Music

Russia Fires Opera Director Who Put On Wagner And Pissed Off The Church

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“Russia’s culture minister on Sunday fired the director of a Siberian theater whose modern staging of Wagner’s opera ‘Tannhauser’ offended the powerful Russian Orthodox Church. … ‘Orthodox Christianity is the foundation of the great Russian culture,’ said one of the signs held by the protesters in Novosibirsk.”

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Six Seconds In The Studio That Influenced 1500 Songs

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“Spencer retired from music more than 40 years ago and is now a novelist living in North Carolina. Although he was angry when he first heard the Amen break was being sampled, he now feels more at peace with it.”

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LA Philharmonic Extends Dudamel’s Contract For Three Years

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“The extension means that Dudamel, who’s also music director of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in his home country of Venezuela, will lead the Phil for at least 13 seasons. The orchestra did not disclose financial terms; Dudamel earned $1.44 million in 2012, according to the Phil’s most recent public tax filing.”

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Used Records Are Fueling A Vinyl Resurgence

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“It’s what fuelled the beginning of the comeback, as not many classic albums were available on new pressings even five years ago. Even now that they are becoming available again, many new reissues of classic albums are quite costly or simply still haven’t even been reissued yet, so used vinyl fills the need.”

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In Contract Battle, Orchestra Moves To Replace Up To Two-Thirds Of Its Players

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“The KBS Symphony Orchestra moved to potentially replace 67 positions in its 100-strong orchestra on Monday, upping the ante against players in an intensifying labor dispute.” KBS, the state broadcaster of South Korea, spun off its orchestra in September 2012; many musicians, fearing for their job security, want to remain KBS employees and have been unwilling to sign contracts with the new management.

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Apple Moves To Compete Directly With Spotify

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“Almost a year after agreeing to pay $3 billion for Beats, the maker of hip headphones and a streaming music service, Apple is working with Beats engineers and executives to introduce its own subscription streaming service. The company is also planning an enhanced iTunes Radio that may be tailored to listeners in regional markets.”

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Last Week One Of Paris’s Top Orchestras Played To An Empty Hall

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When Radio France – in the middle of strikes, layoffs, financial troubles and general chaos – abruptly cancelled the Friday evening concert of the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio-France, they didn’t consult the musicians or conductor Myung-Whun Chung first. In protest, the furious orchestra went right over to the new Philharmonie de Paris (conveniently available that evening) and played its program to banks of empty seats – making headlines in the process. (in French)

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Video From Last Production Of Two Opera Singers On Downed Germanwings Flight

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“Two opera singers were among the victims of the Germanwings crash on Tuesday: the contralto Maria Radner and the baritone Oleg Bryjak. Both had been performing in Siegfried, the third opera in Wagner’s Ring cycle, at the Liceu opera house in Barcelona, Ms. Radner as the earth goddess Erda and Mr. Bryjak as the scheming dwarf Alberich.”

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Where Is The Dialogue Between Music Of North And South Americas?

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“we can no longer talk about Latin America as a single unit, given the lack of information that exists between its different countries. For example, in Chile, we are not informed about what is happening in Ecuador or in Colombia with respect to their musical life. Only occasionally do we pay attention to our neighbors in Argentina, and only because of their proximity. The important role Buenos Aires plays in the development of new music does not encourage us to seek them out. What happened?”

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How Philip Glass Changed American Music

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“Whatever the long-term prospects for Glass’s music may be, no one now doubts its historic significance. One reason musical modernism finally collapsed under its own weight in the 1970s was that Glass and his like-minded contemporaries refused to kowtow to the anti-tonal regime of the postwar avant-garde musical monopoly. As a result, there is no longer a “mainstream” classical-music style.”

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Time For Domingo To Retire, Says NY Times Chief Critic

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Anthony Tommasini, reviewing Verdi’s Ernani at the Met: “The time to stop will just come to [Domingo] when it’s right, he explained. ‘I think it will be one evening,’ he said, ‘after a performance, to say, ‘That’s it.’ It may be the moment for Mr. Domingo to heed his own words.”

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“The Jeff Koons Of The Pop World” And Its “Gloriously Tacky” Future

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Spencer Kornhaber on PC Music at SXSW: “Many of the grooves and hooks are undeniable – and listening to it, you realize just how unnecessary the big-budget production currently defining popular dance music might be, and how ridiculous the mist-machine drama and pained soul singing of the average zillion-selling Avicii record really is.” (Wait, that‘s not very Jeff Koons …)

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Creative Men, Growing Old(er)

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“For classical-music lovers, the movie is a treat, albeit a mixed one. It’s a source of exalted moments and a springboard for big ideas — but some of those moments and ideas evoke fractures in Bernstein’s world view and Hawke’s filmmaking.”

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The Seoul Philharmonic’s Tour Cancellation Might Have Come From Its Deep, Troubling Infighting

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“When the respected Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra announced this month that it was canceling its United States tour set for April, it cited fiscal woes. Left unsaid were the lurid allegations of sexual harassment and financial improprieties that have rocked the orchestra recently, culminating in a police raid of its offices.”

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Nashville Symphony Creates A “Composer Lab,” Names Aaron Jay Kernis To Head It

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“The program aims to discover the next generation of outstanding American composers by providing them with the opportunity to develop their talents, gain hands-on experience working with a major American orchestra, and showcase their work for local audiences. Coupled with the announcement is a nationwide call for submissions for its inaugural session.”

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A (Female) Bach Scholar Takes Down The Anna-Magdalena-Wrote-The-Cello-Suites Theory For Good

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Ruth Tatlow: “My decision to undertake this analysis of Written by Mrs Bach was not taken lightly. I had to weigh up the pain of writing critically about the well-meant research effort of an acquaintance, against the temporary relief but longer-term discomfort of remaining silent. I offer this analysis in the hope that it might help clarify some of the confusions and defuse some of the widely-felt frustrations.” (pdf)

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Why Are Non-Musicians Running Our Great Opera Houses?

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“Sure, some of them will have worked in opera houses for quite a while, learning the ropes on their way up the greasy pole. But I bet I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of opera directors who are musicians in any shape or form. I’ve certainly met very few who can actually read a score.”

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Eight Effective Ways To Practice Music

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“A group of researchers led by Robert Duke of The University of Texas at Austin conducted a study several years ago to see if they could tease out the specific practice behaviors that distinguish the best players and most effective learners.”

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