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Classical Notes: November 28, 2006 Archive

Passing of Robt. McFerrin, Sr

Posted at 7:38 AM on November 28, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

I was sorry to read this morning that Bobby McFerrin's father died last Friday of a heart attack at the age of 85. In case you don't know, Robert McFerrin, Sr. was a pioneering opera singer. He was the first black man to sing solo at the Metropolitan Opera. His appearance at the Met in 1955 in "Aida" came just three weeks after Marian Anderson made her historic debut as the first African-American to sing a major role at the Met. HIs obituary is in today's Pioneer Press.

Who'll take a chance on nine young composers?

Posted at 3:29 PM on November 28, 2006 by Don Lee (4 Comments)

If you've ever said (or thought) that symphony orchestras need to be more in touch with the musical language of our time and you live within hailing distance of Minneapolis, then Friday is put-up-or-shut-up day. For just $15, you can hear the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Osmo Vanska perform music by nine emerging American composers. The oldest of them is 39, the youngest 24.

They're participating this week in the orchestra's annual Composer Institute, designed to teach them more about their craft and to give them an all-too-rare chance to hear a real orchestra perform their music. Friday night's concert will be the first full-length evening performance in the ten-year history of these new music workshops. If you want a taste of what's in store, there are audio samples here.

Sounds like an adventure to me! Bring along the kids!

(And listen to Karl Gehrke's profile of Minnesota Orchestra New Music Advisor Aaron Jay Kernis here.)

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