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Classical

American Sound

by B.A. Nilsson May 1, 2013

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  The cultural gap between Albany and Manhattan gapes far out of proportion to the mileage that separates them. To Albany, Manhattan is the intimidating cosmopolite. The reciprocal view sees Albany as a dump heap of ...

Palace Theatre

Bye

by B.A. Nilsson May 1, 2013

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  David Finckel made his goodbye appearance as cellist with the Emerson String Quartet at Union College on Sunday—he permanently leaves the group later this month—in a program that made considerable demands on his talents. This may ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Fond Farewell

by B.A. Nilsson February 20, 2013

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  With a fascinating program and consummate skill, the Tokyo String Quartet made its final appearance in a Friends of Chamber Music concert, capping not only a series of visits that began in 1971 but also ...

Emma Willard School

Tweeting Verdi

by David King February 20, 2013

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  Opera with a Tweet. It may sound like a hokey idea—perhaps even one that could derail an opera. Why do we care about what characters are Tweeting at each other? Won’t it take the viewer ...

GE Theatre at Proctors

A Perfect Holiday Blend

by B.A. Nilsson December 20, 2012

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  Even as die-hard a fan such as I has to admit that there can be a certain sameness to a Boston Camerata Christmas program. But I counter the dreaded December assault of horrible holiday music ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Small Groups, Big Sound

by B.A. Nilsson October 25, 2012

  Perched as I was in a balcony seat, I easily could see the man in a house-right front row (pew, actually, this being Union College’s Memorial Chapel) dragging his overcoat up over his ears and, ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

The Bitter and the Sweet

by B.A. Nilsson August 16, 2012

Style: "70's look"

  In an effort to fill some of the many, many empty seats that gape during SPAC’s Philadelphia Orchestra performances, a special deal was offered last Friday by which a $22 lawn ticket could get you ...

1 comment Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Restored Reputation

by B.A. Nilsson August 16, 2012

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The panel discussion that opened the day’s events at this year’s Bard Music Festival was titled “Prodigy, Polymath, Globetrotter, and Reactionary.” When you consider that Saint-Saëns was the most famous French composer of the late ...

Bard College Richard B. Fisher Center

Mostly French Delights

by B.A. Nilsson August 16, 2012

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Nothing like the dramatic tolling of an offstage bell to suggest something bad is about to happen. We’d been dodging rainfall all afternoon, and the sounds of the accompanying gusts rattling the Tanglewood trees was ...

Tanglewood Shed

Transcendent

by B.A. Nilsson August 8, 2012

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  As the second act of Lost in the Stars gains momentum, Stephen Kumalo, an Anglican priest, faces a moral dilemma that threatens the foundation of his faith. “O Tixo, Tixo, Help Me!” he sings, and ...

Glimmerglass Festival

A Grand Tour

by B.A. Nilsson August 8, 2012

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Before the Philadelphia Orchestra took the stage at the amphitheater, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center grounds sported a tented bazaar in which samples of tea and comestibles were offered, and colorful clothing and other accessories ...

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Baroque Style, Direct Emotions

by B.A. Nilsson August 1, 2012

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When the first conflagration erupted, it was a charming kerfluffle of lighting and drums. The next one was more frightening, because by that time I’d settled into more of a 17th-century sensibility and thus was ...

Glimmerglass Festival

Americana Perfected

by B.A. Nilsson July 25, 2012

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The two most famous examples of the stubborn face of Iowa are Grant Wood’s American Gothic and the song “Iowa Stubborn” from early in The Music Man. Appropriate, then, that they’re brought together—however anachronistically—in the ...

Glimmerglass Festival

A True Blockbuster

by B.A. Nilsson July 11, 2012

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Your average (and I do mean average) summer blockbuster movie has nothing on an old-fashioned, big-assed production of Aida. No amount of CGI can match the spectacle of livestock lumbering across the stage as a ...

Glimmerglass Festival

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