The renowned dancer and ballet master Frederic Franklin died on May 4 at age 98.
Mr. Franklin made his Boston debut in November 1938 with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during the first season of the Celebrity Series of Boston. In addition to multiple Celebrity Series performances in Boston with Ballet Russe, his work was also seen by Bostonian's in Celebrity Series presentations of Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Spellbound Dance Company dancers Maria Cosso (center) and Giacomo Todeschi (left) lead a masterclass at Rindge & Latin High School in Cambridge on April 4, 2013. The class was part of Celebrity Series' Arts for All! program.
Broadway and cabaret star Barbara Cook did an interview with Vanity Fair's Patrick Monahan back in November. Here's a snippet:
"Is there a standard you feel differently about singing now than when you first heard it?
“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”—I’ve heard that, of course, all my life. Then a few years ago, I heard Katharine McPhee [of American Idol and Smash]
do that on television, and I thought, You know, I think I can do
something with that. So I took my ideas to Lee [Musiker, Ms. Cook’s
musical director and pianist] and we worked it out together." Read the full interview.
He was a phenomenon. He was a larger
than life personality. He was a genuine American hero. He was a gifted pianist
who brought world attention to American classical music. He was the
quintessential Southern gentleman -- a tall Texan who conquered the hearts of
the Soviet and American public when both nations stared at each other grimly
across a political divide.
He was the first musician to receive a
New York ticker tape parade when he returned to the US following his winning
the prestigious International Tchaikowsky Competition in Moscow in 1958.
And yet, many musicians and critics felt
he never lived to fulfill the potential that lay before him.
He was a gracious, giving personality
who easily won the hearts of everyone he met.
He had his quirks: he hated being early for
his own concerts, preferring to arrive a few minutes past concert time, doff
his coat, stride on stage, sit down at the piano and begin playing the National
Anthem. When everyone resumed their seats, he began the concert.
I recall being invited with my mentor,
Aaron Richmond, by Van Ciburn's then American concert manager, William Judd of
Columbia Artists, to his apartment to hear a young pianist they had signed with
the hopes that we might book him in recital. This was in the period just before
he left for the Moscow competition. Little did I know what would follow in the
next few months.
Within a year or so, we were presenting
Van Cliburn in recital in Boston to an adoring public which filled every seat
in Symphony Hall with an overflow on the stage, while hundreds of would-be
ticket buyers were turned away.
I feel blessed indeed to have had the
opportunity to share in presenting Van Cliburn in recital in Boston on over a
Au revoir, Van -- we loved you dearly.
Walter Pierce was Executive Director of Celebrity Series of Boston from 1965 to 1996. The Celebrity Series presented Van Cliburn 8 times under his leadership.
Subscriptions for our 2013-14 season (our 75th season) go on sale April 18, 2013. Some performances may be announced in advance of that date, but all performances begin subscription sales on April 18. Check this blog or www.celebrityseries.org for more details as they become available.
“In 1999, Edward Said and myself formed the West-Eastern Divan
orchestra, composed of musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arab
countries; countries where the open ear has been too often replaced by
the unsheathed sword, to the detriment of all. Now, over 10 years later, we have hopefully achieved an
orchestra that is worthy of your ear. And one which shows that people
who listen to each other, both musically and in all other ways, can
achieve greater things.” – Daniel Barenboim
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra makes its Boston debut at Symphony Hall courtesy of Celebrity Series of Boston on Sunday, January 27 at 3pm with an all-Beethoven program. Tickets and information.
Vishnevskaya with husband, cellist Mistislav Rostropovich
Russian soprano and political dissident Galina Vishnevskaya died yesterday in Moscow.
Ms. Vishnevskaya appeared twice on the Celebrity Series, in her first American recital in 1960 and again in 1961. Boston Globe critic Kevin Kelly reviewed her second Celebrity Series performance, "Galina Vishnevskaya ... is the kind of singer who ruffles the cool detachment of a supposedly objective critic. I would have voted for her before she opened her mouth."
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