Classical Beat: Hector Berlioz, Orchestre de Paris, Claudio Abbado ...

Conductor continues to recuperate from emergency ulcer surgery.

In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hector Berlioz, the Orchestre de Paris and the Bibliothèque nationale de France will organize a comprehensive survey of the composer's works and writings. The cycle will begin with the Orchestre de Paris' 2000–01 season and conclude during the 2002–03 season. Included is an international caucus of musicologists and researchers, convened in 1997, which will work to provide a more complete picture of the famed composer through his essays on music theory and criticism. ...

Claudio Abbado, the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, will be unable to lead the famed orchestra during their European tour this month. The 67-year-old Abbado has not fully recuperated from emergency ulcer surgery in July. Bernhard Haitink, former conductor of the Concergebouw Orchestra, will replace Abbado for the tour from Aug. 25-Sept. 2. The tour is scheduled to cover Salzburg, Austria; London; Lucerne, Switzerland; and Freiburg, Germany. ...

Salt Lake City-born Eugene Watanabe returned home Thursday (Aug. 17) to close out the Utah Symphony's summer season. The versatile Watanabe performed Mozart's D Minor Concerto, K466, which he first performed with the orchestra 10 years ago. "There are many things I see in it that I don't think I was mature enough to see back then. Hopefully that will be reflected in my playing," Watanabe told the Salt Lake Tribune earlier. Also on the program, conducted by Utah Symphony music director Keith Lockhart, were Mozart's Symphony No. 35 ("Haffner") and two pieces written as tributes to Mozart: Jacques Ibert's "Hommage Mozart" and Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 4 ("Mozartiana"). ...

Rock band the Scorpions, known for their anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane," recently composed a new anthem for Germany's Expo 2000, which they recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic. The band will tour the United States with a full orchestra — but not the Berlin Philharmonic — in support of its recently released album, Moment of Glory. Scheduled concerts are Phoenix (Sept. 21), Las Vegas (Sept. 23), Los Angeles (Sept. 28) and San Francisco (Sept. 30). Producer Christian Kolonovits arranged the orchestrations for the band. When the album was first released, some members of the Berlin Philharmonic protested the song's explicit lyrics. ...

Pianist András Schiff will be in Lucerne, Switzerland, from Aug. 30 until Sept. 12, performing the music of J.S. Bach. Schiff will present selections from the Well Tempered Klavier on Aug. 30 and Sept. 12; selections from the Partitas on Sept. 3; the French Suites and French Overture on Sept. 5; the English Suites on Sept. 8 and the Goldberg Variations on Sept. 10. The Internationale Musikfestwochen will conclude Sept. 16 with performances of Anton Bruckner by the Vienna Philharmonic. ...

Violin maestro Giuliano Carmignola and the Venice Baroque Orchestra have signed exclusive contracts to record for Sony Classical. Their first recording for the label is due internationally this fall and will feature three world premiere recordings of the Italian Baroque master Antonio Vivaldi's concerti, in addition to a new interpretation of The Four Seasons. Carmignola, an Italian violinist whose style spans the whole spectrum of classical music, has received recent praise for his period performances of Italian Baroque music, specifically the works of the Venetian school. ...

The Korean Opera Group will present its own commissioned opera, Hwangjinie, Aug. 24–25 in Beijing. The story is based on the life of a famous 16th-century "kisaeng" (female entertainer) who passed through the social circles of kings and philosophers of the era. Some of Korea's greatest modern artists, poets and choreographers collaborated on the project, which made its debut in April 1999. After performances in China, the Korean Opera Group will take the production to Japan in April. ...

Lou Harrison has won this year's Edward MacDowell medal, making him the 12th composer to receive the award. Composer Chester Biscardi was chairman of this year's selection committee for the MacDowell Colony, which also included music historian Vivian Perlis and composers Meredith Monk, Alvin Singleton and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Harrison is the first experimental composer to receive the medal. "In choosing Lou Harrison," Biscardi said in a statement, "the search committee recognizes his gentle and generous spirit, as well as the very personal and multifaceted way in which he is and will continue to be a major presence in American and world music." Harrison's works have been commissioned by such notables as Lester Horton, Jean Erdman, Merce Cunningham, the Cabrillo Music Festival, the Mark Morris Dance Company and the Louisville Orchestra. He also played a large role in the introduction of the Indonesian gamelan to American audiences. The award ceremony will be held Aug. 20 at the MacDowell Colony in Petersburgh, N.H.

— sonicnet.com staff report