“This language barrier in the orchestra – which was about 50-50 – meant we had to bring in a highly-skilled translation team so that communication was fluent and fluid and people felt confident that people weren’t saying bad things about them.”
“You can thank the impossibility of creating one-size-fits-all sets for the world’s leading opera houses, muddled administrative leadership and a strained friendship. While the opera world is now flatter than ever, because of the growing number of global coproductions, taking shows on the road is rarely simple.”
“With stops in Finland, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, the tour could be called ‘the last first’ in the orchestra’s reboot. There was the first concert back, the first full season, the first recording session, the just-released first album from those sessions. Then there was the historic trip to Cuba — the first by a major U.S. orchestra since relations thawed.”
“The so-called great orchestras – the old, great orchestras – like to preserve certain musical values such as their sound. They think: ‘This is us, this is our trademark.’ Now a conductor comes and he has limited influence on the so-called great orchestra. So they attract conductors who love to wave their hands while not changing anything. Sometimes when you go to famous orchestras, you feel as if you are working with a prima donna singer who has her sound, and your only role is to be impressed by it. I would much rather go to an orchestra that is receptive to my ideas because I can then create something.”
“The ASO announced yesterday that it closed the 2015-16 fiscal year with a budget surplus for the second straight year. ASO spokeswoman Tammy Hawk said the final budget numbers won’t be released until a final audit is complete. In addition, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Musicians’ Endowment Fund has raised over $20 million and is expected to reach its $25 million goal this year.”
“Satie knew that the prospect of performing this composition was so daunting, he wrote a note above the score that said one should “prepare oneself beforehand, in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities. It’s as if he knew he had devised an art piece that is a cudgel to lay up against the side of the listeners’ heads with a force and fervor they can’t deserve.”
“Those who have recently purchased a vinyl album are most likely to be aged between 45 and 54, apparently. In fact, those in the 18-24 age group are the least likely. It is not just an act of hoarding by hobbyists, either – it has emotional significance: older vinyl buyers are slightly more likely to keep their feelings to themselves (56% of vinyl buyers versus 53% of all UK adults) and enjoy being alone (69% of vinyl buyers versus 66% all UK adults).”
“Rampant piracy is the narrative being pushed by the music industry in its letter to Congress, but the truth is more complicated. Read between the lines of the letter, and a larger, more lucrative and familiar problem appears: The royalties that an artist or songwriter gets each time a stream of their song is played are declining.”
“Digitizing braille music isn’t as easy as just scanning the page. The tactile notations require multiple steps for accurate transcription, and their history of touch means the dots are sometimes smashed or otherwise unreadable.”
“Stambeli, a uniquely Tunisian hybrid of musical genre, healing practice, and religious ceremony, [is] deeply rooted in the history of a specific community: the descendants of slaves brought to the region from sub-Saharan Africa during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It also has close links to Sufism.” But the changes in the country since the Arab Spring (notably the Saudi-funded spread of Salafism) are combining with older ethnic prejudices to put a lot of pressure on stambeli‘s remaining practitioners.
“PlayBack is open to all Seattle-area musicians who record or perform in the city of Seattle and have had an album produced within the last five years. PlayBack is intended to be an ever-expanding collection of Seattle’s musical culture, and a total of 100 new albums will be available each year through the Library’s catalog.”
“The symphony reported a record of nearly $5 million in total ticket revenue for its 2015-16 season, with $2.9 million of that in subscriptions. Perhaps more impressive, the symphony series performances sold 95 percent of available tickets, on average.”
The bulk of the spending in the four-year, A$202 million project, funded by the New South Wales state government, will be for a renovation to fix the notoriously bad sound in the opera house’s concert hall.
“The arts – and especially classical music – flourished here throughout the early 20th century. Nicknamed the St. Petersburg of the East, Harbin was home to a thriving Jewish community that helped build a rich cultural scene, including China’s first symphony orchestra, [founded in 1908 and] made up of mostly Russian musicians.”
