HOTA Celebration is Thursday

Just a quick reminder that the Broome County Arts Council’s 2011 Heart of the Arts Awards Celebration will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 29)  in the recital hall of The Forum, 236 Washington St., Binghamton. Read the rest of this entry »

Met opens with first-ever ‘Anna Bolena’

Believe it or not, the Metropolitan Opera had never mounted a production of Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” before this season. The opera — and the Met’s 2011-12 season — debuted Monday (Sept. 26); here’s a link to The New York Times review: http://tinyurl.com/4xcevxa.

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WSKG’s ‘Expressions’ to showcase Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

Suppose you invited four of the finest chamber musicians in the Finger Lakes into your living room to play a private house concert just for you. That’s what a few dozen people enjoyed last Thursday (Sept.23) in WSKG’s Vestal studio, when the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble taped its upcoming appearance  on the stations’s Expressions show. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rizikov’s love affair with Binghamton continues

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

What can one say about a phenomenon of nature? I am convinced that 12-year-old Canadian pianist Anastasia Rizakov is actually a 40-year-old woman trapped in a child’s body. Deadly talented and mature beyond her years, this most gifted pianist adoringly admitted that she loved the Binghamton audiences and likewise, we love her, too. Her concert last Saturday (Sept. 17) at Binghamton’s First Presbyterian Church was remarkable. Read the rest of this entry »

Windsor Window on the Arts a welcome respite

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

The fourth annual Windsor Window on the Arts took place on the village green Saturday, Sept. 17. (It was a welcome break from the depressing scenes of devastation from recent flooding. In that regard,Windsor village fared somewhat better this time than five years ago.) The day opened bright and sunny as volunteers paraded puppets from the now-defunct Binghamton First Night around and amidst the various artists, then fastened the puppets to stand sentinel over the relaxed and cheery crowd. Read the rest of this entry »

Roberson, TCO and S.T.A.R. leaders honored with HOTA awards

By Barb Van Atta

In a year that saw financial upheaval for even the nation’s most prestigious arts organizations, the Broome County Arts Council’s annual Heart of the Arts awards are going to people who have had the courage  to guide established groups in new directions and the vision to launch new opportunities for artists and arts lovers in our community.

Three HOTA awards are granted every year. The 2011 recipients, announced today (Sept. 21) at a press conference at the BCAC office, are: Terry McDonald, executive director of the Roberson Museum & Science Center in Binghamton; Reed Smith, general director of Tri-Cities Opera, and, jointly, the founders of S.T.A.R. (Southern Tier Actors Read), Judy McMahon and Heidi Weeks. (See following article about Lifetime Achievement honoree Lance G. Hill.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Lifetime Achievement spotlight shines on concert halls’ ‘man in the shadows,’ Lance Hill

By Barb Van Atta

To pop music, it is Billy Joel, but in the Broome County classical community, the true piano man is Lance G. Hill, who has been a tuner and technician for more than 50 years. Hill, also the host WPEL-FM’s weekly broadcast Music and the Artist, is the 2011 recipient of the Broome County Arts Council’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. Read the rest of this entry »

Casual concert a hit on the ‘Rive Gauche du Chenango’

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

A brass quintet from the Binghamton Philharmonic played the first in a new series of “Casual Concerts on the River” Friday, Sept. 2, at the Peacemaker’s Stage on the Binghamton river walk. From Court Street to the stage, the promenade of the Chenango’s rive gauche (left bank) was comfortably filled with folks who took advantage of a beautiful evening to enjoy a delightful free, hour-long concert in a modern but elegant outdoor venue in the heart of downtown.

The quintet consisted of BPO second trumpet Ben Aldridge, third trumpet Joe Spena, tenor trombone Don Robertson and bass trombone Chris Mann (playing on short notice for an ailing tubaist), joined by horn player Ilze Brink-Button from Syracuse, who occasionally plays with the Philharmonic.

The first half of the program featured short classical pieces by Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Viktor Ewald (1860-1935), and Charles Collier Jones (1957). Proving that classical instrumentalists play more than classical tunes, the group shifted in the second half to more popular fare:  George Gershwin’s second piano prelude (1926), “Under the Boardwalk” (1964), and “Laura” (1945). The music of quirky 20th century American iconoclast Charles Ives was in evidence:  “On the Counter” (1920), “The Side Show” (1921), “Slow March” (1887 – Ives’ first composition, at age 12, a funeral march for a family pet) and “Slugging a Vampire” (1902, written for some lines of Rudyard Kipling). The Peacemaker’s Stage is more modern than a New England village gazebo, but the BPO brass managed to capture a little of the spirit of Norman Rockwell by ending with John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post March” (1889, written for the newspaper of the same name).

Mayor Matt Ryan was quietly present, showing personal interest and pride in his city. The Binghamton Economic Development Office and its business and civic partners have scored another hit in the revitalization of downtown Binghamton. The Casual Concerts on the River, like the Collier Street Farmer’s Market Brown Bag Lunch concerts, which concluded their season earlier that same day, serve to showcase some of the myriad performing artists in a city which has become a center of art and culture in the region. It’s a chance for performers to be exposed to new audiences and for the public to broaden their artistic horizons. It also brings non-city residents like me downtown (twice in the same day) to become familiar and comfortable with the businesses and venues downtown Binghamton has to offer.

Like First Friday and the recently inaugurated BiziNight, Casual Concerts on the River reflects a growing spirit of new life and energy in downtown Binghamton. We look forward to next Friday’s casual concert (Sept. 9) with Binghamton University’s Crosbys.

Back injury forces James Levine out for Met’s fall season

The New York Times today (Sept. 6) is reporting that James Levine, the Metropolitan Opera’s music director, has withdrawn from all performances at the Met for the rest of the year after falling while on vacation in Vermont and damaging a vertebra. The injury, which required emergency surgery, comes on top of a series of back operations followed by periods of rehabilitation to correct a painful spinal condition called stenosis.

While the Met saidLevine would remain music director, it immediately elevated its principal guest conductor, Fabio Luisi, to the title of principal conductor and handed over to him most of Levine’s fall conducting assignments.

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