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Archive for May, 2010

London Street Piano

About a year ago I wrote here, more or less in passing, about London’s street pianos. Thirty-one they were, scattered round public places and provided complete with laminated songbooks.

This spring, they’ll be back – and at the same time, the Play Me I’m Yours project will also cross the ocean and invade New York.

Play Me I’m Yours is an installation, but you might say it’s also random performance art. It’s the creation of artist Luke Jerramo, whose other works include a plant orchestra at Cambridge Botanical Gardens – amplifying the sounds plants make as they take up moisture – and the acoustic wind pavilion Aeolus , soon to be sited on UK hilltops.

New York’s street piano adventure is to be carried out by the New York based artists’ activism group, Sing for Hope. Sixty public pianos will be available for anyone to play in public parks, streets and plazas from 21 June to 5 July (2010).

Further reading:

Street Pianos website

Sing for Hope website

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QuoteHere are the Beethoven symphonies, arranged as [piano] duets … I would not claim that I have ever got any tremendous emotional excitement out of playing these duets, because as soon as the main theme is announced one gets so excited that one forgets to count.

– Beverley Nichols, A Thatched Roof
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Maria Sensi Sellner
(sellner.org)

The Akron Symphony Orchestra has announced the new director of the Akron Symphony Chorus.

Maria Sensi Sellner studied with the noted choral director Robert Page. She holds Carnegie Mellon University graduate-level degrees in conducting and composition. She also has a degree in engineering.

Sellner is a conducting assistant for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, which performs frequently with the Pittsburgh Symphony. The Mendelssohn Choir’s music director is Betsy Burleigh, who led the Akron Symphony Chorus from 1997 to 2002.

Sellner has also spent 8 seasons as music director of CMU’s All University Orchestra and String Theory Chamber Orchestra, and recently served as assistant conductor for productions of Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s Otello with Opera Carolina.

Maria Sensi Sellner replaces Hugh Ferguson Floyd, who is leaving after a two-year tenure to accept a full professorship position as coordinator of choral ensembles at Furman University.

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Matthias Pintscher
(Cleveland Orchestra)

Next month (June 2010) you’ll have a rare opportunity. You’ll be able to hear one of the world’s most revered and lauded orchestras. Now, that’s not so rare for folks in Northeast Ohio; it’s been our privilege to hear the Cleveland Orchestra for decades. The rarity is that, this time, your ticket to Severance Hall will be free.

On Saturday 5 June 2010, the Cleveland Orchestra plays works of living composers in two evening concerts. At 7pm they’ll perform Susan Botti’s Translucence, originally commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra; and Johannes Maria Staud’s On Contemplative Meteorology. At 9pm they’ll return to the Severance Hall stage for Concertate il suono by Marc-André Dalbavie and Matthias Pintscher’s with lilies white. Pintscher will be on hand and will conduct all the works.

Botti and Dalbavie will also be in town – the former now lives in New York and the latter in Paris. They’ll take part in a 6pm pre-concert discussion about "creation, performance, and the role of new music for orchestras," moderated by CIM composition department head Keith Fitch.

In the hour between the performances, the orchestra will throw a party in Severance Hall’s Grand Foyer and outside on the terrace (if the weather cooperates). Refreshments will be offered for sale. The entertainment during this interlude will be an amplified performance of Workers’ Union, created in 1975 by the Amsterdam-based composer Louis Andriessen for "any loud-sounding group of instruments."

The concert really is free, as is the reception, but you’ll still need tickets. Get them through the orchestra’s website.

Paid parking is available in the orchestra’s garage behind Severance Hall. You may be able to find free parking elsewhere in University Circle, but remember, it can be a bit of a stroll. The orchestra’s parking is a reasonable deal at $10-14, especially if you have health or security concerns.

The concert is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Further Reading:

Louis Andriessen at Wikipedia

Susan Botti’s Website

Marc-André Dalbavie at NPR

Matthias Pintscher, The Radical Conservative at The Guardian

Johannes Maria Staud: Fifteen Questions at tokafi

Listening:

Andriessen’s Workers’ Union at Youtube, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Dalbavie’s Concertate il suono, music download at Amazon, performed by Radio France Philharmonic

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