“Why then, when we think of music, do we think of Chuck Berry’s Gibson 335, Mick Jagger’s lips, the cover of Revolver, Michael Jackson’s zombies, Blue Note’s stark photography, and Madonna’s breasts?” As one music historian points out, “It just didn’t occur to people that you could correspond the music to some kind of visual image. Someone had to think of that.” Scott Timberg looks at the history of what happened after someone did think of it.
“The path of least resistance for anyone with a lot of sound-making tools is to keep making more sounds. The path of discipline is to say: Let’s see how few we can get away with.”
Many members of the audience may not notice that some of the more fantastic effects in the score are its main themes contorted beyond recognition. But the filmmakers do wink at the audience when they include a more traditional kind of chopped and screwed track: the slowed-down mix of Jidenna’s “Classic Man” that plays in the background in this scene.
The band directors at Spring Lake, outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, have pledged to include at least one piece by a female composer and one by a composer of color in each concert, for each of the school’s bands. “We made a commitment this year to only buy music from composers of color,” says Brian Lukkasson, one of the directors. He says it’s been hard, but not because those composers aren’t writing for band. They are.
“What the California Symphony discovered, in short, was that “almost every single piece of negative feedback was about something other than the performance.” Another important discovery was that it’s single-ticket buyers, not veteran subscribers, who are most likely to use the orchestra’s website.”
Ted Hearne’s The Source premiered in Brooklyn in 2014, when Manning had been eclipsed by Edward Snowden; it played in Los Angeles just before the election; it’s now, early in the Trump era, about to open in San Francisco. Hearne talks with Zachary Woolfe about the piece’s content and context, then and now.
More groups and composers are competing for donors. Jim Farber looks at how some organizations, large and small, and handling the challenge.
The announcement said no more than this: “We would like to thank the fans of WBACH and classical music for listening over the years and we regret any inconvenience as a result of the changes.” WBACH’s frequency is now used to simulcast a country station just a little ways down the dial.
“The new four-building complex, set to open in 2019, represents the largest building initiative at Tanglewood since the opening of Ozawa Hall more than two decades ago.”
“Philip Glass and John Corigliano are both regarded as classical composers first and foremost despite their work for the cinema. But both, as Jed Distler found out, find that the lines between classical and film music are by no means clear-cut.”
“Some journalists want me, of course, to say it’s because I never smoked, or because I’m a vegetarian, or because I keep the Sabbath.” [Blomstedt is a Seventh-Day Adventist.] “But that’s not the reason. …. Churchill drank lots of whiskey and smoked enormous big cigars, and he lived to be 90 or so.”
“The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MACCNO), a local advocacy group, issued a statement that, in part, noted that what wasn’t spelled out in the plan was as concerning as what was. So what exactly happens at 3 a.m.? While the draft didn’t get into specifics, city officials suggested that people on the street would then be “encouraged” to go inside or go home.”
General manager Emma Wilkinson said that while no one knows what the future may look like, the orchestra decided that moving to Antwerp now would be wise. She fears that the loss of free movement would make life for musicians very difficult: “I do worry that European orchestras will not be inviting talented British musicians to work with them. It will just be too bureaucratically difficult.”
Or rather, is its future going to be trimmed? “Miami is expensive. Everything from lodging and food to transportation costs a pretty penny down there, and the orchestra is an enormous outfit. If saving money is a goal, an effective move would be to reduce the amount of time the ensemble spends there.”
Take learning by ear, combine it with some out-of-control pop psychology, and mix in experimentation and perhaps some flat-out lies of biography, and you’ll get this pedagogy that powers much of North American violin teaching.
The director, a mezzo-soprano in the symphony choir of Milan, says that it’s rare for people to be truly tone deaf – though in Italy, a land with little public music education, they may believe themselves to be so. She says, “Most people who come to the choir only have to learn how to listen, though that is the most difficult thing.”
A conductor who had Michael Tilson Thomas as a mentor for years says, “If I don’t mentor folks and get involved with them, then who’s going to care for the next generation? In my mind, a mentor is someone who can actually serve as a role model for what a great person or a great musician might be, and that’s where you’re going to get folks hopefully emulating and striving to do that kind of work. … Those are the kinds of musicians you want around.”
“I think one of the most interesting things is the number of people who really don’t have music playing in their homes. It’s quite striking across the nine countries we surveyed. Something as simple as entertaining friends and family: 84% of people in Sweden, 83% of people in the U.K., 79% of people in the U.S. don’t play music when they have friends over.”
“The canon of musical minimalism tends to be set in stone, carved like Mount Rushmore: Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, La Monte Young. It’s solid, immovable, but the lineup has long lacked for figures who are under-acknowledged or under-appreciated – most notably Tony Conrad.” Jennifer Lucy Allan fills us in.
“Google’s latest artificial intelligence experiment is a music-playing piano bot that digests whatever keyboard melodies you give it and tries to respond in kind.” But does it succeed in responding in kind? Nick Statt tries it out. (includes video)
“As an exploration of an underrepresented subculture, cultural economic inequities, and the soul-strengthening properties of failure, “Mozart” has done right by its viewers all along. But this season’s emphasis on the need to fight the good fight no matter how futile it may seem is not only relevant but resonant.”
“I suggest that composers give up using their music to change people’s minds. (When I say “minds,” I really mean people’s beliefs, opinions, and convictions.) I do not, please notice, suggest that anyone stop trying to change minds altogether, only that they stop using music to do it. Argument, not art, is the best tool for proving opinions. Music is poorly suited for that. But music is very well suited, or least it can be, for helping people to change their habits, especially habits of thinking and perceiving.”
Radish “calls its [business] model ‘episodic freemium,’ which is basically a fancy way for saying the first chapter is free, and bookworms pay a small fee for each additional installment or chapter they choose to read.” And the authors will actually get a decent cut of those fees.
He says he’ll never think of the Poulenc Sonata in the same way again.
“I don’t think there’s a race problem at all. Remember, this is a peer-voted award. So when we say the Grammys, it’s not a corporate entity—it’s the 14,000 members of the Academy. They have to qualify in order to be members, which means they have to have recorded and released music, and so they are sort of the experts and the highest level of professionals in the industry. It’s always hard to create objectivity out of something that’s inherently subjective, which is what art and music is about. We do the best we can. We have 84 categories where we recognize all kinds of music, from across all spectrums. We don’t, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity.”
“Here’s the hard part when it comes to popular music. Pop is fun — it helps people relax and temporarily abandon their inhibitions, to express hidden parts of themselves and to open themselves up to others, including others fundamentally different from themselves. The music industry relies on the fantasy that pop is welcoming to all — to anyone who’s willing to buy a record (now a download or a streaming service subscription) or a concert ticket. Yet this is, in fact, a dream that’s often contradicted by reality.”
Scott Cantrell writes: “By any measure, Woods has transformed Fort Worth Opera from a struggling local company to one attracting national and even international attention for creative boldness and increasingly sophisticated productions.” FWO board chair Mike Martinez told Cantrell, “To be able to focus on development, business management, fundraising beyond Tarrant Country or North Texas – we just need somebody else in that regard.”
“Michael Hersch’s end stages, commissioned and given its New York premiere by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, was a little-relieved cry of anguish and anger in the face of terminal illness and death. But with a faint tolling of orchestral bells and whimpers in the violins at the end of the second movement, attitude gave way to what seemed a touching glimpse of the suffering soul itself.”
The hackers stole names, addresses, W-2 forms and other information for about 250 full- and part-time employees.
After all, there’s no better way to learn how to make your voice heard over a lot of noise without wearing yourself out.