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Making Beautiful Music . . . And Maybe Changing the World, As Well

The Music Scene
compass@lakevillejournal.com

Ruben Rengel does not remember a time he did not play violin. That’s because he started at age 2, on a 1/16th-size instrument. It’s 14 years later, now, and he plays with aplomb and beauty (but unusual style, holding the violin under his chin rather than his jaw, the way his teacher does and tells him not to). He is from Venezuela’s famous El Sistema, the Chavez government-supported program teaching thousands of children to play classical music. And change the world, too.

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Baroque Is Back, New As Ever

The Music Scene

When Doug Myers was a music student, he dreamed of becoming “the Maurice André of the French Horn.”
André, the master French trumpeter who died earlier this year, almost singlehandedly brought much of the Baroque repertoire to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s through his use of the piccolo trumpet, a diminutive instrument invented at the turn of the 20th century that plays an octave above the standard trumpet — allowing it to soar into the higher realms of Bach, Handel and other Baroque composers.

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Beethoven, a Bass and a Bell

The Music Scene

The granddaddy of grand summer music festivals in the Berkshires, Tanglewood, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was put on the map by Serge Koussevitzky and has been going strong ever since.
The season opens on Friday, July 6, with an all-Beethoven concert led by Christoph von Dohnanyi, himself a renowned conductor who spent 20 years as director of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

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Chamber Music Returns to Hotchkiss

The Music Scene

Pianist Melvin Chen is artistic director of the Portals chamber music series at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT. This is clearly one of our backyard gems.
Chen has assembled an adventurous lineup that runs the gamut from Bach to contemporary composers.
The Portals programs have a wide variety of formats and groupings including a Hotchkiss faculty vocal ensemble, a church choir, a small chamber orchestra and a piano duo.
Here are a few choice morsels from among these intriguing programs:

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Breathing New Life Into Chamber Music

The Music Scene

Paul McCartney isn’t the only celebrity musician who turns 70 this summer. The man many call the world’s greatest clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman, will perform at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, less than a week shy of his 70th birthday.
The two-time Grammy winner talks like someone half his age, full of the joy of music and discovery, not a hint of a celebrity’s world-weariness. Reminiscences come easily.

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The World of Music . . . Atop Music Mountain

The Music Scene

This is just a wild guess, but Nicholas Gordon must be, or must have been, a heck of a tennis player. The long-time director of the Music Mountain Summer Music Festival in Falls Village will tell you why he’s proud to have had his programming called “deeply conservative” by The New Yorker magazine; what is different about this season (its 83rd); how Shostakovich made it into the core chamber music repertory; and that a Music Mountain radio broadcast might be heard in, oh, Mongolia, perhaps.

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Misfits and Magic

Movies: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Wes Anderson does not make movies. He creates and films worlds that spring from his imagination. And if that imagination lives in a world of saturated pastels and nostalgia for the America of Norman Rockwell, if its narratives seem to drift randomly, if it can be insufferably twee yet knowing in the way that only children know, no matter. Anderson is a real auteur.

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Aston Magna Celebrates Forty Years Of Making Beautiful Baroque Music

The Music Scene

The street banners are out, the celebration begins. Aston Magna turns 40 this year.
The birthday party for this esteemed Berkshire-based Baroque music festival kicks off this weekend with a gala concert in Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA.
The program includes the madrigals “Chiome d’oro,” “Hor che’l ciel,” “Lamento della ninfa,” and “Laetuatus Sum” by Claudio Monteverdi; Act III of Henry Purcell’s opera “Dido and Aeneas”;
highlights from George Frederick Handel’s oratorio “The Triumph of Time and Truth”; and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1.

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Fred, His Kids And the Boom Box

The Music Scene

Lately, the dial on my car radio has been stuck on “K104.” I’d be lying if I said that it was all my daughters’ fault.
K104 (104.7 FM, Poughkeepsie) is our region’s leading purveyor of contemporary popular music. Today’s megastars — Adele, Rihanna, One Direction, Nikki Minaj, and a bevy of similar-sounding, hip-hop, R&B, and rap artists — are the Roberta Flacks, Carpenters and Chicagos of my teen and pre-teen generation.
As someone raised mainly on a diet of classical music, I find something appealing in current hit songs and their singers.

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Music From Far Away Performed Close to Home

The Music Scene

The pace of the music scene is picking up as we head into summer. We will have previews of the summer festival season in upcoming issues of Compass. In the meantime, there is plenty to keep busy with this weekend.

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