MUSIC & VISION NEWSLETTER, JUNE 1999
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In beautiful mid-Wales, the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts
takes place August 26-31. Features include John McCabe in residence and
the German romantics.
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HERE AND THERE - MUSIC NEWS IN BRIEF
The death of the Swiss conductor Paul Sacher at 93 ends a lifetime of
enthusiasm for supporting 20th century music. For both his chamber orchestras
in Basle and Zurich he commissioned leading composers and thereby endowed
the 20th century with some exceptionally fine music. One can say that a
man who by the fortunes of marriage inherited one, can easily become philanthropic.
His dedication to music was the greater, and composers such as Stravinsky,
Bartok, Hindemith, Britten, Strauss, Martinu, Tippett, Henze, give a glimpse
of his care to encourage composers whose creative talent was unreservedly
of superior quality.
The grand old man of the British percussion department, James Blades,
has died at the age of 97. For decades the breadth of his knowledge about
sundry members of the percussion family, and his magnetic power of explanation,
whether to musicians or the public, were as unrivalled as his ability in
performance. Composers - including Benjamin Britten - were grateful for
his advice, however obscure the instrument. He had a very ordinary upbringing,
yet it led to a subject which absorbed him completely. His name and ability
will live so long as music requires the dash and sparkle of percussion.
Curiosity has mounted over the appointment of a successor to sacked Westminster
Abbey organist Martin Neary. Speculation has now been silenced - the job
has gone to the Abbey's close neighbour, James O'Donnell from Westminster
Five composers associated with Boosey & Hawkes have operas/music
theatre pieces in production in the coming months - Elliott Carter with
'What Next?', Detlev Glanert with 'Joseph Suss', 'Friends of the People'
by David Horne, 'Writing to Vermeer' by Louis Andriessen and 'The Last Supper'
by Harrison Birtwistle.
The American Composers Forum and the National Endowment for the Arts
launched 'Continental Harmony' to link rural and under-served communities
with composers to celebrate the millennium with new music.
The 14th International Arthur Honegger Prize has been awarded to the
American composer GERALD LEVINSON for his nine-minute orchestral piece 'Five
Fires', completed in 1995 and inspired by Balinese gamelan.
An agonising theft has hit one of Britain's best-known composers: the
score of a partially completed opera by Michael Berkeley has vanished from
his car outside his London home.
Published in association with the Rawsthorne Trust, John McCabe's 'Alan
Rawsthorne - Portrait of a Composer' will be published this summer by Oxford
Dame Gillian Weir was awarded 'Outstanding Individual Performer in 1998'
in the [London] Evening Standard Classical Music Awards during March and
is due to appear in London's 'Last Night of the Proms' in September.
The National Association of Youth Orchestras (UK) and the Internationaler
Arbeitskreis für Musik e.V (Germany) invite young orchestral musicians
between 15 and 25 years old to attend the 1999 Anglo-German Youth Music
Week in Dover, England from July 31st to 7th August.
Opera North announces Steven Sloane as their new Musical Director for
the 1999/2000 season. New autumn productions are La traviata, Katya Kabanova,
With the rise in popularity for good organ recitals (as opposed to the
indifferent playing of indifferent music a decade ago), a reliable guide
to London Organ Concerts is now published twice yearly.
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