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Classical Music
Janelle Gelfand on the classical music scene

Janelle's pen has taken her to Japan, China, Carnegie Hall, Europe (twice), East and West Coasts, and Florida. In fact, Janelle was the first Enquirer reporter to report from Europe via e-mail -- in 1995.

Janelle began writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer as a stringer in 1991 while writing a Ph.D. dissertation in musicology at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She joined the Enquirer staff in 1993.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she graduated from Stanford University, Janelle has lived in Cincinnati for more than 30 years. In her free time, this pianist plays chamber music with her circle of musical friends in Cincinnati.

She covers the Cincinnati Symphony, May Festival and Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, chamber music ensembles, and as many recitals and events at CCM and NKU as possible.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Sad news about Beverly Sills

Take a look at this AP story about the famed soprano. She sang at Cincinnati Opera at the Zoo, 1965 to 68, and in 1971 to 74, when the opera moved into Music Hall. She wrote about her Zoo days in "Bubbles," her memoir, about how the "green room" was really green. When she sang Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with John Alexander as Edgar and Dominic Cossa as Henry Ashton (conducted by Anton Guadgano), it was the artistic highlight of the summer, wrote Charlotte Shockley and Eldred Thierstein in "Cincinnati Opera: From the Zoo to Music Hall."

"Miss Sills embellished Lucia's arias with frills that are entirely her own, and she tossed them off with crystalline clarity. Her trills were all but flawless, and her marksmanship in difficult coloratura was awesome," wrote Opera News about the event.

And I'm sure no Cincinnati Opera fan will ever forget 1974, when Miss Sills brought one of her Tudor Queens to Music Hall in Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux."

Photo: Mary Altoffer, AP

Cosi fan tutte

Watch for the review at or in tomorrow's Enquirer.

Pictured: Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Guglielmo, Alexandra Deshorties as Fiordiligi, Marianna Pizzolato as Dorabella, Nathalie Paulin as Despina and Shawn Mathey as Ferrando. Photos by Philip Groshong.

Monday, June 25, 2007

James Conlon to conduct opera with Woody

Here's the news about Conlon and Woody Allen's first attempt at directing opera. Wonder how much of Hollywood will be in the audience on opening night?

What we did this weekend

I didn't go to the ABBA tribute show at the Pops on Saturday night, but Steve Thomas, a UC Medical Center prof, e-mailed me his impressions. He was disappointed that the show, with the Swedish band, Arrival (pictured) didn't prominently feature everyone's favorite ABBA tunes, such as "Mamma Mia" and "Dancing Queen."

"I was highly disappointed in the ABBA concert. They did not succeed
in getting folks to dance in the aisles until their quick single song
encore (Dancing Queen) - but at that point people were standing to
leave anyway. In my opinion the mistake made was not to feature
ABBA's most famous songs - they played a number of obscure tunes that
presumably were ABBA songs but we didn't know them," he says.

On Saturday, I saw the new movie, "Once," about an aspiring singer/songwriter in Dublin, and I was also underwhelmed. OK, it was a cute story, but I think it was over-rated, given a "10." And I didn't love the music. It tended to all sound the same. But maybe that's just me...

In the audience, outgoing CCM dean Doug Lowry and wife Marcia, Ann Stewart (Chamber Orchestra PR director), Stanley Aronoff (namesake of the Aronoff Center) and about half of the Enquirer's entertainment staff...

On Sunday, I was at the Chamber Orchestra's grand finale concert, with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Fun!

Did you do/see/hear anything interesting over the weekend?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A unique "Midsummer Night's Dream"

The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra joins with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for a "multi-media" performance of Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream," 2 p.m. Sunday in Corbett Auditorium. The orchestra will perform the incidental music, while the company acts out scenes from Shakespeare's comedy. Actors include Kelly Mengelkoch and Josh Stamoolis, pictured, as well as Justin McCombs, Miranda McGee and Chris Guthrie. Mischa Santora conducts. Tickets: $25 and $25; students 18 and under are FREE. 513-723-1182, or click here.

Note the earlier time. Also, WGUC's Suzanne Bona gives a preconcert talk at 1:15 p.m.

