Chris Van Hof's blog

My German Brass Odyssey!

All last week, I was in the small town of Lichtenberg, Germany with my brass quintet, the Emerald Brass.  We were participating in an exciting event called "Rekkenze Brass Week."  It was sponsored by the Rekkenze Brass, a group of international brass players based out of Hof, Germany.  Read on for a summary of the highlights of the trip!
The Emerald Brass on the Marketplatz of Hof, GermanyThe Emerald Brass on the Marketplatz of Hof, Germany

Preview of my musical journey to Germany next week!

From August 3 to 7, I'll be in Germany with my brass quintet (The Emerald Brass) attending a brass festival in this lovely house:
Haus MarteauHaus Marteau 

I'm caving to peer pressure

I promised myself I wouldn't do this.  I said: "Chris, if you do a blog for WXXI, you will not post any cute cat videos, or follow any Internet fads.  No Dancing Hamsters!" said I.

I Lvoe Classicla Muisc

Let's be honest: spelling's hard.  If you're in second grade.  For a record company though, one would think this may not be the case.  But one would be dead wrong.
 
You see, I am made quite sad today: the release of a disc I have been anticipating for a long time has been delayed because someone forgot to spell-check the cover.

My other piano is a V-8 supercar

It's no secret that I am an automobile nerd.  While I drive a humble 11-year-old Subaru with 172,000 miles on it, I always envision myself maneuvering an eight-cylinder, two-seated, rear-engined supercar with something called "sodium-cooled exhaust valves" and carbon-fiber cupholders.  Unfortunately these types of cars are expensive, and I play trombone and work for public radio--both admirable pursuits, but neither going to cover the cost of even one of the two dual-overhead camshafts I so desire.  Now, if you play the piano, then it's a different story!  No, you'll still be a starving artist, but at least you can play one of these:
Audi's $140,000 Bosendorfer grand pianoAudi's $140,000 Bosendorfer grand piano

China likes us, they really like us!

The Erhu, from ChinaThe Erhu, from China
 In my hours of slaving over a hot computer every day, I came across two different views of how the Chinese are taking a liking to some of our art forms.  Apparently Western classical music is huge there, and so is...completely ripping off the styling of Western automobiles. 
ripped-off Rolls-Royceripped-off Rolls-Royce

Classical music to thumb nose at British Parliament

 What do British people do when they get really angry about their elected officials spending hideous amounts of taxpayer money on things like life-size statues of Winston Churchill made out of Legos?  They write an opera, of course.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: MPs' expenses: Queen's composer to write comic opera
 

When jazz used to be a four-letter word...

I got an email this week with the subject heading "jass" and this website linked in the body.  This email came from a reputable source, so I knew the link would be at least entertaining, and probably informative.

Classical music goes X-TREEM!

OK, so we all know how cool the MET Opera at the movies is.  And that Sabres game they played outside in the snow was super-sweet.  The San Francisco Opera jumped on these two ideas, and decided to simulcast opera performances in the Giants' baseball stadium.  This all got me thinking about other ways we could supersize classical music...
 

Two sides of the opera coin

 Young people hate opera.  No, no--young people totally dig opera!  Whatever: young people should like opera because it's good for them.  You're all wrong: opera's just completely dead.