Getting to Know Our Artists

By Brian Potter on September 24, 2009

As we expand our blogging activities, we’ve been drawing inspiration from — who else? — the musicians on our series.  How they manage to rehearse, tour, record and write is beyond me, but a good number of them maintain smart, informative, richly personal sites that invite you into their musical worlds.  In this post I will cover artists who are performing during the first half of our season, with the second half to follow in a subsequent post.

The paterfamilias of the musician-blogger, pianist Jeremy Denk (appearing October 28 at the Perelman Theater) has been engaging online audiences for years with the witty, occasionally neurotic and always enjoyable Think Denk.  Subtitled “the glamorous life and thoughts of a concert pianist,” Denk’s blog unmasks the artist as a multi-faceted character -- one who not only wrestles with his craft but also quotes Walt Whitman and, one overcaffeinated day in Seattle, eschews practice in favor of rubbing gelato all over himself.  Yes, this one is a must read.

Baritone Thomas Meglioranza not only blogs about his opera experiences and his fondness for Bell's beer (now there's a man with good taste), but also sends out frequent "baritweets" on everything from Winterreise scores to his favorite desserts.  Check out his recent posts here, then come hear him with pianist Reiko Uchida in a recital of World War I era songs on October 21 at the Philosophical Society.

Last seen performing at President Obama's inauguration, clarinetist Anthony McGill launched a new blog just this month.  He's already posted audio clips from his forthcoming CD and some reflections on rehearsing Mahler's 5th with James Levine.  You can also find him on Twitter.  McGill performs with Michael Tree and Anna Polonsky at the Philosophical Society on December 13.

Local flute virtuoso Mimi Stillman maintains a blog that, while infrequently updated, has the virtue of linking to a treasure trove of her concert videos.  You can watch this talented artist performing solo and with Yumi Kendall and Charles Abramovic, her collaborators in the Dolce Suono Trio, with whom she appears on January 31 at the Philosophical Society.  If you're looking for a sneak preview, there's even a clip of the group performing George Crumb's Vox Balaenae, which promises to be a highlight of that program.

You might guess that The Fiddler's Beat would be the brainchild of some young string virtuoso, but it actually contains the online musings of the venerable violinist Arnold Steinhardt.   The Guarneri Quartet's beloved first violinist appears twice on our series this year -- once with the Johannes Quartet and once as part of an all-star quintet -- and if you ever wondered where Arnold went to celebrate the last Guarneri performance or what to say to him after a performance, you'll find his blog both entertaining and informative.

I hope these links help you get to know our artists a little better.  Do you have a favorite artist blog or web site?  Tell us about it!