French pianist, Jean-Paul Gasparian studied at the Paris Conservatoire before finishing his performance diploma at the Royal College of Music in London. When he was 18, he participated in the Verbier Academy, and ever since he has performed with orchestras across Europe including France, Serbia, Montenegro, and Germany. In August 2017, he made his solo recital debut and released a debut album featuring Rachmaninoff Etudes, Scriabin, and Prokofiev. Here, Gasparian discusses his relationship with the ‘Russian School’ and the ‘French tradition’ of classical music, and the key influences behind his new album.
This is one of those rare occasions where I can’t let fandom win. Out of the many times I’ve seen Jonas Kaufmann perform on stage (be it at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera, or Barbican), this was probably the most disappointing performance I had ever seen. The Barbican concert, to perform Strauss lieder with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under maestro Jochen Rieder, was first meant to happen on February 2017. But based on recommendations from Kaufmann’s vocal coach, he was advised to cancel the event altogether.
Review by Tony Watts
Not likely to be seen at your local Odeon on a Saturday evening, particularly as a silent film is not the most obvious medium for opera, this version of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s masterpiece stands out as an oddity in the composer’s output. Presumably conceived as another way of ploughing an already fertile furrow or as a publicity tool for the opera it is broadly a dramatisation of the story of Der Rosenkavalier and boasts a score for orchestra especially written to accompany this one hundred minute version with Strauss drawing on music from the opera, as well as his Couperin Suite and a rather brash newly-composed march.
Review Written by Tony Watts
Even given the undeniable merits of the likes of Miklós Rózsa, Bernard Herrmann, Erich Korngold, Elmer Bernstein, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, Max Steiner and Henry Mancini in Hollywood’s golden age, in more recent times the undisputed master of film music has been the peerless John Williams, whose lengthy career has, to date, spanned more than six decades having begun in the early fifties. Showered with honours, including more than fifty Academy Award nominations (five awards), twenty-four Grammys, seven Baftas and five Golden Globes, his pre-eminence in his field is without question. The long partnership between Williams and director Steven Spielberg has lasted for more than thirty years proving enormously productive. All this coming from a man who, as a youngster, didn’t believe he could make a decent living from writing film music!
London-based composer and violinist Layale Chaker will be performing Inner Rhyme at St Marylebone Church with the Sarafand Ensemble. Here, Layale shares with us: what inspired her to compose Inner Rhyme, how her rich Lebanese heritage influenced her musical style, and her professional experience performing as member of the West-Divan Orchestra.
Sir Henry Wood founded the Proms back in 1895 and what a great idea it was seeing as this year celebrates the 124th Prom, which shall include an 8-week long schedule of first-class orchestras, musicians, artists and performances yet to be announced, this week [Thursday 19th April]. Many die-hard Prommers are waiting with bated breath to know who will be performing this summer. That said, and as promised by its founder, the BBC Proms was made for everyone, and not just classical music aficionados and expert Prommers who know their way around the Royal Albert Hall’s pit.
Extraordinary, unconventional, interactive and fun are the words I would use to describe the launch of crossover artist and classical music pianist AyseDeniz Gokcin’s new album, A Chopin Affair: Sonatas. On Friday night [March 9th] St James’s Sussex Gardens near Paddington was surprisingly packed – people had to find chairs and create their own space to sit down. The audience was a mix of savvy young artists, bright-eyed students, middle-aged professionals and family members keen to grab a glass of wine, relax and listen to some scintillating Chopin.
On a week that was considered to be the UK’s worst snow storm in 50 years, I managed to speak to crossover artist and innovative classical music pianist Aysedeniz Gokcin on the phone to discuss her new album ‘A Chopin Affair’ and her new series of concerts. This Friday [8pm, 9th March], she will be performing Chopin’s Piano Sonatas with the company of two painters Zabou and Tommy Ramsay. She also told me about her admiration for feminist writer George Sand, Hollywood actors like Meryl Streep and pianist Martha Argerich, and spoke about the short attention span of the new generation which she feels has changed the way people experience music.
