February 2011 Archives

Musings on a few cultural things I did at the weekend

Jam Yesterday

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Two Paul Taylor works new to New York were eclipsed by superbly danced golden oldies.

"Danse Russe," my second opera, is done. Here's how it feels to finish the hat.


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Today's entry: W.H. Auden on forgotten books.

Big change is created how?

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One way to enact big change is through little steps.
A consummate museum professional whose first interview with me, decades ago, was a struggle. Today, you'd never know.

Opera acting finale

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How stage actors learn to act -- and why that makes them better actors than opera singers are.


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Why opera -- despite the singing, despite the arias -- needs the same kind of acting as films or plays.
"Art, gym, music and library programs would be particularly hard hit, losing 15% of their teachers."
Under panel's recommendations, federal museums would be enmeshed in red tape whenever sensitive shows are contemplated. A lose-lose scenario.

Pat head, rub tummy

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It's best if the heavy, comic accents in the left-hand don't interfere with the folk simplicity of the right hand above
At Art Museums, It's Not Hard To Guess What Will Pull In Record-Breaking Crowds These Days
keep tripping over their feet

Progress Report

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In my Modern Jazz Quartet project, I'm roundin' third and headin' home. In the meantime, here they are on video

For the second time in two weeks, I've heard an unforgettable performance fortified by religious conviction.


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Today's entry: W.H. Auden on laughter and love.
Does it (should it) mean something different to be a 'leading arts institution' vs. a 'leading nonprofit arts institution'?
Houston Grand Opera premiered Adams' Nixon in China 24 years ago, now it's running at The Met with the composer conducting. The opera stands like bookends on my experience of contemporary American opera, and I can't help but compare HGO's recent production of Heggie's Dead Man Walking not only to Nixon, but to a more distant work like Debussy's Pelléas et Melisande.


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Examining the small decisions that ultimately shape and define our lives

Kafka Prize winner dies

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Arnost Lustig, 1926-2011

Lenny's sidekick is gone

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Farewell Jack Gottlieb

A Philadelphia Story

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Chagall Opens A Window On A Beehive -- La Ruche. The Way Museums Are Going Nowadays
in a world that seems to be trading humanity for commodity there is a far more significant reason to teach, encourage and nurture the arts
Only our colleges and universities can take on this challenge.

On Skiving Off

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There's nothing quite like experiencing an impromptu performance of Mozart's Requiem on a rainy afternoon when one should me meeting a deadline
'Sick' Hong Kong chief grabs new job
Money runs out, season shortened

Ron Hudson, Photographer

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Hudson had the gift of anticipating a crucial stage in the act of improvisation and releasing his shutter at precisely the right millisecond

Death of a maskanda master

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The Royal Opera House's 'Anna Nicole' trailer uses none of the opera's music. Are they not confident in it, or just good marketers?
Orlando Shakespeare's "Pride and Prejudice" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" reviewed.


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Today's entry: Samuel Johnson on the uses of travel.
Amid warehouses, gritty streets, a sewage canal, new music & performance arts survive
"What do you think we should cut? Art, music, books...?"

Not acting

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Most opera singers really can't act -- another gap between classical music and the rest of our culture.
Journalists are used to getting the cold shoulder from celebrity PR reps. But the artists that work with those celebrities shouldn't get the same treatment. None of us should, frankly.
At last, an independent third-party assessment of Egyptian archaeological sites. But some areas were off-limits to Blue Shield.

Too Many Renoirs

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The Clark Deaccessions An Early Impressionist Painting Of Monet's First Wife. Price Tag: $15 Million

VW alert

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Closeted With The MJQ

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I am embedded with the Modern Jazz Quartet. It's a pleasure. The video shows why.

Battle Of The Sexes

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When People View An Artwork, Sans Label, Can They Tell Which Gender Made It? A "Participatory" Exhibition
Here's my weekly theater guide.


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Today's entry: William Hazlitt on travel.

The art of not listening

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Imagining myself back in 1817, gossiping with a friend while we watched Rossini's Armida.
Is online content like advertising, where you see a message at least seven times before it really registers?


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This week's video: Ernie Kovacs' "Eugene," originally telecast in 1961.


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Today's entry: Daniel J. Boorstin on travelers and tourists.
Why I think Jane Moss' White Light and Tully Scope festivals are awesome.

Where's The Link?

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Arts Education, Psychology Today Study And The NEA: It's Tenuous At Best

Art & Age

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Why do audiences for classical and contemporary dance generally skew younger than audiences for classical and contemporary music?
I usually write about arts education failing to find its footing in the larger world of public K-12 education. This time it's different
Could University of Iowa's victory in keeping its Pollock help spark a deaccession revolution? Randolph College, Brandeis: Please copy.

