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  • Friday, January 30, 2009

    Gomidas Songs, Isabel Bayrakdarian's 2008 Nonesuch debut and a Grammy nominee for Best Classical Vocal Performance, rates a perfect five stars in a review in The Scotsman, which states that this collection of songs by Armenian "composer of genius" Gomidas Vardabet "is a series of his songs with classical instrumental arrangements, sung with bewitching power by the Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian. The accompaniment—by an ensemble led by Serouj Kradjian—is perfectly apt."

    Journal Topics: Reviews
  • Friday, January 30, 2009

    Rokia Traoré stops by the studios of WNYC, New York public radio, for today's episode of Soundcheck. She'll talk with the show's host, John Schaefer, about her recent Nonesuch release, Tchamantché, and perform some songs from the album. The show begins at 2 PM ET. New York audiences can tune in on 93.9 FM; listeners from around the world can catch the live stream on wnyc.org. Rokia begins a ten-day US tour next week.

    Journal Topics: Radio
  • Friday, January 30, 2009

    Pulitzer Prize–winning composer George Perle died on Friday, January 23, 2009, at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. Perle, often considered one of the most lyrical of a new generation of atonal composers, wrote prolifically, including symphonic, chamber, vocal, and piano works. Perle often referred to his style of writing as "12-tone tonality." Richard Goode, in his liner notes to a Nonesuch recording of Perle works, wrote of the composer's music: "In its sobriety and playfulness, its rhythmic unpredictability, its delicate balance of harmonic and contrapuntal energies, it often brings Haydn to mind ... Whatever the emotional intensities expressed, one feels a language has been found that is exactly suited to its expressive requirements."

    Journal Topics: Artist News
  • Thursday, January 29, 2009

    John Adams's String Quartet will receive its world premiere tonight in a performance by the St. Lawrence String Quartet at The Juilliard School's Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The concert is part of Juilliard's annual FOCUS! festival. The new piece is Adams’s second full-length work for string quartet, after 1994's John’s Book of Alleged Dances. The composer will participate in a pre-concert talk beginning at 6 PM. He leads the Juilliard Opera Center in a semi-staged production of The Death of Klinghoffer this Saturday night.

    Journal Topics: On Tour Artist News
  • Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Dawn Upshaw begins a two-week tour of Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Canberra Friday night. On the tour program are works by Mozart, Strauss, Bartók, and Upshaw's frequent collaborator, Osvaldo Golijov. The Australian lauds her "near-rapturous devotion to art" and her support of new music, in particular. "Upshaw's commitment to music goes beyond her choice of repertoire, however. It's in the texture and expressive shading of her voice, the aural evidence of her intelligent probing of text and music."

    Journal Topics: On Tour
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Steve Reich is a featured composer at this year's Modfest, an annual festival at Vassar College celebrating the music, art, poetry, and film of the 20th and 21st centuries. Modfest 2009 began late last week and runs through February 13, with a total of 18 events, including two all-Reich concerts, a conversation with the composer, a dance performance of works set to his music, a film screening and discussion, and a lecture about Reich's music.

    Journal Topics: On Tour Artist News Film Dance
  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Nonesuch Records is pleased to announce the release of The Bright Mississippi, Allen Toussaint’s first solo album in more than a decade, on April 21, 2009. Produced by friend and frequent collaborator Joe Henry, the record includes songs by jazz greats like Jelly Roll Morton, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn. Toussaint and Henry created a band of highly regarded musicians for the sessions: clarinetist Don Byron, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist David Piltch, and percussionist Jay Bellerose; Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman each join Toussaint for a track as well.

    Journal Topics: Album Release Artist News
  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Rokia Traoré's new album, Tchamantché, features nine tunes Traoré penned herself, plus her unique take on Billie Holiday's "The Man I Love." NPR has chosen the track as today's Song of the Day, with Banning Eyre exclaiming that the Malian singer "sets a new standard" with her interpretation of the famous tune. "Traoré briefly shows off her impressive range of vocal colors, just enough to let listeners know what she can do, with all the cool of a jazz master and all the mystery of an African diva." On Tchamantché, says Eyre, "Traoré makes her strongest and most personal statement yet."

    Journal Topics: Radio
  • Monday, January 26, 2009

    John Adams has been named the first-ever Creative Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, beginning next season, the orchestra's first with Music Director Designate Gustavo Dudamel. "John’s work, vision and big knowledge of all music, especially new music, is so deep," says Dudamel. The 2009/10 season gets under way with an Opening Night Gala concert, pairing Mahler's First Symphony with the world premiere of Adams's City Noir. As Creative Chair, the composer curates the West Coast: Left Coast festival, beginning late November, with a residency by Kronos Quartet; a new work by Thomas Newman; a jazz trio with Joshua Redman; and concerts led by Adams.

    Journal Topics: On Tour Artist News
  • Monday, January 26, 2009

    Kronos Quartet has been named the sole Perspectives artist in Carnegie Hall 2009/10 concert season. Perspectives: Kronos Quartet will feature five concerts over the course of the season, and the Quartet will lead a Professional Training Workshop through The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. Kronos has also been made the ensemble-in-residency for next season's West Coast: Left Coast festival at Disney Hall, curated by John Adams as the LA Philharmonic's first creative director. This season, Kronos has been added to the roster for the MusicNOW festival, premiering a piece by Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry.

    Journal Topics: On Tour Artist News
  • Monday, January 26, 2009

    Rokia Traoré's new album, Tchamantché, has been dubbed "a Malian masterpiece" by NPR's All Songs Considered. In the show's latest episode, host Bob Boilen describes Traoré as "a gorgeous singer from Mali" and calls Tchamantché "a graceful and tender record" with "an extraordinary vibe."

    Journal Topics: Reviews Radio
  • Monday, January 26, 2009

    Joshua Redman brought the complete Compass Double Trio out last week for shows from New York City to Boston to Albany. The Boston Globe says Redman "put on the show of his life" at Boston's Berklee Performance Center. "Redman has always been an entertaining musician, but Thursday he played more confidently and powerfully than ever." The Boston Herald says that with "four of the best rhythm section players in the business ... Redman navigated a constantly changing rhythmscape with the serene intensity that has marked his career." The Schenectady Daily Gazette describes the Friday night set in Albany as "50 minutes that encapsulated the history of
    post-Sonny Rollins jazz" and reached "heights only the best jazz bands
    can reach."

    Journal Topics: On Tour Reviews

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