May 09 2018

Building a Bridge Instead of a Wall

Posted by Alexis Smith on May 9, 2018 4:18:44 PM | 0 comments | Interviews

What do musicians do if they’re extroverts? When your profession requires you to be alone roughly eight hours a day, how does an extrovert not go crazy? For Lina Gonzales-Granados, the solution came in the form of becoming a conductor. Originally a pianist, the Columbian-born conductor realized at a very young age that she needed to be around people so she looked for the musical profession that involved the most amount of people and she found conducting.

May 07 2018

Leaving at Intermission: Don't Do It

Posted by Carolyn Macleod on May 7, 2018 3:38:54 PM | 0 comments | Miscellaneous

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a haughtily delivered, “I left at intermission,” I could afford some sort of treatment for the strain caused by all of the eye-rolling at that lame dig.

I get it—sometimes you realize early on that this is 100% not your thing. Not everything is for everyone and honestly, not everything is good. However, most things deserve a fair shake and bragging about leaving at intermission undermines the artist’s work and paints you as a destructive audience member. Leaving at intermission actually does more harm than good—not just for the artist, but also yourself.

May 04 2018

Our favorite #DogOperas Tweets

Posted by Kyle Thomas Hemingway on May 4, 2018 12:57:36 PM | 0 comments | In the news

#DogOperas swept Twitter this week. Here's our roundup of our favorite canine compositions!

May 04 2018

"Never look at the trombones; it only encourages them."

Posted by Alexis Smith on May 4, 2018 10:43:47 AM | 0 comments | Interviews

Trombone often gets a bad rap. Whether it’s thought of as the teacher’s voice in the old Charlie Brown cartoons or as the sad trombone sound effect, I think we can all agree that sometimes the trombone is seen as the instrumental buffoon. I, a trombonist, was once offered $200 to follow a fat guy around and mock him à la Family Guy. (Seriously, I went to Juilliard for this.) Unbeknownst to most people, composers revered the trombone, using it to depict solemnity, death, and the depths of Hell. Felix Mendelssohn is quoted with the saying, “The trombone is too sacred for frequent use.” and even Beethoven likened the trombone to the “Voice of God”. Maybe these guys were hacks, but history doesn’t seem to think so.

That’s where the Boston Trombone Project comes in. Established just last year, the Boston Trombone Project aims to act as an ambassador for the trombone and expand awareness of just how versatile the trombone can be. This week, I sat down with Dr. Mike Tybursky and Alex Knutrud to talk about the upcoming Boston Trombone Project concert being performed on May 7 at 7pm in Cambridge, oh—and yours truly will be performing a solo in it!

Apr 30 2018

Julia Bullock: A Chantress Across the Ages

Posted by Alexis Smith on Apr 30, 2018 2:37:30 PM | 0 comments | Interviews

Fresh from her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut and San Francisco Opera debut earlier this season, soprano Julia Bullock is the opera world's rising star. Having grown up listening to Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, this Juilliard graduate deftly delivers fresh, impassioned perspectives to both Mozart and Billie Holiday. Between preforming in New York and preparing for her upcoming Boston recital, Julia took some time to talk to us about discipline, storytelling, and why she doesn't want to be thought of as a crossover artist. 

Apr 25 2018

Much Ado About Gender

Posted by Alexis Smith on Apr 25, 2018 10:25:25 AM | 0 comments | Interviews

If you’re anything like me, the words thou, thine, and thither immediately make your palms sweat, thinking of deciphering the iambic pentameter cadence of William Shakespeare in high school. My brain immediately shuts down thinking of men in tights and women in corsets so tight, they’d make Photoshop jealous. I never understood why such antiquated wording elicited the reverence of the academic community. Shakespeare was like a literary Emperor’s New Clothes to me. My suspicion that I was not the only one like this were recently confirmed when I sat down to talk with Christopher Edwards, the recently appointed Artistic Director for Actors' Shakespeare Project.

Apr 24 2018

Aimee Doherty: The Toast of Mayfair (and Boston)!

Posted by Kyle Thomas Hemingway on Apr 24, 2018 1:07:29 PM | 0 comments | Interviews

Known for her excellent work with nearly every theater company in town, Aimee Doherty is currently taking center stage in her fifth (!) turn as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. In between shows on a two-show Saturday, she sat down with me to talk Sally (the character and the dog), being very excited in a garden center, her Rent the Runway habit, and her upcoming Boston Pops debut.

Apr 19 2018

Photos: Opus Affair April at MIDA

Posted by Boston on Apr 19, 2018 10:12:02 AM | 0 comments | Photos

We had a great time at Opus Affair on Tuesday. Thanks to MIDA for hosting us and to everyone who came out and joined the fun!

Apr 11 2018

Donkeys, Phoenixes, and William Shakespeare

Posted by Alexis Smith on Apr 11, 2018 1:03:29 PM | 0 comments | Interviews

When you think of an artist, you might think of musicians or painters or dancers who live and breathe their craft and only their craft. I'm sure we're all familiar with the romantic story of artists who live and die by their craft. Maybe you think of an impoverished Van Gogh who was forced to eat his paints or maybe you think of Kafka who quit his job as an insurance officer to have more time to write. Today the modern artist must be a one-person cooperation, both a savvy businessperson and marketing executive. In a society that's increasingly moving towards self-starting and publication, an artist must think of more than just their craft.

Matthew Szymanski, founder and Music Director of Phoenix Orchestra, sat down with us to talk about building an orchestra from it's brand up. In building Phoenix, the former euphonium player turned conductor has had to strip away all of the traditional trimmings of a classical music concert and learn how to run a business while the orchestral world upside down.

Apr 09 2018

Protest Without Words: Husa's Music for Prague 1968

Posted by Alexis Smith on Apr 9, 2018 2:56:37 PM | 0 comments

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to put on records of her favorite Mozart piano concerto or favorite Haydn symphonies. Occasionally, during rainy days, on would slip some Beethoven or even Brahms. Growing up, classical music (the title I gave to all music that didn’t have a rock beat or any music that had a soothing, vaguely soporific effect—yeah, I’m even looking at you, Enya!) was meant to be enjoyed in the background. It was meant to accompany your day to day activities, blending in seamlessly with cooking or doing the Sunday morning crossword. Mozart somehow softened the blow that I didn’t know 27 across: "Literary pseudonym (four letters)." Fast forward many, but not too many, years later and I’m a professional musician acting as an air siren. Behind me is a snare drum playing a crescendo that is supposed to be become “unbearable.” Literally. In his part he is literally asked to play louder and louder until the volume becomes unbearable. What is going on here?


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