“If this year’s Academy Award nominees for best score are any indication, new blood is beginning to course. Justin Hurwitz, who won the Oscar, is only 32 – and La La Land was his third score for a feature film. Mica Levi, 30, was nominated for her second feature, Jackie. Moonlight composer Nicholas Britell, 36, scored his first major film in 2015. But it’s not just the relative youth and wetness-behind-the-ears that are noteworthy. These composers, and several others, are shaking up the sound of Hollywood. Film scores are starting to have personality again.”
A Swiss humanoid robot is to conduct a Tuscan orchestra in the works of Verdi alongside Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. The robot, called YuMi, will be the closest a humanoid has come to mastering the nuances of a human orchestra director when he performs.
Disclosing the BBC would see a draft of the speech, he joked : “But of course, if I start to speak something completely different, I don’t think anyone can stop me.
“It was my first visit to the Bayreuth Festival, and I was wrestling with conflicting emotions. There was the thrill of realizing my long-held dream of hearing Richard Wagner’s music in the opera house he built, where some of my favorite recordings were made. But there was queasiness, too, at the inescapable memories of old photos showing the theater defiled during the Nazi era, festooned with swastikas and visited regularly by Hitler. Then I stepped outside at intermission on Saturday evening and checked my phone.”
Alan Iverson: “Ellington could connect all the dots—the social, the modernist, the intellectual, the populist, the personally poetic—for a vision of American music truly epic in scope. As great as Evans was, he didn’t have that kind of command. Fifty years ago, the basic connection to a larger audience was slipping away. The integrity of the song was getting diluted by the scale. A kind of darker and mysterious undercurrent was giving way to something lighter in affect.”
“Throughout its 80-year history, the choir has performed for presidents, on television and radio, and at places like Carnegie Hall and the Academy Awards. The choir toured the country and world and performed as many as 100 concerts each year.” But in recent years the school has been plagued by declining enrollment, cash shortages, and a sexual abuse scandal.
On Twitter, people have called the song the best thing to ever happen to me,” and another claimed “you’ve just blessed my life in the most wonderful and unexpected of ways.”
“With some interruptions, they document two Dylan shows from 1965, near the beginning of that fateful tour: one in San Francisco on September 11, 1965, and the other in San Jose from the following evening. As you might expect, the performances are enough to knock you out, but the sound quality is up and down.” (Alas, they’ve been removed from YouTube.) Andy Cush tells the story.
The phenomenon dates all the way back to the 1970s and 8-track tape players, and initially people did it at home as well as at bars.
To give away the end of this story, over the last three years, after a calculated change in approach to audience development strategy, the California Symphony has seen profoundly different results from the national trends for orchestras
That’s what the lead singer says about David T. Little’s next opera, Artaud in the Black Lodge (yes, it’s a Twin Peaks reference), whose first part is getting a concert premiere in Los Angeles. (By the way, David Lynch has, in fact, opened a nightclub.)
“In recent years, this most sumptuous of classical-music gatherings has reverted to its default identity as a parade of musical celebrities with no clear artistic destination in sight. Last year, though, the progressive-minded Austrian pianist and impresario Markus Hinterhäuser took over as Salzburg’s artistic director, and he is stirring memories of the festival’s most vital period—that of the nineteen-nineties, when Gerard Mortier presided over a superb array of provocations.”
Charles MacKay, a local boy who started at the company as a teenaged parking lot attendant, departs after next summer’s season.
Rumors of the site’s imminent collapse had been floating for weeks, and 40% of its staffers were laid off in early July. “The [new] funding comes from two firms, The Raine Group – which also holds stakes in Vice Media and C3 Presents, the owner of Lollapalooza – and Temesek Holdings, a state-run Singaporean holding company with interests in several state-run Chinese companies. In addition, co-founder Alex Ljung will be stepping down as CEO, but remaining chairman.”
“The dearth of negative music reviews is due to a number of factors. In the digital era, outlets covering music have become decentralized with fewer dominant players and more outlets running reviews. That’s helped create a new power dynamic between pop stars and the press—one where stars are less dependent on critics and critics are more eager to please artists.”
The 25,000-person K-pop concert featured politicians and musicians. The kids hope the music drifted the five miles to the DMZ, and beyond: “If enjoying K-pop right near the border with the aggressive North Korea is not freedom, what is? … I hope North Korea, too, understands how much happiness freedom can bring and chooses a path toward peace.”
