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Thursday February 28

KEYS TO THE GRAMMYS: "Alicia Keys, the singer-songwriter and pianist, won five Grammys, including best new artist and song of the year for her soaring debut hit, Fallin, while the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? took the prized album of the year trophy for its survey of bluegrass, folk and blues that was itself a vivid role in the quirky film." U2 was another multiple winner. Los Angeles Times 02/28/02

  • DO-IT-YOURSELF WINNER: "A live concert performance of Berlioz's spectacular opera Les Troyens, released by the London Symphony Orchestra on its own budget label, has trumped the major labels by taking home the best classical and best opera gold." Los Angeles Times 02/28/02
  • The winners.

RECORDING ARTISTS COALITION GETTING ATTENTION: "There is little doubt that Tuesday night's all-star concert fund-raisers for the newly formed Recording Artists Coalition were a major step toward promoting musicians' interests. No longer will rock stars be satisfied with just sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. They want more cash, better contracts and more rigorous copyright protection, too. In other words, they want to be treated not just like stars but like intelligent people as well." The New York Times 02/28/02

  • Previously: SINCE WHEN DO THEY PROMOTE EMERGING ARTISTS?: The recording industry is hitting back against an all-star lineup of pop and country musicians trying to repeal a law they say amounts to "indentured servitude." The industry claims the repeal would benefit only a few superstars, and would severely hurt the record companies' ability to promote new and emerging artists. BBC 02/27/02

EDMONTON STRIKE CONTINUES: Talks aimed at ending the Edmonton Symphony musicians' strike ended without progress. Meanwhile, a note that purports to come from one of the musicians, attacked the salary paid to the orchestra's conductor "How come (Nowak) makes over 400 grand, part time by my calculation, and I make a tenth of that full time?" Musicians earn between $38,000 and $48,000 and are being asked to take a pay cut. Edmonton Journal 02/28/02

Wednesday February 27

LONDON'S LAST ARTS CENTER? London's Barbican Centre is 20 years old It's more appreciated now than when it opened, but "the Barbican is the last great exemplar of how not to build a concert hall. It is also the last arts centre we are likely to see. The concept of a Gesamtkunstgebau - a building for all the traditional arts - has outlived its time. It has been overtaken by a new eclecticism, by our reluctance to be nose-led by curators and our curiosity to seek culture from plural sources. The arts centre has educational overtones that offend the educated mind." The Telegraph (UK) 02/27/02

THE ART OF A CONCERT HALL: As the new Frank Gehry-designed home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic rises, it's worth noting that when the LA Phil's current home - the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion - opened back in 1964, its acoustics were widely praised. Still, the new Disney Hall will be a landmark building for the city, one of its most distinctive structures.Financial Times 02/27/02

MILWAUKEE S.O. TRIMS SEASON: Musicians of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which made international headlines when it toured Cuba last year, have agreed to reductions in pay and benefits in order to forestall a growing financial crisis. "The players agreed to forgo a week and a half of vacation pay and to end the season a week early. They will be paid for 41 1/2 weeks instead of the contracted 44." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 02/26/02

BROOKLYN DODGERS: A rather public unpleasantness is shaping up over the dispute between the Brooklyn Philharmonic and its musicians. The musicians say the replacement of this month's concert with a piano recital amounts to a lockout; the Phil's administrators say no way, they just ran out of money, and next month's concerts are on track. The fact that all sides are in the middle of contract negotiations isn't helping, either. Andante 02/27/02

SINCE WHEN DO THEY PROMOTE EMERGING ARTISTS? The recording industry is hitting back against an all-star lineup of pop and country musicians trying to repeal a law they say amounts to "indentured servitude." The industry claims the repeal would benefit only a few superstars, and would severely hurt the record companies' ability to promote new and emerging artists. BBC 02/27/02

Tuesday February 26

TORONTO DOMINATES CANADIAN JAZZ AWARDS: "The National Jazz Awards have proved in their first year to be, in large measure, the 'Toronto Jazz Awards.' Although singer and pianist Diana Krall, originally from Vancouver Island and now based in New York, received three of the most significant awards, 18 of the remaining 24 NJAs went to Toronto-area artists and individuals." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/26/02

BROOKLYN MUSICIANS LOCKED OUT? The Brooklyn Philharmonic is on shaky financial ground since September 11. Accordingly, the orchestra replaced some planned concerts with solo piano recitals instead. The musicians union - the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) - has complained that the orchestra has "locked out" its 77 orchestra members by making the program change... Backstage 02/25/02

BEHIND THE STARS - CHILD LABOR: The impressario behind such groups as Backstreet Boys and 'NSYNC has been accused of violating child labor laws. The mother of two boys in one of his groups - one that didn't make the big time - filed complaints with the Florida Department of Labor. Although this is the firsts child labor complaint, "both the Backstreet Boys and 'NSYNC accused [him] of deception and cheating them out of money in lawsuits they filed several years ago." Rocky Mountain News (AP) 02/25/02

IN SEARCH OF WOMEN: "Even now at the start of the 21st century, decades after the dawn of the contemporary feminist movement saw a rise in women's orchestras and gender-based musicological studies and long after the inclusion of a single piece by a female composer on a concert program has ceased to be remarkable, a whole concert of music by women, performed by women, still feels unusual. It remains an exception to the classical music norm, which is a concert of music written entirely by men." The New York Times 02/26/02

CAPITAL IDEA: The city of Bruges, Belgium begins its year as the European Union's Capital of Culture (sharing the honor with Salamanca, Spain) by opening a new concert hall and an ambitious festival. Andante 02/25/02

Monday February 25

COOPERATING THEIR WAY OUT OF DEBT: The St. Louis Symphony has been facing major money problems. In response, the orchestra's musicians have come forward as partners with managerment. Perhaps here is a model for other orchestras. "It was clear right away that we had to move from arguing over how to cut up the pie to how to keep the boat from sinking. We all had to start bailing. We've already decided it's not merely to show up and play the notes on the page. But what is it? We're not fund-raisers, we don't plan the musical program, but we can contribute in those areas and in many others. I wasn't trained to do anything more than play the instrument, but that's not enough anymore." The New York Times 02/25/02

