Music

How Brass Bands Have Shaped The Culture Of New Orleans

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“Musically, these bands helped shape and were in turn influenced by jazz’s development through the early decades of the 20th century. Brass-band tradition has evolved in the decades since to embrace other styles, such as funk, R&B and hip-hop, irritating purists while enticing new fans. Still, the form’s communal function has never waned.”

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Met Opera Pledges Yet More Art As Collateral For Loans

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“The nonprofit secured the credit line with two sculptures by the late French artist Aristide Maillol displayed at the opera house, including the 62-inch bronze L’Eté (Summer) and the 69-inch Venus Without Arms … The Met had already pledged a pair of Marc Chagall murals to Bank of America before the credit line came up for renewal in August.”

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Fancy Feast For The Ears: Music Written Especially For Cats

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“New research shows that cats do enjoy music; just not the stuff humans tend to pick. A team of psychologists at the University of Wisconsin created custom music designed to appeal to cats by mixing beats that fall into the same frequency range that cats use to communicate with one another. The songs also have a tempo similar to the beat that cats purr to.” (includes sound clips)

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The Sad, Sorry Story Behind The Fraudster “Japanese Beethoven”

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“The irony is that Mamoru Samuragochi didn’t have to lie. His story was compelling without embellishment. He was the child of Hiroshima survivors; he did have hearing problems; his brother did die young. If he and Niigaki had simply billed themselves as a team, they might have still shared fortune and fame. Instead, Samuragochi cultivated the image of a solitary genius.”

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ASCAP Pulled In More Than $1 Billion In 2014

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“ASCAP, the music licensing agency, is in one sense fighting for its survival, seeking to change decades-old rules to fit the economics of online music. In another, it is finding ways to distribute more money than ever to its thousands of songwriters. … [Last year was] the first time that ASCAP or any organization like it has raised so much.”

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Here’s A Provocative Essay About Reasons For Decline Of Classical Music

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“To gain a proper and complete understanding of what we call “classical” music is to appreciate that it was all written within the context of societies which were predominantly Christian in nature, and where celebrations of traditional national attributes were not seen as old-fashioned or backward-looking as they often are today.”

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Have We Just Found The Next Terrific Woman Conductor?

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Mark Swed: “Word was out. The hall sold out. Presenters from Chicago, New York and elsewhere came to check her out. Managers who didn’t were simply not paying attention. The debut was a preview. Mirga mania can now officially begin.” (What’s more, “[she] was the third exceptional woman to conduct the L.A. Phil in a week.”)

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Concertgoers Start Yelling At Each Other Over When (Not) To Applaud

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“The moment of shame came as the Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the world’s best orchestras, opened the 43rd Hong Kong Arts Festival with a performance of Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen. … But just as the 20-minute masterpiece faded out into intense C minor chords, an audience member began to clap.” And then – well, not all hell, but some hell broke loose.

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James Conlon Stepping Down From May Festival After 2016 Season

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“After Conlon leads the ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus for the last time in 2016 – his 37th season – Music Hall is expected to close its doors for about 18 months to undergo a massive renovation. The festival will be displaced for at least a year. Conlon said that the uncertainty of the revitalization plans factored into his decision.”

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Memphis Symphony To Lose Music Director Mei-Ann Chen After Next Season

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“Roland Valliere, MSO’s president and CEO, said it was no surprise. … Her decision comes at a time when the orchestra has been struggling financially. The MSO announced in January of last year that it was deep fiscal trouble, and it cut staff and expenses to survive the 2013-14 season. It drastically reduced offerings for this season, and musicians took a 38 percent pay cut.”

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Opera House Boss Resigns After 53 Days On The Job

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Ye-jin (Regina) Han, a 44-year-old soprano, faced opposition from the day she was appointed general director of the Korean National Opera: local organizations argued that she lacked the experience and qualifications to lead the country’s flagship company. Han’s departure comes two months after the CEO of the Seoul Philharmonic was forced to resign following the open rebellion of her staff.

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Toronto’s Massey Hall Begins $135M Renovation

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“For all its past glories, the hall has a shopworn feel, with those odd reclining seats and scuffed brass railings. The goal of the expensive facelift, paid for largely by corporate and government cash, is to do some sprucing up without sanding away the antique beauty of the place.”

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“Amadeus” The Movie At 30 – And Everything It Got Wrong About Mozart And Salieri

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BBC Radio 3 presenter Clemency Burton-Hill reviews the liberties writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman took with the historical record (and the device they used to get away with it) – and nevertheless finds that Amadeus is “arguably the finest movie ever made about the process of artistic creation and the unbridgeable gap between human genius and mediocrity.” (text-only)

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John Luther Adams: Making Music In A Time Of Crisis

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“Today a growing number of geologists believe we have left the Holocene and entered a new period—the Anthropocene—in which the dominant geologic force is humanity itself. What does this mean for music? What does it mean for my work as a composer, or for any artist working in any medium today?”

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