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Classical

An American Triumph

by B.A. Nilsson May 24, 2012

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  Music is the only unmediated real-time cultural experience, which makes it potentially the most emotionally powerful. But emotional reactions can be mysterious, and therefore frightening, which is why we tend to mediate music with pictures ...

1 comment EMPAC

Where Were You?

by B.A. Nilsson April 11, 2012

  The concert was phenomenal. Where were the people? It would be depressing if it weren’t so absurd. The night before The Knights appeared at Troy Music Hall, they performed in Manhattan at WQXR’s Greene Space ...

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Merry Mendelssohn

by B.A. Nilsson February 22, 2012

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  The third movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 is a scherzo of incredible vivaciousness, throwing all three instruments into a lively, virtuosic dance. The acrobats are leaping, tumbling in gravity-defying merriment, at any ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Fun and Fireworks

by B.A. Nilsson December 21, 2011

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Violinist Joshua Bell was the big draw at Saturday’s concert by the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Simply put, he turned in an astonishing performance. Conductor David Alan Miller and the orchestra handed him a well-chosen lead-up ...

Palace Theatre

Classically Friendly

by Shawn Stone December 7, 2011

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In concert, the 5 Browns employ a level of musical democracy that would do an “occupy” general assembly proud. The three sisters and two brothers—Desirae, Deondra, Melody, Ryan and Gregory Brown—alternate solo, duo and group ...

Proctors

Unity of Purpose

by B.A. Nilsson November 22, 2011

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A decade of musical togetherness has given the Jupiter String Quartet a voice unified in its tone and philosophy but still able to reveal the distinctive qualities of its elements. You don’t want a close-harmony ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Chamber of Delights

by B.A. Nilsson November 16, 2011

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Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg has been a go-her-own-way performer throughout her acclaimed career. To take on the task of music director would seem suspiciously mainstream for her, but fear not. Under her leadership, the San Francisco-based ...

1 comment Picotte Recital Hall

Musical Affinities

by B.A. Nilsson October 26, 2011

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Aaron Jay Kernis (pictured left) is the Albany Symphony’s “mentor composer” this season, and last weekend’s concerts featured a fascinating variety of Kernis-related musical shadings, performed with the kind of brio and skill that reminds ...

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Virtuoso, Storyteller

by B.A. Nilsson October 19, 2011

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During a frenzied moment in the opening of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 6, the manuscript is marked, over a dense chord, “col pugno.” When she reached it, pianist Yuja Wang curled her fingers into a ...

1 comment Picotte Recital Hall

Almost Together

by B.A. Nilsson October 19, 2011

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Four Mozart string quartets, performed by a foursome of excellent musicians with roots in the Marlboro festival: it’s a recipe for a sure-fire concert and an impressive season opener. It had the promise of a ...

Sibelius and His World

by B.A. Nilsson August 25, 2011

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  Bard College’s annual SummerScape festival presents an array of music and theater and other cultural events with the music end of things centered on a particular composer’s life and milieu. This year, Finnish composer Jean ...

Bard College Olin Hall

In the Moment

by B.A. Nilsson August 18, 2011

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Pairing music by Martinu and Dvorák is a safe bet. Dvorák’s unashamed, lyrical folkishness is echoed in the sometimes more austere Martinu style—although in the case of the two works juxtaposed at the beginning of ...

Spa Little Theater

And Again

by B.A. Nilsson August 18, 2011

It makes sense, if you’ve been playing Rachmaninoff for a half an hour, that a spirit of Rachmaninoff would inform anything you make up thereafter, and pianist Gabriela Montero’s encore after performing that composer’s mighty ...

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Sweet Sophistication

by B.A. Nilsson August 10, 2011

Although Noël Coward’s operetta Bitter Sweet followed the more modern-sounding Showboat by two years, 1929 was still an era of melodramatic passion played out against frothy tunes, with Rudolph Friml and Sigmund Romberg, among others, ...

Bard College Richard B. Fisher Center

That’s Entertainment

by B.A. Nilsson August 3, 2011

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Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique don’t share a program well. The first is sweet but comparatively shy, almost to the point of introversion. Bombast takes over the second piece, after a ...

1 comment Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Bull’s-eye!

by B.A. Nilsson July 20, 2011

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Newly installed Glimmerglass Opera artistic director Francesca Zambello plans to nestle an American musical theater piece among the operatic offerings every summer, presented in a manner as close as possible to the original production. This summer, ...

Glimmerglass Opera

Mamma Mia!

by B.A. Nilsson July 14, 2011

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Murdering your children always grabs headlines, and Greek mythological Medea long ago grabbed the title of most famous filicide. Her story varies from source to source, but by the time Luigi Cherubini got hold of ...

Glimmerglass Opera

On the Rise

by B.A. Nilsson May 4, 2011

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Where’s your backbone, people? I’m talking to you, the audience at Ray Chen’s dazzling recital last week. The violinist finished with a Wieniawski finger-buster that spewed wicked spiccato, left-hand pizzicato, harmonics true and false and ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

A Perfect Pairing

by B.A. Nilsson May 4, 2011

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Burrow inside the first movement of one of Mozart’s violin concertos and you’ll be amazed at the intricacies of effect that lurk within seemingly simple passages. Little dramas abound, reminding us that whether lyrics were ...

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Thoroughly Professional

by B.A. Nilsson March 23, 2011

Massry Center for the Arts, Picotte Recital Hall, March 21 Without some of the specific history attached to the concert, it still would have been a very pleasant program of music for strings, but much ...

Like Clockwork

by Josh Potter March 16, 2011

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The composer: Steve Reich   It was only after stagehands wheeled the fourth grand piano onto the stage that the scope of what was about to transpire came fully into focus. Even the title of Steve Reich’s ...

In the Spirit

by B.A. Nilsson March 16, 2011

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Auspicious: Jennifer Rivera   Jennifer Rivera, mezzo-soprano, Yehuda Hanani, cellist, Walter Ponce, pianist Close Encounters with Music, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., March 12   At the center of a program titled Thus Spake German Romanticism was a ...

Renaissance Men

by B.A. Nilsson February 23, 2011

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Although Barry Richman pursues most of his musical passion behind the scenes, you may have spotted him, more than 20 years ago, playing percussion with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. “I graduated with a performance major ...

Sparkling Conversations

by B.A. Nilsson March 24, 2010

Although the violin-cello duo of Madalyn and Cicely Parnas have local roots, they’re destined for an international career that could make this area but a memory. Neither is 20; both have impressive virtuoso chops that ...

Royal Harmonies

by B.A. Nilsson February 11, 2010

Legendary choral conductor Sir David Willcocks likes to tell the story of a group of singers who worked with him at King’s College in the mid-1960s and aspired to go out on their own. “You’ll ...