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A Few More Thoughts on Applause: Why Can We Interrupt at the Met?

I have been having a wonderful time going to hear opera – this year at the Met, the thrill of an unforgettable Tristan and Isolde, a beautiful – and new to me – Thais by Massenet, and a deeply touching Eugene Onegin. During the Tchaikovsky I realized that the audience expectation and behavior is the complete opposite of what we are used to in the concert hall. At the end of virtually every aria, there was wild applause, which often had little to do with the actual action on stage and certainly no connection to the story line.

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Disney Hall

It is a real challenge for anything that is awaited with great anticipation to actually live up to the excitement. After the thrill of performing in the new Disney Hall, I can only say that for me, it has surpassed all my expectations. In the most exhilarating way, it inspires awe without forcing us to be reverent.

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When to Applaud

All of us love applause, and so we should – it means that the listener LIKES us! So we should welcome applause whenever it comes. And yet, we seem to have set up some very arcane rules as to when it is actually OK to applaud. I have been trying to find out exactly when certain listeners and performers decided that applause between movements would not be “allowed”, or at least would be frowned upon, but nobody seems to have been willing to admit that they were the culprit.

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Next Concerts

    October 21, 2017

    Budapest Festival Orchestra Tour

    Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

    Budapest, Hungary

    BACH Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
    MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
    TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4 in F minor

    October 23, 2017

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Auditorio Nacional de Música

    Madrid, Spain

    BRAHMS Symphony No 3
    BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No 5, ‘Emperor’

     

    November 3, 2017

    The Cleveland Orchestra

    Severance Hall

    Cleveland, OH

    ELGAR Serenade in E minor for String Orchestra
    BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1
    ELGAR Enigma Variations (Variations on an Original Theme)

    November 4, 2017

    The Cleveland Orchestra

    Severance Hall

    Cleveland, OH

    ELGAR Serenade in E minor for String Orchestra
    BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1
    ELGAR Enigma Variations (Variations on an Original Theme)

    November 5, 2017

    The Cleveland Orchestra

    Severance Hall

    Cleveland, OH

    ELGAR Serenade in E minor for String Orchestra
    BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1
    ELGAR Enigma Variations (Variations on an Original Theme)

    November 10, 2017

    Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich

    Tonhalle

    Zurich, Switzerland

    DEAN
    GRUBER
    DUTILLEUX

    November 16, 2017

    Royal Stockholm Philharmonic

    Konserthuset

    Stockholm, Sweden

    STRAUSS JR/GRUBER Perpetuum mobile/Charivari
    GRUBER Piano Concerto 23 min
    GRUBER Dancing in the Dark 24 min
    STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements

    November 18, 2017

    Royal Stockholm Philharmonic

    Konserthuset

    Stockholm, Sweden

    STRAUSS JR/GRUBER Perpetuum mobile/Charivari
    GRUBER Piano Concerto 23 min
    GRUBER Dancing in the Dark 24 min
    STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements

NY Philharmonic

Artist-in-Residence: Emanuel Ax 2012/13.
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Brahms: Music For 2 Pianos
Haydn: Piano Sonatas
Liszt: Piano Sonata in B Minor
Mendelssohn: Piano Trios
Strauss: Enoch Arden

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Extract from masterclass given by Emanuel Ax on Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Variations. The student is Nicolas Van Poucke. The full masterclass is available on DVD from www.masterclassfoundation.org

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