MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Mahan Esfahani Today in Recital

Happening today at 2pm EST from 92Y.
The concert stream will be available to ticket buyers (just $10) for one full week from the time of broadcast. View it live, or at your convenience.

The program:
Selected Three-Part Inventions (Sinfonias), BWV 787-801
French Suite No. 3. In D Minor, BWV 812
Partita No. 6 in E Minor, BWV 827
Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971

Filed under: Bach, harpsichord, Mahan Esfahani

The AIDS Memorial Quilt Is Now Online

It’s startling to realize that the last time the AIDS Memorial Quilt could be displayed on the National Mall in its entirety was 24 years ago. It returned in 2012, but with smaller sections displayed each day over a two-week period. The Quilt has grown far too vast to be shown all at once on the Mall, as it was in 1996. But all 48,000 panels are now accessible online.

From Billy Anania’s report in Hypoallergenic:

While zooming out conveys the immensity of the overall project, focusing on specific panels shows the care and craftsmanship in each one. Many of the individual patches are color-coordinated within each panel, and some panels are even coordinated with their surroundings. Conducting broad keyword searches — like school, church, and prison — leads to panels contributed by collective groups and organizations affected throughout the years. Many of these memorials feel like time capsules from a previous crisis, particularly salient as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the US.

Reports Smithsonian magazine: “The newly launched digitization commemorates the International AIDS Conference, which was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 40th anniversary of the first reported HIV cases in the United States. When viewing the interactive quilt, users can either appreciate the enormous mosaic in its entirety or zoom in on specific panels, which often include individuals’ names and messages of love. Additionally, virtual visitors can search the quilt for specific names, keywords or block numbers.”

Here’s John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1: Of Rage and Remembrance, which was inspired by the Quilt

Filed under: John Corigliano, miscellaneous

Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter

Such an inspiring concert: Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center tonight presented a virtual concert showcasing and celebrating great Black singers, with tenor Lawrence Brownlee as host. Available on YouTube and Facebook for the next 30 days.
Program notes here.

Cast list:
Lawrence Brownlee, Host and Artistic Advisor
Craig Terry, Pianist and Ryan Opera Center Music Director
Whitney Morrison, soprano
J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Will Liverman, baritone
Martin Luther Clark, tenor
Lunga Eric Hallam, tenor
Leroy Davis, baritone
Chris Reynolds, pianist
Members of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra

Filed under: Lawrence Brownlee, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Aeschylus: The Persians Streamed from Epidaurus

This looks intriguing: the first-ever live streaming from the ancient theater of Epidaurus. On 25 July at 21.00 Athens time (GMT +2), a performance of The Persians by Aeschylus will be streamed to a global audience via YouTube (donations welcome). All proceeds will benefit the National Theatre and Greek actors impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The performance will be in Greek with English subtitles. To stream, visit, National Theatre of Greece, the 2020 Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, or the National Theatre of Greece’s YouTube channel.
(Thanks to Angelo Nasios for the tip.)

Filed under: ancient Greece, theater

Shanghai Philharmonic Closes Its Season

On 18 July at 7:30p.m. (Beijing time), the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) closes its season with a concert that will be delay-streamed a week later, starting at 1:00p.m. EST (7:00p.m. Central European Time) on Saturday, 25 July, on Facebook and Twitter. The stream will remain available here for viewing for an indefinite period.

SPO Artistic Director Zhang Yi will conduct the orchestra in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 (“Romantic”) — part of the ensemble’s complete Bruckner cycle — and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”), with Song Siheng as the soloist.

Filed under: music news, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra

Tippet Rise & Friends at Home

On Thursday, 16 July, Tippet Rise launches its monthly streaming series, Tippet Rise & Friends at Home, with a concert featuring pianist Behzod Abduraimov in a program of works by Liszt, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev.

I was able to visit Tippet Rise over the last two summers. Its unique landscape makes an indelible impression that can’t be replicated digitally, but a short film titled Tippet Rise from the Sky (a collaboration with the drone master Blastr) will be included with the stream and should at least suggest something of the flavor of this 12,000-acre art center in Montana. The series will be available on the Tippet Rise website at

Filed under: COVID-19 Era, music festivals, Tippet Rise

Interview with Olga Neuwirth

Here’s a new interview with Olga Neuwirth conducted by Boulez Saal’s Philipp Brieler, discussing Pierre Boulez and Neuwirth’s new piece Naufraghi del mondo que hanno ancora un cuore — one of the new works premiered on Saturday’s program. The entire Festival of New Music: Distance/Intimacy is being streamed live and then archived for 30 days. You can find this program here (Neuwirth’s piece begins at 55:00).

Filed under: COVID-19 Era, new music, Olga Neuwirth, Pierre Boulez, Pierre Boulez Saal

A Festival of New Music from Boulez Saal in Berlin

Starting today, Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin is presenting a four-day Festival of New Music, which will juxtapose online premieres with works by the hall’s namesake.

Curated by Daniel Barenboim and Emmanuel Pahud, the programs — presented in the the Frank Gehry-designed space — are being streamed on the Boulez-Saal Facebook page as well as on its YouTube channel. These programs will then remain available, free on-demand, for 30 days.

Filed under: Daniel Barenboim, new music, Pierre Boulez, Pierre Boulez Saal

Plagues and Passions: Lamentation Back before Bach at the Ravenna Festival


My first official review in quite some time — albeit of a live stream:

Quite by accident, early music groups and chamber ensembles have turned out to have a natural advantage during the current pandemic. Their compact size can more easily accommodate distancing requirements as presenters gingerly proceed to reintroduce public performances. Even more, Il Suonar Parlante pointedly homed in on the theme of plague itself for their choice of programme at the Ravenna Festival…


Filed under: early music, music festivals, Ravenna Festival, review

A Virtual Festival of Chamber Music

[clip from the earlier incarnation of the James Ehnes Quartet, which launches Seattle’s Virtual Summer Festival this week]

The Seattle Chamber Music Society launches its Virtual Summer Festival this evening. This isn’t just a visit to the archives but a 12-concert series of all brand-new live performances that will be taped before being released to the public as streams.

The concerts will be made available on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule at 7pm PST. These will be “on-demand”: in other words, you won’t have to view them at the specific streaming time but can access all concerts for which you have purchased a pass through 10 August 2020 — as many times as you like.

This is an experiment and a risk. How many will pay for internet performances, as opposed to free streams? Each concert costs $15, or you can purchase a pass to all 12 programs for $125. For the first time, SCMS’s Chamber Festival is thus available to anyone anywhere with internet access, and performances cannot be “sold out.”

I wrote about the planning that went into this approach for the Seattle Times.

Artistic Director James Ehnes and his quartet will perform part two of their complete Beethoven quartet cycle in the three concerts on offer this week. This continues and concludes the journey they began in January — under normal circumstances — at the shorter Winter Festival.

Meanwhile, Ehnes put his quarantine time to use at his home in Florida by recording the solo partitas and sonatas of J.S. Bach and the corresponding Ysaÿe sonatas. He will be releasing these in a series, starting here.

Filed under: Beethoven, chamber music, COVID-19 Era, festivals, James Ehnes, Seattle Chamber Music Society

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