MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Music Of Shostakovich Brings Fresh Drama To Silent Film ‘Potemkin’

Music from Shostavich’s Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Symphonies was performed live to Eisenstein’s film. (Seattle Symphony photo)

I wrote about a very interesting film + live symphony event at Seattle Symphony with guest conductor Frank Strobel:

In 1925, Sergei Eisenstein made cinematic history with the release of Battleship Potemkin, his feature debut. Dmitri Shostakovich, still a precocious teenager, was hard at work on his First Symphony, which also caused a sensation when it was premiered the next year by the Leningrad Philharmonic.


Filed under: Classical Voice North America, film, film music, review, Seattle Symphony

Abel Selaocoe Brings His Spirited Musicianship to Seattle

Abel Selaocoe and the Seattle Symphony; photo (c) Carlin Ma

What a memorable concert this was — my latest Seattle Symphony review:

“I feel very welcome here,” said Abel Selaocoe just before making his debut with the Seattle Symphony. Not only did he seem completely at home: in remarks introducing Four Spirits, his new work for cello, voice and orchestra, the young cellist-composer invited the audience to enter into his musical world, indicating that he would cue them when to sing along at the appropriate moment. “I’ll see you on the other side,” he winked, just before taking up his position to launch the piece.


Filed under: Berlioz, cello, new music, review, Seattle Symphony

Hannibal Lokumbe’s The Jonah People

This week the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero present the world premiere of Hannibal Lokumbe‘s boundary-breaking The Jonah People: A Legacy of Struggle and Triumph. This bold and uncompromising opera draws on Hannibal’s own family history and the biblical parable of Jonah and the Whale to tell and epic, visionary story that honors the countless Africans stolen from their homeland as well as their descendants through the generations. 

You can find my program guide to this extraordinary collaborative work here:

Filed under: American opera, commissions, Nashville Symphony, new music

Rites of Earth: Music of John Luther Adams and Stravinsky at Carnegie Hall

John Luther Adams onstage at Carnegie Hall after the New York premiere of his ‘Vespers of the Blessed Earth’ by the Philadelphia Orchestra and The Crossing. (Photos by Chris Lee)

A most interesting concert at Carnegie Hall, pairing a new major work by John Luther Adams with the never-old Rite of Spring: my review for Classical Voice North America is now online.

NEW YORK — In late March, the front page of The New York Times announced the latest warning from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change under the headline “Earth Is Nearing The Tipping Point For A Hot Future.” It served as a grim contextual prelude to Vespers of the Blessed Earth, the latest work by John Luther Adams, which the Philadelphia Orchestra performed on its Carnegie Hall program March 31, a night after presenting the world premiere at its home base.


Filed under: Carnegie Hall, John Luther Adams, new music, Philadelphia Orchestra, Stravinsky

Sameer Patel: Musical America’s New Artist of the Month

Photo (c) Sam Zauscher

I had the pleasure of writing this profile of Sameer Patel, Musical America’s New Artist of the Month for April 2023:

As he describes the career choices that have led to his current position, Sameer Patel refers to a verse from the Bhagavad Gita: “‘It’s better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another’ — in other words, to follow your own virtue or path or journey.”


Filed under: conductors, Musical America

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.