wed 02/12/2020

Classical Features

Bridging the cultural divide: Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan on marrying east and west

Sergey Smbatyan

We’re touring across Europe in January 2020, visiting five countries to perform eight concerts with the world-class violinist Maxim Vengerov as our leading soloist. The tour has been organized by the European Foundation for Support of Culture.

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Planting seeds for change: Helen Wallace on a year of seminal events at Kings Place

Helen Wallace

When I mention Nature Unwrapped, a year-long series at Kings Place subtitled "Sounds of Life", the responses are often tinged with cynicism: "Oh, very 2020", "So, what’s the carbon footprint with all those musicians flying in?" There’s an assumption that the series is focused solely on climate change and...

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theartsdesk in Zurich and Tallinn: celebrating great Estonians

David Nice

Culturally, "the little country that could" - as Estonia's ex-Prime Minister and historian Mart Laar dubbed it - punches well above its weight. While it educates the young with a musical instrument made available to every child, Estonia continues to shine through its musical leaders.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Semyon Bychkov in Prague

David Nice

It's a very big deal for musical Prague: Czechia's symphonic epic, the six tone poems that make up Smetana's Má vlast (My Homeland), launches every Prague Spring Festival at the Smetana Hall, but in the Czech Philharmonic's opulent home, the Rudolfinum, the work hasn't appeared in any of its seasons for 49 years.

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Remembering Mariss Jansons (1943-2019)

David Nice

He was indeed "one of the greats" among conductors, as theartsdesk's Gavin Dixon put it in reviewing Mariss Jansons' January visit to the Barbican, and remains so by virtue of his recordings.

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theartsdesk in Warsaw: musical perspectives on culture beyond communism

Gavin Dixon

The new "eufonie" festival is dedicated to the music of Poland and its neighbouring countries. This is its second year, and the scale of the project has increased substantially from last year’s first run.

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'The Academy and I': composer and viola-player Sally Beamish on a special relationship

Sally Beamish

I was 13. It was a Saturday, and Mum was working. On this occasion she asked if I’d like to come along and bring a book. I was wearing a dress I’d made myself – psychedelic orange and pink, with red edging. It was 1969. I don’t remember what the book was, but I know I didn’t look at it once that day.

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Music for Youth's Judith Webster: '91% of the young people we work with are from state schools'

Judith Webster

Music resonates with everyone. It plays a powerful and evocative role in people’s lives; it punctuates our memories and changes our mood. We can all remember our first album and the songs our parents and grandparents listened to. One of the first ways that we teach very young children is through singing and nursery rhymes. From that point onwards music continues to soundtrack our lives.

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'These were the quartets that made us fall in love with the genre': Dudok Quartet Amsterdam on Haydn

Dudok Quartet A

As a string quartet, it’s not easy to distinguish yourselves from others. There are so many string quartets playing the great repertoire, and the level of quartets has never been as high as it is now. Everybody is trying to be unique.

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‘We must not allow boorish, opportunistic autocrats to hijack music’: Gabriela Montero on life and art

Gabriela Montero

For as long as I can remember, there has been a continuous loop of original music playing in my mind. My father used to joke about my “tuyuyo” – a little bump I have on the back of my head – that it was my personal repository for music. My husband, less versed in Venezuelan colloquialisms, simply refers to it as “the iPod”.

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