“At least a half-dozen professional orchestras have created 360-degree films for use with VR headsets, among them, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Most aim to replicate a concert hall experience, whether on stage – so the viewer can hover over a violin section or an oboe soloist – or in the audience, where the 360-degree view also includes rows of empty seats.”
“At the Virée classique, at just about the time an ordinary person starts to wonder when the concert will end, it ends. The audience disperses for lunch or some shopping or whatever, and then regroups in different combinations at another hall nearby for another shot of music.”
“Think the harpsichord is an inherently limited instrument, too quiet, too inexpressive, too inferior to a modern piano? That, [Mahan Esfahani] argues, implies asking the wrong question to begin with. Think a harpsichordist must naturally align with an early-music movement that awakened so much interest in his instrument? Wrong. … Think that the harpsichord is exclusively an instrument for the music of centuries past? Wrong.”
“A grassroots new music community (or as ‘grassroots’ as anything which is tied to higher education can be) is in a true dialogue with the larger artistic culture, and the promise of the LA Philharmonic to make Los Angeles a contemporary musical destination seems to have finally taken root. An LA aesthetic has emerged, and I can’t help but notice a bit of pioneering Wild West in the raucous brew.”
“One man perches literally on the edge of his seat, listening with his whole body; his chest seems to swell with the singers’ every breath. Afterward, I’m not surprised when he says that, before today, ‘I didn’t know that Latinos do opera,’ but ‘for a brief fifteen minutes, I was up there, I was singing.'”
“The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, already a national leader in offering affordable concerts, said Tuesday it is offering free tickets to school and college students to unlimited concerts during the 2016-17 season. Students can go online now and order tickets a week before single tickets go on sale to the general public.”
Scott Timberg: “Even if you scorn Boomer myth-making, the 50th anniversary of Revolver – perhaps the Beatles’ best album – is a big deal. It not only sent the band in a new direction, it showed new possibilities in rock music.”
“‘It’s André’s wish that we be straight about that,” said his manager Linda Marder … “Men of a certain age have this problem.’ Survival rates are very high. The diagnosis was made only weeks ago, … [and Watts] has been to the Mayo Clinic to determine treatment.”
“At the end of the ’80s, rock accounted for more than 40 percent of U.S. music sales, and guitarists still strutted the stage like kings. Yet by the year 2000, rock had fallen below 25 percent of the market, and rap artists were proving, week after week, that hit songs didn’t need any guitar.”
“Estonia has a long history of music-making and state support for classical music, but we didn’t have a tradition of musical entrepreneurship. With the Tallinn Music Week, we wanted to kick-start an artistic entrepreneurship culture. We felt that the success of Estonian music was going to be dependent on artists acting like self-sufficient companies.”
“The fact that there will be all of them in the Library of Congress — they’ll all still be together, they’ll all be available for study. It’s the only memorial that hundreds of American violin-makers are going to have.”
BBC Music Magazine surveyed 151 conductors working across the world to come up with a top 20 great symphonies.
“My dream is that we have a music tradition here in our favela that mixes the Brazilian traditions with New Orleans jazz traditions in wind instruments, and we create something new in live music.”
“I love that my son loves the Beatles, and I am optimistic that this will lead him down a path not unlike my own upbringing immersed in music.”
“The acting, with certain exceptions, is quite restrained. With an opera, one’s doing in a way the opposite and bringing out the latent psychological and emotional meaning. The music underlines the power of the feeling. In some ways, I found that operatic subjects, whether it’s a source that you use or a real-life thing, are subjects that seem to invite a further dimension that in a way would bring them to some kind of new stature.
“Unlike other musicians whose lives were marked by marital strife, substance abuse and run-ins with the law, Mr. Fountain lived a blissful existence with Beverly Lang Fountain, his wife of 64 years, and a sizable number of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”