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Around The Classical Internet: September 2, 2011

The natty, 'Vogue'-ready Charlie Siem. (courtesy of the artist)

  • Violinist Charlie Siem is featured in the all-important September issue of Vogue. Apparently, Siem has a signature look: In Vogue's video, he is wearing an outfit very similar to what he wore to our Tiny Desk Concert. He also discusses hidden slits he's had put into his performance attire to aid movement.
  • The BBC halted and then shut down a live Proms broadcast last night when a performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Zubin Mehta and Israeli-American guest violinist Gil Shaham was disrupted by anti-Israel protestors.
  • Norman Lebrecht has links to three videos of the disruptions.
  • James Inverne, editor of Gramophone and blogger for London's Jewish Chronicle, has this account from the concert: "(I would estimate) 20 or 30 people decided that their voices were more important than the wills of the rest of a full auditorium, who had paid good money to hear the Israel Philharmonic."
  • Igor Toronyi-Lalic at The Arts Desk website, asks searching questions: "Here we were in the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2011 witnessing a stage of musicians being barracked and abused for having the gall to be Jewish. Last year, four more Jewish musicians, the Jerusalem Quartet, had the cheek to perform and broadcast a recital at the Wigmore Hall. They were again heckled and hounded off air. No, not a portrait of Europe in the early 20th century, but Britain in the 21st. I wonder. In a few years, will Jews be able to make music publicly in Britain at all?"
  • The Oregon Symphony, which made such a massively impressive Carnegie Hall debut this past May (which you can hear here), has renewed its contract with music director Carlos Kalmar through 2015.
  • One of the more tantalizing features of the new Helsinki Music Centre, which opened Wednesday at a cost of some $271 million: a sauna for the musicians.
  • More on musicians' well-being: The BBC safety advisor has issued a warning to the radio network's five orchestras, asking them to consider using ear plugs, chew gum and sit farther away from each other for the sake of their hearing.
  • The senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, has called for a revision of US copyright law, which he says is unfair to artists: "For too long the work of musicians has been used to create enormous profits for record labels, radio stations and others, without fairly distributing these profits to the artists."
  • Alexander Pereira takes the reins at the Salzburg Festival in October. Currently director of the Zurich Opera House, he wants every Salzburg season to be comprised of new productions: "I want the public to regard every year as special. People might have the idea they can see a production the next year, but I want them to think that if they don't get here in 2012, they've missed it."
  • Here's another new opera company about to stage its first production: Lyric Opera Virginia, founded by ousted Virginia Opera director Peter Mark. Their La Traviata goes up in Virginia Beach Sept. 9th.
  • Anne Midgette takes a sharp look at the raft of upcoming Sept. 11th concerts: "Unfortunately, there's a narrow line between ... vital function and the automatic commemorative role that classical music is also frequently assigned, its town-band role as a signifier of a certain high-mindedness at commemorations that have little actual significance to the audience."
  • German tenor Jonas Kaufmann has had surgery to remove a node from his chest that he intimates might be cancer-related: "I am pretty sure that the results of the histological examination will come up 'benign' but ... this procedure could not be further delayed." Despite cancelling September performances, he plans to go ahead with a string of fall dates, including a solo recital at the Metropolitan Opera on Oct. 30 and a run of Faust at the same house in November.
  • In other health-related news, Seiji Ozawa has had to pull out of a music festival in China. Last week, the conductor canceled performances at his Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan, due to pneumonia.
  • The Montreal Symphony players apparently adore their new concert hall. "People were on Cloud Nine," says clarinetist Michael Dumouchel, who has been with the orchestra for 40 years. Road trip!
  • Charming: On their simultaneous grand tours of Europe, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra wound up using the same buses and chartered plane — and the fabulous Philadelphians left a bunch of notes for their Chicago friends to find.
  • And on their off hours, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra stopped for a tour — and a little performance — at the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Sláinte!
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