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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: September 23, 2008 Archive

Classical Geniuses

Posted at 9:56 AM on September 23, 2008 by Gillian Martin (2 Comments)

If you've been waiting by the phone for the MacArthur Foundation to call, I'm sorry to break the news: If you'd been selected for one of their $500,000-over-5-years "genius" grants, you'd already know.

Of the 25 selected fellows, three are musical:

Violinist Leila Josefowicz, 30, was honored for "broadening the instrument's repertoire and captivating audiences through her juxtaposition of the avant-garde and eclectic with the more traditional." She'll be in the Twin Cities twice this season: with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on December 11, and with the Minnesota Orchestra April 23-25. Find her personal website here.

Music critic Alex Ross, 40, got the nod for "offering both highly specialized and casual readers new ways of thinking about the music of the past and its place in our future." MPR brought him to the Fitzgerald Theater last November to chat about his book The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century. He writes a column for The New Yorker, and he's got a great blog, too. Has this increased the value of the books he signed that night, I wonder?

The third musician is Walter Kitundu, 35, an instrument maker and composer honored for "inventing instruments inspired by experimental and traditional musical forms to produce electro-acoustic works that navigate the boundary between live and recorded performance." He, too, has Minnesota connections: he was a guest artist at the Science Museum of Minnesota in 2004, and in 2003 he created and performed a score for a show at Pillsbury House Theater in Minneapolis.

Comment on this post

OS-MO, OS-MO, OS-MO.....

Posted at 11:01 PM on September 23, 2008 by Ward Jacobson

Finally made it to Orchestra Hall Saturday night.....after two years here, it was about time, right?

Wow, what a night! Allow just a bit of gushiness please. As glorious as it is to hear our wonderful Minnesota Orchestra on the many recordings we play on Classical Minnesota Public Radio, it is simply over-the-top to hear them LIVE in the concert hall.

Viva Espana took the audience on a musical journey through Spain and Mexico, courtesy of Emmanuel Chabrier, Joaquin Rodrigo, Manuel de Falla, Alberto Ginastera and Aaron Copland. Minneapolis native Sharon Isbin was brilliant playing Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra. But the real stars of the evening were the members of the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Osmo Vanska. It was definitely the quickest (and best) two hours of my weekend!

In fact, it almost felt like being at a Vikings game with the chants of "OS-MO, OS-MO, OS-MO" after each piece by more than a few enthusiastic listeners. "Stuffy" was nowhere to be found Saturday night. I'll be back - soon!