Ted Gioia talks to Scott Timberg: “Jazz shouldn’t be a kind of nutritional supplement. … This music is exciting. … In every step of its evolution jazz shook up things, and not just the music world, it shook up the culture.”
“When layers of paint and cracked and peeling render were stripped in a £6m repair project on the terrace, intricate brickwork and hidden funnels in the ceiling were revealed.”
“I don’t think anyone will notice the difference soon, but it will be arts organisations like the COC who will lose most from the absence of critics in the mainstream press.”
The 55-year-old conductor announced that he won’t renew his contract when it expires at the end of the 2017-2018 season. He said, “I want the company’s General Director Designate Matthew Shilvock to be able to move freely into the future.”
The Canadian Opera Company says that all it wanted was two little corrections to Arthur Kaptainis’s review in the National Post of its current production, not for the review to be taken offline. Michael Vincent reviews the emails between the COC and the editor, and finds that things are not that simple.
“What it shows is a waning understanding of, and tolerance for, not differences of opinion – those rage happily on in every paper’s Comments sections – but the role of criticism and the arts in a society where they have less dominance. [The National Post features editor] will be vilified in the arts community for his comments, but he’s right: newspaper reviews don’t do well online. This isn’t a condemnation, but a challenge.”
“Hardin Simmons has one of the oldest accredited schools of music in Texas … to start cutting the arts at a liberal arts program just seems outlandish.”
The production of La traviata at the Rome Opera is still in rehearsals, but it has nearly sold out its 15-performance run – and is, according to the company’s general manager, “already the biggest box office hit in the history of the theater from 1880.”
“Too frequently, there’s a split between musicians who play soulful, bluesy jazz, focused on I-IV-Vs and blues scales, and those who play progressive music, intellectually and aesthetically satisfying but with increasingly tenuous links to the music that birthed it a century ago.”
“They need the ritual, they want to be part of the whole spectacle. Sometimes people think that for student concerts you have to be casual and the orchestra has to be casual too. What we are doing is quite the opposite, and we are very successful in it. I think you should take the audience seriously. You should take the young audience and treat them like adults.”
“I had no mentors to guide me in compositional vision. I didn’t even know what to ask for. I was a suburban teenager with no family background in music, attending piano lessons each Tuesday and practicing four to five hours a day in secrecy from my rock-n-roll friends.”
“A cellist traveling to Spain for the start of the Curtis [Institute] European tour was not allowed to board a Lufthansa flight Saturday at Philadelphia International Airport … But this was apparently not a case of an airline simply refusing to let on a large instrument.”
“For 3½ years, Michael Heaston, 37, has been an artistic power behind the throne at the Washington National Opera, running the Domingo-Cafritz program and the American Opera Initiative … As of this month, he has started in an advisory capacity as executive director of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and will take over the position full time Aug. 29.”
Jane Little “debuted as a bassist in Atlanta on February 4, 1945, at the age of 16 and never stopped playing.” She was the world’s longest serving orchestra musician.
“The Herculean task of searching through the rack, putting a disc in a machine, ejecting it to wipe the fingerprint that made it skip through track two and then putting it into the machine again felt so arduous in this new world that it may as well have predated the industrial revolution.”
“Composers, however, have rarely hesitated … to treat their poets in cavalier fashion: changing titles, altering words, omitting or repeating lines or whole stanzas. Of course, poems have become known across the globe, carried by the power of music.”
“The singer is an ethnic Tatar, and the song seems to make reference to Soviet abuses of the group in Crimea during World War II. (‘They kill you all and say, ‘We’re not guilty,’’ she sings in the song.) There had been calls for Jamala’s disqualification that cited Eurovision’s rules banning explicitly political songs, but the song survived in part because its references did not directly name specific historical events.”
Midia Research founder Mark Mulligan, who’s spent more than a decade scrutinizing the digital-music market, predicts the music download business will stutter at around $600 million in 2019—a depressing fall from $3.9 billion in 2012, when Apple’s iTunes Store (the world’s preeminent downloads platform) was at its revenue peak. In 2015, downloads declined by 16%, and they look to slide as much as 30% more this year.
EUYO chief executive Marshall Marcus writes about the extraordinary praise the band has received over its 40 years, the bureaucratic reason for the cutoff of money, and how the likes of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Barbican, and the Salzburg Festival are responding.
Nina Baroness von Maltzahn, who steps down at the end of the month as the Curtis Institute of Music’s board chair, has made a grand parting gesture. … On an adjusted-for-inflation basis, [her] donation is the largest single gift Curtis has received since Mary Louise Curtis Bok established the school as tuition-free in 1928.”
Copland originally composed his score for Martha Graham’s dance piece for only 13 instruments, and when he later expanded the music for full symphony orchestra, he abridged it into a suite. Eugene Ormandy once asked the composer to restore the cuts and orchestrate the full-length score, but the project was never finished – until now.
“What’s worked for the last 400 years is when you see independent, risky art as an investment, not a subsidy. That can’t happen when the aim is to entertain or achieve quick success. By pursuing that aim, private concert presenters undermine and even endanger the essential, serious work of publicly funded institutions.”
Zachary Woolfe: “From its next music director, the Met should want a personal, passionate vision for the repertory as much as an exciting persona and technical chops. … But for better or (I think) worse, he would not arrive at the Met with an agenda, particularly in modern and contemporary music. … Mr. Nézet-Séguin would doubtless give us memorable takes on Otello. Is that enough?”
“Indeed, if any instrumentalist was going to be involved in a wild international money-laundering scheme, it was probably going to be a cellist. The instrument has a long history of association with rowdy activists, sultry libertines, genre iconoclasts, and all manner of rebellious spirits.”
“Why vinyl? Commitment. In this mid-second decade of the 21st century, music is being taken for granted on a collective scale. An entire generation of music listeners will never pay for music, nor do they believe that they should. The long form music medium has taken a back seat to song culture, yet the average person only listens to a song for approximately 24 seconds before deciding if it’s worth their time to continue to listen.”
“Garry Clarke, the period-instrument ensemble’s founder and artistic director, had previously announced that he would leave his position at the end of the current season. In a statement posted on the Baroque Band website, board president Evan Trent said the board voted unanimously to shutter the group after Clarke’s departure.”
“Amleto by Franco Faccio (1840-91) had a disastrous 1871 La Scala premiere … [and] the composer never again allowed the opera to be performed … The librettist was young Arrigo Boito (1842-1918), known as one of the great librettists in opera history for his later collaborations with Verdi on Otello and Falstaff. … And the singers and the creative team [for a new revival] say this operatic Hamlet needs no apologies.”
The partnership will be built on three strategies: music performance, music training and community engagement. “This isn’t just about cutting costs, but adding value. We believe this is a valuable model that should be observed throughout the field of symphony orchestras across the United States.”
“The answer, it seems to be, is a refinement and great expansion of the existing Rush Ticket program (as originally backed by the sainted Agnes Varis.)” La Cieca explains how exactly this would work, complete with (“take a deep breath,” she warns) math.
“Great bad singers take our greatest fears and put them on the stage in front of us. Florence Foster Jenkins lives out all of our worst nightmares: getting up in public unprepared, being mocked without knowing it, realizing you have forgotten to get dressed before going out.”