Classical Concerts

The BEMF Orchestra Through the Years

Saturday, June 8, 2013
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Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in Concert at NEC

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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Conductor Hugh Wolff and the New England Conservatory Philharmonia mark the centenary of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring at Jordan Hall in Boston.

To hear the concert, click on "Listen" above.

May 29, 1913, marks a turning point in the history of music and of culture in general. Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was performed for the first time, supporting the choreography of Vaslav Nijinsky in a production of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

The story of its riotous premiere and aftermath is a great story worthy of more exploration. Here in Boston, the NEC Philharmonia commemorated the centenary with a concert that also included Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1, the "Spring" Symphony, and the "Polovtsian Dances" from Alexander Borodin's Prince Igor

On April 15, the rehearsal process was interrupted by the bombing at the Boston Marathon, an event that indelibly colored the experience of The Rite of Spring.

Join host James David Jacobs for an exploration of that experience through reflections by NEC students and conductor Hugh Wolff, who wrote

The morning of April 15, we rehearsed as usual: students with cups of coffee fighting early morning fatigue and the end-of-school-year work crunch. When we reconvened on April 17, our world felt altered. We were gripped by an unusual anxiety.

This wasn’t about practicing and recitals and exams, this was about life and death. Our musical world had shrunk in significance, crowded out by the harsh reality on the city’s streets. What does a concert mean when life and limbs have been lost in act of violence just blocks away? Why were we doing this? Did it matter?

As I looked over the sea of young faces that morning, I felt their worry and their distraction, so I asked them to consider the point of creating art. Why does art matter? Art is often about creating beauty. Creating beauty affirms the best in the human spirit. But art also holds a mirror up, reflecting even what is repugnant.

As musicians, we don’t expect to alter political discourse or prevent tragedies like the Marathon bombing. But we can, each of us incrementally, add beauty to the world and help tip the balance away from the horrible. We can be a collective conscience, raising voices together, acknowledging human failure, and aspiring to something better, something larger than ourselves.

To hear the concert, click on "Listen" above.

Keith Lockhart and the Londoners, Part 2

Monday, May 6, 2013
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Viva Verdi!

Saturday, April 13, 2013
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Bach Keyboard Journeys

Saturday, March 16, 2013
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The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, in Concert

Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (photo by Bill Page)

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan join the Academy of St. Martin the Fields in a concert performance at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Mass.

One of the most capable and enduring chamber orchestras on the stage today, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields comes to Massachusetts for a rare concert appearance in the acoustic splendor of Mechanics Hall. Presented by Music Worcester, the program features music by Britten, Bach, and Haydn. (See the complete program below), performed by musicians who routinely tackle the most challenging music for chamber orchestra and transform it into rich, vibrant sound.

Alisa WeilersteinDuring the first half of the program cellist Alisa Weilerstein, the daughter of New England Conservtory faculty members Donald Weilerstein and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein and a 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, performs Franz Josef Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1.

With a degree in Russian History from Columbia and several recordings, including an acclaimed accounting of the Cello Concertos by Edward Elgar and Elliott Carter with the Berlin Staatskapelle and conductor Daniel Barenboim, Alisa Weilerstein represents the vitality of a new generation in classical music.

Inon BarnatanThe second half of the program features pianist Inon Barnatan in J.S. Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor. The Israeli-born, New York-based pianist's recording "Darknesse Visible" (after a piece by British composer Thomas Adès), was described by critic Jed Distler of as one of the best of 2012, and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "His touch is both shimmery and full of fire."

To hear the program, click on the "Listen" button at the top of this article.

Full program:

Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op.10

Franz Joseph Haydn: Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major

J.S.Bach: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.45 in F-sharp minor, "Farewell"

listen buttonHear Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan perform Chopin and Golijov in Classical New England's Fraser Performance Studio

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