Written on: September 20, 2018
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Today’s Classical News Round-Up

Belgian builds musical bridge across the Bosphorus

Belgian musician Tristan Driessens found his inspiration and his calling east of the Bosphorus, becoming one of the West’s few masters of the oud and of Ottoman classical music.

In an interview with AFP News, Driessens tells of how he is helping to build a musical bridge for others, working with refugees arriving from the east to help preserve and develop their musical culture in European exile.

Driessens became artistic director of Refugees for Refugees, a group that brings together refugees who have fled to Belgium from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and as far as Tibet to play concerts and record new music together in Brussels.

A record, named “Amerli” after an Iraqi town besieged by the Islamic State jihadist group, was released in May 2016 by the world music educational association Muziekpublique.

Among the group are Dolma Renqingi, a Tibetan singer, Asad Qizilbash, a Pakistani who plays the sarod, another form of lute, Afghan troubador Aman Yusufi and “musicians who have such important experiences, as refugees and as human beings, in the realm of music”.


Classical pianist Hunter Noack reimagines the concert hall in the spectacular outdoors

In the cliffs and tall trees of northern Oregon, a place of spectacular beauty, the unexpected floats through the air – the elegant melody of classical music.

“My mom and I were just saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just have a piano and go anywhere?'” Hunter Noack said. So that’s what he did, traveling across the Pacific Northwest and introducing classical music to new audiences in some wild places.

He tows his nine-foot Steinway piano all over the state with a pickup truck and a flatbed trailer. With the help of a few friends, the flatbed becomes a stage.

Noack grew up hiking, fishing and hunting in Oregon. He left to follow his dreams – classical music training in the States and overseas. But he decided to come back to where he came from, leaving behind the grand concert halls for the grand outdoors and taking what he loves back to the place he calls home.

Noack said there are more distractions when playing outdoors, but he pointed to the upsides: “I love to just be able to close my eyes or between pieces, take a breath in, fresh air – I think it affects how I play”.


In this reimagined concert hall, Noack hopes to remove the normal barriers to classical music. There are free tickets, casual clothes, and the opposite of formal seating – like perching on a rock overlooking the stage. A third of his audience has never attended a classical music concert. But even those who have likely haven’t done it like this: wearing wireless headphones to encourage wandering.

“With the music in your headphones, the music becomes a soundtrack to your experience in the landscape,” Noack said. He’s winning over the classical skeptics.

“I said to my friend if she would have invited me to a classical music concert, I would have said ‘nahh’ but this was tremendous,” audience member Meg O’Brien said.

(via CBS) 


Marek Janowski Neuer Chefdirigent 

Die Dresdner Philharmonie bekommt zur Saison 2019/20 den Chef ihrer Wahl: Marek Janowski hat in Dresden seinen Vertrag als Chefdirigent unterschrieben. Damit gewinne die Philharmonie einen der führenden deutschen Dirigenten für das Repertoire des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, freut sich das Orchester. Marek Janowski löst Michael Sanderling ab.

Janowski wird das Orchester drei Spielzeiten leiten und dabei das Profil prägen und weiterentwickeln, so die Dresdner Philharmonie. Im Herbst vergangenen Jahres hatte der Orchestervorstand die Intendantin des Orchesters Frauke Roth sowie die Kulturbürgermeister Annekatrin Klepsch beauftragt, mit dem Wunschkandidaten Janowski zu verhandeln.

Janowski hat die Dresdner Philharmonie bereits von 2001 bis 2003 geleitet. Seine erste Amtszeit hatte er 2003 aus Ärger über das Hin und Her bei der Planung eines neuen Konzertsaals für Dresden vorzeitig beendet.

80-year-old Marek Janowski has signed his contract as Principal Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic, after being voted in by the orchestra for the 2019/20 season.

He returns to the orchestra after having already conducted them from 2001 to 2003 and has now come back from his retirement to lead the Philharmonic for three seasons. 

(via BR-Klassik)

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