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Classical News & Reviews

Review: Baritone Andrei Bondarenko Brings His Communicative Power To Weill Recital Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, December 12, 2017

The voice-police were out in force for Andrei Bondarenko’s performance Friday night at Weill Recital Hall, and from the look of things, they were not most ...

Review: Violinist Janine Jansen’s ‘Perspectives’ Proves Exciting and Enlightening at Zankel Hall

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017

Dutch violinist Janine Jansen’s reverential following is bound to proliferate in the wake of her five-concert Perspectives series this season at Carnegie Hall, the second installment of which ...

Review: Philadelphia Orchestra Is In ‘Superb Form’ Under Nézet-Séguin’s Baton

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s latest Carnegie Hall appearance under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin began exhilaratingly with the New York premiere of Thomas Adès’s newly expanded Suite from ...

Review: Baritone Andrei Bondarenko Brings His Communicative Power To Weill ...

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, December 12, 2017 The voice-police were out in force for Andrei Bondarenko’s performance Friday night at Weill Recital Hall, and from the look of things, they were not most pleased, although candor compels me to note that few of them disdained ...

Review: Violinist Janine Jansen's 'Perspectives' Proves Exciting and Enlightening at ...

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 Dutch violinist Janine Jansen’s reverential following is bound to proliferate in the wake of her five-concert Perspectives series this season at Carnegie Hall, the second installment of which took place December 9 at Zankel Hall.  Two days after a ...

Review: Alvin Ailey Is 'Electrifying' In Its Holiday Residency at ...

By Bethany Hopta, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 This past Saturday evening's performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was electrifying and diverse. [caption id="attachment_48201" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 'Memoria;' photo: Steve Wilson.[/caption] The evening began with Memoria, ...

Review: Philadelphia Orchestra Is In 'Superb Form' Under Nézet-Sé...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 The Philadelphia Orchestra's latest Carnegie Hall appearance under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin began exhilaratingly with the New York premiere of Thomas Adès's newly expanded Suite from Powder Her Face, an orchestral suite appropriating music from ...

Jazz Notes: Two Weeks of Maestro Kenny Barron at the ...

By Dan Ouellette, ZEALnyc Senior Editor, December 11, 2017 Two years ago Kenny Barron brought his piano magic to the Village Vanguard in the holiday season. This year he's aboard for two six-day stands at the club he calls home. The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz ...

Art Break: Combining Elements in 'Mary Frank Pilgrimage' at DC ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 A lot of powerful art can be created using the environment as an inspiration but it also can be easy to miss the mark. After all, when you get down to it, the natural world is more complicated ...

Review: 'Pirates' At Play At Skirball

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 8, 2017 The first snow of the season is predicted this weekend, and respite from the cold can be found at NYU Skirball Center for the few remaining performances of The Hypocrites' summery version of The Pirates of Penzance. The audience ...

The Magical Evening of Singalong: The Music of Stevie Wonder ...

By Dan Ouellette, ZEALnyc Senior Editor, December 8, 2017 As we are fully entered into the holiday season, the art of song holds sway, ranging from omnipresent secular carols to time-honored Hanukkah folk tunes to the majestic Handel’s Messiah oratorio. But this year as we approach ...

Things Are Running AMOC In Boston (And If All Goes ...

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, December 8, 2017 Looking for the re-invention of opera’s traditional image? Look no further, as Boston is becoming a hot-bed of boundary-pushing, inventive, chance-taking artists. Witness the launch of the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) introducing its first line-up of productions ...

There's A New 'Elf' In Town and You're Going To ...

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, December 6, 2017 The holiday season is upon us, and this year Madison Square Garden will be dazzling audiences with a new stage adaptation of Elf the Musical. Based on the wildly popular film Elf, starring Will Ferrell, this holiday favorite now ...

Things Are Running AMOC In Boston (And If All Goes As Planned, It Will Be Spreading)

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, December 8, 2017

Looking for the re-invention of opera’s traditional image? Look no further, as Boston is becoming a hot-bed of boundary-pushing, inventive, chance-taking artists. Witness the launch of the American Modern ...

Review: Brilliant Programming Leads the Way With The Brentano String Quartet At 92nd Street Y

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 5, 2017

In the wonderfully warm acoustics of the 92nd Street Y, the exceptional Brentano String Quartet and beloved soprano Dawn Upshaw presented a satisfying Sunday feast that probed the depths of human expression ...

