“More than 200 Peking Opera performers, musicians and artisans live in the New York metropolitan area, according to officials at several local cultural organizations. Like Mr. Fang, the vast majority trained and performed in China. And also like him, they now labor in virtual anonymity—many in nail salons.”
Responding to the players’ complaints that Woodruff’s negotiators have been wasting time because they had neither a ready proposal nor authority from the board to reach an agreement, the Woodruff team’s leader said, “In the words of the mediators, it was time to put some of the shared ideas ‘on paper’. This was precisely what [the musicians] had asked us to do – make new proposals to show our good faith.”
“Yet after only two days of participating in the mediated negotiation process (October 7-8), the WAC’S representatives … left the table to await further guidance and instruction from the WAC Governing Board [and have not returned] … Clearly, once again, they arrived at the table with neither proposals nor the ability to authorize a deal.”
“Before Cuba’s 1959 revolution, many students played violins, violas, cellos and bass from European workshops. After it, the Soviet Union provided violins and cellos, along with many other goods. Now, as Cuba struggles to revive its stagnant centrally planned economy, students must make do with violins from China that too easily pop strings and lose their tone.”
“It isn’t every day that a street criminal – a high-school dropout with two felony convictions – is accused of stealing a centuries-old violin worth as much as $6 million. But nothing about the heist of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which galvanized the music world last winter, was normal, or even logical.”
Says the composer, now artistic director of the reborn company: “I would like to do a range of repertoire from Monteverdi to the present day. … American repertoire is extremely important. We’re living in a golden age of American opera. There’s a tremendous amount of opera being written today. … [I'd like] to get to the point where we can commission a new opera [every year].”
“To the anger of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, a group established in 1985 which moved from strumming in folk clubs to packing out the Royal Albert Hall with unlikely cover versions of songs such as Wuthering Heights and Smells Like Teen Spirit, the similarly named UK Ukulele Orchestra will perform its first UK show at Lincoln’s Theatre Royal on Wednesday.”
A member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly has said that, in just a few more weeks, the orchestra “will not have enough income to meet their outgoings. It’s a very bleak picture for them.” The province’s arts minister acknowledged that the ensemble’s finances have gone “from scary to scarier”.
Last week the West Australian Opera revealed that it had removed the Bizet opera from its repertory because a sponsorship deal with a state-funded health organization forbids staging performances which “glamourise” smoking. After several days of worldwide scorn, Western Australia’s deputy premier has stepped in to snuff out the controversy.
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood: “It’s all about trying to play classical music in slightly different venues with a slightly less uptight atmosphere than is usually found in concerts. People are standing, it’s dark, there’s a bar and we set up on the stage and play whatever music we are particularly enjoying at the moment, so we decided the set-list just before we play.”
“Violins fell into four families, each represented by an archetype designed by an actual human family—Maggini, Amati, Stainer, and, of course, Stradivari, whose violins were slightly more bass-like in shape. What’s more, other violins became more like these four over time, and especially more like Strads.”
The past month has been a messy one at the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France: the artistic director was forced out; incoming music director Mikko Franck threatened to cancel his appearances this season; the musicians called a strike and cancelled a concert last Friday and were about to do it again this Friday – all of this over a plan to merge the management of the OPRF with that of the radio network’s other orchestra, the Orchestre National de France. (The widely-shared fear is that there would eventually be a full merger of the bands, with accompanying job losses.) For now, at least, the powers-that-be have calmed everyone down. (in French)