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Music

White Light Festival Brings Global Dance and Music to Lincoln Center

kiran ahluwalia

Touted as “a concert-hall sanctuary from the storm and stress of urban life,” The White Light Festival (October 18 – November 18, 2012) at Lincoln Center (10 Lincoln Center Plaza, NYC) brings together unique examples of dance from the U.K., Ireland, China, France, India and more.

White Light features concerts and musical performers as well, mixing Chinese harps with seductive Indian-Punjabi vocals, while theatrical productions mix the works of Kafka and Becket with German dance troupes.

Read more: White Light Festival Brings...

BAM Next Wave Combines Art, Theater, Opera and Cinema

glassEstablished in 1981, The BAM Next Wave Festival (September 5, 2012 - January 19, 2013, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn) combines dance, theater, music, and cinema.

Next Wave features a special presentation of Ernst Lubitsch's lost 1922 classic, The Loves of Pharaoh. Originally considered lost to time, Pharaoh is being shown with a new restoration and an original score by Joseph C. Phillips Jr. and performed by his a18-piece new music ensemble, Numinous.  The screening will be followed by an after-show talk with Phillips and Thomas Bakels.

Read more: BAM Next Wave Combines Art,...

Mosty Mozart Festival Shines in Opening Week

Yannick-mostly-mozart

The first week of programs at this year's Mostly Mozart Festival collectively constituted a strong opening for this anticipated month of classical music at Lincoln Center.

On the evening of Saturday, July 28th, at Avery Fischer Hall, a one-hour, free preview concert with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra under the baton of the energetic conductor Louis Langrée — here celebrating his 10th year as music director — proved to be a delightful and tantalizing promise of glories yet to come.

After introductions by artistic director Jane Moss and by Langrée, an exciting account of Mozart's "Prague" Symphony ensued. Langrée tends to favor accelerated tempi but manages to resist rushing the orchestra.

This year, a special focus of the Festival will be upon Franz Schubert whose "Tragic" Symphony closed the concert in a measured but satisfactory rendition.

The "Prague" Symphony also concluded the opening program — devoted entirely to Mozart — of the festival with the Festival Orchestra, again under Langrée. I attended the repeat performance on the evening of Wednesday, August 1st, also at Avery Fischer, beginning with a sprightly version of the Overture to La clemenza di Tito.

One of the greatest living pianists, Nelson Freire — who dazzled audiences at last year's festival with tremendous performances of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto — then took the stage for a lovely reading of the magnificent Piano Concerto No. 20. Unlike last year, however, the pianist could not be persuaded to provide an encore.

This program also featured the outstanding tenor and Metropolitan Opera headliner, Lawrence Brownlee in two arias. Brownlee has a very beautiful voice although is not the most compelling stage presence but it hardly mattered in this setting where actorly resources were not called upon. His version of the concert aria "Misero! o sogno . . . Aura che intorni spiri" didn't seem to be ideally suited for his voice, however, but his performance of "Un' aura amorosa" from Così fan tutte was simply gorgeous, highlighting a splendid evening.

At Alice Tully Hall on the next night, Thursday August 2nd, Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the superb Chamber Orchestra of Europe in an outstanding all-Beethoven program. Nézet-Séguin debuted at the festival in 2009 and from the beginning of his meteoric rise since then, he has proven to be one of the most dynamic young conductors working today.

The concert opened with a powerful performance of the Violin Concerto featuring the attractive, young, Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili in a superb reading, excelling at Fritz Kreisler's cadenzas. The second half of the evening was devoted to a gripping account of the "Eroica" Symphony, with Nézet-Séguin characteristically favoring faster tempi — especially so in the first movement here — but with no loss of clarity. The conductor deserves special praise for managing to infuse such familiar repertory with so much vitality.

Nézet-Séguin moved from strength to strength with the three programs he conducted over the following three days. On the Friday and Saturday evenings, he led the Festival Orchestra in the Beethoven Second Symphony and — with the excellent Concert Chorale of New York under the direction of James BagwellFranz Joseph Haydn's seldom-performed "Nelson Mass". The Beethoven was not the least remarkable for how Nézet-Séguin — again favoring faster tempi — managed to persuade one that the distance between the Second and Third Symphonies might be far narrower than has commonly been supposed.

The Haydn was similarly revelatory, featuring a superb slate of soloists, most prominently Christiane Karg, extraordinary here in the primary soprano role but having received fine support from the wonderful tenor Toby Spence as well as another terrific soprano, Julie Boulianne; the bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams was also quite good, if most effective in his higher register.

Both performances were preceded by splendid pre-concert recitals of the engaging D major Sonata for violin and piano of Segei Prokofiev, originally scored for flute and piano but revised for the legendary David Oistrakh; here violinist Benjamin Beilman was accompanied by Yaekwon Sunwoo, both notably promising young musicians.

On Sunday afternoon, Nézet-Séguin again led the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in a memorable concert. Mozart's masterful Overture to Don Giovanni opened the program in a transparent reading. Batiashvili then took the stage accompanied by the accomplished oboist François Leleux for a pleasing performance of the glorious C minor Concerto for violin and oboe of Johann Sebastian Bach, reconstructed from the two-harpsichord version.

As an unexpected encore, the soloists treated the audience to a duet arrangement of the Queen of the Night's tuneful aria "Der Hölle Rache", from The Magic Flute.

The program — and a pleasurable first week — closed with a stirring, finely textured account of Felix Mendelssohn's magnificent "Scottish" Symphony.

Tickets are available through the website: MostlyMozart.org,
by phone via 12.721.6500.

Mostly Mozart Festival 2012
July 28 - August 25

Avery Fisher Hall
Broadway and 65th St.

J & R Music Fest and Tech Expo: Free Concerts and the Latest Tech

j R festThe 18th annual J&R Music Fest and Tech Expo (August 23 – 26, 2012) at J&R Music World (23 Park Row, NY) brings together great free musical acts along with demos new audio and video technology. Artists performing include:

  • DMX (Pre-order the new DMX CD Undisputed in-store and receive a wristband, while supplies last, to an exclusive meet and greet with DMX after the show)
  • Miguel
  • Talib Kweli
  • Deon Young
  • Diggy (with special autograph signing on August 25)
  • Leah LaBelle
  • Jillette Johnson
  • Marcus Canty
  • Bari Koral
  • Ryan Leslie
  • Jitterbugs
  • Hot Peas N' Butter

J & R will have special discounts only during the Music Fest and Tech Expo. On Saturday, August 25, guests to the festival will be able to pre-order ZZ Top’s new album and receive a wristband to meet ZZ Top on 11th of September, 2012. Space for performances is limited to first come first serve for performances, so be sure to show up early.

As part of the Tech Expo, there will be demonstrations of the latest products coming to J & R, along with special Q&A panels such as The Rennaisance of Vinyl in the Digital Age and Digital Core, Analog Roots.

So come to see some of the newest AV technology coming out as well as see some great free concerts.

To learn more, go to http://www.jr.com

J & R Music Fest and Tech Expo
August 23 – 26, 2012

J & R Music World
23 Park Row
New York, NY 10038

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