Thursday, January 31, 2008

Savannah's TV ad contest

My recent search on YouTube for the Savannah Music Festival yielded some interesting results this afternoon. Apparently they hold a contest every year for local college students to create a 30-second commercial for the festival. With cash prizes for the first and second place winners and the opportunity for the first place winner to have his or her commercial shown on television in regular rotation, the annual contest seems to attract many entrants.

Each video entry is judged on five criteria: persuasiveness, originality, memorability of content and delivery, entertainment value, and motivational elements. Click here for a link to past winners of the TV ad contest.

Below are some of the videos I found online. They didn't place, but they're still creative and fun to watch:

Video from carlmarxer.

Video from SeanWehrli.

Video from sofritoloops.

Video from GrixieKong.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Savannah Music Festival

A top festival for Festival Preview that features classical music is the Savannah Music Festival, held annually in Savannah GA. On this year's list of classical performers, audiences will see names such as Yundi Li, Jennifer Larmore, and the Beaux Arts Trio. Adding a special touch to the festival is the Sensations series, which features chamber music programs originally produced for a group of performers selected from around the world to be performed at the festival. These performances are unique in that the performers will perform the pieces together one time only. New musicians in this series include the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Wu Han.

To keep up with news relating to the Savannah Music Festival, subscribe to their podcast.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spoleto tickets on sale

Tickets to the 2008 Spoleto Festival USA are now on sale. They vary in price (anywhere from $10 to $150) and can be purchased online by clinking the links to individual events found on this page of their Web site. For more details, visit or call 843-579-3100.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spoleto Festival USA goodies

Spoleto Festival USA is a pretty exciting festival produced by some pretty exciting people. The creative production staff behind the 2007 Spoleto Festival USA posted a YouTube video parodying the movie 300, showing a comedic look at just how much work goes into producing the festival. Check out the Spoleto shenanigans below:

Spoleto Production Party '07

Video from brunoingram.

If audio podcasts are your thing, a few links to shows covering previous years' Spoleto Festivals are offered below:
  • has a Spoleto Festival USA podcast hosted by Marcus Overton. Past podcasts are available for the 2007 festival year on iTunes. Click here for more info on subscribing to the show.
  • The people at, part of the Post and Courier, have a podcast show where they interview people involved with the festival and review performances. The episodes, filled with entertaining banter, can be found here.
  • From Patrick Sharbaugh comes "Spoleto Buzzcast," which is hosted by the Charleston City Paper. The link takes you to podcasts from last year's festival, but features an interview with John Kennedy, who will be directing and programming the Music in Time series at this year's festival. (The SpoletoBuzz blog can be found here.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Book of Longing

Last summer in Toronto, Canada, Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen premiered their combined efforts of a musical adaptation of Cohen's collection of poetry, Book of Longing. A recording of Cohen's spoken word, thick with imagery and rasp, melded perfectly with Glass' beautifully composed song cycle while illustrations from Cohen's book were displayed. The instrumentation included a four-voice vocal ensemble and seven piece instrumental group. Performances of this collaboration were also held at Festival Preview favorites, Ravinia Festival and Spoleto Festival USA. The CD version of this work is now available for purchase on Click here for more information.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Spoleto announces program for 2008

The Spoleto Festival USA Opening Ceremonies event is the official kick off to the 17 day and night international arts festival. The 2008 Spoleto Festival USA will be held in Charleston, South Carolina from May 23 - June 8. Photo by: William Struhs.

An operatic telling of the Amistad slave ship rebellion heads an exciting, multi-genre program for Spoleto Festival USA, which runs May 23-June 8 in Charleston SC.

Spoleto, sister festival of the one held annually in Spoleto, Italy, and one of Festival Preview’s top picks for classical music, has recently announced its 2008 program. Although eclectic in nature, this festival focuses heavily on classical music. Among this year’s prominent events is Amistad, composed by Anthony Davis. Amistad, based on historical facts, is set in 1839. In the story, which will be conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, spirits and gods lead slaves from the coast of the US back to Africa, where freedom awaits. The music exhibits a variety of influences, including blues and jazz. The production will be held in the Memminger Auditorium, which has recently received a $6 million makeover.

Cenerentola, an operatic Cinderella story by Gioachino Rossini, will be performed in the Gaillard Auditorium four nights during the festival. In his version of the story, Rossini exchanges fairy godmothers and glass slippers for philosophers and bracelets. It will be directed by Charles Roubaud and conducted by Matteo Beltrami.

Spoleto is also hosting an orchestral program, featuring three concerts focusing on seven different classical composers. The first concert centers on the music of Brahms and David Newman and will feature performances by wind quintet Imani Winds and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. The audience will be treated to Brahms’ First Symphony and David Newman’s Concerto for Winds.

The second of three concerts will be showcasing works by Beethoven, Haydn, and Brahms. The Westminster Choir and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus will join the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra for Brahms’ Nänie, Hadyn’s Te Deum, and Beethoven’s Mass in C. Conducting this concert will be Joseph Flummerfelt.

The final concert in the orchestral program features Bartók, Debussy, and Stravinsky selections to be played by American pianist Andrew von Oeyeyn. He will be accompanied by the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, led by the Festival Music Director for Opera and Orchestra, Emmanuel Villaume. Pieces to be performed are La Mer (Debussy), Firebird Suite (Stravinsky), and Bartók’s piano concerto.

Providing thirty-three concerts over the seventeen-day festival, the Bank of America Chamber Music Series is an ongoing collection of classical music concerts featuring a variety of artists. Performers in this year’s series include the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stephan Prutsman, Alisa Weilerstien, Tara Helen O’Connor and Daniel Phillips. Performances will be held in the stunning Memminger Auditorium.

Delving into the world of contemporary music, John Kennedy will direct Music in Time. This show, held in the recital hall of the Simons Center, will highlight artists Anthony Davis, Somei Satoh, Tan Dun, and Kennedy.

Adding to a theme of contemporary music at Spoleto will be performances by Laurie Anderson in Memminger Auditorium. Electronic in nature, her featured piece, Homeland, portrays today’s obsession with information and security.

Other non classical events at Spoleto include the musical theater production of Monkey: Journey to the West, performances by the Carolina Chocolate Drops for roots fans, and Jazz Goes to Church featuring the Cyrus Chestnut Trio.

For more information about the Spoleto Festival USA, visit: