After Yo-Yo Ma leaves Rochester next week, he’ll play under the baton of a robot with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, according to Wired magazine.
A robot might have done a better job than guest conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, who made his first appearance with the RPO this past weekend. The D & C’s Stuart Low got it right: the hot, young conductor from Winnipeg was boring. Unnamed sources say local musicians concurred.
On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of opera lovers at Victor’s Regal Theatre missed significant chunks of Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” during The Met at the Movies HD broadcast. The video broke up and the sound dropped out at the beginning of the second Act. We watched distorted faces and heard digitized squawks for about a minute. Then the screen went blue. We waited. A staff member rushed in and said they were working on the problem. About ten minutes later, the sound came back and the singers reappeared. Then it happened again. Audiences members groaned, since things were getting really interesting with the shocking disclosure of the Duchess’s illegitimate daughter!
I made the questionable decision to bring two nine year-old boys to work with me yesterday, based on the idealistic assumption that exposing them to the world of music and ideas would fire their imaginations, expand their horizons, and change their lives.
By the end of the day, I needed a shot of whisky.
First, we set off for the suite of Entercom-owned commercial radio stations across the street, where my son and his friend met a bunch of charming, funny deejays. One guy put them on the air. This act turned out to be hard to beat.
This dynamic young woman from St. Louis has a sparkling personality and a clarity of voice that was captivating. Her voice changed from powerful to beautifully sensitive as she expressed the changing character of the music. Photo by Gerry Szymanski
Sometimes we can get spoiled by the wealth of classical music that is available in Rochester. We can tune in Classical 91.5 or 90.3 in our homes, cars, on our computers, or take it with us on headphones. We have more concerts available to us than we can possibly attend - at Eastman School of Music, the RPO, Hochstein, Nazareth, the Memorial Art Gallery, local churches and a multitude of other venues. We have such a reach classical community that we may not even realize what great things are happening in the classical world on the other side of the globe.
“Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you? Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream, or are you really as beautiful as you seem?” - Oscar Hammerstein II
A few months ago, writer Justin Davidson drove through the rain to the Brooklyn Lyceum to review Eastman conductor Brad Lubman’s performance of new music with the Wordless Music Orchestra. Davidson describes a scene where “the dress code is scruffy and the vibe is one of curiosity rather than reverence.” Rochester’s new classical music scene thrums with the same energy, particularly when Eastman students disregard conventions of the classical music culture and strike out for new territory.
Composer Philip Glass, who wrote music for the Los Angeles Olympics and the Athens Games, says “I think that we should pull out” of the summer contest in Beijing. He has political reasons. Read his comments in the April 21st edition of New York Magazine.