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  • LIFESTYLE

    For whom the Bell bows

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 06/08/2018

    » When Joshua Bell plays a single work with an orchestra, tickets anywhere in the world are sold out within minutes. However, Bell, one of the leading lights in fiddle-playing, won't be playing a mere single piece with the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra on Sept 4.

  • LIFESTYLE

    150 years of Rossini

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 19/06/2018

    » 'Opera would be absolutely perfect," said Giachino Rossini one day while cooking a gourmet meal in his Paris mansion. "If only we could get rid of those damned singers."

  • LIFESTYLE

    Brahms brought to Bangkok

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 21/05/2018

    » Two favourite artists of Bangkok audiences are taking on two mighty works from the late Romantic era at the end of May. Mayuko Kamio will perform Brahms Violin Concerto with her 1731 "Rubenoff" Stradivarius, while Michael Tilkin, with a mere stick in his left hand, will perform Jan Sibelius's Second Symphony.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Taiwanese pianist Weiyin Chen returns to play with RBSO

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 03/04/2018

    » Few names in classical music are as dreaded and venerated as New York Times reviewer Anthony Tommasini. The lanky writer, expressionless, tieless, inevitably seated on the aisle in Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, gives little indication of his thoughts during a performance. But within 24 hours, his printed judgements will have reached millions. And like a Roman Emperor signalling "up" or "down" to a gladiator, his opinions to a young artist can mean professional life or death.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Bangkok to hear Bartók's Viola Concerto

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 13/03/2018

    » So many jokes have been written about the viola that it really should be pitied. Without a look of its own (the viola resembles an overweight violin), without its own sound quality (it shares three-quarter of the violin notes, three-quarter of the cello notes), stuck behind the violins in the orchestra, the poor viola is hardly singular. In fact, when Hector Berlioz wrote solo viola into the Harold In Italy symphony, Paganini refused to play it. And the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, noting how the viola shared the looks and music of other stringed instruments, called the instrument "the hermaphrodite of the orchestra".

  • LIFESTYLE

    A mix of musical temperaments

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 20/02/2018

    » The three composers for the next Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, on Feb 28, could not be more dissimilar personally — or more alike historically.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Tremendous trombone

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 30/01/2018

    » 'Never look directly at a trombone player," said the great composer Richard Strauss. "It only encourages them." Then again, the German composer was hardly being honest about an instrument which Felix Mendelssohn called "the most sacred and noble instrument in the orchestra".

  • LIFESTYLE

    'The Great American Songbook' in Bangkok

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 25/01/2018

    » Never, ever call American popular melodies mere light music.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Valentina Lisitsa's outspoken words, outgoing music

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 12/12/2017

    » Wonderful news for music lovers who hate Tchaikovsky symphonies. On Friday, the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (RBSO) will be performing a Tchaikovsky symphony.

  • LIFESTYLE

    The violinist whose bow is a sabre

    Life, Harry Rolnick, Published on 23/11/2017

    » Attention Insurance Companies: Boris Belkin is coming to Bangkok on Nov 28, and nothing anywhere in the path of his knife-sharp bow is safe. Not the Bangkok Concert Hall, not Michael Tilkin, the conductor of the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra or any buildings in the area are liable to shake, rattle and roll.

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