Music

What Data Sets Can Tell Us About The Arts

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“Data may be big and getting bigger, but it’s not exactly thick on the ground in the performing arts. There is no IMDB for string quartets, composers, ballets, or even plays (though in theater there are some who are trying to make one). Where clear data sets exist, there’s a lot we can learn from them, and we should definitely encourage our big institutions to make more of their data transparently available to the public.”

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Teetering Ulster Orchestra Gets A Lifeline (A Short One)

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“Belfast City Council has agreed to give £100,000 to the Ulster Orchestra, to help it out of its financial problems. However, the offer is conditional on other funders also contributing to the orchestra’s £500,000 shortfall.”

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Judge Denies NY City Opera An Extension For Bankruptcy Reorganization

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“The ramped up pressure on City Opera came from Gene Kaufman, an architect and businessman who has been angling to buy the company’s assets, which consist primarily of a $5 million endowment, currently controlled by the State Attorney General. Kaufman argues that the company has been stalling and has failed to “pull the trigger” on a sale proposal.”

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That Henry Mancini Sound: Here’s Where It Came From

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“From the “Pink Panther” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to “Gunn” and “Charade,” Mancini’s film scores went beyond background music. They expressed a new American modernism that embraced simplicity, sleekness and space. Free of heavy classical motifs found in many earlier film scores, Mancini’s music was streamlined for sensuality, with many of his soundtracks becoming more memorable than the films’ actors and plots.”

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Iconic “Casablanca” Movie Piano Sells For $3.4 Million

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It is one of the most famous pianos in the world, the piano Ingrid Bergman was close to when she delivered one of Hollywood’s unforgettable lines: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’ ” It is the short little upright from Rick’s Café Américain in the movie “Casablanca.”

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San Diego Symphony’s Music Director Announces His Departure

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“Jahja Ling, the conductor responsible for rebuilding and revitalizing one of the region’s keystone cultural institutions, is stepping down.” Said the maestro, “After the 2016-17 season, I look forward to pursuing more international guest conducting, … teaching and continuing my volunteer work in Christian mission.”

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Minnesota Opera CEO Resigns

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“The Minnesota Opera, which has become a national leader in generating new work, appears to be less than stable at the executive level. President and General Director Kevin Ramach resigned this week after about 2½ years in the role. Ramach himself had succeeded Allan Naplan, who quit in 2012 after a year in the job.”

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Venerable Music Publisher Starts Its Own Record Label

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“The music publisher Edition Peters, which can trace its history back to 1800, is launching a new record label called Edition Peters Sounds. The new record label will focus on recordings made by artists represented by Edition Peters’ artist management company, … usually performing works from the extensive Edition Peters publishing catalogue.”

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Behind The Scenes At The Drone Orchestra

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“The autonomous system that was supposed to operate the drones conked out and human pilots needed to step in. Humans were also responsible for constantly swapping out the battery packs from the drones, which drained in about 5-to-10 minutes because of the weight they were carrying.”

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Does The Incredible Shrinking Orchestra Put A Tradition At Risk?

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“Musicians warn that an overreliance on freelancers endangers the things that make orchestras great: the cohesion that comes from playing together over many years, the performing traditions that are developed and passed down, even the ability to divine in a flash what a familiar conductor is seeking with a cocked eyebrow or a flick of the wrist.”

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Metropolitan Opera’s Deficit Swells To $22 Million

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“Weaker-than-expected contributions and ticket sales [last season] combined with expenses related to the company’s labor talks to create its most serious shortfall in decades. … The deficit for the 2013-14 season was roughly eight times that of the previous season.”

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Use Your iPhone At The Orchestra Or Opera? In Philly, Sure!

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“The technological barbarians are at the gate – and are being welcomed graciously. Only three years after an errant ringtone during the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony sparked an international uproar, two august Philadelphia institutions are telling audiences to keep their phones on – within particular limits.”

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What It Takes To Be A Great Jazz Musician

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“Whether it’s Charlie Parker or Coltrane or Buddy Rich, or any of the greats, the majority of their time on any given day was spent practicing. It’s not just about coming up with brilliant new ideas and musical languages.”

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Controversial Director Axed From Bayreuth Production

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“A storm in a Wagnerian tea-cup (or more properly, a Sturm in a Gral)? Maybe it really is the case that Jonathan Meese – an installationist and performance artist who became notorious in Germany last year for his prosecution and subsequent acquittal for an act of public provocation by making the Nazi salute on stage – was just too ambitious in his set design, and that the costs would have taxed even Bayreuth’s largesse.”

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Billboard Music Charts Will Now Count Streams

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“Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, the agency that supplies its data, will start adding streams and downloads of tracks to the formula behind the Billboard 200, which, since 1956 has functioned as the music world’s weekly scorecard. It is the biggest change since 1991, when the magazine began using hard sales data from SoundScan, a revolutionary change in a music industry that had long based its charts on highly fudgeable surveys of record stores.”

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How One Orchestra Protects Its Players From Hearing Loss

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“Nine years ago, [the Queensland Symphony] started ongoing noise exposure monitoring, data reviews and plotting noise maps for concert halls and orchestra pits where the musicians played.” The results: changed layout, risers for some musicians, acoustical screens, high-tech earplugs – and much less damage to the ears, especially of brass and percussion players.

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Airline Refuses To Transport Double Bass (Even In Luggage)

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“Ranaan was returning home after an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” when the airline refused to accept his bass—packed to go with luggage, as basses normally do—at all. Appeals to the US Airways shift manager were useless. Ranaan ended up booking with Delta Airlines, which accepted him and his bass with no hesitation.”

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Poland’s National Opera House Reaches For The Big Leagues

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The Teatr Wielki “has embarked on a new wave of collaborations with major European houses, while maintaining a commitment to Polish repertory. The theater is being physically overhauled … The annual budget of approximately $50 million – 80 percent of which comes from the Ministry of Culture – has doubled since 1998 … The attendance rate has hovered above 90 percent since 2010.”

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Former Boy Wonder Michael Tilson Thomas Turns 70

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“His mission – of boldly presenting diverse repertory; of not being hemmed in by perceived boundaries between styles and eras; of championing living composers, especially Americans, and especially younger ones – [has] had enormous impact on the scene.”

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What’s The Deal With ‘Pops’ Orchestras?

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“Back in the mid-20th century, orchestras and traditional pop vocalists were not on the fringe, they were de rigueur. Artists like Andre Previn, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and so many more shared the wave lengths along side Elvis and the Beatles, understanding thAt they appealed to different fans, but in some grand sense, made their own contributions to pop culture of the day.”

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The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Returns To Applause, And Criticism

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“Sorry to say, what the audience got in this work was not what the ASO sounds like under normal circumstances. But these were not normal circumstances. Although the collective bargaining agreement was successfully wrapped up in time for this concert, many of the ASO’s musicians are still committed to temporary engagements with orchestras elsewhere.”

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