Opening of the Philharmonie in Paris In January, a week after the brutal Charlie Hebdo killings, the gleaming, modern Philharmonie de Paris, the new home of the Orchestre de Paris, opened with a gala concert and a weekend of free educational events. In a visionary yet risky attempt to entice new audiences to classical music, the complex is in Northeast Paris, near the ring road that separates the city center from its poorer, working-class suburbs. The free events drew thousands of people, including families with children, who waited in long lines to pass through heightened security checks for the chance to take in a concert or workshop. Recently I’ve been thinking of that hopeful weekend, now that Paris is again grappling with terrorism.
Leif Ove Andsnes In a recent article, I questioned the wisdom of conductors attempting to make a big statement through a cycle of the well-trod Beethoven symphonies. The composer’s piano concertos are less encumbered with extra-musical baggage. And in a project he called “The Beethoven Journey,” the exceptional pianist Leif Ove Andsnes played the five works in two exhilarating concerts at Carnegie Hall in February with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducting from the keyboard and delivering scintillating and probing performances that had the integrated quality of fine chamber-music playing.
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