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Encores and Curtain Calls
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The Pioneer Valley Symphony, shown here being led by Paul Phillips, its music director and conductor, was honored recently with a 2013-2014 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

Encores & Curtain Calls: Pioneer Valley Symphony, the little orchestra that could!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.” — Leonard Bernstein The Pioneer Valley Symphony, which is soon to turn a venerable 76, has released its 2014-2015 season of offerings with an eye toward focusing on music born of the stage, in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this past April. … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Theater, music and laughter

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Never mind June, the July summer arts scene is bustin’ out all over and it seems only fair to at least touch upon some of the less-known possibilities lest they go unnoticed in the sheer abundance of riches. Original musical theater Happening right under our noses — indeed, opening this evening — is … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Three tales of summer

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One of the most poignant moments of the Superman saga occurs in “Superman Returns,” when we see our solitary protagonist descending toward earth from the darkness of insterstellar space, hearing, as he does so, to a desperate, densely layered cross-section of earth-born voices, beseeching the cosmos for intercession. A bit further on, Lois … 0

Life without drama is no life at all

Thursday, October 3, 2013

“All playwrights should be dead for 300 years.” — Joseph L. Mankiewicz Academy Award-winning  writer, director, producer The human mind cannot for long bear a void — an empty canvas; it seems it has to be busy painting a picture, or telling itself something to keep a narrative … 0

A brilliant, soulful, volatile spirit

Thursday, September 26, 2013

“Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.” — Ludwig van Beethoven The fall arts scene in Brattleboro, Vt., is kicking in big time with a Sunday, Sept. 29, performance by cellist Sharon Robinson and pianist … 0

We can’t do without a tragedy

Thursday, September 19, 2013

“I am ashamed of the (audience) before me ... Are there men to whom, the death of their fellow beings is a spectacle of pleasure, an object of curiosity? ... But you, especially, O women! What has induced you to come to this place?  Is it to wipe … 0

One man, many songs

Thursday, September 12, 2013

“There are only two kinds of music; music that sounds good and whatever you want to call that other stuff.” — Duke Ellington Jerry Noble leads a flock of parallel musical lives, among them, piano accompanist for the soloists and choruses of the Smith College music department, where … 0

‘Healing the Earth’

Thursday, September 5, 2013

“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” — Dalai Lama The fall artistic aquifers of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst are brimful and primed to erupt, and in some intriguing directions. A strange … 0

Isn’t it time you visited Redfern?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

All right, it’s time to grab those invitingly empty fall calendars and to start circling some of the most inviting offerings that will soon come cascading through the Pioneer Valley. This week, we’ll provide an overview of two powerful forthcoming presentations at the far-too-long marginalized Redfern Arts Center … 0

Encores: An uncommon glory

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world. — George Washington Carver Last fall, in the role of a composer in pursuit of a handful of ideal singers and instrumentalists for an April concert featuring music … 0

Encores: Violin, piano & a pair of masterworks

Thursday, August 15, 2013

“The hearer who abandons himself ... to its beneficent influence will recover from the superficial agitation at the center of the soul, and ... will return to the attraction of the supremely desirable, which is at the same time, the supremely intelligible. Without ceasing to be human he … 0

Flute: a uniquely poignant voice

Thursday, August 8, 2013

“When Krishna plays the flute the whole world is filled with love. Rivers stop, stones are illumined, lotus flowers tremble; gazelles, cows, and birds are entranced; demons and ascetics enchanted.” — The Bhagavata-Purana Aside from the historical venue of its Memorial Museum music room, set amidst garden-like outdoor … 0

Joseph may have been a tad hasty

Thursday, August 1, 2013

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.” — Kent Nerburn All right — so, just maybe, I was in danger of slightly exaggerating the … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: ‘Duck Soup’

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ambassador Trentino: I am willing to do anything to prevent this war. Rufus T. Firefly: It’s too late. I’ve already paid a month’s rent on the battlefield. Alright, listen up: in an effort to foil a plan by the neighboring Sylvania to take over her own Freedonia, the … 0

Summer is almost over, honest

Thursday, July 18, 2013

We’re at that mysterious Maginot line just now where the summer is well under way, and yet we feel there’s still plenty of summer left us. The rains have come (and come, and come and come) and gone; July 4th’s festivities and fireworks have fizzled and are behind … 0