News & Notes: BBC Music Releasing Remastered Recordings from BBC Archives
Pierre Boulez will hold the Carnegie Hall Composer's Chair for the 1999–2000 season; he replaces Ellen Taafe Zwilich. The Dallas Sym-phony Orchestra announced in January the appointment of Lowell Liebermann as composer in residence. For the next three years, Liebermann will spend one week per month in Dallas during the DSO's nine-month season.
John Harrison has been appointed head violin professor at Wichita State University. Cellist Alan Harris has returned to a full-time position with the Eastman School of Music, where he taught full-time from 1965 to 1976 and was a part-time visiting professor in the 1980s and '90s. Most recently, Harris taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
The winners of the 1999 Young Concert Artists International Auditions include American violinist Timothy Fain, age 22; Polish cellist Rafal Kwiatkowski, 20; and Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä 22. Each receives $5,000 and joins the roster of Young Concert Artists, which provides professional management services and recital sponsorships on a nonprofit basis. Cleveland Institute of Music violin student Matilda Kaul won first prize in the Women's Association for the Minnesota Orchestra Young Artist Competition in January. In addition to the $2,750 award, Kaul took the $2,250 WAMSO Achievement Award, a performance with the Minnesota Orchestra, a medal, and a taped performance on McGraw Hill's Young Artist Showcase on WQXR, New York. The Arditti String Quartet is the recipient of this year's International Music Prize, given by the Ernst von Siemens Foundation in Munich, Germany, as a reward for "prolonged achievement." The Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts will present the award, which is worth DM250,000, in a ceremony on June 23, 1999.
On February 1, 1999, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame announced the inductees for 1999. They include violinist Jascha Heifetz, composers Béla Bartók, Milton Babbitt, William Schuman, Amy Marcy Beach, George Whitefield Chadwick, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and Edgard Varèse (whom Frank Zappa called "the idol of my youth"), New Grove Dictionary of American Music editor H. Wiley Hitchcock, conductor Max Rudolf, and William Grant Still, the first African-American composer to have his work performed by an American orchestra and also the first to conduct a major symphony orchestra.
At the Grammy Awards, held February 24, winners of special interest to string players included conductor and composer Pierre Boulez, who won both Best Orchestral Performance, with a recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 9, and Best Opera Recording, for Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter won Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) for her Violin Concerto No. 2, "Metamorphosen," by Krzysztof Penderecki, who himself won Best Classical Contemporary Composition for the same CD. Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor) went to composer and pianist Steve Reich for Music for 18 Musicians; those musicians included cellist Ken Ishii and violinist Shem Guibbory.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma's CD Soul of the Tango: The Music of Astor Piazzolla was declared Best Classical Crossover Album. The Best Traditional Folk Album was Long Journey Home, by the Chieftains (with other artists). And the award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance went to pianist-producer Herbie Hancock for his new album Gershwin's World, which features performances by a variety of artists including bassist Ira Coleman and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York.
Lord Yehudi Menuhin Dies
Violinist, conductor, and humanitarian Yehudi Menuhin died on March 12, 1999. He was 82.
Born to Jewish Ukrainian parents who settled in San Francisco, Menuhin debuted as a violinist at age seven, to great acclaim. Four years later, he played at Carnegie Hall; by age 13, he had won praise for performances all over Europe.
During World War II, Menuhin gave hundreds of concerts for American and Allied troops, and became a peace and human-rights activist. He drew criticism for performing with the Berlin Philharmonic just two years after the war, but he felt it was important not to condemn individuals for a nation's transgressions. He went on to support Chinese and Soviet dissidents. In 1960 he received the Nehru Peace Prize for International Understanding, and he was also associated with UNESCO, the cultural-scientific arm of the U.N.
Musicians that Menuhin worked with throughout his life included violinist-composer Georges Enescu, conductor Fritz Busch, composers Edward Elgar and Béla Bartók, sitarist Ravi Shankar, and jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli; the violinist Kennedy was one of his students.
Menuhin gave up playing the violin in his 70s, when he felt his technical ability was failing, but he continued to conduct despite using hearing aids in both ears. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965 and made a baron in 1993.
The Aspen Music Festival and School will celebrate its 50th anniversary June 24–August 22, 1999. The festival originated in 1949 with the three-week-long Goethe Bicentennial Convocation and Music Festival held in Aspen, Colorado, an international event put together by wealthy industrialist Walter Paepcke. He brought together an illustrious group of artists, scholars, philosophers, and musicians, including humanist Albert Schweitzer, Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, violinist Nathan Milstein, pianist Arthur Rubinstein, and American novelist Thornton Wilder. The event's success ensured its future.
Now held over nine weeks every summer, the festival presents more than 150 musical events, including full orchestral concerts, chamber music, operas, contemporary music, lectures, children's activities, and master classes. Twenty-five percent of events are free and there is always free seating on the lawn outside the Music Tent.