Review: Chanticleer In Concert—Very Pleasant, But Not Entirely Satisfying

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, December 4, 2017

Chanticleer, the award-winning all-male vocal ensemble based in San Francisco, kicked off the national tour of its annual Christmas program this past Friday evening at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola ...

Tanglewood Prepares For A Centennial Summer Celebrating Lenny

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, November 21, 2017

New York City is enjoying a season bursting with Leonard Bernstein, as befitting his hundredth birthday, with everything from rare performances of art songs to various interpretations of the great ...

Review: Benjamin Grosvenor Dazzles In Recital at 92nd Street Y

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, November 17, 2017

Hailed as a child prodigy who has gone on to a promising solo career, British concert pianist Benjamin Grosvenor dazzled New York audiences on Wednesday at the 92nd Street Y with an ambitious program both ...

Review: The Mariinsky Orchestra With Its Massive Sound Is A ‘Marvel’ At Carnegie Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, November 17, 2017

At least three things emerge from the Mariinsky Orchestra’s back-to-back concerts at Carnegie Hall this week. First, the Mariinsky is a world treasure. Second, Sergei Prokofiev is arguably the ...

Review: The Swedish Chamber Orchestra Presents A Magnificent ‘Missa Solemnis’ That Transcends At Geffen Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, November 14, 2017

Nearly two centuries after its completion, people still pretty much fall into two camps about Beethoven’s Missa solemnis: they think it’s either one of the greatest pieces of music ever ...

Music In the Digital Age Sparks Creation of the Open Source Music Festival

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, November 10, 2017

Virtuoso pianist Joel Fan, a celebrated champion of new music and member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, is launching the Open Source Music Festival at the Lower East Side’s Abrons Art Center ...

Review: BLO Presents a Historically Hair-Raising and Highly Entertaining World Premiere

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, November 10, 2017

For Boston Lyric Opera’s latest production, The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare, the mood is set immediately upon entering the circular rotunda ...

Review: The American Composers Orchestra Celebrates a Milestone With Successful Premieres

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, November 8, 2017

The American Composers Orchestra took a well-deserved victory lap on November 7, the occasion of their 40th anniversary gala concert. As the only orchestra in the country that is dedicated ...

Elizabeth Ogonek Discusses ‘Sleep and Unremembrance’ Which Debuts with ACO This Week

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, November 6, 2017

This week the American Composers Orchestra celebrates its 40th anniversary. With a mission to broaden the profile of American classical music previously underrepresented, The ACO has chosen a program of ...

Review: New York Philharmonic Continues Its Bernstein Tribute With Mixed Results

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, November 3, 2017

The second installment in the New York Philharmonic’s contextualized survey of Leonard Bernstein’s ...

BLO’s ‘Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare’ Digs Deep Into the Darker Side of History For Its Inspiration

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, November 1, 2017

As traditionally dark and tragic as opera can be, there’s a new addition to the repertoire—with an irreverent twist—in Boston Lyric Opera’s upcoming production of The Nefarious, Immoral But ...

Review: Dinner Goes Deliciously Wrong And Opera Soars As ‘The Exterminating Angel’ Arrives At The Met

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, November 1, 2017

In Luis Buñuel’s surrealist classic 1962 film The Exterminating Angel, the upper-crust guests at a formal dinner party inexplicably find that they are unable to leave the room at evening’s ...

American Composers Orchestra Celebrates 40th With an Exciting Gala Concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, October 31, 2017

It is true, the American Composers Orchestra has been “innovating right before your ears” for four whole decades. Yup, it’s true: this essential ...

Review: Trifonov Presents An ‘Enormously Satisfying’ Perspective At Carnegie

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, October 30, 2017

At twenty-six, Daniil Trifonov is already one of the world’s most exciting and successful pianists, and this season he became the youngest artist ever invited to create a Carnegie Hall ...

Review: A ‘Brilliantly Rendered’ Bernstein Tribute By the New York Philharmonic

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, October 26, 2017

Of all the events marking Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, surely the most authentic, and to my mind the most intrinsically moving, is the Philharmonic’s

Bang on a Can’s ‘Road Trip’ Finds Its Way To BAM This Weekend

ZEALnyc, October 24, 2017

The Bang on a Can Festival celebrated its impressive thirty year history this summer at their regular festival venue of MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. To commemorate this landmark occasion, the three founding members, Michael Gordon, ...

