Violinist Gil Shaham Joins the National Symphony Orchestra

This Thursday to Saturday (April 10-12) at the John F. Kennedy Center: Violinist Gil Shaham joins the National Symphony Orchestra and renowned conductor James Conlon to perform Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major, as well as masterpieces by Brahms and Zemlinsky. See the event details here. Listen to Classical WETA’s Deborah Lamberton interview with Gil Shaham here.

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Vienna Philharmonic Revokes Honors to Nazis

The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra has revoked the medals it awarded to six high-ranking Nazis during Hitler’s rule. Founded in 1842, the orchestra began its annual New Year’s concert of Strauss waltzes in 1941 as a Nazi propaganda instrument. According to Vienna historian Oliver Rathkolb, there is evidence that the orchestra also planned to present a medal to Hitler himself. If this is the case, that medal would also be revoked.

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German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi on art and politics

From The Wall Street Journal interview:

 ”I don’t like the idea that artists should keep out of politics,” he said. “The more you know and understand art, the more you have to defend values. You should speak up—and early enough to matter.”

Read the rest here.


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Ilona Oltuski on Evgeny Kissin’s Mission to Celebrate Yiddish Music and Poetry

Ilona Oltuski  review our latest concert on her blog, GetClassical:

When Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post’s longtime political columnist and co-founder of the evening’s host organisation, Pro Musica Hebraica, introduced Evgeny Kissin at his recent Washington concert in co-production with the Kennedy Center, it was clear from the start that this evening would turn out to be very special.[...]

“The series tries to establish that there is more to Jewish music than the obvious pick of Hava Nagilah or Klezmer,” says Krauthammer. “There is an abundance of works that deserve exposure. It is our hope to continue to disseminate these works by charismatic young performers, who carry them on to their next performances and assure these works’ visibility and continued inspiration.”

Who better to fit the bill than star pianist Evgeny Kissin whose personal mission coincides with what the Krauthammers want to achieve?

Kissin made sure that the artistic merits of the evening’s musical part were in no way compromised. As James Loeffler, the series’ director of research explains, Kissin took the plunge into a repertoire that was, in large parts, as new to him as it was to the audience.

Read the rest here.

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Jenna Weissman Joselit on Evgeny Kissin’s Kennedy Center performance

Historian Jenna Weissman Joselit of George Washington University reflects on last week’s concert:

Some members of the audience were drawn by the opportunity to see Kissin in person. Others were drawn by the program, which featured a number of works not usually part of his repertoire: sonatas and rhapsodies by Alexander Abramovich Krein, Mikhail Milner and Alexander Moiseveich Veprik, Russian Jewish composers of the interwar years whose compositions are known only to the cognoscenti. And still others came out that chilly wintry night warmed by the prospect of seeing and hearing one of the world’s leading musicians not play, but speak — and in Yiddish, no less.

Read the rest here.

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