To see the review of last week's concert of Mozart's C Minor Mass, K. 427 as completed by pianist Robert Levin -- by the Chamber Orchestra with the Vocal Arts Ensemble, click here.

The Red Carpet

Take a look at Cincinnati Opera's video announcing the arrival of stars for Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte," which is to be set on a 1930s film set. It's a scream. And see if you can guess who the old-time newsreel announcer is...

Also, since we're talking about "Cosi fan tutte," often translated "All women are like that" -- the opera is offering a "girls night out" deal, with tickets, a glass of champagne and truffles for the June 28 or 30th performance, $78 or $65 per person. Call 513-241-2742 and ask for the girlfriends package.

Note a new feature on my blog -- to the right are links to many of the local arts web sites, including the opera, the symphony and much, much more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Glammy Award for Best Marketing in the Arts

Cincinnati Opera wins my just-established Glammy Award for Best Marketing in the Arts this year, for their giant billboards that say "See why it's called Grand Opera." It makes driving to work every day on I-75 sheer joy...

What's your best -- or worst -- pick for marketing in the arts?

Illustration by Rene Milot for Cincinnati Opera

Paavo plays Beethoven at Mostly Mozart

Making a trip to New York this summer? You might want to check this out: Paavo Jarvi is bringing his Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie to Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in the Rose Theater for an all-Beethoven concert on Aug. 2. His soloist is Ingrid Fliter, the Argentine pianist who won the 2006 Gilmore Artist award. She's coming to Cincinnati next season for a date with the CSO.

Click here for tickets, to hear an audio clip or other info.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Interim dean named at CCM

Warren George has been named the interim dean of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, while a search is conducted to replace Douglas Lowry, who resigned last month to become dean of the Eastman School. (You'll remember we predicted that George would fill in.)

Just to keep your interims straight -- Kelly Hale is the interim chair of the Opera Department.

Looks like CCM search committees have their work cut out!

Friday, June 15, 2007


Here's the review.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cincinnati Opera's "Faust" opens in Music Hall

I hope I've whetted your appetite for seeing some opera! Gounod's Faust opens Thursday and Saturday in Music Hall. Here are few more snippets from my interview with Ruth Ann Swenson, that didn't fit into Sunday's story. She performs the role of Marguerite.

Question: We had the pleasure of hearing your recital last month in Dayton's Schuster Center. How is performing a recital different from an opera role?

Anwer: In a recital situation you get to choose what you like to sing, what's good for your voice, composers that you enjoy singing. You get to put a program together that suits you and that you enjoy singing, and that you hope the audience will enjoy too. You don't get that choice when you're hired for a role in an opera. In my case, most people do the repertoire that they're known for, or what's good for the voice. So doing Marguerite is something that I've now added to my repertoire in the last couple of years and I really enjoy singing it.

Q: How do you see Marguerite? Is she the innocent victim?

A: She's a real heroine. She is modest and innocent and pure and alone, and she is a victim of the circumstance. She has great faith, which lasts even through her insanity, at the end. Sometimes people forget, even with Lucia and Gilda in Rigoletto – they have great faith in love. But Marguerite, her faith comes through –not just her love for Faust, and I think that's really important.

Mephisopheles picks her because she's alone. Her mom is dead and she's by herself. The whole village knows her, she's a good girl, and it's really sad (laughs) to see all the things that happen to her and things that are beyond her control and she's manipulated. But it's fantastic music.

Q: What's your favorite moment, musically?

A: Oh my goodness, I think it's got to be the duet with Faust in the second act. The Jewel Song is wonderful, but I think the most sublime music is the duet at the end of the second act. It's just some of Gounod's finest writing, and he really captures the moment.

For tickets and to see a video of the cast, click here.

Spoleto: Part II

Between downpours from tropical storm Barry, I saw three operas while I was in Charleston last week. The intimate Dock Street Theatre was ideal for Gluck's one-act comic opera, "L'ile de Merlin, ou le monde renverse" -- Merlin's Island, or the World Turned Upside Down. And indeed, it was upside down. This was fun to see, having just seen the May Festival's ultra-serious "Orfeo."