GRAMMY BLUES: It's Grammy time again, but the recording industry isn't really in a celebrating mood. "Music sales are sagging, hundreds of layoffs have demoralized record company staffers and superstar artists have united for a public revolt against the industry's business practices. And, more troubling in the long run, consumers are embracing new technologies that threaten to scatter the industry's musical commodities like coins spilled on a busy street. Last year, blank CDs outsold all music albums in the U.S. for the first time, and, as the Napster saga showed, tens of millions of fans are willing to grab their music online without paying." Los Angeles Times 02/24/02 

  • IS ANYTHING RIGHT? "The major record labels depend on three things to survive: the money of fans, the music of their artists and the support of the multinational corporations that own them. But the labels are suddenly realizing that they can't depend on any of these." The New York Times 02/24/02

NEW HALL FOR MONTREAL: The province of Quebec agrees to build a new $281 million arts center in Montreal. "The complex will house a new 2,000-seat concert hall for the Montreal Symphony, as well as new digs for the Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art Dramatique and an office tower with provincial government offices." Hours after the announcement, senior management of nearby Place des Arts resign. Montreal Gazette 02/23/02

PRODUCER AS CREATIVE ARTIST: Music recording and editing software has become so sophisticated that producers have become an indespensible part of the musical creative process. "It's sort of the same as the difference between a typewriter and a word processor. The computer-based systems allow you to do the kind of editing that you do with a word processor, but with sound." Los Angeles Times 02/24/02

Sunday February 24

STUNNING ABOUT-FACE: In what would appear to be a dramatic reversal of earlier trends, a judge presiding over the battle between song-swapper Napster and the recording industry has ruled that the industry must produce proof that it, in fact, owns the copyrights on thousands of songs they claim Napster users "stole," and further provide evidence that the copyrights were never used to "monopolize and stifle the distribution of digital music." Wired 02/22/02

IF YOU CAN'T JOIN 'EM, BEAT 'EM: With record labels phasing out classical music left and right, many major orchestras have found themselves without recording deals, or forced to put out "budget" discs for tiny companies. But the London Symphony Orchestra may have hit on the true future of the industry: self-produced recordings, released on the LSO's own label. The idea was roundly pilloried when it was announced, but a couple of Grammy nominations later, the orchestra may be getting the last laugh. Los Angeles Times 02/24/02

  • THE FUTURE OF "CLASSICAL" RECORDING: In between dumping orchestras, soloists, and string quartets from their roster, Sony Classical execs have apparently found some time to visit the Atlantic provinces of Canada, where they have signed what they hope will be the newest star of a "classical" CD world that increasingly has no room for classical music. Aselin Debison is charming, adorable, lives in a remote location, and most importantly by modern standards of success on the crossover charts, is 11 years old. National Post (Canada) 02/23/02

MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE 800 LB GORILLAS: "In the first major challenge to the age-old and often contentious system under which record labels contract with artists, California lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow musicians to become free agents after seven years. The bill would lift the recording industry's 15-year-old exemption to a state labor law that restricts all personal-service contracts to seven years, and thus would apply only to California-based artists. But the bill could have broad implications for the $40 billion music industry, releasing artists from recording deals that often tether them to one label their entire professional career." Chicago Tribune 02/24/02

OLYMPIC FAKERY: It may not be a scandal of figure skating proportions, but plenty of people are unhappy about the way the music that accompanies the Olympic Games celebration is being manipulated by the IOC. First the Utah Symphony and Yo-Yo Ma were forced to airbow in sub-freezing temperatures on instruments borrowed from a local high school as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir pretended to sing during the opening ceremonies. Now, nearly a dozen pop performers will be lip-synching the closing ceremonies, leaving many observers wondering why the IOC doesn't just pop in a CD, play a sappy video, and be done with it. Los Angeles Times 02/23/02

MTT'S SECOND (THIRD?) CAREER: "As a conductor, pianist and teacher, Michael Tilson Thomas already boasts a musical resume full enough for two. But in recent years, Bay Area audiences have watched him come into his own as a composer, too. On Wednesday night, Thomas will unveil his most substantial composition, a cycle of Emily Dickinson settings." San Francisco Chronicle 02/24/02

THE SCREECH RECONSIDERED: Mention the name "Yoko Ono" around any fan of the Beatles (and really, who isn't one?) and you are likely to get a somewhat violent reaction. But while Ms. Ono will likely go down in history as the woman who broke up the greatest rock 'n roll band of all time, some critics contend that her legacy should be as one of the 20th century's greatest artists. From music to film to visual arts, Yoko has always been, it seems, several steps ahead of the rest of the art world. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/23/02

Friday February 22

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The St. Petersburg Philharmonic has something of a history of being hell on flight attendants. One California critic recalls a transatlantic flight with the rowdy Russians as an eight-hour frat party ("the players had picked up roasted chickens from somewhere,") complete with bottles of vodka and dancing in the aisles. But it cannot be denied that this bunch of semi-degenerates is also one of the world's finest orchestras, and the very same critic speculates that it may be their ability to have fun together that creates such a tight-knit quality on stage. Los Angeles Times 02/22/02

  • AND SPEAKING OF AIRPLANES: When musicians travel, they travel with their instruments. And while some unfortunates (cellists, harpists, etc.) must buy an extra ticket for their music-maker, or even ship it separately, most symphonic instruments fit quite comfortably in an overhead bin. (More comfortably, it could be said, than the overstuffed super-duffles favored by many of today's more inconsiderate travelers.) So why are some airlines, post-9/11, suddenly deciding that violins and violas are not suitable carry-ons? San Francisco Chronicle 02/22/02

NEW DIRECTOR FOR SYDNEY SYMPHONY: The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has chosen Italian conductor Gianluigi Gelmetti as its new music director, succeeding Edo de Waart. Gelmetti is also chief conductor of the Rome Opera. He begins his three-year term in 2004. Sydney Morning Herald 02/22/02

THE LEVINE RULES: When the Boston Symphony signed James Levine to be its next music director, everyone in the organization knew what they were getting into. American orchestras operate under strict union work guidelines which dictate everything from the length of rehearsals to the frequency of breaks, but Levine is famous for demanding the flexibility to rehearse more and perform less. The maestro was in town this week to lead the BSO (although his term will not officially begin for more than a year) and everyone seemed to be walking on eggshells. Boston Globe 02/22/02

