The Man of Many Firsts: William Grant Still

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is called ‘the dean of African-American composers’ and throughout his life, worked in all genres of music, from jazz, where he was an arranger for both W.C. Handy and Artie Shaw, to Broadway, where he played [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | April 8th, 2017
Muses and Musings Salon Marie Trélat

Beginning in the late 18th century, something magical happened in Paris on Friday! As a contemporary observer wrote, “Friday is the day that was adopted by most artists as the day to entertain; on this day, everyone visits their painter. [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | April 2nd, 2017
Jeanne’s Fan

In France, the reaction against the excesses of Wagnerism in the late 19th century turned music toward the lighter side. Les Six collaborated with Jean Cocteau to create collaborative pieces such as Les mariés de la tour Eiffel (The Wedding [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | April 1st, 2017
The Devils Did It – II

After we’ve gotten Faust sorted with his devil problems, all sorts of other operas have them as well. In Dvořák’s opera Čert a Káča (Kate and the Devil), we open at a village dance. Jirka has to return to work [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | March 18th, 2017
The Devils Did It – I

If it’s not the jealous lover in opera, it’s the devil causing havoc. In many operas, the devil has a leading role and it’s usually up to our heroine (sometimes the hero) to making things right again.

by Maureen Buja | March 11th, 2017
45th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2017 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1 in E-flat major, Op. 107

Together with Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev, Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) unquestionably represents the pinnacle of 20th-century Russian music. Contrary to his famous compatriots who sought employment in the West, Shostakovich was educated entirely under the Soviet system. Even at times [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 7th, 2017
Muses and Musings Tzigane : Maurice and Jelly

She was the great-niece of the influential violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim and had a decidedly psychic disposition! Her exotic and colorful name was Jelly d’Aranyi, and during a séance in 1933 Robert Schumann told her to premiere his “long-lost” violin [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 4th, 2017
Charles-Marie Widor beyond the Organ

Charles-Marie Widor’s 10 organ symphonies, inspired by the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-Sulpice in Paris revolutionized the art of organ playing and composition in France. However, the composer also left behind a substantial number of meticulously crafted compositions for a [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 26th, 2017