“The reasons for the Met’s less than spectacular performance at the box office remain somewhat obscure, particularly since, on a day to day basis, the company offers what is likely the strongest casting of any opera company in the world.” Indeed, the Met is in the middle of “a golden age of vocalism.”
“The auditorium—the largest of three concert halls in the Elbphilharmonie—is a product of parametric design, a process by which designers use algorithms to develop an object’s form. Algorithms have helped design bridges, motorcycle parts, typefaces—even chairs. In the case of the Elbphilharmonie, Herzog and De Meuron used algorithms to generate a unique shape for each of the 10,000 gypsum fiber acoustic panels that line the auditorium’s walls like the interlocking pieces of a giant, undulating puzzle.”
“The scheme, costed at £278m, appeared derailed in November when the [national] government unexpectedly announced it was withdrawing money it had pledged for a detailed business case to be made. On Thursday the City [of London] said it would provide the money, up to £2.5m, needed to complete it.” The move comes just as Hamburg has opened its new concert hall to ecstatic reviews.
Rick Fulker: “From my vantage point, the stage was far below, but despite the distance from the source of the music, I had the sensation of sitting amidst it. … [The program] spanned five centuries of Occidental art music, and the interior space played along. Soloists and small ensembles sometimes performed from the upper balconies, but whether five or fifty meters away, they sounded equally vivid as the orchestra down there onstage.”
“Composers across the country have been outraged over a competition launched by the Canadian House of Commons in honour of [the confederation’s sesquicentennial].” The main issue is award money so stingy that even former prime minister Stephen Harper might be embarrassed.
Markus Rhoten grew up in Germany with American parents who were professional musicians themselves. (He didn’t take up his father’s instrument, the trumpet, because “I was worried it would make me a bad kisser.”)
The legendary art collection in Philadelphia has an in-house curation team planning the events, “aiming to elucidate the paintings and sculptures while exploring the concepts behind them.” For one of the series, the museum is even assembling its own ensemble “for intensive two-weeks-or-more workshops and performances [exploring] complex modern works.”
The combination of miniature, struggling, and titanic companies makes for an operatic ecosystem that is as rich as it is fragile. The question is: can the city sustain it?
The Met sent Pretty Yende over to sing “Una voce poco fa” from Barber of Seville, and both the studio audience and the Twitterverse were thrilled. “The question is, did the diva appearance foster any new opera fans, or was this just hopeful thinking?” Michael Vincent considers.
What a change from the strike back in 2010! The three-year agreement includes a bit more money for players, more flexibility, and a brand-new stipend.
That quote is from PSO president Melia Tourangeau, who says the new contract offers “some breathing room right now” but that the orchestra badly needs to expand its donor base.
Robert Moody joined the orchestra in 2005; he says that he and the board “all felt really strong in our belief that a decade, give or take a few years on either side, was about the right amount of time.”
“Under Shui’s baton, the SSO has gone from a promising national ensemble to winning international acclaim. Its televised BBC Proms debut in 2014 received four out of five stars in The Guardian and The Telegraph. It was hailed as possibly ‘one of the great orchestras of the 21st century’ by the London Spectator after a 2010 performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall.”
Conductor Teddy Abrams: “I thought, ‘wait a minute, instead of focusing on how to get a larger share of the state budget — which by the way is next to nothing; I think we get $30,000 from the state — maybe we should focus on getting an orchestra to serve the entire state and start using culture to break down some of these divides …. Because this just can’t go on. It’s ridiculous: Here are people living right next to each other who can’t have a meaningful dialogue, and who assume nothing will ever change. So I keep thinking, ‘what can I do about that?’”
The director of the Elbphilharmonie says that tickets to performances by resident ensembles, touring orchestras like the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony, chamber music, new music and jazz alike are all bought up within hours. He’s even selling “blind date” tickets to concerts by artists to be named later – and people are buying those, too.
Teddy Abrams: “I thought, ‘wait a minute, instead of focusing on how to get a larger share of the state budget – which by the way is next to nothing; I think we get $30,000 from the state – maybe we should focus on getting an orchestra to serve the entire state and start using culture to break down some of these divides.’ Because this just can’t go on. It’s ridiculous: Here are people living right next to each other who can’t have a meaningful dialogue, and who assume nothing will ever change.”
