Arts

Arts and culture

The outburst of Western classical music in China over the past decade has been called nothing short of a frenzy by some observers. Estimates vary widely, but it's reported that somewhere between 50 and 100 million Chinese children are studying piano, violin and other Western instruments. One piano manufacturer alone, the Pearl River Company, builds around 100,000 pianos per year.

Over nearly four decades and 40 documentaries, 82-year-old director Frederick Wiseman has taken reluctant ownership of terms like "direct cinema," "cinema verite" and "fly on the wall" — each suggesting a transparent sort of artistry, in which real life unfolds before the camera with minimal guidance from the man behind it.

(Talk Like An Opera Geek attempts to decode the intriguing and intimidating lexicon of the opera house.)

One of the most influential and widely hailed figures in the modern early music movement, conductor, harpsichordist and organist Gustav Leonhardt, has died at 83. Just a month ago, after a concert at Paris' Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Leonhardt abruptly announced that he had just given his last public performance. According to Dutch press reports, he died yesterday in Amsterdam, though the cause of death was not released.

Attention, Teenage Orchestral Musicians: Here's Your Big Chance

Jan 16, 2012

Are you an extremely talented orchestral player? Looking for something to do summer after next? Are you a teenager? If the answer to all three is yes, here's a chance to meet other kids who love Bach and Brahms as much as you do and to learn from some of America's finest musicians. Many of your expenses will be paid, you'll have the honor of being associated with one of the world's foremost presenters, and — oh yeah, one last thing — you'll get to tour the world with Valery Gergiev.

  • As of Monday, New York City Opera had locked out orchestra and chorus members though the company's first production of the 2011-12 season, a weeklong run of La Traviata at the Brooklyn Academy of Music scheduled to begin Feb. 12. Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for the opera, says City Opera is taking things 'one day at a time.' But with a first performance scheduled for Feb. 12 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, time is running out.

Vijay Iyer Trio: Live In Concert

Jan 13, 2012

Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer leads a trio that traffics in grooves, crackling and heavy. He has a distinctive way of exploiting dissonance and rhythmic space at the piano; he's joined by a deeply resonant, gut-punching bassist (Stephan Crump) and a drummer with an advanced understanding of time (Marcus Gilmore). The results are beats that feel borrowed from a future age; alternately, they're new lenses on jazz's big-picture history.

Gil Shaham: A Violinist's Day At The Museum

Jan 13, 2012

By Amanda Ameer

As Gil Shaham wandered through the back offices of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., he said he felt "like Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum." For this impromptu Bach mini-recital, the violin superstar momentarily became part of the art, bathed in the modish lighting and projections of a multimedia installation during the performance.

Before I touched down in Germany for another Christmas and New Year's with my wife's family, I had never heard of Bernard Victor Christoph Carl von Bülow.

There was nothing ordinary about Czech composer Leos Janáček. He set one opera in a barnyard and another on the moon. He fell for a married woman more than 30 years his junior, proceeding to write more than 700 love letters. And in his mid-60s, he churned out piece after amazing piece in one of classical music's most impressive late surges.

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