Classical | Texas Public Radio

Classical

Texas Public Radio Classical Music blog and other stories.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

Nathan Cone / TPR

Holiday favorites and high spirits are on the bill this weekend as the U.S. Air Force Band of the West presents their annual “Holiday in Blue” concert at Edgewood Theatre of the Performing Arts. This free event is open to the public, and features the 62-piece military band and their many splinter groups (jazz band, wind ensembles), performing favorite melodies for Christmas, Hanukkah, and more.

Edward Benavides

Dance to some Mariachi Christmas music. Get down with some Ranky Tanky rhythms. And then reflect on the season with a classic piece from Handel. This weekend will hum with holiday music, and here are the details. 


One of opera's leading men, Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, was dismissed Thursday by two of the world's most prestigious houses: the Royal Opera in London and New York's Metropolitan Opera.

His firing comes after an investigation by the Royal Opera [RO], which determined that he had demonstrated "inappropriate and aggressive behavior" during an RO tour of Japan in September.

One of classical music's most beloved conductors has died: Latvian-born Mariss Jansons, who was age 76 at his death on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jansons had long had a heart condition, which first became known when he collapsed on the podium while conducting in Norway more than 20 years ago.

Peter Gelb has not enjoyed a particularly smooth tenure as the general manager at New York's Metropolitan Opera. But the company's board expressed its faith in him on Monday by extending his contract through 2027.

The agreement — which arrived a full two and a half years before Gelb's current contract expires — signals the board's strong commitment to Gelb, who earned some $2.17 million in combined pay and benefits during the company's last reported financial year.

In a career – and personal life – loaded with enough drama to fuel an opera, Kanye West is finally presenting one. Or at least that's what he tweeted Sunday, announcing a performance of Nebuchadnezzar, "A Kanye West Opera" at the Hollywood Bowl on Nov. 24.

From Texas Standard:

As high school football season moves into playoffs, another kind of competition is taking place: the Texas University Scholastic League’s marching band contests. And though most people are familiar with what’s called “corps band” – those half-time shows with catchy pop tunes and elaborate props –  another marching tradition is part of the competition, too.

Gabriela Ortiz's Yanga had its world premiere late last month at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Ortiz is one of Mexico's most sought-after classical composers and her work has been performed by musicians all over the world, from soprano Dawn Upshaw to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to Kronos Quartet.

Last month, trumpeter and composer Nicholas Payton had the U.S. premiere of his Black American Symphony with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

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