News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers -- who will still conduct his regular Miers on Music chat at noon Friday -- will be back alongside Jeff Simon next week at 2 p.m. when the Critics Corner video chat returns. Today, Simon is conducting a traditional live chat on his own.
October 6, 2011 - 12:50 PM
News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers -- who will still conduct his regular Miers on Music chat at noon Friday -- will be back alongside Jeff Simon next week when the Critics Corner video chat returns. Today, Simon is conducting a traditional live chat on his own.
September 13, 2011 - 5:48 PM
Wendy McClure, author of "The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of 'Little House on the Prairie,'" will join The News' Charity Vogel for a live chat at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Weigh in with your comments and questions in the chat console below.
Earlier this month, Vogel profiled McClure and her latest work as part of The Buffalo News Book Club series.
September 2, 2011 - 11:38 AM
News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers hosted a traditional live chat before answering your questions directly into the camera. Review the chat below:
Download the audio and take it with you
NOTE: Due to technical problems, the podcast cuts off near the 20-minute mark.
August 5, 2011 - 7:03 AM
News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Classical Music Critic/Buzz Columnist Mary Kunz Goldman hosted a live chat before shifting in front of the camera. Please excuse the first four minutes of silence when the audio wasn't working due to technical difficulties.
July 29, 2011 - 11:51 AM
News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Classical Music Critic/Buzz Columnist Mary Kunz Goldman hosted a traditional live chat earlier today before shifting in front of the camera and continuing to answer your questions live.
July 22, 2011 - 9:38 AM
News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers hosted their weekly live chat at noon today. At 12:30 p.m. they shifted in front of the camera and continued to answer your questions live.
Podcast of video chat:
July 20, 2011 - 11:00 AM
Tonight, the Just Buffalo Literary Center hosts its periodic "Spotlight on Youth" open mic, an event that gives creative young men and women an opportunity to share their artistic, poetic and musical talents. The event gets started at 6:30 p.m. in Trinity Church (371 Delaware Ave.), and is open to participants from 12 to 21. Here's a story I wrote about the event back in 2005.
July 19, 2011 - 6:22 PM
His Cultural Walk of Fame, a sort of idiosyncratic tribute to some of Western New York's most interesting cultural exports, has been an curious fixture on a short stretch of Elmwood Avenue for the past several years. And last Friday, Griffasi and his organization, Cultural Concert International, added 10 new names to the sidewalk tribute.
They include the composer David Shire, Lucille Ball, dancer Tony DeMarco, actress Amanda Blake, television writer Tom Fontana, concert pianist Leonard Pennario, singer Rick James, philanthropist Seymour H. Knox, Jr.
I haven't been by yet to see if the suggestion I made last year -- for Griffasi to hire a copy editor to avoid the sorts of embarrassing mistakes that have appeared in past additions to the walk -- was taken to heart. But typos or no, the Cultural Walk is a welcome addition a busy pedestrian thoroughfare and a worthy tribute to the region's cultural heritage.
July 19, 2011 - 3:30 PM
Semyon Bychkov, former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra music director, is in the limelight this week. He is being interviewed by well-known music author Norman Lebrecht in "The Lebrecht Interview" on the BBC. Lebrecht was in Buffalo last fall, reading from his book "Why Mahler?" He is on the left in the picture. Bychkov is on the right.
The interview can be heard free on the Internet for the next six days.
There is a lot in it! I will say that right off.
Bychkov talks about his life in Russia under the Communists and what a nightmare it was. He was denied an exit visa, his father was unable to work because the government forbade him, and at one point, musicians ratted him out for being, as he put it, "politically unreliable." It is terrible to think of the situations people faced in that regime.
Finally, mysteriously, he was allowed to emigrate.
Both Bychkov and Lebrecht -- I have had the honor of talking with both of them -- are charming and positive people, and I was impressed by how genuine both of them seemed. They laugh frequently throughout this interview, which definitely has its light moments. It is also a pleasure to listen to their accents! Lebrecht has a beautifully modulated British voice and Bychkov -- well, Bychkov is Bychkov.
It is amazing to hear the maestro tell about how as a penniless emigre from Russia, he stood in front of the Vienna State Opera, gazing at a poster for Wagner's "Lohengrin," longing to see the production, but unable to buy a ticket. Thirty years later, he was back standing in front of the opera house. There was another poster for "Lohengrin," and his name was on it.
What a story. Lebrecht points out how unusual it has been. And yes, they mention Buffalo.
Bychkov has bounced around among orchestras. He spent 10 years at the L'Orchestre de Paris -- an orchestra he brought to Buffalo on tour -- and he now likens the Paris job to a bad marriage. "It isn't to say they were angels and I was a villain, or that I was an angel and they were villains. It was basic incompatibility."
"I never had a game plan," Bychkov says. "Because I never viewed life as a game."
Bychkov also talks about the difficult relationship he had with his estranged brother, Jakov Kreizberg, who was seven years younger than Bychkov and was also a conductor. Kreizberg died earlier this year. In this portion of the interview, I found myself appreciating Lebrecht's style. He is probing, but not rude. He asks the tough personal questions journalists sometimes have to ask. He does it so gracefully. And he knows when he has to stop.
Another sticky subject is the admiration Bychkov, who is Jewish, has for the music of Wagner. "I cannot live without it," he says flatly. "I have to have this music in my life." The conversation goes from there.
Oh, well. I could go on and on! Listen to the interview. Try to make time for it. It's worth it!
-- Mary Kunz Goldman
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