Classical 101

Aaron Sturgill

Nearly 300 hundred musicians raised a plaintive call for peace this past weekend in Indianapolis in the form of an oratorio.

It was the culmination of composer Mohammed Fairouz, Maestro Erik Stark, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, tenor Dann Coakwell, and the incredibly gifted baritone Michael Kelly. I think it may be my favorite piece of music in recent memory. It was nothing short of transcendent.

What does every betrothed woman want from her little brother on the eve of her wedding? A naughty poem, of course.

Wikipedia

The end of April marks the end of National Poetry Month. Before the celebration of words and meter could come to a close, I sat down for a phone interview with none other than New York-based composer Mohammed Fairouz. 

You might recall my review of his newest album, Follow, Poet. It is a wonderfully balanced work with tracks dedicated to spoken work poetry and selected pieces of President John F. Kennedy's speech given at Amherst College on October 26th, 1963.

photograph of the members of the Emerson String Quartet, each wearing black, sitting down and holding his instrument
Lisa Mazzucco / Emerson String Quartet/publicity photo

When the Emerson String Quartet's cellist of 34 years, David Finckel, announced to his colleagues in 2011 that his decision to retire from the group, for the first time in more than three decades the quartet briefly faced an uncertain artistic future.

Danish composer Carl Nielsen listening to the rehersal of Saul og David in Gothenburg in 1928
Charles Carlsson / Wikimedia Commons

Growing up,  I was mentored by a next door neighbor who taught music in the public schools. She died a few weeks ago at 94.  I have been thinking of her while studying the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931).

Song in the City

Apr 23, 2015
Queensboro Bridge at night
Steveen Manon / Flickr

Years ago, before iPods, Pads and Phones, there was a young man I saw on a regular basis who walked at a rapid pace all over Columbus with a boombox on his shoulder singing along with whatever was the tune du jour.  

His vocalizations were punctuated by appropriately-timed fist punches, along with air drums and cymbals.  He eventually graduated to a personal stereo, which meant he could play his air drums with both hands and not risk a rotator cuff injury from holding the giant sound system.

Columbus Symphony conducted by form music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Columbus Symphony

This morning, in a state of happy exhaustion, I take a look at performing arts activities in Central Ohio April and May. 

Russian composer Alexander Scriabin is featured on the next Symphony @ 7, Thursday evening (4/23) on Classical 101.  This unique composer and pianist died 100 years ago on Aril 27, 1915.  I'll have the Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor and his most famous work, the Poem of Ecstasy.

Joe Panzner

This Sunday, I will be joining thirteen musicians in Kerns Chapel at Capital University for a presentation of composer Michael Pisaro's work, The rain of alphabets.

Dr. Joe Panzner, adjunct-professor of Music at Capital University invited friends and students to join the performing ensemble this week, and I decided it was time to add a new dimension to my repertoire. 

color photogaph of violinists Siwoo Kim and Alicia Hui, and violist jack Stulz standing up and playing chamber music at a Short North art gallery
Soogie Choi / (Siwoo Kim/VIVO Music Festival)

Ecstatic collaboration, community, passion. These are the key ingredients of the VIVO Music Festival, which is scheduled in August to become the newest addition to Columbus' classical music scene.

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