Classical Music

There’s a recipe for just this baroque-era staple included in The Little Bach Book by the Oregon-based tenor, Bach specialist and book designer David Gordon (Lucky Valley Press, 2017). Only 160 pages, including maps, glossary, timeline, recommendations for further reading and, yes, recipes, Gordon’s little book reveals the magnificent Johann Sebastian Bach as a man of his Read More
What is it about some music that feels just right for these challenging times? In Victoria, BC, the theme of the 13th Annual Pacific Baroque Festival is “From the Ground, Up,” featuring just that kind of music: the kind that builds on repetition. Marc Destrubé, the internationally-acclaimed violinist and teacher, and the Pacific Baroque Festival’s Artistic Director, says Read More
“I promise you, children become what they are told they are.” The words of the first teacher to be awarded the National Medal of the Arts, Dorothy DeLay. Her violin students numbered in the hundreds, and they include some of music’s biggest names: Midori, Nigel Kennedy, Sarah Chang, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Anne Akiko Meyers, Gil Shaham and Itzhak Perlman. Read More
Classical music has historically been dominated by white voices. Black composers and musicians have been silenced and barred from musical careers, with a long history of not receiving proper credit for their contributions, and even so far as being kept from being audience members for much of music history. But the future of classical music is diverse and inclusive and Read More
Virginia Woolf was lounging in her pajamas in bed one morning when her doorbell rang. A visitor? That was the last thing she expected that day. But, expected or not, there came the sounds of footsteps: through the foyer, up the staircase and down the hall -- a moment later into her room, and into her life, burst the composer, writer and suffragette Ethel Smyth. Read More
The early 20th century presented a series of uphill battles for women in music. For woman of color, they scaled mountains to compose, play and share their voices. It was a series of old locked doors, blatant racism and intolerance. While many in the white, male-dominated  music community  turned backs, refusing to listen, or even attempted to stop them before they Read More
Was Johannes Brahms as sweet and comforting as the lullaby that bears his name? Actually, as conductor Manfred Honeck told the New York Times, “There was nothing cozy about Brahms.” He never had students in the formal sense. Brahms’s manner was described as “not encouraging,” when younger composers would beg for his attentions. But Antonin Dvorak didn’t have to beg. Read More
Many of us admire our musical idols from afar - maybe through keepsakes like concert ticket stubs, autographs or posters taped to our walls. Marin Alsop had two posters up in her New York City bedroom growing up - one of the Beatles and the other of the man who inspired her to become a conductor - Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein ended up becoming more than the man on her Read More
William Shakespeare - author of deeply romantic prose, particularly memorable and witty dialogue, 27 plays and 375 poems. He also stood as inspiration for many an opera, overture and incidental music. There’s a lot to love about ‘The Bard,’ and NWPB rose to the task of picking some favorites in honor of his birthday - April 23. Read More
Vivaldi’s "Spring" is one of the most recognizable, best loved works in the world and one of the best ways to celebrate the season. Vivaldi penned his famous quartet of concertos, The Four Seasons or Le quattro stagioni, between the late 1710s and early 1720s. Each concerto includes an accompanying sonnet of unknown origin (a classic case of “which came first – the Read More
Unlike his contemporaries, Britten did not devote much of his time to writing symphonies. It’s no wonder that when he *did* sit down to write his Spring Symphony, it resulted in a grand journey in 4 parts and 12 movements, harnessing the power of mixed chorus, boys’ choir, soprano, alto and tenor soloists and a massive orchestra including harp, tambourine and cow horn. Read More
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel got a much needed breath of fresh air and a boost of musical inspiration from a year-long Italian trip in 1840. Mendelssohn-Hensel, her husband and their young son spent the entire year away from their home of Berlin and vacationing throughout Italy - stopping in Rome and Venice to take in the vast musical inspiration. Read More
The chamber music impresaria Toby Saks became a legend in the music life of the Pacific Northwest. She began her career in New York: she earned awards as a teenage cellist; she played in the New York Philharmonic in her 20s. She moved out west to join the faculty of the University of Washington School of Music, and soon gathered a group of classical music supporters to Read More
The conductor Mary Terey-Smith made music history here in the Pacific Northwest, as a result of a political revolution half a world away. This Hungarian-born music talent, student of Kodaly at the legendary Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, hadn’t been out in the working world very long when the 1956 Hungarian Revolution turned her into a refugee. Read More
You’ve heard so much about the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, but there were daughters, too. Bach was 23, and his wife Maria Barbara was 24, when the first of their children was born. They named her Catherina Dorothea. CD grew into a singer, and helped out in her father’s music work. Fifteen years passed, her mother died, her father remarried, and finally, CD Bach Read More
Barbara Strozzi changed the face of vocal music with her stunning and emotional song collections.  Born to a famous poet and librettist, she was encouraged to follow her artistic talents from an early age and received a musical education from other famous Italian composers.  Strozzi wasn’t afraid to experiment. She made a big name herself in the 17th century, Read More
Louise Farrenc inspired the world and demanded what she deserved - something we can all aspire to.  A musician, composer and teacher ahead of her time, she gained fame as an incredible performer, wrote award winning music and taught at the Paris conservatory for 30 years as the only woman on staff in the 19th century.  Read More
As pianist Mahani Teave was poised to launch her international career, she remembered the moment when the first piano arrived on her remote island. It was 1992, she was nine years old and the instrument landed on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as it was named by Europeans. Best known for its mysterious, sentinel-like stone statues, the island lies some 2000 miles off the coast Read More
Maestra Margriet Tindemans made history as a performer of early music. The Pacific Northwest was her home for the final three decades of her influential career, but she started as a child violinist in a 1950s European youth orchestra. Born in the Netherlands, Tindemans developed mastery on all manner of medieval, renaissance and baroque string instruments, adding her Read More
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