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Maniaci Glorifies Handel and More

    Posted: Oct 29, 2011 - 12:19:09 PM in: reviews_2011
Michael Maniaci
Michael Maniaci is a male soprano whose unique gift is helping revive baroque opera.  Cincinnati, Ohio is lucky enough to have him resident here.  His performance for Catacoustic Consort and the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts Oct. 28 was a tantalizing preview of what local opera fans may soon have a chance to hear.
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Classical Revolution Breaks the Mold

    Posted: Oct 25, 2011 - 11:26:06 PM in: reviews_2011
The Revolution Quartet. L to R: Tatiana Berman, Nick Naegele, Joanne Wojtowicz, Kaylie Eriksen
The Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts joined the Revolution Oct. 23 at Northside Tavern in Cincinnati.  Classical Revolution, that is, the ground-breaking movement, begun at the Revolution Cafe in San Francisco and now worldwide, that takes classical music into bars, cafes and other non-traditional venues.  On the program were a debut (The Elysium Saxophone Quartet), a world premiere (Matthew Browne's "Ancient Machines") and the Ohio Valley Wind Quintet, violinists Tatiana Berman and Nick Naegele, clarinetist Laura Sabo, cellist Kaylie Eriksen and the Revolution Quartet in music ranging from Thomas Tallis and J.S. Bach to Browne and Orianna Webb.  All free.
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Pressler Warms Hearts at Linton Series Fans

    Posted: Oct 24, 2011 - 11:27:01 PM in: reviews_2011
Menahem Pressler
Pianist Menahem Pressler warmed the heart and the spirit with his debut Oct. 23 on the Linton Music Series at First Unitarian Church in Cincinnati.  Pressler, 87, performed piano quartets by Mozart, Turina and Dvorak with violinist Alexander Kerr, violist Paul Neubauer and cellist Eric Kim.  The four made an arresting ensemble.  The concert was held in conjunction with Cincinnati's new Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts, underway through Nov. 8.
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VAE Salutes Barber and Menotti

    Posted: Oct 24, 2011 - 7:35:48 PM in: reviews_2011
Donald Nally
Cincinnati's Vocal Arts Ensemble led by music director Donald Nally brought another outstanding concert to the area with "American Icons at 100," a look back at the lives and careers of Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti through their choral music.  (Barber was born in 1911, Menotti in 2010.) Much of it reflected loss and rejection, both men having known acceptance and popularity before being dismissed as "old-fashioned."
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CSO Chamber Players Add Dash of Vodka to Constella Festival

    Posted: Oct 22, 2011 - 11:04:56 PM in: reviews_2011
Dmitri Shostakovich

Cincinnati's new Constella Festival for Music and Fine Arts paid a visit to Russia Oct. 21 with a concert by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players.  Featuring music by Glière, Sostakovich and Prokofiev, it was also the first concert of the CSO's Russian Festival, which takes place in November.  The concert, presented in collaboration with Constella, took place in the new, intimate Mayerson Theater in the Erich Kunzel Center for Arts and Education.
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Head and Heart Come Together in St. Lawrence String Quartet

    Posted: Oct 19, 2011 - 5:04:19 PM in: reviews_2011
Chamber Music Cincinnati presented the St. Lawrence String Quartet Oct. 18 in a first-ever collaboration with Cincinnati's new Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts.  Robert J. Werner Hall at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music was almost sold out for the performance which featured quartets by two Wolfgangs, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and John Adams.
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Toradze's Studio Wows with Rachmaninov

    Posted: Oct 17, 2011 - 10:13:37 PM in: reviews_2011
L to R: Nikita Abrosimov, Sangwon Kim, Constella founder/artistic director Tatiana Berman, Alexander Toradze, Edisher Savitski, Ketevan Badridze, Vakhtang Kodanashvili.
It was all Rachmaninov and Alexander Toradze did not perform, but no one was complaining Oct. 16 at the Erich Kunzel Center for Arts and Education in Cincinnati.  The fourth concert of the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts featured members of Toradze's Piano Studio (students and former students of Toradze at the University of Indiana South Bend).  It was riveting start to finish, with Ketevan Badridze, Sangwon Kim, Vakhtang Kodanashvili, Edisher Savitski and Niokita Abrosimov in selections from Rachmaninov's romantic piano oeuvre.
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Constella Showcases New Choreography

