Alex Ross Meets The Wizards Of Acoustics

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John and Helen Meyer can fix just about any acoustical problem in a space – from a dead auditorium to a restaurant full of deafening chatter. Their Constellation system “undertakes a process akin to the Photoshopping of an image, with undesirable elements removed.”

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What The L.A. Phil’s Youth Orchestra Does For The City (And The Musicians)

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“YOLA was modeled after El Sistema, the Venezuelan program that supports more than 100 orchestras and has taught hundreds of thousands of students. The Phil’s leaders launched the program in part to help persuade Dudamel to sign on as conductor. Eight years later, it has become central to the L.A. Phil’s community outreach efforts — and a model for similar programs nationwide.”

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What’s Up With The Peculiar Way The Grammys Treats Classical Music?

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“If the Recording Academy feels that certain awards they give are not worthy of exposure on network television (which ultimately are the awards that wind up getting reported on in most of the media outlets and therefore the ones that most people are aware actually of), why give the awards in the first place?”

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Miami’s New Contemporary Art Museum Loses Its Director After Five Months

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Suzanne Weaver’s departure follows the news that Thom Collins, the director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, which opened in a Herzog & de Meuron-designed waterfront building in December 2013, is to leave the institution for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia after five years. Meanwhile, the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach has been without a director for nearly a year following the departure last April of Cathy Leff.

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Minnesota Orchestra Will Be First American Orchestra To Play In Cuba Since American Policy Shift

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“The trip marks a striking return to the limelight for an orchestra that only a year ago was emerging from the longest lockout in American orchestral history, with serious questions about its future. It is all the more fitting since the Minnesota Orchestra’s first-ever international performances were in Cuba in 1929 and 1930.”

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Solved: Here’s Why The Great Old Violins Have Such Power

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A team of scientists worked on it. “Answering the musician’s simple question turned into a seven-year project in which the team examined the acoustic dynamics of stringed instruments through time, from the oud, lute, and medieval fiddles to the guitar and ultimately the violin — a period spanning from the 10th century to the 18th century.”

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A First: Music Streams Will Now Be Counted In UK Music Charts

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“If the chart is to be a true barometer of what music is most popular in the UK, it can no longer look solely at purchases – it must also take into account individual listens. Downloads were fully integrated into the singles chart in 2007, but that part of the market has started to plateau while streaming has surged forward. At the start of 2014, the OCC was tracking an average of 192m streams per week; at the start of this year, that had jumped to 360m per week.”

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Idiosyncracies And Obsessions And Perfection: The Musicians Of The L.A. Phil

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“[Bass clarinetist David] Howard, 59, practices yoga to strengthen his lungs. Timpanist Joseph Pereira stretches damp calfskins across drums and fashions mallets out of wine corks and felt. Thomas Hooten … runs trumpet scales late into the night. And Christopher Hanulik, who calls his 25-pound bass ‘the beast,’ guards against strained ligaments and tendinitis: ‘I’ve got to be nimble, my muscles quick.'”

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St. Louis Symphony Picks A New Leader

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A native of Québec, Marie-Hélène Bernard has been executive director and CEO of Boston’s early-music Handel and Haydn Society since 2007. Earlier, she worked for the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra.

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Data On Income Inequality Translated Into A Piece Of Music

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“The income data sourced from the 2011 US Census corresponds to the number of instruments playing, from 3 to 30, and the strength of their sound. For example, the blaring 1:37 mark represents the median income of $205,192 between Park Place and Chambers Street in the Financial District, while the most subdued movement of the song at 3:53 is between East 180th Street and Bronx Park East, an area with a median income of $13,750.”

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So It’s Official: Australia Is Now Part Of Europe

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The move to expand the contest outside Europe prompted bemusement, confusion and pride Down Under. An article on The Conversation website said Australia’s inclusion in Eurovision’s “unabashed and joyous celebration of musical kitsch can be seen as recognition of our growing national maturity and connectedness”.

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“Ian Bostridge Is Not A Classical Singer,” Says Anne Midgette

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“Yes, he’s a tenor, and what he does is vocal performance, and it’s strikingly compelling. But classical singers produce sound in a certain way, with a certain kind of vocal support and certain accepted wisdoms about sound and line and diction. Bostridge, by contrast, comes at singing from entirely his own direction and arrives at his own unique conclusions and results.”

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How Ousmane Sembene Invented African Cinema

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“The Senegalese filmmaker … effectively created an African film industry out of nothing: … French colonial authorities had made it illegal for Africans to make films of their own, so countries like Senegal had no film equipment, no professional actors, and no funding.”

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Grammy Viewership Plunges

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“The roughly three-and-a-half hour show, broadcast on CBS, averaged 25.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. It was the show’s lowest turnout since the 2009 telecast, which drew just 19 million viewers. Viewership was down about 11% from the 28.5 million people who tuned in to last year’s show. In the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic, this year’s show dropped about 14% from last year to a rating of 8.5.”

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America’s Orchestras And Music Schools Have A Diversity Problem

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“Ethnic diversity remains a troublesome question for American orchestras. Just over four percent of their musicians are African-American and Latino, according to the League of American Orchestras, and when it comes to orchestra boards and CEOs, the numbers are even starker: only one percent. Ethnic diversity is also a rare sight among guest soloists and conductors.”

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What Alan Gilbert Has (And Hasn’t) Achieved At The New York Philharmonic

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“Make no mistake: Gilbert is a first-rate musician – you don’t get re-engaged by the Metropolitan Opera for nothing – and has a bright future ahead of him, part of which might well be in New York, owing to his presence on the faculty of Juilliard. But the musical bond between him and the players has been of a unique inconsistency.”

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What Makes An Opera Last Forever?

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“It’s comic and serious, entertaining and erudite, silly and thoughtful, emotional and mysterious, harrowing and uplifting, intimate and over-the-top — and the more times you see it, the more you’ll find in it and the more you’ll get out of it.”

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Watching The Grammys, Or Watching Twitter? Here Are A Few Live-Blog Choices

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Here are but a few of the many, many, many news organization live blogs of tonight’s GRAMMY Awards. BillboardLos Angeles TimesThe Chicago TribuneThe New York TimesNPRThe Washington PostVox. And finally, the one place online to watch all of the commentary and snark and happiness and anger and fashion analysis and discussion of air kisses: Twitter’s #GRAMMYs hashtag.

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The Woman Who Runs The LA Phil

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“Her key accomplishment has been to keep the Phil relevant — and prosperous — at a time when fewer people nationwide want to buy season tickets to the symphony, especially an on-demand young generation that prefers a la carte programming with a contemporary edge. Borda and Dudamel have kept the classics, but they have expanded the repertoire.” (This is the first in a week-long series of interactive stories about the Los Angeles Philharmonic.)

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So, Who Won The Classical Grammys?

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“The curiosity of the evening was a Best Classical Compendium Grammy for late American eccentric composer and inventor Harry Partch. Accepting the award for his recording of Partch’s Plectra & Percussion Dances, producer John Schneider noted that his musicians had to learn the composer’s daunting 43-note scale as part of their preparation.”

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Alan Gilbert To Step Down As Music Director Of The New York Philharmonic

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“Mr. Gilbert, 47, who has brought a spirit of experimentation to the Philharmonic and has been the first native New Yorker to lead it, said in an interview that he had decided to leave then to allow the next music director to build a relationship with concertgoers before construction begins on the hall, which is now expected to start in 2019, moving the orchestra out of its Lincoln Center home for two seasons.”

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