Yunchan Lim –Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
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You would think this adorable 18-year old wouldn’t be able to see the piano keys through his low-hanging fringe. Not only can he see them, but he can play the hell out of them. His name is Yunchan Lim from South Korea, remember it, and he has just won the Gold Medal in the world’s most prestigious piano competition, the Cliburn.
Here is one of his winning performances, the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 3 in Dminor, Op.30., a piece so famous that it is characterised by many, wrongly, as a ‘warhorse’. Marin Alsop is the conductor, the orchestra is the Fort Worth Symphony.
I have listened to this Concerto many times over the years, as, I'm sure, have you, but I have never before heard it played like this, with such delicacy, precision and power. Nor with such instinctive communication between soloist and conductor. I keep forgetting, as I become absorbed in his music, that he is only 18. It is impossible to predict his future but unless something very untoward happens, with luck and a following wind, this young man is going to be an international star. Since I am sure that, like me, you have never heard him before, here’s a little more about him.
A native of Siheung, Yunchan Lim was launched onto the international music scene at 14 when he won second prize and the Chopin Special Award in his first-ever competition, the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists. At 15, he was the youngest ever to win Korea’s IsangYun International Competition.
Now just 18, he has performed across South Korea with all its major orchestras as well as in Madrid, at the invitation of the Korea Cultural Center in Spain. He also participated in the recording of “2020 Young Musicians of Korea,” organized by the Korean Broadcasting System and released that November.
In the few days since winning the Cliburn, superlatives have rained down from all sides. Judge for yourselves.
Reflections – Leonard Bernstein
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Leonard Bernstein was unique. He bridged the gap between classical music and contemporary culture as composer, of West Side Story and other musicals as well as many pieces for the concert hall, conductor, pianist, and musical pedagogue, with his pioneering television concerts for young people. This year he’s getting the Hollywood treatment with a forthcoming Bradley Cooper feature film, but, in this documentary, directed by Peter Rosen, we can discover his life in his own words. Here are the public and private sides of his life and work, following him from his home to his debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
This film is a rare personal portrait of Leonard Bernstein from the spontaneous joy of his Broadway hits, to the bold, spiritual quest of his orchestral works, and his intensity and vitality as a conductor. Leonard Bernstein was a central figure of 20th century music.
This is Bernstein in his own words. It brings a renewed appreciation of this gifted man and his far-reaching influence. This documentary takes viewers from the Leonard Bernstein Festival in Israel in 1977 to the stage of his famous debut at Carnegie Hall in New York and into the privacy of his home and studio.
He was a good story-teller and in this film he tells about his childhood and early years in Boston, his musical growth at Harvard and at the Curtis Institute, and the influence of great masters like Reiner, Mitropoulis and Koussevitsky. Bernstein’s eloquence and charm have marked his television appearances and are powerfully evidenced in this documentary: from the pioneering Omnibus programmes of the 1950s, and the CBS Young People’s Concerts to the provocative Norton lectures delivered at Harvard in the 1970s.
The School at Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Ballet Performance Ensemble
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‘Tis the season for wonderful outdoor performances from festivals all over the world. One of my favourites is Jacob’s Pillow, the contemporary dance festival and school, set it the Berkshires. This Festival has been active during the pandemic in expanding its audience beyond beautiful Massachusetts with numerous videos which it makes available worldwide.
These new productions are made by The School at Jacob’s Pillow Performance Ensemble and provide an inside look at the student and teacher experience and feature repertoire created on the dancers by leading choreographers who serve as program faculty.
Dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow are apprentices, trainees, pre-professionals, and early-career professionals from around the world. Professional Advancement Programs during Festival 2022 are on-site and are designed to nurture the artistic growth of the next generation of dance artists.
Here are performances from the Performance Ensembles in a variety of genres. Contemporary Ballet (June 25), Contemporary (July 16), Musical Theatre (August 6), and Dance Theatre: Afro-Latin Immersion (August 20).
June 25, 2022 6:00PM ET
Van Gogh and After – Art lecture
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Claude Cernusci is the professor of Art history and the chair of the Fine Arts Dept at Boston College. This is a straightforward illustrated lecture about one of the world’s most popular and least understood painters and what Cernusci doesn’t know about Van Gogh isn’t worth knowing. In this talk, he investigates Van Gogh’s position in art history: how he reacted against Impressionism, and how his work affected artists who came after, specifically, the larger phenomenon of Expressionism. Catnip for those of us who love to know about artists and their work.
Regular readers have told me over and over again that the art history items in Theatrewise Blog are their favourites so, without apology, here is Van Gogh and After.
The Tart Adage – Royal Ballet
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(338) The Tart Adage from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (The Royal Ballet, 2017) - YouTube
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland burst onto the Royal Ballet stage in 2011 in an explosion of colour, stage magic and inventive, sophisticated choreography. Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative, eye-popping designs draw on everything from puppetry to projections to make Wonderland wonderfully real.
In this exuberant Christopher Wheeldon version for the Royal Ballet, Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary and instantly recognizable characters. Here is a little taste of it from 2017, the matchless Laura Morera as the highly strung Queen of Hearts performing a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty’s famous Rose Adagio (usually known as ‘The Tart Adage’), to a playing card corps de ballet, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter.
Ruth Leon is a writer and critic specialising in music and theatre.