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JUNE 2002

Sunday June 30

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID. OR MUST IT? With classical music increasingly marginalized by a music industry hellbent on profit and promotion, proponents are forced to hope against hope that a snippet of Brahms, Schubert, or Strauss imbedded in a commercial or a movie might catch the interest of some listeners, and lead them into the quickly dwindling fraternity of dinosaurs who still enjoy the stuff. But is such grasping at straws anything approaching a good idea, or does such cavalier excerpting serve to further diminish an already battered art form? The New York Times 06/30/02

BUILDING A BETTER CONDUCTOR: Leonard Slatkin's third annual National Conducting Institute winds up this weekend. "The NCI is distinguished from other conducting workshops by its comprehensive approach to training in all aspects of music directorship," including artist management, rehearsal tactics, and how to deal with rich donors, in addition to the traditional stick-waving demands. Andante 06/29/02

  • LOOKING PAST TOKENISM: What is it about the supposedly liberal music world that makes it totally unable to get past its aversion to female conductors? Sure, there are a few moderately well-known women on the podium these days, but no major American orchestra has ever hired a woman as music director, or, reportedly, even had one on its short list. Some claim that its a coincidence, but music insiders will tell you that there is no shortage of lingering misogyny among the management of America's professional orchestras. Philadelphia Inquirer 06/30/02

IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM... "In a move that contrasts with the hard stance in the United States, Australian music industry officials are gauging a plan to endorse CD-copying vending machines... An Australian maker of CD burners asked the Australian Record Industry Association and the Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society to let the machines be operated in public places in return for a small royalty fee for every CD copied." Wired (AP) 06/28/02

RECORD LABELS GUILTY OF PRICE FIXING: A Washington, D.C. judge has found Universal Music Group and Warner Communications guilty of price-fixing in a scandal involving several recordings of the Three Tenors. The ruling was not a big surprise, seeing as Warner had already reached a settlement with trade regulators. Universal, which is appealing the ruling, is mounting a defense predicated on the idea that it only fixed prices a little bit, and that the whole thing just wasn't any big deal. Andante (AP) 06/29/02

NEWS FLASH - BABIES HAVE EARS AND BRAINS: In a finding that will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever raised a bilingual child or taught Suzuki piano to a 4-year-old, a Canadian research team has announced that babies and young children are excellent listeners. In addition the "researchers say babies can remember complex classical music, even after a two week delay." CNN 06/27/02

BUSKING FOR FUN AND PROFIT: In most American cities these days, street musicians are run off by police, yelled at by pedestrians, and derided as a blight on civic beauty by politicians who have somehow equated generic boredom with safety and urban attractiveness. In Canada, they hold festivals for their buskers, and "busking has evolved into a much more creative art form, and includes dancers, jugglers and comedians. In fact, some buskers are classically trained performers." The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 06/29/02

ROSEMARY CLOONEY, 74: "Rosemary Clooney, whose warm, radiant voice placed her in the first rank of American popular singers for more than half a century, died last night at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 74. The cause was complications from lung cancer." The New York Times 06/30/02

NOBODY LIKES A KNOW-IT-ALL: The winner of this year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs is the definition of an overachiever. He's a professor at MIT, a yo-yo champ, the creator of the first digital library, and, according to a colleague, "the last person to know everything." One of the Van Cliburn judges probably summed him up best: "People like that are so annoying." Boston Globe 06/30/02

Friday June 28

WITH SECONDS TO SPARE: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has done it. Under the leadership of former Ontario premier Bob Rae, the financially beleagured TSO has succeeded in raising the $1 million necessary to activate a second $1 million in matching money offered up by Heritage Canada. The influx of cash means that the orchestra is near to reaching financial stability less than a year after fiscal problems nearly caused its shutdown. Toronto Star 06/28/02

STORYBOOK MUSIC: Does it matter what politics or lifestyle a composer had? "Like literature and the visual arts in the previous century, classical music has come under the harsh gaze of a new breed of cultural critic, whose investigations range far beyond counterpoint and sonata form. We now regularly interrogate music for its association with society's deepest, darkest and often unexamined values." Andante 06/27/02

ANOTHER INSTRUMENTAL NIGHTMARE: "The Australia Council wants to sell a valuable 18th-century Italian cello, currently on loan to young musician Liwei Qin...a move that will effectively end the council's vision for a national instrument collection. Insurance premiums and maintenance costs have been cited as reasons for abandoning the collection but this has highlighted another problem. There is no Australian organisation that can arrange the loan of high-performance instruments to needy musicians." Andante (Sydney Morning Herald) 06/28/02

Thursday June 27

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COMPOSERS? We have celebrity architects, celebrity artists, authors and playwrights. But where are the composers? "For one reason or other, composers in this celebrity era have fallen off the face of the globe. While paint splashers live like kings and Sunday scribblers walk out with film stars on their arms, men and (increasingly) women who spend arid days hunched over giant staves struggling to resolve a stubborn chord are no longer part of the cultured person's conversational portfolio." London Evening Standard 06/26/02

BYE-BYE TO THE 3T: The Three Tenors - that mega-selling phenom of the arena concert world, will come to an end with a concert at this week's World Cup. 3T began with a performance at the World Cup 12 years ago and has been one of the great cash franchises in the history of tenordom. The announcement comes a day after Pavarottis announced he'll retire on his 70th birthday in 2005 (leaving plenty of time for what are likely to be innumerable lucrative "farewell" tours). BBC 06/27/02