Gluck as "Dumb and Dumber"

The premise is that two young Parisians are shipwrecked on an island, that turns out to be a utopian paradise, where lawyers are not corrupt, a female doctor "cures" her patients with pleasure, disputes are setted by a roll of dice and husbands and wives are eternally faithful. Christopher Alden, director, made it a surreal sitcom in popsicle colors, with the protagonists, Eugene Brancoveanu (Scapin) and Keith Phares (Pierrot) sort of like Dumb and Dumber. The libretto was also updated, with lines the guys ("Dudes") say to the gals, like "You're hotter than Helen of Troy." A philosopher (Richard Troxell) makes his entrance in a yellow smiley-face costume.

It was amusing up to a point, and then it became groaningly too slapstick for my taste. There was so much silliness during the overture, for instance, you hardly noticed the charm and genius of Gluck's music, as well as Harry Bicker's superb pit orchestra.

The (green) Moon of Alabama

The next night I saw Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's 1930-era "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" in the Sottile Theatre, a barn of a venue. The singing was excellent and the staging, by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, was lively and well managed. But the production was too shabby, grim and dark for what already is a shabby, dark tale. For me, the best part was the orchestra, conducted with lithe tempos by Emmanuel Villaume. Tammy Hensrud as Jenny Hill was terrific in the Alabama Song.

A different kind of Faust

The final night, I saw the American premiere of "Faustus, The Last Night," a 90-minute opera by Pascal Dusapin, also in the Sottile Theatre. (Its first performance was last year at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin.) I can't imagine a more striking contrast to Gounod's Faust that everyone knows, and that we shall see on Thursday in Music Hall.

Dusapin took his inspiration from Christopher Marlowe, not Goethe, and wove into his libretto bits from Shakespeare, Beckett, Gertrude Stein and even George W. Bush. It was poetic and deeply intellectual -- but difficult to grasp all at once, upon a first hearing. (I wished that libretti had been sold for each of the operas at this festival.)

This Faust takes place the last night of Faust's life -- and it's all about waiting. Waiting, with Satan and a blind Angel arguing and warning, waiting to be sent into eternal damnation and oblivion, waiting. It is like Waiting for Godot, an existential discussion suspended in time, that is never resolved. (Perhaps the minor character Togod, an anagram of Godot, is meant to remind the viewer of Camus.)

The orchestral score was an evocative canvas -- often with Ligeti-like close harmonies -- that glimmered like the stars and galaxies of the stunning set design. The setting, designed by Carol Bailey, was Faust's study, suspended above the stage and backed by the cosmos. The voices became part of the orchestral canvas, with the weeping Ophelia-like Angel (Heather Buck) given high wails in the stratosphere.

The production, directed by David Herskovits, was riveting. Faust (baritone John Hancock) and Mephistopheles, whom Faust fondly calls "Meth (Stephen West) banter and argue about the meaning of life and death, light and dark, Heaven and Hell,in a combination of vocal arioso and sprechstimme. The intensity of the dialogue waxes and wanes, as Faust is alternately desperate and despondent, while Meph just seems impatient to get on with it.

The singers were superb. Still, its intensity was not for everyone, and people could be seen leaving after the first hour.

Photos: L'ile de Merlin, photo by William Struhs
Mahagonny, photo by Marc Vanappelghem
Faustus, photo by William Struhs
Thanks to the 2007 Spoleto Festival for these.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Spoleto Festival USA, or how I spent my summer vacation

So, between the end of the May Festival and the opening of the Cincinnati Opera season, I went to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., to take in some of their immense smorgasbord of cultural offerings. I was there for chamber music and opera, but there was also an array of dance, theater, jazz and much more that one could indulge in. Among the Cincinnatians I ran into there were Barry and Judy Evans (chamber music) and the Enquirer's Joy Kraft (jazz).

One of the joys of this festival is that the concerts and events are in different venues throughout the city. Charleston is a gracious old port town with wonderful 300-year-old homes in leafy neighborhoods with cobblestone streets. It's also blessed with a fantastic list of fine restaurants. Since most culture fans are also foodies -- it's the perfect mix.

Which leads to my question: Why can't we have a Spoleto-like festival in Cincinnati?

Ponder that while I tell you what I saw.

I took in three chamber music performances and three operas. First: chamber music.

Charles Wadsworth, artistic director for chamber music and founding artistic director of the chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, brings together remarkable musicians each summer for chamber concerts. They were held in the historic Dock Street Theatre. One doesn't know the program until you arrive, and it's written on a chalkboard, like the day's menu.

