The St Olaf Choir celebrated its 100 anniversary with a mid-winter tour. The highlights of which are in this week's Regional Spotlight. Anton Armstrong leads the choir and orchestra of St Olaf College students in the Bach motet: Sing to the Lord a New Song, and the world premiere of a work written especially for the centennial celebration of the St Olaf Choir by St Olaf alumnus, Minnesota composer, Ralph M. Johnson: On Horizon's Brim.
Exultate performs Handel: Messiah this weekend. Steve Staruch spoke with music director, Thomas Rossin.
Extremely sensitive to the color (timbre) of their own sound, the Ysaye Quartet performs with flair and great attention to musical nuance. The ensemble, which has been together for almost 30 years, brought all their gifts to a monumental work in the string quartet literature in a Schubert Club/Music in the Park Series concert. The Ysaye Quartet's performance of the Brahms String Quartet Op 51, No. 2 flows like liquid gold. That concert from just last month is this week's Regional Spotlight.
The Bakken Trio continues its current season with a program of lyrical American works this Sunday, March 4 at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. The performance includes the world premiere of a piece titled, A Screened Porch in the Country, by 29 year old composer, Dan Visconti. Members of the Bakken Trio and the composer spoke with Steve Staruch in the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio.
Johannes Brahms, like all composers, had a "day job." Brahms was the music director of several singing societies in Vienna. Pouring all of his melodic gifts into numerous works for choir, the choral pieces from his late fifties are especially filled with a kind of nostalgic golden glow. The South Dakota Chorale led by Charles Bruffy brings a slow-burning, mature passion to a performance of Brahms Four Quartets Op 92. Their performance from January 14 at Dordt College is in this week's Regional Spotlight.
Paul Boehnke, the music director of the Bach Society of Minnesota, has an adventurous palate. "Take a sweet piece of fruit on one hand and it's sweet. Take a pungent cheese on the other and it's pungent. If you put the two together you get something brand new!" The Bach Society was joined by a team of well-known jazz musicians from the twin cities in a session at the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio to reprise a program titled: Bach and Jazz. Their sweet/pungent performances are in this week's Regional Spotlight.
Embarking on a two year project to perform all the string quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich, the Artaria Quartet is well on there way to mastering these highly respected and deeply emotional pieces. From a performance this past January at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, the Artaria plays the Shostakovich Quartet No. 1 with raw power and wide-eyed enthusiasm.
Luther Warren is a most serious violinist. At 16 he was the recent winner of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies Solo Competition. He will perform the opening movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto this Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Orchestra Hall. Warren spoke with Steve Staruch in the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio to talk about his performing experiences and play the piece. He was joined by accompanist Tom Bartsch.
The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra features a Young Artist Solo Competition. This years finalists were all wonderful high-school aged musicians from the area. Their performances from the final round of the competition, recorded at Concordia College in Moorhead on January 8, are in this week's Regional Spotlight.
Composer Judith Zaimont and her music are the focus of a residency taking place at the U of M School of Music. Steve Staruch spoke to her about the regional premiere of her new work: Solar Traveler for Piano and Wind Orchestra.
They are colleagues and friends, a most welcome combination in the highly emotional world of chamber music performance. First chair players in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra, Steven Copes, Ruggero Allifranchini , Maiya Papach and Tony Ross are Accordo. In anticipation of a performance on Monday, February 6, Accordo stopped by to perform and chat with Steve Staruch.
There are those magical piano recital performances where everything goes superbly. When the program sings, the piano purrs and the audiences listens as one to every nuance of the artist, it's something indescribable. Pianist Nelson Goerner gave a Frederic Chopin Society recital just this last weekend. By all accounts this was a performance that will live long in the memory. His Mozart performance was especially transcendent as you will hear in this week's Regional Spotlight.
The story goes that Mozart composed the Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano while playing an outdoor form of bowling (think bocce). Mozart must have been winning that afternoon as the Kegelstatt Trio is good natured and full of joyful melodies.
Many superb teachers of yoga use music during their classes. While I certainly don't presume to be an instructor, I do offer a playlist that I believe is all about flow: the flow from one basic yoga posture into another, from a basic child's pose, to an initial sun salutation, and all the way to a delicious shavasana. Each of these pieces provides a friendly "now." I hope that you enjoy them.
There are those rare occasions when a performance makes you lose track of time; when the artist's personality melds with the essence of a piece of music. Those moments are magical. In this week's Regional Spotlight two artists, cellist Wendy Warner and pianist Irina Nuzova, make that kind of magic in a performance from the Schubert Club/Music in the Park Series recital November 15, 2011. With the gorgeous Cello Sonata No. 2 by 20th century Russian composer Nikolay Myaskovsky, their beautiful performance slows down time itself.