Twyla Tharp: The creative habit

For those who don’t know, Ms. Tharp is an internationally recognized dancer and choreographer. Her book gives her experiences in how she practices the habit of creativity, and also portrays her determination to remaining dancing. It takes considerable self-discipline at any age to keep the schedule she does. Continue reading Twyla Tharp: The creative habit

Sunday Salon

Reminder that next Saturday is the international radio broadcast of the annual Kings College A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.  Their gloriously beautiful Service Booklet is available for download here.

Another update, this one on Anne Midgette, former classical music critic for the Washington Post. Explains why there  weren’t any entries from her recently…

For those involved with a celebration on 22 or 25 December, all best wishes for a productive week, and a beautiful day.

For everyone celebrating on 6 January, you’ve still got plenty of time – all best wishes in your preparations.

And for those not involved with either, much gratitude for continued patience with all those who are involved.

Let this be a season of peace and good will for all.


Jazz pianist & composer Ramsey Lewis on being an artist

The Artist Toolbox is new on this season’s PBS schedule, and features one-on-one interviews with artists at the top of their fields. Take a look at the impressive and varied list of subjects: painting, jazz, classical, ballet, couture.

A recent program featured Ramsey Lewis, and here are some sound bites:

  • Creativity is everywhere
  • You have to learn to listen to your inner self
  • Everybody in his high school had to take 2 years of music
  • Current American society has become satisfied with mediocrity
  • What are Americans doing instead of minding the store? Culture is a mess. Washington is a mess. Society is a mess.  What are they doing?
  • You have to learn how to get over the fear. You gotta handle your demons. Then everything can start happening.

Clearly the man has learned how to handle at least some of his own demons/fears, and that story’s well worth listening to, whether your own training is classical (as his was originally – surprised?) or not.


Sutherland: La Stupenda, the non-diva

Researching something else, these turned up. For those wanting to hear top sopranos from other generations, make note of all the names and haste thee to YouTube.

‘I didn’t want to be a diva’
This author agrees with Madame Sutherland’s comments, and has been fortunate to work with like-minded coaches and teachers. They do exist, even in America, but they’re rare and not well-known.

Are these the 20 best sopranos of the recorded era?

Currently listening to Sutherland’s Greatest Hits

Ah! What joy! What clarity! What glorious high E’s!

Here’s the last half of her famous “Mad Scene” on YouTube ~ don’t forget to turn your volume up!



A musical gift from Cambridge

Saturday morning (U.S.) 24 December
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
King’s College, Cambridge

Yours truly adores this broadcast.  There’s something authentic about hearing the King James version of traditional Biblical texts read in the accents which (one assumes) were used 400 years ago when the King James version of The Bible was first translated.

From their site:  Listening to the service
“A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on 24 December at 3pm. It is also broadcast at 2pm on Radio 3 on Christmas Day, and at various times on the BBC World Service. In the United States the service is broadcast by American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio.”

To date, Cambridge hasn’t posted this year’s programme.
One assumes when that occurs, then American Public Media will update their Festival web page.

Check your local public radio or classical station listings to confirm day/time in your area.

Recordings are available here, amongst other locations online.