Review: NYCO’s Chamber-sized Thriller ‘Dolores Claiborne’ Suffers

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, October 24, 2017

A new production of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, adapted from Stephen King’s psychological thriller, opened last Sunday in “a scaled-down version for use in smaller venues,” ...

The New York Philharmonic Hosts Centennial Festivities Honoring Its Former Leader Leonard Bernstein

Don Adkins, Managing Editor, October 23, 2017

This year the New York Philharmonic celebrates its 175th anniversary with various concerts commemorating this auspicious occasion. A milestone of this magnitude would provide most organizations with more than enough ...

Review: Violinist Maxim Vengerov is Both Fierce and Tender as Montréal Symphony Plays Carnegie

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, October 20, 2017

The Montreal Symphony made a flying visit to Carnegie Hall this past Wednesday night—literally; they’d played the same pieces the night before in their stunning new concert hall back ...

Review: Bill Murray Blurs the Lines of Literature, Classical Music, and Comedy, with Jan Vogler & Friends

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, October 18, 2017

Comedian, actor, writer, and now singer: Is there anything Bill Murray can’t do? Not likely. A chance encounter on a plane brought Murray and acclaimed cellist, Jan Vogler to the stage at ...

Canadian Composer Samy Moussa Makes Carnegie Debut with Montréal Symphony Orchestra

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, October 16, 2017

This week the Montréal Symphony Orchestra plays Carnegie Hall with a program of Bartók, Brahms and the Canadian composer Samy Moussa. Moussa, who is 33, was born and studied in Montreal, and has a long history ...

Review: American Symphony Orchestra Brings ‘Sounds of Democracy’ to Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, October 13, 2017

During these tumultuous times, it is a comfort to know that the arts are responding with bold examinations of current events. In fact, the classical music scene in New York has some important voices that are ...

A Memorial Concert For Violinist Paul Zukofsky Features Two Pianists

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, October 13, 2017

American violinist Paul Zukofsky (1943-2017) was especially renowned for his commitment to contemporary music; he premiered works by the likes of Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Philip Glass, ...

Review: Orchestra Moderne NYC is Moving and Relevant at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, October 9, 2017

The world of live classical music faces existential challenges, as ticket-buying audiences dwindle, and orchestras across the country face financial hurdles. Evenings of film music abound in programming and ...

Matthew Aucoin, Diane Paulus and Rod Gilfry Bring Walt Whitman to Life in ‘Crossing’ at BAM

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, October 6, 2017

Contemporary opera can be a tough sell in today’s world, if tonight’s fitful audience at BAM is any indication. But wünderkind Matthew Aucoin, who wrote and composed Crossing at the age ...

A Timely Exploration of the Immigrant Experience Makes Debut at Carnegie Hall

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, October 5, 2017

Peter Boyer’s Grammy-nominated Ellis Island: The Dream of America, for full orchestra, seven actors, and visual projections, is the centerpiece of Orchestra Moderne NYC’s October 7 ...

A ‘Rhapsody’ for the Ages as Carnegie Hall Opens Season with Philadelphia

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, October 5, 2017

The publicity for Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra under music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin was slightly confusing: we were told that jazz-fusion icon Chick ...

Orchestra Moderne NYC Is Ready To Tackle Social and Political Issues; First Stop—The Immigrant Experience

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, September 29, 2017

When Amy Andersson returned to New York after several years conducting concerts across Europe and North America, she founded Orchestra Moderne NYC with a very clear mission: to create an orchestra ...

Review: Radvanovsky and DiDonato Sparkle in a Dim New ‘Norma’ at the Metropolitan Opera

Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, September 26, 2017

It’s hard to believe that Norma has opened the Metropolitan Opera season only three times. Bellini’s bel-canto masterpiece, flush with vocal fireworks, an interesting and concise ...

Review: NY Philharmonic Opens Its Season With Mahler and Glass Under the Sure Baton of Van Zweden

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, September 25, 2017

The New York Philharmonic opened its new season last week with a double-watershed: first, Jaap van Zweden made his first full-tilt ceremonial appearance as the orchestra’s Music Director Designate, ...