It’s got a catchy name: SWAP’ra – and it’s for all working parents in opera, both onstage and off. “While still at an early stage, some of the organisation’s aims include providing grants towards childcare for mothers who are returning to work and setting up a creche for working parents.”
These two organs are being replaced, for good reason: “‘It is soul-numbing to play that thing,’ Mr. Wachner, the church’s hard-driving director of music and arts, said of the digital instrument in Trinity Church, on Lower Broadway. He also called the Schlicker pipe organ, long resident in St. Paul’s Chapel, Trinity’s historic satellite a few blocks north, ‘tendinitis central.'”
Enough touring orchestras and soloists are now stopping to perform in the United Arab Emirates that, said NSO Symphony Orchestra founder and CEO Janet Hassouneh, “I feel it’s the right time to pass on the baton to these new purveyors, so that audiences can enjoy ever-more outstanding musical experiences.”
The company announced on Thursday that Yannick Nézet-Séguin would become its new music director next season, two years ahead of schedule. The accelerated ascension will give much-needed musical stability to the Met, the nation’s largest performing arts organization, which suspended Mr. Levine, its longtime conductor, in December and opened an investigation into his behavior.
“We felt the New York Philharmonic should be of our city, about our city, and in our time.” Like every other arts organization, the orchestra is chasing the young (or youngish), and Deborah Borda insists the key is not to peddle outdated prestige or blandish with watered-down entertainment but to present art that is socially engaged. “Millennials are hungry for experience, but they need a different context, one that’s political and social,” she says.
“The poet who wrote the words can be confrontational. The composer is known for cutting-edge jazz. The singer specializes in ornately written operas from another century. Suffice it to say that Cycles of My Being, a new song cycle by poet Terrance Hayes and composer Tyshawn Sorey – prompted by police brutality against African Americans – won’t be anything typical. Or demure.” Says Lawrence Brownlee, who conceived the project for Opera Philadelphia, “Hold on to your seats. We don’t know what’s going to happen. But something is going to happen.”
In his ruling, Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald held that combining the phrases, “Playas gonna play” and “haters gonna hate,” does not entail sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection. “By 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters,” Fitzgerald wrote. “The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal.”
“Dr. [Ahmad] Sarmast founded ANIM in Kabul in 2010 in response to that country’s civil war destruction of centuries of rich musical tradition. In the 1980s the pop music and film industries were thriving in Afghanistan, with hundreds of ensembles and a national radio orchestra playing Western and Afghan musical instruments. Between 1996 and 2001, music was completely banned. Over the last eight years, ANIM has been providing a challenging and safe learning environment for all students regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious sect or socio-economic status. The institute has a special focus on the most disadvantaged children in Afghanistan, including orphans, street vendors and girls.” the other winner of this year’s $125,000 prize is the band Metallica.
“Empathy is, perhaps, the most plausible of music’s utopian promises. The universality of musical communication dissolves the barriers of isolated viewpoints. We can gain direct access to perspectives and emotions far from our own experience. Music expands our ability to empathize, to sympathize, to humanize. It’s a great story. It’s a story I’ve told enough times, certainly. And, at those times—now, for instance—when empathy seems to be a dwindlingly scarce societal resource, it’s a story we like to tell with greater insistence, and confidence, and hope. But what if it’s just that—a story?”
“The 37-year-old Venezuela native” – like his friend Gustavo Dudamel, a product of El Sistema – “will succeed Jahja Ling, who last year concluded his 13th and final season with the symphony. … Now music director-designate, [he] will formally assume his role as music director July 1, 2019. Payaré will [also] continue … as music director of Northern Ireland’s Ulster Orchestra.”
“Robertson, whose tenure [as music director] with the [St. Louis Symphony] ends at the close of this season, succeeds Alan Gilbert at Juilliard, perhaps the most important training ground for classical musicians in this country.”
“Spinning the globe for a spot where it can play for a knowledgeable crowd, conduct cultural diplomacy, and woo some important patrons, the Philadelphia Orchestra has put its finger on Israel. The ensemble will perform in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa the first week in June, after another leg of the tour takes them to Vienna, Paris, and smaller European cities. The Philadelphians have been to Israel only once before, in 1992 as Riccardo Muti was ending his tenure as the orchestra’s fifth music director.”
