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A cultural melting pot: the Istanbul Music Festival

Aya Irini © IKSV
The three-week festival is a highlight of the Turkish classical year, attracting a huge number of visitors, with opportunities to explore this fascinating capital city, as well as soak up music in wonderful locations.
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The NHKSO launches its 2018-19 season

Paavo Järvi © Kaupo Kikkas
From monumental Germanic grandeur to Nordic elements – European Music forms a strong thread in the NHKSO's new season.
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Pierre Audi's valedictory season in Amsterdam

Girls of the Golden West © Cory Weaver | San Francisco Opera
Stepping down after 30 years as DNO Artistic Director, Audi unveils a season bursting with new productions from Donizetti to Stockhausen.
interview

Recovering humanity through music: Jordi Savall

Jordi Savall © David Ignaszewski
The doyen of Early Music explains his blending of music and history, starting with his most recent project, The Routes of Slavery. We talk about the recording industry, Eastern music and more.
interview

Top ten baroque cities: a visitor's guide

© Google MyMaps
Baroque art, baroque architecture, baroque music. From Prague and Wrocław in the East to Versailles in the West to Valletta in the South, we take lovers of the era on a tour of Europe.
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10 major Bach works on Bachtrack At Home

August Weger's 19th century engraving of Bach © Public domain | Wikimedia Commons
There’s a range of works by Bach on Bachtrack At Home. Here, we explore 10 of the best. 
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Bach's St Matthew and St John Passions

Diego Velásquez: Cristo Crucificado © Wikipedia | Public Domain
Jane Shuttleworth reflects on the very different natures of Bach's St John and St Matthew Passions. 
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Baroque experimentalism at Oranjewoud Festival

Musica Sequenza © Sophie Schwarzenberger
Oranjewoud Festival in Friesland, the Netherlands, tempers envelope-pushing with tradition. 
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Ten alternative versions of Bach

Historically-informed performance fanatics, look away now.
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Foreign Worlds explored at the Handel Halle Festival

Handel, by Louis-François Roubiliac © Wikicommons
The Handel Festival Halle this year is programmed under the title “Foreign Worlds”, reflecting not only the cultural influences he drew from his travels abroad, but his fascination with distant lands. 
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Handel – the top ten of his operas, plus one

George Frideric Handel, by Thomas Hudson, 1756 © National Portrait Gallery, London
From emperors and empresses to nymphs, gods and giants by way of faithful wives, sorceresses, knights, dastardly noblemen and dazzling coloratura arias, here's your guide to the master showman of baroque opera.
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Bach to modern music: Mahan Esfahani

Mahan Esfahani © Kaja Smith
Perhaps the most prominent harpsichordist of today, Esfahani talks to us about Bach, new music and great harpsichordists from Wanda Landowska to the stars of tomorrow.
Articles and previews
interview

Under the bonnet of the ARD Competition

Prizewinners of the 2016 ARD Competition © Daniel Delang
Not just one but four: the 2018 ARD Competition is for Voice, Viola, Trumpet and PianoTrio. Artistic Directors Oswald Beaujean and Meret Forster give us the inside view.
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The London Symphony launches its 2018-19 season

Sir Simon Rattle © Doug Peters | PA Wire
Folk Roots – from British poetry to Czech and Slavic music – form a strong thread in the LSO's new season, along with Sir Simon Rattle's commitment to contemporary music. 
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Classical music statistics 2017: Bachtrack digs deep

Herbert Blomstedt © Martin U.K. Lengemann
January is the time for us to look back at 2017 and discover what has changed about the repertoire and performers who graced our concert halls. If you enjoy statistics, take a look at our picks.
Bachtrack At Home
Concert videos from top orchestras and broadcasters. See this week's recommended videos below
The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic performs Bach's Orchestral Suite no. 3
The Norwegian Radio Orchestra performs Beethoven's Eighth Symphony.
The Gürzenich Orchestra performs Lachenmann's Tableau for orchestra.
Janine Jansen and Amsterdam Sinfonietta perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
Make Bachtrack your guide to the best classical music concerts, opera and dance performances worldwide. You can search for your favourite composer or performer or read some of the 200 reviews we publish each month across the world.
We recommendSee more...