GARTHIFICATION: When the Country Music Foundation dismissed several longtime employees last fall, including some of the organization's most respected scholars, critics wondered if a changing of the guard was underway. The CMF has an expensive new museum in Nashville it has to tend to, and the tourists aren't exactly flocking through the doors. Is old time country and the CMF's sense of history being replaced by Young Country? Salon 02/21/02

TOUGH TIMES FOR UTAH BAND: It should have been a good month for the Utah Symphony - with the Olympics on, the orchestra performed in front of a global audience. The truth has been rather less glamorous. "The opening ceremonies were a humiliation - the organizers, fearing any outcome not predestined (an odd concept for a sports event), forced the orchestra to prerecord its contribution and then shiver in 18-degree weather pretending to play instruments borrowed from a high school (the cold could have damaged fine ones). On the broadcast, heedless television announcers gabbed over practically every note anyway. Olympic officials, meanwhile, took over Maurice Abravanel Hall, forcing the orchestra to rent it back for its concerts in the arts festival." Los Angeles Times 02/21/02

THEY ALL LAUGHED AT CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS... "Amid copyright infringement lawsuits, bankruptcies, legislative battles and an overriding belief in some quarters that they'll never turn a profit, digital music subscription services are showing signs of good health... The fact that people are paying for digital music could be the beginning of what many hope will be the revival of a sonic boom that hit full volume in 1999. The reason: Most services offer only a fraction of what consumers will eventually be able to purchase." Wired 02/22/02

TALK OF THE NATION OR MUSIC OF THE PEOPLE? When the September 11 attacks knocked classical radio station WNYC-FM off the air, and threw the national media into a frenzy of information gathering, the station began simulcasting its AM sister station, which carries a public radio news/talk format. "It's been five months now, with no move back to music. But listeners didn't understand what was happening until 4 February 2002, when the astute weekly New York Observer detailed the unhappiness and off-air conflicts within the station... exploding with the news that the station was seriously considering dropping classical music almost completely." Andante 02/22/02

Thursday February 21

A LITTLE PORNO, A LITTLE SEX, A LITTLE S&M? The English National Opera's new Calixto Bieito-directed production of Verdi's Masked Ball hasn't even opened yet and it's controversial. According to the English papers: "The chorus are in a 'state of rebellion'; the lead tenor has pulled out; the dress rehearsal - which would normally be available for ENO Friends to see - has been played behind closed doors. The cast were also said to be unhappy about the opening scene, which involves male singers sitting on toilets, and a scene in which the chorus are called on to give a Nazi salute." The Guardian (UK) 02/21/02

STAYING INVOLVED: How "involved" should a musician look while he or she is performing? "In classical performance, there is a range of 'looking involved', from the skilfully charming variety to the grotesquely off-putting. It depends so much, also, on the innate character of the player. Audiences may not always know the music, but we've all been trained by ordinary life to interpret body language, and we can sense the degree of artifice used by a performer." The Guardian (UK) 02/16/02

GREAT LIT AS OPERA: Operas made out of the stories of famous books rarely turn out well. But "if successfully transferring great literature to the operatic stage is next to impossible, someone forgot to tell the Russians." Andante 02/20/02

PAY FOR PLAY: Radio stations pay licenses to play music. Now the US Copyright Office proposes that internet sites that play music should also pay. "Proposed rates announced Wednesday are based on each person who is receiving a broadcast sent online. The rates range from .07 of a penny per song for a radio broadcast to .14 of a penny for all other copyrighted audio sent on the Internet." Minneapolis Star-Tribune (AP) 02/21/02

MUSICIANS APOLOGIZE: The St. Petersburg Philharmonic has apologized for the rowdy behaviour that got its musicians tossed off a United Airlines flight earlier this week. After spending the night in Washington DC, the orchestra continued to Los Angeles for a concert Wednesday night. "This is the sort of thing you expect from a heavy metal band, not a philharmonic orchestra." BBC 02/21/02

Wednesday February 20

ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS - A PLANE-LOAD OF TROUBLE: About 100 members of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic on their way from Europe to perform a concert in Los Angeles, were tossed off their United Airlines flight during a Washington DC stop Monday. The airline says the "rowdiness of a large portion of the troupe made the eight-hour transatlantic trip from Amsterdam to Dulles difficult for the crew and uncomfortable for other passengers. The group refused to sit down when told to, talked loudly and tossed objects around. 'The group was misbehaving, inebriated, opening their own bottles of alcohol, rowdy and nonresponsive to the crew'." Washington Post 02/19/02 

PASSING OF THE RECORDING AGE: Classical recording is drying up. The simple truth is that there are no longer enough classical CDs coming out each month to fill a parish magazine, let alone a consumer glossy with scriptural delusions. What the big labels cannot grasp is that their day is done. All the best music has been recorded many times over by maestros more accomplished and celebrated than any alive." The Telegraph (UK) 02/20/02 

THE EXTRA WHO WENT ASTRAY: Somehow in the onstage confusion of the finale of the Metropolitan Opera's War and Peace, an extra (dressed as a French soldier) ended up off the stage and into the orchestra pit. "Was it a fall? Or more of a leap? Opera fans are gossiping and performers, from the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko to the American bass-baritone Samuel Ramey to extras to orchestra members are still scratching their heads in this latest mystery at the Met, itself no stranger to intrigues onstage and off." The New York Times 02/20/02

FAILURE TO LISTEN: Philadelphians want to love their new Kimmel Center, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra. And some critics have begun to soften their criticisms of the acoustics. But not the Financial Post's Andrew Clark. "At the concert I heard earlier this month (a Philadelphia Orchestra programme of Beethoven and Berlioz), the sound was colourless, poorly projected, inanimate, with virtually no bass." Financial Times 02/20/02

SAME OLD MINIMALISM: Philip Glass can still excite the ire of critics. The premiere of Glass' Sixth Symphony gets critic Peter G. Davis going: "A lot of glassy-eyed fans were on hand to give the composer an ovation, but others hoping for something fresh were disappointed. It was pretty much business as usual: the same simpleminded syncopations and jigging ostinatos, the same inane little tunes on their way to nowhere, the same clumsily managed orchestral climaxes." New York Magazine 02/18/02

