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December 21, 2013
December 20, 2013
Meet Germany's Top Contemporary Composer: He'll Communicate Only By Fax
December 19, 2013
When David Patrick Stearns set up his interview with Wolfgang Rihm, these were the conditions he was given: "No phone calls. No e-mail. Only questions submitted (in English) by fax and returned by fax, on handwritten pages - in German." Says Donald Nally, who's conducting a major work of Rihm's this weekend in Philadelphia and New York, "I envy someone living in a different century like that."
The Philadelphia Inquirer 12.19.13
New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways for Years to Come
December 18, 2013
"For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency?"
How The NY Philharmonic's New Contract Changes The Orchestra World
"In a blow that is both psychological and economic, base pay at the Philharmonic, which is the oldest symphony orchestra in the nation and one of the most prestigious, has in recent years fallen behind that of orchestras in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston."
The New York Times 12/17/13
High Notes and Low Tones for Classical Music in 2013
WQXR's Brian Wise offers citations for Worst Financial Woes (a competitive category), Most Complicated Anniversary, Best and Worst Marketing Ploys, and Podium Pharmacist of 2013 (that would be Michael Tilson Thomas).
WQXR (New York) 12.16.13
12 Pivotal Moments in Opera in 2013
For WQXR, Philadelphia Inquirer
critic (and ArtsJournal blogger) David Patrick Stearns cites the Wagner/Verdi/Britten anniversaries (naturally), a thrilling Monteverdian battle, seedy Baroque opera in a
burlesque house, and the hot new opera score he stole from the neighbor's trash.
WQXR (New York) 12.18.13
Britten in Venice in Moscow
December 17, 2013
Countertenor Iestyn Davies writes of his trip to the Russian capital to give special Britten centenary performances of the Canticles and Death in Venice
with Ian Bostridge and Gennady Rozhdestvensky (who knew and worked with Britten) to people who had never heard this music before.
The Arts Desk (London) 12.16.13
The Future Of Trying To Be A Musician
"It's becoming much more difficult to be a reclusive artist and make a living. The system has become weirdly Darwinian. But you need to look at the larger picture: the record industry did create a safe space for shy artists like PJ Harvey or Cat Power, but artists always had to market themselves."
The European 12/15/13
Why Is Canada's Largest Opera Company So Nervous About New Opera?
December 16, 2013
"Imagine the Art Gallery of Ontario going 19 years without a single showing of any new Canadian art. It would be hard to think of a rationale for that scenario, although the COC, which receives about $4.5-million annually in public funding, is always quick to say that new work is too expensive and risky for regular consumption. But does that really need to be true, for the biggest opera company in the country?"
The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/17/13
Did Wagner Make Art Out Of Migraines?
December 15, 2013
"The researchers demonstrate this contention by looking specifically at Siegfried, the third opera in his massive Ring Cycle. They even describe what they call a "migraine leitmotif" that recurs in the opera."
Pacific Standard 12/12/13
Hunting For Beethoven
"His job over the years has evolved into that of detective, applying his considerable forensic skills and his vast knowledge of the composer and his times to track down, verify and if possible acquire Beethoven documents and personal effects."
Los Angeles Times 12/15/13
Should Composition Students Have To Jury?
December 13, 2013
"By the time everyone else is cramming for final exams and performance juries, composers should have already completed an appropriate amount of music and either have it performed and recorded or at least have created a decent aural mock-up to present to others."
The New Music Box 12/13/13
Australia's Classical Music Magazine Won't Die After All Limelight
, affiliated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and published by Haymarket Media, was going to close by the end of this week, following Haymarket's decision to end its Australian operations. But a new publisher has been found.
What's The Value Of Sacred Music In A Secular Age?
Here are answers from half a dozen contributors: conductors Peter Phillips (The Tallis Scholars) and Harry Christophers (The Sixteen, Boston Handel & Haydn Society), a documentarian, an atheist, an archbishop, and a prominent rabbi. (And no, they did not walk into a bar.)
Limelight (Australia) 12.10.13
ENO Joins The Cinemacast Parade
"English National Opera is to begin broadcasting productions live to cinemas - only 18 months after its artistic director, John Berry, suggested that he was far from enthusiastic about the idea."
The Guardian (UK) 12.12.13
Locked-Out Minnesota Orchestra Musicians Announce Season Of Their Own
"The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra revealed details of 10 concerts they will produce and play between January and May." Erstwhile music director Osmo Vänskä will conduct four of them, and a couple of very well-known soloists will perform for greatly reduced fees.
The Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul) 12.13.13
Indianapolis Symphony (Finally!) Posts Surplus
December 12, 2013
"A big boost in donations and hefty cutbacks pushed the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's annual budget into the black for the first time since 2007."
Indianapolis Business Journal 12.09.13
Classical Grammy Nominations 2014: An Esa-Pekka Year?
