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    The Andre Kostelanetz papers

    The papers of legendary conductor, arranger and broadcaster Andre Kostelanetz have been donated to the Library of Congress by his estate. Kostelanetz died in 1980. The gift is a veritable treasure trove for students of 20th century music and broadcasting. The archive of Kostelanetz' personal property, papers, clippings, letters, sound recordings, posters, and photographs spans some 73 crates. It documents in detail the career of one of America's most remarkable men of music. The gift from Kostelanetz' estate will complement the gift of scores and parts for many of his arrangements Kostelanetz made to the Library of Congress. His papers will join those of George and Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner, and Irving Berlin, among others in the Library's collection of material belonging to eminent American musicians.
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    David Oistrakh birth centennial

    30 SEP 1908 Birth of Russian violinst David OISTRAKH in Odessa. Died in Amsterdam, 24 OCT 1974
    David Fyodorovich Oistrakh (Russian: Давид Фёдорович Ойстрах), David Fiodorovič Ojstrah; September 30 [O.S. September 17] 1908 – October 24, 1974) was a Soviet violin virtuoso who made many recordings and was the dedicatee of numerous violin works. His recordings and performances of Shostakovich's concerti are particularly well known, but he was also a performer of classical concerti. He worked with orchestras in Russia, and also with musicians in Europe and the United States. The violin concerto of Aram Khachaturian is dedicated to him, as are the two violin concerti by Dmitri Shostakovich.

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    Zubin Mehta's autobiography

    Music maestro Zubin Mehta has come up with an autobiography ‘The scores of my Life’. The book gives a candid insight into his personal, as well as public life. In this book he has discussed about his life, his family, and other interesting incidents. Zubin Mehta was born into a Parsi family in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, the son of Mehli and Tehmina Mehta. His father Mehli Mehta was a violinist and founding conductor of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. Zubin is an alumnus of St. Mary's (ISC) High School, Mazagoan, Mumbai. Zubin initially intended to study medicine, but eventually became a music student in Vienna at the age of 18, under the eminent instructor Hans Swarowsky. Also at the same academy along with Zubin were conductor Claudio Abbado and conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim.

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    music critic Donald Rosenberg's being removed from his duties

    music critic Donald Rosenberg
    Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg's being removed from his duties covering the Cleveland Orchestra. But unlike many of my colleagues, I am not surprised. Ever since Franz Welser-Most became music director in 2002, Rosenberg has been a thorn in the Cleveland Orchestra's side. He apparently doesn't find the young Austrian conductor a suitable leader for what may be American's finest orchestra.MORE - Sources

    Eschenbach named music director of NSO, Kennedy Center

    German-born conductor and pianist Christoph Eschenbach has been named music director of the National Symphony Orchestra and of the Kennedy Center (a newly created position). After serving as music-director designate during the 2009-10 season, the conductor will officially start his tenure; the initial contract is for three years, beginning 2010-11.

    Eschenbach, 68, recently stepped down as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
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    Composer Eugen SUCHON Birth centennial

    Eugen Suchoň was born on September 25, 1908 in Pezinok, Hungary (now Slovakia). His father, Ladislav Suchoň, was an organist and teacher. His mother, Serafĭna Suchoňovà, was a piano teacher, and it was from her that he received his first piano tuition. The house was always filled with music and, as a small child, he would listen from under the piano when his father rehearsed at home with other musicians. In 1920, at the age of twelve, he started taking piano lessons at the Bratislava School of Music with the distinguished musician Frico Kafenda. Later, from 1927–1931, he continued his studies with the same teacher at the newly established Academy of Music in Bratislava. His early works include several piano compositions and a choral work Vel’ky Pôst (The Great Fast). He graduated from his composition classes with the Sonata in A-flat for Violin and Piano and a String Quartet (op.2, 1931, revised 1939).

    John Pennink, 78, pianist

    John Pennink, 78, a retired concert pianist, died of a heart attack Aug. 31 at his home in Huntingdon Valley, PA...MORE

    1908 Death of Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate in Biarritz.

    Pablo de Sarasate was born in Pampalona, Spain on 10 MAR 1844. He died 20 SEP 1908
    He was the son of an artillery bandmaster. He began studying the violin with his father at the age of five and later took lessons from a local teacher but his musical talent became evident early on and he appeared in his first public concert in La Coruña at the age of eight. His performance was well-received, and caught the attention of a wealthy patron who provided the funding for Sarasate to study under Manuel Rodríguez Saez in Madrid where he gained the favor of Queen Isabel II. Later, as his abilities developed, he was sent to study under Jean-Delphin Alard at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of twelve. There, at seventeen, Sarasate entered a competition for the Premier Prix and won his first prize, the Conservatoire's highest honour...MORE WIKI BIO.
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    Riccardo Chailly must bow out of CSO

    Jaap van Zweden and Neeme Jarvi will replace Riccardo Chailly for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts Oct. 9 through Oct. 21 at Symphony Center. According to Chailly's manager, the Italian conductor is to undergo tests for an ongoing heart condition following a tour with his Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and will be unable to travel to the U.S.

    Van Zweden, the Dutch-born music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra, will make his CSO debut in the first week of concerts. His program for Oct. 9-14 holds Bruckner's Symphony No. 5, which Chailly was to have conducted the following week...MORE

    Mauricio Kagel dies

    Mauricio Kagel, an Argentinian-born composer, died early Thursday 18 September 2008, in Cologne, Germany at the age of 76. Kagel's 200 works of contemporary classical music dispensed with harmony and singable melodies and were aimed at high-brows, who enjoyed his musical jokes. One piece featured the sound of a toilet flushing.

