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Around The Classical Internet: June 15, 2012


By Anastasia Tsioulcas

Friday, June 15, 2012

  • The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, under the new leadership of chief exec Gene Sobczak has pulled off "a kind of short-term miracle." Less than a year ago, the orchestra was "so toxic that 20 trustees made an angry and abrupt exit," and they've been looking for a new artistic director for about four years.
  • But the Denverites might not have all their ducks in a row, at least when it comes to keeping certain secrets. On Wednesday, the orchestra sent out a press invite for a June 25th event to meet "the new artistic leadership of the orchestra" — with no name or bio attached. Yet the email's subject line read: "You are invited to the Andrew Litton press conference." Oopsie.
  • The new Overture for 2012 by Philip Glass — an 1812 bicentennial work — will have not one but two simultaneous world premieres on Sunday, in Toronto and his native Baltimore.
  • A New York Philharmonic flutist had her flute and piccolo — together valued at more than $40,000 — swiped from a bar post-performance. But then the police found the guy.
  • Inspired by Venezuela, the Haitian government is planning to establish its own music education system modeled on El Sistema. (Other countries in the region, including the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, have already set up similar initiatives.)
  • A New York Times Magazine piece about past sexual abuse at New York's Horace Mann School includes a section concerning allegations against conductor Johannes Somary, who died last year.
  • Remember that planned concert of Wagner in Israel? It was going to be held at the Tel Aviv Hilton after Tel Aviv University backed out — but the Hilton has cancelled the event, despite a signed contract.
  • Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Western classical music is thriving, particularly after the establishment of schools like the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and the Barenboim-Said Foundation's music-focused kindergarten.
  • The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has long prided itself on being the only full-time ensemble of its kind in the U.S. — but maybe it won't be able to say that much longer.
  • This contest ended with not even a whimper: The Pittsburgh Symphony held an online concerto competition, then didn't pick a winner.
  • By contrast, the judges for Placido Domingo's Operalia competition managed to give out all kinds of awards. The three first-place prizes went to soprano Janai Brugger (who also won a Met Opera National Council prize earlier this year), countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat.
  • Hilary Hahn announced the winner of her own contest today. After commissioning 26 prominent composers to write encore pieces for her, the adventuresome violinist wanted one more and opened up a contest for anyone to enter. Out of more than 400 submissions, Hahn picked "The Angry Birds of Kauai" by Honolulu-based composer Jeff Myers and will perform it next season.
  • In the Telegraph, Adam Sweeting recounts his guitar lesson with Milos Karadaglic: "If I was a Montenegrin teacher, I would be poking you with a pencil — it's the Communist way."
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