The prog-rock pioneers embraced extravagance: odd instruments and fantastical lyrics, complex compositions and abstruse concept albums, flashy solos and flashier live shows. Concertgoers could savor a new electronic keyboard called a Mellotron, a singer dressed as a batlike alien commander, an allusion to a John Keats poem, and a philosophical allegory about humankind’s demise—all in a single song (“Watcher of the Skies,” by Genesis).
Peter Dobrin talks to composer Hannibal Lokumbe (currently composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra) about his new oratorio, Crucifixion Resurrection: Nine Souls a Traveling, which premieres on the second anniversary of the massacre in the historic Charleston church.
“The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters award, which comes with a $25,000 prize, is widely described as United States’ highest honor for jazz. Today, the NEA announced its four newest recipients of the prize: pianist Joanne Brackeen, guitarist Pat Metheny, singer Dianne Reeves and producer Todd Barkan.”
“The Toledo Symphony Orchestra named noted Canadian conductor-composer Alain Trudel as its new Music Director this morning, less than a month after its last maestro, Stefan Sanderling, officially vacated the position.”
“The challenge is to show the world that everyone is welcome at the Concertgebouw and to bring more people through the doors that haven’t visited before – but that would love to come irrespective of their backgrounds. I think at all times we should avoid thinking that we should change our artistic core to attract more audiences – eschewing, for instance, those fusion concerts and crossover concerts that seldom seem to work out well.”
“I reckon his tenure was at least 80 percent successful, though in a recent interview with the Times he seemed dissatisfied. “To a degree I lost my stomach to fight for things,” he said, “because I thought we were doing good work generally, and musically things were going in the direction I wanted them to.” That startlingly candid statement suggests that, in Gilbert’s mind at least, the Philharmonic registered his prodding not as an incitement to inventiveness but as a form of artistic nagging. It balked at too much reinvention.”
Yekwon Sunwoo is the first South Korean to win the annual competition. After he played his final performance, he said, “I went out for lunch at Sundance Square actually right at the time my performance was being played [on the big screen] from last night. … That was kind of strange to have lunch there and see yourself playing.”
Audio or it didn’t happen? “A loud bell rings. Its waveforms are so thick it’s as if you can see them floating in the misty San Francisco air. The bell is all stately gravitas. Even if you didn’t know that the nearby school is parochial, you’d sense the bell’s churchly vibe. And then, suddenly, there is silence: Recess has concluded. The bell has marked a juncture.”
So state officials allowed a 3,000-person theatre to be constructed smack dab in the middle of one of Rome’s main archaeological sites so the opera could run this summer. “This may not be the first grave abuse perpetuated against Rome’s monuments, but it is certainly the most serious.”
William Robin traces the history of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, from its unhappy premiere at a French avant-garde festival 40 years ago (allegedly, Pierre Boulez shouted “Merde!), through the release, 25 years ago, of the surprise hit recording by conductor David Zinman and soprano Dawn Upshaw, to the major labels’ attempts to repeat the work’s success.
A former concert pianist, Hotoda has been assistant conductor at the Dallas and Winnipeg Symphonies and is finishing up a stint as associate conductor of the Utah Symphony. She was the unanimous choice of the board and musicians.
Under the headings “A Cold War Coup,” “A Postwar Requiem,” “A Fallen Wall,” “A Mideast Conflagration,” and “A Diverse Ensemble,” Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim introduces video clips of the occasions.
Created by Welsh National Opera, the project will allow visitors to step inside the worlds of The Magic Flute and Madam Butterfly, including performances from WNO productions. Called Magic Butterfly, the production will combine motion capture, animation and music to create an “immersive experience using responsive animation and sound”. WNO claims this is the first time an opera company has used VR in this way.
Music librarian and historian Melanie Zeck writes of the works and composers she discovered for the first time when she went to work at the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago.
“The annual gathering [in Southern California] is seen as a litmus test, suggesting where contemporary Western art music is headed. [Vijay] Iyer is the first jazz musician – and the rare artist of color – to serve as music director, a position that rotates every year. He has paid less attention to the festival’s history than to the opportunity it presents.”