REHABILITATING TCHAIKOVSKY: There was a time when Moscow's Tchaikovsky Competition was the most prestigious in the world. But during the 90s the competition declined in quality and prestige. This year's effort, while not generating any breakout performers, made some steps towards regaining some of its former standing. Andante 06/27/02

SOCCER MOMS GOT NOTHING ON THESE FOLKS: Time was when the world of classical music ate children alive, when kids thrown into the lion's den of hypercompetitive parents, overbearing teachers, and endless peer pressure would emerge out the other end of the experience battered, bruised, and burned out. These days, kids are actually allowed to enjoy themselves while learning to play their instruments, the experience is more about the process than the end result, and parents are expected to be as closely involved as any parent of a potential Wimbledon champion. The New York Times 06/27/02

WANTED - $50 MILLION (CANADIAN): Canada's Royal Conservatory of Music would like to begin a CAN$50 million expansion in a few years. So it's somewhat in need of $50 million, and may be a bit unsure of where to find it. The RCM has never had to conduct a major capital campaign before, and it has now put out an open call for a lead donor. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 06/27/02

OF FAMILY AND MUSIC: It's difficult to balance family and career in most professions, and music is no exception. "In 2002, it's no longer a shock to see kids at the opera house. While there have been no comprehensive surveys about women musicians and parenting, anecdotal evidence indicates that more women are juggling thriving careers and motherhood — and succeeding at what seemed nearly impossible a generation or two ago." Andante 06/27/02

Wednesday June 26

WORST-KEPT SECRET: Less than two months after skipping out on his Metropolitan Opera finale, Luciano Pavarotti has announced his retirement from the stage. Speaking with CNN's Connie Chung, Pavarotti struck back at critics who suggested that illness was not the reason for his Met cancellation, and set an end date, (his 70th birthday in 2005,) for his long career as the world's most famous tenor. CNN 06/25/02

BOTH SIDES OF THE GLASS: Philip Glass's latest opera has debuted in Chicago, and will have its New York premiere this fall. So how is it? Well, if you ask the theater critic, it's "an initially static but finally moving 93-minute ode to one man's curiosity." Ask the music critic, and he'll tell you that "Galileo Galilei is another of those contemporary operas where you come out of the theater whistling the decor and staging because the music is so forgettable." Chicago Tribune 06/26/02

ORIGINAL SILENCE: British composer Mike Batt included a blank one-minute track on a recent CD and listed it as a one-minute silent piece. He playfully attributed it to Cage/Batt, his lighthearted tribute to the late John Cage. The group that collects copyright royalties duly billed Batt for rights to the Cage contribution. Says a rueful Batt: "My silence is original silence, not a quotation from his silence." Andante 06/25/02

OREGON SYMPHONY'S NEW DIRECTOR: After a three year search the Oregon Symphony has chosen Carlos Kalmar as music director, succeeding James DePriest. Kalmar has been director of the Grant Park Festival orchestra in Chicago since 2000. The Oregonian 06/25/02

Tuesday June 25

PULLING THE PLUG ON ONLINE RADIO: Online music broadcasters are describing last week's royalty fee decision by the Librarian of Congress as a knockout blow. "Online broadcasters will have to pay almost three years' worth of back royalties in mid-October, coughing up about $260 per listener. For some Webcasters, the amount is so daunting that they said they'll fold unless Congress intervenes or the labels and artists agree to a smaller payment." Los Angeles Times 06/24/02

LET'S TRY SOMETHING ELSE: With recording companies declaring war on their consumers for music swapping and music fans angry at producers for high CD prices, maybe it's time to take a breath and try something new. Critic Tom Moon suspects there are plenty of fans out there willing - even eager - to support the artists whose music they like. But a new business model has to evolve. "Where the present industry model discourages anything but the purchase of a full CD, the new, enlightened one would offer free online singles and EPs, loss-leaders that give fans the chance to make an informed purchase." Philadelphia Inquirer 06/25/02

THE PATH MOST LONELY: Chicago composer Ralph Shapey, who died last week at the age of 81, was a loner. "Someday when I'm dead and buried, some musicologist will start comparing my music with that of other composers of my generation. He will say, `Shapey was ahead of everybody - Carter, Babbitt, all the rest. They are nothing but imitations of what he did all along.' I wish I could come back to hear that, I really do." Chicago Tribune 06/25/02

Monday June 24

FOR ATLANTA'S NEW SYMPHONY HALL... The Atlanta Symphony picks Santiago Calatrava to design its new $240 million concert hall. "If the orchestra's pick is brave by Atlanta standards, it is also canny. Calatrava's status and star quality ensure media attention, and his iconic, sculptural buildings are the kind that can galvanize a community." That'll be important - the orchestra still has to raise all that money... Atlanta Journal-Constitution 06/23/02

  • ARCHITECTURAL CALLING CARD: "The most curious thing about the ASO's decision came in the reaction. Unlike the other two architectural finalists, Calatrava seems immune to all criticism. Everyone capitulates before his interstellar eyeballs (City of Science Museum in Valencia, Spain) and his kinetic, retractable wings (Milwaukee Art Museum). One London critic has called Calatrava 'the Mozart of modern bridge design'." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 06/23/02