LEVINE'S PLAN TO SAVE THE INDUSTRY: James Levine believes that chamber music holds the answer to classical music's problems. If the symphony orchestra is a slow and massive battleship, the string quartet is a quick, powerful PT boat, and the newly designated Boston Symphony music director says that the adventurous spirit and adaptibility of chamber music must be adopted by the orchestral world if the industry is to survive another century. Boston Globe 02/20/02

THAT WACKY MAYOR: "Sometimes the ways of Mel Lastman are just too bizarre to be explained. Earlier this week, the befuddled mayor [of Toronto] made headlines by going to Ottawa and demanding the federal government write a big cheque for the Toronto opera house. No doubt many people in the arts world will feel grateful to Lastman for fearlessly speaking out... The only problem is that at this point his passionate plea is utterly irrelevant." Toronto Star 02/20/02

Tuesday February 19

ORCHESTRA RECALL: The San Francisco Symphony's new recording of Mahler for its new recording label has a problem. "It's hardly a major flaw - a one-second skip 19 minutes and 42 seconds into the last movement - but it means that the Symphony will have to remaster the second disc in the two-CD set and get a new disc to everyone now holding a copy." How many copies? Only about 300 have sold so far. San Francisco Chronicle 02/18/02

MOVIES WITHOUT ACTORS? HAH! TRY OPERA WITHOUT SINGERS: "Not only are there no bearded tenors in frilly shirts, Stardust's proud boast is that it has no singers at all. This is an opera where humans are conspicuous only by their absence: no actors, no dancers and, heaven forbid, no fat lady. Instead, Stardust is content to let its audience play the central role, with an array of tech gadgetry forming the supporting cast." Wired 02/19/02

GUNTER WAND, 90: German conductor Günter Wand, former conductor of the BBC Orchestra has died at 90. "He insisted on a minimum of eight rehearsals for a standard programme, a luxury that only a broadcasting organisation could afford to offer. His rehearsals were meticulous and much appreciated by the orchestra, who respected him as part of a vanishing tradition." The Guardian (UK) 02/16/02

GUARDING GERSHWIN: "Such is the continuing demand for Gershwin's music that the estate brings in an estimated income of between $5 and $10 million a year. Rhapsody in Blue is its biggest earner, I Got Rhythm the most recorded." The estate's heirs zealously guard their family legacy.  "When we took it over in the 1980s, it was not being well minded: Ira had been very passive and trusted everyone." The Telegraph (UK) 02/19/02

Monday February 18

MONTREAL SYMPHONY'S NEW HOME? The Montreal Symphony has long been one of North America's best. But it has been handicapped by its home, an acoustically  lacklustre place the orchestra outgrew decades ago. Now there's a new plan to build a new hall - but yes, haven't we heard this all before? Montreal Gazette 02/16/02

REINVENTING OPERA? A new London opera company is trying to reinvent the form. Its founders believe that "the only way to bring opera back to the heart of popular culture is to bring it back into contact with popular culture - even Teletubbies. This may not produce great or long-lasting works, but it will help keep opera contemporary, and, it's hoped, bring in new audiences. For all the opportunities it gives to new writers, Tête à Tête's primary concern is to attract people put off by opera's snobby image." The Guardian (UK) 02/18/02

CUTS AT ENGLISH OPERA? The English National Opera is hurting for money. It's told its musicians and chorus members to prepare for wage cuts. "Many of the staff are said to be outraged at the proposed cuts. Orchestral players, who earn an average of £24,000,say that they cannot tolerate further cuts." The Times 02/16/02

A HANDLE ON HANDEL: "Could George Frideric Handel have been gay? And if so, what, if anything, would that tell us about the music he wrote? These questions - equally challenging in their respective ways - have been around for a while, generally at the fringes of musical scholarship. Now they have been raised with fresh urgency by a provocative new book, Handel as Orpheus, released last month by Harvard University Press." San Francisco Chronicle 02/17/02

SO MUCH FOR THE MORAL HIGH GROUND: Recording companies have tried to make their case against music download sites such as Napster on moral grounds - musicians should get paid for their work. But so far the two pay-download sites developed by the recording industry offer little if any payment to artists, and musicians are furious. The New York Times 02/18/02

Sunday February 17

EDMONTON WALKS: The Edmonton Symphony soap opera took a turn for the dismal on Friday as the orchestra's musicians went on strike to try to force the ESO's management to allow them a say in the direction of the organization. The orchestra, which is in fiscal trouble and recently went through a controversial and public split with its music director, has been offered a $500,000 gift, but the money is contingent upon the musicians getting what they want, and the ESO has balked hard at that stipulation. Andante (CP) 02/16/02

  • PLAYING THE PR GAME: As has become traditional for North American orchestras out on strike, the Edmonton musicians are offering a free concert in an effort to draw public opinion to their side. Edmonton Journal 02/16/02

LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND? The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is facing a massive deficit, and cuts have begun to be made in the area of soloists and guest conductors. "But management also is retrenching in a core area it can ill afford to downgrade -- music education. The CSO will severely cut back the in-school ensemble programs, [and] it will reduce the size of its training ensemble, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, for about two-thirds of the concerts scheduled next season... Both moves represent misguided economy. If the institution is worried whether the MTV generation will want to attend symphony concerts once they become adults, depriving them of in-school exposure to classical music is one way to insure these young people will never make the plunge." Chicago Tribune 02/17/02

NOT ENOUGH SUCKING UP: A planned concert in Naples, Italy, to be led by one of the city's favorite sons, La Scala music director Riccardo Muti, is in jeopardy after local Catholic officials have declined to allow the concert to go on in any church building, which is to say, almost every suitable building in Naples. The church has its reasons, but the main one seems to be that the local Cardinal can't stand the mayor. Andante 02/16/02

HILL TO GET A FACELIFT: Towns with populations of 100,000 or so do not generally get the pleasure of regular visits from the world's greatest orchestras, soloists, and choruses. But Ann Arbor, Michigan has been upstaging America's big cities for decades, drawing the world's best touring musicians to its spectacular Hill Auditorium, renowned for both its architecture and acoustics. Now, plans have been announced for a $38.6 million renovation of Hill, and true to today's retro sensibilities, the end result will be a theater that looks much as it did at its opening in 1913. Detroit News 02/17/02

