Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Graham Parker, general manager of New York radio station WQXR, has been appointed president of Universal Music’s classical labels in the US. Graham, 46, ran the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for almost eight years before taking up the radio job in 2010. British-born, he entered the music industry through an assistant’s job with the New York Philharmonic. His staff are being told about the move at this moment. By some weird PR coincidence, the New York Times ran a soft feature about Graham at the weekend. Press release coming up: SANTA MONICA, May 24, 2016 – Universal Music Group, the world leader in music-based entertainment, today named Graham Parker, General Manager of WQXR, the most-listened to classical music radio station in the U.S. and a 2016 Peabody Award-winner for its Q2Music podcast, as President of its legendary roster of U.S. classical music labels, part of the Verve Label Group. In this new role, Parker will oversee UMG’s U.S. classical music labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Decca Records, Decca Classics, Mercury Classics, and distributed label ECM. Parker will be based in New York and report jointly to Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics for Universal Music Group, and Danny Bennett, recently appointed President & CEO of Verve Label Group. To accelerate Universal Music’s classical music strategy, Parker will serve as the U.S. lead for the company’s classical music initiatives to develop and promote emerging classical recording artists and composers on a global scale, working closely with Stainer, David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK & Ireland and Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon. In close co-ordination with this global team, Parker will develop digital strategies to bring U.S. Universal artists to the widest audiences possible, will deepen relationships with the leading ensembles and venues throughout the U.S., and explore new business opportunities for today’s 21st century artists. While at New York Public Radio, Parker oversaw and implemented ambitious initiatives to serve New York’s thriving classical music scene with new programming, digital offerings, bold community engagement projects, and a robust roster of live events and live broadcasts including performances from Lang Lang to Rufus Wainwright, from its own studios to the stages of Carnegie Hall. Bennett said, “Universal Music is home to some of the world’s finest classical recordings and composers in history, as well as the world’s cutting edge new artists. With Graham, we’re adding an executive who has a proven track record of having his finger on the pulse of classical music and opera and who has made the genre accessible to a whole new audience through groundbreaking programming and digital innovation. I’m looking forward to working with Graham and together making an indelible impact in the world of classical music.” Added Stainer, “I’m delighted to welcome someone of Graham’s stature and visionary approach to help expand classical music’s reach and audience in the U.S. His arrival marks a moment of excitement and opportunity for artists and music fans in America and across the world.” “I’ve devoted my life to classical music and bringing this incredible genre to as wide an audience as possible,” said Parker. “The opportunity to not only join the legendary catalog of Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, but to also be on the forefront of identifying the classical superstars of tomorrow, was too incredible to pass up. I’m humbled by this opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with Danny, Dickon, Michele Anthony and the entire UMG team.”
Royal Festival Hall, London This stark all-Chopin recital had some mesmerising moments – but the young pianist’s risk aversion was at the expense of spontaneityIt is unfair that so much of what is written about Yundi – including this review – involves a comparison with his compatriot Lang Lang. Yes, they are both pianists, both Chinese, both 33, both heavily marketed and both command an enormous fanbase – some of whom came out in force for Yundi’s recital at the Royal Festival Hall. And, yes, the embrace of western classical music by China is the single biggest thing in the music business of our times..Yet the two could hardly be more different musicians. While Lang Lang is the ultimate extrovert pianist of the age, Yundi offers pianism of an altogether more inward kind. His playing is contained, consistent and structured, even frugal at times. He avoids display and demonstrative gestures – almost to a fault. The most striking thing about Yundi’s playing is the care he applies to his sound not his technique, although the one depends on the other. Continue reading...
Further to the latest crumblings at IMG , we hear all is not well at the other mega-agency. Jean-Jacques Cesbron, who runs the profitable CAMI Music part of the business – Lang Lang, Cameron Carpenter, Einaudi and some film composers – is planning to move out of the CAMI offices in Columbus Circle and down to the Flat Iron district. CAMI will need to find another tenant fast, or move to smaller quarters. Lang Lang between brand man and Cesbron (r)
When Tallis' Spem in Alium became a bestseller after being featured in the soft-porn movie Fifty Shades of Grey, Tallis Scholars' founder Peter Phillips declared "It doesn’t matter to me how people encounter Tallis, as long as they do". His refreshing viewpoint prompts me to suggest that a lot more people would encounter the woefully neglected music of Kaikhosru Sorabji if an enterprising director used his 'Le Jardin Parfumé, Poem for Piano' in a suitably titillating movie. 'Le Jardin Parfumé' was inspired by the treatise The Perfumed Garden written by the 14th century Berber author Sheik Nefzaoui, although the muted dynamics of Sorabji's score do not reflect the treatise's climactic prose. I do not want to stand accused of slipping a disc, so I will now turn to someone better qualified to describe The Perfumed Garden. Here is Linda Coverdale's description, taken from a footnote she provides for her masterly translation of Tahar Ben Jelloun's novel Leaving Tangier: Once banned in the West, Sir Richard Burton's 1886 translation of The Perfumed Garden by Sheik Nefzaoui has been called the Arabic Kama Sutra. The chapter titles for this Islamic sex manual reveal a focus on - among other things - both admirable and contemptible behaviour by men and women; matters that either favour or impede coition; various causes of enjoyment, sterility, or impotence; the 'Sundry Names' given to the sexual parts of men and women; and 'Prescriptions for Increasing the Dimensions of Small Members and for Making Them Splendid.Lang Lang what are you waiting for? Score of Le jardin parfumé: Poem for Piano Solo (1923) via Northwestern University, and cover of The Perfumed Garden from print on demand copy. No review samples involved in this post. My copy of The Perfumed garden was bought online for 1p and is from the splendidly titled Wordsworth Classic Erotica series. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.
Ramin Gray 's Royal Opera production of Gerald Barry 's The Importance of Being Earnest will be live-streamed from the Barbican on 2 April at 7.25pm BST. Available to watch for free via this page and the Royal Opera House YouTube channel , the event will be presented by broadcaster Petroc Trelawny . Based on the play by Oscar Wilde, Barry's opera has enchanted audiences since its 2011 concert premiere in Los Angeles, winning the Philharmonic Society ’s award for Large-Scale Composition in 2013. Barry re-invents the Victorian farce with a hyperactive score that includes increasingly giddy variations on ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and a battle of spite through megaphones to the accompaniment of 40 solemnly smashed plates. Read our Opera Essentials guide to The Importance of Being Earnest . The live stream of The Importance of Being Earnest is delivered in association with BBC Arts. The Importance of Being Earnest runs 29 March–3 April 2016. Tickets are still available through the Royal Opera House and Barbican websites.