Concert review: Ohlsson in recital

Has the highpoint of the local concert season already come and gone? Only time will tell, but it will be a tall order to surpass the splendor of Garrick Ohlsson’s all-Chopin recital. The Thursday night concert (9/30) in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall launched the 114th year of presentations by the Troy Chromatics. A deep dive into the Chopin repertoire hasn’t been a common occurrence for recitalists lately, at least...
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Ohlsson and Chopin, together for life

Ohlsson and Chopin, together for life
“We’re a strange pair,” says pianist Garrick Ohlsson of his long association with Frederic Chopin.  “He was rather short, some what frail and very elegant.  I’m not a fashion plate and weigh 260 pounds and have enjoyed good health my whole life.” Music would seem to unite Ohlsson and Chopin across the centuries. But even there, Ohlsson points out a contrast: “I love playing concerts. He hated playing concerts.” Ohlsson...
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Matthew McCright is Minnesota Proud

Matthew McCright is Minnesota Proud
There’s a lot more to music and culture in Minnesota than “A Prairie Home Companion.” Just ask pianist Matthew McCright, who lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Carlton College. But better yet, listen to one of his recordings or go hear him in concert. McCright will be performing an all-Minnesota program at Merkin Concert Hall in New York on Saturday September 25.  Every one of the six pieces on the program...
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Cage’s 4’33″ returns to The Maverick

Cage’s 4’33″ returns to The Maverick
The concert hall in the woods just outside Woodstock is fondly known as The Maverick. But its summer presentations are often rather traditional servings of chamber music and solo recitals. This Saturday night, pianist Pedja Muzijevic will present a program wildly varied enough to be described as mavericky. Along with Schumann’s “Carnaval” and some little sonatas by Scarlatti, there will be transcriptions of Wager and...
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Concert review: ASO’s Tchaikovsky

Concert review: ASO’s Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky Spectacular Albany Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller, conductor with Joshua Roman, cello Palace Theatre, Albany, NY April 23, 2010 Spectacular. Advertising copywriters often use that adjective to describe concerts of Tchaikovsky, especially when his 1812 Overture is performed, with or without real cannons. The Albany Symphony Orchestra’s “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” Friday night at the Palace Theatre didn’t...
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Concert review: Denk plays Ives and Bach

Union College Concert Series Schenectady, New York April 24, 2010 Before he launched into his daring and demanding piano recital Saturday night at Union College, Jeremy Denk revealed his way with words, describing the evening’s program as “beauty and the beast.” It was an apt, if not wholly original title for the juxtaposition of monumental works by Ives and Bach. The beastliness came first, with Ives’ Piano Sonata...
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Check out Julius Eastman’s “Gay Guerrilla”

Check out Julius Eastman’s “Gay Guerrilla”
“A guerrilla is someone who is sacrificing his life… Without blood there is no cause… I use (the term) Gay Guerrilla in the hopes that I might be one if called upon.” – Julius Eastman After Julius Eastman’s never-fully explained death in 1990, his legacy was thought to be lost.   Four years ago he was rescued from obscurity by the release “Unjust Malaise” (New World Records)....
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Happy 80th Birthday Stephen Sondheim (3/22)

Happy 80th Birthday Stephen Sondheim (3/22)
Big classical music institutions (i.e. symphonies and opera companies) have long been on the Stephen Sondheim bandwagon and the occasion of his 80th birthday year (which is today–3/22/10) has been a great excuse for them to further horn in on the musical theatre domain, where the composer has excelled. But one classical pianist, Anthony de Mare, has come up with a fresh approach to celebrating Sondheim.  About five years...
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CD review: Mikhashoff’s Elemental Fragments

CD review: Mikhashoff’s Elemental Fragments
Music of the late Yvar Mikhashoff is being remembered. Fitfully and occasionally. But those who knew Yvar are surely grateful. And based on the stunning performance by Winston Choi in this new CD on Albany Records there are also new generations finding beauty and power in the music. Let me admit that I enjoyed the notes by Nils Vigeland, Yvar’s former student, a pianist and a director of the Mikahshoff Trust, as much...
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Preview & review: Christopher O’Riley in Albany

Preview & review: Christopher O’Riley in Albany
Ten years ago pianist Christopher O’Riley needed something to play as filler for the “station identification” breaks during the first season of “From the Top,” the weekly syndicated radio show about young musicians.  He started dabbling with piano arrangements of songs by Radio Head, the alternative rock band.  His imaginative treatments of the music — ruminative, stirring and colorful — opened up an...
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