John Axelrod

Bacchus Beethoven


“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, it is the wine of a new procreation, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for men and makes them drunk with the spirit.”

So said Ludwig van Beethoven.

Bacchus deserves to be the center of attention.  Here, wine and music are presented in parallel, in concert, in a duet of delicious parables about symphonies and scores and oenophile experiences.

What to serve the mind and mouth.

Where wine and music meet, over a theme, a composition or a concert, and the best of life can be savored.

This is

If you would like to join the party, and be a Bacchus too, sign up for the IAMBACCHUS news letter.

You can also purchase some IAMBACCHUS products,

or attend some exquisite and unique culinary concerts that feature, what else?

Wine and music.

Read on fellow Beethovenians and Bacchae, O Maenads of Dionysus, free yourself to Eleutherios, raise your glasses and bows and make your toasts.  I AM BACCHUS is your portal to a more maliciously delicious musical life.

"On Conducting Bernstein's Symphonies"

by John Axelrod © 2015

Bernstein Book cover


For the professional, student or armchair conductor, this is the must-have 2018 Centennial roadmap to discover the do's and dont's of Bernstein's Symphonies. Available from July 1 at a special discounted rate on Amazon ebooks and Kindle.


"On Conducting Bernstein's Symphonies" by John Axelrod, contains analytical commentary about Bernstein’s 3 symphonies and provides publisher information to rent or purchase scores with CD/DVD/YouTube references.


The 25th anniversary of Bernstein’s death is October 14, 2015. As a student of Lenny’s, and a conductor of over 150 orchestras, my intention with this book is to encourage more performances of Bernstein’s music, during this memorial anniversary, through his Centennial in 2018 and far into the future.


I remain one of his strongest advocates, and, like many of my colleagues, I have come of age under the influence of this great man and maestro and his music.


The concept of the book is something that, according to the Bernstein family, has never been done: A book about conducting Bernstein's music. There are and will be many more biographies and histories about Bernstein and his contribution to music. But never has there been a book about conducting his music, as there are for composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz and Brahms. It is my opinion we can add one more "B" to the list. From the first paragraph of the introduction I make the point clear: Bernstein was not only one of the most important musical figures of the 20th century, but perhaps one of the most important in music history. Wow.


What makes Bernstein's music so special to hear? What makes it so popular? What makes it so joyful to play? What makes the music so American? What makes it so Mahlerian? What makes it Jewish? What makes it difficult? What makes it drive critics crazy? What makes it so… Lenny? These questions and more are answered in the book.


Other themes include identifying what is actually Lenny's conducting technique, what makes it different from others, how did his own personal gestures and composing style have an impact on his composing, and how did my knowing Lenny and studying his music directly with him influence my own programming and conducting technique.


Finally, it is "Love" that is so central to understanding Bernstein's music, and that without this understanding, one can never conduct his music.


Get your copy today here on, or any other Amazon site internationally.

John Axelrod brings Brahms Beloved to the Heartland of America on Route 66 from August 7-August 20, 2014


John Axelrod, conductor and pianist, has done many innovative projects. But this time, Axelrod does what no classical conductor has done before. In a 1953 Metallic Green 1/2 ton Chevy Truck, courtesy of Blacktop Candy’s, Axelrod will drive the historic Route 66 while promoting Brahms Beloved, Vol. 2. Why? Axelrod combines in a unique way two legendary paths: one through a mythical love story in classical music, and one through the mythical road of America.


Released by Telarc on July 22, Brahms Beloved Vol. 2, the 2nd of Axelrod’s acclaimed recorded cycle, features Symphonies 1 and 3, performed by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, and Clara Schumann lieder sung by legendary soprano Dame Felicity Lott and Lieder specialist Wolfgang Holzmair. Route 66, the iconic “Mother Road,” starts in Chicago and ends at Santa Monica, California. Axelrod will play his CD, write daily blogs for classical website SinfiniMusic at, make interviews with local radio stations, and share social media updates on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Learn more about the trip

and follow Axelrod's reports from the

road here at


For more information about Brahms Beloved :


For more information about the Chevy Truck and Route 66:


Some of the legendary Hotel+Motels to be visited during the John Axelrod

Brahms Beloved Route 66 Tour include:

