Yo Yo Ma Performing Elgar's Cello Concerto

Yo-Yo Ma with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago SO in this performance from 1997. This concerto will forever be associated with Jaqueline duPre, but YYM gives a performance that is beyond breathtaking. It is fitting that Barenboim is the conductor; I'm sure he feels this concerto is still in very good hands.

The Soul of a New Ensemble: Musicians as Entrepreneurs

Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
Members of the Declassified, a new collective of young classical musicians, rehearsing ahead of the group’s debut week of performances.

In a New York University lecture hall, business school students poked at iPads and iPhones to produce short melodic loops through speakers. A few feet away, a small group of musicians about the same age played along in a performance of Terry Riley’s Minimalist masterpiece “In C.”

It was part research project, part interactive demonstration and part experiment, but mostly it was the inaugural event this week for the introduction of a new performing group called the Declassified, the latest example of young classical musicians banding together to figure out a future on their own amid a fraying and fragmenting performance world.

The 46-member collective plans to give chamber music concerts in various formations. But it mainly wants to establish residencies for weeks at a time at universities, conservatories and just about anywhere else. Performing would be only part of a menu of teaching, master classes and projects that bring audience members closer to performers.

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Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 39


1.   d.      All of the above
2.   a.      An early keyboard instrument that produces sound via pushing a key and making a brass blade strike the string.
3.   b.      A waltz
4.   d.      Frederick Chopin
5.   d.      Both Handel and Beethoven

Classical Music Is Supreme At The Nation's Highest Court

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dedicated advocate of classical music.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dedicated advocate of classical music.

This is a big week for classical music at the Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg provided Alex Ross at The New Yorker with a list of her favorite records. Not only does Justice Ginsburg have impeccable taste in opera — from Placido Domingo's classic Otello to the Nathan Gunn/Ian Bostridge Billy Budd — but her son, James Ginsburg, has become an important force in promoting Chicago-area musicians via his record label, Cedille.

Meanwhile, Justice Ginsburg has also invited one of the true giants among pianists, Leon Fleisher, to play for the Court . In previous years, she has invited such current opera favorites as Stephanie Blythe and Anthony Dean Griffey, extending a musical tradition at the Court formerly fostered by Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

To top it off, Justice Ginsburg — who has made cameo appearances in Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Fledermaus at the Washington National Opera — hosted last year's NEA Opera Awards. In her remarks, she observed that Wagner's Ring cycle "centers on a breach of contract — Wotan's repudiation of the agreement he made to compensate the giants for building Valhalla. What better illustration of the well-known legal maxim pacta sunt servanda; in plain English, agreements must be kept."

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 38


1.  c.  Sergei Rachmaninoff
2.  a.  Gioachino Rossini
3.  a.  mezzo forte, medium loud
4.  c.  Yo Yo Ma
5.  b.  Franz Joseph Haydn

Ivan Pacheco Performs the I and E Snare Drum Solo

Amazing, even plays part of it with his elbow. He was a member of the Blue Devils, and this solo got him 1st place.

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 37

Answers to Musical IQ Test 36 

1.  b. Jacques Offenbach
2.  c. Thirty-two, several with famous nicknames
3.  b. Yes, but his fame was based on many other genres of music.
4.  d. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
5.  a. very loud

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 36

Answers to Musical IQ Test 35

1.   b.  George Frideric Handel
2.   c.  Claude Debussy
3.   a.  The text, lyrics or any spoken parts of an opera, oratorio or musical.
4.   d.  Gianni Schicchi
5.   c.  Ludwig van Beethoven


How Classical Music Shaped Sondheim’s Songs

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has helped to create some of Broadway’s greatest stage shows. But he says the world of classical music is behind some of his deepest influences, including such composers as Sergei Rachmaninoff and Joseph-Maurice Ravel.

Sondheim, 82, studied classical music as an undergraduate at Williams College, then studied composition with composer Milton Babbitt. 

On Saturday, he said that soon after he completed his most famous song, “Send in the Clowns,” from “A Little Night Music,” he thought, “Gee, that sounds familiar,” seeing the influence of Rachmaninoff. 

When  Mark Eden Horowitz, a senior music specialist at the Library of Congressasked about Ravel’s influence, Sondheim replied, “Have you heard ‘Sweeney Todd’?”

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