Classical Beat: Michael Kaiser, Minoru Miki, Pittsburgh Symphony ...

Kaiser may head Kennedy Center; Miki opera to premiere; Pittsburgh's Soundbytes series returns.

Michael Kaiser confirmed Wednesday (June 21) that he is considering accepting the role as president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, according to the Washington Post. The American-born Kaiser is the chief executive of the Royal Opera and Ballet at London's Covent Garden. He previously had announced on Monday (June 19) that he will leave the company after one more season. ...

The Opera Theatre of St. Louis will conclude its 25th season with the premiere of The Tale of the Genji, written by 71-year-old Japanese composer Minoru Miki. Artistic director Cohn Graham wrote the English libretto — in this case based on a long and complex Japanese tale, written 1,000 years ago and considered by some to be the world's first novel — and staged the premiere production. This is Miki's seventh opera, and the intricate score includes not only the standard Western instruments but also the Japanese koto and pipa. Miki founded Pro Musica Nipponia in 1964 and served as artistic director for 20 years, leading the contemporary Japanese instrumental world and producing more than 160 performances abroad in his efforts to internationalize traditional Japanese instruments. ...

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's acclaimed Soundbytes series announced its third season and will focus on the works of Tchaikovsky, Shakespeare and American music. The unique program utilizes music and drama and weaves them into a theatrical presentation that aims to educate while entertaining audiences about classical music. The 2000–2001 season will take place on three Saturdays during the regular PSO season and feature celebrity guests yet to be announced. ...

Hungarian conductor Ivan Fischer is ending his boycott against the Budapest Festival Orchestra. According to Reuters, Fischer had put his foot down in March after negotiations failed to deliver funding that the city had promised in 1992. Fischer co-founded the orchestra, a significant attraction to visitors to Budapest, in 1983; his boycott threatened the city's tourism industry. Officials said the deal, which hands over the control of the orchestra to a private foundation, is new to Eastern Europe and based on American practices. American-Hungarian financier George Soros reportedly has given a one-time $100,000 grant through his Soros Foundation to keep the orchestra afloat through this year. ...

Countertenor David Daniels, who recently released the CD Serenade, will be featured in the title role in the New York City Opera's production of Handel's Rinaldo during the 2000-2001 season. That production will be recorded with Christopher Hogwood and Cecilia Bartoli. Also in the upcoming season, Daniels will sing the title role in Los Angeles Opera's staging of Handel's Giulio Cesare. ... Denver's Central City Opera, the fifth-oldest opera company in the United States, announced plans for its 2000-2001 season, including the first staging of Benjamin Britten's Elizabethan opera, Gloriana, written for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. The company also will present the first regional staging of Mark Adamo's Little Women, a work based on the Louisa May Alcott novel and premiered by the Houston Grand Opera in 1998. Completing the season next summer will be a revival of Puccini's La Bohème. ...

Tenor sensation Luciano Pavarotti will give a concert June 30 in Seoul, South Korea, marking the historic Korean summit and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. Pavarotti will present Peace Forever, United as One on June 30 in Seoul's Chamsil Stadium, home of the 1988 Summer Olympics. ...

San Francisco classical label New Albion Records has formed an alliance with PlayJ.com to distribute titles from its catalog over the Internet. New Albion, considered one of the leading independent publishers of contemporary classical works, will offer excerpts of more than a dozen CDs from its 100-plus album catalog including recordings by Henry Cowell, John Cage and Terry Riley. Those excerpts can be downloaded direct from PlayJ's Web site. ...

As part of Emmanuel Music's 30th anniversary season, the company will collaborate with two of its illustrious alumni: stage director Peter Sellars and mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. They will work with conductor Craig Smith and the Emmanuel musicians on a triptych of staged Bach cantatas. Also featured in the 2000-01 season will be Sunday-morning cantatas with guest conductors including Seiji Ozawa, Christopher Hogwood, David Hoose and Michael Beattie. ...

The English National Opera will perform 10 consecutive new productions as part of London's String of Pearls Millennium Festival. The operas — which open with Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea and end with Verdi's Requiem — will run from September through December. ...

Tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will headline the first Liberty State Park Music and Heritage Festival beginning July 1. The twice-Grammy-nominated Bocelli will be joined by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for his only New York-area performance of the year. Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra will headline a Fourth of July tribute to Louis Armstrong. Jazz singer Diane Reeves and trumpeter Clark Terry will contribute to the tribute.

— sonicnet.com staff report