Among the highlights: Debussy's "Premiere rapsodie," originally for clarinet and piano, arranged for a small ensemble, with clarinetist Todd Palmer. Soprano Courtenay Budd charmed in a lullaby from Canteloube's "Songs of the Auvergne" and on another day, arias by Handel and Alessandro Scarlatti. Her bell-like soprano was ideal in these florid arias.

Violinist Chee-Yun performed the Schubert B-flat Piano Trio with Wendy Chen, pianist, and Andres Diaz, cello (pictured above). Chen was a bit too much an "accompanist," rather than collaborator, and Chee-Yun had some technical glitches. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to hear this music.

The finest performances happened in a Saturday concert, featuring the CPE Bach Flute Concerto with flutist Tara Helen O'Connor, with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Wadsworth on harpsichord and including violinist Daniel Phillips, O'Connor's husband. She performed spectacularly, but Wadsworth almost derailed it before it began when he said, "you'll realize why she's called the fastest tongue in the west." The afternoon concluded with a wonderfully fresh performance of Brahms Sextet in G Major, that included former Cincinnatian cellist Edward Arron.

Stay tuned to read about the operas.

Photos: Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and William Struhs (chamber music). For more info about Charleston, visit

No dead white men here

Duo46 -- violinist Beth Ilana Schneider, a Wyoming High School grad, and Matt Gould, guitarist, have been awarded an Encore Grant by the American Composers Forum to support performances of "Trigger" for violin and guitar by John Mayrose, a composer/guitarist/bassist. They'll take "Trigger" on tour over the next 18 months in Europe and N. America.

Duo46 is a cutting edge ensemble that embraces 21st-century music (hmm, wonder why they haven't made an appearance at Music07, below?). They regularly collaborate with and commission living American composers, and have created a substantial library for their combination -- violin and guitar.

John Mayrose' music has been played by such artists as Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Check out their Web site to see where and what they'll be performing and recording next.

MUSE featured in PBS documentary

MUSE Cincinnati Women's Choir will be featured in a PBS special, "Why We Sing," on WCET Channel 48, 10:30 p.m. Sunday June 17, and midnight June 23. The documentary is being aired in prime time across the country, and features MUSE in song and interviews with founding artistic director, Catherine Roma and MUSE choir members.

The award-winning documentary was filmed in 2004 at the quadrennial GALA Choruses Festival in Montreal Canada, with more than 160 choruses from around the world. Apparently, WCET had only scheduled the show to air once at midnight, but an outcry from local supporters resulted in an earlier time slot next Sunday. An interview with Patrick Coyle, Cincinnati Men's Chorus, and Roma is available on

Alexander Kerr gets unique post

Alex Kerr, former concertmaster of the CSO (this photo is circa-1995), has been named principal guest concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony.

What's that, you ask? It's a new joint appointment of concertmaster, the top violin chair of the orchestra. He'll share the post with concertmaster Zach De Pue. While it's not uncommon to have two concertmasters in Europe (such as the Royal Concertgebouw, where Kerr went to be concertmaster after Cincinnati) it could be a first in the United States.

The partnership enables both to continue their performing and teaching careers on the side. Kerr is professor of violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Temporary head of CCM opera

Kelly Hale, professor of opera and coaching, has been named interim chair of CCM's opera department following the departure of Sandra Bernhard and Nick Mangano. He's been on the CCM faculty since 1976, and has worked with many singers, including Jerome Hines, John Alexander and Blythe Walker. And here's something you didn't know: He is a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor...

Dr. Kunzel

Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops maestro and Dartmouth class of 1957, was honored yesterday with an honorary doctorate from his Alma Mater. Kunzel also has degrees from Harvard and Brown universities, and studied with the great French conductor Pierre Monteux.

Among his many other awards, he received a 2006 National Medal of Arts from the United States government. (I'm not sure he has gotten the actual medal yet, though, because he was conducting in China during the ceremony...)

Saturday in the mail, I got Kunzel's 84th Telarc CD with the Cincinnati Pops, "Masters and Commanders," due in stores next month. Stay tuned...

