Tag Archives | Kevin Purcell

Updating The Website

ToolsAs I spend my days recuperating from very necessary; although very unwanted, and altogether unexpected surgery, it seemed appropriate to overhaul my website.  So, you’ll notice incremental changes over the next weeks and months as I, along with the intrepid Chris Stevens, address the overhaul.

Apologies in advance, too,  for the new pages that say “New Content Coming Soon”.  Personally, I aways hate that on a website!  Not to fear, it will all happen but it takes time to implement great design and reading worthy content.

Blog posts won’t change, as there is no update to this part of the website.  The next instalment on Puccini is up next.

Take care,


Myer Fredman (1932-2014): The Passing of A Very Great Conductor and Musician’s Musician

Myer_Fredman_British_ConductorIt was with real sadness, that I was informed of Myer’s sudden passing from his sons, Nicholas and Jonathan, as I was entering the foyer of a theatre here in New York just before curtain up on July 5.  I wept copious, silent tears throughout the performance that, at the time, seemed to go on interminably.  The performance’s final curtain only exacerbated the terrible loss I still feel today.

I first came to know Myer Fredman as a youngish conducting student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1993.  At the time, I moved to Sydney having been given a scholarship opportunity to study with the maestro at Opera Australia and, specifically, with the intent of studying the operas of Mozart and Britten.  Myer’s expertise in these works was well-known – especially the works of Mozart – through his long association with Glyndebourne, but little did I know at the outset of his passion and finely detailed knowledge of the operatic canon (especially in the works of Verdi and Strauss).  It was like heaven!

Myer was a brilliant but uncompromising teacher.  His tolerance for lazy musicianship was well-known (if not legendary) and, as a student, I did ‘cop’ it on a few occasions for singing wrong notes and less than perfect rhythm when being required to sing and conduct simultaneously every part in whichever opera was under current study.  Lessons were of such length (almost inevitably without a break) that suddenly 3-4 hours had passed unnoticed.  I was exhausted, Myer was ebulliant.  His energy and enthusiasm for the task unstoppable. Continue Reading →

Interviews with American Theatre Creatives: Larry Hochman (Arranger/Orchestrator)

In this second excerpt from a forthcoming book on Musical Theatre, I was entirely thrilled to interview one of the best arrangers in the business.  I have a number of heroes in this field, one of whom is the consumate musician, Larry Hochman.

This interview, which is really Part I of II, took place over several hours in a restaurant down on ‘Resturant Row’ in Manhattan earlier this year.  Dissecting and transcribing this interview reminded me of the many pearls of wisdom Larry provided over a couple of hours of intense conversation.  READ IT SLOWLY  – or read it more than once – to gain the maximum benefit from what Larry imparts.  You won’t regeret it.

LARRY HOCHMAN (Arranger / Orchestrator)

Larry_Hochman_Arranger Larry has a TONY award and a DRAMA DESK award for Best Orchestrations for The Book of Mormon.  His 4 other TONY nominations were for The Scottsboro Boys (2010, also Drama Desk nomination), Monty Python’s Spamalot (2005, also Drama Desk nomination), Fiddler on the Roof (2004) and A Class Act (2001).  Orchestrations for Broadway include The Addams Family, The Scottsboro Boys, Fiddler on the Roof (additional orchestrations for the 2004 Revival), Jane Eyre, A Class Act, The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm and Late Nite Comic, and additional orchestrations for Hugh Jackman – Back on Broadway, Shrek, and The Little Mermaid.  Orchestrations for 18 films include Marvin Hamlisch’s The Informant!, Disney’s Lady and the Tramp II, Once Upon a Mattress, and Dead of Winter


KP:  As an orchestrator, if you were only able to provide one piece of information to aspiring composers/songwriters, what would be the most pertinent advice you believe they should receive?

LH:  Well, if the end result, I assume, is going to be played by an orchestra, I don’t feel that you have to crowd every measure with lots and lots of notes, and trust more in the sustain of the orchestra. Continue Reading →