BarcelonaDiana Damrau & Jonas Kaufmann

Diana Damrau & Jonas Kaufmann
Wolf: Italienisches Liederbuch (Italian Songbook)
Diana Damrau; Jonas Kaufmann; Helmut Deutsch

GlasgowOundjian conducts Bruckner Eight

Mozart, Bruckner
Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Peter Oundjian; Christian Blackshaw

AmsterdamIsabelle Faust plays Beethoven's Violin Concerto

© Felix Broede
Maier, Beethoven
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir Mark Elder; Isabelle Faust

MilanChailly conducts Mahler 3

Mahler: Symphony no. 3 in D minor
Filarmonica della Scala; Riccardo Chailly; Gerhild Romberger; Coro del Teatro alla Scala; Coro di voci bianche dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala

BernDon Giovanni

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Kevin John Edusei; Matthew Wild; Stadttheater Bern; Kathrin Frosch; Ingo Krügler; Elissa Huber; Evgenia Grekova
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ViennaAriodanteNew production

Handel: Ariodante
William Christie; Sir David McVicar; Vienna State Opera; Vicki Mortimer; Dame Sarah Connolly; Chen Reiss

BudapestDie Rheinnixen (The Rhine Nixies)New production

Die Rheinnixen (The Rhine Nixies)
Offenbach: Rhine Fairies, The (Les Fées du Rhin)
Gergely Kesselyák; Ferenc Anger; Hungarian State Opera; Éva Szendrényi; Gergely Zöldy; Csaba Szegedi; Boldizsár László

LeipzigDon CarloNew Production

Verdi: Don Carlo(s)
Anthony Bramall; Jakob Peters-Messer; Oper Leipzig; Markus Meyer; Sven Bindseil; Riccardo Zanellato; Gaston Rivero

BarcelonaRoméo et Juliette

© Ken Howard
Gounod: Roméo et Juliette
Josep Pons; Stephen Lawless; Gran Teatre del Liceu; Ashley Martin-Davis; Aida Garifullina; Saimir Pirgu

GhentPelléas et MélisandeNew Production

© Kati Heck | Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp
Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Alejo Pérez; Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui; Opera Vlaanderen; Marina Abramović; Mari Eriksmoen; Jacques Imbrailo; Leigh Melrose
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A thrilling Don Giovanni at Welsh National Opera

Miklós Sebestyén (Commendatore) and Gavan Ring (Don Giovanni) © Richard Hubert Smith
A strong cast take us to the brink of damnation in Welsh National Opera’s revival of Don Giovanni.
****1
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The LSO in Brahms, Dutilleux and Ravel

Alina Ibragimova © Eva Vermandel
Lionel Bringuier and the LSO show off a dazzling palette of colours in works by Brahms, Dutilleux, and Ravel
****1
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What’s up (with) Kosky’s Nose?

Martin Winkler (Kovalyov) © Prudence Upton
Kosky’s The Nose hits Sydney, sweeping the audience along with hallucinogenic energy. Led by the outstanding Martin Winkler and John Tomlinson, singers and musicians deliver a wild evening's entertainment.
*****
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Questions unanswered in a Così fan tutte revival in Chicago

Marianne Crebassa (Dorabella) © Cory Weaver
Synergies between singers compensated for accurate but unexciting orchestral playing.
***11
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Lupo’s Ravel with Mena & the LPO steals the show

Benedetto Lupo © Carlo Cofano
Impressive Ravel from Benedetto Lupo, with pleasing Debussy and Delius, and a strong performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring from Juanjo Mena and the LPO.
****1
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Opera: Recent interviews and features
Interview

Joseph Calleja on the genius of Puccini

Joseph Calleja © Simon Fowler | Decca
“Everything you hear about me is true!” Joseph Calleja reflects on taking on the role of Cavaradossi as well as discussing other Puccini roles and the way his voice has developed. 
interview

Dimitri Platanias on singing Verdi

Dimitri Platanias
Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias is currently singing Rigoletto at Covent Garden. He explains what it means to be a Verdi baritone and talks about his favourite roles. 
interview

In at the deep end: Anita Rachvelishvili

Anita Rachvelishvili © Jiji Rejini
Mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili reflects on her big break at La Scala and talks about the new Verdi roles she's been adding to her repertoire. 
interview

Lisette Oropesa on Donizetti’s heroines

Lisette Oropesa © Jason Homa
In November, Lisette Oropesa made her Royal Opera debut, performing the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. Here, she discusses her Donizetti roles along with casting problems and critics concerned with looks over voice. 
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Opera Festival highlights for Summer 2018

Glyndebourne © Mark Pullinger
Country opera house picnics, floating stages and opera under the French stars. Our 2018 opera festivals guide has something for everyone!
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Opera on the West Coast: the state of the art

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, home of LA Opera © David Karlin | Bachtrack Ltd
The opera General Directors of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego tell us about their audiences, their productions, painting a picture of opera on the West Coast that is both different and in rude health.
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Time Unwrapped at Kings Place