Arts all-stars and football

I want to share something else that Gyasi Parrish said to me about playing the violin. You might have seen our stories about graduating seniors who excel in the arts (and many other things). Gyasi, a Princeton High grad who is going to Georgetown University, said, "Music has opened my eyes to a lot of different things. It's something that I can fall back on to help me relax. It's something that people these days don't know how to appreciate and don't take the time to listen to.

"On my sports teams, there's only a handful of people who play musical instruments, and you can tell the difference, even in their demeanor."

Hmm, wonder if a few Cincinnati Bengals could benefit from violin lessons?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Music07 kickoff Sunday

CCM's annual new-music festival kicks off this weekend with guest composers Zygmunt Krauze, Michael Nyman ("The Piano") and Frederic Rzewski. Look for daily events and concerts during the seven-day festival starting Sunday.

The program will feature performances by the acclaimed contemporary-music ensemble (and former Cincinnatians) eighth blackbird as well as local favorites, the Amernet String Quartet. Organized by composer and CCM Professor Joel Hoffman, Music07 promises a week of first-rate performances that represent a microcosm of the national new music scene.

Sunday at 8 p.m.: The first event is a showing of director Jane Campion's film "The Piano" with music by Michael Nyman. Although he composes in many genres, film scores have provided Nyman with the most visibility. This screening is in UC's Tangeman Center MainStreet Cinema at 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 10th.

Nyman's works will also appear in a concert on Friday at 8 p.m.

Monday, 8 p.m. Werner Recital Hall: The Amernet String Quartet will perform Bartok, Webern, Rochberg, and Yanov-Yanovsky on Monday at 8 p.m. The Amernet is at home with Cincinnati audiences, having held residencies at both CCM and Northern Kentucky University.

On Tuesday, Zygmunt Krauze will play a piano recital of his works and others. He composes in the "unistic" style, which is an art term borrowed from the painting of Wladyslaw Strzeminski. You can find a clip of one piece from the program, Refrain, on his website.

Thursday, 8 p.m., Werner Recital Hall: Frederic Rzewski, a guest at MusicX since '01, has explored divergent compositional avenues. Rzewski is also an important contributor to the field of music as socio-political commentary. Most notable is his exhilarating "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!", a tour-de-force variation cycle for piano.

The concert on Thursday features two new pieces: Nanosonatas, Books I and II (2006) and The Fall of the Empire—a Music07 commission for percussionist and CCM Professor Allen Otte. The latter incorporates texts by Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Rzewski, and nursery rhymes of Mother Goose. Allen Otte's performance will no doubt be compelling.

Saturday, June 16, 8 p.m., Werner Recital Hall: The electrifying ensemble eighth blackbird is another veteran of MusicX, appearing each year since '99. They are renowned for inventive and engaging performances of many self-commissioned works that eschew the pretense of new-music stereotypes. On Saturday they will present the final concert with the winners of the Music07/eighth blackbird composition competition: Jeremy Sment's Global Life and Anthony Cheung's Enjamb/Infuse/Implode.

One of the finest student performances will surely come from Cincinnati RealTime Composers. This emerging improvisation group delights its audiences with imaginative and nuanced pieces that develop musical ideas through collaboration and spontaneity. They will perform and host jam sessions at Rohs Street Café throughout the week. For more info, see Music07.

As an educational forum, Music07 allows young composers to work with these established composers and ensembles in an intimate setting. There are four concerts for participants to present their works from Wednesday through Saturday at 6 p.m.

A full listing of concerts, times, directions, and contact information is available at Music07 concerts are free and open to the public.

Thanks to CCM student James Massol for the above info.

Kudos to Jessica Muni

Jessica Muni, a 2007 graduate of School for Creative and Performing Arts, has won the second annual Dr. Catherine Roma Scholarship from St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church in Clifton. She will receive $500 for her work in the arts, academics and social justice. Jessica's interest in the protection of abused women caused her to interview eve Ensler, author of "The Vagina Monologues." She's planning to major in musical theater at Boston Conservatory of Music, and is the daughter of Nic Muni and Mari Opatz-Muni.

The scholarship was established last year to honor Roma's 20 years of service as minister of music at St. John's. She is already a choral legend, nationwide, as one of the founding mothers of the women's choral movement. Roma established MUSE Cincinnati Women's Choir in 1984, and founded and directs UMOJA Men's Chorus at Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon. She's also on the faculty of Wilmington College.

