She’s 29-year-old Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (just call her Mirga) from Lithuania, and she begins her term this September. Her predecessors at the CBSO are Andris Nelsons, Sakari Oramo, and Simon Rattle – and look what they’ve gone on to.
“Translating an ephemeral medium like music into a physical object brings unavoidable challenges, namely the fact that music is inherently dynamic in both tempo and tone. An architectural installation, by its very nature, wants to be still.”
How the physical layouts of cities (and the ways people use them) shape the kinds of music that grow up there.
“Paul Meecham, who became president and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra a decade ago after a period of high deficits and rocky morale, and quickly corrected its course, is stepping down at the end of June to take a similar position with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.”
“The moment of truth came last summer. For months the group had considered ending their run. No one person led the way. … All options were considered, including bringing in replacements – as problematic as that might be. The quandary included subtle cracks in the foundation, including the normal wear and tear and frustration that occur in any group, particularly in one so often like a marriage.”
“These may not be the best—maybe they will never be the best—but they are intriguing. They play by their own rules, and they grab your attention. A week later, a month later, you’re still mulling over their quirks, their eccentricities, and wondering about their potential for greatness.”
“It is a little disheartening that everybody, including “classical” musicians, has the need to grasp for terms like “classical,” “concert,” or worse, “art” music. Is there not a tacit air of aristocracy or bourgeoisie to the concert-going community? I know that what I do and with whom I do it are privileges, but our products ought to be more publicly digestible.”
“His long-standing health woes seemed to worsen this season to the point that singers and musicians were having difficulty following his conducting. But then … the doctor gave Mr. Levine an 11th hour reprieve, saying that [his] most serious problems could probably be solved by adjusting the dosage of a medication that he has been taking to treat his Parkinson’s disease.”
“The extension, which lasts until July 31, keeps the contract terms the same as the contract that expired last year. … The two parties have been in negotiations since last June and have been far apart on how much musicians should be paid.”
“Mr. van Zweden, 55, is more a maestro of the old school. He is sometimes polite, and sometimes quite blunt, but always very direct in seeking what he wants — the demanding teacher who, instead of giving a B-plus to a passable but unexceptional paper, will send it back riddled with cross-outs, order a rewrite and make it sparkle.”
“Opera is a complex, historic art form, with its own arcane formal language. Rather than think of it as entertainment, it makes more sense to conceive of it as a vast archive of emotional, historical, social and theatrical data. Opera allows us to enter into, understand and actually feel emotions that are culturally and historically extremely distant from our own time and sensibility.”
“Back when he recorded his first tracks, studio musicians weren’t appreciated or even known by name outside the record industry. But Purdie was one of the foremost sidemen to advocate for his own visibility, and few others had his charisma or cockiness. Everywhere he goes, Purdie is called upon to play his defining creation, the Purdie Shuffle, a notoriously complex four-limb beat that he invented (and quickly named after himself) in his salad days.”
“The notion that jazz is or isn’t is actually antithetical to the spirit of this music and all of the artists who have pushed its boundaries. Trying to make this music fit into a neat little box just can’t happen. And that’s tough for some people. We crave definitions for our art, and when we can’t describe or compare it, many get frustrated. Hence, the Jazz Police.”
“In each country, the Concertgebouw will perform one opening work side by side with a local youth orchestra, and members will give masterclasses and tuition to young musicians. Daniele Gatti will conduct the first concerts of the tour.”
“Could anything be more natural than Dudamel and YOLA at the Super Bowl? The inspiring youth orchestra, which Dudamel initiated in 2009 when he assumed his post with the L.A. Phil, is composed of mainly African American, Asian and Latino inner city kids. And after seven years of instruction and rigorous practice, they now represent the best of who we are as a society and of our future.”
The Genoa-born conductor “has been named as the new music director designate of Florence’s Opera di Firenze and its annual spring festival, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in what appears to be something of a shakeup at the Tuscan company. The position of music director is a new one within Opera di Firenze, and an office that was reportedly created especially for Luisi.”
The award, worth DKK 600,000 (currently about $88,000), “is Denmark’s highest musical honour and has been given annually to an internationally recognised composer, instrumentalist, conductor or singer since 1959.”
The city’s arts community has entered “its 2.0 phase,” says Catherine Cuellar, an official at the Communities Foundation of Texas and former CEO of the Dallas Arts District. The arrival of such energetic figures as van Zweden, 55, credited with transforming the Dallas orchestra into one of the best in the country, and Anderson, 59, who devised ambitious programming and reinstated free general admission at the DMA, proves the arts community has turned a corner, Cuellar said.
“With his popular, political, uncategorizable jazz, the young saxophonist has become something his genre rarely produces anymore: a celebrity.”
“It’s not really an educational system, because…if you do something 22 or more hours a week, at some point, you’ll start getting good at it, that’s all.” Extreme working conditions were the norm.
“Last week, musicians voted to authorize a strike and also rejected what management had called its final offer. A news release issued by the FWSO on Friday said the final offer would be implemented on Monday. … According to the [musicians’ union], the concessionary terms, including a more than 8 percent pay cut, have not been forced on musicians.” Management won’t comment.
“Mr. van Zweden is an accomplished artist and a feisty podium presence who exudes energy. Those of us who want this institution to thrive should offer congratulations and wish him success. Still, my feeling lingers that his appointment represents a safe course.”
“Despite the massive success of Adele’s album 25, which sold a whopping 7.4 million copies in only six weeks, 2015 marked the first time in U.S. history that new releases were outsold by catalogue albums.”
“He has been credited with lifting the standard of the Dallas Symphony, an achievement that gained wider recognition when he was named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year in 2012.”
“What the New York Philharmonic more urgently lacked under Gilbert was a dynamic, charismatic figure able to galvanize excitement around the orchestra’s concerts. It’s not clear that van Zweden fully offers that.”
“At a press conference this morning, the Philharmonic introduced Jaap van Zweden, who will take up his duties in 2018. He was in transit from Hong Kong, where he conducts the Hong Kong Philharmonic, to Dallas, where he leads the Dallas Symphony. He will simplify his schedule in order to make room for America’s oldest and testiest orchestra.”
“A new bill from Philly City Councilman Mark Squilla would require owners of nightclubs, cabarets, bars and restaurants in the city to collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of entertainers — bands, rappers and DJs — in a registry, and to share that personal information with police upon request.”
“The computerized programming of the International Touring Organ delivers what’s in essence a digitized synthesis of the sounds of Carpenter’s favorite pipe and electronic organs” – theater organs as well as church and concert-hall instruments – with “five manuals (keyboards), a specialized pedalboard, and controls for the stops [as well as] a supercomputer/amplifier unit, the brains of the array, and an expansive proprietary system of specialized speakers. But no pipes.”
“The most hotly awaited event of the opera season just got a new leading man. Cold Mountain, the years-in-the-works Jennifer Higdon opera based on Charles Frazier’s 1997 Civil War-era novel, was written with star baritone Nathan Gunn in mind – but he has been replaced by up-and-coming Jarrett Ott. Gunn withdrew from the Feb. 5-14 run at the Academy of Music. His stated reason was family illness.”
The Met says that Kaufmann has withdrawn from the production, which opens on Feb. 12, due to illness. Alagna, who has never sung the lead tenor role, is stepping out of the Met’s current run of Pagliacci in order to learn it.