Sunday June 23

TIMIDITY AT THE OPERA HOUSE: Opera is thriving in the U.S. these days, as the advent of supertitles and the reinvigoration of the notion that opera is just theatre with better music draw a new generation into the fold. Furthermore, the new popularity has led to a flurry of newly commissioned operas by big-name composers. But so much of the contemporary output seems to be lacking in a certain daring - are composers pandering to the crowd, afraid to challenge them too much, lest they alienate the public again? The New York Times 06/23/02

THE JOB NO ONE WANTED: When Gerard Schwarz announced last year that he was stepping down as conductor of the New York Chamber Orchestra that he founded a quarter-century ago, everyone agreed that he would be hard to replace. But no one expected what has now become reality: the NYCO, financially devastated and unable to find anyone to take on its music directorship, has cancelled its upcoming season, and is likely to fold completely. Andante 06/23/02

D.C. OPERA EXEC TO STEP DOWN: "Walter Arnheim, who has served as the executive director of the Washington Opera for the past 2 1/2 years, will retire on June 30, the end of the company's fiscal year, it was announced late yesterday afternoon." Arnheim declined to make a statement personally, and there is some speculation that the decision may not have been entirely his. Washington Post 06/22/02

TCHAIKOVSKY PRIZEWINNERS: The 12th International Tchaikovsky Competition wrapped up this weekend with Japanese pianist Ayako Uehara taking first prize in high-profile piano division. For the first time in the competition's history, the judges did not award a first prize in the violin division. Andante (Kyodo News) 06/22/02

  • GETTING PAST PERCEPTION: The Tchaikovsky Competition was the artistic pride of the Soviet Union, a chance to prove to the arrogant West that Russians were possessed of a proud and strong musical tradition. "But in the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the competition's reputation declined, amid allegations of low standards, corruption and jury-rigging. This year, the Tchaikovsky Competition is trying to regain its former prominence by including international performers at the top of their fields among the judges." Voice of America 06/23/02

LOOKING AHEAD AT RAVINIA: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's summer festival at Ravinia is one of the most successful of its kind, due in large part to its stellar lineup of conductors, soloists, and high-quality repertoire at a time of the year when many orchestras play nothing but pops and Strauss waltzes. But with Ravinia director Christoph Eschenbach expected to step down to concentrate on his music directorship in Philadelphia, speculation has begun about who should succeed him. And, for the first time in modern memory, most of the leading candidates seem to be talented young Americans. Chicago Tribune 06/23/02

HOW NOT TO RUN A SUMMER SEASON: Two years ago, just as many American orchestras were beginning to own up to massive debt and cut costs accordingly, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra was launching an ambitious new summer concert series and promising to broaden the orchestra's appeal in its hometown of Birmingham. Two summers in, crowds have been disappointing and the series is hemorrhaging money. One local critic thinks she knows why. Birmingham News 06/21/02

CLAW YOUR WAY TO THE TOP: There are thousands of talented young musicians in the world, all striving to claim one of the precious few spots as a top international performer. No instrument is more competitive than the piano, as pianists, by and large, lack the option of an orchestral career, and the battle for attention can be fierce. So what does it take to get to the top of the heap? Three of the UK's success stories have some thoughts. The Telegraph (UK) 06/22/02

GOTHAM PIPEDREAMS: "Neither of New York City's biggest concert halls, Avery Fisher Hall or Carnegie Hall, has a symphonic pipe organ, but its churches keep building them. The latest is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Vincent Ferrer on the Upper East Side, where a huge truck recently brought nearly 4,000 pipes from the Schantz Organ Company in Orrville, Ohio, for a new organ in the gallery." The St. Vincent organ is just the latest in a series of eclectic, original instruments making their mark on the city's music scene. The New York Times 06/22/02

THE NEW TECHNO: Techno music was one of those movements that brought a modicum of elitism and intellectualism to the ordinarily low-brow world of pop, even as it spawned a subculture based on high-energy dance and heavy drug use. But, like so many movements before it, techno has been waning in recent years, as less-threatening elements of its blueprint were incorporated into mainstream pop. Now, a new techno-based act is gaining prominence in Europe, leading some to speculate that the genre's future is in musical theatrics, with the music only one part of a giant sensory experience. Wired 06/22/02

Friday June 21

THE 6 MILLION PHENOM: After two years the soundtrack from the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? "the Grammy-winning album of blues, mountain and other Americana music, has sold more than 6 million copies and is still hovering on Billboard's chart of the Top 20 albums in the country." This despite the almost total absence of playtime on commercial radio in the US. The album has been so successful, it's spawned new recording labels hoping to promote this genre of music. Nando Times (AP) 06/20/02

ELECTRONIC WINS: For the past decade, the mainstream and electronic music industries have tried to turn electronic music into a pan-cultural worldwide phenomenon. Globally, this effort has been indisputably successful. Electronic music is pop music in Europe. Kids play with Roland Grooveboxes, not Stratocasters, and dream of being the next Paul Oakenfold, not the next Paul McCartney. But not in the States, even though house and techno were of course invented in Chicago and Detroit." But electronic music has scored with the rave underground, where it flourishes. Salon 06/20/02

