Friday, February 22, 2008

BlogRoll Additions #3

Here are a few more worthwhile blogs I've been reading lately - I've followed all of them for some time and am just now getting around to listing them.


Drew McManus on orchestra management. Provides many insights about the ever-changing world of the classical orchestra industry and how to help it face the many challenges of today's artistic, financial, and social environment. Drew's blog is part of the Inside the Arts cultural blogging exchange.

Arts Addict

Jason Heath (he also manages a popular double-bass blog) on "life as a classical music bottom feeder." Features more of Jason's long-form articles and essays on making a living as a classical musician and other relevant topics. Jason's blog is also part of the Inside the Arts cultural blogging exchange.

Music Matters Blog

Natalie Wickham's blog provides "creative, practical, and up-to-date resources for the independent music teacher." She is a Kansas-based music teacher with lots of positive ideas for making piano lessons more rewarding and exciting for students and teachers.


This prominent site/blog is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary classical music. Content is provided by a number of contributing authors/editors from many different locales. Features of the site include a composers forum, cd reviews, performance announcements, and a listening room.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Carnivals and Puppets

It's Petrushka week for me up in Dayton! We're doing Stravinsky's complete 1911 version but with one additional audience aid: projected slides that tell the story of the "living" puppet Petrushka as the orchestra performs the piece. What a good idea.

In my eight years experience playing regularly as an orchestral pianist, I have not yet had the opportunity to perform this classic standard. Of course I've played it many, many times for every orchestral audition that I have taken (it is usually one of the more prominent required excerpts for any keyboard audition) but now I can finally get a real, in-context performance of the work behind me. It's one of those milestones that can make you feel like you're a more complete and accomplished orchestral player. It is very demanding technically with its emphasis on fast 16th-note passagework in octaves and chords (in the "Russian Dance"). But the work also requires a sensitive touch in the second tableau, where the solo piano first represents Petrushka's curses and laments and then later the arrival of the Ballerina (Petrushka's unattainable love interest).

The Petrushka score features plenty of other solo showcases for many other instruments as well; there are big solos for flute, trumpet, tuba ("the bear"!), english horn, and clarinet.

Petrushka is the second of Stravinsky's three cherished ballet pieces composed for Sergei Diaghilev's company in Paris in the years of 1909-1913. (The other two ballet-works are The Firebird and the infamous Rite of Spring.) Read more about Stravinsky and Petrushka here.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Legacy of Patricia Corbett

Cincinnati arts patron Patricia Corbett passed away last week at her home in Hyde Park, Cincinnati. Corbett was one of Cincinnati's most significant and generous philanthropists, having donated tens of millions of dollars to the arts for more than fifty years. She and her husband J. Ralph Corbett made their fortune through their NuTone doorchime company in the 1950s and established the Corbett Foundation in 1955. Donations from the organization have benefitted many facilities and arts venues in the Cincinnati area, including Riverbend Music Center, performance spaces at CCM, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and many others. She also supported many educational programs in music and various ensembles throughout the region. There is absolutely no question that today's rich cultural landscape in Cincinnati would have been impossible without the dedicated involvement of this remarkable woman.

Read Janelle Gelfand's article at the Enquirer and also Kerry Duke's article at the Post.

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