REVIEW: New York Philharmonic Tunes into 'Toons

Bugs Bunny, the iconic carrot-chomping rabbit with a Brooklyn accent, the first cartoon character to appear on a postage stamp, was the star at David Geffen Hall this weekend. The New York Philharmonic presented Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, a parade of timeless Warner Bros. “Looney Tunes” shorts. Not just for kids, this variation on the popular film-with-live-orchestra concept is a celebration of classical music’s storytelling power.

REVIEW: Mahan Esfahani Shows Orpheus the Harpsichord Underworld

Mahan Esfahani is a harpsichordist on a mission. He is rescuing the antique keyboard from the doldrums of Baroque music and the shackles of the period instrument movement. Esfahani’s harpsichord is as vital and viable as it ever was, and he commissions new work for the instrument, in addition to reviving a body of literature written for it over the past century. The award-winning musician, born in Iran, raised in the US, and currently based in Prague, made his New York concerto debut with the illustrious Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at the 92nd St. Y on Wednesday evening.

REVIEW: Labèque Sisters, New York Philharmonic, and a Hero's Life

The New York Philharmonic performed Max Bruch's Concerto for Two Pianos only once in 1917, but the composer might not have recognized it, had he been in attendance. The late-Romantic German composer, whose limited fame rests largely on his more widely performed Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, had entrusted the work to the Sutro sisters, Rose and Ottilie. But they edited it heavily for their two performances of the piece (the other with Stokowski in Philadelphia), even jettisoning a movement, and copyrighted it for themselves. Apparently they went on to scam Bruch out of the profits of that Violin Concerto, too. 

REVIEW: Perlman and Kissen Sell Out Carnegie Hall

Itzhak Perlman debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1963. He has been winning Grammys since 1977, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015. Evgeny Kissen, 26 years Perlman's junior, rose to fame as a child prodigy in Russia and made his Carnegie debut in 1990,. His star has not faded. The two joined up on this storied stage for a hefty program of hearty meat-and-potatoes repertoire, and it was enlightening. 

REVIEW: CMS Celebrates Crumb, American Maverick, at 90

It’s a cliché to describe George Crumb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer turning 90 this year, as a maverick. But, the word perfectly describes this composer who forged his own path, bucking established pretenses and becoming an original, vital voice in American music. Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center celebrated Crumb’s career in two rewarding concerts amounting to one of this year’s most significant artistic events. Two expansive evenings, exceptionally produced and performed, exhibited the humanity, and curiosity about the universe, in Crumb’s musical output.

REVIEW: Simone Young Returns to New York Philharmonic with a Bang

Simone Young knows every note of Mahler's gargantuan score, and thanks to her complete mastery of the conductor's tools, she commanded the Philharmonic like a virtuoso. As soon as she appeared on the podium, her focused, clearheaded energy galvanized the orchestra. The "Tragic" calls for impressive forces, all hands on deck, and New York's musicians filled the stage at David Geffen Hall, and under the vibrant leadership of Ms. Young, they played as brilliantly as ever. 

REVIEW: The Sterling Voices of King's College Choir

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge's recent concert at Saint Thomas Church felt like a celebration -- a grateful, momentous turning of the road. It felt like Spring. This was the last occasion on which they would appear under the direction of Stephen Cleobury in the U.S. before he retires. Fittingly, Daniel Hyde, current music director of St. Thomas's own esteemed music program will return to his alma mater to take over Mr. Cleobury's duties as Director of Music. 

REVIEW: 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists Solves Sondheim's Wordplay

The 92nd St. Y’s esteemed series celebrating the great American songbook, “Lyrics & Lyricists,” is in its 49th season, and now under the aegis of the head of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, Ted Chapin. Stephen Sondheim, indisputably the finest lyricist alive today, and arguably the greatest lyricist in the history of the American musical theater, has naturally been a writer the series has performed on more than one occasion. This music theatre nerd yearned to go further “into the words.” But, given how quickly a production like this must be assembled, Sondheim: Wordplay was a winning, entertaining evening celebrating one of our greatest artists.

PREVIEW: April in New York

Cadenza NYC’s monthly preview of New York’s classical music events. A curated list of the most interesting and promising classical music happenings in New York City for the month of April 2019. 92Y, Bargemusic, BAM, Carnegie Hall, New York Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and new this month…The Shed at Hudson Yards!