SEASONS OF OPERA: Toronto's new opera house will be called the Four Seasons Opera House after the founder of the hotel chain donated $20 million for the $150 million project. Toronto Star 06/20/02

Thursday June 20

NOSTALGIA OR DECLINE? "Unfortunately, Elvis's record-breaking 18th UK chart topper has led to an outbreak of what might be termed 'They don't make 'em like they used to' syndrome. So, the question is, does pop music really keep getting worse? Or do our tastes just get stuck in a rut? I think the answer lies in the way we listen to music and in particular the level of intensity and concentration we bring to something that, I would guess, most adults consider a pleasurable diversion rather than the core of their very being." The Telegraph (UK) 06/20/02

  • Previously: ELVIS LIVES: Elvis has just scored his 18th No. 1 hit in the UK. A DJ funky remix of Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation. How? Soccer. The song was used in a sports ad and has become Britain’s unofficial World Cup anthem. The Times (UK) 06/17/02

PLAYING FOR NO ONE? Where's LA's jazz scene? Actually there's plenty of innovative playing going on. But it's underground - in the schools and in small out-of-the-way venues. The bigger clubs are mainstream and few of the hot young players have much visibility. "The playing is brilliant. But no one, no one, seems to be creating music that is connecting to an audience out there." Los Angeles Times 06/20/02

  • FINDING THAT CERTAIN AUDIENCE: Even in St. Louis, which has a rich jazz tradition, keeping the music scene healthy is a matter of promotion. "Jazz is an improvisational art. And so is jazz marketing. Attracting crowds to clubs, concert halls and festivals requires much more than just booking talented artists and waiting for lines to form, promoters say. Staging a successful jazz event also is a matter of timing, budgeting and good, old-fashioned luck." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 06/16/02

HIP-HOP NOT JUMPING SO HIGH: "Sales of hip-hop albums in the first quarter of 2002 were down an eye-opening 26% from the same period last year, by far the largest drop among major pop genres, and longtime observers on the scene have been grumbling that innovation and star power are on the wane." Los Angeles Times 06/19/02

OVER THE CLIFF: "Europe's top orchestra and four of America's Big Five are changing hands, the biggest baton handover in memory." This kind of top-level turnover would be cause for concern in any industry, writes Norman Lebrecht. But the orchestras have botched it. "With conservatism in full cry, musical America is entering an epoch of dullness that one would hardly cross the road to experience, let alone the Atlantic. The slow decline of symphonic concerts has taken a sharp downturn with the shunning of the next generation. This sorry outcome could have been foretold, and has been." London Evening Standard 06/19/02

Wednesday June 19

MUSICIANS - SMARTER THAN THE REST OF US? A new study says that musicians have larger brains than other people. "Medical scans found that instrumentalists and singers have 130 per cent more grey matter in a particular part of their brains compared with those who are unable to play a note." But how do you explain Ozzy Osbourne? The Scotsman 06/18/02

DUMBING DOWN IN CHICAGO? You'll excuse orchestra musicians if they're a bit over-sensitive about the state of their profession. In the last decade, symphonies around the country have cut back on the amount of "serious" classical music they perform, and increased promotion of pops and "crossover" concerts in an effort to increase audience size. To this point, the so-called "Big Five" orchestras have dodged the trend, but now, Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians are grumbling that their trustees are exchanging musical integrity for quick-and-dirty fiscal fixes. Chicago Tribune 06/19/02

CLAWING BACK IN NYC: The economic impact of 9/11 on New York's arts institutions was much wider-reaching than most people realize, and three of the city's smaller orchestras very nearly went under as a result. But less than a year after the attacks decimated the Big Apple's cultural landscape, things are looking up, and some are even beginning to speculate that the orchestras of Brooklyn, Long Island, and Queens will actually be better off than they were pre-9/11 when all is said and done. Newsday (New York) 06/18/02

BLAME THE TEACHERS? So many classical musicians sound the same - middle of the road and bland. Is it because of how they're trained? "This sort of standardisation of education over the last hundred years has certainly raised the degree of professionalism. But standardisation has also become a danger. Is it any surprise that musicians tend to sound the same, look the same, and function as replaceable parts for orchestras, concert seasons and advertising? Is it a surprise that the individuality that might make for a remarkable moment of experience at a concert is missing?" Ludwigvanweb 06/02

SEARCHING FOR WERNICKE'S RING: "On 16 April, shockwaves resounded throughout the opera world with the news of the sudden death of German director and designer Herbert Wernicke after he collapsed on the streets of Basel, Switzerland... Wernicke's loss was felt most keenly, perhaps, in Munich, where he was in the midst of that most formidable of tasks, a new production of Wagner's Ring cycle." The city is going ahead with the cycle anyway, and billing it as a tribute to Wernicke, with the whole production based on his production notes. Andante 06/19/02

NEW OPERA HOUSE FOR OSLO: The Norwegian parliament has approved plans for a new opera house for the nation's capital, after more than five years of political wrangling. The hall will be built in Oslo's inner harbor, and will have a maximum price tag of US$416 million. Aftenposten (Oslo) 06/18/02