This year's festival will feature a number of premieres, including Bernard Rands' first opera, Belladonna (commissioned for the festival), and a cello concerto by August Reed Thomas, to be performed by Emerson String Quartet cellist David Finckel. Orchestral highlights will include the return of James Levine to conduct the Aspen Chamber Symphony for two concerts, as well as St. Petersburg Philharmonic Music Director Yuri Temirkanov, David Zinman, Jaime Laredo, and many others. The Aspen Opera Theater Center will stage new productions of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos in addition to Rand's Belladonna. The Emerson String Quartet will continue its performing and recording cycle of the complete quartets of Shostakovich, this year with Nos. 1–5, and the American String Quartet will conclude its 25th-anniversary tour of all 50 states with its annual summer residency and performances in Aspen; also in residence will be the Orion and Takács String Quartets.
For more information, write to Music Associates of Aspen, Inc., 2 Music School Rd., Aspen, CO 81611; call (970) 925-3254; or visit aspen.com/amf/.
If you're a college-bound player interested in undergraduate programs in music, or a college student investigating graduate music programs, and you want to supplement what you find in this issue of Strings, the National Association for College Admission Counseling's Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs might be for you. Held each fall in 27 cities throughout the U.S., the fairs provide a chance to meet with representatives from colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions offering curricular study leading to a degree or diploma in music, theater, and other arts disciplines. Attendees will learn about education and career opportunities, admission and financial aid, and audition and entrance requirements.
For more information and a schedule of the 1999 fairs, point your Web browser to nacac.com or call (703) 836-2222 or (800) 822-6285 and ask for the College Fairs Department.
In a move designed to lure parents of small children out of the house and into the concert hall, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival created the Babysitter Rebate Program for its 27th summer season, July 17– August 23, 1999. Parents who buy a pair of subscriptions to the Wednesday or Thursday night series will receive a babysitter rebate of $15 per night, up to a total of $75 for all five concerts. "As a parent of a young child myself, I wanted to offer an incentive for chamber-music–loving parents to have five nights out without breaking the family budget," says Alan Silow, the director of marketing and public relations. For more information on the festival or its rebate program, call (505) 983-2075 or write to PO Box 853, Santa Fe, NM 87504.
BBC Music has teamed up with IMG Artists/London to release more than 72 remastered recordings from the BBC classical sound archives on a new label, BBC Legends. Koch International is the exclusive U.S. distributor. None of the recordings in the series has been heard since the original performances between 1938 and 1979. The first ten CDs hit stores on March 23, 1999, featuring such gems as Romanian composer, violinist, and teacher George Enescu conducting Bach's Mass in B Minor in 1951; Jascha Horenstein conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in a 1959 performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 (with a bonus track, an interview of the conductor); and the Amadeus Quartet with Sir Clifford Curzon performing Schubert's "Trout" Quintet at the Royal Festival Hall in 1971. Further releases planned for 1999 include 15 titles with Benjamin Britten as pianist and conductor.
Carnegie Hall has announced plans to renovate its building's lower level, most recently used as a cinema, and return it to its original purpose as a recital hall. The projected transformation will create a medium-sized, flexible space with a seating capacity of 640 that is capable of different configurations and can be used for a variety of events, including performances, workshops, and educational, family, and children's programs. It will also be able to accommodate audiovisual systems and recording technology. Construction is to begin in summer 1999; the opening will take place in the 2001–02 season.
The project was the latest mission and most cherished dream of Carnegie Hall's executive director, Judith Arron, who died in December 1998 at age 56, after a long, heroic battle with cancer. Widely respected for her artistic vision and innovative ideas—and determination to carry them out—and loved for her personal poise and charm, her passing is a great loss for the musical community. At a memorial celebration at Carnegie Hall in January, attended by many of New York's musical elite, she was honored in speeches and loving tributes, but the most wrenching moments were the extraordinarily poised, deeply expressive performances of music she had loved by young artists she had encouraged: Schubert's Fantasy in F Minor for Piano Four Hands, played by Avner Arad and Albert Kim, and the slow movement of Schubert's Piano Trio in B-flat major, played by Kim, violinist Colin Jacobson, and cellist Edward Arron, Judith's son.
While the new performance space will be named the Arthur and Judy Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, in gratitude for their $10-million gift, it will contain the Judith Arron Auditorium.
As its new executive director, Carnegie Hall has appointed Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, currently director of Cologne Philharmonic Hall. There has been widespread surprise that America's most prestigious concert hall should have selected a European rather than an American executive director; Carnegie Hall officials explained that "after an assiduous search," Ohnesorg was Arron's personal choice as a successor. His name means "without a care"—perhaps this augurs well for the future.