My $0.02 on the (sad) 2017/18 LA Opera season, plus some straight talk from James Conlon
All Reviews / Interviews / Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2017/2018

My $0.02 on the (sad) 2017/18 LA Opera season, plus some straight talk from James Conlon

Folks, I’m generally an optimistic, positive-thinking kinda guy.  I try to find the bright side of things and give people the benefit of the doubt, even when most others wouldn’t dream of it. So leave it to our good friends at Los Angeles Opera to test my ability to maintain a stiff upper lip and keep … Continue reading

A chat with Raynor Carroll (Part 2 of 2): post-retirement plans and stories of his successor,  soloing, conductors with whom he’s worked, and much more
Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Raynor Carroll (Part 2 of 2): post-retirement plans and stories of his successor,  soloing, conductors with whom he’s worked, and much more

Here’s Part Two of my interview with Raynor Carroll, the Principal Percussionist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic who’ll retire after tonight’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  (Part One can be found HERE). In this part, he talks about: Matthew Howard, the musician taking over his orchestra chair once he steps down The challenges of attracting young African-Americans … Continue reading

A chat with Raynor Carroll (part 1 of 2):  the outgoing Principal Percussionist of the LA Phil talks about the joys and craziness of his job and the instruments he plays
Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Raynor Carroll (part 1 of 2): the outgoing Principal Percussionist of the LA Phil talks about the joys and craziness of his job and the instruments he plays

“Someone will usually ask me:  ‘How did you pick percussion or drums?’  I didn’t, it picked me.  It was always been the sound of a drum that caught my ear,” explains Raynor Carroll, Principal Percussionist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. “I like to say I have the ideal job – and soon I’ll say I had the … Continue reading

A chat with Caroline Shaw:  Pulitzer Prize-winning musician talks Ojai Festival, inspiration, and illegally grown pumpkins (?!)
Interviews / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Caroline Shaw: Pulitzer Prize-winning musician talks Ojai Festival, inspiration, and illegally grown pumpkins (?!)

Attend the Ojai Music Festival, Southern California’s loveable cabal of contemporary classical music, and you expect works by living composers, particularly brand new pieces that get their debut at the festival.  This year, the first world premiere shows up on Saturday afternoon:  This might also be a form of dreaming by Caroline Shaw (with text by Claudia … Continue reading

A chat with Kaija Saariaho:  the world-renowned composer talks about the 2016 Ojai Festival and more
Interviews / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Kaija Saariaho: the world-renowned composer talks about the 2016 Ojai Festival and more

There are few places that celebrate living composers and their works more than the Ojai Festival.  And among those favored by this haven for contemporary classical music is Kaija Saariaho. She first gained notice in the early 1980’s as part of the “Ears Open Society,” the Finnish collective of Sibelius Academy alumni which included Esa-Pekka … Continue reading

A chat with Jeffrey Kahane: with only 12 months left as LA Chamber Orchestra’s Music Director, we look back at an eventful 19 years
Interviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Jeffrey Kahane: with only 12 months left as LA Chamber Orchestra’s Music Director, we look back at an eventful 19 years

Nineteen years down, one more to go. With tonight’s concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall, Jeffrey Kahane will complete his penultimate season at Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. It’s a tenure that is remarkable not only for its length (which is considerable) or even the quality of the music that has resulted from … Continue reading

A chat with Jean Davidson, new President & CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale
Interviews / Los Angeles Master Chorale / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Jean Davidson, new President & CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale

Jean Davidson is six months into her job as President & CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and in some ways, she’s still settling in. She’s lived much of the past two decades in New York.  Her most recent ten years were spent as the administrative yin to the artistic yang of acclaimed choreographer … Continue reading

A chat with Michele Zukovsky (part 2 of 2):  on German clarinets, German conductors, life after the LA Phil, and more
Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Michele Zukovsky (part 2 of 2): on German clarinets, German conductors, life after the LA Phil, and more