OPERA AUSTRALIA LEFT IN THE LURCH: When tenor Bryn Terfel cancelled a slew of dates for next fall, citing exhaustion and a desire to spend time with his family, he probably didn't intend to send any of the opera companies receiving the cancellations into panic mode. But Opera Australia, which was counting on Terfel to anchor a AUS$2 million production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, may have to cancel the whole show if Terfel's star power isn't on hand to make it profitable. Moreover, the gaping hole that would appear in the company's schedule will be hard to fill on such short notice. Sydney Morning Herald 02/17/02

FELDMAN'S ARMBUSTER GETS ITS DAY: "Morton Feldman once described his Second String Quartet as a nightmare. That has certainly seemed to be true from the standpoint of the groups that have played it... The piece is five hours long: 293 minutes, to be exact. If you lift your right arm into the position to hold a violin bow and imagine keeping it there for five hours, you will see the problem." Many groups have declined to perform it after originally agreeing to try, but a new recording attempts to breath life into the work, which can easily be seen as a microcosm of the controversial mid-20th century school of composition. The New York Times 02/17/02

LIKE SHOWING UP FOR SCHOOL IN YOUR UNDERWEAR: Thomas Zehetmair failed to show up this week for a concert in which he was scheduled to solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra. But this was no prima donna hissyfit. The violinist had made the mistake that every musician dreads most: forgetting what time the concert starts. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/16/02

CHAILLY'S REASONS: Ever since Riccardo Chailly's announcement that he would be leaving the music directorship of the Concertgebow for a less prestigious post in Leipzig, critics and musicians alike have been asking what would cause anyone to do such a thing. As it turns out, Chailly is one of those musicians for whom prestige is far less important than the passion he has for his profession. What a concept. Toronto Star 02/16/02

SAWALLISCH ILL: "Philadelphia Orchestra music director Wolfgang Sawallisch has undergone a 'minor surgical procedure,' according to an orchestra spokeswoman, forcing the cancellation of a string of concerts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Sawallisch is in Germany, the spokeswoman said, but she did not know whether he was hospitalized." Philadelphia Inquirer 02/17/02

MENOTTI'S GIFT: "In 1936 this Italian composer wrote what has become the most-performed opera in America. He founded the renowned Spoleto music festival and moved to a stately home in Scotland in the 1970s, where his plan for an arts centre for young talent has foundered in the face of indifference." Why can't Gian Carlo Menotti get more respect? The Guardian (UK) 02/16/02

HOW TO SUCCEED IN COMPOSITION BY REALLY TRYING: In an age when even fans of new music generally shun such ear-bending techniques as quarter-tones and minimalist repetition in favor of a new reassertion of melody and theme, a composer who embraces the inaccessible as firmly and unapologetically as Gyorgi Ligeti would seem to be in danger of falling by the wayside. But there is a quality to Ligeti's composition, a dangerous yet inviting subtext, that has kept audiences and musicians alike coming back for more. "New England is in the midst of an unofficial Ligeti festival, as it often is; Ligeti's new works tend to enter the standard repertoire with little delay." Boston Globe 02/17/02

Friday February 15

ANOTHER LESSON IN DUMBING DOWN: Perhaps the struggling Florida Philharmonic thought that jettisoning James Judd, its longtime music director, would get the orchestras more seats in the seats. But the programming is now chosen by committee, and it's been dumbed down, in the opinion of many. And we all know what happens when an arts institution starts pandering after ticket sales rather than leading with an exciting product... Miami Herald 02/14/02

EVOLUTION OF A CONCERT HALL: Laugh at the name if you wish, but reports suggest that Los Angeles's soon-to-rise Walt Disney Concert Hall will be nothing to sneeze at. The hall is coming together thanks to the collaboration of architect Frank Gehry, L.A. Phil music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, and world-renowned acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and the trio believes that the result will be California's first truly world-class concert hall, with a facade that cannot be ignored and acoustics to rival those in Boston, Vienna, and Berlin. Andante 02/15/02

SO IS THIS MUSIC OR ART? OR BOTH? "Sound art" is still a fairly controversial and largely unknown concept, and the fact that it takes place in traditionally silent museums and galleries rather than concert halls probably isn't helping its image. But a new travelling exhibit aims to unravel some of the confusion surounding the medium, and mainstream it as well. "Visitors will witness both the work of artists who create 'instruments' they play during live performances and the work of those who build soundscapes from abstract environments." Wired 02/15/02

Thursday February 14

COPYCAT FLUTE? Did Mozart plagiarize for one of his most popular operas? There are an awful lot of similarities in characters and music in his Magic Flute to an opera called The Beneficent Dervish, which was composed before Flute and which Mozart almost certainly heard. Slate 02/13/02

ADAMS DEFENDS SELLARS: Composer John Adams is being controversial again. This time he's defending director Peter Sellars and his role in the Adelaide Festival. Late last year the festival fired Sellars after he had revealed his programming for this year's event. Says Adams: "It's hard to believe that the people who hired him didn't know what they were going to get, knowing his history and his political sympathies.'' Adelaide Advertiser 02/13/02

THE NEXT PAVAROTTI (AGAIN?): How many times have we heard a young tenor touted as "the next Pavarotti"? Hasn't happened yet. Indeed, the bestowal of such hype by now ought to set off alarm bells - thereby sending whichever critic dares to make the claim to the penalty box for the rest of the season. Latest claim is by the New York Observer's Charles Michener, writing about his experience in a restaurant, of all places: "But it was there, the other night, that I first heard Juan Diego Flórez, a young tenor from Peru who looks and sounds more like the heir apparent to the throne of Luciano than anyone I have yet heard." New York Observer 02/13/02

Wednesday February 13

ONE FROM COLUMN A... The music of choice for a new iconic Levi's commercial? A Handel Sarabande. But isn't classical music a sell for older folks? Surely not the 20-somethings Levi is playing to. "In the thick of the biggest technological, demographic and moral upheavals for two centuries, our cultural needs are changing gear. Classical no longer means what it did in the 20th century. It is not the elite preserve of the middle-aged middle classes, nor is it off limits to kids.." The Telegraph (UK) 02/13/02

EDMONTON MUSICIANS TO WALK OUT? The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is set to become the third Canadian orchestra to have its musicians walk out this season. "Reports have suggested the orchestra board has proposed reducing the number of services for which the musicians would be paid, which would result in a pay cut of about five per cent. A senior musician earns $44,173 for a season." Canada.com (CP) 02/12/02

