Amanda Jacobs

An amazing woman, a fish without a bicycle

It's lovely to spend mornings with you, listening to great recordings from the WXXI library, NPR news, arts features, and . . .

Sing for your supper, sing for your life

Thank you for checking in.  Here’s some of the latest Rochester music news, mostly about singing contests.

ROCHESTER'S 2012 CLASSICAL IDOL

This year’s Classical Idol competition sparked a little controversy. More on that later.  

AS YOU WISH, the top classical music stories in Rochester in 2010

Let’s recall the top classical music news stories in 2010 in Rochester, New York, with a nod to the Rob Reiner film, The Princess Bride.

NOT UNEMPLOYED IN GREENLAND     RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman announced his retirement at end of the 2010-2011 season.  Norwegian conductor Arild Remmeriet will step up as RPO’s new music director in 2011. Glimmerglass Opera announced that Francesca Zambello will be new executive director in 2011.

MUCH NICER THAN THE FIRE SWAMP   Eastman School of Music opened a new wing with dramatic atrium, recital hall, rehearsal spaces, and eye-popping hanging glass sculpture.

INCONCEIVABLE!   Rochester entrepreneur Tim Enright launched Virtuoso Television, or VTV, an internet service for musicians to record and store music lessons online for reference in future practice sessions.

HELLO, MY NAME IS “GIBBS AND MAIN”     Rochester chamber ensemble Quartsemble changed moniker.

NEVER GO AGAINST A STRING PLAYER WHEN DEATH IS ON THE LINE    RPO principal violist Melissa Matson stepped on needle, performed Harold in Italy with injured foot. RPO principal cellist Stefan Reuss fell and injured ribs and wrist, missing first few weeks of concert season.

A GREAT GIFT FOR RHYME    Baritone Jonathan Beyer earned Rochester Oratorio Society’s annual Classical Idol top prize with compelling performance of aria from "Nixon on China." Composer Cary Ratcliff gets oratorio "Ode to Common Things" published. Composer Amanda Jacobs won national award for "Mass for the Living."

HER APPEAL IS UNDENIABLE    Soprano Renee Fleming released “Dark Hope,” a collection of pop covers of songs by groups such as Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie and Leonard Cohen. Rochester chamber choir Madrigalia premiered new work by Libby Larsen; Larsen visits.

NO ONE WITHSTANDS THE MACHINE  Michael Daughtery piano concerto, “Deus Ex Machina” co-commissioned by the RPO, earned 2010 Grammy nomination.  The Eastman's Ying Quartet was also nominated for a Grammy.

ANYBODY WANT A PEANUT?   Several Western New York public schools named “Best Communities for Music Education” in the United States by the non-profit NAMM Foundation; Albion Central School District, Brighton, Leroy, Pittsford, Royalton-Hartland Central School District, Rush-Henrietta, Webster, West Irondequoit.

Congratulations and Happy New Year!

Jane Austen takes Eastman Theatre

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single novel in possession of a large readership must be in want of a musical adaptation. However little known the feelings or views of the author, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of lyricists, composers, and filmmakers, that it is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their agents. Last night, about 3,000 Rochesterians attended a concert performance of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I was among them, and I’m happy to report that the musical achieves the dynamism of the book. The pace and the singing were most excellent.   

The show’s greatest strength is in the lyrical, often operatic writing and well-crafted orchestration. What might be saccharine brushes tenderness, especially in duets and ensemble pieces. (For the truth of every thing here related, I can appeal to the testimony of RPO President Charlie Owens, who, during intermission, expressed his admiration for the deft orchestration.)

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Pride & Prejudice

It’s official!

October 21st is the date of the Pre-Broadway Premiere of Pride & Prejudice, the musical by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs. Eastman Theatre, Rochester.

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The Rest is Noise

I had the privilege of interviewing writer Alex Ross of The New Yorker last Friday. His new book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900, was named one of the top ten books of 2007 by The New York Times and various other publications. He’s a clear and vivid writer, and I will die happy if I ever write something one percent as illuminated and coherent as his book.

Hear the show here: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wxxi/.jukebox?action=viewP...

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