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Reza Vali's The Ancient Call (Calligraphy No. 13)

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

Carnegie Mellon University School of Music faculty members Reza Vali (composition) and Neal Berntsen (trumpet) have joined forces for what looks to be an intriguing world premiere at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. On Wednesday, CMU alumnus Keith Lockhart will conduct the Brevard Festival Chamber Orchestra in Mr. Vali's "The Ancient Call (Calligraphy No. 13)." The piece features Mr. Berntsen — a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony's trumpet section — performing on a microtonal trumpet. Because all roads lead to Pittsburgh, it's worth noting that the president and CEO of Brevard is Mark Weinstein, former general director of Pittsburgh Opera.

According to the School of Music, "'The Ancient Call' was written for Berntsen and is composed for a specially designed micro-tonal trumpet, which can perform up to 24 notes per octave, and orchestra. The fundamental elements of the composition (including the tuning, melody, rhythm, form, and polyphony) are all derived from the Persian modal system the Dastgâh/Magham.

"Vali's goal for writing the work was to create a dialogue between two different musical systems. The piece sets the Western Equal Temperament system, performed by the orchestra, against the Persian Dastgâh/Magham system, performed by the trumpet. The aim has been to elaborate on the inherent tensions that exist between these two interval systems and use it as a symbol for the existing political and cultural tensions between Persian and Western cultures."

 

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PSO invites brass community to come on stage

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

This is an awesome opportunity: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is welcoming brass players of all ages to join the brass and percussion sections for a neighborhood concert later this summer. More information from the PSO: 

PITTSBURGH – As part of Neighborhood Week, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is offering community brass players of all ages a unique opportunity to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony brass and percussion sections on Tuesday, September 1 at 7 p.m. at Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

This one-hour concert event is led by guest conductor Lawrence Loh and features a first half with the Pittsburgh Symphony only performing music by Dukas, Warlock, Sousa and Clarke. Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh and Principal Trombone Peter Sullivan will solo on Clarke's Cousins. Community members will join the symphony players during the second half to perform music by Arnaud, Wagner, Grainger and John Williams.

The event is free for both the audience and participants. Advance registration is required for players who wish to participate. The registration form can be found at pittsburghsymphony.org/brassnat and should be submitted by August 14. All participants need to attend a rehearsal with Loh at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland on Monday, August 31 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Rehearsal attendees are eligible to receive two tickets to the Pittsburgh Symphony's "Neighborhood Week: Salute to Veterans" concert that evening at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit pittsburghsymphony.org/brassnat.

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Minions in your morning cereal and, soon, local theaters

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

newvertminion

275minionThe Minions seem to be everywhere, including in your morning cereal.

That's if you or your children eat Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Trix, Reese's Puffs or Golden Grahams.

Six of the Minions, including the popular Kevin, Bob and Stuart, are tucked inside specially marked boxes of the General Mills cereals.

The movie, featuring the voice of Michael Keaton as an animated adult, opens in theaters Friday.

And judging by a display I saw Sunday in a drug store, there will be plenty of Minion-related goods for fans of all ages.

The new movie is an origin story, showing the yellow creatures before their adventures in "Despicable Me" and its sequel. 

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Hear podcast on Magic Mike XXL and Terminator Genisys

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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No Kong for Keaton, busy with Minions, Kroc and lots of projects

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Michael Keaton will not be in "Kong: Skull Island." And neither will J.K. Simmons, recent Oscar winner for "Whiplash." 
 
It turns out they have scheduling conflicts that will prevent them from being part of the Legendary Pictures project, Deadline.com reports. The movie is expected in theaters, in 3-D and IMAX 3-D, in March 2017.
 
The website says the production will start a little later than originally planned which spelled problems for Keaton, who is among the voice talent in "Minions," is filming "The Founder" in which he plays McDonald’s mastermind Ray Kroc and has the Catholic Church child-abuse drama, "Spolight," still to come. 
 
And the Hollywood Reporter recently said he is attached to star and produce "Imagine Agents," an adaptation of a Boom! comic set up at Fox. The story taps into the notion that the imaginary friends of children are real and centers on an organization,  I.M.A.G.I.N.E., which handles things when these figments get out of control.
 
And we know Keaton was recently at a couple of Pirates games, home and away and tweeted that he had posted beautiful photos of Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski on Instagram. 
 
Photos: Keaton recording his lines in a photo by Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.
 
In a scene from the movie, Bob (center) hitches a ride to Villain-Con from the Nelson family (left to right) of Madge (voice of Allison Janney), Walter Jr. (Michael Beattie), Binky, Walter (Keaton) and Tina (Katy Mixon) in “Minions.” 

 

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