Opera Philadelphia has steadily built its reputation over the last decade as one of the top-tier companies in the world for commissioning (and co-commissioning) new works. In 2017, the nonprofit company launched its new programming model, with an ambitious—and wildly successful—fall festival called O17.
Understanding the mechanisms of violated expectations in music elucidates some of the basic functions of learning, memory, and our perception of time. Along with enhancing our understanding of music, the study of how we process expectations, and learn to revel in ambiguity and uncertainty, is important in understanding how we appreciate many aspects of art and life that involve solving puzzles and deciphering codes, from poetry to painting, science to math.
“At the end of Rattle’s 16-year tenure as music director of the orchestra, their relationship is not unlike a couple that’s been married for too long. … ‘The orchestra doesn’t look at him anymore,” one string player familiar with the situation in the orchestra said. … Rattle is ‘the nicest and most diplomatic guy on the planet,’ [a] former member of the Karajan Academy said. ‘But particularly with this orchestra, if the conductor isn’t demanding something bigger than themselves, it’s a free-for-all.'”
“Local cynics will contend that Miami can never support a professional symphony orchestra, either financially or in terms of a regular audience. Yet … Miami today is a very different place than the city was when the Florida Philharmonic ceased operations nearly fifteen years ago. … There is clearly a new audience in place for concerts in downtown Miami as the Cleveland performances have proved. Unlike in past decades, Miami now has a first-class performing arts facility.”
At a Cannes Lions presentation this week, Live Nation unveiled the results of the experiment and, unfortunately for music-loving homebodies, they show that dragging yourself to a concert on a Friday will result in three times more emotional intensity than listening to a recorded album alone in your bedroom, wearing sweatpants and eating Wheaties.
Employer contributions to a residuals fund for musicians whose work is heard on the big and small screens hit a record $100 million last year, according to the latest report from the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund. Last year, the fund distributed more than $81 million to 17,000-plus musicians but is holding more than $5 million in unclaimed checks for more than 6,000 musicians for whom the fund has no current address or contract information.
Imagine the following scenario. A teacher in a German Musikhochschule is offered a paid week in a sunny resort. All she has to do is listen to hopefuls for a few hours a day and pick a winner from a list of students of the professor who invited her. If she plays ball, the chairman might let one of her pupils take the fourth prize. The rewards would swiftly follow. As a teacher of an international prize-winner, our anonymous friend might then be able to double her private fees and promise all future students that they will have prizes.
The future for jazz looks challenging, particularly as it is overtaken by (or absorbed) into hip hop, R&B or pop. Playing-gigs as well as teaching-gigs may become harder to come by. On the other hand, Berklee College of Music seems to be an agile institution, constantly making adjustments in its outreach, going outside the US to draw students, and updating its curriculum to include teaching digital technology and recording in order to reach young people who may have little knowledge of or interest in jazz.
“The song has been passed down through the generations within families both in Mexico and in the United States — at birthday parties, weddings, Mexican Independence Day parties and soccer matches. … It is also a song that lifts the spirits in times of immense tragedy. In September of last year, for example, when a catastrophic earthquake in Mexico left hundreds dead, volunteers collected food and medical equipment while singing a moving rendition of ‘Cielito Lindo.'”
Michael Krajewski, who replaced founding music director Peter Nero in 2013, will depart at the end of next season, a decision described by a Pops spokesperson as “totally mutual.” (Krajewski declined to comment.) Taking over the podium will be Broadway and Radio City Music Hall conductor Todd Ellison.
Sudip Bose: “For the sake of a nice, neat number, I am identifying 25 great works — hardly a comprehensive tally, and somewhat arbitrary. Looking over the finalists, I began second-guessing at once: Why no Virgil Thomson or David Diamond? Why Bernstein’s First and not his Second? Why not Ives’s Third? I have not, moreover, included symphonic works that do not bear the title Symphony; therefore, I have left out Samuel Barber’s Essays and Joan Tower’s Concerto for Orchestra. What do you think I ought to have included?”
