It’s the week before the American primary season gets real with voting in Iowa on Monday and I’m sure you’ve all checked out the candidates’ positions on arts and culture, right? If so, let me know – I went looking this week and found… nothing.
But here here are some highlights from the 172 stories we did find:
- The New York Philharmonic Chooses a New Music Director and the Reaction is…
He’s Jaap van Zweden, 55, a Dutch conductor currently music director of the Dallas Symphony. New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini called the choice “safe” but “feisty.” Anne Midgette in the Washington Post wrote: “What the New York Philharmonic more urgently lacked under Gilbert was a dynamic, charismatic figure able to galvanize excitement around the orchestra’s concerts. It’s not clear that van Zweden fully offers that.” Alex Ross was also conflicted: “Bernstein aside, the players have preferred terse, to-the-point types. This prejudice rules out more than a few significant figures. From the limited ranks of the available, the willing, the tolerated, and the marketable, van Zweden has emerged the victor.” Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News notes that van Zweden hugely elevated the playing of the Dallas Symphony in his time there.
In other major appointments this week:The Art Institute of Chicago chooses a new director, as does the Art Gallery of Ontario
- This Week in “What Do Audiences Want”?
For the first time, old recordings outsold new releases in 2015. This despite the massive popularity of Adele’s new album late in the year. When all of recorded music is available on demand anywhere, it’s not surprising that the back catalogue becomes more valuable.
– The audience will not be taken for granted by an algorithm. In 2004 Ryan Kavanaugh took Hollywood by storm by coming up with a way to predict audience taste with math. It didn’t turn out so well.
– Why Isn’t Jazz More Popular? Could It Be The Jazz Police? Trying to make this music fit into a neat little box just can’t happen. And that’s tough for some people. We crave definitions for our art, and when we can’t describe or compare it, many get frustrated. Hence, the Jazz Police.
- So You Want To Be Creative. Here’s What We Know So Far
– Here are the absolute must-haves: “Creative individuals suffer, and there are myriad problems to be solved. Unless my observational skills are severely lacking, I don’t know a single individual who would say that living a productive and happy life is easy.”
– Here’s how they trick us to try to be creative at work: “You can charge for delivering happiness only if you can measure it.”
– Collaboration hugely overrated: If you don’t collaborate on work, you’re old-fashioned. But a backlash is developing as research finds that workers may produce lower quality work.
– Our share-all world is taking its toll on teachers: “A few studies suggest that introverted teachers—especially those who may have falsely envisioned teaching as a career involving calm lectures, one-on-one interactions, and grading papers quietly with a cup of tea—are at risk of burning out.”
- Some Things We’re Figuring Out About Reading and Writing
– Our love of great first sentences is a recent phenomenon. “The beloved first sentence is the product of dramatic changes one hundred and fifty years into the novel’s history.
– Computer Analysis Of Bestselling Books Reveal What Works. So can computers show you how to write a bestseller?
– Scientists looked at great literature and found fractals. “Statistical analysis carried out at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences reveal that a type of narrative turns out to be multifractal. That is, fractals of fractals are created.”
- This Week in Diversity
– Surprise! (Maybe Not) It turns out New York’s arts community isn’t nearly so diverse as the city itself.
– Diversity of Income: It’s very difficult to say whether artists are doing better economically than they were doing 15 years ago. There are more artists and many are making a living. But incomes are more unstable, and it’s frustrating trying to make sense of the data.
JUST FOR FUN
- Speaking of Alex Ross if you haven’t read his tribute to Pierre Boulez this week, it’s one of the best reads of the week and well worth the click.
- Playwrights are torn: “For the bulk of my life, “TV writer” has been a gentle euphemism for “failed playwright.” A serious theatre person would barely admit to having a television, much less watching one. Those days are long gone.”
- They Covered Up Some Nude Statues For Iranian President’s Visit To Rome: Many Italians Object
- Ghiberti’s Bronze Doors On Baptistery In Florence Replaced By Replicas
- Dudamel and his kids are playing the Super Bowl
- Police Break Down Door After Neighbors Mistake Man Trying To Sing Opera With Screaming