Author Archives: Ryan Libel

New Stuff: Ringtone, Shoulder Rest

Jenny Yun is a violinist and Youtube video maker who creates nicely (not overly) produced recordings of the Suzuki repertoire. She dresses well, stages her videos in well-appointed rooms, employs a professional accompanist, and even does some of them in a recording studio.  She can also really play the violin.  On top of that, I […]

Striking Anne Sophie

Today was supposed to be a great one – we’ve long had tickets for a matinee at Symphony Center to see my favorite violinist, Anne Sophie Mutter, in recital with her longtime collaborative pianist Lambert Orkis and cellist Daniel Muller-Schott. Beethoven’s Ghost Trio was on the program.  The Ravel Sonata. Some Mozart.  I have been […]

An Inspector Calls

Sound helps sets the stage – rain, thunder, dissonant trumpets, a wayward cello – all introduce the play and, throughout, signal shifts in a familial and social dynamic, helping to underscore the more dramatic moments in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s current production of An Inspector Calls.  The show, on tour from The National Theatre of Great […]

Equipment Testing

On Tuesday, Teacher brought a new violin to my lesson – a loaner she is trying out as she decides on a new one to buy.  She wants a violin she feels comfortable trotting around with to bars, where she plays with others sometimes – she’s into Irish fiddling.  She told me she’s trying out […]

Recorder and Harp at the Cultural Center

Outside of elementary school music rooms, the heyday of the recorder was in the baroque era, prior to the ascension of the modern flute.  Laura Osterlund, one of the Musician’s Club of Women scholarship award winners, is a rare modern musician who has specialized in the instrument.  Her talents, which were showcased alongside collaborative harpist […]

John Cameron Mitchell and The Origin of Love

When I was in my early 20s a subcultural phenomenon emerged, a rarified entry into the ranks of cult classics like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Hedwig and the Angry Inch was the brainchild of John Cameron Mitchell and songwriter Stephen Trask, conceived, as I learned on Friday night, after a transcontinental flight during which […]

Rachmaninoff 3, Tchaikovsky 1: a Sunday at the Symphony

Two guests from Europe led a program of Russian music at Symphony Center over the weekend – I was happy to make it out for the final concert, this past Sunday’s matinee, snatching up the very last seat on the main floor available online about four hours prior to showtime.  The Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado […]