Monday, November 23, 2015

Joseph Silverstein (1932-2015)

Joseph Silverstein, the longtime concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1962-84), former music director of the Utah Symphony (1983-98) and artistic and organizational mentor to numerous US orchestras and their musicians, has died at 83.

Silverstein was active in both orchestral and chamber music. He organized the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1964, was named the Boston Symphony’s assistant conductor in 1971. He also was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

He appeared as a soloist and guest conductor with numerous orchestras, including a performing-conducting residency with the Richmond Symphony in 2002.

In addition to leading the Utah Symphony, he was music director of the Chautauqua Symphony and principal guest conductor of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and served as artistic advisor or interim music director of nearly a dozen other orchestras.

Silverstein taught at Yale and Boston universities, New England Conservatory, Tanglewood Music Center and his alma mater, Curtis Institute of Music, where he had studied with Efram Zimbalist.

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UPDATE: Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, recalls working with and learning from Joseph Silverstein:


Saturday, November 21, 2015

'La Bohème' reviewed

Roy Proctor’s review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” staged by Virginia Opera:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Paley plans 'Winter Weekend'

Pianist Alexander Paley, whose Richmond festival of piano and chamber music presented its 18th season of concerts this fall, has added two concerts in late January at St. Luke Lutheran Church, 7757 Chippenham Parkway.

Paley will perform in a solo recital of Chopin’s 14 waltzes and the 24 préludes of Rachmaninoff at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30.

He will be joined by pianist Daniel Stipe and narrator Pamela McClain in a family concert, “Beauties and Beasts,” at 3 p.m. Jan. 31. Their program includes Tchaikovsky’s “Children’s Album,” Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite and Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

A donation of $20 is suggested for each concert.

For more information, call (804) 665-9516 or visit

Monday, November 16, 2015

'Appomattox' pro and con

The reviews are coming in for the revised, Civil War-to-civil rights version of “Appomattox” by Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton, whose Washington National Opera production opened on Nov. 14 at the Kennedy Center.

The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette hails the opera as evidence of Glass’ “mastery in the genre” and as being “as deeply moving as anything I’ve seen in opera” . . .

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, reviewing for The New York Times, calls it “a frustratingly uneven work that presents well-known historical facts on a conveyor belt of forgettable music” . . .

“Appomattox” runs through Nov. 22.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Richmond Symphony reviewed

My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony’s Nov. 14 concert with pianist Orion Weiss:

Robert Craft (1923-2015)

Robert Craft, the assistant to Igor Stravinsky from 1948 until the composer’s death in 1971, has died at 92. A conductor and author, Craft was an erudite and sometimes contentious guardian of Stravinsky’s artistic legacy and persona.

“Only two people know anything about Stravinsky,” Craft claimed. “Only Mrs. Stravinsky and I know.”

An obituary by The Washington Post’s Matt Schudel:

Saturday, November 14, 2015