23. January 2010 · Comments Off on More On Earl Wild · Categories: Ramble

Concert pianist Stephen Hough writes about Earl Wild.

Mr. Wild’s official website

Grammy Tribute

An Interview with Earl Wild

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

23. January 2010 · 5 comments · Categories: Opera

I received a newsletter from OSJ on Friday which includes the names of the operas for next season. I am assuming it’s now safe to tell everyone what we are doing:

  • Anna Karenina
    David Carlson
    Performances: September 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 23, 25, 26

  • Tosca
    Giacomo Puccini
    Performances: November 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28

  • The Barber of Seville
    Gioachino Rossini
    Performances: February 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 24, 26, 27

  • La bohème
    Giacomo Puccini
    Performances: April 23, 24, 28, 30, May 1, 3, 6, 8

    I’m sort of surprised by two things: 1) we are doing a contemporary opera (!) and 2) we are doing two Puccini works (?). But that’s what’s on the newsletter, and that was also what I had been told earlier. So there you go.

  • Earl Wild, an American pianist and composer who was renowned for his performances of the virtuoso showpieces of the grand Romantic tradition but whose enormous repertory included everything from Baroque works and Mozart concertos to contemporary scores, died on Saturday.


    Mr. Wild played soloed several times with the San Jose Symphony. I wish I had saved programs, so I could tell you what he played with us.

    23. January 2010 · Comments Off on Female Conductors · Categories: Conductors, Links

    “If there are difficult issues, for instance if a male conductor is yelling in a theatre about something, then it’s generally accepted – the way men handle difficult situations is taken as a mark of authority. But to do this as a woman can be very badly perceived. Different ways of handling a crisis are more usual for men. Showing the same authority from a woman’s point of view is sometimes not that easy for others to deal with.”

    -Emmanuelle Haïm

    I’ve never heard a woman conductor yell, so I guess I don’t know how it would be handled around here. I’ve had one apologize a bit too much. These days I rarely hear a male conductor yell either. When I began my professional career I certainly heard a fair share of yelling. It didn’t bother me, because my high school years were spent with a screaming conductor. I thought that’s what they were supposed to do! I remember people getting so angry about a yelling conductor and all I could think was, “What’s the big deal?!” I no longer like yelling. Go figure.

    Anyway, check out the article about women conductors and that old glass ceiling thing.

    23. January 2010 · Comments Off on Jennifer Higdon · Categories: Composers, Videos

    Composer Jennifer Higdon is on a roll. Her new Piano Concerto was premiered last month by Yuja Wang and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her Percussion Concerto is up for a Grammy Award. She’s writing a concerto for the new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird to be premiered in June with the Atlanta Symphony, and she’s working on a San Francisco Opera commission with a due date of 2013.

    This month alone, according to the 47-year-old composer’s Web site, nine of her works are receiving a combined 20 performances. Hearing the young virtuoso Hilary Hahn roar through Higdon’s flashy Violin Concerto on Thursday with music director Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra offered a primer on why Higdon’s music has become catnip for so many performers and audiences.


    Symphony Silicon Valley has performed several of Ms. Higdon’s works, and I really like her Oboe Concerto.

    Jennifer Higdon and Hilary Hahn chat about the new concerto:

    These are all from Hilary Hahn’s videos at YouTube.

    23. January 2010 · Comments Off on Leonard Slatkin · Categories: Conductors

    … attempting to live healthier, says:

    “Giulini told me that when he woke up and realized he’d survived, he vowed to make a change: that life would no longer be a part of music, but from that that moment music would be a part of his life. At the time, I was too young to really get it. Now I understand.

    “I’ve made up my mind that free weeks will be free weeks, and no matter who calls with a cancellation, I’m not going.”

    Part of living healthier is knowing when to turn down jobs. I’ve gotten to a point now where I actually don’t feel as if I have to take everything. Sure, the income would be wonderful, but health — sanity! — is also somewhat important. Not that I’m anywhere close to as busy (or talented) as Maestro Slatkin, of course. But I can learn from the Big Guys, right?

    I love this part of the article:

    “I haven’t been perfect,” he confessed. “I slip sometimes. Like the other night at the Pistons game I had a cupcake.”

    For some reason the fact that it’s a cupcake just makes me smile. (Also makes me want one, of course!)


    A bit of a change from Symphony Silicon Valley. I haven’t seen the announcement in the paper yet, but since SSV has it at their site I’m assuming it’s okay to post it here.

    This means Porgy & Bess is out, and two different things are taking its place. I don’t get to play in the first week (only one oboist is needed), but I’ll be there for week two!

    Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella
    Friday 8:00 pm March 12, 2010
    Saturday 8:00 pm March 13, 2010
    Sunday 2:30 pm March 14, 2010

    Tony, the Napa Valley’s lonely but loveable grape farmer, “wants to get married” to his beautiful Rosabella, a waitress he met in a diner in San Francisco. Frank Loesser’s (Guys & Dolls) old-tech version of on-line speed dating turns into one of the most memorable musical scores ever written.

    Great songs range from the waitress’s lament “Oh My Feet” to Joe’s paean to the wandering life, “Joey;” from Tony’s joyous “Most Happy Fella” to the uproarious “I Made a Fist.” All the farm hands dream about “Standing on the Corner” looking for their own special dish. A bountiful harvest of great tunes and a wonderful love story.

    Join Broadway in Concert for this ravishing musical. Three performances only, in our exciting concert format with featured singers and full orchestra on stage.

    Conductor: William Liberatore

    Richly Russian
    Thursday 7:30 pm March 18, 2010
    Saturday 8:00 pm March 20, 2010
    Sunday 2:30 pm March 21, 2010

    A program of three Russian composers writing in the early to mid 20th century. The concert features the renowned Rach 2 – one of the most romantic and virtuosic piano concertos ever written. This true showpiece shares this Russian plain with Gliere’s Russian Sailor’s Dance from the Red Poppy and Prokofiev’s great Symphony No. 5.

    Conductor: Leslie B. Dunner

    • Reinholt Gliére Russian Sailor’s Dance
    • Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2
    • Serge Prokofiev Symphony No. 5

    Those holding tickets for Porgy & Bess will be contacted by the Symphony staff and offered the opportunity to select one or both of these new productions, exchange to another program, or to get a refund.

    I’ll probably be playing English horn in the Prokofiev. Which means I won’t be playing in the other two works, if I’m remembering the instrumentation correctly.