Principal viola Miriam Hartman Beazley has been a larger-than-life personality in the Israel Philharmonic for 36 years, trusted by leading conductors and engaged to the max in every concert.

Here, for the first time, Miriam talks about her viola trail from Liberty Bell to Lev Tel Aviv.

Skip the four minutes of intros. Miriam cuts to the chase.

 

Here’s what those smart folks at Sony have come up with.

Not sure if the psychedelic colour scheme disrupts the music or vice-versa.

 

Professor Ahmed Elgammal, Director of the Art & AI Lab, Rutgers University, explains how he created a version of Beethoven’s partly sketched tenth symphony using cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence.

I presided over the artificial intelligence side of the project, leading a group of scientists at the creative AI startup Playform AI that taught a machine both Beethoven’s entire body of work and his creative process.

A full recording of Beethoven’s 10th Symphony is set to be released on Oct. 9, 2021, the same day as the world premiere performance scheduled to take place in Bonn, Germany – the culmination of a two-year-plus effort….

The to-do list grew: We had to teach the AI how to take a melodic line and harmonize it. The AI needed to learn how to bridge two sections of music together. And we realized the AI had to be able to compose a coda, which is a segment that brings a section of a piece of music to its conclusion.

Finally, once we had a full composition, the AI was going to have to figure out how to orchestrate it, which involves assigning different instruments for different parts.

And it had to pull off these tasks in the way Beethoven might do so…

Read the full article here.

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

….The pianist in all 16 tracks is Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Metropolitan Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra and another in Montreal, altogether too busy a man to spare much time for piano practise.

Yannick, whom Renée Fleming thanks “for his gifts as an artist, colleague and friend”, is a pianist of no discernible merit except the maintenance of steady tempo. His playing lacks subtlety or surprise. Worse, it lacks colour to the point of mortal pallor. Every shade of beauty released by the singer’s larynx is met by plodding fingers on a monochrome keyboard. Some conductors — Barenboim, Pappano, Levine, Previn — are natural partners in a song recital, a skill acquired in teenaged rehearsal contact with singers. Yannick, fine orchestral leader that he is, is not on this evidence much use as a piano partner….

Read on here.

 

Architectural Digest has a glorious spread on ‘the New York City Home of One Professional Violinist’.

Unnamed, of course.

It’s ‘a 3,000-square-foot loft overlooking New York’s Union Square.’

So, not an orchestral violinist.

Anyone recognise it?

See more pics here.

 

Opera of the Week tonight – The Time of Our Singing by Kris Defoort

The Plot: during Marian Anderson’s historic concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, a white man and a black woman fall in love. During the turbulent half-century that follows, they try to protect their three musically gifted children from prejudices they themselves have suffered.

Belgian avant-garde jazz pianist and composer Kris Defoort’s new opera – courtesy of OperaVision. – is a fascinating symbiosis between jazz and classical music deeply rooted in the now. Inspired by Richard Powers’ great American novel, The Time of Our Singing tells the story of a mixed-race family against the backdrop of racial segregation in the USA. In the world premiere at La Monnaie/ De Munt, Ted Hoffman’s production lets official history and intimate stories collide to explore issues of identity, race and art.

Available from  19.30 CET,   18.30 London and  13.30 NY on Friday 24th September

The Metropolitan Opera is offering $25 rush tickets to the opening night performance of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones.

They become available today from 12 noon.

Details here.

Message from Warsaw, where the Chopin Competition begins next weekend:

Nelson Freire will not take part in the work of the Jury of the Chopin Competition due to illness. He will be replaced by Arthur Moreira-Lima, the winner of the 2nd prize in 1965, the Jury’s highest rating alongside Martha Argerich. Like Argerich, he also became the audience’s favourite.
Martha Argerich, bound by an enduring friendship with Nelson Freire, decided to be with him in this difficult time. Therefore, she will not play at the inauguration of the competition, and will not sit on the Jury, where she was a member in the two previous editions of the competition.
Argerich and Freire are, by some margin, the most celebrated members of the Chopin jury.

The city of Koblenz has hired the Berliner Markus Merkel as its next music director.

Merkel, 30, is presently Kapellmeister in Graz.

One Merkel after another.

 

The London Mozart Players have installed a violinist, Leia Zhu, as artist in residence, starting next month.

Leia is 14 and has an agent at HarrisonParrott.

She makes her debut on Saturday October 9, happily not a school night.

Her Youtube channel has a modest 9.5k followers.

Time will tell.

 

The German-born violist Annemarie Phillips has died in Marbella after a short illness.

She succeeded in 1992 as music director of the resort’s Collegium Musicum after discovering it was founded by a long-lost aunt.

Obit here.

 

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra chief executive Peter Biggs has told a parliamentary select committee that he is aiming to correct the company’s gender imbalance and minority quotient.

From his reported comments:

Biggs said the NZSO was working on a new set of values … It altered its touring model to deeply engage with diverse communities–particularly Māori and rangatahi–and reverse its carbon footprint…

Biggs said the orchestra was “very conscious” of the need for gender balance within its staffing, but acknowledged this was a “generational issue”. He expected a number of players over the coming years to retire. More young women were both coming through as musicians, and being recruited into the player contingent. This was mainly due to many Kiwis returning from overseas, and they were also coming from the NZSO National Youth Orchestra…. Biggs also said the orchestra “could do better” in terms of cultural diversity across its staff.

It had “room to improve” on representing Aotearoa better, Thompson said. The NZSO was looking at working with Tongan brass bands in south Auckland, and Pacific choirs.

Collaborations were under way with two iwi – Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāi Tahu – which if successful the NZSO hoped to use as models for future work. It was also looking to invest in a director of Māori engagement. “There’s a lot of work to be done in this space,” he said.

Confession is good for the soul. Contrition is good for state funding.