A sticky proposition

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Classics for your key-chain
A masterclass from Deutsche Grammophon
Here's the text of the new aria that Paul Moravec and I are writing for "Danse Russe."


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Today's entry: G.K. Chesterton on catching trains.
Non-profit arts sector has begun to rethink culture in a broad way

Eye On The Middle East

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It's Not Just Egypt: Tunisia's Ex-First Lady Helped Herself To Antiquities From The Bardo -- And Elsewhere
University of Iowa's great Pollock "Mural" is no longer in jeopardy of being sold (for now). Wrongheaded legislator backs off.
Now you can! The less intrepid can remain home and view this video of the reopened museum and historic sites.

Faith in Fables

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On a well-balanced new collaboration between a professional dance company and a children's chorus

Garbo's press officer dies

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L.A. gives Fleischmann the walk of fame
Why last week mattered to us

I left secure in the knowledge that John Adams' opera had aged gracefully -- and that I, gracefully or not, had aged with it.

A preview of coming Teachout-related attractions in Palm Beach and Winter Park.


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Today's entry: Robert Louis Stevenson on travel.
Are 'so-called' leaders giving the arts and culture sector a bad rap?
The van Otterloos Reveal Where They May Give Their Collection, But It's Not Over Yet

Who'd be a cellist?

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Here we go again, this time vs. The New York Times Book Review. You decide.
Read AAM's forceful statement. Museum's former interim director expects effort to get AG to prevent sale. Student demonstration on Thursday.

The Real Backstory

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Van Otterloo Collection Goes On View: Soon, See What I've Seen And, Now, Hear What I've Heard
It's not just Fiscal 2012 budget reductions that we need to anticipate. The House approved NEA decrease for THIS year.

Milton Rogovin Slideshow

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Embedded a fine slideshow of the late photographer's work. (Annoying voice? Press Mute.)
...more than 16 percent cut to the Education Department...including scrapping more than a dozen K-12 programs and slicing others once considered untouchable

Vienna pulls a long face

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and floods of crocodile tears

Winter Moon

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Hoagy Carmichael captured the mood the winter moon generates. Before he sings, Art Pepper has a chorus.

A singular Dvorak assembly at two semi-rural elementary schools demonstrates the potency of an agency little known or understood by the public at large.

"The Diary of a Madman" and "Shhhh!" reviewed.

Good and popular

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My new "Sightings" column is a tribute to George Shearing.


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Today's entry: E.B. White on enemies.

The Cart Stops Here

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The Nelson-Atkins Museum Gets Into The Transportation Business; Everything's Up To Date There

Mind the Gap

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What is the Digital Divide? Depends on who you ask.

Get Lost

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Messing with the fourth wall online.
A Fantasy Program contest for all of you who think you can do a better job than your local orchestra, and an 8-year-old who took on The New York Times

This Just In

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Barnes' Friend Go Back To Court: Petition Filed Today With "New Evidence"

Going for a thong

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My night with Anna Nicole
It's hard for art to NOT be political.

Merit vs. math

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Forget the "culture wars," this is the repeal of the New Deal.

Say Again?

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It's hard to believe, but some people want to know how to become a copy editor.

A Letter to Tim

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My congressman wants to cut the National Endowment for the Arts
Battle with Egypt over Ka-nefer-nefer intensifies. Museum seeks court finding of due diligence, expiration of statute of limitations.
Long after archaeologists contradicted official statements that Saqqara was not looted, an acknowledgement that it was. Important limestone statue returns.
Here's my weekly theater guide.


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Today's entry: E.B. White on living in the moment.
Monetizing art to diminish deficits may gain more traction in 2011. CultureGrrl obtains Peggy Guggenheim's letters expressing donor intent.

Art In A Cold Climate

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At 64 Degrees N, Plus, A New Museum Will Soon Go Up; Stress The Word "National," I Hope

Eating Opaque

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The theatrical experience of dining in the dark
No Jazz Masters, folk fellowships or Opera honors -- NEA Awards for ALL performing artists
His explanations for some of many contradictions between his previous reports and actual facts. Addressing protesters' demands..
Which reminds me of a blogpost -- HIT BY A CURVEBALL -- published way back on July 11, 2004.
Now you can. Citation calls Johns' work "patriotic." Kirk Varnedoe described "Flags" as "suffused with irony." Eyes of the beholder.
the more arts and crafts a person masters, the greater their probability of becoming an inventor or innovator.


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This week's video: Arturo Toscanini conducts the "Tristan" Prelude and Liebestod.


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Today's entry: E.B. White on the meaning of life.

