Happy Birthday, Leon Fleisher! - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today marks the 86th birthday of pianist Leon Fleisher, who overcame a disability that nearly ended his career. He was 37 years old when he lost the use of his right hand, and for more than 30 years, he performed and recorded left-handed repertoire while seeking treatments and a cure for his disability.

A child prodigy, Fleisher began studying the piano at age four and made his public debut four years later. At age 16, he performed with the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Monteux, and the conductor called Fleisher "the pianistic find of the century."

Interestingly, Fleisher was a student of Artur Schnabel, who studied under Theodor Leschetizky, who studied under Carl Czerny, who was a student of Beethoven.

So, in honor of Fleisher's birthday and the tradition that stems from Beethoven, we present Leon Fleisher performing the complete Beethoven piano concertos (with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra). Enjoy!

1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19
3. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
4. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
5. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73

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Music Monday: Heal Me on This Cloudy Day - Monday, July 21, 2014

Italian conductor Claudio Abbado was widely considered one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century. He served as music director of La Scala, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera, and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Today's Music Monday is dedicated to the maestro, who passed away half a year ago. His son Misha, who is a composer, just posted a work he wrote for his father which was performed in a string sextet performance by his mother Viktoria Mullova and Orchestra Mozart Bologna friends on January 22, 2014, two days after Abbado’s death.

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Music Painting: "Lacrime di Giulietta" - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This really neat video experiments with a new technique called "music painting," a sort of music animation, painting notes on a score to tell a story. Composer Matteo Negrin's "Lacrime di Giulietta" is put to paper in the music painting video below.

Incredibly, the video took only one take (15 hours long), and the painting is done on a sheet of paper 12 meters long (approx. 39.37 ft). With a lot of editing, the 15 hours is condensed into the 3:30 minutes of the video and synchronizes each painted note with the played one. Enjoy!

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Lorin Maazel, 1930-2014 - Monday, July 14, 2014

Today's Music Monday is dedicated to Maestro Lorin Maazel, who passed away yesterday at his Castleton Farms estate in Virginia of complications from pneumonia. He was 84.

Maazel was a child prodigy, taking his first conducting lesson at age seven with Vladimir Bakaleinikov and making his debut at age eight. At the age of eleven, he guest conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra on the radio. At twelve he toured America to conduct major orchestras. He made his violin debut at the age of fifteen.

During the course of his career, Maazel held directorships for many major international ensembles, including the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera, and the Munich Philharmonic. He was also music director at the Cleveland Orchestra, Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic, among others.

We were fortunate enough to have Maestro Maazel conduct our Vienna Philharmonic presentation this past March in an amazing performance of Schubert's Eighth and Mahler's Fourth. He had graciously stepped in as a late replacement for Daniele Gatti. Rest in peace, Maestro Maazel.

Here is Maazel conducting the New York Philharmonic in a performance of Beethoven's Egmont Overture at the Seoul Arts Center in February 2008.

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43 Cartoon Theme Song Mashup - Friday, July 11, 2014

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: NAME THAT TOON! Here are 43 cartoon theme songs in under 5 minutes -- how many can you identify? (Answers below).

Produced by Kornhaber Brown for Carnegie Hall and Ensemble ACJW.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender 00:00
2. Transformers 00:14
3. Pokemon 00:17
4. Captain Planet 00:23
5. X-Men Evolution 00:27
6. Sailor Moon 00:35
7. Neon Genesis Evangelion 00:39
8. Powerpuff Girls 00:43
9. South Park 00:52
10. CatDog 00:56
11. G.I. Joe 01:03
12. Family Guy 01:08
13. Pinky and the Brain 01:15
14. Pink Panther 01:19
15. Dexter's Laboratory & Rescue Rangers 01:24
16. Spiderman 01:37
17. Inspector Gadget 01:44
18. Adventure Time 01:54
19. Babar & Gummi Bears 02:03
20. Madeline 02:07
21. Smurfs 02:13
22. Doug & Rugrats 02:18
23. Care Bears 02:30
24. Dora the Explorer 02:34
25. Rocko's Modern Life 02:39
26. Spongebob Squarepants 02:42
27. Futurama & Magic School Bus 02:47
28. Muppet Babies 02:53
29. The Simpsons 02:57
30. Hey Arnold! & Peanuts 03:02
31. He-Man (Masters of the Universe) 03:10
32. Dragon Ball Z Kai 03:12
33. Thundercats 03:18
34. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 03:23
35. Johnny Bravo 03:32
36. Anamaniacs 03:39
37. Tiny Toon Adventures 03:51
38. Goof Troop 03:56
39. Duck Tales 04:01
40. Bobby's World 04:07
41. The Jetsons 04:12
42. The Flintstones 04:17
43. Looney Tunes 04:24

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Introducing John Mangum - Monday, July 07, 2014

This week, John Mangum takes on his new role as President and Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Mangum, who has held several senior artistic planning roles at major American orchestras, most recently served as Director of Artistic Planning at the San Francisco Symphony. In the past couple of weeks, he has relocated to Orange County with his wife and young son. We welcome them into the Philharmonic Society family!

At the San Francisco Symphony, Mangum worked with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas on major artistic initiatives including semi-staged productions of works by Bartók, John Cage, Debussy, and Ibsen/Grieg; concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, recorded for release on SFS Media; the revival of the Symphony’s successful American Mavericks festival; and artist and composer residencies by Mason Bates, András Schiff, and Yuja Wang.

