The historic district of downtown Savannah plays host to more than 100 performances during the annual Savannah Music Festival (SMF), providing an ideal backdrop for an event that celebrates exceptional artistry in jazz, classical, and a variety of American and international musical traditions. The 2015 edition of SMF takes place from March 19 through April 4, with a lineup that includes the debut of opera at SMF, an expansion of the number of programs staged, and the organization's most international festival to date. "With the incredible success of the 25th anniversary season in 2014, our community made it clear that it has embraced SMF as a significant economic driver, arts education leader, and mainstay marquee event," explains SMF Executive & Artistic Director Rob Gibson. Tickets to the 2015 festival go on sale November 6, 2014 at 10am (ET), online at savannahmusicfestival.org, by phone at 912-525-5050, or at 216 E. Broughton Street in Savannah.
"A prodigiously gifted singer whose voice makes an immediate impact" (Associated Press), Stephen Costello looks forward to a number of important firsts in the coming months. He returns to the Metropolitan Opera for a pair of house role debuts, reprising his star turn as Alfredo -- also seen this season at the Vienna State Opera -- in La traviata, and singing Camille in Susan Stroman's new staging of The Merry Widow. The Tucker Award-winning tenor also makes house debuts in Austin and Genoa, undertaking the male leads of Roméo et Juliette and Lucia di Lammermoor respectively, and creates the role of Michele in San Francisco Opera's world premiere production of Two Women.
After launching the season with the storied Gewandhaus Orchestra, leading concerts both at the orchestra's Leipzig home and on a tour of major European music capitals and festivals, Alan Gilbert returns to Germany to conduct three more great orchestras with which he has developed particularly close relationships. With the NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg at home (Dec 4 and 7), and in Lübeck (Dec 5), he presents the world premiere of Thierry Escaich's Concerto for Violin, Oboe and Orchestra, commissioned by the NDR and the New York Philharmonic, and featuring violinist Lisa Batiashvili, the New York Philharmonic's Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, and oboist Francois Leleux. (The work will receive its U.S. premiere in April at Avery Fisher Hall). Gilbert's NDR engagement follows three concerts each with the Munich Philharmonic (Nov 10, 12, 13) and the Berlin Philharmonic (Nov 21 -- 23), where his program includes two Third Symphonies, pairing Felix Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony with the "Sinfonia Espansiva" of Carl Nielsen. The conductor has been championing Nielsen's music enthusiastically -- and to great acclaim -- with The Nielsen Project, a multi-season initiative with the New York Philharmonic that culminates in January with performances of the Danish composer's Clarinet Concerto, with Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill as soloist, to be recorded for later release.
NEW YORK, NY -- November 3, 2014: Warner Music Group is thrilled to announce the creation of the Warner Music Prize, established with support from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Featuring a cash prize of $100,000, the award will be given to a classical musician aged 18 to 35 who demonstrates exceptional talent and promise, regardless of any label affiliation. In its inaugural year, the prize will be presented in association with Carnegie Hall, with the nominees drawn from those young singers and instrumentalists presented by the venue in significant solo roles during the 2014-15 concert season, who meet specific eligibility criteria.
A new partnership between Carnegie Hall and medici.tv is making live webcasts of Carnegie Hall concert presentations available to audiences for the first time, and the series starts on Tuesday November 4 at 8pm EST with a recital by star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Joined by pianist David Zobel, DiDonato will perform a program titled "A Journey Through Venice," which traces a musical arc from arias by Vivaldi and Rossini to Venice-inspired songs by Fauré and Reynaldo Hahn. Also on the program is 20th-century British composer Michael Head's Three Songs of Venice. The New York Times has described DiDonato's art as "a model of singing," with her effervescent joy in music communicated with every phrase. Reflecting on her approach, DiDonato says: "I'm always looking for the emotional truth. ... We're all searching for an outlet for emotions that we don't know how to give voice to. That's what music does for us."
