by Mike Telin
At a time when everyone is practicing social distancing, and shelter in place is for the time being a reality, many artists and arts organizations are responding by moving to streaming formats. Beginning on Monday, March 30, Cleveland Opera Theater will launch Opera for All Online, social-distance-safe programs to experience, explore, and engage in opera. The events are free.
“Throughout the company’s history we’ve always done what was necessary to remain viable and relevant in the community,” Scott Skiba, Cleveland Opera Theater’s executive artistic director, said during a recent telephone conversation. “We’ve often thought about getting into the streaming environment, and now is the opportunity to try some new things without changing the organization’s mission.”
Skiba noted that two Opera for All Online programs were already part of the company’s offerings. That includes Opera-101, which will now meet Monday through Friday at 12:15 pm on the company’s Facebook page. The staff welcomes questions for future sessions (email them here). “People can ask anything they want to know about opera, like can you really break a glass by singing high? Or what do the conductor and the director do?” Skiba said. “Megan Thompson, our director of education and outreach, will moderate and give lectures about upcoming Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.”
by Daniel Hathaway, Jarrett Hoffman, and Mike Telin
With the recent spread of COVID-19, the opportunity to attend live classical music performances has come to a complete halt and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. Many organizations and individual artists are seeking to fill that void through online streaming.
On Thursday, March 19, two area institutions presented the first of what will likely be many live-streamed concerts. At 4:30 pm in Oberlin Conservatory’s Stull Recital Hall, Flute Professor Alexa Still and Faculty Collaborative Pianist Evan Hines presented a program of works by Koechlin, Chopin, Coleman, and Debussy.
On the same day at 7:30 pm in Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland, Piano Cleveland presented the first of its Quarantine Concerts. Pianist Yaron Kohlberg played selections by Schumann and Grieg, and duo pianists Irwin Shung and Natsumi Shibagaki played works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, and Gershwin.
Remotely streamed concerts raise an interesting question for journalists: is it possible to critically evaluate live performances when you’re not in the same room? Three of ClevelandClassical’s writers attempted to answer that and other questions about covering virtual performances.
by Margi Griebling-Haigh
Stephen T. Griebling, 87, of Akron, OH, passed away peacefully at home after a brief but rapid decline, on March 20, 2020.
He was born during a snowstorm in a small house on the Portage Lakes in Akron on December 10, 1932, to Louis George Griebling and Genevieve Eleanor (né Wilson) Griebling. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Ann (né Rimmel), his daughters Karen Griebling (Robin Brown) and Margi Griebling-Haigh (Scott Haigh), and granddaughter Gabrielle Haigh (Mark Nelson). He was an affectionate, gentle, and playful patriarch who was deeply committed to the happiness, security, and dreams of his family.
by Daniel Hathaway
Beginning last week, virtually all live performances in Northeast Ohio were either cancelled, postponed indefinitely, or scheduled to be streamed online with no audience present. As health concerns over COVID-19 increased, some events in the latter category were eventually cancelled altogether, and colleges, conservatories, and universities have sent students home for the rest of the semester, planning to move instruction online.
The local extent of these alterations is reflected in our Concert Listings (we’ll continue to list and note the status of scheduled events there, and add local live streamed events). An overview of the national impact of the virus has been provided in an article on Classical Voice North America.
During the course of this emergency, ClevelandClassical.com will be developing content we hope our readers will find stimulating in the absence of previews and reviews of live concerts.
Jarrett Hoffman’s survey of online opportunities in this issue is rich and varied. Beginning on Thursday, March 19, we’ll launch a daily Diary that will include news updates, a rundown on broadcasts and podcasts, and a recommended video or streaming event of the day that has particular relevance to Northeast Ohio.
Be patient, be healthy, and take care of yourselves and others.
by Jarrett Hoffman
Live streams, re-broadcasts, digital archives, and YouTube channels — here are some videos of performances to keep you occupied during social distancing.
Beginning locally, some performances are still taking place via live stream, without an audience. On Thursday, March 19 at 4:30 pm, Oberlin Conservatory will stream a faculty and guest concert from Stull Recital Hall. Flutist Alexa Still, cellist Mihai Tetel, and pianist Evan Hines come together in Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Assobio a Játo (“Jet Whistle”) and Valerie Coleman’s 2019 Amazonia.
Piano Cleveland, the presenting organization of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, has announced a new weekly series called The Quarantine Concerts, to be streamed every Thursday at 7:30 pm from Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland. The first concert, on March 19, will feature pianist Yaron Kohlberg as well as the piano duo of Natsumi Shibagaki and Irwin Shung. Online audience members have the opportunity to offer their support directly to these artists by donating to Piano Cleveland’s Musicians’ Fund.
by Jarrett Hoffman
Contestants have been announced for the 2020 Cleveland International Piano Competition, which takes place at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall from July 26 to August 9.
Here are the numbers: Piano Cleveland, the presenting organization of the Competition, received 242 applicants from 28 nations. And the 29 chosen contestants, ages 20-32, represent 12 countries: Brazil, China, Croatia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and the United States.
At stake is the Mixon First Prize of $75,000, which also comes with a Carnegie Hall debut, three years of management services, and a recording on the Steinway & Sons label.
by Mike Telin
When Antonín Dvořák arrived in New York City in 1892 to become director of the National Conservatory of Music, one of his primary objectives was to discover the music of African Americans and Native Americans in hope that through the musical styles of these cultures, America would find its own musical identity. Fortunately for Dvořák, this task was realized by the guidance and friendship of his young African American assistant from Erie, Pennsylvania, Henry T. Burleigh.
From Wednesday, March 11 through Saturday, March 14, CityMusic Cleveland will pay homage to this convergence of the two men’s musical lives with performances of Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. Under the direction of music director Amit Peled, the program also includes the world premiere of Home by jazz bassist and composer John Clayton. The new work is a musical commentary on the current social-political struggles that African Americans are facing.
Clayton will be joined in performance by jazz trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, gospel singer Detrich Burgess, spoken word artist Orlando Watson, and The Spirit of the Groove ensemble. The concerts are free. See our Concert Listings for times and locations. [Read more…]
by Jarrett Hoffman
The musicians of No Exit have a hand in two concerts this month. First up, on Sunday, March 15 at 3:00 pm, the new music ensemble will perform on the Chagrin Arts series at Federated Church, bringing along works they commissioned from Christopher Stark, Buck McDaniel, and Ladislav Kubík, as well as music by Leo Ornstein, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Giacinto Scelsi. [Note from the editors: the March 15 concert has now been postponed, with a new date to be announced.]
Then on Friday, March 20 at 7:00 pm, No Exit will take a turn on the presenting side of the equation, hosting Boston-based Transient Canvas (bass clarinetist Amy Advocat and marimbist Matt Sharrock) at Appletree Books in Cleveland Heights, in a program of music that was all written for the duo.
The centerpiece is Marti Epstein’s 2012 Origami, which repeats and juxtaposes four musical gestures in different ways, “almost as if they fold in on themselves,” as Transient Canvas writes on their website. [Read more…]