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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 Bagwell — Franz 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 2012July 28 - August 25
Avery Fisher HallBroadway and 65th St.
The 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:
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
Now, I have certainly been talking a lot about film festivals or film series, and a common element with these is that they involve being in a hermetically sealed and well air-conditioned box so you can get lost in whatever world is being projected onto the screen. Now don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a need for that in the summer months, sometimes it’s just too damn hot and you want to watch a movie in a cool room. But it’s summer. You got to get out and enjoy the weather and the atmosphere while you can.
That’s why Lincoln Center (10 Lincoln Center Plaza) has the Out of Doors festival (July 25 – August 12, 2012).
The Lincoln Center Out of Doors fest (which also includes the Damrosch Park Bandshell, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and Hearst Plaza) features an eclectic mix of musicians, art installations, performances, and even apps for smart-phones as part of the festival, and all of it is free.
Phil Kline’s Dreamcitynine is a free app for iPhone and Android that is free. The app uses the GPS in your device to play certain stories depending on where in Lincoln Center you are currently standing.
The Polyglot Theater makes the US premiere of their art installation Tangle, which combines an art installation and dance.
Post-punk/electronic group !!! will be performing on August 9 at Damrosch Park Bandshell.
On August 11,as part of Songs of Soulful Activism in conjunction with the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, The Stoned Soul Symposium at the Bruno Walter Auditorium will celebrate the role of soul music in the American cultural and musical landscape. As part of the symposium, author Michele Kort leads a discussion on Laura Nyro with panelists Felix Cavaliere, Herb Bernstein, and Shelia Weller. This is followed by Professor Gayle Wald presenting a talk on the Soul at the Center festival (1972-1973).
Dr. L Subramaniam, a former medical doctor, performs a fusion of classical Indian and European music alongside Bollywood playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthi Suramaniam, his wife; Ambi Subramaniam, his violin-prodigy son; jazz fusion guitarist Larry Coryell; and Corky Siegel, a blues-fusion harmonica player.
This is only a small portion of the large selection of free performances at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors festival. Now go outside and get some fresh air and fresh music!
To learn more, go to http://www.lcoutofdoors.org
Lincoln Center Out of Doors July 25 – August 12, 2012
Lincoln Center10 Lincoln Center PlazaNew York, 10023
From July 21 to the 28 2012, the second annual Brasil Summerfest will be blaring across venues all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. The festival opens on Saturday July 21 at the Central Park Summerstage (entrance at 72nd St. at 5th ave) with a free concert featuring four young up and coming Brazilian hip hop artists:
Following the opening will be performances at venues across the city featuring great new acts from Brazil, like:
Brasil Summerfest was founded in 2011 and curated by Petrit Pula, currently the head of Nublu Records, and co-curated by Erika Elliott, the Artistic Director at Central Park Summerstage. Summerfest 2011 was extremely successful and has had multiple sold out shows. This year it looks like the festival is still growing and become greater.
To learn more, go to http://www.brasilsummerfest.com/
Brasil Summerfest July 21 – 28 2012
Central Park Summerstage 72nd St. at 5th ave
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