Brisbane Baroque only launched last year, and the first-ever festival won five Helpmann Awards, Australia’s national honors for the performing arts. But this week, just two months after the second festival ended and a few days before it’s expected to get another batch of Helpmann nominations, news emerged that many of this year’s performers still haven’t been paid and Brisbane Baroque’s CEO is incommunicado in a Melbourne hospital.
While she’s currently at her summer home in New England, in the fall Sokoloff will return to her students in Philadelphia, where she has taught at Curtis since 1938.
“How do we justify the continued existence of our [orchestras, newspapers, insert institution of your choice here]? How do we make these institutions relevant to an audience that is pulling away, finding other ways to get music and information? The scrutiny isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s shining a light on some unexpected baggage.”
“Does China, with its own rich cultural history, need opera houses performing a Western repertoire? Does Oman need one? And what about Dubai, traditionally an Arab trading town? Performing opera in countries that are not part of the Western cultural history may be cultural imperialism initiated by the countries’ rulers rather than an enlightened offering to their residents.”
“Less than three hours after the Grant Park Music Festival cancelled Wednesday’s opening concert, a tentative agreement has been reached between the festival and musicians. Tomorrow night’s season-opening program will take place as scheduled, with Carlos Kalmar leading the Grant Park Orchestra in music of Barber, Poulenc, and Mussorgsky.”
“The National Endowment for the Arts has named its 2017 NEA Jazz Masters: the musicians – Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Holland, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Dick Hyman – and the jazz historian Ira Gitler. Each will each receive $25,000 and be honored at a tribute concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on April 3, 2017.”
“As human beings we like to feel things when we are moved”. Though the feeling may not be exactly the same as happiness, it may be the ability to cope with the sadness that gives the feeling of comfort.
“I was on my way to Gustavo Dudamel’s debut at L.A. Opera on Friday when I was laid off. I could have still gone and reviewed it here (for free) but as you will understand I didn’t feel up to it. … I was not fired for cause (as the lawyers say) or for the quality of my work. In fact, I was told the quality of my work had nothing to do with it. Just need to make that clear.”
“Stateside, she fundraised for eight years to acquire her current violin, while European countries loan instruments to their top artists. Being a self-employed artist in the United States means paying for your own health insurance or going without, not the case in Europe. But at the end of the day, she says, New York wins out on …” (audio)
“The new algorithm, developed by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, can predict the precise acoustical qualities of a sound, and then simulate it in an extremely realistic way. When analyzing a silent video clip, such as an object being hit by a drumstick, the system can produce a sound for the hit that’s realistic enough to fool human listeners.”
Bernard Haitink will conduct a concert at Bologna’s Auditorium Manzoni [on] 6 January 2017… The ensemble, created in Bologna by Claudio Abbado in 2004, stopped playing in 2014 due to a combination of Abbado’s ill health and Italian government spending cuts.”
“The dragon of this production has a wingspan of 33 feet, and weighs in at 440 pounds. … The beast has three manipulators – one inside the body, one in the head, and it’s walking and flicking its ears and opening its mouth and has teeth. … Dubbed Firebird: Reimagined, the piece receives its live-orchestra world premiere at the Mann [Center in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park] on July 20, … [and] it will move on to Wolf Trap, Ravinia, the Hollywood Bowl, and other summer venues.”
“A first-of-its-kind study suggests that if stronger educational outcomes are your goal, music is the better choice. But playing sports also has its benefits — and participating in both appears to be even more academically advantageous.”
“Researchers at the Freiburg Institute for Musicians’ Medicine wanted to find out how much loudness effects enunciation when it comes to opera singers.”
“Portland-based Allegro Media Group, a distributor for small, independent music and video labels, appears to be leaving a swath of unhappy business partners in the wake of its financial problems.” (The comments include testimony from an exec (under his own name) at one of the client labels, as well as from an ex-employee and a former competitor.)
“New Music is inherently in a difficult ideological position: it is in conflict with the economic, educational, and political structures that contribute to its birth, but it must simultaneously reconcile itself to them in order to attempt to bypass the anticipated consequences that these very conditions cause.”
“Parents in less affluent districts may not be able to provide that extra support. Schools legally can’t charge students to participate in extracurricular activities such as band or sports, so everyone should have equal access. But more affluent parents can help pay for private lessons and additional coaches, giving their students an edge.”
“The rise and fall of the Dixie Chicks, with its extreme highs and lows, seems practically scripted for maximum drama.”
“Prince was already working on making it a museum, gathering memorabilia from his career, including his motorcycle from ‘Purple Rain.'”
“I would like to suggest here that perhaps the perfect example of the skill set required of a reenvisioned music teacher can be seen in the life of a music producer. These professionals are part musician, part technician, part guidance counselor and part magician for the artists that they work with.”
“We have a great paradox in America. I would say we have more great orchestras, certainly among the greatest opera companies and we have conservatories where we’re producing an extraordinary level of students. A far higher level than when I was in conservatory. We have an extraordinary supply. What has atrophied is the demand. I’m not talking about music education for professionals. I’m talking about music as a part of everybody’s education.”
“The sequence of events and their timing, as well as the correspondence, tell us a lot about how criticism is perceived in the current journalistic ecology. It also shows us to whom editors – or at least, one editor – feel beholden, and shockingly, it is not his writer or, by extension, the readers who expect to find reviews of major productions shortly after they open.”
Michelle Ross: “A lot of times we talk about outreach in classical music: ‘How can we break whatever preconceptions people might have? How can we bring classical music to people who aren’t exposed to it?’ This concept of outreach is really important, but I think labeling it as outreach can sometimes make us feel like we have to explain ourselves or we have to explain the music. And I firmly disagree with that.” (Q&A with video clips)
The Dutch conductor, who finishes at the Dallas Symphony and starts at the New York Philharmonic in 2018, has extended his contract as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic through 2021-22.
James Harvey, principal tuba of the Lismore Symphony in northern New South Wales, recounts how he and his fellows braved downpours, gales, and a building evacuation to perform for hundreds of appreciative small-town listeners.
And “symphony officials say subscription ticket sales for next season are 8 percent higher than they were on this date last year. Subscription revenue is up 9 percent so far. The fastest growth is in the Rocks and Movie Music series.”
“What changes does the new digital technology reflect or enable? Conversations with some of classical music’s most passionate advocates of the gadgets and with developers like forScore and Tonara that write applications for them reveal a number of developments. The traditional top-down structure of teaching has been shaken loose. “
“The League of American Orchestras, representing a mostly white industry, opens a three-day national conference Thursday in a majority African-American city at a time of increased racial tensions and heightened awareness of economic and educational disadvantages. The principal topic of the 2016 gathering in Baltimore: diversity.”
David Patrick Stearns gets with the PRISM Quartet to find out.
“The nine instruments coming to Philadelphia – with names such as chromelodeon and cloud-chamber bowls – collectively weigh 2,473 pounds, with transportation costs of approximately $10,000, equal to a healthy performance fee for a star soloist.”
“From my own experiments I am convinced that small double basses sound louder and carry further than large ones, without any lessening of the depth and warmth of sonic production. Because conductors face the stage, they often misjudge the sonic projection of the double bass as heard by the audience, and therefore favour large instruments.”