Sunday, April 25, 2010

US Army and Russian National Orchestra Brass Quintets Join Forces to Honor War Veterans with Concerts in Russia

Today is Day One of an unprecedented American and Russian cultural partnership that will present a series of concerts and events in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

Under the auspices of the Bilateral Presidential Commission and with additional financial support from ConocoPhillips Russia Inc., the Trust for Mutual Understanding of New York, and generous private donors of the Russian Arts Foundation, we launch the next in RAF's on-going program called Cultural Allies.

Watch this space for updates...tomorrow in Moscow TUSABQ and RNOBQ begin their journey marking the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Maxim Rubtsov on Performance Today

David Duff of Alabama Public Radio wrote to me on January 8th to say: 
Just a quick note to let you know that on Monday, January 11th, Performance Today will broadcast a selection from Maxim Rubtsov's concert at the University of Alabama.
If you missed it, here is the web link to PT’s archive.  Under Today’s Playlist, Hour 1, click on Listen.

Martha Bredon wrote me to say:
Just listened to Max’s encore on NPR...his control on that last long note is incredible!
Maxim's piano accompanist, Pam Penick, was plenty excited to hear the last notes of what NPR host Fred Childs called "a well-received" concert. 

Let's hear it for the Crimson Tide.  They don't just do football, they do music with the same passion.  Their School of Music hosts an annual residency for RNO soloists and ensembles, which has featured RNO principal flute Maxim Rubtsov in 2009 and RNO principal trumpet Vladislav Lavrik in 2008. 

American Public Media's Performance Today is broadcast on 245 public radio stations across the country and is heard by about 1.2 million people each week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The RNO Performs in Krasnoyarsk

Here is my translation of the report in Russian language from the RNO web site, where the original text and a photo can be found:
By now it has become a tradition…the Russian National Orchestra has participated for the third time in the large-scale project—The Krasnoyarsk Fair of Book Culture—with the support of the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation.

This year the RNO presented two brilliant young singers, emerging from a new generation who are in high demand, Vasily Ladyuk (baritone) and Anastasia Belukova (soprano).

On November 5th at the Krasnoyarsk State Theatre of Opera and Ballet Anastasia Belukova and Vasily Ladyuk, accompanied by an ensemble of Russian National Orchestra soloists and the Krasnoyarsk State Symphony Orchestra, presented a unique musical-dramatic composition in which famous texts by Beaumarchais and Pushkin and the genius music of Mozart comprised a clever synthesis of selected literary and musical fragments. The concert program called “Here’s Poison…” included arias from operas by W. A. Mozart “Marriage of Figaro” and G. Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”; and A. S. Pushkin’s “Mozart and Salieri” from the cycle “Small Tragedies.” Additional participants included Oleg Rybkin, executive producer of Krasnoyarsk’s Pushkin Drama Theatre, and conductor Mark Kadin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The New Bassoon

Alexey Sizov, RNO principal bassoonist, proudly poses with the new bassoon, flanked by Angelika Lucchetta and her brother Ralf Reiter, proprietors of Wilhelm Heckel GmbH whose workshop in Wiesbaden, Germany hand-crafted the instrument to fit Alexey's hands. The portrait in the background is Wilhelm Heckel, 1856-1905, great-grandfather of Ralf and Angelika.

To learn more about the 160-year-old Heckel family enterprise, renowned for its fine woodwind instruments, click here for a link to the company web site.  To read more about bassoon basics, including an explanation of the German Heckel system, click here.

From Sharon Wing on the road with the RNO in Germany...

I met the RNO in Munich on October 27, where they began a week-long tour. The first concert was enthusiastically received--a program conducted by Maestro Pletnev featuring Glazunov's Prelude from Opus 79, Rachmaninoff's First Piano Concerto with soloist Jonathan Gilad and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15.
After the concert I boarded the bus with all the musicians to return to the hotel. Applause broke out when our principal cellist Alexander Gotgelf approached. Sasha's colleagues were paying tribute to his talent and spirit, demonstrated during the concert. How wonderful it is to see that respect continues and even grows amongst musicians who have played together for almost twenty years!

Next morning Alexey Sizov and I set out quite early to drive from Munich to Wiesbaden. Our mission—to pick up the new bassoon—was still a matter of disbelief and mystery to Alexey. Could this really be happening? In recent months his bassoon had become unreliable and more than troublesome.  During a New York concert of the  RNO Wind Quintet the bottom part of the bassoon crashed to the floor.  In the middle of an orchestra concert the bassoon had fallen apart on several occasions. Still the stressful period of waiting while the Heckel company crafted his new instrument coincided with the global economic crisis. For Alexey it was not at all clear that the necessary funds would be found to pay for the new bassoon. In the end Maestro Pletnev and orchestra friends in many countries made the bassoon a top priority.

At Heckel GmbH in Wiesbaden, the new bassoon had also been a priority for many months. Alexey could not believe his eyes when Ralf Reiter presented the glossy, gleaming black bassoon. The instrument glowed. Alexey glowed, too, as he took it into his hands and began to play—at first simple scales and then excerpts from Tchaikovsky, testing the sound and getting acquainted with his new partner. Alexey needed a lot of time, and indeed he spent more than four hours with Ralf and Angelika, trying many different bocals to select just the right ones for what he called “the RNO sound."

I learned that the bocal is often the most important part of the bassoon. It is the curved metal tube that connects the bassoon’s double reed to the body of the instrument, determining its tone. It comes in many different lengths, depending on the desired tuning and playing characteristics.

Ralf Reiter was patient and helpful to us during this get acquainted and bocal-testing process. Then he packed the new bassoon into a custom-made case for the journey to Nurnberg where the RNO was scheduled to perform an evening concert. While I navigated the autobahn at top speed, Alexey examined each piece of the precious new bassoon.

Major traffic jams in Frankfurt and an accident as we entered Bavaria meant we did not get to Nurnberg in time for the RNO concert. However, we arrived in time to introduce the new black beauty to RNO musicians backstage.

Alexey carefully and lovingly carried the new bassoon on the flight to Grenoble, France. Then on to Rouen and Paris, where the sound was said to be oo-la-la.   And thus was launched a bassoon's new career with the Russian National Orchestra.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Maxim Rubtsov US Concert Tour Achievements

Five Concerts, Five Master Classes, Two Dance Workshops, Performances with Piano, Organ, Dancers, Children, a Bumblebee and a Squirrel.  1245 miles on the road, many friends and fans, one parking ticket.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dance Workshop and Discussion at Center for the Arts CUNY-Staten Island

Photo by Sullah Bien-Aime
On the Staten Island Ferry Maxim entertains Lady Liberty

Photo by Sulaah Bien-Aime
Sitting on the stage after their performance at CUNY-Staten Island Maxim and Germaul explain how they met in Russia at a dance workshop. Germaul says of his Russian friend, Maxim has a visual idea as well as a musical idea when he performs. You see this in his body language. He has what only a few artists have—natural movement, the desire to collaborate, and the ability to perform in two genres—music and dance—at the same time.