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LANG LANG RELEASES INNOVATIVE NEW ALEXA SKILL
Inspirational pianist invites music-lovers to join him on Lang Lang’s Musical Journey
When it comes to music education, Lang Lang is a master. The legendary Chinese classical pianist, an inspiration to millions around the globe, is on a mission to share his love of piano music with as many people as possible. Having recently released Piano Book, his latest album on Deutsche Grammophon, Lang Lang has now joined forces Amazon Alexa and DG to create an innovative, artist-driven Alexa skill - Lang Lang’s Musical Journey, which launches on 24 May 2019.
In each episode Lang Lang will talk about a recent event from his life as a professional musician, drawing attention to a specific piece of music. As well as introducing this in general terms he will offer a series of performance tips at the piano.
The skill, available in the English-speaking countries Australia and New Zealand, India, the UK and Ireland, the US and Canada, is on Alexa-enabled devices and can be activated through the Alexa Skills Store via the Alexa app or on Amazon.com. Users owning an Alexa-enabled device with a screen, such as Echo Show or Echo Spot, can enjoy some segments of each episode in video format.
“I’ve had the pleasure of performing with some of the greatest orchestras and most talented people in music today, and I’m dedicated to spreading my love of the piano across the world,” says Lang Lang. “If anyone out there would like to know more about me and my life in music, or would like tips on playing the piano, or guidance on exploring some of the most exciting and interesting music written for the piano, I’d like to invite them to enable the skill and say to Alexa,‘Start Lang Lang’s Musical Journey’.”
“It’s always inspiring to hear Lang Lang talk about his passion for the piano and demonstrate fresh ideas at the instrument,” comments Dr. Clemens Trautmann, President, Deutsche Grammophon. “He’s a great communicator and always embraces new technological opportunities to reach out to his global fanbase – and this makes him the perfect presenter for Alexa. Now it only takes one question for music fans to connect with Lang Lang’s love of piano music.”
The experience has been enhanced to feel fully immersive in that users will interact directly with Lang Lang when navigating the skill – they will not hear the voice of Alexa at all. Alexa will also give users the option to receive proactive notifications, alerting them to upcoming episodes of Lang Lang’s Musical Journey.About Lang Lang’s Musical Journey
With each episode shining the spotlight on a specific work, Lang Lang launches his Alexa skill with Beethoven’s Für Elise, one of the standout tracks on Piano Book. Users can switch between Lang Lang’s tips on playing the piece, his take on the story of how the piece got its title, his thoughts on Für Elise as one of the piano’s classic works and a short performance of an excerpt from the piece.
Episode two looks back to one of Lang Lang’s recent performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Besides commenting on the experience, Lang Lang will also tell his audience about the concerto’s historical background and introduce the music of the third movement with his tips on how to perform it. Finally he will recount an anecdote about the first time he arrived in America to begin his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Future episodes of Lang Lang’s Musical Journey will draw users further into Lang Lang’s musical universe. They can look forward to hearing his reflections on a range of other performance experiences, from playing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Kirill Petrenko to the stadium duo he did in Shanghai with hologram singer Luo Tianyi that made him the first classical artist to have performed with the Chinese virtual vocaloid.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON STRIKES GOLD AT 2019 BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE AWARDS
Víkingur Ólafsson’s Johann Sebastian Bach crowns standout night for DG at BBC Music Magazine Awards by winning
‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Instrumental Album’
Daniil Trifonov lands top prize in ‘Concerto’ category for his Rachmaninov recording
Two of Deutsche Grammophon’s star pianists were honoured last night (10 April 2019) at the BBC Music Magazine Awards. Daniil Trifonov’s Destination Rachmaninov – Departure emerged as winner of the ‘Concerto’ category while Víkingur Ólafsson’s Johann Sebastian Bach was named ‘Best Instrumental Album’ before going to take the coveted ‘Album of the Year’ title, reinforcing its place among the great Bach recordings.