INTERLOCHEN AT 75: Aspen might be the largest American summer music school. But Interlochen, in Michigan is the oldest. This year the school is celebrating its 75th anniversary. "Founded in 1928 by music educator Joseph Maddy, Interlochen grew by fits and starts to become the largest and oldest institution of its kind in the world. " It attracts 2,100 students from all 50 states and 41 countries, from Aruba to Uzbekistan. Traverse City Eagle-Record 06/17/02

Tuesday June 18

TELECONCERT: The band Korn has played a concert in New York that was transmitted live in "30 cities across the United States in a move that could open up a new way to watch bands. Some 6,000 people watched the group in 40 cinemas thanks to a satellite link and digital projectors, on top of the 3,000 who saw them in person at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom." BBC 06/17/02

RATING PAY-PER-PLAY: This week the US Librarian of Congress will decide what royalty fees internet radio stations will pay to music producers. "Depending on how the rates are set, some insiders believe the announcement could put some Web broadcasters out of business." Nando Times (CSM) 06/17/02

ORCHESTRAS LOOKING UP: Thirteen-hundred orchestra administrators met in Philadelphia last week to talk about the state of the business at the annual American Symphony Orchestra League meeting. Despite a few orchestras with financial problems, "the overall health of orchestras is so strong that they are in better shape now than they were one or two decades ago." Andante 06/17/02

SINGLE-MINDED: "Singles have long been seen by the industry as the most important kind of sales tool, the trailer for the album." But singles have fallen on hard times. Sales are down, and the format is dyng. "Ruthlessly segmented by marketing formats, the pop singles market has become far too complicated for anyone but the most committed of professionals to understand." New Statesman 06/17/02

PLAYING INTO PAIN: Seventy-six percent of orchestra musicians surveyed report having sustained physical injuries in their careers serious enough to make them miss work. Minnesota Orchestra cellist Janet Horvath became concerned enough about the effects of job injuries that she's written a book. "The problem has always been the stigma and the embarrassment: If you hurt yourself, you must be a bad player. That's been the mindset. It's taken 20 years of work for people to understand that most of the injuries we see are cumulative." The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) 06/18/02

E-COMPETITION WINNER: Mei-Ting Sun wins the International Piano E-Competition in Minneapolis. The compatition attracted attention because Yefim Bronfman, one of the judges, listened via remote hookup in Japan. "At first Mr. Bronfman found it disconcerting to listen to performances on a self-playing piano, he told officials of the competition. So he followed the musical scores of the Schubert works as he listened. But he increasingly took advantage of the video relay that was coordinated to the performance. 'Watching the television screen helped to make it believable'." The New York Times 06/18/02

RALPH SHAPEY, 81: Ralph Shapey, who died last weekend at the age of 81, was "perhaps America's most relentlessly self-challenging composer, his catalogue having roughly 200 pieces for a huge range of ensembles. He also cared a great deal if people listened. In 1969, he went on strike as a composer, refusing to allow performances of his works until conditions for modern music improved. At one point, he even threatened to burn it all, which was possible since none of his music had been published and was all in manuscript." The Guardian (UK) 06/17/02

Monday June 17

WORRIED ABOUT RADIO: Recording companies and artists are growing concerned about the growing monopolies of radio stations and their power to decide which songs get played. "In the next few weeks, United States lawmakers are expected to introduce legislation backed by both artists and recording companies who are suddenly joined against what they consider their newest enemy: the radio conglomerates whose practices, they contend, cost them millions of dollars each year." The New York Times 06/17/02

USE ME/ABUSE ME: The recording industry is worried about sales of used CDs. "The industry worries that the expanding used market is cannibalizing new-CD sales, as well as promoting piracy by allowing consumers to buy, record and sell back discs while retaining their own digitally pristine copies. One proposed remedy being debated by record label executives is federal legislation requiring used-CD retailers to pay royalties on secondary sales of albums." San Diego Union-Tribune 06/14/02

ARTISTS DEMAND BETTER DEAL: Recording artists are demanding better treatment from recording companies. "In recent weeks, several long-simmering lawsuits and legislative reforms seeking to change the way major labels handle artists' contracts have come to a boil. The biggest player in this movement is the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC), led by Don Henley, which wants to shorten the length of deals and require labels to offer artists health benefits." New York Daily News 06/17/02

THE ASPEN IDEA: The music festival at Aspen, Colorado was founded in 1960 with the idea that the arts would flourish in "the tranquil serenity of the great virgin outdoors. In the years since its inception, the Aspen Music Festival, which began as an adjunct of the institute, has grown exponentially from a cluster of small impromptu chamber performances to a meticulously planned nine-week extravaganza with more than 200 events, 100,000 annual visitors, five orchestras and a budget that tops $11 million a year." Opera News 06/02

ELVIS LIVES: Elvis has just scored his 18th No. 1 hit in the UK. A DJ funky remix of Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation. How? Soccer. The song was used in a sports ad and has become Britain’s unofficial World Cup anthem. The Times (UK) 06/17/02

Sunday June 16

MUSIC CONSUMERS SUE RECORD LABELS: A couple of music consumers are suing major recording companies for embedding copy-protection in CD's. They want the court to "either to block the discs or require warning labels identifying them as inferior in quality and hazardous to computers. Copy-protected discs use a variety of electronic techniques to deter digital copying. Some can't be played at all on computers and other devices with CD-ROM drives, while others try to confuse the drives so they can't extract the disc's data." Los Angeles Times 06/16/02