RAISING THE ROOF IN PHILLY: The Philadelphia Orchestra may have left the Academy of Music for its new home at the Kimmel Center, but the Academy still has its fans: "People say the sound may be better in the Kimmel. But I've had people say to me, `I feel more elegant in the Academy.' It's how the hall makes you feel. Both are very elegant in their own way - one's modern and one is traditional. The renovation of the Academy is a labor of love, for a magnificent building." It's undergoing renovation, including having its roof raised 10 feet to accomodate new backstage equipment. Philadelphia Business Journal 02/12/02

Tuesday February 12

SILENCING EUROPE'S ORCHESTRAS? A proposed European Union law would limit the amount of noise in the workplace. But under the law, symphony orchestras playing all out would exceed the limits. "The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) is fighting to be exempted. The parliament wants to reduce the decibel limit of noise in the workplace to 83, the point at which workers have to wear hearing protection. A single trumpet is said to play up to 130 decibels and the ABO fears that the directive would effectively silence performances. 'It will stop us playing any loud music whatsoever, affecting almost of all of the pieces played by orchestras'." BBC 02/12/02

ADAMS TO WRITE MEMORIAL: The New York Philharmonic has named composer John Adams to write a memorial piece to the events of September to be performed at the Philharmonic's opening concert next season. The piece will accompany Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on a program conducted by music director Lorin Maazel. Andante 02/12/02

  • Previously: THE MUSICAL MEMORIAL: The New York Philharmonic is commissioning a piece of music to open next season with a memorial to the World Trade Center. Will this be a significant musical memorial? "The odds, it seems to me, are low that the music will be up to the occasion — that a composer, asked to interpret in tones a calamity mere months after it has happened, will have the clarity and the inner urge to write just the piece we need." Andante.com 02/06/02

A CHANGING SOUND: To the confusion of listeners, the acoustics in Philadelpia's new Kimmel Center seem to change with each concert - and not always for the better. The acoustician has a variety of explanations, and "the acoustics are especially changeable now, when every visit to the new cello-shaped concert room reveals physical changes. Construction continues, with carpenters and others working the midnight-to-8-a.m. shift." Philadelphia Inquirer 02/12/02

Monday February 11

PAY-FOR-DOWNLOADS A BUST: A new report says paid music downloading has been a failure so far, despite a $4 billion investment by music businesses. "Legitimate, paid-for music downloads earned only $1 million (£710,000) in the US and UK last year. At the same time, some eight billion tracks were exchanged by users of pirate sites offering free music downloads - and up to 2.7 million people at any one time are logged on to them." BBC 02/10/02

WHERE DID CITY OPERA'S MONEY GO? A benefit for victims of September 11 by New York City Opera sold tickets for as much as $100, and the house was nearly full. The cast and crew donated their services for the occasion. So why did only $18,500 find its way to the September 11 fund? "There has been no accounting - it's all a big mystery," a chorus member said. "We put our hearts into this. Everybody wants to know what came of it." The $18,500 would equal the sale of just 185 of the benefit's $100 tickets, although some tickets sold for $50 and $25." By contrast, the Metropolitan Opera's fundraiser donated $2.6 million to the fund. New York Post 02/10/02

UK RECORDINGS SALES UP: While global sales of recordings went down last year, in Britain they went up. "The total amount of money spent on music in the UK rose by 5.3% in the UK in 2001 to £1.2 billion, according to the British Phonographic Industry." While American recording companies blame digital piracy for their slump, the UK figures suggest that if the product is good, consumers are still buying. BBC 02/11/02

INSIDE SCHOENBERG: "In the hundred years that have passed since Arnold Schoenberg's first premières, his reputation has undergone considerable fluctuation. When you first encounter the sound of Schoenberg, you may feel yourself violently pushed back, as if a mass of ugliness were crystallizing in the air. The next time, you may feel yourself unconsciously pulled in, as if a beautiful vacuum were enveloping you. You are likely to find yourself perpetually tugged in one direction or the other. You will, however, begin to hear music differently." The New Yorker 02/11/02

TRASH OPERA A HIT: We hate to report this, but the opera based on Jerry Springer's trash TV show has become a cult classic in London. The opera is currently playing as a "work in progress" to see if it can attract backing for a West End run. According to one critic: "The references to lesbian dwarves, chicks with dicks and lap-dancing transsexuals press all the right mirth buttons for an audience that has sacrificed its brains at the altar of daytime TV. But the performance really comes into its own in its more serious moments." Uh-huh. The Guardian (UK) 02/09/02

Sunday February 10

THE MOST EXCITING ORCHESTRA IN AMERICA? In the past seven years, Michael Tilson Thomas has turned the San Francisco Symphony into one of the most talked about orchestras in America. "The charged chemistry among maestro, players and community undoubtedly owes much to the nature and size of the city and the Bay Area, and it may be hard to replicate elsewhere. Still, it becomes all the more striking now that several other major American orchestras have lined up their next music directors. In large part, those orchestras were seeking expertise in contemporary and American programming like that Mr. Thomas has long demonstrated." The New York Times 02/10/02

JAZZ IN THE TEMPLE OF CULTURE: Chicago's Symphony Center, home to the Chicago Symphony, has embraced America's popular classical music - jazz. "The hall is embracing jazz more ardently than ever. Should the audiences stay large and the programming continue to blossom, Symphony Center could become the most important institution in Chicago for promoting jazz performance and intellectual inquiry." Chicago Tribune 02/10/02

TITLE TRADEOFFS: Some call supertitles at the opera one of the biggest advances in the artform in the past 50 years. But there are tradeoffs. "Over the course of more than four hours of dense, nonrepeating dialogue, the compulsive reader at War and Peace will be scanning some 1,000 captions, each conveying a potentially vital piece of information. For each, we sacrifice, say, two seconds' attention to the stage, which adds up through the evening to a whopping 33 minutes. How to sort out the costs and benefits of these constant illuminations and distractions?" The New York Times 02/10/02

NOT JUST ANOTHER OPERA: What's the difference between an opera and a musical? Bruce Springsteen has announced he's writing a "rock opera." "Though one must not prejudge these things, it's surely likely to be more of a musical than an opera, just as in 1968 the Who's Tommy was a musical masquerading as this new-fangled genre, with its vaguely subversive label - the revolutionary language of rock imposing itself on the apparently elitist world of opera." The Guardian (UK) 02/09/02

