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RPS Gold Medal to Ligeti


The Gold Medal, the Royal Philharmonic Society's hightest honour, has been presented to composer Gyorgy Ligeti in Vienna.
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Happy Birthday Max


Sir Peter Maxwell Davies celebrates his 70th birthday this September 8th. The BBC Proms are paying tribute with a spotlight on his works, and Max was recently star of a major retrospective in the Carinthia Summer Festival.

Harvey appointed to BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra


The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of Jonathan Harvey as Composer in Association.

Harvey’s first large scale commission for the BBC SSO will be premiered in September 2005 to celebrate the orchestra’s move to City Hall, Glasgow for the new season. Glasgow's Tramway Theatre will host a Portrait Concerto on 21 January 2005, to include his Calling Across Time, Scena and Wheel of Emptiness. In addition, the orchestra will perform his ravishing orchestral work Tranquil Abiding, in Aberdeen in April 2005.

Harvey has written two Buddhist Songs, to be premiered as part of this year’s City of London Festival at the new LSO St Luke’s venue. Soprano Ailish Tynan will be accompanied by pianist Simon Lepper.

The composer writes:

‘These songs with piano are in a sense 'functional'; that is to say they are intended to embellish buddhist celebratory occasions, as and when needed. More will be written in due course, each one drawing on a translation of the classic ten-chapter poem, Bodhisattvacharyavatara - 'Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' by Shantideva, who lived in India from 687 to 763. The English translation was made under the guidance of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a Tibetan scholar and qualified Spiritual Guide. The first song explains the benefits of having a mind focused on bodhicitta, the aspiration to become a buddha with power to help all beings. The second song, through the act of making offerings, real and imagined, aims to purify negativity.’

Birtwistle: composer-in-residence at Lucerne Festival


Harrison Birtwistle is composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival (21 Aug – 16 Sep), which includes the world premiere of his new orchestral work Night's Black Bird.

This summer's Lucerne Festival plays host to a major 70th birthday feature on the music of Harrison Birtwistle, including 15 works spanning his creative output. The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Most gives the premiere of his new orchestral work Night's Black Bird on 21 August, coupled with The Shadow of Night, and with the Dowland lute song In Darkness Let Me Dwell which plays a role in both pieces acting as an interlude. Night's Black Bird is the first of a series of prestigious Lucerne commissions from Roche, and a special souvenir book on Birtwistle is being produced linked with the premiere.

Other Lucerne highlights include the first complete performance of the 26 Orpheus Elegies for oboe, harp and countertenor, performed by Heinz Holliger, Ursula Holliger and Andrew Watts, the world premiere of three new arrangements of Bach arias, and the Swiss premieres of Theseus Game and Pulse Shadows.

Birtwhistle events:

4 September, 20.00
Theseus Game [BH] (Swiss premiere)
Ensemble Modern/Pierre-André Valade/Martyn Brabbins

14 September, 20.00
Secret Theatre [UE]
Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble/Pierre Boulez

15 September, 20.00
Silbury Air [UE]
Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble/Cliff Colnot

16 September, 19.30
Earth Dances [UE]
Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra/Pierre Boulez

BH = Boosey & Hawkes;
UE = Universal Edition

For full venue information visit
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Max weighs into debate on Scottish culture


The debate about Scottish culture rumbles on, following the savage cuts applied to Scottish Opera, pushing it to the brink of extinction.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, composer laureate, has mounted the barricades to send the latest salvo against the Scottish Executive. On a BBC Radio Scotland interview he attacked the politicians for their "ignorant" attitudes to culture:

"To think what they are spending on that Scottish Parliament building for themselves — just the nail clippings of that would keep Scottish Opera going. Scottish Opera have done splendid work but have received a vicious kick, which is the last thing they deserved."

London Sinfonietta lauches record label


The London Sinfonietta has launched its own record label.

The first CD will be a recording of the concert given in honour of Oliver Knussen's 50th birthday in June 2002 featuring works by Elliot Carter, Mark-Anthony-Turnage, Charlies Wuorinen, Collin Matthews and Alexander Goehr.

Sales will in the first instance be through the groups website and the MDC shop at the Festival Hall, where the group is associate ensemble.
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Grammy Awards 2004


Best Classical Album
(Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s) if other than the Artist.)

Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Kindertotenlieder
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano; Andreas Neubronner, producer (Vance George; Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus & Women of the SFS Chorus; San Francisco Symphony) [SFS Media]

Best Orchestral Performance
(Award to the Conductor and to the Orchestra.)

Mahler: Symphony No. 3
Pierre Boulez, conductor (Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo soprano; Johannes Prinz & Gerald Wirth; Vienna Boys' Choir & Women's Chorus of the Vienna Singverein; Vienna Philharmonic)
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Best Opera Recording
(Award to the Conductor, Album Producer(s) and Principal Soloists.)

Janácek: Jenufa
Bernard Haitink, conductor; Jerry Hadley, Karita Mattila, Eva Randová, Anja Silja & Jorma Silvasti; Wolfram Graul, producer (Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden)
[Erato Disques]

Best Chamber Music Performance
(Award to the Artists.)

Berg: Lyric Suite
Kronos Quartet & Dawn Upshaw, soprano
[Nonesuch Records]

More Info...

Oscar Academy Award for Best foreign language picture with music by Arvo Pärt


The Oscar for the Best foreign language picture went to Les invasions barbares by Denys Arcand which uses music by Arvo Pärt (Psalom, Trisagion, Wallfahrtslied).
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Peter Sculthorpe completes Requiem


In this, his 75th birthday year, Peter Sculthorpe has recently completed a major new Requiem for SATB chorus, orchestra and solo didjeridu. It has been jointly commissioned by the Adelaide and Lichfield Festivals, and following its Adelade premiere on 3 March will be given its European premiere at the Lichfield Festival on 12 July in the presence of the composer.

London Sinfonietta launches new record label


The London Sinfonietta has launched its own new record label with a disc celebrating Oliver Knussen's 50th birthday in 2002, based on a concert given at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

News Archive - records 291-300 of 315
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