    Posted: Oct 17, 2011 - 1:38:44 PM in: reviews_2011
"History of the Tango (Piazzolla), Andrew Hubbard and Missy Lay Zimmer, choreographers. Violinist Tatiana Berman and guitarist Richard Goering in the background.
Cincinnati's new Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts took a multi-media turn Oct. 15 in Cincinnati Ballet studios with a collaboration by the chamber ensemble concert:nova and members of the Ballet and the Exhale Dance Tribe.  Receiving their world premieres were choreographies of Prokofiev's Quintet, Op. 39, and Astor Piazzolla's "Histoire du Tango."  For the Prokofiev, it was a new lease on life, the ballet having folded just after its premiere in 1924 because of conflict between the composer and choreographer Boris Romanov.
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Woodwinds in Their Glory

    Posted: Oct 16, 2011 - 4:16:47 PM in: reviews_2011
Liang Wang
It was a rare treat to hear two of the world's greatest oboists perform for the Constella Festival in Cincinnati October 14.  Liang Wang and Dwight Parry (principal oboists, respectively of the New York Philharmonic and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras) joined colleagues from the CSO in music by Albinoni.  CSO flutist Jasmine Choi was heard in Amy Beach's Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet and Liang Wang returned for quartets by Mozart and Matthew Arnold.
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Guerrero Magnetic

    Posted: Oct 15, 2011 - 2:50:23 PM in: reviews_2011
Nicole Cabell (Giancarlo Guerrero conducting)(photo by Chris Pinelo)
Guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero made a strong impression in his second visit to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (currently in the midst of a music director search).  Guerrero, who is in his third year as music director of the Nashville Symphony, led the CSO in a program made to order, with Astor Piazzolla's Sinfonia Buenos Aires, Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story" and Ravel's "Bolero.  Guest artist was lyric soprano Nicole Cabell in Ravel's "Shéhérazade."   - [Read more]

Constella Opening a Stellar Affair

    Posted: Oct 14, 2011 - 5:44:02 PM in: reviews_2011
Hilary Hahn
The brand new Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts got itself off to a stellar beginning Thursday at Memorial Hall with a recital by violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Valentina Lasitsa.  Centerpiece was the world premiere of 13 short works commissioned by Hahn as future encores-to-be.  Complementing it was an "Encore" art show oif contemporary miniatures curated by Sandra Gross and Lisa-Meridas Paytes.
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4 Strings and 4 B's = Rewarding Listening 4 U

    Posted: Oct 13, 2011 - 3:18:27 PM in: reviews_2011
Violinist Herwig Zack put a lot of thought into this, his second recital disk for Avie Records.  Each work is somehow related to one or more of the others and, of course, being music for solo violin, all relate to Bach.  In addition, all four composers share the first letter of their last names:  Bach, Bloch, Ben-Haim and Berio.
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Two "Rings" Face Off

    Posted: Oct 9, 2011 - 5:39:16 PM in: reviews_2011
"Both rings are round," said J.R.R. Tolkien when asked to compare his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and Richard Wagner's operatic magnum opus "Der Ring des Nibelungen."  Kentucky Symphony Orchestra music director James R. Cassidy enlisted Doug Adams, an expert on Howard Shore's music for Peter Jackson's film adaptation of "Lord of the Rings," to weigh in on Shore's and Wagner's scores for the two "Rings."  Cassidy led the KSO, KSO Chorale and three splendid vocal soloists in a concert narrated by Adams that did just that Oct. 8 at Florence Baptist Church at Mt. Zion in Florence, Kentucky.
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Glass' Concerto a Hit with CSO Crowd

    Posted: Oct 1, 2011 - 11:13:35 AM in: reviews_2011
from left: Philip Glass, Richard Jensen,Julian Kuerti and Patrick Schleker
No better program could have been chosen to open composer/curator Philip Glass' "Boundless" Series for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Sept. 30 at Music Hall.  Glass, who as one of three creative directors for the CSO, planned and oversees five concerts this season, chose not only Stravinsky's "Firebird" Suite (1919) and Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," but his own Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra.  In attendance were dozens of young people, taking advantage of the CSO's perennial "College Nite," a package with both concert ticket and an after-party (with Glass) for $12.
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Frühbeck de Burgos Commands Mahler, CSO

    Posted: Sep 23, 2011 - 1:58:17 PM in: reviews_2011
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is in good hands as it begins its 2011-2012 season, with Creative Director Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in charge of half of the season concerts.  Frühbeck de Burgos, who will be on the podium for two of them, planned and will oversee the orchestra's 10-concert Masterworks Series.  (Co-creative directors Lang Lang and Philip Glass will be in charge of five concerts each.)  The Spanish born master opened the season with a powerful performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 1, appropriately named (for Frühbeck de Burgos) the "Titan."  Making her CSO debut on the concert was violinist Nicola Benedetti in a well wrought performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 ("Turkish").
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