Víkingur Ólafsson says: “I am very touched to win this important award for my Bach album and to know that people enjoy listening to it. Playing and recording Bach is in many ways the most personal thing one can do in music, and I am very grateful for the incredibly kind and generous reactions.”
Daniil Trifonov’s album represents a remarkable artistic achievement. Destination Rachmaninov – Departure, the first of two discs devoted to the Russian composer’s complete piano concertos, was made with the Philadelphia Orchestra and its music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Trifonov journeyed in Rachmaninov’s footsteps to work with what the composer considered to be America’s finest orchestra. The album received widespread critical acclaim, and prompted BBC Music Magazine’s reviewer to praise the “superbly responsive” partnership between soloist, orchestra and conductor.
“Few Rachmaninov recordings have ever sparkled with as much life and intensity as do these,” commented ZEIT ONLINE. Destination Rachmaninov – Departure was named as ‘Album of the Week’ by the Sunday Times (London), while the Guardian (London) declared it to be “one of the releases of the year”.
Víkingur Ólafsson, described by the New York Times as “Iceland’s Glenn Gould”, came to London to perform two pieces from his album to the capacity audience at Kings Place: the Andante from Bach’s Organ Sonata No.4 (transcribed by August Stradal) and Ólafsson’s own transcription of ‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’. BBC Music Magazine hailed his recording of original works by Bach and transcriptions by, among others, Busoni and Rachmaninov, as “a balm for the ears”. Its five-star review concluded: “If ever there was an album to demonstrate Bach’s timelessness, this is it.”
A quick survey of coverage in the international media confirms that Ólafsson’s album struck a chord worldwide. “His inspired playing humanises Bach in a way not heard in a long time,” observed the Süddeutsche Zeitung, while the New York Times praised the pianist’s “blend of respect and audaciousness that makes for a refreshing addition to the crowded field of Bach recordings”. Critics have recognised the clarity of the pianist’s interpretations and, above all, the subtle expressive beauty of his artistry.
Interest in Ólafsson’s Johann Sebastian Bach album has soared online, attracting well over 10 million streams and drawing thousands to watch his videos. The album soared to No.1 in the German Classical Chart and No.3 in the French Classical Chart and made it into the German Pop Chart within days of its release last September.
The critical and commercial success of Johann Sebastian Bach supports the findings of a survey recently released by London’s Royal Albert Hall and music streaming service Deezer, which shows a surge of interest in Bach’s music among under 35s. Víkingur Ólafsson and Yellow Label cellist and composer Peter Gregson are set to give the world premiere performance of Bach Evolution at the Royal Albert Hall on 1 May.
“We send our warmest congratulations to Víkingur and Daniil as well as to Yannick and the Philadelphia Orchestra,” comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “BBC Music Magazine is a tastemaker in classical music. That’s why we’re so delighted to see two outstanding young artists honoured for their work in this way. Their albums belong to the Yellow Label’s great piano tradition. Each recording is distinctive in terms of both interpretation and sonority, as well as being revelatory in apparently familiar repertoire by Bach and Rachmaninov. We look forward to continuing our exciting and rewarding work with Daniil and Víkingur in the long term.”
TENOR IN DEMAND
Benjamin Bernheim signs exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon
“… the major French lyric tenor the opera world is longing for.” Chicago Tribune
L-R: Clemens Trautmann (President Deutsche Grammophon),Valérie Gross (DG’s A&R Director Vocal & Opera Productions), Benjamin Bernheim
Deutsche Grammophon is pleased to announce that it has signed an exclusive long-term contract with Benjamin Bernheim. The 33-year-old French lyric tenor has already secured his international reputation as one of the leading tenors of the new generation of singers .
Bernheim will launch his relationship with DG with an album of French, Italian and Russian arias. Scheduled for worldwide release in autumn 2019, it will capture his interpretations of the classic young tenor roles, featuring works by many of the composers central to his operatic repertoire, including Gounod, Massenet, Donizetti, Puccini, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.