When Caleb Byerly was a young Christian missionary in the jungles of the Philippines, the indigenous tribe among which he lived told him about their old, traditional music – which had faded away after a previous generation of missionaries had told them it was profane. “‘I felt that if it was my people who helped destroy this music, my people would be the ones to help redeem it,’ Byerly says. … Based on his restoration work, Byerly and his wife started Evergreen Missions, a non-profit that helps indigenous peoples re-create their lost ancestral music.”
“Our thesis for a lot of this work is that there is no future without the past,” Andrew Balio tells me. “I don’t think that’s a controversial statement.” He’s correct, and there’s no doubt that the Future Symphony Institute was born out of a real love for, and desire to share, the rich tradition of classical music. What the genre—and the wider arts world—found itself facing in the 20th century, however, was a challenging of the notion of a singular beauty, and a distrust of its pursuit.
With some of Karajan’s advice in mind (“guide the orchestra, don’t impose yourself”) Oundjian steadily rebuilt the band while adding big late- and post-romantic scores to his personal repertoire. More than half of TSO players, and two-thirds of principals, are Oundjian picks. While few would question Oundjian’s authority in choosing strings, he seems also to have an ear for wind, brass and percussion, and how they work together.
“Directed by Kip Williams, this particular production … comes from Sydney Chamber Opera and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the performers and artistic directors are all aged in their 20s and 30s. They found one way around the gender problems of the text by reversing the roles of men and women in many scenes, including the rape scene.”
Concert Artists of Baltimore, a professional orchestra and chorus led by founding artistic director Edward Polochick, is folding after 31 years of performing a richly varied repertoire with distinction throughout the area. Barry F. Williams, president of Concert Artists, said Wednesday that financial struggles led to the move by the board of directors to shut down.
It’s at once a surprise and an utterly familiar ritual for fans of the couple, who are on tour together. “The sudden release immediately sent fans and the industry into a tizzy” – and sent non-TIDAL streaming services into a funk. “Spotify declined to comment and Apple Music did not immediately respond to requests for comment about its plans for the album.”
George Gelles, the former executive director of San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and a lifelong (though never pro) French horn player, writes about taking part in the Be Phil Orchestra, 101 non-professional musicians from the world over, chosen by online audition, who spent a week getting coached by members of the Berlin Philharmonic, rehearsing and performing Brahms’s First Symphony under Simon Rattle.
“Bowing to pressure from women who argued that the dress restrictions were not only unfair, but could also hinder their ability to play comfortably, other major orchestras have moved in recent years to let women wear pants if they choose. … The Philharmonic, alone among the nation’s 20 largest orchestras, does not allow women to wear pants for formal evening concerts. That could soon change. The orchestra — the oldest in the United States, with its 176th season wrapping up — has quietly been talking about modernizing its dress code.” (It’s also considering letting the men ditch the white tie and tails.)
Clea Simon: “Contemporary jazz … is full of journeymen female musicians. … An internationally touring ensemble, [Wynton] Marsalis’s band is the flagship jazz orchestra of the day, the one that he is using to establish the importance of jazz around the world. Taking the stage with 15 musicians, none of whom is female, presents the music as segregated and outdated.”
At the end of this month, the label Impulse! is releasing Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, “a full set of material recorded by [Coltrane’s] quartet on a single day in March 1963, then eventually stashed away and lost. The family of Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita Naima Coltrane, recently discovered his personal copy of the recordings, which she had saved, and brought it to the label’s attention.”
“One hundred and sixty million dollars over four years — it would be a shot in the arm for the Canadian music industry, to be sure. According to information obtained under the Access to Information Act, that’s what the industry is asking the federal government to pony up to compensate artists for what is known as private copying.”
“The first thing the dance company does when we arrive is to measure the stage. They have to reset the dance to fit that stage. So you also have to reset the time of the music: In a larger theater, you must play slower. In a smaller theater, you have to play faster. The relation of time and space in music is dynamic. I have a range of speed in mind. If the players don’t pay attention to that, it will look really funny. You can see the stage fill up with dancers because they are playing at the wrong speed.”
During intermission on opening night of the company’s production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an audience member suffered a heart attack. “Paramedics were called, and worked with doctors who were in the audience for a half-hour before taking their patient to a waiting ambulance, where he later died.”