Michele Zukovsky, Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, wraps up her amazing 54-year tenure with the orchestra in an all-Rachmaninoff concert today at 2pm; Cristian Măcelaru conducts. Below is the second part of my interview with her (Part 1 is HERE).  In it, we chat about her switch from a French clarinet to a German one, some observations about conductors … Continue reading

A chat with Michele Zukovsky (part 1 of 2): the LA Phil’s outgoing Principal Clarinet reflects on how her 54-year tenure began, the audition process, and more
Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Michele Zukovsky (part 1 of 2): the LA Phil’s outgoing Principal Clarinet reflects on how her 54-year tenure began, the audition process, and more

On first impression, Michele Zukovsky might not strike you as anyone particularly notable other than being a fairly energetic, witty, and self-deprecating 70-something.  That seems to suit her just fine.  Rather than talk about herself or her career, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Clarinet is more eager to share photos of herself as a proud grand-aunt, crawling … Continue reading

A chat with Lionel Bringuier about the LA Phil and the Tonhalle, Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yuja Wang and Kanye West, and more
Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with Lionel Bringuier about the LA Phil and the Tonhalle, Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yuja Wang and Kanye West, and more

Lionel Bringuier was sitting in a car on an LA freeway, but by the joy of his voice, you’d think he was somewhere much more glamorous or perhaps sitting on a beach. “I love Los Angeles,” he declared, his smile coming through loud and clear over the phone.  “It’s always so special for me to be here.” … Continue reading

A chat with Steven Schick about the Ojai Festival, percussionists, and much more
Interviews / Music News & Info: Classical / Other classical music concerts and recitals (in So Cal and beyond)

A chat with Steven Schick about the Ojai Festival, percussionists, and much more

Tonight marks the opening concerts in the 2015 rendition of that annual musical adventure known as the Ojai Festival.  As is their habit, the folks at Ojai change Music Directors every year, and for this year’s festival, they tapped percussionist extraordinaire, Steven Schick.  The Iowa native holds a number of notable posts (Distinguished Professor of … Continue reading

A chat with soprano Delaram Kamareh in advance of her debut with the LA Master Chorale
Interviews / Los Angeles Master Chorale / Music News & Info: Classical

A chat with soprano Delaram Kamareh in advance of her debut with the LA Master Chorale

Delaram Kamareh is not a big believer in doing exactly what everyone thinks a soprano should do, and by extension, what they think SHE should do. As we chat over a bite to eat, she recalls a recent conversation with a would-be agent:  “It was pretty clear that we weren’t a good fit for each other. … Continue reading

My interview with LA Phil’s Andrew Bain and Tom Hooten for <i>LA Weekly</i>
Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

My interview with LA Phil’s Andrew Bain and Tom Hooten for LA Weekly

I’m pleased to announce that the good folks at LA Weekly have asked me to start writing for them on a freelance basis.  The first of what I hope will be many articles and reviews in that publication is “An Ex-Marine and a Former Basketball Referee Walk Into Disney Hall…,” an interview with Andrew Bain and … Continue reading

LA Chamber Orchestra’s Margaret Batjer and Andrew Norman talk about music and architecture
Interviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical

LA Chamber Orchestra’s Margaret Batjer and Andrew Norman talk about music and architecture

Tonight marks the latest installment in Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s annual “Westside Connections” series of three concerts pairing music with (insert annual topic here) . . . no seriously, the topic changes every year, complete with special guests discussing how the the topic and music mesh.  This year, Margaret Batjer (LACO concertmaster and series curator) has … Continue reading

Up close and personal with the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ, plus video of  Joanne Pearce Martin playing Bach
Architecture / Interviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

Up close and personal with the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ, plus video of Joanne Pearce Martin playing Bach

I touched my lips to the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ.  Kinda.  OK, perhaps not quite, but I came close.  More on that in a minute . . . This weekend’s concerts at WDCH were the latest salvo in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the debut of the venue’s famed … Continue reading