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 Irving Berlin is one of those who could easily have written a couple of songs, then retired to fame and great wealth. But like most highly creative people, his life was one of ceaseless creation, to the very end. Among his more than 900 songs are three which might be described as his Holiday Big Three: “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” and “Easter Parade."

Gabriela Ortiz

The Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz has found a great deal of success with her varied catalog of work. To try to define it in only a paragraph, or two, would be unfair and probably impossible. Likewise, her work defies any attempt to be pigeon-holed into a nationalistic or ethnic box. Yes, some of the catalog reflects her Mexican roots. But other titles speak in a musical language which should only be described as contemporary.

  Is there something in the water? Or is it the famous pizza which contributes to the longevity of service by so many of the principal musicians of the famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra? The record must surely belong to trumpeter Adolph Herseth, who held the first trumpet chair for 53 years, extending his tenure another 3 years as principal trumpet emeritus until his retirement in 2004. Then there was Arnold Jacobs, principal tuba with the CSO from 1944 until 1988.

dallasvoice.com

I first heard Van Cliburn live in 1969. He played a concert at Austin's Municipal Auditorium, a barn of a place, to a sold-out audience. I was, in the vernacular of the time, blown away.

As soon as the concert was over, I rushed down from my balcony seat to wait in the long line of well wishers for my opportunity to have my program autographed. By this time, Mr. Cliburn had actually come down into the audience. He was, in a sense, a man of the people.

  The music world suffered a significant loss on Friday, February 22, with the passing of the German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch. He was 89. His resume is beyond reproach. He is likely best known in the US through his 10 years as the Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (he succeeded Riccardo Muti and was subsequently succeeded by Christoph Eschenbach). His remarkable career covered more than half a century.

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