MJ takes NYC while Hannah takes midterms

In other words, it’s been a busy week, but there’s definitely plenty going on to write about. MJ saw Juilliard’s production of Le nozze di Figaro, and still has Anne-Sophie Mutter’s appearance with the New World Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas to go.

I have a post about Bruckner 8 coming, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share the record that’s getting me up in the morning: Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud (the latter of whom is due at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in a couple weeks) playing Francis Poulenc’s beautiful Cello Sonata. This is a piece I loved even before I became a huge classical nerd, and it still feels the freshest of my early favorites. YouTube playlist available here.

A Russian program to remember, and some thoughts on DSCH

A still from footage captured at Thursday night's electrifying performance. (Courtesy of CSO Sounds & Stories)

A still from footage captured at Thursday night’s performance. (Courtesy of CSO Sounds & Stories)

Thursday’s performance was the kind that made me want to accost post-concert passerby on Michigan Avenue—not to ask for change to cover my CTA fare, but to grab them by the shoulders and demand that, if they do nothing else this weekend, they attend this program.

I’m glad I kept myself in check, but it’s a sentiment I’ll repeat here: This is a program not to be missed, one which features two guest artists whose miraculous chemistry and sublime musicianship are on full display.

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Reviews galore


Something that hasn’t happened for a while, if not ever, happened in Tuesday’s issue of the Maroon: MJ and I wrote reviews that were published the same day! I covered the perfect storm that was Haitink’s Mahler 7 and MJ wrote a beautiful review of Mitsuko Uchida’s recent visit to Orchestra Hall.

I was also published in an online music publication for the first time this weekend, reviewing Hilary Hahn and Cory Smythe’s recent recital for the Chicago Classical Review. It felt pretty surreal seeing a review with my name attached to it on a site I have bookmarked on my browser; I’d often peruse CCR following performances (not until after I finished my own reviews, of course!), and found the musical insight there indispensable. Lots of superb writing, and I’m hoping I’ll learn as much as possible.

Up next: Daniil Trifonov with the CSO tomorrow night. Would like to get an original review up here, or at the very least a related piece of writing.

March/April Recap and a pinky-promise

Lest online inactivity be misconstrued as musical inactivity, I thought I’d post to reassure readers that this blog is going on anything but hiatus over the course of the next month. I know MJ has some things cooking, and you can expect original content from me related to Semyon Bychkov’s upcoming appearances with the Chicago Symphony, which starts next week with a program featuring soloist Daniil Trifonov.

There’s been some exciting music news in our neck of the woods: According to a recent University of Chicago email blast, Riccardo Muti is slated to give a lecture at Logan Center for the Arts on September 21, 2015 to commemorate the coincidence of both the University and the CSO’s 125th anniversaries. No further details have been given yet. Also, clearly I was too busy spring-breaking in California to notice that UChicago Presents announced its 2015/16 season, including performances by Philip Glass (AB’56, who also just wrote an excellent piece for the University of Chicago Magazine), principal players from the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Pacifica Quartet and Paul Lewis, and much more.

In general music news, as speculation surrounding Alan Gilbert’s successor grows ever more deafening, another important torch was passed yesterday: Glenn Dicterow’s successor was announced. Frank Huang, formerly concertmaster of the Houston Symphony, will formally join the New York Philharmonic as its leader next season. Besides the New York Times article that announced his appointment, I rather enjoyed this article from the Houston Chronicle, written while he was still undergoing the auditioning process.

Earlier tonight, I got back from a CSO performance of Mahler 7 under Bernard Haitink, a performance I’m reviewing for the Chicago Maroon. Opinions tend to be split pretty strongly when it comes to this particular Mahler symphony; I, for one, am an unabashed fan. I vividly recall being unable to sleep one night the summer before my senior year; stupidly, I watched the YouTube video of Pierre Boulez and the CSO’s electrifying rendition to pass the time, which introduced me to the piece. I was more awake after watching it than when I started, with the tenorhorn’s eerie opening call stuck in my head for weeks afterward.

Funnily, I watched it while I was in Chicago, attending a summer program at UofC. Attending that concert a few hours ago as a full-fledged UofC student felt like coming full circle.

And once again, that damn solo is still making me lose sleep. Some things never change.