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Classical Notes: June 12, 2006 Archive

Washington press should credit St. Paul pioneers

Posted at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2006 by Don Lee

An article in The Washington Post recommends that Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra borrow a big idea pioneered by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The NSO is looking for a music director to replace Leonard Slatkin, who leaves DC in two years. Since no successor appears to be in line, writer Mark Mobley (who happens to be my former colleague) says the orchestra should seize the opportunity to experiment. He suggests a strategically chosen series of guest conductors, each contributing different ideas to the season. It sounds a lot like the SPCO’s Artistic Partners.

But Mark doesn’t mention the SPCO. Instead, he cites newer and less unusual leadership models in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. “I thought about the SPCO,” he told me after I called him on the omission, “but they’re such a different beast....” While that beast may not be slouching toward Washington, I wouldn't be surprised to see its hour come round elsewhere.

RIP Gyorgy Ligeti

Posted at 5:35 PM on June 12, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

One of the 20th century's great composers died today. This is the short obit from the A-P:

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - A pioneering composer who won acclaim for
his work on the soundtrack for "2001: A Space Odyssey," has died.
Gyorgy Ligeti (LIG'-ih-tee) was 83. He is celebrated as one of
the world's leading 20th century musical pioneers. A spokeswoman
for his publisher says the composer died today in Vienna after a
long illness.
"Space Odyssey" director Stanley Kubrick also used Ligeti's
music as the theme for what turned out to be his final film, "Eyes
Wide Shut."

I remember being quite moved by hearing the St. Olaf Choir sing his "Night/Morning" in Seoul, South Korea during the Arts Festival held there just prior to the 1988 Olympics.

You can download a sample of it here.