Hugo Ticciati, artist in residence for Time Unwrapped © Marco Borggreve
Ahead of the innovative Time Unwrapped season at Kings Place, we look at some of the highlights. 
Music Competitions
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Glen Kwok on the Violin Competition of Indianapolis

Jinjoo Cho (South Korea) - 2014 Gold Medalist with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra © Denis R. Kelly, Jr.
The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, which has been attracting violinists from around the world since 1982, is unique in the-depth career mentorship it offers following victory. 
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Top international music competitions

As part of our competitions month, we look at nine major music contests on the international scene.
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Noriko Ogawa talks about musicianship

Noriko Ogawa © Martin Lijinsky
Pianist Noriko Ogawa, former Leeds prizewinner and sought after competition judge, shares her personal experiences and views on piano competitions.
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Gordon Back talks about the Menuhin Competition

Gordon Back
The Menuhin Competition catches its musicians young, with categories of under-16 and under-22. Gordon Back has been with the competition since the beginning, first as accompanist and now as Artistic Director.
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Spotting talent: Adam Gatehouse

Adam Gatehouse © Simon Jay Price
The founder of the BBC New Generation Artists Scheme tells us about finding star quality in young musicians and his plans for the Leeds Competition.
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Eyes on the prize: Interview with Gustav Alink

Gustav Alink © Alink-Argerich Foundation
Gustav Alink compiles information on music competitions worldwide, aiming to help young musicians and the events themselves.
Focus on Music Education
interview

Carnegie Hall “Links Up” the concert hall and classroom

Link Up in action © Chris Lee
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute is introducing young people all over the world to orchestral music with its Link Up programme. 
interview

Music education at the Vienna State Opera

Die Zauberflöte © Michael Pöhn | Wiener Staatsoper GmbH
Works for children, guided tours behind the scenes and livestreams for school. Staatsoper Director Dominique Meyer is proud of the house's music education programme.
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Music education at Cape Town Opera

Children's impressions from CTO's production of Hansel and Gretel
As part of our music education month, we caught up with Christine Crouse of the Cape Town Opera to discuss how the company brings music to disadvantaged areas in South Africa. 
Focus on Piano
Statistics from the archive

The Top 10 Piano Concertos

Beethoven and Brahms © Wikimedia Commons
As part of piano month, we take a look at the ten most popular piano concertos of recent years. 
interview

Alice Sara Ott: Music can’t be perfection

Alice Sara Ott © Jonas Becker
“It’s a waste of time if you just sit there and move your fingers for the sake of practising.” Alice Sara Ott tells us about her distinctive approach to life as a pianist.
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Passionate about piano: Alain Lompech

Alain Lompech in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil © Albert SIlver
Meet Alain Lompech, music critic and piano specialist, who for forty years has watched the development of the music scene in France and abroad.
Focus on Russia
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Soviet composers in the late 20th century

Rodion Shchedrin
The list of great Soviet composers over the last hundred years will always bring out the big names, but what about those unsung heroes of the late 20th century whose music captures the mood of a generation?
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Out of Time: The Music of Alfred Schnittke

Alfred Schnitte, by Reginald Gray © Royal College of Music, London
Widely regarded as the greatest composer of the generation after Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke's music plays with time, style, and the biggest questions of all.
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Music of the Russian Revolution

Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich and Aram Khachaturian © Wikicommons
When the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent civil war smashed through Russian society a hundred years ago, the close links between Russian and European music, and between Russian art, music and literature were shattered, and a new artistic world had to be built on what was left.
Postage stamp depicting Shostakovich with the score to the Leningrad Symphony © Wikicommons
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Disentangling truth from propaganda: Leningrad

Many stories have been told about the genesis of the Leningrad Symphony, not least by Shostakovich himself and his many friends. 
Mikhail Glinka and Modest Mussorgsky © Wikimedia Commons
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Russian Composers and History

In attempting to cement a sense of Russian identity through music, the nation's composers looked to history for inspiration. 
From around the world

Postcard from Seoul, Korea

Myeongdong at night © David Karlin | Bachtrack Ltd
Cold soju, warm people, old history, new stuff: our first trip to Korea fascinates.

Postcard from Amsterdam: unassuming riches

Canal boat © Jenny Camilleri
When you stroll through the Rijksmuseum, 17th-century burghers peer at you, self-assured and dressed soberly, mostly in black. The first impression these portraits of the superrich give is that their subjects did not much care for ostentatious display.

Postcard from St Petersburg

The Bronze Horseman - Peter the Great © David Karlin | Bachtrack Ltd
With great music, exceptional palaces and unique architecture, if you have any pretensions to knowing the great cities of the world, Saint Petersburg just has to be on your bucket list.