Music

Battle For The Soul Of Nashville Music

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The cluster of streets southwest of downtown Nashville has long been the spiritual and commercial center of the nation’s country music business — a concentration of record companies, small-time showbiz strivers and studios that Christine Kreyling, a local writer, once called “the Vatican City of country music.” But “If we let certain musical touchstones go, these centerpieces of collaboration between artists and engineers, then what’s left that makes Nashville’s music scene unique?”

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Les Arts Florissants Loses State Funding (But They’ll Adapt)

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The celebrated Baroque specialist ensemble “is losing the support it has received for 25 years for performing and teaching in Caen, where the city and regional French governments are cutting back.” But, says founder/director William Christie, the group is better situated to absorb the shock than many other French arts organizations.

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“The Airbnb Of Classical Music”

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“Groupmuse – started in 2012 and run by [Sam] Bodkin, Ezra Weller and Kyle Nichols-Schmolze – matches Groupmuse users looking to host a concert with willing musicians needing a venue to perform. Once a match is set up, other ‘Groupmusers’ are invited to attend, creating an event that’s part house concert, part party, part social platform.” (includes video)

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Does The Atlanta Symphony Lockout Have Its Roots In A Tragedy?

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“The symphony’s problems arguably go all the way back to 1962, when more than 100 of Atlanta’s leading arts patrons embarked on a museum tour of Europe. Heading home, their plane skidded off a runway in Paris and burst into flames. Atlanta’s then-Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. acknowledged that almost the entirety of his city’s ‘old money’ philanthropic class perished on that plane.”

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Vinyl’s Back! And So Are The Pressing Plants That Make Them (But They’re Getting Stressed Out)

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“Despite the increased public demand for vinyl records, spanning mass reissue campaigns of premium-quality vinyl by classic bands such as Pink Floyd to small seven-inch runs by local bands to sell at gigs, press operators say that profit margins are narrowing because of the increased costs involved in locating, refurbishing, installing, operating, and ultimately repairing machines that are no longer made but are pushed harder and faster than they were in their heyday.”

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Report: Music Sales Dropped Precipitously In First Half Of 2014

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“According the Recording Industry Association of America, which collects sales numbers from the major record companies, just under $3.2 billion in music sales was recorded in the first half of 2014. That is down 4.9 percent from the same period in 2013, the association reported on Thursday. But a closer look at the numbers shows how much music consumption patterns are changing.”

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What Andris Nelsons Brings To The Boston Symphony

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“Having been troubled by the ill health of its previous musical director, James Levine, the orchestra endured a long interregnum of guest conductors while a replacement was sought. The selection of the ebullient Mr Nelsons seems calculated to banish memories of that period.”

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Another Italian Opera House Loses Its Music Director: Luisotti Leaves Naples

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Nicola Luisotti, known in the U.S. as music director of San Francisco Opera, has resigned from the same post at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Unlike other recent departures, Luisotti’s statement was soft-spoken and cordial, saying only that his other commitments don’t permit him to stay on. Yet things are rarely so simple in Italian opera houses, and two other senior staff members have left recently as well. (in Italian)

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Vienna State Opera Boss Defends Himself Following Conductor Walkouts

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Early this month Franz Welser-Möst suddenly (but discreetly) quit as the house’s principal conductor; eleven days later, Bertrand de Billy angrily resigned, hurling accusations at the company’s Intendant, Dominique Meyer. Now Meyer is responding, saying, “We went into the summer season at peace. Now these allegations. I cannot understand where they’ve come from.”

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Maria Callas’s House In Athens To Become Opera School

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“Dubbed the Maria Callas Opera Academy, the project was a long-term goal of soprano Vasso Papantoniou and her husband, writer Vassilis Vassilikos. Yesterday at a gala concert, the artistic director of the Greek National Opera Myron Michailidis announced the organization would support the construction plans.”

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Prominent American Composers Weigh In On Atlanta Symphony Lockout

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“We write as a group of American composers in loud support of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its unique and important place in American concert music. We unanimously encourage those involved in its management, board and funders to do whatever necessary to keep this great orchestra vital and thriving. The ASO must not be allowed to degrade, piecemeal, into a second-class entity.”

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What Riccardo Muti’s Resignation From Rome Opera Says About The Current State Of Italian Culture

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In his resignation letter he declared that he was leaving “with great regret, and after long and tormented reflection”. Responding in a public statement, the theatre’s general manager Carlo Fuortes and the mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, said that Muti was “undoubtedly influenced” by “continual protests, internal conflicts and strikes that have lasted months”.

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Where Are Our Mormon Composers?

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“Until fairly recently, the Mormon composers who were known as such weren’t, frankly, all that known outside of Mormon circles. Conversely, those who were more well-known as composers weren’t readily identified with their native religion.”

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Atlanta Symphony Lockout: Robert Spano Speaks (More Carefully Than Runnicles)

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“Our brilliant and creative musicians, who need to be intimately involved in the creation of our path to the future, have been asked to leave the building – and Atlanta is left with a deafening silence. … If the 10th-largest urban economy in America is incapable of sustaining its cultural jewel, what does that signal about our country?”

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The Trouble With “The Death Of Klinghoffer” Isn’t Quite What You Think

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Justin Davidson: “I don’t believe that this imperfect opera denigrates Jews, incites hatred, endorses libels, or casts collective blame. It doesn’t glorify terrorists or justify their crimes. What it does do is embed a spasm of thuggish violence in a broad historical context, a job that Adams, librettist Alice Goodman, and the original production’s director and all-around inspiration man, Peter Sellars, have fumbled badly.”

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Nashville Symphony And Musicians Agree on Four-Year Contract (With Raises!)

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“The agreement, which goes into effect immediately, provides 3 percent pay increases for the first two years of the deal. The musicians may enter into a wage renegotiation for each of the last two years of the deal. Last year, with the Schermerhorn Symphony Center facing foreclosure, the musicians took a 15 percent pay reduction and worked on a one-year deal.”

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While People Make Viola Jokes

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“In truth, there are jokes about every instrument in the orchestra, and about the perceived personality of an average operator of that instrument. But the viola jokes are particularly numerous and omnipresent on orchestral stages, and there’s a reason for that.”

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A New Think Tank On The Future Of Orchestras

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“Andrew Balio sees the Future Symphony Institute as a first step toward creating a permanent orchestra think tank, perhaps sponsored by a foundation or university someday. Whether or not that happens, the Baltimore session promises to add fresh food for thought, starting with how the institute came about.”

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