ZUKERMAN RE-SIGNS: Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra has re-signed Pinchas Zukerman as its music director. "The Israeli-born violinist and conductor, who joined the Ottawa-based NACO in 1998, will stay on till the end of the 2005-2006 season, with an option for another year." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/09/02

Friday February 8

THE ORCHESTRA DEBATE: A debate is under way about what kind of leadership American orchestras need, how active they should be in programming new music, and whether they have lost their sense of artistic mission. Behind the debate lurks a more fundamental question: has the symphony orchestra become marginal to US culture?" Some say the orchestral world has never been healthier, though. A recent survey by the American Symphony Orchestra League revealed that "far from dipping, audiences between 1990 and 2000 rose from 22 million to 34 million." Financial Times 02/08/02

NO MORE EMPTY SEATS: Armed with a new music director and a desire to dig its way out of artistic and financial mediocrity, the Liverpool Philharmonic has been scoring new support. The latest comes from the Liverpool Council, which increased its support almost 500 percent - from £165,000 to £800,000 a year. The money comes with a catch though. The orchestra must adopt a "no empty seats" policy and give away any tickets remaining on the day before a performance to people who can't afford them. Liverpool Echo 02/06/02

ESCHENBACH IN PHILLY: The Philadelphia Orchestra played its first concerts with music director-designate Christoph Eschenbach this week, and the close scrutiny of the controversial appointment by the local press is continuing. But overall, Philadelphians seem eager to "meet Eschenbach more than halfway," as one critic put it, and the orchestra seems satisfied, if not overjoyed, with the man who will soon take up the head post. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/08/02

VIENNA BALL OFF WITHOUT A HITCH: It has become almost an expected side-effect in today's world that, where the rich and powerful gather for recreation, protesters of many stripes will be in attendance to remind the privileged of their existence. But this year's Vienna Opera Ball, recently the site of violent demonstrations and heavily patrolled by some 1,100 security officials, went off comparitively quietly, with only a couple of arrests and no violence. BBC 02/08/02

PROMOTING THE YOUNG: "The historically low percentage of minorities in orchestras is a vexing issue. The lasting effects of racism play a role, say experts, but other factors include cuts in school music programs, the lack of role models and peer-group support and cultural forces that push young blacks and Latinos into pop and vernacular styles rather than classical." The five-year-old Sphinx Competition seeks to identify and encourage young minority musicians. Detroit Free Press 02/06/02

WINNING THE BATTLE, LOSING THE WAR: When the recording industry shut down Napster last year, most observers figured the fracas marked the end of online music piracy. Don't bet on it: "In Napster's place, a host of sophisticated peer-to-peer file swapping services, such as Gnutella, Morpheus and Aimster, have emerged, that now boast a user base far in excess of peak Napster usage and which have proved much harder to shut down." The Guardian (UK) 02/08/02

SOMETHING WE ALL KNEW: ''I do think that the best producers and editors are musical people. There is a musicality to a good program. It has a pace; it picks up and slows down. Musicians have a good sense of timing and of pacing, of how long something should go.'' Boston Globe 02/07/02

Thursday February 7

THE MUSICAL MEMORIAL: The New York Philharmonic is commissioning a piece of music to open next season with a memorial to the World Trade Center. Will this be a significant musical memorial? "The odds, it seems to me, are low that the music will be up to the occasion — that a composer, asked to interpret in tones a calamity mere months after it has happened, will have the clarity and the inner urge to write just the piece we need." Andante.com 02/06/02

NATIONALISM TO A REGGAE BEAT? Worried that French school children increasingly don't know the French national anthem, the government compiled a CD with dozens of versions of the Marseillaise, and is sending copies to every school in France. Along with traditional versions, there's also a reggae version, an arabic version, and a samba version. "The aim of the project is to make children better understand their history and heritage," says culture minister Jack Lang. The Globe & Mail (Reuters) (Canada) 02/07/02

LA SCALA RESUMES: La Scala will resume performances in its temporary home Friday after a glass panel crashed into the audience last week. "No one was hurt but the accident overshadowed the debut of the new theatre, already the subject of controversy due to the haste with which some considered it had been built. Before the accident at the Arcimboldi, creaking noises were heard from the ceiling. The audience was evacuated from the auditorium before two of the 100 glass ceiling panels plunged six metres to the floor." BBC 02/07/02

Wednesday February 6

HARD TIMES FOR ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT MUSIC PALACES: Buenos Aires' Teatro Colon is one of the world's great theatres in which to hear music. With a storied past and a city government willing to spend liberally to bring the world's best performers, it is Argentina's showplace for culture. But the country's recent economic collapse has caused the Teatro Colon to scrap its 2002 season. And devaluation of the peso makes it impossible for the theatre to afford the performers it is used to presenting. Andante.com 02/05/02

PHOENIX SYMPHONY'S MONEY PROBLEMS: The Phoenix Symphony is a million dollars in debt and the orchestra is meeting with its musicians over how to solve the orchestra's money woes. Other Phoenix-area arts groups are struggling too. "I do think we have been more impacted by the changes in the economy over the last two years as opposed specifically to just 9/11. Phoenix Business Journal 02/01/02

NAME THAT TUNE: Ah, pity those who cannot carry a tune. Not a happy condition. "There is nothing quite so vulnerable as a person caught up in a lyric impulse. The singing-impaired are forever being brought up short in one. When the singing-impaired chime in, they may notice a sudden strained silence. Or just a sudden loss of afflatus in the music about them. (The singing-impaired can tell.)" The Atlantic 02/82

Tuesday February 5

PARIS - AN OPERA BARGAIN: So you're an opera fan and you live in London where going to see the opera is an expensive proposition. The budget alternative? Take the Eurostar to Paris, catch some first rate productions and stay in a "homey" hotel. The whole trip will cost you less than a ticket for the Royal Opera (and the experience might even be better). Really. Truly. The Times (UK) 02/05/02

LAST-MINUTE SUBSTITUTION: The St. Louis Symphony travels to New York this week for its annual Carnegie Hall performance, but morale may be lower than usual for two reasons. First, the orchestra's budget crisis makes it likely that this will be the last trip to Carnegie for several years, and second, St. Louis music director Hans Vonk has had to turn the baton over to a guest conductor after taking ill on stage last Friday night. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 02/04/02