The New York Philharmonic has selected ten outstanding young instrumentalists from the Music Academy of the West -- one of the nation's pre-eminent summer music schools and festivals -- to come to New York City for a ten-day immersion amidst its musicians as Zarin Mehta Fellows, inaugurating the Philharmonic's Global Academy Fellowship Program. Fellowship activities will begin on January 3 in New York and include coaching, chamber music, and other professional development activities with Alan Gilbert and New York Philharmonic musicians at Avery Fisher Hall. The January program is part of the two organizations' innovative, four-year educational partnership announced in spring 2014, which includes training of Music Academy Fellows by Philharmonic musicians, biennial performances by Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic at the Music Academy's Summer Festival in Santa Barbara, California, and Alan Gilbert conducting Academy Festival Orchestra performances at each Music Academy Summer Festival. A new group of Music Academy students will be selected to come to New York as Zarin Mehta Fellows in each year of the partnership.
When Avery Fisher Prize-winner Gil Shaham performed with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony last season, he proved himself "an exuberantly commanding soloist" who succeeded in kindling "hot fire" (Los Angeles Times). Small wonder then, that the American master violinist is the only soloist chosen to accompany MTT and the orchestra on their upcoming 20th-anniversary national tour. Together they will present Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto -- one of those featured in Shaham's celebrated long-term exploration of the "Violin Concertos of the 1930s" -- at New York's Carnegie Hall (Nov 20), marking the violinist's only appearance at the venue this season, as well as at Kansas City's Kauffman Center, Boston's Symphony Hall, Cleveland's Severance Hall, Miami's Arsht Center, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Nov 12--22).
Richard Tucker and Plácido Domingo Award-winner Ailyn Pérez makes her hotly anticipated Houston Grand Opera debut this Friday (Oct 24), in what also marks her role debut as Desdemona in Otello. Under the baton of Patrick Summers, Houston's artistic and music director, she stars opposite Simon O'Neill as Otello and Marco Vratogna as Iago in the company's staging of John Cox's hit production of the Shakespearean tragedy, which runs through November 7. While these will be her first appearances as Verdi's falsely accused heroine, the American soprano is no stranger to his leading ladies; long recognized as "an ideal Violetta" (Observer, UK), she most recently headlined La traviata at London's Royal Opera House, where her performance was simulcast free online in the company's first live stream of a complete opera, and at the San Francisco Opera, where her outstanding portrayal "confirmed her artistic maturity" (San Francisco Classical Voice).
Deborah Voigt makes her long awaited Dallas Opera debut on October 30, with a reprise of her star turn in the title role of Francesca Zambello's hit production of Salome. The soprano and director have enjoyed a professional relationship for more than two decades, and indeed it was in Zambello's staging of the biblical tale that Voigt gave her first performances as Strauss's heroine at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Opera News proclaimed her role debut "inarguably a standard-setting one," and the New York Times agreed; declaring it "a personal and artistic triumph," Anthony Tommasini confessed: "I have never heard her sing with such fearless intensity." The soprano will be joined in Dallas by baritone Greer Grimsley as John the Baptist and tenor Robert Brubaker as Herod, with conductor Evan Rogister leading from the pit (Oct 30--Nov 8). Further information is available here.
When Inon Barnatan made his solo debut at Manhattan's SubCulture last month, the New York Times named him the "star attraction" of the venue's piano festival; as the paper reported, "He demonstrated, in one of the most thoughtful and effective recitals I have heard from a pianist under 40, a sensitivity reminiscent of two other New York institutions, Emanuel Ax and Murray Perahia." There are further opportunities to hear the Israeli pianist in solo recital this fall, when he performs at Chicago's Harris Theater (Nov 3) and in the Boston "Celebrity Series" (Dec 10). Barnatan also looks forward to a number of high-profile chamber engagements, joining the Jerusalem String Quartet for an all-Brahms program at New York's 92nd Street Y (Oct 23, 25 & 29); appearing at Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Nov 16); and returning to the Y to launch his unprecedented new three-year appointment as Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic in company with Alisa Weilerstein (Dec 7). The Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner rounds out his full fall schedule with performances of Chopin's First Piano Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony (Nov 28--30).
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