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Cleveland Orchestra and Blossom make for a superb evening

Roy Berko

 

There is probably no outdoor venue in the country that matches Blossom for sheer beauty and musical delight.  Wolf Trap in the Virginia countryside near DC, and Tanglewood, home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra are fine, but when you throw in the Blossom setting, and add the Cleveland Orchestra, nirvana has been reached.

 

Blossom, now in its 48th season, was founded not only to act as a summer venue for …more…

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage

STAR  TREK: The Ultimate Voyage goes where no production has gone before, bringing five decades of  Star Trek to concert halls for the first time in this galaxy or any other. This celestial show includes a live symphony orchestra and solo instruments as the most iconic Star Trek film and TV footage is beamed up simultaneously in high definition to a supersized screen.  

Conducted by Justin Freer, the concert will feature some of the greatest music written for the …more…

The Cleveland Orchestra: August 10…a lovely night at Blossom

Sunday, August 10, 2014 was a lovely night at Blossom.  The temperature was pleasant, the lawn was filled with brightly colored blankets, a few candelabras, kids ran and rolled down the gentle hills.  The pavilion was nicely filled.  On stage was the Cleveland Orchestra, playing the beautiful sounds of Stravinsky, Haydn and Felix Mendelssohn.

Conductor Jerry Kahane quickly established a connective rapport with the orchestra with his quiet, but demonstrative conducting …more…

The Cleveland Orchestra: Summer at Severance and Blossom

The Cleveland Orchestra:  Summer at Severance and Blossom

Roy Berko

Cleveland has garnered another honor.  Based on its international survey Backtrack.com, an international concert finder, has declared The Cleveland Orchestra the world’s favorite orchestra.  This comes along with previous recognitions of the orchestra being one of the finest, if not the finest in the world.

Clevelanders can take advantage of hearing this musical source of pride at two venues this summer.  Since 1968, …more…

Cleveland Orchestra’s exhilarating CARMINA BURANA

Roy Berko

The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, and the Children’s Chorus and three soloists combined to perform Orff’s masterpiece, CARMINA BURANA, for four sold out performances.

The epic sounds of one of the world’s greatest orchestras, and its renowned choruses and guest soloists (Nicholas Phan, Stephen Powell, Rebecca Nelsen), was greeted by a screaming standing ovation at the conclusion of the concert, which continued for four curtain calls.

The many textured moods, …more…

Al Jarreau and the Cleveland Orchestra

Sold out crowd well entertained by Al Jarreau and The Cleveland Orchestra

Roy Berko

Entertainment Reviewer

Known as “the voice of versatility,” seven time Grammy Award winner Al Jarreau joined The Cleveland Orchestra, under the baton of Larry Baird, to energize and please a Severance Hall audience on Sunday evening.

The 72-year old Jarreau, who has been heralded as “one of the world’s greatest natural resources,” and “the greatest jazz singer alive,” scatted, crooned, …more…

Music at Blossom Center

Wonderful experience at Blossom Center

Roy Berko

(Member, Dance Critics Association)

Several weeks ago I spent a glorious evening at the Blossom Festival 2012.  The evening started with Bartok’s popular Romanian Folk Dances, a brief set of six movements, was filled with varying styles and tempos.

Symphony No. 4 (“Tragic”) in c minor, D 41, was written when Franz Schubert was only nineteen.  Despite this, the piece has continued to garner attention and praise.  …more…

Wordless Music Comes to Chicago

The expansion of the Wordless Music series–with its intriguing interplay between contemporary classical music and a more “vernacular” idiom–continues beyond its New York City origins with its inaugural Chicago summer concert series, entitled “Loops and Variations.” This free series of concerts in Millennium Park extrapolates from Wordless Music’s successful formula of pairing works by such composers as Arvo Pärt, John Adams, Nico Muhly, and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood …more…

June in Buffalo: New Music, Upstate Edition

June in Buffalo logo; culled from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra website.

For New York-based artists and audiences alike, summertime can mean a respite from a congested city concert schedule, in the form of upstate music festivals such as Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown and Bard Summerscape in Annandale-on-Hudson. For “new music” devotees, Western New York’s annual festival June in Buffalo–hosted by the University at Buffalo during the month’s first week–is …more…

You can often hear the organ.

Klais-organ in Kleve, Germany, Photographer: Fabian Zohren

This morning, in preparation for teaching a piano class, I was flipping through a [very old] piano method book. I have a thing about old music books.  A line from one of the pages of this book served to suggest its ancientness even more than the copyright date or the retro formatting:

“You have often heard the organ played at church…”

As if it’s a …more…

Live Music…and Yoga?

We have all heard the remarks about Santa Fe being the land of seekers, usually mentioned as a put-down. Granted, there is a fairly large segment of the population that fits into the yoga practicing, mantra sayin’, retreat going, equinox/solstice detoxifying, macrobiotic/vegan/fair trade eating group.  (And by the way, full disclosure here: I fit into most of that category myself). Yet, there are times when seekers overlap with art folk.   …more…

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival: Composing, Maybe… Rehearsing, Not So Much

Summer always feels like a dry spell for classical music in Alaska. The symphonies, the opera, the choirs all take summers off, and it’s no wonder. Desperate for vitamin D, with the precious warm season beckoning, most Alaskans, musicians included, are off fishing, hiking, or boating this time of year. After nine months of brutal winter, what Alaskan would reject sunshine for a windowless studio to practice arpeggios? ...more...

