A Conversation With Paul McCartney: BBC Radio 4 Kaleidoscope

Proud of this one from 1997. I remember the day well: me, McCartney and his press agent congregating in the Broadcasting House lobby, heads turning. Then a swift elevator to the fifth floor studio sharing with a BBC post-boy who got in on the second and whose jaw nearly hit the floor when McCartney said [Read More]

A Conversation With Simon Slater: Carmen Disruption at the Almeida

Simon Stephens’ Carmen Disruption upends the expectations of anyone entering the Almeida Theatre. It’s a kind of living poetry, taking its cue from Bizet’s ever-popular opera but taking it into ever darker territory. When does an artist’s assumption of a role end and real life take over?

This is the Carmen we know and love, [Read More]

A Conversation With Liisa Randalu: Schumann Quartet release 2nd CD

The brothers Erik, Ken, and Mark Schumann founded the SCHUMANN QUARTET in 2007 and it might well have been an all-family affair had the cellist’s twin sister chosen to switch from violin to viola and join them. The Schumann brothers are of German/Japanese heritage – an interesting mix of temperaments – and perhaps because of [Read More]

A Conversation With Dame Janet Baker

Dame Janet Baker at the Jewish Cultural CentreEvery now and again – but only very rarely – a professional engagement comes along that is so personal, so loaded with treasured associations, that it transcends all normal parameters and takes on a significance all of its own. This was such an occasion.

I first met Dame Janet two years ago on the jury … [Read More]

A Conversation With Linus Roth: Crusading for Weinberg

Linus RothThe Polish composer Miecyzlaw Weinberg – his Holocaust opera The Passenger caused quite a stir in David Pountney’s premiere staging – has a new champion. The talented young German violinist Linus Roth has taken his music and his legacy to heart in a big way. New recordings of the complete Sonatas and the little heard … [Read More]

A Conversation With Vasily Petrenko: Shostakovich Symphony No.13 “Babi Yar”

099ac7ce-8c0d-4276-a3db-5c6488f5b947With the final release in Vasily Petrenko’s much-lauded Shostakovich cycle on Naxos the young maestro talks to Edward Seckerson about a masterpiece the Soviet authorities tried but failed to sabotage at its first performances. YevgenyYevtushenko’s poem “Babi Yar” with its accusations of anti-Semitism was the flashpoint but social protest runs deep in the piece and … [Read More]

A Conversation With Corinne Winters: Life before and after the London Traviata

IMG_8899webIn February 2013 Corinne Winters created an absolute sensation in her operatic European debut when Peter Konwitschny’s starkly intense staging of Verdi’s La Traviata arrived at English National Opera. Vocally, physically, dramatically her Violetta (“the whore who gets all the best tunes” according to Konwitschny) was so “complete”, so unanimously greeted by superlative reviews, that [Read More]

A Conversation With Vasily Petrenko: Shostakovich’s Symphony No 14

MI0003734986At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, as ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity… a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly…’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, … [Read More]

A Conversation With Reinhard Goebel & Mirijam Contzen: New Mozart Violin Concertos recording

Goebel_Contzen_BK_photo_Josep_MolinaIn Leopold Mozart’s old house (now a museum) in the Bavarian city of Augsburg a piano tuner is hard at work tuning one of the working exhibits – a venerable clavichord. Enter Reinhard Goebel and Mirijam Contzen whose new Oehms Classics recording of the Six Mozart Violin Concertos with the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie is sure to … [Read More]

A Conversation With Rupert Goold & Duncan Sheik: American Psycho – A New Musical Thriller

ampsych1In the season of goodwill a new musical based on Bret Easton Ellis’ notorious novel American Psycho might earn itself the subtitle “NOT the Christmas Show” – but when the composer is Duncan Sheik, he of the sensational Spring Awakening, and the director Rupert Goold, fresh into his artistic stewardship of the Almeida Theatre, … [Read More]

A Conversation With Gianluca Marciano: Italian style and traditions

Gianluca MarcianoBowing in at the London Coliseum for the latest revival of Anthony Minghella’s sumptuous staging of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, conductor Gianluca Marciano is fast building a reputation as one of the most thoughtful and stylistically incisive of thoroughbred Italians on the circuit. In the UK his work at Grange Park Opera has garnered impressive … [Read More]

A Conversation With Vasily Petrenko: His Shostakovich symphony cycle

Vasily Petrenko by Mark_McNultyAs Vasily Petrenko’s much-lauded Shostakovich symphony cycle moves closer to completion we reach the renegade Fourth Symphony written in 1935 and driven underground by Stalin and his establishment naysayers. This astonishing piece  – which remained unperformed for 25 years until 1961 when Kondrashin in Russia and Eugene Ormandy in the USA brought it in from … [Read More]

A Conversation With Mary Miller & Andrew Litton: Bergen Opera

Fidelio BergenIn the listening room of Grieg Hall, Bergen – a concert hall sometimes masquerading as a theatre and vice versa – Edward Seckerson talks to Mary Miller, Director of Bergen National Opera, and Andrew Litton, Music Director of the venerable Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – about the genesis of opera in Bergen and the prospect of … [Read More]

A Conversation With Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms 2013Yannick Nézet-Séguin is one of the most hotly pursued conductors on the planet right now. To his orchestral “families” in Rotterdam, Montreal, and London he has now added the illustrious Philadelphia Orchestra, once dubbed by Rachmaninov “the greatest orchestra in the world”, and his debut recording with them for Deutsche Grammophon pays tribute to one … [Read More]

A Conversation With Maury Yeston

Maury YestonOn the day that the “chamber” version of his Tony Award winning show Titanic opens at London’s Southwark Playhouse the loquacious MAURY YESTON – composer of Nine and the “other” Phantom – chats to EDWARD SECKERSON about his journey in musical theatre. An undergraduate at Yale University, Yeston majored in music theory and has been … [Read More]

A Conversation With Benjamin Wallfisch

Benjamin WallfischBenjamin Wallfisch was born into an extraordinarily musical family. His father Raphael Wallfisch is a cellist of international repute and his grandmother Anita Lasker-Wallfisch would not be alive today had her cello not served as a refuge for her soul while she was an inmate at Auschwitz. Benjamin did not play the cello but instead … [Read More]

A Conversation With Lucy Schaufer

Lucy SchauferLucy Schaufer has always been one to confound our expectations. As she puts it herself, she’s “an American in London, conceived within the American Dream and living in the Old World.” As an indication of her boundless versatility she’s been seen here in roles as diverse as Claire DeLoone in Bernstein’s On the Town, … [Read More]

A Conversation With Ian Bostridge

Ian BostridgeIt comes as no surprise that international tenor Ian Bostridge plays a significant part in EMI and Virgin Classics‘ contribution to Britten 100. In this exclusive audio podcast talks to Edward Seckerson about the man, the music, the insecurities, the contradictions, the isolation that came with being a pacifist in time of war and a … [Read More]

A Conversation With Colin Currie

Colin CurrieThe evolution of the solo percussionist has advanced dramatically over the last couple of decades and among the superstars of the hardware that can be struck and pounded or caressed and stroked is the flying Scotsman Colin Currie whose profile has steadily grown since becoming the first percussionist ever to reach the finals of the … [Read More]

A Conversation With Vasily Petrenko

Vasily PetrenkoAfter seven fulfilling years at the helm of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko has extended his contract, his tenure, his commitment, as he puts it, “to eternity”. Another decade in Liverpool is guaranteed taking him past the record of the longest serving Chief Conductor of the orchestra, Sir Charles Groves. Petrenko has had … [Read More]


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