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Classical Notes

Watch: Maria Callas accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted at 1:58 PM on August 27, 2014 by Jay Gabler (0 Comments)
Filed under: In the media

Maria_Callas.jpg

It's unclear who nominated legendary soprano Maria Callas (1923-1977) to posthumously participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge — that is, to be doused with ice water to raise money and awareness to fight the disease ALS — but she has now done so, courtesy of Warner Classics, the label issuing a deluxe remastered edition of her recordings on Sept. 22.

At the end of the video, the Callas cutout nominates "opera fans worldwide" to meet the challenge themselves, so you may officially consider yourself on the hook.

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On the Air This Week

Posted at 4:00 PM on August 26, 2014 by Jennifer Allen (0 Comments)
Filed under: On the air

Highlights from August 26 to September 2

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Teresa Root.
Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: The Jasper String Quartet plays Haydn in St. Cloud.
Friday, 2 pm: The Copper Street Brass Quintet, live from the State Fair.
Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Telling Tales.
Sunday, noon: From the Top.
Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: From the 2014 BBC Proms, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform an all-Russian program.
Monday, noon: Learning to Listen: Music for Wind Band.
Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans.

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Steve Reich soundtracks Rick Rubin's Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted at 1:37 PM on August 26, 2014 by Jay Gabler (0 Comments)
Filed under: In the media

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Minimalist composer Steve Reich hasn't yet taken the Ice Bucket Challenge — that is, splashing himself with ice water to raise funds and awareness for the fight against the disease ALS — but in a sense he's done his part.

When music producer Rick Rubin shared a video of himself dunking into a bathtub of ice water (above), he soundtracked the video with a sound loop made famous in Reich's 1965 piece "It's Gonna Rain." Reich's 18-minute tape piece is based on a recording made by the composer the previous year in San Francisco as a Pentecostal street preacher held forth. The phrase "It's Gonna Rain," looped again and again in Reich's piece, became iconic.

Rubin isn't the only musician bathing in ice water for a good cause: Minnesota singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith did so as a (successful) challenge to the Current's program director Jim McGuinn.

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Video: Is this little listener America's next great conductor?

Posted at 10:43 AM on August 25, 2014 by Jay Gabler (0 Comments)
Filed under: Fun finds

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"Just a quick note to thank you VERY much for playing Korsakov for our little Alex on Friday," writes Classical MPR listener Susana Perez. "We thought you'd enjoy seeing the results... :-)"

We sure did! Thanks for sharing, Susana and Carlos; please keep us posted on Alex's conducting career.

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Click on Classical: Music to relax...or, to go on a violent vigilante spree through Chicago

Posted at 8:48 AM on August 25, 2014 by Jay Gabler (0 Comments)
Filed under: Click on Classical

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Every Monday morning, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about a few of the stories we're featuring on our website. Here are the stories we'll be discussing today.

When she finishes her coursework for the day, says Concordia College music major Emily Feld, she turns on some classical music — but not the music you might expect. "What I look for is not something that will help me tune out and turn my brain off," she writes. "I need something that rekindles my passion for music, something that pulls me off the couch and back to the piano." Here are the pieces that keep Emily inspired.

Other classical musicians, when they close their instrument cases, like to get out into the wild. Gwen Hoberg asked some of her fellow musicians what they like to do to relax; their answers included yoga, knitting, running, and shooting.

We're also starting to feature some stories and interviews related to video game music — which is covered by Emily Reese in her Top Score podcast. This week, Garrett Tiedemann interviewed composer Brian Reitzell, who explained why writing video game music is like being a short-order cook.

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VocalEssence Asia Pacific Tour Social Media Highlights

Posted at 4:10 PM on August 21, 2014 by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu (0 Comments)
Filed under: Choral Music

VE-Ensemble-Singers-2011.jpgThe VocalEssence Ensemble Singers just completed a performing tour throughout Korea and China. This group was one of 4 American choral ensembles invited to participate in the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music. Here is the view of that tour through the VocalEssence Social Media Lens.


A Clip of the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers "Singin' in Seoul"


Tenor, Mike Fairnbairn and VocalEssence artistic director, Philip Brunelle enjoying a meal


The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers cruisin' around Korea



Seth Keeton (Bass Extraordinaire) enjoying some tourist time
Tenors trying to keep cool


Dinner in Shanghai
Nanjing and Minnesota find out that they have a common friend in Gustavus Adolphus


Papa Philip feeding his flock before their flight home
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On the Air This Week

Posted at 9:52 AM on August 20, 2014 by Jennifer Allen (0 Comments)
Filed under: On the air

Highlights from August 19 to 26

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Bookstore owners Joe and Mary Keyes.
Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight.
Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Discovering Dieterich Buxtehude.
Sunday, noon: From the Top.
Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: From the 2014 BBC Proms, the BBC Scottish Symphony plays Mahler's 9th Symphony.
Monday, noon: Learning to Listen.
Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans.

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Click on Classical: Musical brain surgery, a horn story, and a conductor swimsuit competition

Posted at 8:41 AM on August 18, 2014 by Jay Gabler (0 Comments)
Filed under: Click on Classical

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Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we're featuring on our website. Here are the stories we'll be discussing today.

This week the Internet was buzzing — again — about video of Minnesota Orchestra Roger Frisch receiving brain surgery while playing. It's a strange but true story — and most amazingly, the surgery was a complete success. Read the story, and watch the video, here.

Dale Clevenger is an acclaimed horn player — he played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 47 years — who's also an experienced teacher, and quick with a witty remark. This week we shared an anecdote about one of his more amusing quips.

There​'s still time to enter the first-ever opera conductor swimsuit competition, and things are heating up — Maestro Bill Eddins of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra has already posted a video submission. Watch the video on our site​.

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Watch Maestro Bill Eddins's swimsuit competition video

Posted at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2014 by Jay Gabler (1 Comments)
Filed under: In the media

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Yesterday I posted news of an opera conductor swimsuit competition being held by the blog Opera Candy. It seemed unlikely that any serious conductor would accept the blog's invitation to submit a swimsuit video, but the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's Bill Eddins has in fact tendered a submission. "This," Eddins writes on his Sticks and Drones blog, "is too good to resist."

I won't spoil the surprise at the end of this video, but I will say this maestro has some great gams.


Photo via Sticks and Drones

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Dale Clevenger: A great story about a great teacher

Posted at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2014 by Jay Gabler (0 Comments)
Filed under: Fun finds

Dale Clevenger 425.jpg

In a recent blog post, Indiana music teacher Jeff Nelsen shared this humorous story about horn great Dale Clevenger.

"The story goes that Dale was teaching a young horn player in a public master class. He asked the student to play the beginning of the solo piece he'd diligently prepared. The hornist played well, smiled, and looked to Dale for commentary.

"He looked at the student and asked, 'Have you every heard me play before?' The boy excitedly smiled and giggled out a, 'Yeah, I listen to you a lot.' Dale replied, 'Ok play it again, and this time play it like you're ME playing this piece.'

"The kid went at it again, and leaned into every musical mark, and swooned and slurred his way through what may have been an out-of-body experience. He'd never played it better his whole life. The audience reacted in kind, cheering full out.

"Dale waited and said, 'Yeah, just what I thought. I'm a much better horn player than you are.'"


Photo: DaleClevenger.com

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