  • Palmer House, Hilton, Chicago, IL.- Aug 7-8
  • The State House Inn, Springfield, IL- Aug 9
  • Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, MO.- Aug 10
  • Ambassador Hotel, Tulsa, OK.- Aug 11
  • Ambassador Magnuson Grand Hotel, Amarillo, TX.- Aug 12
  • Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NM.- Aug 13
  • El-Rancho Hotel, Gallup, NM.- Aug 14
  • La Posada Hotel & Gardens, Winslow, AZ.- Aug 15
  • Wigwam Hotel, San Bernardino, CA. - Aug 16
  • The Gregorian Hotel, Santa Monica, CA - Aug 17

Following Santa Monica on August 18, the tour will continue up the California coastline on Route 1 to San Francisco, ending the tour on August 20.


Brahms Beloved


Do you love Brahms? After this symphonic cycle, I hope you will.

This is Brahms for everyone: An American conductor, an Italian Orchestra,and an international group of vocalists. There is much in common between cotoletta alls milanese and wienerschnitzel as Milan was technically under Austrian rule between 1706 and 1859, with a Napoleonic break for a few years. Thus, Brahms by an orchestra from Milan is not something unholy to classical ears, but now, with these recordings, Brahms can become truly global. Like Beethoven, who is universally received. This is also the theme of this Brahms cycle: To unbound Brahms and bring his music to the world. This is Brahms for the 21st Century. This is Brahms for All.

But to achieve this international embrace of Brahms, one must start with a love story.



The Symphony Orchestra in Crisis: A Conductor's View


Many people have asked why I wrote the book. I was reluctant to publish it. At first I sent to Henschel, the most important performing arts publisher in Germany, my Autentico Italiano book. When they rejected it as better suited for a website (which is true, see Autentico Italiano, below), I mentioned I had written a book on the anthropology of the orchestra. They read it and voila! they offered to publish. I knew it would have risks, to expose what happens backstage, and how we can restore public confidence in our orchestras and culture. But I also believed no risk meant no gain. We are all hoping for the same thing: the survival of classical music performance. And if my reflections might offer a small contribution to the discussion and foster greater media awareness, industry debate and public involvement, then it was worth the risk. I appreciate the Spiegel summary below that compares Brendel's book, my book, Hope's book and all others which are intended to develop audiences for classical music. But lets take it one step further. My book is focused on the public at large. My hope is to develop audiences for the instrument that plays classical music: the orchestra. Therefore, the book and its new English title.






Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries bangs heads with Black Sabbath's Iron Man.


Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, with members of the Choir Accentus and featuring star Baritone Nmon Ford, begins as an old vinyl recording, opens into a modern oratorio and dissolves into Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.


Led Zeppelin's Kashmir evokes the exotic and erotic as does Rimsky Korsakov's Sheherezade.


Stairway to Heaven, with Patsy Blackstone on vocals, follows the sunrise from Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathrustra.


And the Who's Pinball Wizard scores with Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice.


The integrity of classical music is presented at the highest level of performance. The orchestral arrangements of classic rock hits are unique and musical. The sonic levels remain consistent between the two worlds. We join in one universe. That is ClassicalRock.






AUTENTICO ITALIANO is the first internet website of authentic Italian restaurants outside of Italy.


Have you ever been served ketchup for tomato sauce? I have. And trying to find real Italian ingredients and recipes outside of Italy can often be a nightmare. It may say ristorante on the wall, but more than often the horror stories of cured ham for prosciutto, emmenthal for parmesan, cream cheese for ricotta or mozzarella, and whipped creme for marscapone keep getting told. This problem is written about extensively in Italian media and is a concern for the preservation of Italian culinary culture.

AUTENTICO ITALIANO helps consumers of Italian food differentiate between those restaurants that only advertise themselves as Italian and those that actually are. Moreover, this website will ensure that lovers of Italian food will always be able to find a good table, pasta, pizza, wine and music or dolce with a smile con amore no matter where in the world. Except Italy.

For the professional, student or armchair conductor, this is the must have 2018 Centennial roadmap to discover the do's and dont's of Bernstein's Symphonies.  Available from July 1 at a special discounted rate on Amazon ebooks and Kindle.

© 2010-2013 John Axelrod. All rights reserved.