On the Air This Week

Highlights from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: St. Paul researcher and author Joe Landsberger.

Tuesday, 7:05 pm: Teacher Feature: Adrian Davis from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.

Tuesday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival (part 4 of 4).

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: Imogen Cooper performing at a Chopin Society recital.

Saturday, noon: Metropolitan Opera: Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Brass Tracks.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with guest pianist Maria Joao Pires.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen: Conductors of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Monday, 8 pm: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Works of Mendelssohn and Battistelli.

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight: Collegiate and High School Women’s Massed Choir of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota Men’s and Women’s Choir Festival 2013.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Veterinarian Kate An Hunter.

Tuesday, 7:15 pm: School Spotlight: Collegiate and High School Men’s Massed Choir of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota Men’s and Women’s Choir Festival 2013.

Mozart Requiem Sing-Along

wolfgang_amadeus_mozart.gifThe St. Paul Civic Symphony will be offering a Mozart ‘Requiem’ Community Sing-along at the Landmark Center, conducted by Kathy Saltzman Romey. Sunday, January 26th, 3pm.

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With the St. Paul Winter Carnival happening this weekend, anybody might show up! So if they showed up looking like that last year, does anybody want to come in Mozart costumes this year?

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Fun Video from Amadeus featuring music from Mozart’s Requiem

Minnesota Orchestra announces 2014 season

Moving quickly after the recent resolution of a 15-month labor dispute, the Minnesota Orchestra has announced a full schedule for its 2014 season — and debuted a new look for its website and publicity materials as well. The season incorporates some concerts that the musicians had planned independently in addition to some new concerts planned on the fly by the post-detente musicians and administration.

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After its early-February concerts celebrating the orchestra’s return to performing in its signature Minneapolis hall (the first of which will be broadcast live on Classical MPR), the orchestra will present 15 different programs through July. Highlights include Osmo Vänskä — the orchestra’s former music director, who resigned over his disappointment at the labor dispute — conducting the Sibelius symphonies that recently earned the orchestra a Grammy nomination for a BIS recording.

Vänskä will also wield the baton for a guest appearance by violinist Joshua Bell; a previously planned performance commemorating the reopening of Northrop Auditorium will proceed as planned, but is not part of the orchestra’s subscription season. Further, composer-conductor Eric Whitacre will make his Minnesota Orchestra debut, leading the band in performances of his own work and other compositions.

Full details for the season are available on the orchestra’s website. Subscription packages will go on sale January 27, with tickets to individual concerts becoming available on February 9.

HBO: Six by Sondheim | Broadway on Hennepin: Five Debuts

If you admire Stephen Sondheim, or if like some of us you’re completely obsessed with the depth of the man’s genius), or especially if you’re not yet familiar with his work, you MUST see the new HBO documentary Six by Sondheim. A great portrait of a great artist.

It was created by two of Sondheim’s closest friends, director James Lapine (Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George) and former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich. They frame Sondheim’s career through six iconic songs and sixty years worth of fascinating video interviews with this most intelligent and articulate creative force. Six by Sondheim has its final airing this Saturday afternoon on HBO2. Below is the trailer (which to be honest doesn’t really do the the film justice), or if you’re lucky you just might be able to find the entire show online….

Elsewhere on Broadway, Hennepin Theatre Trust announced its 2014-15 Broadway on Hennepin season. The Book of Mormon returns, so if you couldn’t get tickets last year, plan on August 20 – September 7. Other hits coming to Minneapolis include multiple Tony winners Kinky Boots, the revival of Pippin, Motown the Musical, Jersey Boys, and Annie.

More shows and complete ticket info here.

When Practice Tracks Become Art

Do you remember back in the day when you sang in honor choirs and had to use practice tracks? I do and I hated using those damn things. The practice tracks always seemed to have countless intonation problems, wrong pitches & rhythms, AND bad singers. After high school, I vowed to never use rehearsal tracks again. I will be first to admit when I am wrong, so here it is. I WAS WRONG! Choral Tracks LLC has blown my mind with their artistic delivery and extraordinary interpretations.


