arts funding to community-based arts and culture activities organized by residents through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections, a grassroots community-building program created by the Cleveland Foundations. The partnership will offer grants ranging from $500-$5,000 twice a year in November and May to groups of Cleveland and East Cleveland residents who organize projects to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. The deadline for proposals (grants to be announced in November) is 5 pm on Friday, August 9. Workshops for grant writers will be held during the summer. Details here.
CPAC annnounces 2014 Creative Workforce Fellowships
The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture will offer $20,000 awards next year to 20 Cuyahoga Country artists who work in dance, literature, music & theatre. The application deadline is July 31. Seven free workshops will offer information and guidance on preparing a grant application. The fellowships are made possible by county residents through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. More information here.
Opera Circle seeks male voices for Rigoletto
Opera Circle is still searching for more voices to join its male chorus of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi, which will be performed June 15, 2013 at The Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square. For complete memorization, rehearsals and performance, each qualified chorister will receive $350. For questions and schedule, please email or call 216 441 2822.
Opera Circle seeks dancers and supers
Opera Circle is looking for dancers and supernumeraries for the opening “ball scene” of its production of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. It will be performed June 15, 2013 at The Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square. For information, please email or call 216 441 2822.
CAC invites project proposals for 2014
Cuyahoga Arts & Cuture will hold informational workshops on June 12, 17 and 18 for nonprofit organizations intending to apply for arts and cultural project support for 2014. The Eligibility Check, the first step in the application process, is due on July 2. For more information, visit the CAC website.
Cleveland Orchestra Youth and Children's Chorus auditions
The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, Lisa Wong, director, will audition new members in grades 9-12 on June 1 or 2. The Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus, Ann Usher, director, is open to students in grades 6-8, and will hear new singers on June 3 and June 8. Details about audition requirements and how to schedule an appointment are available here.
Michael Lynn and Friends in benefit at Cleveland Museum of Art (May 11)
by Daniel Hathaway
Only six months after receiving a liver transplant at Cleveland Clinic, Michael Lynn gathered a group of friends to present a benefit concert for the program that gave him a new life and restored his career as a performer on the recorder and baroque flute. “A Baroque Musical Conversation” drew a good-sized audience to Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Saturday evening, May 11 for masterful performances of concerted music by Telemann and Handel as well as cameo solo performances of works by Louis Couperin, Handel and Marais.
Lynn, who is professor of baroque flute and recorder and curator of musical instruments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, was forced to give up performing four years ago due to his illness. His near-miraculous recovery was immediately evident in the opening selection, the Vivace from Telemann's Concerto in D for two flutes, violin and cello… >>read on
WCLV's Jubilation! Elizabeth Stuart Church Choir Festival inspires friendly competition at St. John's Cathedral (May 9 & 10)
by Daniel Hathaway
Though The Ensemble from Federated Church in Chagrin Falls was the ultimate winner of the 2013 Jubilation! Elizabeth Stuart Church Choir Festival jointly sponsored by WCLV, 104.9 FM and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, all six choirs took home a cash prize and a plaque as well as the invaluable experience of appearing with each other in a warmly supportive festival. The well-attended finals were held at St. John's Cathedral on May 9 and 10 and judged by Robert Page, Frank Bianchi and Peter Jarjisian.
On Thursday evening, the Festival Choir of Gesu Parish in University Heights (27 singers) drew the opening slot. Directed by Joseph Metzinger with instrumental assistance from pianist Julia Russ and violinist James Thompson, the ensemble sang a range of music from repurposed Handel choruses to African Chants, a famous Sistine Chapel motet and a Mozart mass movement. >>read on
Cleveland Orchestra: Handel with Ton Koopman at Severance Hall (May 9)
by Nicholas Jones
Like most 18th-century composers, Handel wrote much of his music for special occasions, rather than for its own sake. But in the hands of such a master, many of his occasional compositions have transcended the functions for which they were written.
Such is the case for three Handel works performed by the Cleveland Orchestra Thursday. All of them were written for British royal occasions, but you don't need to be a Brit to appreciate them. Under the guidance of baroque specialist Ton Koopman, the orchestra brought out both the radiance and depth of Handel's music.
The Water Music must have sounded exciting when played from a barge on the Thames as George I progressed from Whitehall to Chelsea and back again. But I doubt if the music on the waters had the precision and rhythmic energy that it had here in Severance Hall. >>read on
Cleveland Chamber Music Society Young Artists Showcase features the Omer Quartet at First Unitarian (May 5)
by Daniel Hathaway
For the second year in a row, the Cleveland Chamber Music Society has honored the Omer Quartet with a Young Artists Showcase concert at First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights. Violinists Mason Yu and Erica Tursi, violist Joe LoCicero and cellist Alex Cos, all graduating seniors at the Cleveland Institute of Music (pictured here in Mixon Hall), where they have participated in CIM's Intensive String Quartet Seminar, have spent the season playing outreach concerts in elementary schools with coaching from Annie Fullard of the Cavani Quartet and Peter Salaff of CIM. The Omer Quartet entertained a mid-sized and slightly older audience on Sunday evening, May 5, with two unconventional works by Leos Janacek and Felix Mendelssohn.
A year ago, the Omer played Mendelssohn's last-composed chamber work for the occasion; this time they went back to the beginning and offered the 18-year-old composer's first work for string quartet, op. 13 in a minor. >>read on
Cleveland Orchestra with Ton Koopman and Paul Yancich at Severance Hall
by Daniel Hathaway
The first weekend of the third year of Dutch conductor Ton Koopman's productive residency with The Cleveland Orchestra gave Severance Hall audiences a new perspective on three Viennese classical works by Mozart and Haydn, introduced a French baroque descriptive piece by a composer the orchestra has never tackled before, and brought a true novelty to light: a late eighteenth century showpiece starring timpanist Paul Yancich.
To be precise, only half of The Cleveland Orchestra was playing on the East side of East Boulevard on Saturday evening, May 4 - the rest of the musicians had been involved all week with the two-concert series “California Masterworks” at the Cleveland Museum of Art. For Mozart's Symphony No. 1 in E-flat, the Severance stage was set up for a period-sized ensemble of fifteen violins, six violas, four cellos and four basses, and pairs of oboes and horns. >>read on
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