Music

Why Do Jazz Fans Have No Sense Of Humor?

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“Jazz already has an unfair reputation for being unapproachable, difficult, and humorless: See Keith Jarrett cursing out festival attendees for snapping photos, or Gary Peacock shooing Elvis Costello offstage in disgust. But if jazz has a humor problem, it’s mostly afflicting fans and critics, not practitioners.”

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San Francisco Opera Signs Contract With Orchestra – And No Acrimony!

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“With a minimum of strife or public posturing, members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra have ratified a new contract with the company that provides the musicians with annual raises of 3 percent a year for the next four years … [and] changes to the musicians’ health coverage that are expected to save the company $300,000 to $400,000 annually.”

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Qatar Philharmonic Music Director Han-Na Chang Quits Mid-Tour

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“The musical director who took Qatar’s fledgling orchestra to the BBC Proms has quit, less than 24 hours after its triumphant debut at the festival in London. The shock departure of Han-Na Chang, the star cellist hired a year ago to transform the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra into a world-class ensemble, came amid reports of clashes with its management.”

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Why Did U2 Give Away Its New Album At The Apple Unveiling? (A Comment On The State Of The Music Business)

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“U2 surprise-release of their new album – for free – last night for iTunes’ 500 million customers globally could be read as a band was no longer certain of their place in the paid music market and so chose to hide behind a marketing gimmick of faux benevolence. But, more realistically, it could also mark the last gasp of a major act using iTunes downloads as the main way to get their music to a mass audience.”

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What’s Behind The Explosion Of Music Prodigies?

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“For some, age has become a downwards race. “It’s a worrisome trend because it highlights early achievement rather than substance and artistry. I see 16-year-olds who are lamenting the fact that they haven’t performed at Carnegie Hall yet.”

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Why The Chicago Symphony Chose Jeff Alexander As Its New Leader

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“Alexander may seem a low-profile long-shot for those who were handicapping the outcome of the search for one of the top arts executive positions worldwide. But as a closer look at the secret and highly selective search process reveals, Alexander scored high with regard to two attributes deemed paramount: the potential for a simpatico relationship with a brilliant maestro who required passion and knowledge of music first, and a proven track record as the No. 1 decision-maker at a symphony orchestra.”

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Dallas’s Concert Hall Turns 25 (Still Innovative?)

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“The trend in newer performing-arts facilities has been to make them more open, more populist, even more playful, as with Frank Gehry’s buildings. I’ll get myself into trouble for saying this, but the Meyerson is an unashamedly elitist building, in both good and bad ways.”

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Columbus Symphony Names New Music Director: Rossen Milanov

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The 49-year-old Bulgarian native, currently music director of New Jersey’s Princeton Symphony and Camden-based Symphony in C and a former associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, begins his initial four-year term next fall. He replaces Jean-Marie Zeitouni, “whose contract was not renewed last year by mutual agreement.”

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Robert Spano Pleads For Musicians In Letter To Atlanta Symphony

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“Mr. Spano took a step that music directors rarely take, and weighed in on the negotiations. He and Donald Runnicles, the orchestra’s principal guest conductor, wrote a letter in which they said, ‘We ask the board and management to acknowledge the sacrifice the musicians have already made, and to examine other ways and areas to establish sustainability.'”

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What Motivates Street Performers When Everything Seems Set Against Them

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“Though he has a license from the city, he’s received tickets for using public property for storage after putting down his spare clarinet on a sidewalk while he played, and for ‘super noise’ while playing his clarinet without an amp on Michigan Avenue. On multiple occasions he has been to court, where judges throw out the case every time.”

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Chicago Symphony’s New President Has Big Shoes To Fill

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“Once [Jeff] Alexander takes command, he will have his work cut out for him.” Deborah Rutter really is a tough act to follow. But, writes John von Rhein, though Alexander hasn’t (yet) been as high-profile as, say, Rutter or Deborah Borda or Alison Vulgamore, he has plenty of experience that will stand him in good stead.

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Why Has The BBC Been Editing New Music Out Of Its Proms Broadcasts?

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Prominent figures from the classical music world have united to condemn the excision of new music from the televised Proms. Susanna Eastburn, the chief executive of Sound and Music, the national agency for new music, said it was “a policy-by-implication which assumes that audiences won’t like new music, and that it’s not valued by the BBC”.

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Icelanders, Laplanders, Turks, Oh My! Excellent Orchestras In Unexpected Places

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David Patrick Stearns: “Symphony orchestras draw great cachet from their geographical homes: Any group with Vienna, Berlin, or Amsterdam in its name is going to command immediate attention from audiences … So can an orchestra from Turkey, Iceland, or Lapland hope to be noticed at the world’s busiest orchestra festival, [the BBC Proms]? Actually, it can.”

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How Heiner Goebbels Got Harry Partch’s Insane Magnum Opus Onto The Stage

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“Partch’s masterpiece is the bizarre 1960s music drama Delusion of the Fury. It is outlandish and magnificent and … if it is hardly ever staged that’s because it can’t be: it requires its very own orchestra of hand-built instruments, each one specially invented by Partch to play his unique microtonal music.” But Goebbels – who has created a few insane music-theater spectacles of his own in his day – pulled it off.

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