MUSIC CRITICS WHO KNOW MUSIC? Northwestern University is launching a new degree for music critics. The course will include classes in music and journalism. Sounds like a simple idea, really, but it isn't offered in many places. "We need a new paradigm for what a good journalist does. The old paradigm was that any good reporter can do a good job of covering any subject, regardless of how complicated it is. The new paradigm says: `Wouldn't it be good if people really knew what they were writing about?'" Chicago Tribune 06/16/02

STICKING WITH CONVENTIONAL: The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs is about music rather than careers. But music critic Scott Cantrell is disappointed that judges chose conventional performances to win rather than the performer with a more idiosyncratic approach. Dallas Morning News 06/16/02

  • FOR THE LOVE OF IT: The Amateur competition reminds listeners that making music is a personal experience. "There was the sometime librarian who co-owned a café and a shoe repair shop and designed circus tents, the financial manager with a Harvard MBA and a black belt in karate, the television news anchor who took master classes with Sir Georg Solti and became third runner-up in the 1985 Miss America Pageant." Toronto Star 06/16/02

100 YEARS OF STRING QUARTETS: A festival in Baltimore considers the evolution of the string quartet in the 20th Century. Festival organizers reviewed more than 400 works by nearly 80 composers. "The string quartet genre, which emerged somewhere around 1760 (roughly around the time the symphony genre began to develop), underwent dynamic developments after 1900. Composers felt free to use the idiom in an astonishing variety of ways, often departing substantially from quartet traditions." Baltimore Sun 06/16/02

THE MOST-EXPENSIVE ORCHESTRA: The Philadelphia Orchestra, recently arrived in its new concert hall, has hiked ticket prices, making it the most expensive orchestra in America. The most expensive ticket will cost $130, plus a $2 building-use surcharge. The orchestra says the increase is unrelated to moving into the new hall. "The reasons for the higher prices: Orchestra board members and administrators are betting that the listening public can and will pay more, and the ensemble can use the extra revenue to pay down deficits." Philadelphia Inquirer 06/12/02

Friday June 14

AX IN AN E-FLAP: There has been plenty of press on an international piano competition taking place this weekend in the Twin Cities, largely due to the participation of two famous judges, Yefim Bronfman and Emanuel Ax, who would be doing their judging from remote locations with the help of an internet-based recreation system. But when the New York Times reported yesterday that Ax had pulled out, questions arose about whether the cancellation had just occurred, or whether the competition's sponsors had waited until the last possible minute to announce it, in order that press coverage would not be scaled back. The Star Tribune (Minneapolis/Saint Paul) 06/14/02

MONTREAL MOVES ON AMID FALLOUT: The consequences of Charles Dutoit's ouster in Montreal continue to mount. Just as the orchestra seemed to be moving on, appointing a 13-member committee to search for Dutoit's successor as music director, two more star soloists, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emmanuel Ax, announced that they were cancelling their engagements with the ensemble for next season. Andante 06/13/02

LOOKING FOR THE NEXT TENOR: With the era of the Three Tenors gasping and wheezing to a close, the obvious question rears its head: who's next? Could it be the much-maligned Andrea Bocelli, whose fans are so devoted as to resemble pop fans? What about Salvatore Licitra, who pulled off a stunning New York debut while standing in for Pavarotti at the Met last month? And isn't it about time Ben Heppner got a turn in the big spotlight? Boston Herald 06/14/02

MORE INTRIGUE IN EDMONTON: Last winter's bitter battle between the management and musicians of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra centered around the orchestra's deposed music director, Grzegorz Nowak, and developed into a heated discussion over whether musicians have a right to some control of their orchestra's direction. In the thick of the fight, Nowak threatened to take the ESO musicians (who by and large supported him) and start his own orchestra. Plans have been scaled back a bit, but Nowak is making good on his threat. Edmonton Journal 06/13/02

  • TOO MUCH MUSIC? Grzegorz Nowak insists that his new chamber orchestra is not designed to compete with the ESO, and points out that the two ensembles will perform on different dates, and even share musicians. But the relationship is sure to be somewhat antagonistic, and some critics are worried that the city cannot support two separate concert series. Edmonton Journal 06/14/02

BURN BABY BURN: Music fan are being offered an easy new way to burn CDs in Sydney - vending machines. "There are about 20 Copy Cat machines installed in convenience stores and photocopying shops around Sydney where burning a CD costs $5, plus $2 for a blank. The machines are ostensibly legitimate because they come with a notice warning users about copyright infringements." Sydney Morning Herald 06/14/02

  • THE DIGITAL CATCH-22: The debate over CD-copying technology and music piracy is more complex than either side usually cares to admit. On the one hand, the industry is quite aware of studies that show that copying technology has led to a wider and more voracious market for purchased CDs. On the other, the professional music pirates who are glutting the world market with discs are a major threat to profit margins. What's a giant corporate media industry to do? Wired 06/14/02

FINALISTS TO REDESIGN AVERY FISHER HALL: Lincoln Center has chosen three architects as finalists to redesign Avery Fisher Hall. Sir Norman Foster, Raphael Moneo and the team of Richard Meier and Arata Isozaki will reimagine the hall, which is to be redone as part of a proposed $1.2 billion makeover of Lincoln Center. The New York Times 06/14/02