Prior to joining the San Francisco Symphony, Mangum was Artistic Administrator for the New York Philharmonic, where he worked on the launch of Alan Gilbert as the Philharmonic’s new Music Director, as well as Vice President for Artistic Planning at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Administrator for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. He has also worked as a program annotator for the Salzburg Festival, Harmonia Mundi, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others.

A California native raised in the Bay Area but with familial ties to Southern California, Mangum previously lived in Los Angeles for 15 years. He holds a Ph.D. in history and musicology, in addition to master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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A Fond Farewell to Dean - Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Dean is officially retired and en route to France with Kaly. Here's a video of well wishes and anecdotes from artists, artistic partners, friends and members of the Philharmonic Society family bidding Dean a fond farewell.

Dean, thank you for inspiring us with your leadership and infectious love of music for these past 21 years. Your commitment to presenting the world’s best and your vision of what music can do for our community have made an indelible mark on both the legacy of the Philharmonic Society and the arts in Orange County. As you move forward with the next chapter of your life, know that the Society will continue to move forward in your vision. Our best wishes on your retirement. -- Your Philharmonic Society Family

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Music Monday: Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 - Monday, June 30, 2014

For today's Music Monday, we present a video of the Monteverdi's Choir 50th Anniversary performance of the Monteverdi Vespers, performed at the Chapelle Royale de Versailles on March 9th, 2014. This broadcast has been made freely available to viewers worldwide on France's Culture Box website, through September 2014.

Hear Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 performed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir on Friday, April 24, 2015, 8pm, at the Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Les Vêpres de Monteverdi à Versailles

This excerpt below about the composer Claudio Monteverdi and his Vespers is taken from NPR.org.

The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi was arguably the most important musician of the first half of the 17th century. He absorbed the musical style of the late Renaissance and, in his early works, helped bring it to its highest expression. He also pioneered new compositional techniques in his madrigals and other vocal works, effectively laying the foundation for many of the stylistic conventions of the Baroque. To the nascent genre of opera, he brought the power of a musical imagination unrivaled in his own lifetime, together with formal skills and psychological insights among the most impressive of any composer in history. He created works of extraordinary stature in nearly every significant form of the day.

In 1610, Monteverdi published a grand collection of church music, including a mass in the old style and a set of vespers demonstrating his mastery of the new style (in its use of the figured bass line, voices and instruments in combination, dance forms, virtuoso solo singing, and operatic declamation) alongside elements of the old (cantus firmus technique, divided choirs, and a strict a cappella polyphony).

The Vespro della Beata Vergine were written as a kind of demonstration piece: an example of what can be done setting texts in different styles, particularly the new theatrical style (the foundation of opera) of which Monteverdi was a great pioneer. Instead of hearing the flowing, closely knit counterpoint expected from a composer like Palestrina of the preceding generation, you hear something that's half opera and half dance. It's a marvelous mélange of styles.

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Final Week of the 2014 House of Design -- ends Sunday! - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This is the FINAL WEEK of our 2014 Philharmonic House of Design. This year's House, located in the spectacular oceanfront community of The Strand at Headlands in Dana Point, epitomizes luxury coastal living at its finest and features the work of nineteen premier interior designers. The 2014 Philharmonic House of Design is open daily until 4pm through this Sunday, June 29th, with extended hours on Thursday for "Meet the Designers" (open until 9pm).

For more information, or to purchase tickets to the 2014 Philharmonic House of Design, call (714) 840-7542, or visit PhilharmonicSociety.org/HOD.

Proceeds benefit the Philharmonic Society's nationally acclaimed Youth Music Education Programs.

SPECIAL EVENT at Meet the Designers on Thursday, June 26th:
Join us this Thursday, from 6:00 to 9:00pm, to experience award-winning designer Robert Esterley's Wellness Retreat, showcasing four innovative therapies for the home, a concept he is promoting to aid in bringing calm and peace to hectic homes. Robert created color-changing light boxes in a room without windows that calms the brain through Chroma Therapy. He blends Aromatherapy, Sound Therapy and Massage therapy to create the ultimate relaxation by just entering the room.

Then meander to the Coral Lounge and Seaside Theatre to experience the ultimate "man cave" complete with surround sound theatre, high-tech gadgets, wine bar, game room and more.

Afterwards grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine while you do a little shopping next door at The Marketplace.

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Kronos Quartet's David Harrington: Recording at Thomas Edison's Studio - Monday, June 23, 2014

The San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, champions of contemporary classical music, recently participated in a project backed by Red Hot, a non-profit organization that collaborates with musicians (from rockers to rappers and pop stars) to raise money for AIDS awareness and prevention. Red Hot has partnered with Sony Music Masterworks to issue a new album inspired by the music of Bach. "Red Hot + Bach" will be in stores on June 17.

Watch a video of the full-length interview between Kronos' David Harrington and David Sky Brody on the emotion of tracking where music recording began.

The performance was captured on 5 different historic audio formats: simultaneously recording J. S. Bach’s Contrapunctus II to wax cylinder, 96 kHz PCM, 1/4-inch analog, 78 RPM direct-to-disk and 16 bit Mp3 – technologies spanning 125 years of audio production.

This is the 15th project of original music and media by Red Hot to raise money and awareness for the fight against AIDS around the world.

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