Classical Music

New music for new times – Jun 26, 2020

Though the concert world is on hiatus because of the COVID-19 virus, musicians and composers are still making music. 

And they are also making new music. Here are some recommended recordings of new and modernist classical music, all released in the last three months.

Brain on Fire. Hypercube (New Focus Recordings). Hypercube is a new ensemble comprised of saxophonist Erin Rogers, electric guitarist Jay Sorce, pianist and accordionist Andrea Lodge, and percussionist Christopher Graham. This is their debut recording, and all five pieces are heard in their recorded premieres. Four were written expressly … Read More

What will the fall arts season look like? Smaller, less epic and more soloistic—if it happens – May 15, 2020

Carnegie Hall. Photo: Jeff Goldberg

The deadly Covid-19 pandemic continues to cut a swathe across the country and the world—1,340,441 cases in the U.S. alone with 79,526 deaths and counting. While the risk to the general public remains lower than for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, the highly infectious nature of the virus, its evolving symptoms, and the near-total lack of effective treatment continue to create and sustain widespread fears.

A vaccine would be a godsend but is unlikely to happen within a year and perhaps not at all. After decades we … Read More

Ten Recordings to get you through the shutdown (Part II) – Apr 12, 2020

Photo: L. Johnson

Two weeks ago I posted the first installment of Ten Recordings to get you through the Covid-19 shutdown. Today brings Part II with five more recommendations. Once again, this is not the Best or Greatest of anything—just ten favorite recordings that seem to either reflect this fraught time or provide some degree of peace and consolation.

Schubert: Piano Sonata in B flat, D.960. Stephen Kovacevich, pianist (EMI).

If any music seems to embody the intense emotions and potential mortality of the moment, it is Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B flat … Read More

Ten Recordings to get you through the shutdown (Part I) – Mar 29, 2020

Chicago, Michigan Avenue Bridge, Wednesday March 25. Photo: L. Johnson

All live performances across the country have necessarily come to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, all eight Classical Review sites will be largely on hiatus until local quarantines are lifted and public performances are allowed once again. Let us all hope that day comes sooner rather than later. 

With most of us locked in our homes during this national shutdown, the internet and recordings are the only avenues available for non-musicians to get our daily dose of great music.

Hence I decided to … Read More

Utah Symphony, Utah Opera cancel rest of seasons due to pandemic – Mar 26, 2020

The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera have joined the Pioneer Theatre Company in cancelling the rest of their seasons in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are deeply saddened to cancel live symphony and opera performances but want to assure everyone that this cancellation is temporary and we will be back!” said Patricia A. Richards, interim president and CEO of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera in a released statement. “As stewards of the arts [we place] priority on the safety and well-being of everyone in our community.” She … Read More

Utah Symphony & Utah Opera events cancelled for rest of March – Mar 12, 2020

All Utah Opera and Utah Symphony events have been cancelled through the end of March due to the coronavirus pandemic. That includes Utah Opera’s production of The Barber of Seville, set to open Saturday night.

Check back for further updates.

Violinist makes outstanding debut in Utah Symphony’s Spanish-flavored program – Mar 07, 2020

Benjamin Beilman performed Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with Fabien Gabel conducting the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

This weekend’s Utah Symphony program is titled “Sketches of Spain,” but it should really be called “The Benjamin Beilman Show.” 

Making his Masterworks debut Friday, the young American violinist gave a knockout performance of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, a work not often heard in Abravanel Hall. His reading displayed a level of maturity that surpasses his 30 years. That quality—combined with the depth of expression … Read More

A pianist stumbles in Schumann but Utah Symphony soars with Beethoven and Messiaen – Feb 22, 2020

Francesco Piemontesi performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

This weekend’s Utah Symphony program juxtaposes two icons of the 19th century —  Schumann and Beethoven — with one of the leading lights of the 20th, Olivier Messiaen. 

Schumann is represented by his Piano Concerto, a staple of any pianist’s repertoire.  Playing it this weekend in Abravanel Hall is the Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi, making his Utah Symphony debut. While Piemontesi is no doubt … Read More

Yang’s exuberant Gershwin highlights Utah Symphony’s American-Czech program – Feb 08, 2020

Joyce Yang performed Gershwin’s Concerto in F with Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Larry Ford

Among the extensive body of works George Gershwin wrote for both the stage and concert hall in his short life are four notable works for piano and orchestra: the Rhapsody in Blue, the Second Rhapsody, the Variations on “I Got Rhythm” and the Concerto in F.

Kevin Cole played the first three works with the Utah Symphony in November. The Concerto is … Read More

New composer, conductors and soloists on tap in Utah Symphony’s 2020-21 season – Feb 04, 2020

Arlene Sierra will be the Utah Symphony’s composer-in-association for the 2020-21 season. Photo: Ian Phillips-McLaren

The Utah Symphony’s 2020-21 season will feature a new composer-in-association, the local debuts of several noted conductors and soloists, as well as the continuation of the orchestra’s Beethoven celebration with all five piano concertos.

Thierry Fischer’s penultimate season in Salt Lake City will also mark his tenth full season as music director. Fischer will conduct 10 of the 18 masterworks concerts in the upcoming season. Among the works on his … Read More