Music

Chicago Symphony Exec Named New Director Of San Diego Symphony

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“Martha Gilmer’s role has been large. In addition to working with the music directors, their ideas and complex personalities and overseeing all programming, she worked with and enlisted guest conductors and guest artists and created new ongoing programs to move the organization into the 21st century.”

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Met Opera Unions Agree To Federal Mediator

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“The acceptance of a mediator was announced Thursday morning at a caucus of the negotiating committee of the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing the company’s chorus, stage directors, soloists and others.”

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Newport Jazz At 60 – Grandad To The Modern Festival

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“For the past 60 years, no institution has done more to help establish jazz as a legitimate art form than Newport and the notion of the jazz festival that Mr. Wein created. Where jazz once rubbed shoulders with pop stars like Frank Sinatra, it now competes for government and corporate funding with opera and chamber music.”

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Why The Vienna Philharmonic Sounds Different From Other Orchestras

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“The “Vienna sound” has been the subject of reams of music criticism, academic research, acoustical experiments and more than a little debate. Not everyone agrees on precisely what it is — it is sometimes described as plush, warm and rich or sumptuous — but many listeners say that they know it when they hear it.”

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Met Opera Proposes Federal Mediator For Last-Minute Labor Talks

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“With time running out before a lockout of its workers threatened for later this week, the Metropolitan Opera proposed on Wednesday that federal mediators be brought in at the 11th hour to facilitate negotiations with several of the company’s unions. But it was unclear if the unions would agree to a mediator, or if there was enough time left to forge a deal.” (includes video)

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Rome’s Opera House Avoids Liquidation (For Now) With Labor Deal

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“A tentative agreement has been reached between management and unions representing the staff of Rome’s Opera House, following recent strikes over the theatre’s restructuring and salvage plan. The threat of liquidation which had been hanging over the Opera House has been averted, pending an upcoming referendum by unions on the terms of the restructuring programme.”

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The Met Opera: Caught Between Competing Realities

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“Whether our current opera house model will survive will depend, I believe, on how successfully opera houses attract new artists to create work that speaks as eloquently to the traditions as to present-day audiences.” It’s an open question, however, whether the Met can do so. It certainly cannot while the stage door is padlocked.”

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UK Reverses Ban On Guitars In Prisons

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“A ban on steel-string guitars in prison cells in England and Wales has been reversed after a campaign by rock stars including Billy Bragg and Johnny Marr. Prisoners had been unable to play the instruments outside supervised sessions since rules were changed last November.”

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A Live Opera Webcast Via Google Glass – From, Of All Places, Sardinia

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“On Wednesday, selected singers, orchestra members and various technicians” at Cagliari’s Teatro Lirico (a high-tech hotbed, in fact) will perform Puccini’s Turandot “wearing Google Glass to transmit the opera live from their individual points of view to audiences online. … Live links through the opera’s website, Facebook, and other social media will allow at-home opera aficionados to enjoy – and interact with – the company.”

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On The Sad Sad Mess That The Metropolitan Opera Has Gotten Itself In To

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“Of course the lockout will be toxic, as we learned from the Minnesota Orchestra and from the last Met lockout, in 1980. Subscribers flee, musicians flee, and the art suffers too. Whatever happens, a lockout will mean bitterness between the workers and Gelb. It will mean a division among the subscribers and donors, and worse, it will mean that other institutions may follow the Met’s hardline example. In other words, something rotten will spread beyond Denmark.”

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Are Major Recording Companies About To Sell Out Their Artists?

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“Sony, Universal and Warner — the “big three” record labels, which control 89% of global music sales — are nearing a deal with SoundCloud, the popular Berlin-based music site that since 2007 has allowed its 250 million monthly users to upload and stream music. The deal would grant SoundCloud licenses to play big three-copyrighted music (and “avoid legal trouble”) in exchange for a 3-5% stake for each company in SoundCloud’s estimated $500-600 million net worth (plus a chunk of future revenues). That’s $15-30 million per record label to not sue SoundCloud. The kicker? The musicians might not see a dime of it.”

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One Big Problem With Met Opera Contract Talks: All The Different Unions

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Management is negotiating with 15 unions, “representing the orchestra, chorus, stage crews, hair and makeup stylists, costumers, scenic artists, cleaners, ticket takers, ushers, security guards and others. Some unions are beginning to eye one another warily, because any agreement made with one of the bigger groups is likely to set a pattern for the others.”

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Enough Is Enough: US Senator Pushes For Law Allowing Musicians To Bring Instruments On Airplanes

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“In a letter sent Friday, the Rhode Island Democrat urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to speed implementation of a 2012 law that requires commercial air carriers to allow musical instruments as carry-on items as long as they can be safely stowed in the aircraft cabin. But Reed said the law has not taken effect because the Department of Transportation has yet to adopt the specific rules needed for the provision.”

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Time For A New Leader At The Metropolitan Opera?

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“What’s clear is that something needs to give and, after nearly thirty-five years of labor-management harmony, it’s apparent that the Met’s problems start at the top. The cleanest solution would be to appoint a new GM, preferably someone, unlike Gelb, with an actual background in opera, who unequivocally believes in the vibrant future of the art form, and who can work creatively within a budget.”

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PayPal Forces Buyer To Destroy Violin

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“Rather than have the violin returned to me, PayPal made the buyer DESTROY the violin in order to get his money back. They somehow deemed the violin as “counterfeit” even though there is no such thing in the violin world.”

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Subbing In At The Last Minute For A Broadway Musician? No Problem

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“As recently as the late 1980s, playing in a Broadway musical was not considered the most desirable gig for a musician. Most professionals sought better-paying work in jingles and recording sessions. But as that work dried up, due in part to samplers and digital-audio software, the ace musicians gravitated toward theaters near Times Square.”

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Denver Seriously Considers Tearing Down Its Concert Hall

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“The CSO is set to move out — temporarily — at the end of the 2014-15 concert season to accommodate a planned $17 million upgrade of the facility. It had hoped to return a year later. But, according to e-mails between the CSO and the Arts & Venues department, the plan may be changing.”

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British Government Backs Down On Cuts To Music Education

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“This is undoubtedly good news. That extra £17 million (the government says £18 million, but no-one quite understands their arithmetic), means the total amount spread around the music hubs will rise to £75 million. This will reverse the decline of recent years, which has been steep.”

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Saving Canada’s Most Iconic Record-Store Sign

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“Since selling its final CD in 2007, Torontonians have been waiting to find out what would happen to the flashing neon discs that used to lure them into Sam the Record Man’s flagship store for nearly 40 years. … City officials were able to finally secure the storefront’s fate earlier this month – on top of a mid-rise tower one block away.”

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