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Catching up on some classical music websites

The fact that this column hasn't appeared for over seven months is not only due to my laziness. As our use of the net becomes more widespread, and many more musicians come online, there would be little use in mentioning every new site that comes online, although we still get many requests for just a mention. M&V's news column steals some of the thunder, of course, but this column is still a useful medium for looking at musicians' use of the internet, for observing new trends, and even simply as a starting point for those online musical journeys to satisfy that surfing wanderlust ...

Speaking of musical journeys, Padmanabha Bapu, a classical player of the North Indian bamboo flute, wants to share the richness of Indian music, and to invite us to know more about his particular musical journey. Bapu celebrated his twenty fifth birthday just a few days ago -- many happy returns.

Bapu's site looks automatically or semi-automatically generated, and seems to be hosted free with banner advertising. It's really a matter of opinion as to whether this creates a good impression or not, and I need to preface any comments I make with the warning that I'm making European judgements about an Indian site. I think the site looks needlessly amateurish, and the comic sans font doesn't help. Only the photo and the text content convey the message that this is a serious musician.

Padmanabha Bapu is an online classical music journal in French, with a multi-column portal style interface, and database-driven. It's particularly good for information on concerts in France, a country which was a little slow initially to develop its online classical music content. The advertising all looks relevant and up-to-date, and the journal seems to be updated weekly. The tell-tale © 2001 at the bottom right of the opening page probably just means that the site hasn't been redesigned since then. The site has a busy, colourful, workmanlike design, and isn't trying to be too clever.


Alberto Cobo is a Spanish composer, musicologist and classical pianist. His invitation is for us to listen to what he claims are the two most important discoveries of Spanish musicological history -- two operas by Carnicer and Maximo Lopez. Also available are some of his own compositions and piano performances of Beethoven, Liszt, and a Schumann video. The individual pages on this site are quite stylish, but the home page, which people see first, unfortunately has less impact. There's an English language option, and the music samples are in Real Audio format.

If you have problems reaching Alberto's main ( site (as I did), the same content appears to be available on the lower (geocities) link.

Alberto Cobo

Geocities site


L'oca del Cairo is a new publisher of music, based in Parma, Italy. It specialises in Italian instrumental music from the nineteenth century, mostly previously unpublished, plus transcriptions and arrangements for unusual ensembles. The company's staff can make personalised arrangements and transcriptions on request, and scores and parts from the catalogue can be bought online.

The site goes for the simple, elegant approach, and achieves this quite well.

L'oca del Cairo


Oboe Classics is a new(ish) CD label based in the UK, celebrating the world of the oboe. The clean professional look of the site's home page is spoilt slightly by the rather ragbag look of different text fonts and colours, but with a little effort, this site could look really top-notch. Maybe what's more important here is the sound, though, and Jeremy Polmear has provided a complete downloadable track in MP3 format, plus about six one-minute sound clips from each CD, so there's a fair amount to listen to here, plus lots of background information. For a label specialising in one instrument, the available CDs seem remarkably varied.

Oboe Classics


Chicago-based Susan L Nigro, a 'contrabassoonist with a cause' and a 'contrabassoon crusader', is one of the very few soloists for this instrument in the USA, and her contrabassoon duo is probably the only one in existence. She has made three solo CDs, and gives masterclasses, workshops and lecture recitals as well as solo concerts. Susan has kept her site looking fairly plain, and this pays off.

Susan wrote to ask us to exchange links. To Susan, and others wishing to do this, please note that we have an automatic link exchanging system -- see the add your site link at the bottom of this page.

Susan L Nigro


American cellist Aaron Minsky is spinning a name for himself as 'Von Cello, the world-renowned rock cellist' and 'the king of rock cello'. He's also a composer of cello études and ensemble pieces. At this smooth and extensive site -- it has a professional feel and a strong image -- the visitor is greeted with a thunder clap!

Von Cello


The award for the nicest letter received goes to a violinist from Slovenia, Volodja Balzalorsky, a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and professor at Ljubljana University, who is currently a guest artist at DePauw University, Indiana, USA.

Balzalorsky has various sites -- his official one has a friendly yet busy feel, and I think it works very effectively.

He has a large selection of his own recordings online, including free streaming and downloadable versions of complete compositions by Bloch, Brahms, Debussy, Dvorák, Franck, Grieg, Janácek, Paganini and Srebotnjak, and he receives appreciative comments by email about his performances, from all over the world.

Volodja Balzalorsky

Balzalorsky MP3 page


Finally, not far over the border from Ljubljana, here on the Croatian coast, the Dubrovnik Festival is currently in full swing, continuing through most of August. I'll confine my comments to the Festival's website, which is workmanlike and contains details of the concerts and background information, in Croatian and English, although I felt that they could have provided much more -- especially full programme details for each concert. Plenty of time yet to get down here for some of the August concerts, by the way!

Dubrovnik Festival

Copyright © 24 July 2003 Keith Bramich, Croatia


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