tue 10/12/2019

Classical Features

Natalie Clein: 'The cello is part of my being'

Natalie Clein

The cello is so deeply engrained in my fingers, my imagination, it’s part of my being – my life would feel amputated without it. You fall in love with the instrument, the music, and then you embark on the life-long task of trying to get closer to that beguiling musical ideal. That’s the drug, the contract you sign with the devil.

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theartsdesk in Budapest: Prophecy in the world's best concert hall

David Nice

August 1914, September 2001, all of 2016: these are the dates Hungary's late, great writer Péter Esterházy served up for the non-linear narrative of his friend Péter Eötvös's Halleluja - Oratorium Balbulum.

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'We should take a 1:1 ratio of male to female talent as the norm'

Odaline De La M

This year is the sixth London Festival of American Music, and I could not be more excited about it. From the first festival in 2006 – 10 years ago now – I had a very specific idea about what I wanted the London Festival of American Music to be like. At its heart the festival is designed to celebrate the contemporary American musical landscape, and to bring the best America has to offer to UK audiences.

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First Person: Nico Muhly on music for two pianos

Nico Muhly

Writing for two pianos is something that – until last year – I had not attempted. I was contacted by Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen, two pianists who have performed as a duo for many years, asking me to compose a duet for them to perform at the inaugural London Piano Festival. I met Charles back in 2014 when he performed my pieces A Hudson Cycle and Fast Stuff in New York.

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Interview: Sir Neville Marriner and the I, Culture Orchestra

Peter Culshaw

We’re in Gdańsk for the launch of the I, Culture Orchestra (sounds like an Apple product, someone points out). The new outfit has Sir Neville Marriner as guest conductor, at 87, still on sparkling form. The orchestra has brought together young musicians from across Eastern Europe “to encourage better cultural understanding” between Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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First Person: Steven Isserlis on Schumann's advice to the young

Steven Isserlis

All musicians have particular musical passions, composers, styles or genres to which they are irresistibly drawn. I have many – almost too many at times; but among the most enduring is my love for the music, writing and personality of Robert Schumann. Another important aspect of my musical life – another passion, in fact - is the work I get to do with young musicians.

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Lammermuir Festival 2016, East Lothian

David Kettle

It’s just a short trip down the A1 from Edinburgh. But East Lothian – with its big skies, wide-open spaces, empty beaches and seemingly inexhaustable supply of quaint, historic villages – feels like a long, long way from the Scottish capital.

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theartsdesk at the D-Marin Festival: Turkish poetry in music, Bach at sunrise

David Nice

Istanbul six weeks before the failed coup, the south-west coast of Turkey six weeks after: what's the difference? None that I could see; once past the Turkish Airlines flights, with literature and screen full of the "People's Victory", there was no sign of it at the D-Marin Classical Music Festival on the Bodrum peninsula, centred around the marina in Turgutreis, a 45-minute drive along a very built-up coastline from once-quiet Bodrum.

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theartsdesk at the Rosendal Festival: Schubert above a fjord

David Nice

More than just a great and serious pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes is a Mensch. His special gift in recent years has been to bring young musicians just establishing their careers together with star players like himself in beautiful and/or interesting places.

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Edinburgh Festival: Boulez celebration, Andreas Ottensamer, Stephen Hough

David Kettle

Remarkably, Pierre Boulez made his first appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival way back in 1948, at only the Festival’s second ever outing, in charge of music for director Jean-Louis Barrault’s production of Hamlet. He remained a regular visitor across the decades, and following his death in January, the EIF’s Pierre Boulez: A Festival Celebration was a late but clearly necessary addition to the Festival’s already bulging classical programme.

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