This Week in Classical Music w/Randy Kinkel 12/23/18

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Gupta Leaves LA Phil for Street Symphony;

Proms Heads for Japan



It’s This Week in Classical Music, an update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.


When Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Vijay Gupta won a MacArthur fellowship earlier this year for his social justice work, an award that came with a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend, the obvious question was: What next?

 “I feel like the L.A. Phil saved my life when I was a 19-year-old kid. It was the way that I was able to continue being a musician and to continue growing as an artist” he said. “And I’m really excited to take that artistry beyond Los Angeles and beyond the work of being in an orchestra.”

Gupta, 31, is creating part-time operations and management positions at Street Symphony. The nonprofit is moving from Gupta’s living room into its first office, a downtown space it will share with the homeless advocacy and performance group Los Angeles Poverty Department. He’s also hoping to expand its fellows program, in which skid row musicians study for up to a year with professional musicians.

Starting in January, Gupta will guest lecture at the Juilliard School in New York. And he hopes to continue teaching his “pathways to citizen artistry” class at L.A.’s Colburn School.


The BBC Proms has announced that it will travel to Japan in 2019. This is part of an expansion of BBC Proms International, following successful tours of Australia and Dubai in 2016 and 2017.

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under chief conductor Thomas Dausgaard will perform during the six-day festival, from 30 October to 4 November, in Tokyo and Osaka.

The festival will include the iconic First and Last Nights, featuring musical favourites and traditions.

David Pickard, director of the BBC Proms, said: ‘The central aim of the Proms is to make classical music accessible through the highest quality performances, outreach work, affordable ticket prices and broadcast opportunities, and we are thrilled that BBC Proms Japan will continue to further that mission.’

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop called the proposals ‘a major coup’ for BBC SSO. ‘The Japan Proms will bring the orchestra’s acclaimed performances to Japanese audiences for the first time. Scotland commands respect throughout the world for its excellent performing arts.

This tour, with financial support from the Scottish government, will foster valuable culture and wider links between Scotland and Japan.’

BBC Proms Japan concerts will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.


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