“Denève, 45, will be the SLSO’s 13th music director, with an initial three-year term beginning in the 2019-20 season. Denève, a guest conductor with the orchestra seven times beginning in 2003, will serve as music director designate during the 2018-2019 season. He will succeed David Robertson, whose notable 13-year tenure as music director concludes at the end of the 2017-2018 season.”
“Without provocation, the supervisor for the Chicago-based carrier then lunged for Ms. Correia’s case and, incredibly, tried to wrestle it away from the musician,” said a statement written by MacNaughton. “I start screaming, ‘Help, help, help, can somebody record what’s happening because this lady’s trying to take my personal suitcase from me,’” Correia told Houston NBC-affiliate KPRC.
“According to bankruptcy filings, the Pemberton festival lost money for three years, and sold 18,000 tickets in 2017, down from 38,000 last year. Event planners say it typically takes several years for a festival to become profitable – a threshold many cannot reach given the proliferation of rival events and the repetition of headliner acts.”
“The small coastal city of Mersin … is one of the last places you would expect to find Turkey’s first and only LGBTQ choir, but that choir is on the front lines of the fight for LGBTQ and other minority rights in the country of 80 million.”
“The Florida Orchestra got an unwelcome surprise late Friday when Gov. Rick Scott ruled out $500,000 in funds to help pay for a new outreach program. Beyond the Bay launched in January with a vision of taking the orchestra to schools and community orchestras across Florida. The veto was part of $34 million the governor nixed from the state’s budget, leaving that money available for other priorities.”
Due to the unexpected cancellation of a grant, “Make Music New York, the non-profit behind an expansive one-day music festival that takes over the city on the first day of summer, has issued a plea for emergency financial aid before its forthcoming edition on June 21.”
Gradually I learned the truth about the working world: except in a few narrow areas of expertise, your undergraduate college major has very little influence on your career path — or your success. On the other hand, a kid with the strong muscles every young musician grows will be able to prosper in life. Following the tough road of a music major will make your daughter more sturdy and flexible than kids who drift through “safe” degree programs.
Italy has an impressive stock of great and historic pipe organs, and many of them are being restored. But there’s a problem. There aren’t many Italian organists who can play them.
“He learned to practice by changing the rhythm of the piece. He learned to play one note at a time with a tuner. He learned to play each measure with a different metronome timing, and then he played the piece so slowly it took 20 minutes instead of just four. During these insane lessons where Amy and my son spent one hour on five notes, the more we worked on the art of practicing the more I saw that practice is a method to do anything ambitious and difficult. He learned to create a system and process instead of just focusing on the goal itself.”
“Ginstling arrives at a time of significant transition for the NSO. He will start his tenure at the same time as Gianandrea Noseda, who will officially be welcomed as the NSO’s music director at a free concert on the Mall on July 29.”
“Installing and tuning the Earth Harp is a two-day process. On this day, [inventor William] Close is getting ready to drop 42 strings, weighted by water bottles, off the edge of the 700-foot building. His tech, Jonathan Golko, will catch them and attach them to the harp’s main resonating chamber. The following day, Close will tune the harp, a process that he’s got down to a science. He can vibrate four notes out of each string.”
“There is so much new life and affluence crowding the Brooklyn waterfront that traditionalists like Mark Peskanov, the master violinist who runs the Bargemusic concerts of chamber music aboard a handsomely converted coal barge, hard by the Brooklyn Bridge, might be tempted to move. Which he has no intention of doing.”
Okay, it ended up not being the full orchestra, and “plans changed almost by the hour,” as David Patrick Stearns reports. But there was a performance and workshop for kids in the impoverished ger district, a master class for the national military band, an unannounced visit by the entire Mongolian State Philharmonic Orchestra to a rehearsal, a read-through of a Mongolian ballet score, and an outdoor concert by the brass players in (yes) Beatles Square.