Fran Hoepfner is still stuck on Brahms, luckily, since the orchestra was too: “The piano is to reckoned with. Maybe it’s a protagonist in the face of adversity. Maybe I’m projecting. Who’s to say? After almost ten years of knowing this piece — and this movement in particular — I don’t feel any closer to it than when I started. The more I learn about Brahms, the more unsettling it becomes. It’s a Rubik’s cube of a piece.”
There’s an igloo concert hall in Sweden where performers play percussion and string instruments made of ice. Of course, “one of the major problems with conducting an ice orchestra is that the instruments eventually fall out of tune due to body heat from the performers and audience.”
Well, that’s one approach to dealing with ticket touts and making it slightly more fair, if it works. The touts have no one to blame but themselves: “Last month, resale site Viagogo was accused of ‘moral repugnance’ for selling tickets to an Ed Sheeran Teenage Cancer Trust gig for up to £5,000.”
“Previous research shows that the vast majority of people who enjoy music show an increase in heart rate or skin conductance—where a person’s skin temporarily becomes a conductor of electricity in response to something they find stimulating. Musical anhedonics, however, show no such physiological change to music. A recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, took those findings a step further by studying neural responses to music.”
The many online apologists for Ethan Iverson and Robert Glasper have been dismissing their sexist remarks as the clumsy gestures of good ol’ boys. But inadvertently sexist remarks, like inadvertently racist remarks, can be more telling, because they often point to more fundamental and systemic discrimination. The jazz world has a right — and, some would say, a duty — to criticize speech that promotes sexist culture, whether that speech had a malicious or benign intent.
Written in 1829, the manuscript of “Easter Sonata” was considered “lost” for more than 140 years, until the original turned up in a French book shop bearing the signature “F Mendelssohn.” The collector who bought it concluded the “F” stood for Felix. It didn’t…
The California company, founded in 1998, had faced cash shortfalls, unpaid musicians, allegations of financial mismanagement, the firing of its music director, and a defamation lawsuit.
Ronald Eichman and Thi Nguyen, who were general director and associate director until the end of 2014, allege that the company and Matthew Buckman (Eichman’s successor) falsely accused Eichman and Nguyen of financial malfeasance and conflicts of interest in several stories published in The Fresno Bee last year. (The company itself promptly closed down.)
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim writes about the immigrant cabbie who ended up recommending to her a composer she’d never before encountered.
Frank Gehry’s oval design, with no stage, merely a center, genuinely seems to open up, in the spirit of Boulez’s long-held desire for a flexible salle modulable, the possibility of the “thinking ear”: to engage, to reflect, to make itself part of the performance. The greatest possible distance between the conductor and the most distant member of the audience (682 seats in total) is just 14 meters. There is intimacy—the intimacy, its initiators hope, of collaborative endeavor.
Following an avalanche of criticism over what some bands said was a “deportation clause” in its performance contract, the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., which starts Friday, released a statement on Tuesday saying that it would amend its agreements starting in 2018. The organizers of the festival, however, furiously denied that the language in its contracts over the past five years had been designed to encourage the deportation of foreign artists visiting the United States to perform at its event.
Two weeks after the Metropolitan Opera announced its 2017-18 season, including a big new production of Tosca headlined by Kaufmann, the tenor revealed that he had withdrawn from the project. However, tucked deep in this article by Michael Cooper about Kaufmann’s frequent cancellations is a quote from Met general manager Peter Gelb which implies that he made Kaufmann’s withdrawal more complete than Kaufmann himself had wished.
Housed in a 15th-century manor on the Rhine, the museum “showcases 350 mechanical instruments dating back three centuries. Think delicate music boxes, one with a chirping bird on top, or massive pipe organs, and pretty much everything in between. The extensive collection also includes tools and machines used to produce the instruments, and cardboard sheet music.” (includes videos)
“Brian Lauritzen, a broadcaster with the Los Angeles classical radio station KUSC, has been tracking the gender breakdown of the composers represented on the upcoming season schedules of American orchestras and opera companies. The picture his numbers paint isn’t a pretty one. There are organizations, including major orchestras in St. Louis, Houston and Dallas, that are contentedly planning all-male seasons for the coming year. The New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra join San Francisco in the one-woman-is-plenty club.”
Let the arguments begin!
Lyric general director Anthony Freud, along with the company’s CFO and board chairman, remember the days (the ’90s and before) when their season sold out on subscription, describe the extra attention they’re offering subscribers today, and list half a dozen strategies they’re using to strengthen operations and increase income (which has been suffering).
Danish culture minister Mette Bock is planning to spin off the national broadcaster’s orchestra, choir and concert hall (possibly to the national opera house) and eliminate the Copenhagen Philharmonic (not the capital’s only orchestra), distributing its musicians and budget among four regional orchestras.
“What is known is that on October 18, 1995, a friend dropped by to check on the apartment while 91-year-old Morini was in the hospital. The door to the apartment was locked and everything seemed to be in its place. So, the friend, Erica Bradford, along with her daughter Valerie, went to check on the violin as was her habit. She retrieved the key from a box where it was hidden in the bedroom, opened the china closet door, and found a different case sitting in the place the Strad’s had occupied for so many years. She opened the imposter and discovered that it was empty. The violin was gone.”
Many of our brain’s executive functions become impaired as we get older, but this didn’t turn out to be the case for sensing a lack of harmony. Both groups detected the unexpected endings equally well. The older people employed a wider region of the brain, though. “Recruiting a broader region perhaps compensates for the expected impairment that often takes place with age.”
For Vulture‘s podcast about jokes, Good One, Yankovic details how – in a thorough, methodical way – he turned the Pharrell/Robin Thicke hit “Blurred Lines” into “Word Crimes,” about a grammar nerd fighting the good fight for linguistic justice. (audio plus written Q&A)
“An excerpt from a largely forgotten Italian opera that Liszt began in 1849 will, belatedly, get its premiere this summer. You can listen to part of the work, based on Lord Byron’s Assyrian tragedy Sardanapalus, here.”
The executive of the national charity for new music in the UK says, “Working with a more representative group of composers leads to a more thrilling variety of new music, more artistic innovation and also, perhaps, a positive and constructive challenge to an industry that can sometimes fall back on traditional ideas of what, or rather who, constitutes a composer.”
Mark Swed reviews the sound of the new hall, and Christopher Hawthorne takes on the architecture (read that story here). Swed calls it the “graceful, airy, idealistic Pierre Boulez Saal, which opened here Saturday night. Rather than stand tall, it stands for something.”
If they are, that’s somewhat similar to the past, of course. “It’s a very intimate experience; it’s so enriching and connecting.”
Will this bring in new audiences? “Opera hasn’t been a profitable business for a long time, but Pierre Dufour is betting $3.2-million that he can make money from an opera version of the most ambitious and successful of narrative rock albums: Pink Floyd’s The Wall.”
Anderson doesn’t want the archives to go to a university where no one can access them. That said, some things can’t be captured: “The one thing I really miss from this archive that was such a big part of Lou — and can’t really be archived — is his dedication to meditation. He made a very extensive study of the nature of mind, but there is no physical trace of it. He left no footprints.”
It’s going to be amazing. But, says its director ominously, “this conservatoire, the first to be newly built in Britain since 1987, may well be the last because of the reduction in funding for music.”
Open a book about Brahms and get a lot more Clara than you bargained for: “Like many celebrity power couples, the woman is often more notable than the man. For a long time, it was easy to overlook Clara Schumann; Robert was the composer of them, really, and she was just the performer. But that’s wrong! It’s extremely wrong! She composed too! She performed all the time!”
“The caveat here is that this [project] is not about handing out tambourines and triangles en masse, or thoughtlessly plonking any old instrument on the doorstep of every home, in the hope that a child will pick it up and become the next musical ingénue.” The plan, rather, is to focus on what one might call, in this context, infrastructure.
“Showcasing a broad array of styles, from avant-jazz to contemporary classical, the Stone has operated as a nonprofit and is largely run by volunteers. Its vibe is informal but focused and a bit austere: No food or drink is served, and there is hardly room inside for socializing before or after performances. Artists, who have generally appeared in weeklong residencies, have been given wide programming latitude and receive all of the ticket revenue from their shows.”