Classical Beat: Luciano Pavarotti, Zarin Mehta, New York Philharmonic …

Mehta takes over executive directorship of New York Philharmonic.

Luciano Pavarotti has announced the lineup for this year’s Pavarotti & Friends concert held in his home town of Modena, Italy. The all-star event, which takes place Tuesday (June 6), features performances by Tracy Chapman, Eurythmics, Enrique Iglesias, George Michael, Savage Garden and Zucchero. Also appearing are Aqua (from Denmark), Biagio Antonacci (Italy), Irene Grandi (Italy), Monica Naranjo (Spain), Skunk Anansie (UK) and Caetono Veloso (Brazil). The concert will be recorded, and Decca Records will release the album in October. …

The New York Times reported that Zarin Mehta will step into the shoes of executive director of the New York Philharmonic. Zarin is the brother of famed conductor Zubin Mehta, who served as musical director of the orchestra for 13 years until 1991. Mehta will succeed Deborah Borda, who left her position to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic. …

Conductor Erich Kunzel led the National Symphony Orchestra in a Memorial Day program on the U.S. Capitol’s west lawn that included a Morton Gould arrangement of the classic “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and a performance by blues master B.B. King. The concert also featured a selection from Tchaikovsky‘s Symphony No. 6 that came with video images from the Korean War that were synchronized with the NSO. …

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. …

Director Pinchas Zukerman of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra announced Thursday (May 25) that the NAC will present its second annual Great Composers Festival in July in Ottawa. Performers include tenor Ben Heppner and pianists Angela Hewitt and Alicia de Laroccha. There will be a Bach-around-the-clock marathon, a jazz concert along with various chamber music recitals. The festival unfolds July 4-28. …

The Peking Opera will perform at the Atlantic City Sands Hotel & Casino from June 27-Sept. 10. … California’s Orange County is known for its conservative political climate. But this week, the Orange County High School of the Arts will step out onto the avant-garde edge with a series of performances that include Three Mob Pieces by Austrian composer H.K. Gruber; Le Tombeau de Liberace by American Michael Daugherty (of Jackie O opera fame); and the West Coast premiere of I: A Meditation on Iona for percussion and strings by modern Scottish composer James MacMillan. …

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra featured soloist Yo-Yo Ma in the debut Wednesday (May 24) of a new work by American composer Peter Lieberson. The Six Realms, a concerto for amplified cello and orchestra, is titled in reference to the Buddhist view of the world — the six states of mind that form human experience. Lieberson, a practicing Buddhist and teacher, wrote the piece under a commission from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the national festival Music Canada Musique 2000. …

Mozart‘s opera The Philosopher’s Stone will be performed in Europe for the first time since 1814 at London’s Hampstead and Highgate Festival this weekend. Discovered in 1996, the piece was co-written with Emanuel Schikaneder in 1790. Schikaneder and Mozart later worked together on The Magic Flute. The festival will offer concerts, recitals and illustrated lectures in the 18th- and 19th-century churches, museums and historic houses of Hampstead and Highgate. …

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. …

While Hollywood is trying to decide if Madonna or Celine Dion might star in a feature film on the life of Edith Piaf, acclaimed singer Raquel Bitton and her one-woman show based on the life of France’s “little sparrow” will be hitting a theater near you. Her upcoming Paris performance in the fall will be recorded for a documentary concert film to be directed by rock video director Barry Stone. Bitton has recently been signed to OMTOWN/Higher Octave Music, a Virgin-associated label. Her debut CD for the label, Raquel Bitton Sings Edith Piaf, Vol. I, is due July 18. …

The idyllic Wilton Church in Salisbury, Wiltshire, plays host again to the Wardour Music Festival from June 23–28. The five-day event will feature top British artists, including a recital by soprano Amanda Roocroft. Her concert will include music by British composer Ivor Gurney. Pianist Peter Donahue will play several works by Romantic composers including Chopin, Shumann and Liszt. The festival closes with a performance by the Wallace Collection, one of the world’s pioneering brass ensembles, and will feature works by Mozart, Monteverdi, Purcell and Stravinsky. …

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers will recognize New York’s WNYC Radio’s 75-year history of promoting and broadcasting contemporary American music at its first Annual Concert Music Awards at the Juilliard School on Thursday (May 25). Four other awards will be presented at the ceremony, to soprano Lauren Flanigan and composers John Duffy, Ned Rorem and electronic-music pioneer Morton Subotnick. …

Utah Opera announced its 2000–01 season of four productions playing in Salt Lake City’s Capitol Theatre. The season opens Oct. 21–29 with Tchaikovsky‘s Eugene Onegin, the company’s first production in Russian. Other highlights of the season include Verdi‘s Madama Butterfly and Douglas Moore‘s The Ballad of Baby Doe. … French composer/conductor Pierre Boulez and Italian conductor Riccardo Muti have won the Wolf Prize in music. The award — the Israeli equivalent of the Nobel Prize — comes with a cash award of $100,000. …

Composer/teacher Ellis Kohs died May 17 at the age of 84. His opera, Amerika, based on the novel by Franz Kafka, was staged in Los Angeles in 1970. He was a professor of music composition and theory at the University of Southern California’s school of music for 38 years. … Opera Tampa announced on Friday (May 19) it will present the world premiere of Sacco and Vanzetti. The full-scale opera was composed by Anton Coppola (uncle of film director Francis Ford Coppola). …

André Previn will conduct the British premiere of his work Diversions with the London Symphony Orchestra in concerts at London’s Barbican center, June 11 and 18. The piece was commissioned by the Mozarteum International Foundation and debuted in Salzburg, Austria, in January. …

The annual Holland Festival is known for its wide-ranging productions of theater, opera, dance and music (in 1995, the event featured the world premiere of Karlhaeinz Stockhausen‘s Helikopter Quartet). This year’s festival includes the live premiere of Frank Zappa‘s 200 Motels, which was originally realized as a film that starred the composer, ex-Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and others. The Holland Festival runs from June 3 to June 25. …

— sonicnet.com staff report