26. February 2011 · Comments Off on Anthony Hopkins, Composer · Categories: Composers

Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins will appear at two concerts in the U.K. in July to present his own music for the first time plus scores from several of his films performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
The Welsh-born actor will present scores he has written including those for August (1996) and Slipstream (2007), which he also directed and starred in, and a new piece that he has written especially for the Birmingham orchestra.
Hopkins said, “There are themes and passages in these pieces that have been several decades in the making, and to bring them all vividly to life with one of the great symphony orchestras of the world is absolutely thrilling.”

Found here.

I’m not sure if it’s legal to put the photo up at my site, so I’ll just link to it for now. It just make me laugh a little. Not that I like smoking at all … but still ….

So sorry, but I’ve not been good about the whole “Top Ten” from Mr Tommasini. So I’m just going to put links up for the rest of his series. You’ll have to click on over to read and watch the videos.

Top 10 Composers: Hailing Opera’s Shakespeare, and Its Proust

Top 10 Composers: The Female Factor

The Top 10 Composers: The Romantics

The Greatest

Agree? Disagree? Think it’s ridiculous to even attempt a top 10 list? I know this really did get some people up in arms. Me? I just figure if it gets anyone interested in listening to any of this music I’m a happy camper. I’m easy that way.

I just found another Top 10 List (this blog entry is the top 2, but I’m sure you can figure out how to read about the rest), by John Althouse Cohen. (And this is a new blog to me, so I’ll be checking it out now.)

ROBERT Hughes, the Australian art critic, filmmaker and writer, wandered into the kitchen of his fashionable loft home in New York’s SoHo to see how the plumber was going, setting up his new dishwasher.

On his knees grappling with the machine, the plumber heard a noise and looked up.

Hughes gasped: “My god, you’re Philip Glass. I can’t believe it. What are you doing here?”

Glass, one of the world’s most famous composers, said afterwards: “It was obvious that I was installing his new dishwasher, and I told him I would soon be finished.”

“But you are an artist,” Hughes protested.

Glass said: “I explained that I was an artist but that I was sometimes a plumber as well, and that he should go away and let me finish.”

RTWT (Thanks to Lynne Marie Flegg, who posted the link on Facebook!)

20. September 2010 · Comments Off on Incredible Story · Categories: Composers, Symphony, Videos

In 1948, a small, struggling, semi-professional orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky began a novel project to commission new works from contemporary composers around the world.

The Commissioning Project grew far beyond anyone’s expectations. In 1953, the orchestra received an unprecedented $400,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to commission 52 compositions a year for three years. The new works were to be performed in weekly concerts and recorded for sale by subscription. The international music world was astounded at both the recipient of the grant and the scope of the project.

You can read more if you click on the YouTube link below.

Man, I so wish we could do this. I’m just blown away by this story. I am sure many already know about this, but I sure didn’t!

Here is the film’s trailer:

WOW! And the MAYOR came up with this idea? How amazing is that? Can you imagine?!

Thanks to Randy for alerting me to this NPR segment of music by composers who immigrated to America after he read my blog entry:

#4 and #6 are Stravinsky’s version of the Star Spangled Banner. The first (#4) is the orchestral arrangement, the second (#6) the choral. Randy suggests that the version on the video I posted isn’t what we hear here. Anyone? Since the video is men singing, and since I’m horrible at hearing things clearly when orchestration is different, I’ll let you decide.

17. May 2010 · Comments Off on John Williams · Categories: Composers

(The composer, not the guitar player.)

“You have a good day, you have a bad day, next week you look at what you wrote last week and it’s rubbish and you throw it out,’’ says Williams, who is the picture of refinement in a dark jacket, black knit shirt, and gray trousers, with a neatly trimmed beard and rim of white hair. “I write all the time, not so much for pleasure but mostly from habit, which is what anybody who writes anything needs to do. It’s pretty good, or it isn’t, and I try to do better next time.’’

Impeccably gracious and unerringly modest, Williams seems more like a genial professor than an industry powerhouse. It’s not false modesty, according to his daughter Jenny, a psychotherapist who practices in Beverly Hills, Calif. Rather, it’s that “my dad wouldn’t be caught dead saying anything good about himself. He believes that no one should. It’s impolite.’’


30. March 2010 · Comments Off on Arvo Pärt · Categories: Composers, Videos

While Pärt might look holy and reserved, he’s actually full of mischievous humour. He talked of a crazy “happening” in the Sixties when he dressed up as a doctor with a surgical mask over his face to perform some operation on a violin which unintentionally ended up in flames. He became branded as the man who burned violins.

It’s difficult to imagine this very serious composer doing that … but hey, it was the sixties!

The above is from this.

I sure wish I could watch BBC Four, and especially the series on Sacred Music (here’s a link to Gorecki & Pärt, but it’s “not available in your area”, I’m told.

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.

10. January 2010 · Comments Off on Croatia’s New President … · Categories: Composers, Videos

… is also a composer. I read about it here.

Have we had any US presidents who were composers as well? Hmm.

I’m assuming this must be one of his works, but I don’t know how common the name “Ivo Josipovic” is … maybe I’m wrong? Let me know if I am, please!