The Art of the Switch

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My mind thinks it already knows what this show is going to sound like, and I know for a fact that it is wrong.
Cutting 21 mil, the NEA's FY-12 Budget Request lumps all performing artists into one bag
The NEA FY-12 Budget Request lumps all performing artists into one bag for awards
Gov. Rendell's Gone -- And With Him Funding? State Officials Ask New Gov For Review
A small survey of its recent, robust manifestations

Detroit priorities

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The Detroit Symphony should make rebuilding Detroit its top priority.
There are ways to support culture without creating more cultural institutions.
Another misleading statement: Says three of eight stolen objects were found. Actually, it's three of 18. Museum may reopen tomorrow?
The end of an epoch in opera
Steven Siegel's 75-foot wallpiece at Marlborough Chelsea may be a game-changer.

George Shearing, 1919-2011

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His quintet became one of the most recognizable sounds in an era when jazz was still at the core of popular music.
NEA, NEH Lose In Obama's Budget, Yes, But This Venture Holds Promise Counteracting Future Cuts

O tempora, o mores!

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Composer William Schuman appears as a mystery guest on "What's My Line?"


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Today's entry: E.B. White on man and nature.
Obama's cultural spending recommendations---down 13% for NEA, NEH; elimination of SAT, PA. Republicans may try to cut deeper.
Esperanza Spalding, bassist/singer, out-polled Justin Bieber; someone's listening

George Shearing, R.I.P.

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The great jazz pianist is dead at ninety-one.

Written in fire

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Tony Woodcock, president of the New England Conservatory, says some searing things about how badly classical music needs to change.
A few guys and some microphones launch into an on-demand new music talk radio(-ish) venture.
Photo of demonstrators, various interpretations: Is it protest for jobs and wages, or part of regime change? New AP report.

Texts for the Memory

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The repurposing of material in old music makes tougher work for the modern memory player
A great combination: informative, engaging, and artful--all directed towards a critically important issue in public education.

The Pittsburgh Symphony's Manfred Honeck singularly combines Germanic tradition, intense interpretive detail, and a human face.

Julius Block's amazing cylinder recordings document a lost art of Russian virtuosity.

Going Latin In Ohio

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The Wexner Center Wins Four-Year Mellon Grant For Multidisciplinary Programs With Brazilian Artists

I leave it to you to decide if that first, primal memory could be true

Lashed to the mast

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A little taste of the fourth chapter of my Duke Ellington biography.


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Today's entry: E.B. White on humor.
Continued reflections on the #supplydemand discussion
Highly important missing object is limestone statue of Akhenaten, which belies Zahi Hawass' previous assumption that thieves sought only gold.

I Love You Verdi Much

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...and other classical music PR valentines.
The Amon Carter Museum Marks Its Fiftieth Birthday: Luckily For Fort Worth
On momentous day, antiquities minister provides new details contradicting his previous assurances of objects' "safety." Minimizing problems undermines minister's credibility.

Rigorous and noble soul

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About Blanche Moyse, whose music was a high point of my life.
One of the school board members said: "...they can learn in church..."
The two leading professional associations for museums combine clout and strike quickly: Sale would violate a "fundamental ethical principle."

Ack Värmeland, Du Sköna

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It's likely that you know it as "Dear Old Stockholm." Miles Davis did not write it.
...the very first time that I've encountered ELA and Math standards allowed as a replacement for state arts learning standards that are still in effect.
What A "Vice President For User Experience" Has To Say About His Work
"A Moon for the Misbegotten" reviewed in Philadelphia.
Why I didn't review "Spider-Man" this week.


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Today's entry: Wilfrid Sheed on small talents.
Not again! State legislators ogle seminal "Mural" as a cash cow. University museum director Sean O'Harrow's opposing view.

1920s footnotes

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More curious facts about the Met Opera, very long ago.
"Important? Absolutely! In fact I wrote an entire paper for my Argument Class on the subject that might be interesting for ya'll"
Samuel Johnson, George Orwell, John Stewart Mill, Elizabeth Bowen, Lewis Thomas and Tom Lehrer enlighten us
Link from CultureGrrl to ICOM's rundown (which went offline) of Egypt's antiquities situation. Dutch archaeologist described Saqqara's "total anarchy."
Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ebony Hillbillies subvert blackface-redneck minstrel stereotypes
Is What The Houston Grand Opera Is Doing Relevant To All Arts Institutions?
Here's my weekly theater guide.
See Louis Armstrong and Rex Harrison sing Cole Porter. (Really. No fooling.)


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Today's entry: Wilfrid Sheed on perfectionism.

Giving it away

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With free samples and money back guarantees, why do we expect people to pay for music they haven't heard?

Long, long ago

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Do children's voices enhance Porter's slightly racy material today? Or do they prompt feelings of disquiet?
...How many more math and science graduates does the US need?
A.R. Gurney's "Black Tie" reviewed.