“Opera has the power to touch people’s souls and enrich their lives, and I’m happy that I’ll be able to reach a broader audience worldwide in partnership with DG,” says Bernheim. “I’m delighted to have recorded my first DG albumwith the Prague Philharmonia and Emmanuel Villaume, exploring a range of roles that suit my voice so well right now.”
Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, welcomed Bernheim to the Yellow Label. “Benjamin owns much more than a sublime voice,” he notes. “ He is always searching for those vital elements that lie beneath the music’s surface, demonstrating a combination of intuition and empathy as well as technical mastery. We’re determined to introduce this remarkable young star to a large new audience, and show why he’s in such high demand at the world’s leading opera companies.”
Valérie Gross, DG’s A&R Director Vocal & Opera Productions, added, “He’s got it all: voice, charisma, looks and an uncanny ability to communicate with people – watch out for this exceptional singer!”
Benjamin Bernheim was born in Paris in 1985. After studying in Lausanne, he joined Zurich Opera’s Opera Studio in 2008, returning to the company two years later as a member of its renowned ensemble. He is now in demand in leading roles at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, having sung Rodolfo (La bohème) at Covent Garden, the Opéra de Paris and the Vienna Staatsoper; Alfredo (La traviata) at La Scala, Milan, Berlin Staatsoper and Zurich Opera; Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore) at the Vienna Staatsoper; Lenski (Eugene Onegin) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; and the title role in Faust at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. He has also appeared in several productions at the Salzburg Whitsun and Summer festivals. He began this season by reprising the role of Rodolfo in Zurich, and then went on to give his first performance of the Verdi Requiem at Covent Garden, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. He makes his highly anticipated role debut as Des Grieux in Manon at Opéra national de Bordeaux on 5 April, and debuts the role of Ismaele in Nabucco in Zurich in June. This season has also brought great critical acclaim, including this review for his appearance as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) at the Vienna Staatsoper: “With his warm, golden-toned tenor and wonderful stage presence he showed … why he is known as one of the most interesting tenors of our day” (Die Presse). In December 2018, he was named a Rolex Testimonee.
In the 2019-20 season Bernheim will return to the Opéra de Paris as Alfredo and Des Grieux in new productions of La traviata and Manon respectively. He will also make his role and house debut as the Duke in Rigoletto at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, with other highlights of the coming season including his appearances in La Bohème in Munich and Paris and La traviata at both the Berlin and the Vienna Staatsoper.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON LAUNCHES NEW EXCLUSIVE APPLE MUSIC DESTINATION FOR THE LA PHIL (WWW.APPLEMUSIC.COM/LAPHIL) TO CELEBRATE 100 YEARS OF MUSIC-MAKING BY ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST ORCHESTRAS
- The Apple Music LA Phil destination (applemusic.com/laphil) has launched
- Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel and Deutsche Grammophon look to classical music’s future with carefully curated combination of new recordings, archive treasures, new exclusive remasterings and full-length concert performances in the form of visual albums
- Yellow Label’s new Celebrating John Williams album catches irresistible spirit of Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel
- Exclusive LA Phil – 100 Years playlist shares musical highlights from DG’s rich recording partnership with the orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon and the Los Angeles Philharmonic are set to celebrate a century of musical excellence with the launch of Apple Music’s LA Phil destination at www.applemusic.com/laphil. This launched on 22 March 2019 with a spotlight focus on a spectacular new DG recording conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, the orchestra’s Music & Artistic Director. Celebrating John Williams marks the LA Phil’s centenary year in style, presenting extracts from some of the Oscar®-winning composer’s best-loved soundtracks. The album, recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, includes selections from the scores for Harry Potter, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, among others.
The LA Phil destination offers easy access to the orchestra’s rich archives. Deutsche Grammophon has curated its spotlight playlist, LA Phil 100 Years – 100 Legendary Tracks. Visitors can explore ten standout recordings created over the past decade under Gustavo Dudamel’s direction, spanning everything from Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 9 to John Adams’s City Noir. The playlist also features recordings by seven of the orchestra’s previous music directors, including such illustrious figures as Eduard van Beinem, Zubin Mehta and the late André Previn.
