by Daniel Hathaway
Trinity Cathedral’s Brownbag Concert at high noon today will feature the Amethyst String Quartet – Mary Beth Ions and Carol Ruzicka, violins, Laura Kuennen-Poper, viola, an Kent Collier, cello in a “spring bouquet” of Classical favorites by Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Dvořák & Mozart. The hybrid concert will also be livestreamed and archived for later, on-demand viewing.
On Wednesday, the New York Times announced the appointment of Zachary Woolfe, a freelancer at the paper since 2011, as its classical music critic. In an article in Editor and Publisher, his Times colleagues Gilbert Cruz and Sia Michel wrote
Zack often engages with the major issues confronting the field — editing and writing pieces about the continuing obstacles female conductors face; the lack of diversity in major orchestras and on podiums; the ways classical music should change in an era of racial reckoning; and the field’s complex, fraught relationship with Asian and Asian American musicians.
When the Met fired James Levine after concluding that he had engaged in sexually abusive conduct, Zack wrote about the need to revisit the myth of the all-powerful maestro. And after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted some institutions to cancel performances by Russian artists with ties to President Vladimir Putin, he wrote a thoughtful, historically informed essay about the limits of cultural exchange, but also warned of overreach: “Eliciting — coercing, some might say — affirmative statements hardly seems the right way to oppose authoritarianism.”
The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins has announced the next online installment in its Next Normal symposium series. The topic on April 27 is
How might we reimagine the performing arts industry and performing arts training in order to advance racial equity in the field, broaden and diversify the range of creative voices heard and seen on our stages, and build expanded audiences that fully reflect the diversity of current and future communities?
Presentations and panel discussions will be facilitated by leaders in the field including participants from the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA Center, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Center Stage, the Juilliard School, and more. It’s free to attend, but registration is required. Click here for more information.
Two birthdays and two passings to highlight in today’s calendar. French-American harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo (official name, Charles Moïse Léon Salzedo) was born in 1885 in Arcachon. 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 curtain call in New York on this date in 1971 (he was buried in Venice), as did the great blind American 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 (they return for another noontime performance on April 20).
If Stravinsky needs any 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 he didn’t let that hold 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.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com April 6, 2022.