WBEZ | classical music http://www.wbez.org/tags/classical-music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Symphony Orchestra president to lead Kennedy Center http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-symphony-orchestra-president-lead-kennedy-center-109347 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Deborah F. Rutter credit Todd Rosenberg (4).JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Deborah Rutter&rsquo;s legacy as President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is best exemplified by her connection to one man: Riccardo Muti.</p><p dir="ltr">When Daniel Barenboim stepped down after 15 years as the CSO&rsquo;s musical director, Rutter helped lead the search for his replacement, eventually snagging the legendary conductor.</p><p dir="ltr">That musical coup gave the CSO new glamour and energy. &nbsp;And it is one of reasons Rutter this week was <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/deborah-f-rutter-to-become-kennedy-centers-third-president/2013/12/10/4a4cc492-60fe-11e3-8beb-3f9a9942850f_story.html">tapped as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.</a></p><p dir="ltr">David Rubenstein, who is chairman of the Kennedy Center, said Rutter was chosen for her experiences leading large performing arts organizations. Rutter was at the Seattle Symphony Orchestra before joining the CSO in 2003. Rubenstein also cited her track record as a fundraiser, and ability to work collaboratively with other arts organizations.</p><p dir="ltr">But Rubenstein said that, in particular, Rutter&rsquo;s efforts to reach new audiences were critical.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We want to make sure that performing arts are available to younger people,&rdquo; said Rubenstein, &ldquo;In addition to people of diversity, and of all income levels.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In her ten-year tenure, Rutter focused on new educational and civic initiatives.</p><p dir="ltr">She launched the <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/o/the-institute-for-learning-access-and-training-at-the-chicago-symphony-orchestra-2669557000">Institute for Learning Access and Training.</a></p><p dir="ltr">And she raised the orchestra&rsquo;s civic profile by bringing on famed cellist Yo Yo Ma to lead the the CSO&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://citizenmusician.org/">Citizen Musician</a>&rdquo; program.</p><p dir="ltr">Yo Yo Ma said though he feels &ldquo;slightly bereft&rdquo; at Rutter&rsquo;s departure, he also stressed the team mentality at the CSO.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s such a deep bench that the work remains,&rdquo; said Ma. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited to continue my stuff as long as they&rsquo;ll have me do it here.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Rutter also faced challenges. CSO musicians went on strike last fall, for the first time in over two decades. And though ticket sales and fundraising are up, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-24/entertainment/chi-cso-fiscal-report-20131023_1_investment-returns-symphony-center-deficit">the orchestra is still running a small deficit.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Rutter said she hopes the orchestra&rsquo;s &ldquo;shared identity&rdquo; around community outreach, whether at home or on tour, is her legacy.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;As we&rsquo;re planning international tours, we bring along this concept of service, and of sharing music with people who can&rsquo;t come to the concerts,&rdquo; said Rutter. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m really proud of the fact that we understand that, and those are the values we live by.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Rutter will continue at the CSO until June of 2014 and join the Kennedy Center in the fall.</p><p><em><a href=" http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author"> Alison Cuddy </a> is an arts and culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href=" https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter </a>, <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook</a>&nbsp;and <a href=" http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-symphony-orchestra-president-lead-kennedy-center-109347 Classical musician Anthony McGill brings his 'Inaugural' chops back home to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-01/classical-musician-anthony-mcgill-brings-his-inaugural-chops-back-home <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6960_artists_anthony_mcgill_9717.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Anthony McGill (courtesy artist/Katie Smith)" /></div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75466826" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago native and classical clarinetist <a href="http://www.anthonymcgill.com/">Anthony McGill </a>comes home this weekend to perform with the <a href="http://www.chicagosinfonietta.org/">Chicago Sinfonietta</a>, at their 25th annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</p><p>This year, the concert coincides with the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama. So it&#39;s fitting that McGill is part of the Sinfonietta line-up: After all, he got the gig of a lifetime when he performed at the previous Inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. &nbsp;</p><p>McGill played with an all-star line-up of classical musicians that day: Violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo Yo Ma, and pianist Gabriela&nbsp; Montero. Together they performed John Williams&#39; &quot;Air and Simple Gifts,&quot; live on the Capitol steps.</p><p>Well, sort of. That January day in Washington was so cold <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/22/inauguration-musicians_n_160216.html">the performers didn&#39;t dare risk a live performance</a> - it would have been impossible to stay in tune. So the musicians actually played along to a track they&#39;d recorded earlier.</p><p>Still, McGill says the experience was profound. &quot;There was such emotion. I mean Yo Yo plays with more emotion than any player I&rsquo;ve ever, ever met. To be next to that sort of emotion you feel it. You can actually feel it, like it&rsquo;s something touching you inside, coming from the sound of an instrument. And this is what you want to do, every time you are performing.