The numbers are grim – “According to International Recording Musicians Association president Marc Sazer, L.A. musicians – who once routinely scored nearly all American movies – have lost substantial ground to London and other European venues. In 2003, nearly 60 percent of feature films were scored by American Federation of Musicians members; by 2015, that number was down to 30 percent” – so a tax credit may soon be in the offing.
At least with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, who prefers editions called urtexts (with the composers’ original phrases, dynamics, and notes), says librarian Robert Grossman. “Although the Philadelphia owns more than 5,000 scores and their instrumental parts in the public domain and has another 5,000 scores for pieces written since 1926 whose parts must be rented, this means Grossman is starting with a clean slate when working with the urtext editions.”
Dennis Prager will conduct Haydn’s Symphony No. 51 this week at a Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra fundraiser. “Prager’s day job, however, has members of the orchestra up in arms — and laying down their instruments. He is a conservative talk show host who often targets multiculturalism, Muslims and LGBTQ people.”
The group toured Britain after experiencing a songwriting workshop and immediately recording an album. “The album swings wildly – from moments of beauty to blasts of anger, from big group numbers with people grabbing whatever is to hand for percussion (one features a rainwater barrel being hit by a sledgehammer) to dance songs where someone has clearly found the keyboard’s demo button and simply sung over the top. There is often a stark contrast between the song titles – Stop the Murders, Stigma Everywhere – and the fun of the music.”
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic plans to play one final concert, in October, and then shut down. “The orchestra ended last season with a $235,000 deficit. Officials say the executive director, the music director and the office staff have gone months without a paycheck.”
“He treats Mr. Glass’s music like a sculpture, worth studying from all angles in search of new interpretations and surprises. ‘I came to the conclusion that it’s not a repetition,’ Mr. Olafsson said of Mr. Glass’s music. ‘It’s a rebirth. It’s not treading the same path, but traveling in a spiral. That’s the image I have.'”
“The Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin was no doubt regarded as a one-of-a-kind virtuoso. Which is peculiar, in a way, since he also stole freely and transparently from other artists. [Sara Fishko traces] the various influences that went into Chopin’s signature style.” (audio)
“The boat belongs in Washington, a city both blessed and socially determined by its rivers. The nation’s capital was founded at the confluence of the Potomac and the Anacostia, near the ports of Georgetown and Alexandria, and is home to the country’s oldest naval base. At times, the city has embraced its river setting, most significantly in 1901 when the McMillan Plan created the Mall, new parks along the waterfront and Memorial Bridge, which created a symbolic (though often illusory) post-Civil War rapprochement between the North and the South by joining the Lincoln Memorial to Arlington Cemetery.”
“Back in the 16th century, the composer and lutenist John Dowland was similarly popular – pressing into a vein of moping soppiness that made him famous, and has served English musicians ever since.” (But the first? Perhaps the author forgot about the troubadours.)
“One in three [British] adults responding to an online poll highlighted ‘aloofness’ as a challenge for the artform, and a similar percentage said they thought major classical events only ever happened in [London]. 40% of respondents said concerts need to be performed in more everyday places – such as parks and clubs – for classical music to remain relevant.”
There is no precise data on the number of performers who have gone under the knife over the years. But several surgeons told me they estimate that vocal cord surgery has been performed on thousands of pop, rock and classical singers, as well as on theatre and stage musical stars.
“Between the councils, organisers, security and ticket companies, it’s often hard to know who was actually at fault, and although it might seem reductive to see individuals to blame for large-scale disasters like Hope & Glory, it might be not too far from the truth.”
“The new Berlin chief, in his mid-forties, is as close as you can get to being an unknown commodity. He has never given a media interview (my request for an off-the-record coffee was coolly declined) and has made just five commercial recordings. He refuses to play maestro games — you conduct my orchestra, I’ll conduct yours — and is no respecter of vanities. When the Berliners handed him Sir Simon Rattle’s job, Petrenko swiftly renewed his Munich contract until 2021. He’ll take Berlin in his own time.”
There is a remarkable number of new works being commissioned. Some companies, such as Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, have long traditions of fostering new operas. There are indispensable groups you should know about, foremost among them Beth Morrison Projects and American Opera Projects that exist to create new opera. Visit their websites often.