Thursday June 13

THE DOWNLOAD EFFECT? A prominent economics professor studying the effect of music downloading wonders why there isn't more of an impact on CD sales. Sure, sales were down a bit last year, and it could be explained by the recession. Estimates of downloads are five times greater than CD sales. Yet CD sales are only down 5 percent. Perhaps digital trading isn't hurting legit sales? Salon 06/13/02

  • ANOTHER TRY AT PAY-PER-DOWNLOAD: Trying to head off music pirates, "Universal and Sony plan to sell tens of thousands of high-quality digital albums for $US9.99 and singles for up to US99˘ through online retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and Sam Goody." So far pay-to-download sites have not been successful, but the two companies hope the drastically reduced prices will attract buyers. The Age (Melbourne) 06/13/02
  • IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM... "Other major labels are likely to follow as the record business grapples with the rise of online music copying through unauthorized services such as Napster, Kazaa and Morpheus and potentially billions of dollars in lost sales. Rather than trying to force consumers to buy music on the labels' terms, the services signal that record companies are slowly adapting to Internet-fueled changes in the marketplace." Los Angeles Times 06/12/02

E-JUDGING: A new international piano features an e-judge - pianist Yefim Bronfman, who will tune in to performances sitting in Japan, while the competition plays out in Minnesota. "Mr. Bronfman, whom the contest's Web site (www.piano-e-competition.com) calls an "e-judge," is to sit in a 200-seat recital hall in the international headquarters of the Yamaha Corporation listening to the performances of the young pianists in St. Paul as reproduced onstage through a Yamaha Disklavier Pro piano, essentially a 21st-century player piano. The contest does raise questions about the uniqueness of live performance and the appropriate uses of ever-advancing technology in music." The New York Times 06/13/02

  • THE E-MASTERCLASS: Meanwhile, violinist Pinchas Zukerman will conduct a masterclass in Ottawa today for a trio playing in New York. The class will be held at 2 pm (ET) over high-speed internet, and anyone can tune in to the 90-minute lesson. MSNBC 06/13/02

AN ORCHESTRA TRAVELS ON ITS STOMACHS: What makes a great orchestra? “Someone should write a doctorate some day on why certain middle-sized cities (Birmingham, Dresden and Cleveland) manage to generate and sustain world-class orchestras, while others (Glasgow, Frankfurt or Seattle) fail to do so.” Outgoing Cleveland Orchestra music director says success comes down to parking spaces. And lockers. And food. "My gimmick is I pay them a lot of money. Think about it. Our musicians don't have problems with traffic. They can get to work in 10 minutes. They all have parking spaces. They all have lockers. There's a good canteen. Compared with a London musician's living, it's heaven." The Guardian (UK) 06/13/02

WHY I SWORE OFF MOZART: Norman Lebrecht has had his fill of Mozart. One performance too many? "It is so widely assumed that Mozart must be good for you that, in Alabama, the Governor sends Amadeus's greatest hits to pregnant women in the hope of turning their embryos into Einsteins, and in Sweden they play K467 in labour wards to ease the pangs of parturition. The Mozart Effect is becoming a tenet of nursery education. Myself, I am more concerned at the risk of brain rot." London Evening Standard 06/12/02

Wednesday June 12

NEW ENDINGS: Puccini never finished Turandot, his last opera. It is usually performed using an ending written by one of the composer's contemporaries. But "this year a newly composed ending to Puccini's opera is causing a huge international stir. In quick succession there have been a first concert hearing in the Canary Islands, the first stage production in Los Angeles, and now the first European production in Amsterdam. And no wonder when it is the work of Luciano Berio. Here is a unique meeting of minds between two imposing Italians - both leading composers of their day, both steeped in opera, but reaching out across a gap of three generations." Financial Times 06/12/02

THEFT ON A GRAND SCALE: Sales of pirated music cds doubled in 2001 to 950 million, says a new report. But overall the number of "pirated recordings, including CDs and cassettes, totaled nearly 2 billion in 2001, up just slightly from a year earlier. The figure means that two out of every five recordings sold worldwide in 2001 was an illegal copy. Illegal music sales outnumber legal sales in 25 countries, compared with 21 countries a year earlier." Boston Globe (AP) 06/11/02

THE SYDNEY CLAP: "Quelle horreur! Audience members are increasingly clapping at the wrong time in classical music performances. Over the past year organisers from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra have noticed the trend in many local concerts. Recent SSO performances of Brahms, with acclaimed Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker at the Sydney Opera House, reportedly featured continual bouts of clapping in parts meant to be silent. But, perhaps to the disgust of classical music buffs, neither institution seems particularly worried." Sydney Morning Herald 06/12/02

SET OF DESTRUCTION: Opera Carolina in Charlotte is out almost $600,000 worth of sets for its production of a Carlisle Floyd opera were accidentally destroyed. The company was storing the sets in a building loaned to them by a local real estate management company. The company decided earlier this year to have the building demolished, but forgot to tell the opera company. Charlotte Observer 06/11/02