And that would explain why he’s managed to produce more than 30 of them – in particular the chamber operas he writes between major commissions. “I’ve found that experimental theatre companies are prepared to take on these things, and it is a handy form to work in, not requiring huge budgets.”
There are reports that “Google showed interest in purchasing the company. SoundCloud currently boasts more than 175 million users around the world. While Spotify may have purchased the company for its 2014 $1 billion price, Google may spend just $500 million. The Big 3 labels – Universal, Sony, and Warner – own stakes in SoundCloud Ltd. If Google purchases the music streamer, the Big 3 will get a windfall.”
Accordion? Yes, occasionally an orchestra has to find one, as when the Philharmonic did a Kurt Weill score last week. As it happens, there’s one guy who specializes in playing accordion with symphony orchestras.
In the fall of 2015, historians visiting the Altomünster Abbey outside Munich found in its library “at least 500 books, … including precious illuminated manuscripts from the 16th century, chants used by the uniquely women-led Bridgettine Order and processionals bursting with colorful religious and ornamental decoration in their margins.” Not long afterwards, the Vatican decided to close the convent, which has only one nun left, and put the entire collection on lockdown, and the Munich archdiocese refuses to let researchers near it.
Beth Morrison says she follows her guts and her ears in her work. “I won’t do anything unless I’m mad crazy about the music and the composer and really feeling like they’re contributing something to the field that is different,” she says.
“I expected a cascade of clichés and prejudices: a maestro with no sense of rhythm who waves his arms as if washing an invisible car, audiences of stiffs and snobs, perhaps a new symphony that launches the composer into a life of nightly standing ovations and perpetual Champagne on tap. Three seasons later, I’m not just sold; I’m consumed with admiration.”
“Since the U.S. embargo of Cuba began in 1962, the ability of Cuban and American musicians to travel back and forth has shifted with the political winds. The late ’70s saw a brief but notable loosening of tensions. In 1985, President Reagan took a hard line. In the late ’90s, under Clinton, the doors opened again, especially for artists, to encourage “people-to-people exchange.” George W. Bush reversed that policy. Following a memorable December 2003 engagement by Chucho Valdés at Manhattan’s Village Vanguard jazz club, no other musician living in Cuba played in the U.S. until 2009, when the Obama administration began loosening travel restrictions.”
It’s in the Daily Shouts section and is a fine example of that particular piece of the New Yorker. The headline is: “Thoughts While Attending the First Symphony in the Series my Wife Wanted To Buy.” However, we see no lie in this particular sentence: “You’d think, for what these tickets cost, the seat would at least be comfortable.”
James Oestreich: “Neither a composer himself nor active in contemporary music, he was as radically fixated on the musical past as Mr. Boulez was on the future. Yet he exerted a powerful influence on the present, having helped to negotiate a fruitful truce between mainstream practice and the early-music movement with his historically informed performances. The evidence lives in his recordings, said to number more than 500.”
It’s an unwieldy “low-register behemoth that requires voluminous breath, careful control and formidable stamina,” and here are many minutes of its best moments so far.
A new study commissioned ahead today’s announcement by UMG, entitled “Global Insight: The Appeal of High-Res Audio (Studio Quality Sound)” presents a variety of data supporting a growing market for hi-res audio. The findings claimed that 85 percent of U.S. consumers say audio quality is “very important” to them; 48 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to pay more for better audio quality; and perhaps most significantly that “71 percent of existing music streaming subscribers are interested in the option of studio quality sound.”
It’s already been nearly a decade since the paper laid off its critic, Lawrence A. Johnson; since that time, the Herald has licensed reviews and articles from Johnson’s subsequent venture, South Florida Classical Review. Now the paper has abandoned even that.
“I had probably the most rigorous routine I’ve ever had in my professional life for this role. There was a lot of physical conditioning I had to do. It’s a monster role, and the emotional stakes just get higher and higher and that takes an incredible toll physically.”
Great – but vinyl sales only accounted for about two percent of the market. Still, it shows that “people want tangible objects – it’s human nature, and there is still nothing as satisfying as cracking open a new record, placing it with care on the turntable, and letting the sound take you away, as you look at the album sleeve. Formatting a Spotify playlist will never compete with that, no matter how many millions of songs are at your disposal.”