Check out these testimonials from two choral music legends

“Matthew Curtis has offered a remarkable gift to the Virtual Choir 3…This is a terrific way to help you practice your part!”

-Eric Whitacre

“Matt Curtis’ vocal abilities, range, and knowledge of choral literature is simply extraordinary! Choral Tracks is a wonderful resource for singers of all abilities!”

-Dale Warland

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It is clear that Matthew Curtis and his new associate Gabriel Lewis-O’Connor have changed the game when it comes to delivering top notch choral resources to thousands of singers across the country. I strongly recommend that you check them out!

Strings and shotguns: Benelli uses violins to sell "elegant" firearm

Classical music and gunpowder have a relationship stretching back at least to the 1812 Overture, but even so, violins haven’t typically been the go-to instruments for advertisements of firearms.

Benelli, an Italian manufacturer best known for its M3 shotgun widely used by SWAT teams, has just released a new 12-gauge shotgun it calls ETHOS: “classic form married to modern design.”

As part of its advertising campaign, Benelli has created a video advertisement featuring an elegant string duo who wouldn’t be out of place in a concert hall. “The perfect balance of art and technology,” murmurs a voiceover, “that was once an idea…has become an ETHOS.” Strings also appeared under ETHOS auspices at the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

As of posting time, I’ve not yet received a reply to a January 17 e-mail requesting an interview with a Benelli representative.

Highlights from Jan. 21 to 28

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight: Wayzata High School Chamber Orchestra and Concert Choir.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Physician and composer Stanley Woolner.

Tuesday, 6:45 pm: School Spotlight: Wayzata High School Chamber Orchestra and Concert Choir.

Tuesday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival (part 3 of 4).

Wednesday, 8 pm: The Minnesota Opera: Verdi’s Nabucco.

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: At a Chopin Society recital, Imogen Cooper plays Schubert.

Saturday, noon: Metropolitan Opera: Donizetti’s Elisir d’Amore.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Conventional Wisdom: Minnesota Memories.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen: Mozart’s Requiem.

Monday, 8 pm: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Works of Bartok and Mozart.

Tuesday, 7:15 am: Teacher Feature: Adrian Davis from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: St. Paul researcher and author Joe Landsberger.

Tuesday, 7:05 pm: Teacher Feature: Adrian Davis from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.

Tuesday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival (part 4 of 4).

Classical MashUp?

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Minnesota-based composer Jocelyn Hagen has created a really cool MashUp EP and will be featured in recital Friday night.

Studio Z, 275 East 4th Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 8pm

What is a MashUp? This is MY favorite one of 2013!


Recital Sneak Peek

This mashup is Ed Sheeran’s song “The A Team” sung over Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum,” from CHILDREN’S CORNER. She performs the piece live, singing and playing the piece at the same time.


Did I mention that she was an impressive choral composer as well?

Major Choral Appointment

bass-faculty.jpgGrammy nominated conductor James Bass has been appointed to the International Institute for Conductors teaching faculty. James Bass currently serves as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of South Florida and is the chorus master of Grammy nominated choral group Seraphic Fire. Click here for more information about this appointment.



James Bass conducting the USF Chamber Singers

On the Air This Week

Highlights from Jan. 14 to 21

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Kevin Ramach of the Minnesota Opera.

Tuesday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival (part 2 of 4).

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: The Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester.

Saturday, noon: Metropolitan Opera: Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.

Saturday, 7 pm: Carnegie Hall Live: Takacs Quartet.

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Still More Concertos.

Sunday, noon: From the Top.

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Bruckner Eighth.

Monday, noon: A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, noon: Learning to Listen.

Tuesday, 7:15 am: School Spotlight: Wayzata High School Chamber Orchestra and Concert Choir.

Tuesday, 5 pm: Music with Minnesotans: Physician and composer Stanley Woolner.

Tuesday, 6:45 pm: School Spotlight: Wayzata High School Chamber Orchestra and Concert Choir.

Tuesday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival (part 3 of 4).