Robert Everett-Green points out that allegations of Dutoit’s bullying of musicians in rehearsal – allegations repeated in detail last week in two of Montreal’s francophone newspapers – were made very clear by the players in 2002. And when they were, Dutoit abruptly stormed away from his job, and the orchestra’s management was far more concerned with his feelings than those of the musicians. “It’s worth looking at the circumstances that may have led [the board] to brush off the players’ complaints for about 20 years.”
Though 49 of the site’s top 50 tracks are songs from official artist accounts, the site is plagued with secondary accounts posting primary content, all of it loaded with track info designed to game the system’s search algorithms in their favor. If other platforms have problems with “fake news,” SoundCloud has problems with fake music, and in both cases the issue is more feature than bug.
“Compared to two decades ago, when CDs were at peak popularity, of course 2017’s sales statistics look anemic. But the compact disc is still the most popular format for people purchasing records. The second-most-popular format, with 66.2 million units sold? Another one pundits love to say is dying, digital albums. And it’s certainly not correct to say that all consumers are eschewing CDs.”
These aren’t the “jewel box” CD cases, mind you – they’re the long, mostly empty plastic containers that jewel boxes were stuffed inside for record store shelves, and they were supposed to be removed at the cash register. “From a distance, it seems like putting a CD or a cassette inside a massive [plastic] box, of which more than half of it was effectively useless, would be a really questionable choice. But the record industry had a couple of good reasons for doing so.”
Systemic discrimination occurs when biases like racism and sexism cut across unique organizations. It’s closely tied to, but distinct from, actions we associate with overt bias—a conductor claiming that men are better on the podium or an orchestra defending its discrimination against women and musicians of Asian heritage. Rather, systemic discrimination relies on the abdication of individual responsibility for its consequences, thus rendering it passive and plausibly deniable. In the world of orchestral music, “the system” sustains discriminatory practices even when individuals within it claim to be progressive.
“For this project, the music streaming service Spotify gave me data on how frequently every song is listened to by men and women of each particular age. The patterns were clear. Even though there is a recognized canon of rock music, there are big differences by birth year in how popular a song is.”
Musicologist Douglas Shadle: “Everything she was doing was musically mainstream but at the same time idiosyncratic. … Her music has kind of a luminous quality that strikes me as her own. Our understanding of American modernism of the 1930s and 1940s is not complete without Price’s contribution.”
Robert Meya proposed to the search committee that he be considered as part of a management “troika” that would divide administrative, artistic, and musical responsibilities among three people. This differs fundamentally from the company’s historic model, in which the general director has assumed lead responsibility for all of those areas. The Opera’s board is authorized to appoint only the general director and, as a matter of policy, does not act directly in other staffing decisions. Meya is accordingly being hired as general director with the understanding that his first act of business is to name Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company’s general director Alexander Neef to the newly created position of artistic director and Santa Fe Opera’s chief conductor Harry Bicket to be the company’s music director. The three members of the management team have all been acquainted with each other for years.
Berklee wants to build new spaces both physical and virtual and break down barriers between all the arts disciplines emphasizing the transferability of skills. And perhaps best of all for the students, it focuses attention upon affordability which in turn will support recruitment and retention. The plan is visionary and under the extraordinary leadership of President Roger Brown more than doable. As Brown puts it, “With music, movement and digital technology converging, artists possess powerful new means of creative expression in the theater, on the concert stage, and through emerging platforms.”
Susan McClary: “So when I published Feminine Endings, I thought, Well, I’m just bringing the kinds of questions everyone in the social sciences and humanities were already asking. I just wanted to be able to make sense of music at various moments in history, and to read it in the ways that literary scholars read plays or novels – to talk about how they are making cultural sense. I hadn’t realized how isolated musicology was.”
“Acclaimed pianist Inon Barnatan has been chosen by the La Jolla Music Society to succeed Cho-Liang ‘Jimmy’ Lin as the music director of SummerFest, the nonprofit arts organization’s annual August chamber-music festival. … Barnatan, 38, will take over in 2019 from Lin, 58, who will conclude his 18th year heading SummerFest on Aug. 31.”