Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Maestro!

You have to be pretty darn special to have a podcast about your life aired on your birthday ...

Well, Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director James Levine is 65 years old today and to celebrate, the orchestra is offering a special online program celebrating the Maestro's life in music. To access today's free podcast, visit and click on the RSS podcast link on the left.

According to the BSO:

The podcast will feature historic pictures chronicling James Levine's extensive history within classical music, from his time as a young piano prodigy to his appointment as BSO Music Director, as well as music from his tenure with the BSO, including the Grammy Award winning Album with Lorraine Hunt, Peter Lieberson's "Neruda Songs."

James Levine became 14th Music Director and the first American-born conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2004. In addition to his concerts with the BSO at Symphony Hall, at Tanglewood, and on tour, he appears as a collaborative pianist in recitals and chamber music, and leads classes devoted to orchestral repertoire, Lieder, and opera with the Instrumental, Vocal, and Conducting Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO's summer training program for young musicians.

His wide-ranging programs balance orchestral, operatic, and choral classics with significant music of the 20th and 21st centuries, including newly commissioned works from such leading American composers as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Peter Lieberson, Gunther Schuller, and Charles Wuorinen. James Levine is also Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, where, to date, he has led nearly 2,500 performances- more than any other conductor in the company's history - of 83 different operas, including thirteen company premieres.

The BSO and the maestro begin their 2008 Tanglewood season on July 5th. Highlights of the summer will include Berlioz's Les Troyens in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin in concert with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra; a fully staged Tanglewood Music Center production of Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny; a BSO concert of Elliott Carter's music as part of this summer's Festival of Contemporary Music marking the composer's 100th-birthday year, and John Harbison's new Symphony No. 5 with the BSO, as well as BSO performances of works by Bach, Brahms, Haydn, Mahler, Mozart, and Schubert.

Tanglewood has to be one of the most beautiful music venues I've ever visited. It's easily accessible from the Hudson Valley. I highly recommend it for a summer concert experience!

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