America's musical heritage starts with Negro Spirituals, says Dr. Everett McCorvey, founder and director of the internationally acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble. "I call Spirituals the mother music, an art form truly founded in this country," he says. American Negro Spirituals are one of American history's great ironies. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Go Down, Moses" are among the world's most beloved melodies, created in the harsh, degrading reality of slavery.
In 1983, the young maverick director Peter Sellars convinced composer John Adams to write on opera based on Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China. "I realized that it was a perfect idea," Adams says. "It was right to find our own mythology in our own contemporary history." What could be more outsized, more operatic, than Air Force One touching down in Beijing for the first time?
Gustav Mahler's music is better known for irony rather than a comic sensibility, but his 'Symphony No. 7 in E minor' will make you reconsider. Mahler has never been more of a shape-shifter as he moves from moody introspection to marches to lush string melodies in a matter of measures. The two "Night Music" movements are fully realized soundscapes of nocturnal worlds surrounding the central scherzo’s galumphing waltz that conjures up ghosts of the wrong side of Oktoberfests past.
Puccini’s opera Turandot challenges even the biggest opera companies. But if the singers have the dramatic heft required and the orchestral and choral forces are on board, outsize sets and costumes hardly matter. Fortunately, UC’s College-Conservatory of Music has the musical resources to mount a concert performance of Turandot, presented in collaboration with Beijing’s Central Opera Troupe and the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society.
Puccini's opera 'Turandot' challenges even the biggest opera companies. But if the singers have the dramatic heft required and the orchestral and choral forces are on board, outsize sets and costumes hardly matter. Fortunately, UC's College-Conservatory of Music has the musical resources to mount a concert performance of 'Turandot,' presented in collaboration with Beijing's Central Opera Troupe and the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society.
Bonia Shur is a rarity among composers of sacred music. More than 300 of his compositions are standards in Reform Jewish synagogues and he has written scores for film, theater and television. Shur's 88th birthday will be celebrated as Hebrew Union College inaugurates the Classical Concerts on Clifton series with a program of contemporary and classical chamber music performed by the internationally acclaimed Constella Trio.
Last month, the Cincinnati Pops announced the appointment of John Morris Russell as its conductor, succeeding the legendary Erich Kunzel, who died in September 2009. The usual flurry of laudatory press coverage followed the announcement, but there wasn’t much focus on a significant part of Russell’s career that will be crucial for the Pops future — his commitment to community outreach.
Cincinnati audiences first heard tenor Marco Panuccio when he sang "O Holy Night" as part of the CSO's 'Home for the Holidays' program. With the demise of CSO holiday shows, the acclaimed singer steps into the breach, returning to his home base Saturday with 'O Holy Night,' an evening of holiday favorites in the resplendent setting of St. Peter in Chains cathedral, accompanied by Carol Walker on piano and Blake Callahan on organ.
When CCM staged Carlisle Floyd's opera 'Of Mice and Men' last May, the composer was on hand for opening night. He was so impressed that when opera department head Robin Guarino asked him to return to work with students he immediately accepted. Floyd has been coaching CCM students since Nov. 10, culminating in a public performance of excerpts from his operas Wednesday.
When CCM staged Carlisle Floyd's opera 'Of Mice and Men' last May, the composer was on hand for opening night. He was so impressed that when opera department head Robin Guarino asked him to return to work with students, he immediately accepted. The dean of American opera composers arrived in Cincinnati Nov. 10 to begin coaching sessions with CCM students, culminating in a performance of excerpts from Floyd's operas 7 p.m. Wednesday in CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater.