Did The Chili Peppers Work? Danish National Chamber Orchestra May Be Saved

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A majority of the parliament has voted against state broadcaster DR’s decision to shut down the 75-year-old ensemble (recently the star of a popular viral video). On the other hand, DR operates under the “arm’s-length” principle: parliamentary interference in its operations is highly unusual. So the Culture Minister is in a tricky position

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YouTube Launches Streaming Audio Service (Spotify Gets Nervous)

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“The service, called YouTube Music Key, is a paid subscription service currently in beta, and you’ll need an invite to start using it. For early adopters, it will cost $7.99 per month with the first six months free, and eventually it will cost $9.99 per month, the same price as Spotify Premium.”

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Met Opera Asks Stars To Accept Lower Fees

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“The Metropolitan Opera, whose financial struggles led it to cut the pay of its orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other workers last summer after a labor battle, said Wednesday that it was also asking its solo singers voluntarily to lower their fees, including some of opera’s biggest stars.”

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Minnesota Orchestra Makes Its Interim President Permanent

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“Kevin Smith, who won warm reviews for his performance since taking over as interim president and CEO in August [following the long and bitter lockout], agreed to continue through the 2017-18 season. ‘It was not in my original plan, but I thought: Why not, it’ll be an adventure,’ the former Minnesota Opera chief said Wednesday.”

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Renée Fleming May Stop Singing Opera In Three Years

Soprano Renee Fleming sings the U.S. National Anthem prior to the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford

Says the soprano, now 55, “I’m really happy with my opera life – 54 roles was a lot to learn and perform and so I think I may leave well enough alone. I have another three years of various new productions and so I’m not stopping yet – let’s not put the cart before the horse, but I’m thinking down the road.”

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Alt-Rock Becomes Chinese

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Liang Long, lead singer of the band Second Hand Roses, “strutted across the stage … wearing a red floral-print jacket and snug red shorts. The jacket, adorned with dozens of gold tassels, was as majestically fussy as Michael Jackson’s, but with a more playful touch. … [The guitarist’s] red tutu bounced in time with the beat, and the crowd jumped along with him.”

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The Mess At The Rome Opera

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The house has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for years and had been threatened with closure more than once. Riccardo Muti, who had raised musical standards and electrified audiences at the company, walked away in September. Then management abruptly let go the entire orchestra and chorus. What’s behind all these problems?

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Have Recordings Hurt The Art Of Piano-Playing?

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Stuart Isacoff: “A performance should be unpredictable – an adventure. Today we often demand instead that an interpretation be unblemished, ‘correct’ – something to be memorialized and imitated. (Those of us who teach can attest to the number of students who see their job as learning to duplicate exactly a particular recording of a work by a recognized artist.)”

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Tuning Prisoners Into A Human Piano

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“In music class, these men were able to temporarily change their identity from prisoner to student, from being numbered to being human. Music became a life force, providing vital human connection in an environment where social interaction is suppressed.”

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Florida Grand Opera Floats A Recovery Plan

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“Opera leaders say they can’t go on cannibalizing their own operation. Full-time administrative staff is down from 40 people to 18. This season’s budget is just $8.6 million. To get through the season at that level, FGO has resorted to cost-saving strategies such as borrowing set and costumes for Butterfly from the Sarasota Opera, where Danis used to be director.”

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Settlement In Atlanta Symphony Lockout?

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“The players, who have been locked out without pay for more than two months, will be asked to vote on whether to adopt a new four-year contract that ensures no wage cuts, a modest increase in health care, and a gradual increase in the size of the orchestra to 88 musicians.”

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Chili Kamikazes: Doomed Orchestra Eats Ghost Peppers While Playing; Video Goes Viral

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“In a ‘Jackass goes classical” video, the musicians [of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra] pause after the famously histrionic opening bars of Jacob Gade’s Tango Jalousie to pop the outrageously fiery peppers into their mouths. … Quite why they agreed to the painful challenge is unclear although the fact the orchestra is being disbanded this month after 75 years may have been a factor.”

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