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Classical Music

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Celebrating Roman Totenberg

When not reporting on the Supreme Court for NPR, Nina Totenberg has spent the last few months working with her two sisters to plan a memorial for her father, Roman.

By S.I. ROSENBAUM  |  October 12, 2012
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Winsor Music, Schubertiade, BSO guest conductors, and the Handel and Haydn Society’s St. Matthew Passion

As the BSO season continues without a music director, each new conducting debutante (according to Webster's, usually refers to a woman) raises the larger question of who Boston's next major music director will be.
Thinking big
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 06, 2012
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The delights of Three Pianos at the A.R.T.

Three guys. Not singers, but they sing. Not pianists, but they play the piano.
Three guys who love Schubert
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 16, 2011
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Jordi Savall and the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra

"The Celtic Viol" — the title of the Boston Early Music Festival concert Catalan gambist Jordi Savall gave yesterday evening at Jordan Hall — looks like an oxymoron, since Irish and Scottish music is almost by definition traditional and popular and the v
Living traditions
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  June 17, 2011
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Moving out

At the heart of the cover-band craze that's recently swept Portland is a very simple concept: musicians getting paid.
88 keys, 2 songwriters, 1 grand plan
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  May 06, 2011
James Levine resigns from the BSO

Following Levine's departure, the BSO picks up the pieces

This past week, James Levine ended his BSO tenure after seven seasons, citing challenges regarding his health and the "ensuing absences they have forced." Since leaving Symphony Hall almost five years ago, I've been watching the Levine saga unfold, gritt
After Jimmy
By SEAN KERRIGAN  |  March 05, 2011


James Levine resigns from the BSO

Following Levine's departure, the BSO picks up the pieces

This past week, James Levine ended his BSO tenure after seven seasons, citing challenges regarding his health and the "ensuing absences they have forced." Since leaving Symphony Hall almost five years ago, I've been watching the Levine saga unfold, gritt
After Jimmy
By SEAN KERRIGAN  |  March 05, 2011
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Il Giardino Armonico

In their dark suits, they could have been Milanese bankers, except for the brightly colored ties (each different), puddling trousers, and full spectrum of hairstyles.
Venice Rising
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  February 25, 2011
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Review: Actors are concert pianists too, in PSC's 2 Pianos 4 Hands

A good bout of slapstick goes on between tuxedoed pianists Ted (Tom Frey) and Richard (Jeffrey Rockwell) before they finally flip back their tails and get into Bach's Concerto in D Minor :
Two roles
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  February 11, 2011
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Oboe? Oh boy!

File this one under "Stuff White People Like": an unheralded early-music ensemble made up of oboes and recorders and bassoons (with theorbo/guitar and percussion) comes to town for its world debut and sells out the house.
Symphonie des Dragons, live at First Congregationalist Church Cambridge, January 14, 2011
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  January 21, 2011
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The Top 10 Classical Music Stories of 2010

The good, the not-so-good, and the departed
The good, the not-so-good, and the departed
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 24, 2010


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Birthday boys: Pierre Boulez at Boston Conservatory

I think the concert I'll remember most vividly from the past few weeks was the closing night of Boston Conservatory's weekend-long tribute to modern-music icon Pierre Boulez on his 85th birthday.
Plus the Mimesis Ensemble, the BU Symphony Orchestra, Collage, Garrick Ohlsson, the BSO, BMOP, and the BPO
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 03, 2010
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Giving thanks: The Cantata Singers' Wyner and Vaughan Williams

One of the pleasures aroused by the anticipation of a new work by Yehudi Wyner is the certainty that the outcome will arouse even greater pleasure.
Plus Boston Lyric Opera's Tosca
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 12, 2010
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Review: James Levine with the Met and the BSO

Sighs of relief at Symphony Hall, from patrons and management alike: James Levine, music director of both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera, had completed a doubleheader.
Plus Mark Morris and Boston Baroque
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 22, 2010
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James Levine: He's back!