HYAC 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert

As one the the foremost leaders in publicizing classical music for young people all over Houston, the HYAC continuing this tradition by holding its 25th Anniversary Young Musicians concert.

The mission of the Houston Young Artist’s Concert (HYAC) is to showcase highly talented young classical musicians age 4 to 18 in a variety of venues throughout the city with the hope of fostering a greater appreciation for classical music in the …more…

Lou Harrison and Morton Lauridsen on Display

Bay Area Composer Lou Harrison, who passed away in 2003, wrote several works for instruments he built and designed himself, known as an American Gamelan, modeled on the Balinese gamelan ensemble. These instruments, ranging from highly complex chimes to very simplistic hanging garbage cans, have a unique sound unattainable by standard percussion ensembles.

From May 23 and 25th, Harrison’s original instruments will be on display at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, …more…

Free D.C.: The Strathmore Outdoor Summer Concert Series

As the warming sun heralds summer in the D.C. metropolitan area, it’s time to begin searching for the right music to infuse the balmy nights that will inevitably follow. And what better way to enjoy a warm summer evening than with free, quality music concerts?

Beauty Awake: May 22 variety vocal concert in Hopkins

Have you ever heard a song that makes your tummy do a little flip just because the music is so lovely? And the pearly tones of the voices meld in a harmony so sweet and warm that you fear for the melting sensation down the back of your spine?

Have you ever heard a song that expresses ideas, pains, longings that seem to be pulling directly from your own …more…

LPO’s song remains the same; sells out Zeppelin show

As expected the weekend at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts turned out to be a bonanza for music fans of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). It is true that the crowd that experienced a breathtaking evening of choral work from Johannes Brahms (Shicksalied or “Song of Destiny”) and a magnificent reading of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 on Saturday night was vastly different than the rockers that …more…

Carmina Burana at The Houston Symphony

The 2011-2012 Houston Symphony classical season is ending on a high note with conductor Hans Graf leading the orchestra in one the of the most famous cantatas ever composed, Carmina Burana.

Carl Orff's Carmina Burana

Written by German Carl Orff, Carmina Burana is based off of the 24 medieval poems in a collection with the same name. The poems range in subject matter from the joy of spring, the fickleness of …more…

LPO has second big weekend planned

Last weekend the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra carried off a busy schedule. This included a double bill with superb renditions of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Shostakovich Symphony No 15 as well as a well-attended free public concert at Champions Square adjacent to the Mercedez Benz Superdome featuring jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins.

Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto picks up his baton this Saturday night (©Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra)

Artistic director and maestro …more…

American Balalaika Symphony to perform on Saturday in Northern Virginia

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “balalaika”?

Maybe you see an image of the triangle-shaped instrument. Or maybe you hear a distinctive tremolo melody in your head. Or maybe you just think of something “Russian”, Dr. Zhivago-style.

For the core followers of the American Balalaika Symphony, and for the 50-plus volunteer musicians who travel for miles around the tri-state metropolitan area to play in the group, associations …more…

American Youth Symphony’s triumphant kick off concert for The Elfman Project

I can’t imagine how many people skip out on American Youth Symphony concerts because of the name, thinking, “I don’t want to hear a bunch of kids.” Let’s get something straight: when the musicians in this orchestra come together to play, they sound better than most of our country’s professional orchestras. The upper limit on age is 27; the large majority of musicians are studying their instruments full time at …more…

A Trio of Instrumental Concerts in Minneapolis this Weekend

There is no shortage of instrumental music experiences this weekend in Minneapolis.

On Friday or Saturday night, you can make your way to Orchestra Hall to hear the Minnesota Orchestra with a guest conductor performing an intense program of seriously beautiful music by three composers of the 20th century.

Jarvi Conducts Rachmaninoff at Orchestra Hall 
Friday, May 4, 8 PM
Saturday, May 5, 8 PM

 

Kristjan Jarvi conducts the Minnesota Orchestra playing Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three …more…

Choirs taking over the tri state!

In the upcoming months, choral groups all over will be converging on special locations throughout the city, sharing their voices and cultures with Cincinnati residents. ...more...

Michigan Opera Theatre: Preserve the Legacy

The month of May features the final opera performance of the Michigan Opera Theatres’ spring season: Ruggero Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. The production, running from May 12th through the 20th, will feature Antonello Palombi and John Pickle splitting the famous tenor role of Canio, with Jill Gardner (Nedda), Gordon Hawkins (Tonio), Luis Ledesma (Silvio), and Phillippe Pierce (Beppe) rounding out the cast.

I Pagliacci rounds off the spring MOT “fate” season, …more…

Spring For Music at Carnegie Hall Featuring The Houston Symphony

In what is now one of the premiere spring events for classical music in the United States, Spring For Music brings together an impressive grouping of orchestras from across the nation and Canada for a series of performances, showcasing some of the greatest music ever created, at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall.

Carnegie Hall in New York City

Our very own Houston Symphony is kicking off the sophomore edition of this series on May …more…