Berklee and Boston Conservatory Merge


“The schools said Thursday that they have agreed to explore a merger, a union they say could create a national powerhouse in performing arts education, with rich programs in music, theater, and dance. Governing boards for the two schools have approved plans to pursue the potential merger, which could occur as soon as 2016.”

Sony (And Other Major Recording Labels) Own A Piece Of Spotify. Is This A Conflict Of Interest That Hurts Artists?


“Having equity in Spotify might be smart, but if the money doesn’t trickle down from labels to profit participants, is it legal? The amended suit states that Sony has motive in making Spotify a more valuable company by giving it favorable royalty arrangement. By doing so, Sony’s own investment position is bigger, and any cash-outs won’t have to be shared with artists.”

Blue Note Jazz To Expand To China


“Jazz has long had a substantial consumer base in Asia, especially Japan. Blue Note Tokyo opened more than 25 years ago, joined later by Blue Note clubs in Osaka and Nagoya. But given the potential development of a new audience in China, this expansion could radically change the picture for jazz in the region — as well as reap benefits for touring musicians and the Blue Note brand.”

Royalty Escalation: New App Puts Streamed Music On Endless Plays To Boost Royalties


“The Eternify app puts any artist’s songs on endless repeat, playing just 30 seconds at a time – the minimum required to be considered a “listen”. Spotify said it was looking into whether it broke the service’s rules. Eternify was devised by New York-based act Ohm & Sport, who said streaming was “virtually worthless” for musicians.”

The Future Of America’s Orchestras? Norman Lebrecht Suggests Looking At Cleveland


“Rather than grooming social leaders for big donations, Cleveland asks them to meet young professionals who join its under-40s circle. You want to get ahead in Cleveland? Go to a concert. The orchestra has reinvented itself as a high-achieving social network. Its president, Gary Hanson, who retires this summer, has highlighted several routes out of the LAO gloom.”

What It Takes To Put On A Concert Of Female Singers In Iran

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“[The producer’s] goal is worthwhile and her cadres of singers and musicians, winningly charismatic, which makes the seemingly insurmountable obstacles she faces in producing just one performance all the more dismaying. Sara needs government approval to stage her event, but the central premise of the performance – female soloists – is illegal.”

What It’s Like To Have An Opera Written About You

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“Who has an opera made of their life? Roman gods, doomed lovers, Nixon, and now, to our great surprise, my wife Jessie and I. … In popular usage, the words ‘operatic’ and ‘tragic’ are roughly synonymous, the required minimum bet of misery much greater for opera than memoir. So how should you take it if professionals think your life was awful enough to qualify? The war was bad, I admit, but I didn’t know my war was Wagner bad.”

Are Festivals The Future Of Opera?


“Most of our opera companies have lost mainstage paid attendance in the last 10 years and Vancouver Opera is not excepted,” explained Opera America president and CEO Marc Scorca in an interview from New York last week. “The companies that have lost least audience or none at all are the festivals.”

London’s Royal Opera House Has Record Year At The Box Office


“Double-digit increases in income from ticket sales – which grew 19% to £44.2 million – and fundraising (a 10% lift to £26.5 million) accounted for more than half (56%) of all earnings. Funding of £29 million from Arts Council England saw its contribution to overall income decreasing 1% to 23% of the total.”

How Do Musicians Remember So Many Notes From Memory?


“Soloists are capable of remembering a tremendous amount of information based on several, mostly inexplicable and un-researched, mnemonic applications. Concert pianists, for example, can perform a 45 minute piece with 30,000 individual notes, that have to be performed in an absolutely particular order, with rhythmical and dynamic variability, passionately creating an emotional and formal narrative, from memory, live on stage.”

Was It Really Taylor Swift Who Got Apple To Pay Musicians?


Many small and mid-sized labels had protested Apple’s free trial. “Collectively, the protesting labels – which included Beggars Group, home to Adele and Britain’s largest indie – represented about a quarter of the global market. Not to have Swift’s album 1989 on Apple Music, when it launches at the end of the month, is one thing; to be missing tens of millions of songs from independent acts is a whole other matter.”

Nina Simone’s Moment Has Come (Again)


“Simone is striking posthumous gold as the inspiration for three films and a star-studded tribute album, and she was name-dropped in John Legend’s Oscar acceptance speech for best song. This flurry comes on the heels of a decade-long resurgence: two biographies, a poetry collection, several plays, and the sampling of her signature haunting contralto by hip-hop performers including Jay Z, the Roots and, most relentlessly, Kanye West. Fifty years after her prominence, Nina Simone is now reaching her peak.”

The Well-Tempered Clavier, Only In Fluorescent Lights

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“Hundreds of fluorescent light bulbs are hung in a gallery and parking garage, each one a physical representation of a single music note’s length and pitch. When a note is struck, its light, shadows, glows and reflections are rendered, creating a surprisingly life-like experience.”

Conductor Condemns Vancouver Opera’s Decision To Abandon Season, Become Festival


Bramwell Tovey: “Deeply concerned at the announcement, I tweeted ‘Distressing to see @VancouverOpera news spun as visionary. It’s terrible news. Vancouver to be only major Cdn city without an opera season.’ Within the hour, VO had tweeted back it was “disappointed” with me, presumably for not following the party line. Like many others, I was taken aback by the news.”

Music Streaming Is The Future. So Who Will Win The Streaming Wars?


“More than 40m people currently pay to subscribe to a music-streaming service, and this number is increasing by 50 per cent each year. Outstanding questions about low royalty payments to artists persist, but for the customer, at least, the value proposition is obvious—for $120 a year, you get everything. Streaming services are pricey, but once you’ve subscribed to one, you know there’s no going back. Of the original subscribers to Spotify’s first premium offering in 2010, 70 per cent were still enrolled after four years.”

New Music To Sleep By (8-Hour Piece To Be Listened To From Bed)


“Sleep, an eight-hour piece which the the German-born British composer calls a “lullaby for a frenetic world,” will premier in Berlin this September. The overnight performance will go on from midnight to 8am, with audience members in beds rather than seats. It is set to be the longest single piece of classical yet written, and is scored for piano, strings, vocals and electronics.”