by Daniel Hathaway
IN THE NEWS:
Now that people are beginning to venture out again after a long stint of pandemic cocooning, summer festivals are beckoning. Musical America has just released their guide to over 100 of them. “We’ve asked each about their COVID-19 safety protocols, along with their dates, places, artists, and assorted platforms. Many heading outside: Aspen Music Festival and Tanglewood already have outdoor venues [Blossom too!] Those that don’t are finding them: Central City Opera Festival, for instance, is taking Carousel and Rigoletto to a nearby Garden Center and staging Dido & Aeneas in its backyard.” Read more here.
Summit Choral Society’s “Sing WIth Me,” a comprehensive early childhood music program for children from birth to age 5 (Pre-K) and their parents and caregivers, begins on Thursday, April 8. The Akron-based program is directed by Principal Conductor Heather J. Cooper. Find out more here.
More from Akron: Tuesday Musical is seeking applicants with proven abilities in artistic operations, development, and educational programming for their full-time position of Director of Artistic Operations and Educational Engagement in May. Read the position description and application requirements here. Applications received by April 26 will receive priority consideration, but will be accepted for consideration until the position is filled.
New Music USA announces the creation of the New Music Creator Development Fund, which offers grants to individuals who need support to reach the next stage in their creative practice during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Read more here.
And many have reacted with surprise and disappointment to the news that Oakland, California’s Mills College will likely cease granting degrees in 2023 and establish an Institute on its Oakland, California campus.
In a New York Times article, Geeta Dayal writes, “The school’s faculty over the years has been practically an index of maverick artists, including Darius Milhaud, at Mills for three decades beginning during World War II; Luciano Berio, who came at Milhaud’s invitation; Lou Harrison, who built an American version of the Indonesian gamelan percussion orchestra; the “deep listening” pioneer Pauline Oliveros; Robert Ashley, an innovator in opera; Terry Riley, a progenitor of Minimalism; the influential composer and improviser Anthony Braxton; James Fei, a saxophonist and clarinetist who works with electronic sounds; and Maggi Payne, a longtime director of the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills’s laboratory for electronic work since the 1960s, when Oliveros was its first leader.”
Two birthdays and two passings to highlight in today’s calendar. French-American harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo was born in 1885 in Arachon (official name, Charles Moïse Léon Salzedo), and German American conductor, composer and pianist André Previn entered the world in Berlin in 1929 (under a slightly different name: Andreas Ludwig Priwin).
Russian composer Igor Stravinsky took his final bow in New York on this date in 1971, as did the great American blind singer-songwriter Ray Charles in Beverly Hills in 2015 (official name: Ray Charles Robinson).
Salzedo single-handedly created the role of the modern virtuoso concert harpist, establishing a summer harp colony in Camden, Maine, founding the harp department at the Curtis Institute of Music, and teaching at the Juilliard School. Listen to the master himself play his Variations on a Theme in Ancient Style, as well as to Debussy’s Danse Profane performed by Alice Chalifoux, and to a performance of his Steel by the Salzedo Harp Duo (Nancy Lendrim and Jody Guinn) on the April 11, 2018 Brownbag Concert at Trinity Cathedral.
If Stravinsky needs an introduction, here’s one that Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst provided before the Orchestra’s all-Stravinsky concerts in Severance Hall in March of 2017. And anyone concerned about the younger generation carrying the classical music torch forward should give a listen to Brett Mitchell leading the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in the 1947 version of Petrushka in March, 2016.
Equally at home in symphonic music, Hollywood scores, and jazz, Previn had serial relationships with the London and Pittsburgh Symphonies, and the Los Angeles, Royal, Oslo, and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras.
His opera based on Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire was produced by Scott Skiba and Cleveland Opera Theater in December 2015. Listen to Benjamin Czarnota singing Stanley Kowalski’s aria “It’s gonna be all right” here. And here’s a recording of Previn’s live performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on a 1966 episode of the Bell Telephone Hour.
Ray Charles was blinded by glaucoma in childhood, but that scarcely held him back in his distinguished career. Watch him here rehearsing in Bourges, France in 1987, introducing Nat “King” Cole at the 2000 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony, and joining Gospel diva Sarah Jordan Powell in “Christmas in Ettal” in Germany in 1979.