People: November 2002

Friday, November 29, 2002

Beyond Prodigy Midori has spent her adult life trying to live beyond being a child prodigy. “In many ways, she says, she has spent her adult life pushing to create the normalcy she missed as an international child star. Her image as a prodigy was carefully cultivated by those around her. ‘They would tell me things like, ‘You have to say you like classical music, you never listen to anything else’.” Christian Science Monitor 11/29/02

Dumas To Be Moved To Pantheon Alexandre Dumas is one of the most popular French novelists of all time. But he’s not been officially honored. That changes this week when his remains are moved to the Pantheon in Paris. “He will then be laid to rest alongside other French literary greats such as Victor Hugo and Emile Zola.” BBC 11/28/02

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Watts Will Make Full Recovery Pianist Andre Watts has been released from the hospital after suffering a subdural hematoma just before a Nov. 14 concert in California. He’s expected to recover fully and resume performing. “Hemorrhages like these are fatal in 50-60 percent of people. He was in the very fortunate 40 percent of people who make it through the event. The bleeding was on the anterior part of the brain, away from the fine motor area.” Doctors describe Watts as “personable” and “Zen-like” during his hospital stay. Orange County Register 11/27/02

Spano Bows Out In Brooklyn Saying that “the energy and time the Brooklyn Philharmonic deserves are beyond my capacities anymore,” conductor Robert Spano steps down as music director of the orchestra after seven years. Spano has recently renewed his contract leading the Atlanta Symphony and becomes director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood next year. “As a highly regarded interpreter of new music in particular, he has been mentioned as a candidate for the podiums of leading world orchestras.” The New York Times 11/27/02

Monday, November 25, 2002

The Best Job In British Art “Norman Rosenthal is the master of the big production. He occupies a unique and enviable role in British art. While other gallery directors find themselves bogged down in bureaucracy, in running an institution, Rosenthal can devote his time to conjuring up the dreamiest exhibitions. His track record is amazing. When he arrived at the Royal Academy 25 years ago, it was a fusty and largely irrelevant institution. Today, it is one of the world’s great exhibition spaces.” The Guardian (UK) 11/25/02

Sunday, November 24, 2002

A Life In Art Since retiring New York collector/dealer Gene Thaw “has made philanthropy something of a second career. The Thaw Charitable Trust, established in 1981, is endowed largely from the sale of a van Gogh painting, The Flowering Garden, a decade ago. A founding member and past president of the Art Dealers Association of America, Mr. Thaw retired from active dealing a decade ago but remains an insider’s insider.” Says the director of the Morgan Library: “Gene’s generosity has been so great that he must be regarded as the single greatest patron of this institution since the death of its founders.” The New York Times 11/24/02

Top Of The Game Brian Stokes Mitchell is at the top of the acting game in New York. “No other actor can match his singing voice. No other singer can claim his acting range or experience. No other man — at least, no one who works in the theater regularly — can say, ‘I want to play Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha’ and bring it about. Mr. Mitchell has reached a rare perch in the American theater: he can make his dreams come true with other people’s money.” The New York Times 11/24/02

The Glenn Gould Of Collecting Last summer Canadian art collector Ken Thomson paid $117 million for a Rubens (or maybe it wasn’t a Rubens, depending on who you ask). This month he announced a gift of $300 million to the Arts Gallery of Ontario. The man’s appetite for things art is voracious. “To describe Ken Thomson as a driven collector is like describing Glenn Gould as a gifted pianist; the words cannot quite do it justice.” The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/23/02

Lukas Foss At 80 At 80 years old, composer Lukas Foss still commutes weekly from New York to Boston to teach. “Twenty years ago we had this club, the avant garde, and that’s no longer really very functional. Now any style is OK. There was a time when you had to be a `12-tone’ composer to be considered Now that’s not the case. Minimal, aleatoric, 12-tone, these are all just techniques.” Boston Herald 11/24/02

Friday, November 22, 2002

The Work Continues – It’s The Critics Who Change Edward Albee had brilliant success early in his career, but then went through a period where he couldn’t do much right, at least as far as the critics were concerned. Then he was golden again. Albee, 74, maintains that the quality of his writing didn’t much vary during those wilderness years. The only difference was the critical reception. Similarly he was, and still is, driven by the same motives, still irked by the same social faults.” The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/22/02

Thursday, November 21, 2002

The Death of Higher Literacy? Scholar and cultural critic George Steiner is worried about us. Specifically, he worries that while nearly all of us know how to read a computer manual, very few of us have read The Iliad or Ulysses. Is the modernity of Western life destroying our cultural history? “Every generation loses a little bit of the past, as new poems and novels jostle for attention. But Steiner (like Baudrillard, Sontag and Paglia) believes that the catastrophic forgetfulness that has overtaken the West since the Second World War is a sign that the print culture that sustained us for six centuries is actually dying.” The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 11/21/02

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

The Re-education of Jonathan Franzen It’s been a year since Jonathan Franzen dissed Oprah and her book club. He says things have changed, but others aren’t so sure. “Franzen has the most dire case of literary status-anxiety that I have ever seen,” says Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic. “He demeans his own seriousness with his flurries of positioning.”Others are more positive. “This is someone whose work is galvanized by his own contradictions, his own warring instincts,” says Henry Finder, editorial director of the New Yorker. Washington Post 11/19/02

Former National Ballet Dancer Dies in Motorcycle Accident William Marri, 33, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, died Saturday after being in a motorcycle accident in New York. Marri had left the National last March to join the cast of the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp show Movin Out, which recently landed on Broadway. “Marri was riding his motorcycle before an evening performance when he crashed.” Calgary Herald (CP) 11/19/02

Monday, November 18, 2002

The Real Dave Eggers – Who Knows? Dave Eggers has a way of polarizing opinions about him. Is he a brilliant writer, a lone wolf who has gone his own way and eschewed Big Publishing? Or is he a shrewd PR guy who’s figured out how to play the fame game? “Eggers can’t lose: he will either be remembered as one of the leading American writers of the twenty-first century, or as someone who discovered, nurtured and galvanised those who are.” The Observer (UK) 11/17/02

Sunday, November 17, 2002

The Next Great Ballerina: Alina Cojacaru is a genius, or so say the dance cognoscenti who are in the business of slapping such labels on 21-year-old wunderkinds. Genius or not, the Romanian pixie has taken the London ballet scene by storm, and many critics say she already possesses the maturity most great dancers achieve in their thirties, and there appears to be no limit to her potential. The Telegraph (UK) 11/16/02