    Born 1931 in Buenos Aires, Kagel moved to Germany in 1957 and became professor of "new music" at Cologne's Music College in 1975.

    New Mozart piece of music found in French library

    A French museum has found a previously unknown piece of music handwritten by Mozart, a researcher said Thursday. The 18th century melody sketch is missing the harmony and instrumentation but was described as important find. MORE - Additional Sources

    Samuel Barber's Prelude and Fugue given its modern premiere

    Samuel Barber, 1930s
    The musical world will be all ears when an organ work Samuel Barber wrote as a Curtis student is given its modern premiere in Philadelphia.
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  • Conductor Vernon Handley has died

    Vernon Handley, one of the best-loved and most respected of British conductors, has died. Throughout his life he was a devoted champion of British repertoire, making some of the most intuitive and masterful recordings of works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Holst. It was also through Handley’s tireless – and most importantly, convincing – advocacy that many will have first developed a love of composers such as Bliss, Finzi, Howells, Rubbra and Bridge. In fact, of Handley’s 160 recordings, over 90 were of British music, including 87 works which had not been recorded before. His discography includes all the symphonies of Bax, Vaughan Williams, Stanford, Malcolm Arnold and Robert Simpson, and all the major works of Elgar.
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    Daniel Abrams about “Opera For Piano”

    DANIEL ABRAMS, who has been hailed throughout Europe and the Americas (Alan Rich wrote of his Town Hall debut in 1957: he must henceforth be taken into account when lists of pianists most likely to succeed are being compiled) will be presenting a concert of music from his “Opera For Piano” series in New York City on Wednesday, Oct. 15th. Included will be the American premier of his Musical Portraits from Wagner’s ’Ring’ (a 45-minute work). He feels that in his lifetime of music making, this is his most important contribution to music, and that “Opera For Piano” (please see Abrams’ statement below) will be a great addition to the performing pianist’s repertoire. Marta Argerich recently heard some of Abrams’ music performed in Europe and requested its inclusion in her Lugano Piano Festival.
    To give you some idea of Abrams‘ rare abilities as a musician and pianist, the following is from a review he received from “The NY Herald Tribune” when he presented the complete cycle of Mozart piano sonatas at the Kaufman Y:
    Mr. Abrams, as has been noted before, is born to the piano; he cannot help but make beautiful sounds and he brings to whatever he tackles not only musicianship, technique and interpretative prowess, but a very special kind of intellectual radiance that quite sets him apart. In short, the five sonatas heard contained a veritable galaxy of refinements -- indeed, the sort of refinements that seem slowly to be creeping out of contemporary piano playing.
    The concert, at the Mannes College of Music, 150 West 85th St (between Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues) is on Wednesday, October 15th at 8 pm. There is no charge and seating begins at 7:30 pm.
    It promises to be a glorious evening of music making and the re-discovery of a truly great pianist!

    The following is by Daniel Abrams about “Opera For Piano”:
    All the music in the series “Opera For Piano” was written because I love opera and wanted to play some of this wonderful music on the piano. It is written in the styles of the various composers to preserve the passions and styles of the operas, perhaps as if the music had been written for the piano, but not as virtuoso pieces as was Liszt’s goal.
    In the first three works - variations on arias - the story is not of paramount importance. However, in the “Portraits on Wagner’s ‘Ring,’” because Wagner used musical motifs for each character and dramatic “happening,” some knowledge of the storyline of this nearly sixteen hour series of four operas is certainly helpful, but not essential in listening to the music on its own.


  • VIVALDI: The Four Seasons
  • TARTINI: The Devil's Trill; Joshua Bell, violin; musicians of The Academy of St Martin in the Fields

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    Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, who has enchanted audiences for two decades with his breathtaking playing and tone of rare opulence, has recorded Antonio Vivaldi’s concertos The Four Seasons. Widely considered as one of the premiere violinists of his generation, Bell is joined on this studio release by the celebrated musicians of the Academy of St.Martin in the Fields, who toured the work with him prior to the recording sessions. This recording of The Four Seasons is coupled with another masterpiece of Baroque virtuosity, Giuseppe Tartini’s The Devil’s Trill. The liner notes by Linda Kobler explain the curious genesis of Tartini’s piece and the indisputable place of Vivaldi’s concertos in the history of sonata composition.

  • Joaquin NIN-CULMELL birth centennial

    1908 Birth of Cuban-Spanish pianist and composer Joaquin NIN-CULMELL in Berlin. Joaquín Nin-Culmell d-age 95, in Oakland, CA 14 JAN 2004. Was composer of Spanish-style piano pieces. He was the son of Cuban-Spanish composer Joaquín Nin y Castellanos and Danish-French-Cuban singer Rosa Culmell. He studied in Paris and Spain (with Falla), settling in the USA in 1938. He wrote a Mass for the consecration of St Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco (1970), and the opera La celestina (1965-80), as well as instrumental and chamber pieces and songs with strong Spanish elements...

    Abdel Rahman El Bacha

    El Bacha won the Concours Reine Elisabeth de Belgique international music competition by a unanimous judgment at the age of 19. His recording in 1983, “Early Works” by Sergei Prokofiev won the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros. He was recently awarded the Médaille de l’Ordre du Mérite by the president of the Lebanese Republic, the highest distinction of his native country.
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    Bernard Haitink

    Ahead of an appearance at the Proms, conductor Bernard Haitink tells Geoffrey Norris why he's breaking the habit of a lifetime in Chicago. Every conductor, so Bernard Haitink maintains, has his sell-by date.
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