&quot;</p><p>To play at the highest level is something Anthony McGill achieved long before his presidential gig. In classical music circles he&rsquo;s considered one of the finest clarinetists playing today &ndash; as a solo, chamber <em>and</em> symphonic performer.&nbsp; He&rsquo;s currently the principal clarinet with the <a href="http://www.metoperafamily.org/">Met</a> in New York.</p><p>But his ambitions started much earlier, on his home turf: Chatham, on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side.</p><p>McGill grew up in in a tight-knit, highly creative family.&nbsp; There he developed a strong case of not so much sibling rivalry, as sibling reverence, for his older brother Demarre.</p><p>&quot;I definitely wanted to be like my brother,&quot; Anthony McGill said. &quot;I did everything he did. And if he liked it, I liked it. And he loved music, he loved the flute.&quot;</p><p>Demarre McGill is now principal flute with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.&nbsp;</p><p>That one family gave rise to two classical talents is unusual. Anthony McGill credits a wide network of support. It began with his parents, who appreciated and performed music (Demarre&#39;s first flute belonged to his father).</p><p>&quot;They were like: &#39;If you love it, and you want to work hard at it, go for it.&#39; This was not just with music but anything we did,&quot; Anthony McGill said.</p><p>He also benefited from what he calls &quot;the finest instruction I could have received in Chicago&nbsp;&ndash; or maybe anywhere,&quot; including David Tuttle at <a href="http://meritmusic.org/">Chicago&#39;s Merit School of Music</a>, Stanley Davis (then with the Chicago Lyric Opera, now at the <a href="http://www.musicinst.org/stanley-davis">Music Institute of Chicago</a>, and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Combs">Larry Combs</a> and <a href="http://music.depaul.edu/FacultyAndStaff/D/jderoche.asp">Julie Deroche</a>&nbsp;(both now at DePaul University).</p><p>Even then, McGill&#39;s accomplishments are hard won. <a href="http://www.wqxr.org/#!/articles/conducting-business/2011/feb/17/black-classical-musicians-rewriting-odds/">Only a small percentage of orchestra musicians are African-American</a> &ndash; and only a handful hold principal positions like Anthony and Demarre do.</p><p>McGill says he thinks things are changing, slowly but surely. It might not always be evident in the orchestra pit. But you can spot it in music schools.</p><p>&quot;You have lots of minorities of different types &ndash; Hispanics, blacks, Asians &ndash; you name it, going through those conservatories,&quot; he said. &quot;So what I see is that there is a change happening, of diversity.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, McGill is doing everything he can to step up the pace &ndash; mainly by exposing young people to music, through lessons, performances &ndash; even <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JCYYzP3U9s">how-to videos </a>and musical apps.&nbsp;</p><p>But he isn&rsquo;t just interested in developing an appreciation for classical repertoire. McGill hopes to support younger musicians in a more profound way, the way his parents supported him.</p><p>&quot;It has to come from a deeper place which is a place of connection, and humanity and love. And I think if we focus on that that things will take care of themselves, hopefully. And music will continue.&quot;</p><p><br /><em>Anthony McGill performs Aaron Copland&#39;s &#39;Clarinet Concerto&#39; with the Chicago Sinfonietta Sunday in Naperville and Monday in Chicago.</em></p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-01/classical-musician-anthony-mcgill-brings-his-inaugural-chops-back-home Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming lead classical music flash mob http://www.wbez.org/story/yo-yo-ma-renee-fleming-lead-classical-music-flash-mob-97443 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-19/yoyoma1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On a normal day, the lower level of the Thompson Center in Chicago is like any other food court.&nbsp; But Monday afternoon, a sort-of classical flash-mob transformed the space from dining hall to concert hall.</p><p>Soprano Renee Fleming and cellist Yo-Yo Ma led a chorus of Chicago high school students and Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians in the performance. The show opened up with a call-and-response piece by students from Lake View High School, Chicago High School for the Arts and Merit School of Music. Then Ma and Fleming appeared and performed a piece together, accompanied by a pianist.</p><p>For most people, the event was a total and complete surprise. Some audience members had received an email from the CSO that some sort of concert was going on, but they had no idea who would be performing.</p><p>The group then performed a second song for the audience, "America, the Beautiful." Ma, Fleming and the students were accompanied by musicians from the CSO for this number and encouraged diners and onlookers to sing along. The performance was part of Citizen Musician, an initiative run by the CSO that calls on musicians to use their talents as community-building tools.</p><p>"We do believe so much in the importance of music and the arts not just in the concert hall, but in our everyday lives," Ma said.</p><p>The food court has since returned to its normal state.<a name="video"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4yUCBNJjnuA" width="640"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 19 Mar 2012 20:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/yo-yo-ma-renee-fleming-lead-classical-music-flash-mob-97443 DJ Series: Musician and sound designer Kate Simko goes solo http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-10/dj-series-musician-and-sound-designer-kate-simko-goes-solo-87687 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-10/pic-kate simko 01.