Three new full-length concert videos are available on Apple Music’s LA Phil destination including Maestro Dudamel’s inaugural gala concert as Music Director, Deutsche Grammophon’s film of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the “Symphony of a Thousand”, and a performance of Gershwin’s An American in Paris filmed live at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, welcomes the new initiative. “In today’s fast-paced world people are looking for meaningful and fresh experiences. That is exactly what Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil stand for, and the Yellow Label is totally committed to sharing their inspiring music-making through Apple Music’s innovative LA Phil destination, in both outstanding audio recordings and exciting video documents. It’s the ideal digital space in which to explore one of the world’s most dynamic relationships between orchestra, conductor and label.”
Music-lovers visiting the LA Phil Room will also be treated to the digital debut release of five historic recordings, four of them available for the first time ever. The collection comprises Alfred Wallenstein’s recordings for American Decca; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Arthur Rubinstein; Otto Klemperer’s breathtaking 1946 account of Richard Strauss’s Don Juan; works by Hendrik Andriessen and Ravel conducted by Eduard van Beinum; and a 1966 recording of Stravinsky conducting his own works prefaced by “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In addition, the LA Phil Room will offer Beethoven’s “Eroica” and “Pastoral” Symphonies conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini in two DG albums specially remastered in 24 bit sound and available mastered for iTunes.
GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, THE LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC, AND DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON JOIN FORCES FOR NEW COLLABORATION
· New partnership between LA Phil and DG to build on long and productive association between orchestra, conductor, and label
· “Celebrating John Williams” – album release to coincide with global anniversary tour
· Multi-album centennial box set to feature world premiere release of performances by Klemperer, Wallenstein, van Beinum, and Stravinsky
Berlin, Germany / Los Angeles, CA (February 19, 2019) – The prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, and Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s leading classical music label, are set to extend their long history of making music together. They will now build on a relationship that has already produced benchmark recordings of works by Mahler and John Adams, among others, and seen orchestra and conductor play key roles in the visionary “DG Concerts” initiative, which allowed music-lovers rapid virtual access to live LA Phil concerts.
Upcoming releases on Deutsche Grammophon will include a tribute to multi-award-winning film composer John Williams and, as the LA Phil marks its centenary season, a commemorative limited-edition box set entitled LA PHIL – 100 YEARS, which will encompass many of the most significant performances given by the orchestra over the decades. As a prelude to this renewed cooperation, in November 2018 DG released the LA Phil and Dudamel’s new reading of the complete score of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker to widespread acclaim, with Gramophone hailing the orchestra’s “fabulous” playing and The New York Times calling the album a “joyously vibrant recording”.
Dr. Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon, welcomes the new association between the orchestra, its Music & Artistic Director, and the label. “We’re delighted to be resuming our collaboration with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil. The centenary is a great occasion to showcase both the ensemble’s great artistic vision and its innovative approach to programming and outreach. We share the ambition to make Gustavo and the LA Phil’s latest productions heard by the widest global audience, thereby adding to the orchestra’s already rich recorded legacy with Deutsche Grammophon.”
“What an honor to collaborate with my friend and mentor John Williams,” said Dudamel. “His compositions are iconic, his talent is legendary, and his artistic generosity is heartwarming.”
Reviewing the January 24 event, the Los Angeles Times not only called the playing “spectacular,” but emphasized Dudamel’s ability to bring out a unique “sonic grandeur” in these well-known works, and to convey Williams’ “magical sense of writing music that sends a message – a message of hope and glory and wonder and joy.” All in all, what he and the LA Phil produced on the night was, according to the same review, “unlike any Williams music … heard before.”
A week later, on March 22, Deutsche Grammophon will issue LA PHIL – 100 YEARS, a spectacular limited-edition box set containing 32 CDs and three DVDs. The chosen recordings mirror the orchestra’s long history, with the earliest dating back to the 1920s. As well as comprising celebrated performances by the last eight of the orchestra’s music directors, LA PHIL – 100 YEARS will include several previously unreleased historic live recordings, among t