Before I begin, you should know I have never heard of the Austrian composer Hugo Wolf or his music before, that was until I attended last night’s concert at the Barbican Centre to see and hear his Italienisches Liederbuch (1890-1;1896) performed by soprano Diana Damrau, tenor Jonas Kaufmann and pianist Helmut Deutsch.>>>
Welcome! Here’s a roundup of news, posts, bits and pieces I’ve been sharing on Social Media from the second week of January. That includes Bridge Theatre’s PR email blunders, Devoted and Disgruntled’s 13th event, and lots of interviews and reviews.
TrendFem – My blog posts
I shared some of my thoughts of the opening night of #ROHTosca with Joseph Calleja, Gerald Finley and Adrianne Pieczonka. It’s the ninth revival of Jonathan Kent’s production. (Click here.)
Come and get a history lesson at the @gatetheatre with @NinaB0wers ‘s captivating performance #Twilight1992 (here) focusing on the riots of Los Angeles in 1992.
It was National Popcorn Day on Friday 19th, so I sent out a post I wrote in 2016 discussing the effects that cinema live screen events have had on converting new audiences to opera (here).
It was the opening night of David McVicar’s revival production of Salome with Malin Bystrom and Michael Volle. I wrote about their tremendous performance here.
‘Don’t trip. Don’t trip and fall on your face.’ Tonight (January 16th, 2018), the Royal Opera House shall broadcast director David McVicar’s revived production of Rigoletto live to cinemas across the UK and abroad, and its conductor Alexander Joel tells me what he hopes won’t happen on his first Live Cinema event. ‘I’m excited, but the cameras won’t be on me anyway. I don’t like cameras on my face. They’ll probably film me for those first five seconds I come into the pit… and then the orchestra will start.’
Alexander Joel has performed multiple times at the Royal Opera House since his debut in 2013, conducting La bohème. He was invited to conduct again at the Royal Opera House in 2015 and 2016 for their productions of La Traviata and Carmen. He has also performed a wide range of pieces from operas, ballets and symphonies in various countries and worked with many international orchestras including the Vlaamse Opera orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, to name a few.
Welcome! Here’s a roundup of news, posts, bits and pieces I’ve been sharing on Social Media since Day 1 of 2018.
The Globe has announced that they will be showing a new production of Othello this summer. Claire van Kampen shall direct the production with Andre Holland and Mark Rylance who take on the role of Othello and Iago. Tickets are on sale from January 29th, 2018, so get your index finger ready as they will definitely sell out fast. (Click here for the Globe website.)
Ever read a great review of a show and wanted to see the show for yourself, but didn’t know where the theatre was? No worries. Blogger and theatre writer Liz Dyer has pre-made a theatre map for your location needs. If you are a theatre that isn’t listed on the map, let Liz know and she will update the map for you. (Check out the map on her blog.)
Happy News from Alice Jones on Twitter, reporting from Soho Theatre:
Well that’s a first. Someone just proposed to their girlfriend on stage at Soho Theatre! (she said yes)
— Alice Jones (@alicevjones) January 5, 2018
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Love this! 😍 twitter.com/KHSWarwick/sta…
Girls in Years 9-13 @KHSWarwick are looking forward to their trip to the English National Opera tonight to see Phelim McDermott‘s Olivier Award-winning production of Philip Glass‘s Akhnaten, following its sell-out run in 2016 @E_N_O pic.twitter.com/3PGgwnpGP0— King's High School (@KHSWarwick) February 15, 2019
My FAVOURITE thing in the world after working my breasticles off in the show is when some absolute turnip tells me they don’t need my signature because all I was, TO MY FACE was a ‘non important backing dancer’. I’m sorry but go screw yourself Barry, you’re a prick. Retweeted by Drama llama Mary🌸🎶
I have a BIG problem. Our meet-up trip is now my trip alone to London. Yeah, I know, not really a problem, even alone it will be awesome. The thing is, I have a bunch of tickets that I would love to get rid off on very short notice, so, help me by sharing this, pretty please! 1/3 Retweeted by Drama llama Mary🌸🎶