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Operatic Olympics

13. August 2012

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As I was in Europe for the first week of the Olympics this year, I was in the right time zone to catch a lot of the events on TV in between stops on our concert tour.  Even though I’m not really a huge sports fan, I’ve been fascinated (like most of the world) with [...]

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“Moonrise Kingdom” and Britten for All

2. August 2012

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I know that I am generally the vocal music correspondent for the Ecstatic Living Room, but I had to veer a bit from my normal realm of responsibility to talk about the movie Moonrise Kingdom. I went to go see Wes Anderson’s latest film a few days ago at the suggestion of a friend, who [...]

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Tune In, Turn Up #3: An Apology and an Old Friend

24. July 2012

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Somehow, I’ve managed to continue my fool’s errand of listening to my entire iTunes library in alphabetical order by artist/composer. Last I checked in, I was at the tail end of the B’s; I’m now just about to make it to E, and with my sojourn in the D’s almost done, I have an apology [...]

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Two Milestones and Three Favorite Recordings

11. July 2012

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I turned 50 years old today.  As it turns out, there’s also a second milestone on the near horizon: this fall will mark my 25th anniversary working in the music business.  Hard to believe that the time has passed by so quickly, but I’m so grateful that classical music feels no less important to me [...]

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How Do You Start Your Day?

5. July 2012

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Many of us are careful about the first thing we eat each day. Breakfast is a great chance to start off on the right foot with some fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, a smoothie perhaps; healthy things that you trust will get you off to a good start, give you energy and nutrition to help you [...]

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In Praise of the Ordinary

28. June 2012

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I overheard a conversation this morning about an older opera primadonna complaining that the younger generation of fans no longer wants intrigue or mystique, that they want everything demystified. If it’s a generational thing, then I am entirely representative. I love nothing more than reading about what famous composers did when they weren’t being legendary [...]

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Robert’s Romance and the 19th Century iPod

18. June 2012

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At a concert I gave with the pianist Jeremy Denk about a week and a half ago in Chicago, Jeremy described the piano as the “iPod of the 19th century.” In the days before iPods, CD players, cassette tapes, 8-tracks, record players, and phonographs – the days during which the majority of the standard classical [...]

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Tune In, Turn Up #2: Berlioz and Borodin, Unlikely Bedfellows

8. June 2012

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When I started my little project of listening through my entire iTunes library, I figured it would be pretty much a breeze, blowing through a letter every other week or so. It’s now June, and I’m still in the Bs. Somehow, I forgot that Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms have that letter in common, as well [...]

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Blue Cheese and Bach: Gateway Experiences

1. June 2012

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There is a wonderful cheese shop near where I live called Saxelby Cheese. The owner, Anne Saxelby, curates a fantastic selection of ‘local’ and regional cheeses; and because these cheeses are so unique and unknown, she spends a lot of time with customers, educating them on these artisanal wonders. I was eying blue cheese one [...]

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Music That Changed My Life — Really!

24. May 2012

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In the age of advertising, some words and phrases have, from over-use and deliberate misuse, lost a great deal of the impact of their meaning.  One of those phrases is “life-changing,” which I’ve recently heard applied in the marketing of a fabric softener. While chatting with some musician friends the other day, one singer credited [...]

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