Picture, L to R: Rev. Dr. Frank Carpenter, Minister, St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church, Frances May Brooks, President of the Board, Jessica Muni, Dr. Catherine Roma, Minister of Music

Cincinnati Opera to launch video previews

In a groundbreaking move, Cincinnati Opera is launching video previews online for each of its 2007 season productions. The first video feature will appear this Sunday at, keyword: Faust and on the opera's Web site,

The video for "Faust" -- opening Thursday in Music Hall -- includes a fun discussion between Ruth Ann Swenson (Marguerite), Ricky Leech (Faust), Dalibor Jenis (Valentin), Marie Lenormand (Siebel) and Denis Sedov (Mephistopheles) with director Bernard Uzan.

According to one woman in the office: "The outtakes are a scream.

Oh, and WOW. That Dalibor Jenis guy is a HOTTIE!"

Photo: Dalibor singing Figaro in Cincinnati Opera's 2005 production

Munoz, to leave CSO, conducts Classical Roots

Tito Muñoz, 23, appointed assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in May 2006, is leaving to join the Cleveland Orchestra. The American Symphony Orchestra League announced Thursday that Muñoz has been named one of five conductors in the newest class of the American Conducting Fellows Program. The program places exceptionally talented young conductors with American orchestras for two- or three-year residencies.

Muñoz will begin his residency with the Cleveland Orchestra this fall. He made his Cleveland Orchestra debut at the Blossom Music Festival last August.

A native of New York, Muñoz assisted Cincinnati Symphony music director Paavo Järvi and served as associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. In February, Muñoz stepped in for an ill Krzysztof Penderecki to make his CSO subscription debut.

The Cincinnati Symphony plans to announce auditions to fill his position.

Catch Munoz in one of his last area performances, tonight and Saturday, when he conducts the CSO's Classical Roots: Spiritual Heights concerts.

The free family concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., and the program -- "High and Lifted Up" -- includes spirituals, gospel and classical favorites.

The combined choirs of Allen Temple and Quinn Chapel AME Churches, Community Chorale of St. Peter's United Church of Christ and Zion Baptist Church will be participating.

The program includes the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major, with soloist Wayne J. du Maine. The St. Louis native performs with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Long Island Philharmonic, and other organizations. Besides recordings with the Met and the New York Philharmonic, he can be heard on many TV commercials, motion pictures and with Prince on his "New Power Soul" album.

Tonight: Allen Temple AME Church, 7030 Reading Rd., Bond Hill
Saturday: Quinn Chapel AME Church, 10998 Southland Blvd., Forest Park

Concerts are FREE. info:

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Paavo in Paris

While I was out of town last week at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. (more about that later), Paavo Jarvi, music director of the CSO, accepted another post -- as music director of the Orchestre de Paris. His negotiations with that orchestra were known to the Cincinnati Symphony, which has just extended his contract here to 2011, annually renewable thereafter. To show his commitment to Cincinnati, he invited president Steven Monder to be in Paris for the announcement last week.

Something will have to give, Jarvi admitted to Agence France Presse. His contract with the Orchestre de Paris requires him to be there for a minimum of 14 weeks and 28 concerts per season, with about an equal amount required on this side of the lake. He currently holds two other positions: artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen Germany (with which he is undertaking a series of recordings of the nine Beethoven symphonies) and principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony.

"I feel that an orchestra like Orchestre de Paris requires much more focused attention. Of course, there is no doubt that this would be my priority above all the projects," he told AFP.

The orchestra was founded in 1967, but has its roots in the first French orchestra established in 1828. Jarvi will succeed Christoph Eschenbach. Other collaborators have included Herbert von Karajan, Sir Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim.

And here's another interesting point: He arrives shortly before the planned opening of the new Philarmonie de Paris, a 2,400-seat concert hall that is to be the orchestra's new home. Jarvi says the hall, and presumably his appointment, could "reconfirm Paris as the musical center of Europe."

Jarvi will take the CSO to Paris to make its debut in the famed Salle Pleyel next spring.

Meanwhile, there is no news on the planned renovation of Music Hall...

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