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Throughout the hour, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> heard from Chicago musician <a href="http://www.katesimko.com/" target="_blank">Kate Simko</a>, who performed&nbsp; tracks from her forthcoming release, <em>Lights Out</em>. The album hits the digital shelves on Monday, June 13. It will be out on vinyl and compact disc the following week. <em>Lights Out</em> is Simko’s debut solo effort, but it’s hardly her first release.<br> <br> She’s put out dozens of songs and collaborated on a full-length album with Chilean artist Andres Bucci. In 2008, she scored the locally-produced documentary, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/atomsmashers/" target="_blank"><em>The Atom Smashers</em></a>.</p><p>She spoke to host Alison Cuddy as part of <em>Eight Forty-Eight's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/DJ" target="_blank">DJ Series</a></em>.</p><p><strong>Kate Simko played:</strong><br> "Flight Into BA" from her release, <em>Lights Out</em> (Hello? Repeat)<br> "Mind On You"from her release, <em>Lights Out</em> (Hello? Repeat)</p><p><strong>More sounds from Simko:</strong><br> "Cairo" from her release, <em>Lights Out</em> (Hello? Repeat)</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483518-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/web-extra_simko_Cairo.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>"Bikini Atoll" from her release, <em>Lights Out</em> (Hello? Repeat)</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483518-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/web-extra_simko_Bikini Atoll.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>"Mira Vos" from her release, <em>Lights Out</em> (Hello? Repeat)</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483518-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/web-extra_simko_Mira Vos.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></p> Fri, 10 Jun 2011 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-10/dj-series-musician-and-sound-designer-kate-simko-goes-solo-87687 Lyric Opera names new impresario http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/lyric-opera-names-new-impressario-85492 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/Anthony_Freud.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="199" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/Anthony_Freud.jpg" title="Lyric Opera's new director Anthony Freud" width="300"></p><p><a href="http://www.lyricopera.org/">Lyric Opera of Chicago</a> today (April 21) named<a href="http://www.houstongrandopera.org/page.aspx?pageid=12017458"> Anthony Freud</a>, 53, as its new general director, effective October 1. The British-born Freud will be only the fourth leader of Lyric Opera in the company’s 58-year history. In a smooth transition, he succeeds <a href="http://www.lyricopera.org/about/william-mason.aspx">William Mason</a> who is retiring after 15 years in Lyric’s top post. Freud will guide a company with an annual budget in excess of $54 million. Lyric presents a seven-month season of eight productions in the 3,700-seat Civic Opera House on Wacker Drive, which the company owns.</p><p>Freud brings a combination of European and American experience which should give him a solid foundation to captain a company with a foot firmly planted on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Freud was general director of the Welsh National Opera from 1994-2005, and has held the same position at Houston Grand Opera since then. Both companies are known for innovative programming, undoubtedly another plus for Freud in the selection process. Since the late 1980’s, Lyric Opera has commissioned a number of world premiere works and new productions in a series dubbed “Towards the 21st Century.”</p><p>Just within the last year, outgoing general director Mason has committed Lyric Opera to exploring the American musical theater repertory, an area in which the company only has dabbled in the past. But Lyric really will jump into the pond in the 2011-2012 season with a new production of the 1927 <em>Show Boat</em>. Although it was long before Freud’s tenure, Houston Grand Opera mounted a famous production of <em>Show Boat</em> in 1980, and also a staging of George Gershwin’s <em>Porgy and Bes</em>s in 1976. Both productions toured widely, with stops in Chicago.</p><p>Freud will supervise a business, production and artistic team of hundreds which already has several marquee names attached to it, among them music director and principal conductor Sir Andrew Davis, and recently-appointed artistic consultant Renee Fleming. A star soprano, Fleming not only has increased her singing commitments at Lyric over the next five years, but also will be one of the chief architects of the foray into American musical theater. In addition to next season’s <em>Show Boat</em>, a presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s <em>Oklahoma </em>also is in development.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="298" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/William Mason Photo.jpg" title="William Mason will leave the position at the end of September" width="200"></p><p>What Freud does not have is Chicago experience. Lyric’s three previous general directors—Mason, Ardis Kranik (1981-1997) and Lyric co-founder Carol Fox (1954-1980)--all were Chicagoans. Indeed, Mason and Kranik started out as singers and learned their opera management chops at Lyric Opera itself, rising through the ranks. However, the absence of local roots is not viewed as an impediment to running a world-class opera company such as Lyric, which deals in an international artistic circle.</p><p>Still, Mason has used his knowledge of local Off-Loop Theater to expand Lyric Opera’s roster of artists, especially directors and designers. Under his tenure, Chicago theater directors such as Robert Falls (Goodman Theatre), Barbara Gaines (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Charles Newell (Court Theatre) and Gary Griffin (multiple associations) all have staged productions at Lyric. Freud’s background in Cardiff, Wales and Houston strongly suggests that he has a sharp eye for the theatrical qualities of opera as well as the musical qualities, but it nonetheless will take him time to build relationships with local theater artists. Freud’s initial contract is for five years.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 15:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/lyric-opera-names-new-impressario-85492