Music

The Classical Music World Is Rife With Drink And Drugs! (Says Yet Another Tattletale)

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“Addiction problems are widespread among classical musicians, for many reasons,” she says. “There is the lifestyle, the odd hours, working weekends, post-concert socialising. Many players use alcohol and beta-blockers to control their performance anxiety and then, after the ‘high’ of a performance, musicians can struggle to ‘come down’ and therefore drink to relax.”

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SoundCloud To Introduce Ads So It Can Pay Musicians

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“With 175 million monthly listeners, SoundCloud is the second biggest streaming music service in the world behind YouTube. Yet it hasn’t paid royalties to the creators and rightsholders of that music … Today, SoundCloud is taking its first step [to change that], albeit in a carefully-controlled way with a select group of invited partners in the US for its new ‘On SoundCloud’ initiative.”

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14 Artists Who Are Transforming The Future Of Opera

14 artists transforming opera future

“The artists below are some of our favorite opera innovators, toying with non-linear narratives, unusual instruments and new media, to name a few. Some take inspiration from subject matter we’d never expect to see on an opera stage, from gentrification to bad shroom trips to Milli Vanilli.” Some you may know of – composer David T. Little (Dog Days, the upcoming JFK), “electrodiva” Pamela Z – others, you will. (includes video clips)

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Met Opera: The Labor Crisis Is Over, The Spiritual Crisis Goes On

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Justin Davidson: “Can an opera company indefinitely support thousands of practitioners of arcane crafts? Must a costly large-scale art form inevitably be a luxury product, or can technology help it reach a wider public than ever? Do the new rich even have any interest? More immediately, can the company put on good-enough shows to fill its yawning house?”

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Utah Symphony Barnstorms The State’s National Parks

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This orchestra had lost the high profile and wide admiration it had during its glory days under the late Maurice Abravanel. Now music director Thierry Fischer is determined to get them back, both nationally and within the state – so he and his players are touring beyond Salt Lake City to five of Utah’s most scenic locales.

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Is Weird Al So Popular Because He’s Reassuring?

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Sasha Frere-Jones: “With his parodic versions of hit songs, this somehow ageless fifty-four-year-old has become popular not because he is immensely clever – though he can be – but because he embodies how many people feel when confronted with pop music: slightly too old and slightly too square. That feeling never goes away, and neither has Al, who has sold more than twelve million albums since 1979.”

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Why Watching Classical Music Through A Performer’s Google Glass Is A Waste Of Time

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“Seeing a musical or operatic performance from only one performer’s point of view actually destroys the experience. It confuses ordinary reality with the artificial reality that art creates. … If you see [an opera] though the eyes of one participant, the performance is revealed for what it actually is; a bunch of people in fancy dress shouting in a foreign language.”

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The Recording Industry’s “Antilabel” – And The Niche Musician’s Lifesaver

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“For more than 325,000 recording artists, in genres ranging from folk and rap to polka and bhangra” – and yes, classical, too – “CD Baby has become a vital lifeline. For a fee, the company not only sells copies of their CDs and digital versions of their songs, it can also track, collect and distribute royalties for musicians who don’t have – or don’t want – a big record label or song publisher behind them.”

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Violinist Played Instrument During His Own Brain Surgery

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In 2010 Minnesota Orchestra associate concertmaster Roger Frisch had a small electrode planted in his brain to stop the tremor that had developed in his hands. But for the neurosurgeons to get the device planted in the right spot, Frisch had to be awake – and to play. Erin Brodwin explains the how and why. (includes operating room video)

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Should The Arena Di Verona Get A Roof?

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“Northern Italy has been pounded this summer by rain and thunderstorms. About 25 opera performances have been soaked … Determined to bring an end to this unpredictability, mayor Flavio Tosi says that he’s planning to launch an international competition to draw suggestions for how the massive architectural task should be accomplished.”

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Can Digital Tech Help Build A Better Piano?

science build a better piano

That’s what acoustical scientists at NYU are trying to find out, as they bring banks of microphones and a Disklavier out to the Steinway factory to gather “a very dense acoustical scan of the radiation pattern of the grand piano.” (includes audio)

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Opera Lovers Are Divided Over Met’s Labor Issues – And Some Just Don’t Wanna Hear About It

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“Several expressed dismay that opera, which at its best offers not just escapism but also catharsis, is becoming mired in a polarizing, all-too-real postdownturn conflict.” Said one Pittsburgh fan, “When people go to the opera, those of us that love opera want to be transported. … This is really like taking away the magic. We just want to go and love it.”

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Met Opera Rejected Pay Freeze Offer From Union: Report

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“Sources tell NY1 that a letter from James Claffey, the President of Local 1, sent to members in the stagehands union earlier this week, said the Met rejected a proposal to freeze union wages for the next five years. Instead, opera management pushed for a 14.5 percent cut in pay and benefits.”

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You Know Who Else Is Worried About The Met Opera Negotiations? Cinema Owners

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“Movie theater owners throughout the world are fretting over the possibility of a lockout at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Met’s live broadcasts into theaters on Saturdays have generated an estimated $300 million since Julie Taymor’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was beamed into cinemas in 2006.”

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The Metropolitan Opera House Is Too Damn Big (And Opera In The Entire U.S. Is Messed Up Because Of It)

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Joseph Horowitz, looking back at what U.S. opera houses were before the 20th century (smaller, more eclectic, and more popular), argues that the size of the Met’s auditorium, along with the company’s outsize influence, has led to “a presiding notion of opera giving priority to big voices hurled into big spaces, singing words in foreign tongues set by deceased European composers … a notion of ‘grand opera’ that is increasingly unsustainable.”

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Radio Station Cuts All Songs To Two Minutes

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“In a nutshell, QuickHitz doesn’t care if you’re Drake, Lorde or Lana Del Rey. Your single is going to get cut down to about two minutes, with a hard target of 24 songs — about twice the number common to a patient society — during each hour of airtime.”

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How Records Messed Up Classical Music (And The Digital Era Could Fix It)

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Tom Service: “The recording industry tried to fix in the collective imagination what individual musical works should be, like the totemic masterpieces of the Western canon (or rather, like those pieces of music that were turned into canonised totems, in part by the recording industry): a series of desirable, aspirational cultural and commercial objects, a collection of black-lacquer-magicked things that could be literally possessed.” Not any more …

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