Saturday, November 20, 2010

Composing Thoughts Alex Shapiro

Speaking with Alex Shapiro about her upcoming trip on Symphonic Voyages.

Composing Thoughts Alex Shapiro from John Clare on Vimeo.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whitacre outtake

Behind the scenes, a portion that was edited out of our conversation, when Eric remembered our first interview:

Composing Thoughts Whitacre

Eric Whitacre is working with new media to create the Virtual Choir...and is conducting hsi own works, as heard in the new Decca release, Light & Gold.

Whitacre spoke with John Clare about these projects and more.  Listen to their conversation:

Interview (mp3 file) (wav file)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Composing Thoughts Higdon 2010

While in Dallas, I spoke with Jennifer Higdon about winning the Pulitzer Prize, as the DSO was about to perform the winning work, her Violin Concerto with Hilary Hahn.

We also spoke about her new On a wire, a concerto for eighth blackbird to be premiered in June 2010.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Composing Thoughts Lang

I recently had a chance to talk with composer David Lang:

David Lang's the difficulty of crossing a field is being performed in Austin this week.
Libretto by Mac Wellman
Composed by David Lang
Directed by Luke Leonard
Music Directed by Lyn Koenning
Performances: April 28, 29, 30 & May 1 at 8:00 PM
May 1, 2 at 2:00 PM
B. Iden Payne Theatre
Tickets: $20 adults, $17 UT faculty & staff, $15 students available online at or by phone at 512 477-6060.

Here is an excerpt of his opera:

Early next month you can catch Lang's Pulitzer Prize winning work, The Little Matchstick Girl Passion with Conspirare:
From a mystical, stunningly beautiful requiem to a contemporary setting of a children’s fable, Conspirare explores life’s mysteries in music. Featuring David Lang’s beguiling Little Match Girl Passion, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in music.
WORKS * J.S. BACH, “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” from St. Matthew Passion */ *TOMÁS LUIS DE VICTORIA, Requiem (Missa pro defunctis) */* DAVID LANG, Little Match Girl Passion */* GIACOMO CARISSIMI, “Plorate filii Israel” from Jephte*
Thu, May 6, 7:30PM, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 306 W. San Antonio St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624. Tickets: 830-997-7693.
Fri, May 7, 8:00PM, Sat, May 8, 8:00PM, Sun, May 9, 2:30PM, St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Composing Thoughts Gordon

I recently had the chance to speak with composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Gordon (pictured right rehearsing at TLU) has emerged as one of the most successful writers of a kind of vocal music that straddles the world of theater and art song. His unusual ability to find the musical core of a poem or lyric and express that essence in an appropriate musical style, has given his songs great appeal to singers of all styles and persuasions. Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed and or recorded by Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Andrea Marcovici, Melanie Helton, Harolyn Blackwell, Betty Buckley, Margaret Lattimore, Stephanie Novacek and Mary Philips, among many others.
His accomplishments in musical theater are also very notable, with shows such as My Life with Albertine, Dream True, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Only Heaven and Morning Star having been successfully performed. In 2010 a new musical, Sycamore Trees, will debut with the Signature Theater, for whom it was written with the generous help of the Shen Family Foundation. Ricky Ian Gordon has recently been commissioned by both the Minnesota Opera, for a second time (a work to be based on the novel, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis) and the Metropolitan Opera (the story of Victor Hugo’s daughter, Adele, in Nova Scotia).
Composer website:

Coming up in March 22, 2010 you can catch The Grapes Of Wrath at Carnegie Hall!
World Premiere Two Act Concert Version with Narrator
Collegiate Chorale, Chorus
conducted by Thomas Bagwell
American Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Ted Sperling
Directed by Eric Simonson

Narrator-Jane Fonda
Ma-Victoria Clark
Pa-Peter Halverson
Tom-Nathan Gunn
Al-Steven Pasquale
Noah-Andrew Wilkowski
Rosasharn-Elizabeth Futral
Ruthie-Madeline Gunn (Nathan's Daughter)
Uncle John-Stephen Powell
Casy-Anthony Dean Griffey
Ragged Man/Connie/Trucker-Matthew Worth
Mae The Waitress-Christine Ebersole

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Composing Thoughts Heggie

A talk with Jake Heggie and host John Clare.

Don't miss a chance to hear Jake's amazing music:
Apr 30, May 2-16
Dallas Opera presents the world premiere of Moby-Dick, a new opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. The cast features Ben Heppner (Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Jonathan Lemalu (Queequeg), Talise Trevigne (Pip), Robert Orth (Stubb), Allan Glassman (Flask), and Jonathan Beyer (Captain Gardiner). Patrick Summers conducts and Leonard Foglia directs. Production design is by Robert Brill with lighting by Donald Holder and costumes by Jane Greenwood. Co-commissioned by Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, State Opera of South Australia and Calgary Opera.

And also in May 2010:
May 8-16
Chicago Opera Theater presents Three Decembers by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer. Frederica von Stade stars as Madeline Mitchell with Sara Jukubiak (Beatrice) and Matthew Worth (Charlie); conducted by Stephen Hargreaves, production by Leonard Foglia.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New film music?

Martin Scorsese's new film Shutter Island (Paramount Pictures) debuts in theatres on today (February 19) and features the music of composers Krzysztof Penderecki and György Ligeti on an immense and haunting soundtrack produced by Robbie Robertson of The Band. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, the film features music from Penderecki's Symphony No. 3 and Fluorescences as well as Ligeti's Lontano and Two Etudes for Organ. Each of these monolithic scores plays a vital role in the ominous, sinister world that Scorsese creates in this film about a US Marshall investigating the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane off the coast of Massachusetts. The soundtrack to Scorsese's film is already available on the commercial recording Shutter Island: Music from the Motion Picture, released by Rhino on February 2. Produced by Robbie Robertson, the soundtrack features a number of modern classics, in addition to the Ligeti and Penderecki works, performed by the San Francisco Symphony, the National Polish Radio Symphony, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic and other leading orchestras and ensembles.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Composing Thoughts Hagen

Daron Hagen recently visited San Antonio for the world premiere of his Northern Lights. He spoke with John Clare about this new work:

Hear Northern Lights with the YOSA Philharmonic and Troy Peters:

You might also enjoy these podcasts of previous interviews with Daron in preparation of Northern Lights for YOSA players:

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 4 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 3 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 2 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.

YOSA Podcast: Daron Hagen 1 from Classical Spotlight on Vimeo.