The story of western classical music’s trajectory in China summons a vast canvas, featuring priests, revolutionaries, heroes and emperors.
“The value that the military bands offer is far greater than a small percentage point reduction on a budget line. The historic precedent for Pentagon funding for these programs stretches back to the United States’ founding.”
At a Major League Baseball game on Tuesday night, a member of the pop-opera group The Tenors, without warning his colleagues, changed the words of Canada’s national anthem to add the words “all lives matter” – and, of course, all hell broke loose. Said tenor evidently had no idea that “all lives matter” is an anti-#BlackLivesMatter backlash slogan and thought he was being inclusive. And so the jokes begin …
“Four of the [eliminated] jobs were in the marketing department, and a fifth was cut from the education department, symphony spokeswoman Julia Kirchhausen confirmed in an email.”
“Austria’s Grafenegg Festival, now approaching its tenth year as a destination summer event, with preliminary events beginning July 16, has appointed Leon Botstein as artistic director of the Grafenegg Campus and Academy, effective in 2018. The position is a new one, not to be confused with artistic director of the festival itself; that is Rudolf Buchbinder, in the job since the event’s beginnings in 2007.”
“Compared with earlier years, songs in 2010 were more likely to include the singer referring to the self by name, general self-promotion, and bragging about wealth, partner’s appearance, or sexual prowess,” the researchers report. “A similar, albeit nonsignificant increase, was also seen for bragging about musical prowess and demands for respect. Overall, the most popular music from 2010 contained more self-promotion than music from 1990 or 2000.”
“[Eric] Kujawsky is the director, founder, and inspiration behind the Redwood Symphony, which he has recently nicknamed ‘the Bernie Sanders of Symphonies’ because of their steadfast commitment to a progressive approach that embraces ambitious and contemporary music. If you wonder whether that includes a chip on the shoulder; yes, it does.”
“Founded in 2007, JACK has become an important ensemble with a reputation for adventurousness and for championing new work. … The personnel change adds a new wrinkle to the quartet’s name. JACK is an acronym made up of the first letters of the first names of its original musicians.”
“After a series of Google searches along the lines of ‘classical music black lives matter,’ it became clear to [Eun Lee] that no such project existed. ‘It just hit me,’ Ms. Lee said, ‘that, as much as we were seeing a response from rap musicians and folk musicians and now more and more pop musicians, there was no such response from the classical music community.'”
“On Saturday, 7,548 musicians assembled in a Frankfurt sports stadium to smash the world record for largest musical ensemble. … The orchestra performed the 9th symphonies of Dvorak and Beethoven, as well as lighter numbers by Andrew Lloyd Webber and pop music composer John Miles.” (includes video)
“After spending last season trying out candidates, Orchestra 2001 says it has hired a new artistic director: Jayce Ogren. He starts the job at the group’s concerts in late October.” He is only the second director Orchestra 2001 has ever had.
“The people who were there, and there were quite a lot of them, screamed and yelled with whole-hearted appreciation. And there were plenty of younger faces among the picnickers on the lawn. But it was far from a capacity crowd. Fewer people than in the past view the chance to hear a star soloist, rising conductor and orchestra in popular repertoire on a warm summer night as a can’t-miss event.”
“‘I wanted to buy something special,’ Mr. Wang said. ‘It’s just like a Rolls-Royce.'”
“The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music was renowned throughout the Middle East. But when war broke out many of its members had to flee.”
“L.A. Opera sold 118,565 tickets for the 2015-16 season, compared with 98,861 for 2014-15, the company said. Ticket revenue was about $14.2 million for the 2015-16 period, compared with about $11.1 million during the previous period.”
Not many of us remember Barbara Strozzi and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre; more of us know of Clara Schumann and Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn). Here’s an opportunity to get to know all four of them, as well as four more, a bit better.
“With Steinway’s blessing, [photographer Christopher] Payne spent time in virtually every corner of the large factory, from the foundry where the iron is poured to the mill where the lumber is cut. And though he came to possess a strong technical understanding of how these elements come together to form precision musical instruments, he said, the transformation never ceased to strike him as an act of magic.”
“The openly gay Melbourne native with a Jewish background has turned the opera scene in the German capital — not to mention traditional business acumen — on its head since he took over the Komische Oper four years ago.”
“Playing out behind the sleek, elegant lines of Oslo’s Opera House is a financial crisis so dramatic that it prompted Opera management to close the publicly owned building to the public itself last weekend, in order to rent it out for a ‘considerable’ sum for a private wedding. Now that’s stirring additional drama as well.”
Performing operas with cuts was common practice until the mid-20th century, as performing Shakespeare, for instance, is today. So, the argument goes, returning to the practice now is hardly as heretical as it might seem. “I don’t think we can any longer fail to hear what our audience is saying about length,” says Gockley.
John C. Gawf had power of attorney for his mother, who suffers from dementia, and he wrote himself checks from her account to pay gambling debts and credit card bills.
“Inside sources say the TSO is playing Let’s Make a Deal with Gary Hanson, a globally respected Toronto-born veteran of the classical music business who retired last year as executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra. In Cleveland, he was lauded for overseeing the magnificent renovation of Severance Hall, increasing attendance and boosting fundraising.”
Belgian researchers report 9- to 12-year-olds who had been taking regular music lessons displayed “enhanced cognitive inhibitory control” compared to a group of same-age peers. Their study, in the journal Musicae Scientiae, adds to the already large body of evidence showing cognitive benefits of musical training.
“The Sibelius Academy has some features that are unique in the world,” says Jasper Parrott, a leading artist agent in London who regularly visits leading conservatories to watch emerging talent. “It offers opportunities to work with an orchestra, its own very competent student orchestra. And thanks to Finland’s abundance of good orchestras, Sibelius Academy conducting students get professional opportunities even before they graduate.”
“[Teddy] Abrams has been the music director of the Louisville Orchestra for two years and by his own measure has had real success engaging the local community. He’s relentlessly tried new things, both in the way he goes out into the community and in programming … He’s approached his ‘mission,’ with the conviction that in Louisville he’s got to start from scratch, he’s got to find a way to make the lifestyle of a classical musician echo the excitement of being a sports star.”
Zimmermann had been performing on the “Lady Inchiquin” Stradivarius for 13 years; it was on permanent loan from a Düsseldorf bank, WestLB. But when that bank failed last year, its successor decided to auction off all of WestLB’s artworks, including this violin. Then a savior – perhaps an unlikely one – appeared.
“Alzheimer’s Masterpiece: It is a striking title for a string quartet, and not atypical of the creativity shown by Canada’s best-known living classical composer during a career that has spanned more than 60 years. But there is more than artistic significance to the name of this composition … R. Murray Schafer has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.”
“Who now wants a touring orchestra that’s just going to turn up, play, and go? Not many! So, if you are running an orchestra with shrinking public subsidy and are looking to tour, look around you, take account of the best practice from across the world including the UK, and mark your score with an accelerando.”
“The arts world has to let go of these popular, though incorrect clichés. First, paid capacity is a terrible way to gauge success—it does not provide real numbers that are actually tied to the budget. That four-year old study from the NEA needs to be put to rest, and we need a more updated, nuanced study of arts attendance in this country. And “Baumol’s cost disease” is an idea that has been vastly overplayed when talking about the arts… to the degree that Baumol himself is pushing back on how it’s being used.”