KIMMEL OVERRUNS: Philadelphia's new Kimmel Center has now been open for more than a month, and after some less-than-rapturous opening reviews from national critics, seems to be settling in as the Philadelphia Orchestra's new home. But some important aspects of the performing arts complex remain unfinished, and costs are rising. "As a result of construction vagaries, the budget, previously quoted at $265 million, will grow, Rouse says, and could top out at $273 million. More likely, it will reach $275 million." Philadelphia Inquirer 02/05/02

BUDGET CRUNCH IN BALTIMORE: "Rising costs, an economy that made grants and donations hard to come by and a stock market that pummeled endowments have all converged to put the [Baltimore Symphony Orchestra] in a tight financial spot. Even though the BSO is making more money than it spends, the tight times ended up squeezing out the symphony's 147-person chorus last month... Wall Street's dismal 2001 took its toll. The symphony's endowment investments lost more than $9 million in value in 2001 compared with an almost $15 million profit from those investments a year earlier." Baltimore Business Journal 02/01/02

CUTTING BACK CLASSICAL IN NYC? Is New York public radio station WNYC going to cut back on broadcasting classical music on it's FM band? Maybe. "We are looking at options that have more music and that have less music. But under no circumstances will we become a news-talk show station. Our commitment to classical music and cultural programming remains strong." Besides, says WNYC's president, the company has been looking to take over another station to offer full-time classical music. The New York Times 02/05/02

Monday February 4

FIGHT OVER CD's: CD-maker Philips and the big recording companies are in a fight over copy protection. Recording companies want to embed "errors" into CD's that help prevent them from being copied. Philips, which helped determine technical standards for CD technology, says it won't go along. The fight could "hasten the death" of the 20-year-old format. Wired 02/04/02

LA SCALA PERFORMANCES CANCELED: As investigations begin as to why a glass panel crashed into the seats at La Scala's temporary home, more performances are canceled and the blaming begins. Andante 02/02/02

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? Why are there no women in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra? "While historically big band leaders have hired (and fired) their side musicians at will, these band leaders were private employers, neither accountable to others nor the beneficiaries of public funding and support. That is not the case with the LCJO. The absence of women now and throughout the band's history, indicates that a different, more contemporary, hiring process is necessary if women are ever to become members of the ensemble." NewMusicBox.com 02/02

VONK STOPS CONCERT: St. Louis Symphony conductor Hans Vonk stopped his musicians in mid-performance Friday night and had to be helped off the stage. "Vonk, 60, revealed last month that he was suffering from a relapse of Guillain-Barre syndrome. He resumed conducting Friday after a break of about 45 minutes." St. Louis Post-Distpatch 02/02/02

Sunday February 3

WHAT AILS RECORDING: Critic John von Rhein looks around his apartment stuffed with 15,000 CD's and ponders the decline of classical music recording. No, recording isn't going away - but "however seriously you regard it, the big European-based recording conglomerates that account for four-fifths of worldwide sales - Universal, EMI, BMG, Sony and Warner - brought it on themselves." Chicago Tribune 02/03/02

THE POWERHOUSE FINNS: What is it about Finland, these days? "Half a century after the death of Jean Sibelius, his tiny Nordic homeland has emerged as a musical superpower of the new millennium. A fierce national commitment to musical culture has made the Finnish scene the envy and the talent reservoir of countries throughout Europe and North America." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/02/02

FIRST RECORDING CONTRACTS FIZZLE, NOW TOURING: Touring orchestras almost never make money. Indeed, such tours usually have to be heavily subsidized. The economics of traveling a big orchestra has brought to an end the annual visit to Toronto of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The orchestra has rethought its touring policy and no longer will make annual trips to North America. Toronto Star 02/02/02

AUDIO DREAMWEAVER: The modern pop music recording features an array of digital tricks to correct pitch, blend harmonies and manipulate the sound so it's "perfect." So how come some of the best selling recordings (hi there Garth Brooks) leave their tracks raw and "uncorrected"? Denver Post 02/03/02

THE WELL-TRAINED SINGER: "Since the 1950's American singers have been valued for their solid musicianship. But the current generation of Americans in their 30's and early 40's, by and large, is especially well trained. These artists have been through the rigors of species counterpoint, keyboard harmony, ear training, dictation: the works. Such extensive preparation shows in their ability to learn music thoroughly and handle contemporary scores." The New York Times 02/03/02

FAMILY BUSINESS: When Michael Stern (son of violinist Isaac) was starting out his career as a conductor, his father told an interviewer it was "unlikely" his sone would have a performing career. Paavo Jarvi (son of conductor Neeme) says trying to make a career as a conductor is tougher when you have a famous parent in the business. "People are rightly suspicious of nepotism and family connections, and that is something I can understand.'' Miami Herald 02/03/02

Friday February 1

REINVENTING ST. PAUL: The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, which bills itself as "America's Chamber Orchestra," is reinventing itself, making changes in its home concert hall, and planning more tours to large cities. The goal? To be "the beacon for cultural excellence" in the Twin Cities. "Thirty years from now, when people talk about Twin Cities arts groups, we’d like the first thing off their tongues to be the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. It’s no different than what the arch did for the city of St. Louis." St. Paul Pioneer Press 01/31/02

GLASS PANEL CRASHES AT LA SCALA HOME: A glass panel crashed into seating during a performance at La Scala's temporary theatre in Milan. "No-one was hurt as the panel, one of 100 attached to the side walls of the new Arcimboldi theatre, crashed onto empty seating on Wednesday during a performance of the ballet Excelsior." BBC 02/01/02

THE ALTERNATIVE MUSIC: Miami-area classical music fans were upset when WTMI, the area's only classical music station, changed its format to dance music in January. Now the University of Miami college radio station is taking up some of the slack by programming classical. Miami Herald 01/31/02

TOON TUNES: The Sydney Symphony Orchestra is performing scores from classic Bugs Bunny cartoons while projecting the cartoons above the stage. "We ended up finding bits and pieces of it in attics, garages and personal collections. The cartoons were then edited so that their scores were removed - allowing the music to be performed live - while leaving the sound effects and dialogue intact." Sydney Morning Herald 02/01/02


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