What Will The San Diego Opera’s New General Director Do With The Resurrected Institution?


Under David Bennett’s leadership, “the San Diego Opera will undoubtedly broaden its offerings to include chamber opera, concert opera, musical theater and other forms in which drama is communicated through singing, and the company expects to diversify beyond the Civic Theatre. What’s the exact balance?”

Leonardo’s Odd Piano Is Heard 500 Years Later


The flat bed of its interior is lined with golden spruce. Sixty-one gleaming steel strings run across it, similar to the inside of a baby grand.
Each is connected to the keyboard, complete with smaller black keys for sharp and flat notes. But unlike a piano, it has no hammered dulcimers. Instead, there are four spinning wheels wrapped in horse-tail hair, like violin bows.

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New Initiative To Bring Diversity To Orchestras


“A new initiative will establish a groundbreaking fellowship program aimed at providing opportunities for under-served musicians at the graduate level. The intent is to help prepare them for the exceedingly competitive world of professional orchestras. The pilot program will start in the fall of 2016. It is the first program of its kind and could become a model for classical music organizations around the country.”

Musicians Are Asking The Wrong Questions About Streaming


Like unmetered water, an all-you-can-eat buffet, or an unlimited cellphone contract, the new streaming music services create a different set of incentives for both customers and suppliers. To apply these changes to a mature ownership-based market, we have to forget a lot of things we didn’t even realize we had learned. The question we have to ask is not “Should I stream my stuff?” but “How does the existence of streaming services change my job?”.

The Classical Audience Isn’t Dying Off, It’s Just Changing, Says Richard Wagner’s (Other) Great-Granddaughter


Nike Wagner, director of Bonn’s Beethovenfest: “The connoisseurs of bygone times are giving way to the consumers of today. And these people tend to gravitate toward the mainstream, toward popular big events with pop, rock and entertainment. Yet classical music, in the widest sense, has always been written and intended for a minority audience. So it’s paradoxical – but this way, the highest quality, ‘elite’ works are also getting exposure.”

Neil Young Removes His Music From Streaming Services (But Not Because Of Money)


Neil Young says he’s removing his music from all streaming services because his songs are being “devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting.” In two Facebook posts, the Toronto-born 69-year-old denigrates streaming and notes his preference for the formats of yesteryear, including analog cassettes, eight tracks and AM radio.

Is Streaming Helping Or Hurting The Music Business?


“I was interested in the number of streams I got on Spotify and I think it was around five million plays of the entire album from start to finish, in America, which for me was really exciting. But at the same time I didn’t see any money from that… so I don’t think it’s actually made a difference how the company sees me as an artist.”

Why Did Mendelssohn Never Write An Opera?


His music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems so promising. Yet “spend any time in the company of Mendelssohn’s letters, and it becomes clear that here is a man of prodigious talent, shining intellect and bubbling enthusiasm who, when it came to opera, pretty much pressed self-destruct on any project that was suggested to him.”

How A Fundraising Concert Reinvented Pop Music


“By helping create a new superleague of rock stars, an event conceived purely to raise money for African famine victims ended up generating just as much revenue for the labels to whom the artists were signed. From the industry’s perspective, the timing was perfect. Compact disc players were becoming affordable and the format gave baby boomers the perfect excuse to forego new music in order to re-purchase albums by many of the artists who performed that day.”

What Made Jon Vickers Great – And Terrifying

vickers gramophone

“The characters into whose mindsets Vickers wormed his way were mostly tragic figures: flawed leaders, social outcasts, sexual obsessives caught in the toils of Eros. The labour the roles involved was immense … Vickers could, indeed, open himself up to psychotic states.” (includes video of Vickers as Canio, Don Jose and Peter Grimes)

How Haiti’s Disasters (And History) Created A New Musical Legacy


“The roots of electronic rabòday can be found in rara, a music older than Haiti itself. It began with the indigenous Taíno people, mixed with rhythms brought from Africa by slaves, and eventually morphed and modernized into a style that today is played by roving musicians throughout the country.”

The Avant-Garde Opera Director Who Has To Dodge The Paparazzi


Sophie Hunter, an opera director and actor who happens to be married to Benedict Cumberbatch, “sees no real distinction between her niche work in opera and the kind of commercial success that her husband enjoys in films such as The Imitation Game or in next month’s production of Hamlet at the Barbican, for which all but ‘on the day’ tickets sold out quickly. ‘My job now is to make work, to tell stories,’ Hunter said.”

English National Opera Artistic Director John Berry Steps Down After Tumultuous Year


“His departure comes after a difficult year for the increasingly beleaguered ENO. A 29% cut to its public funding was announced in July 2014. In January this year, the company’s chairman, Martyn Rose, stood down after writing, in a subsequently leaked letter, that the artistic director was part of the problem not the solution. Weeks later executive director Henriette Götz also resigned after disagreements with Berry.”