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By Alice Steinbach and Alice Steinbach,SUN STAFF | April 7, 1996
A heavy rain is falling outside on West 57th Street when two men, both 67 years old, seat themselves at concert grands in the basement of the Steinway piano company in Manhattan. The cavernous room is filled with huge, nine-foot pianos which, with their lids up, resemble a fleet of sleek whales. They are old friends, these two great pianists and the Steinway whales.It's been more than 50 years since Gary Graffman and Leon Fleisher began coming to "The Basement," and it is as familiar to them as the ivory keys beneath their fingers.
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NEWS
By Alice Steinbach and Alice Steinbach,SUN STAFF | April 7, 1996
A heavy rain is falling outside on West 57th Street when two men, both 67 years old, seat themselves at concert grands in the basement of the Steinway piano company in Manhattan. The cavernous room is filled with huge, nine-foot pianos which, with their lids up, resemble a fleet of sleek whales. They are old friends, these two great pianists and the Steinway whales.It's been more than 50 years since Gary Graffman and Leon Fleisher began coming to "The Basement," and it is as familiar to them as the ivory keys beneath their fingers.
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NEWS
By Linell Smith | December 15, 1991
Across a wide plain of Oriental carpet, a child in pink corduroy pants and candy cane turtleneck plays the violin. She plays the sort of music that leaves people momentarily helpless, that makes them remember things they once swore never to forget.Her 84-year-old teacher bends toward her, the lining of his camel hair jacket dangling, his hand trembling slightly."Hold that beat longer, darling, enjoy it," he says in a voice flavored by the warm, sheltering accents of Russian. Later: "Could you make bigger crescendo if I gave you a quarter?"
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 10, 1996
While perusal of William Bolcom's score for "Gaea" suggests that it is much more than a compositional stunt, there's a sense in which every left-handed work is just that.The piano's left hand repertory came into existence for one reason -- pianist-composers love to show off. The way Brahms viewed Bach's unfathomably great Chaconne for solo violin is a classic example of such a mind-set."On a single staff, for a tiny instrument, the man has written a whole world of the most profound ideas and powerful emotions," he told Clara Schumann.
NEWS
By Stephen Wigler | December 29, 1996
The season of joy has passed, and the more somber season of review is upon us. In arts and entertainment, 1996 was marked by many a going (Horn & Horn lunchroom, Shakespeare on Wheels, the announcement of David Zinman's departure) and an important staying (the Lucas Collection). Bad guys (Jack Valenti with his Hollywood-friendly TV ratings system) were as likely to make news as angels (John Travolta in "Michael"), and personalities (the Michael Jackson marriage saga) got more attention than performances (Alanis Morissette's best-selling album)
NEWS
March 5, 1995
These are heady times for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.Last Wednesday, the orchestra won two Grammys for its collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma on "The New York Album," a recording of concertos by Bela Bartok, Ernest Bloch and Stephen Albert. The orchestra won a Grammy four years ago for another recording with Mr. Ma, and Music Director David Zinman has collected another couple of Grammys for his work with other orchestras.Bravos are in order. If the BSO and Maestro Zinman keep it up, this could become a regular thing.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 13, 1996
It would have been unrealistic to expect William Bolcom to come up with a masterpiece for "Gaea," the work that received its world premiere Thursday night in Meyerhoff Hall from pianists Gary Graffman, Leon Fleisher, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its music director, David Zinman. Only J. S. Bach -- not Beethoven and not even Mozart -- could have achieved greatness in circumstances such as Bolcom's. And even Bach didn't hit an "Art of the Fugue" every time he stepped up to the plate.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith | September 26, 2002
Beethoven and Borromeo Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, and C major, Op. 59, No. 3. Borromeo String Quartet. (Image Recordings IRC 0202) Chamber-music fans may have never had it so good - first-rate ensembles can be heard just about everywhere these days. The latest release by one of these, the Borromeo String Quartet, reaffirms the qualities that started earning the group awards and other plaudits shortly after it was formed in 1989. This foursome boasts a seamless tone, sterling technique and, above all, a consistent depth of expression.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | September 25, 2004
Call me old-fashioned (or anything else you like), but it's hard for me to believe that the future of orchestras really depends on turning concert hall lobbies into sip-and-nosh nightspots, or letting musicians exchange white tie and tails for outfits that would pass muster with the Fab Five of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or offering tight close-ups of a conductor's face on giant video screens, or any of the other audience-seeking ideas that have...
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | July 23, 2005
When the players of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra took the stage of the Music Center at Strathmore Thursday night for a summer festival concert, they gave every appearance of normality, after what was probably the most abnormal week of their professional lives. Then again, the opening piece on the program just happened to be called Facade, so you never know. The orchestra's heavily publicized objection to naming a new music director, and the decision by the BSO board of directors to proceed with the historic appointment of Marin Alsop to that post, must have taken a severe toll on morale in the ensemble.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 4, 1999
Even classical music aficionados hear Peter Schickele's name and automatically think of a hilariously clever comedian responsible for unleashing the music of the infamous P.D.Q. Bach on an unsuspecting world.But while the world's funniest musicologist has won fame via laughter in P.D.Q.'s immortal works such as "Iphigenia in Brooklyn," the "Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle and Balloons," and the semi-lovely "Shleptet in E-flat," most of his music is no laughing matter.Indeed, Schickele is a serious composer as a Candlelight Concert audience will find out Saturday evening at 8 when the composer takes the Smith Theatre stage to perform with the Lark String Quartet.
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