Boston and New York have at least one thing in common. Both have missed James Levine, music director of two of the world's most renowned classical-music institutions.
The conductor returns to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (and the Met)
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 08, 2010

Levine on disc

40 years at the Met, Mozart at the BSO
40 years at the Met, Mozart at the BSO
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 08, 2010


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Review: Longwood Symphony Orchestra's opening night

Jordan Hall, October 2, 2010
Jordan Hall, October 2, 2010
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  October 08, 2010
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The Big Hurt: Vince Neil acts his age

By the time you read this, the Situation will have his first single out on iTunes. Yeah, that the Situation.
Plus The Situation singled, Drake unsurpassed, Pete Doherty denied, Lou Reed exonerated
By DAVID THORPE  |  June 25, 2010
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Summer treats

From Andean to zydeco, pick your flavor and there's a summer music festival ready to serve it up.
Whether classical, jazz, pop, or folk, 'tis the season to get out and enjoy the music
By CLEA SIMON  |  June 18, 2010
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Rockport rules

Pianist David Deveau, celebrating his 15th year as director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival (now Rockport Music) and the opening of the elegant, $20 million Shalin Liu Performance Center on Main Street, said that the sound in the new hall, at the
A new beginning for the music festival
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  June 18, 2010
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Gravity and grace

Like most post-rock bands worth their “post-rock” tag, Mono — who come to the Middle East this Friday — just can’t help sounding immense.
Mono’s tender post-rock gets even bigger
By REYAN ALI  |  May 28, 2010


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Dream on

Some lovers of religious music consider Heinrich Schütz even greater than Bach, who was born 13 years after Schütz’s death.
Heinrich Schütz’s swan song; the Pops’ 125th-anniversary commission
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 28, 2010
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Living the dream

Movie stars aren’t the usual Symphony Hall crowd, but last week, two dark-suited ushers swung open the doors of the Hatch Room and out poured Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Cherry Jones.
De Niro Pops Off Dept.
By LLOYD SCWARTZ  |  May 28, 2010
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A modest epic tale

What beautiful voices and music in this event. Steven Jobe’s Joan of Arc: An Opera In Three Acts is at once ambitious and quite modest, but vocally and musically it remains a pleasure throughout its three brief acts at the Blackstone River Theater in Cum
Steven Jobe’s haunting Joan of Arc
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 21, 2010
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Second sight

May in Boston has always been Storybook Ballet Month, as Boston Ballet finished off its season with Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty or Don Quixote , something classical and highbrow and reassuring. That, after all, is what Boston audiences want, right?
Boston Ballet reprises Jirí Kylián’s Black & White
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  May 21, 2010
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Blythe spirit

Leaving the Cutler Majestic after the opening night of Opera Boston’s latest Offenbach, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein , you could see the smiling faces of an audience that had had a good time.
Opera Boston’s Offenbach, Thomas Quasthoff, the BSO, Boston Baroque, and BU’s Sondheim
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 14, 2010


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Person and persona

Folksie newcomer John Shade says that his songs are focused on identity and anonymity, but there’s also what sounds like an unraveling personal economy lurking beneath: characters steal purses, check classifieds, go it alone with “no safety net,” and gen
For John Shade, it’s all in the text
By MATT PARISH  |  May 07, 2010
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Opera singer teaches Sox fans how to scream

If Elena Zoubareva had the nerve to admonish boisterous fans outside Fenway Park, she’d offer, calmly, “Don’t scream like that — you’ll strain your vocal cords!”
You Scream, I Scream Dept.
By MARIANNA FAYNSHTEYN  |  May 07, 2010
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Jonathan McPhee and The Longwood Symphony Orchestra

Jonathan McPhee and The Longwood Symphony Orchestra at Jordan Hall on May 1, 2010
 Northern Lights
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  May 07, 2010
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Ye gods!

Much beautiful music turns up in the 18th-century operatic form that’s probably most alien to a modern audience.
BLO’s Idomeneo, BU’s Susannah, Garfein’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Zander’s Stravinsky, and Pollini’s Chopin
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 30, 2010