Blog Posts By

John Gibbons holds a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Chicago. He teaches music appreciation classes at the Universality of Chicago’s Graham School and at Newberry Library. He also offers private piano lessons in the Chicago area.

Bonnie Gibbons is a web site developer and SEO with a background in classical music. She might be persuaded to teach a few cello lessons in the Chicago area.

Friday Links

An 8-year-old piano student takes on Anthony Tommasini's Top 10 Composers. His wonderful letter (with hand-drawn portaits intended to be Schumann and Tchaikovsky) lists the kid's "greatest" list, plus the ten he likes best. He's sorry if his departures from Tommasini's pick's hurt the critic's feelings.

Reviews of Covent Garden's Anna Nicole production are out. (Composer: Mark-Anthony Turnage, Librettist: Richard Thomas) The Independent, The Telegraph, NY Times.

Last week, the Boston Lyric Opera Annex presented Viktor Ullmann's opera The Emperor of Atlantis (Der Kaiser von Atlantis). Like its better-known counterpart Brundibar, this opera was composed and rehearsed in Theriesienstadt (the Nazi's "model camp" near Prague) and everyone involved in the opera was soon on a train to Auschwitz. Kaiser is a barely-disguised study on Hitler, war and totalitarianism (libretto by Pietr Kien) that may have hastened Ullmann's gassing. Consequently, a professional production inevitably lots of press coverage and reviews.

Decca is launching a new classical label designed to be "more relevant." Meanwhile, the topic of discussion on social media has been Alex Ross's "Why do we hate modern classical music?" from back in November and Michael Fedo's recent follow-up "Why does contemporary classical music spurn melody?" By no means is the classical twitterverse conceding that modern classical music even does spurn melody, while others are defending the place in the world for "ugly" music and debating ways to help people acquire the taste. We hope to find the time to join in the debate. Normally I'd say we missed the window, but if Fedo can respond to a November post in February...

Classical Beach Reading: Robert Levine's "Weep, Shudder, Die"

12 Operas NOT to Attend on Valentine’s Day