News and views

Let’s talk image.  This week, two leading critics offered harsh assessments of the deadly blandness of classical musicians’ wardrobes.  Greg Sandow looked at orchestra photos and proclaimed them “boring, boring boring!”  Writer Chloe Veltman complained about choral people and the all-black look.  “Singers and their directors should take a style lesson,” she writes, obviously unaware of the dramatic colors popping up in Rochester. In the last year or so, the Rochester Oratorio Society has gone glittery and red, and the women of Madrigalia glow in new, rose-colored dresses. 

Now that 2011 is almost over, here come the Best-of Lists!  NPR prefers the word “favorite” over “best.”   In any case, Eastman grad and fortepianio specialist Kristian Bezuidenhout’s makes NPR’s favorites list for his “amazing musicality, lyricism and muscularity” in a new recording of two Mendelssohn concertos.

AllMusic’s classical editors and writers love Rochester native Renée Fleming and her live recording of highlights from the operetta Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), released after last year’s New Year’s Eve broadcast on German television channel ZDF.   They’ve got former RPO Music Director Mark Elder on their best-of 2011 list, praising his work with the Hallé Orchestra on Colin Matthews’s dreamy arrangements of Debussy Preludes. 

A whole slew of Eastman grads are up for Grammy awards, including (AGAIN!) soprano Renée Fleming (’83), percussionist Christopher Lamb (’81) and composer/percussionist John Hollenbeck ( ’91).  The 54th annual Grammy Awards air on Feb. 12, 2012. 

What are your favorite recordings of 2011?  Let us know at

And let’s not wear any black in 2012, ok?  How about blue or green or pink? Purple brings out the color of your eyes.