Salonen (or his work) is nominated in three different categories. Other nominees include the familiar (Rattle, DiDonato, Bartoli; Wagner, Beethoven, Pärt), those we should know better (Lutoslawski, Palestrina; Maria João Pires, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir), the up-and-coming (2013 Pulitzer winner Caroline Shaw; New York Polyphony), the little-known (Leonardo Vinci, not to be confused with that mirror-writing Mona Lisa
guy), and the beleaguered (Osmo and the Minnesotans).
Los Angeles Times 12.06.13
Upstarts Upset Chick Corea In 2014 Grammy Jazz Nominations
"A winner of 20 Grammys, including two last year, Corea, with his latest album The Vigil
, was shut out Friday night in this year's list of nominees, which again offered a welcome blend of relative newcomers and familiar faces."
Los Angeles Times 12.06.13
How Stores Use Music To Make You Shop More
December 11, 2013
"Retailers are fine-tuning their stores' playlists as they wake up to the power of music to communicate a brand message and put shoppers in the mood to spend. One shopper's favorite song can make another shopper cringe."
The Wall Street Journal 12/12/13
The Problem With The "Great Man" Approach To Great Music
"Until we rid ourselves of the notion that the best music of all time was created by a handful of men who lived an ocean away from us and who all died more than a century before any of us were born, we will never have programming that truly reflects the vast array of musical creativity all around us."
Ten State Legislators Call For New Leadership For Minnesota Orchestra
The letter accuses orchestra leaders of manipulating financial results "in a deliberate deception of the public." In addition to calling for the resignations, the letter urges the board to immediately end the lockout and resume contract negotiations.
The Star-Tribune (Mpls) 12/11/13
Another Tenor Freaks Out Over Boos At La Scala
December 10, 2013
Back in 2006, Roberto Alagna actually stormed off the stage and out of the theater mid-performance after some of La Scala's notorious loggionisti
let him have it. This year - again in the house's season-opening production - they did it again.
The Guardian (UK) 12.09.13
What's The Point Of Doing Opera In Pubs? (Asks A Big-Newspaper Critic)
Rupert Christiansen: "[These] efforts draw small but loyal audiences, usually very appreciative, and you might say at the very worst, that no harm is done. But for the critic these pop-up performances pose a quandary: how can one balance one's desire to pat honest endeavour on the back with the sacred imperative of rigorously honest and unsentimental judgment?"
The Telegraph (UK) 11.22.13
Of Course There's A Point To Small-Room Opera! (Says A Pub-Opera Company Director)
Robin Norton-Hale of OperaUpClose: "Theatre critics don't tie themselves in knots trying to find a way to compare a production at the (rightly) well-funded RSC or National Theatre to one at ... the Edinburgh Fringe. Each performance is judged on its own merits. ... Far from being a poorer experience, I would argue that seeing a smaller-scale opera is simply a different one."
The Stage (UK) 12.10.13
How America Lost Its Real Rural Music
"It's not discussed enough... someone should write a book on it - how we really lost how we make and listen to music with the onslaught of mass media. It's changed so much - in 1933 there were 20,000 jukeboxes in America. By 1939 there were 400,000 jukeboxes! That immediately eliminates so many live musicians."
Redbull Music Academy 12/05/13
Radio's Christmas Music Bonanza
"The fact that Christmas music on the radio performs best the night before Christmas shouldn't surprise you, but after digging into the data for the top holiday-format stations in each of those markets last year, a few interesting trends emerged."
La Scala Names Its New Director
"La Scala said in an email Tuesday that Riccardo Chailly, a 60-year-old Milan-born conductor, will be La Scala's principal conductor from 2015 before becoming musical director in 2017."
Minnesota Orchestra Musicians Will Play On, Lockout Be Damned
"Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra sounded a note of resolve Monday to continue performing concerts if they remained locked out in their long and bitter confrontation with the Minnesota Orchestral Association." And they're raising money to do it - from community members and musicians in other orchestras.
The Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul) 12.09.13
Cleveland Int'l Piano Competition Increases Top Prize By 50%
December 9, 2013
"Thanks to a gift from Mal and Barbara Mixon, the contest's first prize now entails an award of $75,000, up from the previous $50,000. This makes Cleveland's top prize one of the largest of its kind in the world."
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 12.09.13
Why Do We Feel The Urge To Sing Along At A Concert?
"What is it with people and singing along? No really, what is it? Here, I offer four possible explanations for a phenomenon that, for anyone who celebrates live performance, doesn't make much sense."
Milwaukee Symphony Declared Emergency And Downsizes
"The orchestra, which had already been downsized from 88 to about 79 members under previous cost-cutting efforts, will be shrunk again by another 11 percent for next season to number in the mid- to upper-60s. The MSO also eliminated seven administration employees, and now has a staff of 30."
Milwaukee Business Journal 12/06/13