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Classical 101

Mercury Living Presence Recordings Sounding Better than Ever

In 1951, the Classical division of Mercury Records released a recording made in then revolutionary fashion.  From placement of the microphone(s) to the use of 35mm magnetic film to capture the Chicago Symphony recording of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, conducted by Rafael Kubelik, was groundbreaking.  It was a New York Times reviewer's comment that “one feels oneself in the living presence of the orchestraâ€? which gave name to the iconic line of Mercury Living Presence recordings.

Much of the credit goes to producer Wilma Cozart Fine, who had some of the best ears in the business.

Sixty-plus years later, Cozart Fine's is one of the great legacies for an American company in classical music. The boxed set contains fifty CDs drawn from the Mercury catalog, using the early-’90s remastered recordings which Fine supervised.  The set also includes a comprehensive booklet retelling the story of the label and its artists, who seemed to do their best work when recording for Mercury Living Presence. Read Boxed CD Anthology Celebrates the Return of Mercury Living Presence (Chicago Tribune)

Conrad Tao Finds Creative Expansion at Aspen Music Festival

Conrad Tao, who has twice dazzled Columbus audiences as both composer and performer (the first time when he was twelve), says his time at the Aspen School of Music found him in a creative drift.  He goes on to say, however, that that was a good thing.

“That whole idea of trying to do anything possible to expand my musicianship — that was encouraged,â€? says Tao.

He goes on to say that Aspen School of Music gave him the freedom to allow his creative mind to drift, rather than try and push him in the direction someone decided he should go.  That was important, according to Tao, because "opportunities are everywhere to do anything you want to do as a musician." Read Tao Thanks Aspen for Lack of Direction (Aspen Times)

Guitarist Jason Vieaux Wants to Come to Your House

The internet has brought many things into our lives...some of them good.  Yes, it can be hard to keep track of what your youngsters are getting into online.  It can also be tough to monitor oneself, lest you find six hours has passed and you're still hanging out in Farmville or in a pitched battle of Words with Friends.

One GOOD thing which has come with connectivity is the opportunity to study with world-class musicians in the comfort of your own home.

Guitarist Jason Vieaux, who last year co-founded The Curtis Institute of Music Guitar Department with guitarist David Starobin, has teamed with ArtistWorks to launch the Jason Vieaux Classical Guitar School. Read Online Classical Guitar School with Jason Vieaux (ArtistWorks guitar campus)