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This week's video: an extremely rare 1957 kinescope of the TV version of "Vic and Sade."


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Today's entry: Wilfrid Sheed on the revolutionary mindset.
Further Observations About Attribution, Its Past And Its Future -- Even Beyond Museums
Listen to Giuseppe Valdengo, romping his way in 1950 through part of a live performance of "Largo al factotum."
Someone, somewhere in education reform, is working on a rubric to determine genius...
Alwyn O'Brien, Abigail Reynolds, Victoria Haven, Adam Ekberg, Carolina Silva
Return no objects until stability returns. Then "continue to address cultural patrimony issues," University of Pennsylvania's repatriation advocates argue.


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Today's entry: Wilfrid Sheed on sanity.
Ever Heard Of The Schorr Collection? You Will, If The Advance Billing Is Accurate
Impressions of a weekend well-spent by the Bay

Catch me if you can

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A force for American popular song dies at age 58 in clash of two- and four wheelers
When Chomsky, Nader, Greenwald and other leftwing critics call him a disgrace, are they just the mutterings of ideologues?

Non-classical Barber

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A 1950 Met performance of the Barber of Seville isn't classical music. But too bad they don't sing better!
An alternative to copyright, the Creative Commons spells out more clearly rights for use
Who's Who In Attribution Research And What Else Can Be Done At Museums To Use It
A new piece of vocal chamber music about a crunchy snack food.

The double nickel

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Yeah, O.K., it's my birthday. Here's what I think about it.


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Today's entry: Wilfrid Sheed on the loneliness of writers.
Talking about Carlos Kleiber
Denver Art Museum Makes Its Native American Galleries "Artist-Centric" -- A Model

Mathis Mania

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Too much gushing at an event in San Francisco honoring Johnny Mathis
Police Seize 30 Art Works From Wildenstein Institute, As Heir To Collector Alleges Theft
Eyewitness account from member of French expedition at Saqqara (now back home) belies Zahi Hawass' claim that monuments were undamaged.
The "butts in the seats" rationale for arts education is quite paradoxical. In essence it tends to commoditize children.
Reports keep coming about possible damage to sites Hawass calls "safe." Egyptologist warns that repeating unverified rumors is a "disservice."
A Sampling 101 crash course
Bernstein's Mahler 9 goes online
John McNeil maintains his career through the onslaught of a disease that has the potential to disable him
Of all the grants made for arts education by the NEA, a total of seven had music composition as an essential element.

The saddest story

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Classic Stage Company's "Three Sisters" reviewed.

Neither does he spin

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Ever read a really good comic novel about...a drama critic? Believe it or not, such a thing exists.


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Today's entry: C.S. Lewis on love and vulnerability.
New Yorker's profiler of Egypt's antiquities chief predicts Hawass will stay, even when Mubarak goes. Crisis update on antiquities.
Why Talk About Old-Fashioned Podcasts? Detroit Institute's Series On Fakes And Mysteries
Edinburgh Fest renews its director
Here's my weekly theater guide.


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Today's entry: C.S. Lewis on the demonic potential of bureaucracy.

Agent Provocateur

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Provoking theatre audiences with un-politically-correct dialogue is easy, especially when it comes to race issues
Ballet is in this season.
Baker's Keyboard Lounge won't become a dollar store, after all
Al Jazeera and CNN report flames from lobbed fire bombs. View CNN's video outside the museum. Hawass as unreliable source.

What Color Is That?

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A Sneak Preview of Carlos Cruz-Diez Exhibition Proves Revealing. Where Will It Travel Next?
Everyone working with kids and arts should give this a look-see...

Where's Pappano going?

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... being chased by dachshunds on heat

Mahler comes to Wales

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Audio podcast of my exchange with "Hide/Seek" co-curator on the "chilling effect" question. NPG's own video of visitor reactions.

Striding Ahead With Monk

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Did stride piano go modern? Pay attention to Thelonious Monk's left hand.


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This week's video: Joseph Szigeti plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto.


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Today's entry: C.S. Lewis on benevolence and irritation.
What does your community of readers need and want from reviews?

Show Biz

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Stroman's Broadway know-how falls flat on New York City Ballet's stage

Corrections, Please

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Turns Out, Wojnarowicz's Former Partner Says, Everyone Is Making Mistakes About The NPG Affair

Screaming for other divas

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More evidence that classical music used to have a young audience.
When it comes to musicians' exploring new musical terrain, "crossroads" are better than "crossovers"

What if?

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What if our classical music is more varied, confusing, and disorderly than we make it sound?

The fewer, the thinner

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Mutter and Grimaud go on the road

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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March 2011 is the next archive.

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