‘Why Is The Timpani Player Smelling His Drums?’ And Seven Other Awesome Questions From Newcomers In The Audience

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“What is obvious to musicians and regular classical music connoisseurs is definitely not obvious to others,” writes Chattanooga Symphony concertmaster Holly Mulcahy. “Over the past couple years I’ve collected some really awesome questions from audience members that offer a fresh and unique perception or perspective. Here are some that caught my attention.”

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Why The Berlin Philharmonic Is Having Difficulty Picking A New Music Director

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The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra concert in Warsaw, Poland - 26 Sep 2009

“The fact that they’re dampening down expectations of a quick re-election suggests this is more than a tussle of wills over a few preferred candidates. It points to a profound disagreement over fundamentals. The classical music world is changing, and that makes the business of finding a new leader for the BPO challenging, in a new and troubling way.”

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A New Business Model For Music Royalties That Makes Sense?

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Initially, Josh Collum didn’t get much income from Rumblefish — a few hundred dollars here and there. Then, a couple of years ago, something changed. He started seeing real money — tens of thousands of dollar a quarter. “So I called,” he says. “And I’m like, ‘What’s happening? Why the jump?'”

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Brooklyn’s Hipster Mecca Gets A Classical Music Venue

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“A long-discussed plan to turn a disused sawdust factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn into a venue for classical and contemporary music appears to be now taking shape. Organizers of the 13,000-square-foot space on Friday announced plans to open this October with a program of ‘genre-spanning music at accessible ticket prices.’ The venue is to be called National Sawdust, and will host, among other performances, three concerts of the New York Philharmonic’s Contact! series.”

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Scandal Rocks New Orleans Shiney New Jazz Market

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“With its inaugural public concert in late April, during Jazz Fest’s opening weekend, Mayfield’s Jazz Market joined Manhattan’s Jazz at Lincoln Center and San Francisco’s SFJazz in the ranks of urban arts center buildings dedicated to jazz. The architecture is similar to SFJazz in appearance, right down to the lettering on its nameplate.”

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How “We Shall Overcome” Became An Iconic Song (The Man Responsible For It Just Died)

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“We Shall Overcome” is a staple for civil-rights protests—and for that matter, for any kind of social-justice movement. The Library of Congress calls it “the most powerful song of the 20th century.” So it was a surprise to learn that not only is the identity of the person who made it into that anthem known, but he died only on May 2.

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Spoiled For Choice: 15 Different European Opera Houses Start Streaming Productions … For Free

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“The operas — from 15 presenters including the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London and the Aix-en-Provence Festival — will be streamed live on the website of the Opera Platform, at www.theoperaplatform.eu. The site said that subtitles in six languages would be available, and each opera would remain available on demand for six months.”

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Big Changes Coming In The Way Songwriters Are Paid?

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“Right now, publishers and songwriters are required to license their songs to anyone, at rates that are set by a special rate court. ASCAP and BMI have been pushing to raise those rates, but Pandora and other streaming services have pushed back. So far, the courts have sided with Pandora. Now, the publishers are trying a new approach.”

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Cincinnati Symphony Gets New Contract That Expands (!) Orchestra

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“The orchestra announced Thursday that a successful fund-raising campaign, and a new contract that it reached with its musicians, would allow it to hire 14 more full-time players over the next four years, expanding the size of the ensemble to 90 as other orchestras around the country, from Philadelphia to Atlanta, have shed positions to save money.”

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Baltimore Symphony Enlists Designers To Reimagine What Musicians Wear On Stage

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“If all now goes according to plan, four or five student designs of women and men’s garments will be presented to Baltimore Symphony players this summer. The design school has already taken the BSO musicians’ measurements with a 3-D body scanner. According to Gabbi Asfour, a fashion designer who leads the Parsons effort, once the musicians choose their garments, production will take about four months.”

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Leave Rotterdam Philharmonic Post In 2018

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“The Rotterdam Philharmonic said on Tuesday that its principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin will step down in 2018, his tenth year on the job. The announcement was widely expected, as the conductor has also been juggling directorships at the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal, and is increasingly tapped as a guest conductor.”

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Neil Shicoff Gets An Opera Company To Run – In St. Petersburg

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The 65-year-old tenor, said more than once in the past to have been a candidate for the top post at the Vienna State Opera, has been named chief of opera at the Mikhailovsky Theatre which artistic director (and chief funder) Vladimir Kekhman has transformed from poor stepsister to the Mariinsky into one of Russia’s most dynamic opera and ballet houses.

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Berlin Philharmonic Ready To Vote On New Leader

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“No, there will be no white smoke, and these are not cardinals in the Sistine Chapel. These voters are the tenured musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic, and they are set to meet at 10 a.m. on Monday at an undisclosed location in Berlin to make one of the most prestigious appointments in classical music: a new chief conductor and artistic director, who will succeed Simon Rattle when he leaves the orchestra in 2018.”

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Why Esa-Pekka Salonen Is Such A Hot Commodity Right Now

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“It’s easy to understand why any orchestra might be eager to get Salonen onto the payroll. At 56, the Helsinki-born musician is at the top of his game as a conductor, with a broad range of both new music and a standard repertoire that he performs with a blend of technical bravura and interpretive insight.”

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The Conductorless Orchestra That Plays In Soup Kitchens And Crumbling Churches

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Violinist Vena Johnson of the Prometheus Chamber Orchestra: “There’s this disconnect between what the art means to us and how that translates into the community. Many people just aren’t reached. It’s not necessarily economic – if the art isn’t speaking to a society for what we’re going through, then it won’t translate.” (Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 5 went over particularly well in the soup kitchen.)

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San Diego Opera Pays Out $1 Million Settlement To Former Execs Who Tried To Shut Company Down

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The payment, which includes accrued retirement plan funds and unused vacation pay, to former general director, artistic director and CEO Ian Campbell and deputy director Ann Spira Campbell was negotiated and paid last June, with the money provided by an anonymous donor separately from all operating funds for the company.

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