Tuesday June 11

MUSIC'S TERRIFIC COSTS: Lessons, instruments...the costs add up. It can cost $500,000 to train a student to become a professional musician. So does that mean that only rich kids get the support to become first-rate musicians? "Most musicians who end up as professionals come from affluent backgrounds. There's a number of talented students who come from more ordinary families, but they have great trouble trying to buy high-quality lessons and instruments.'' The Age (Melbourne) 06/11/02

Monday June 10

BURSTING THE BUBBLE: Why is the recording industry in danger of collapse? "It is hard to think of a more profound business crisis. You've lost control of the means of distribution, promotion, and manufacturing. You've lost quality control - in some sense, there's been a quality-control coup. You've lost your basic business model - what you sell has become as free as oxygen. It's a philosophical as well as a business crisis - which compounds the problem, because the people who run the music business are not exactly philosophers." New York Magazine 06/10/02

SAVING SAN DIEGO: The San Diego Symphony has twice gone bankrupt. America's seventh-largest city has never been able to field an orchestra to compete with cities of similar size. And yet, a $120 million gift to the orchestra promises to put it on solid enough footing to build something real. Here's the story of how the orchestra came back from financial ruin to play another day. Los Angeles Times 06/09/02

DIGITAL PIRACY - MORE THAN JUST THEFT: Stealing is wrong, right? And piracy is stealing, right? So who's getting hurt by all this digital music downloading going on over the internet? Maybe it's more valuable to musicians that their work is "stolen?" After all, aren't reputations and demand established by familiarity and how much your music is out there and appreciated? Just a thought. NewMusicBox 06/02

THE CASE OF THE MISSING STRAD: In April a $1.6 million Stradivarius violin was stolen from a shop in New York. But what's the point? "I don't understand it, this thief. What would this person do, keep it for themselves, play it in solitude? Whenever it surfaces, it will be recognized." All of the more than 600 surviving Stradivarius violins have been extensively catalogued and photographed. Orange County Register (NYDN) 06/09/02

SAVING ORCHESTRAS FOR THE FUTURE: How to get new audiences to come to classical music concerts? Orchestras discuss the issue endlessly. "You hear all this talk about marketing the 'excitement' of orchestras. Well it's not always about excitement. It's about contemplation, introspection, idealism." The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) 06/09/02

WHO TO PAY? "At the end of last year, a windfall amounting to more than $250,000 (U.S.) owing to hundreds of Canadian musicians who had performed on recording sessions for major labels during the past five years was sitting idle in an American trust fund because no one knew it was there or how to collect it." Toronto Star 06/10/02

Sunday June 9

THE GENDER ORCHESTRA: Are there "girl" musical instruments and "boy" musical instruments? A new study says yes. Boys consistently preferred instruments traditionally identified as male. "Using accepted British, Australian and North American classifications, 'male' instruments in this study were deemed drums, saxophone, trumpet and trombone, as opposed to the more 'feminine' apparati of flute, violin, clarinet, cello." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/08/02

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN SOUND AND MUSIC: It's certainly not a new idea, but using everyday sound as fodder for music is finding new fans. "A California group called Matmos makes pieces of music entirely out of the recorded sounds of plastic surgery being performed. A British technician called Matthew Herbert makes dance music entirely out of the sound of a McDonald's meal being unwrapped and consumed. They are both part of a trend sometimes known as 'glitch,' which is music made without any instruments, entirely of found sounds, which are then arranged into musical patterns. Glitch is primarily about what fun can be had with samplers and computer-editing programs, but it is also about bridging the gap between pop music and conceptual art." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/08/02

THE NEW CHOPIN: When Chopin wrote his 24 piano preludes, he experimented with a 25th in E-flat minor, but abandoned it. Now a University of Pennsylvania professor has reconstructed the piece. It "shows a degree of experimentalism we hadn't known before. At the same time, that's why it doesn't work. You've got the experimentalism in sound, but the chord progression isn't that strange." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/08/02

THE ULTIMATE CROSSOVER? The Andrea Bocelli phenomenon just keeps on going. "Bocelli's success has been prodigious, and controversial. For the opera mavens in the Internet chat rooms, he's an impostor, a pop-star microphone singer who has no business singing opera. For millions of fans he is a pop star - his Romanza album sold 25 million copies worldwide, and at one point only the Spice Girls topped him on the charts; some of his fans probably wonder what all this opera stuff is about and wish he would just sing more soulful power ballads." Boston Globe 06/09/02

Friday June 7

GOING HOME: Across America there is a growing movement to take classical music concerts back into private homes. Chamber music was written for smaller spaces, and a number of organizations have sprung up to stage home concerts - sometimes with big-name performers. Christian Science Monitor 06/07/02

GENDER-TYPING: There are more and more female classical music critics writing today. It's a field traditionally dominated by males. But "isn't it funny that her increased acceptance in the ranks of critics — that is, among the shapers rather than receivers of opinion — happens to coincide with the striking decline, purely in terms of space, of classical music coverage in news outlets across the nation?" Andante 06/06/02

RATTLE IN CALIFORNIA: Star conductor Simon Rattle hasn't performed in the Bay Area since 1988. But it turns out the new Berlin Philharmonic chief is a regular visitor - his kids live there. Tonight he performs as a pianist with his son. In a rare American interview he tells Joshua Kosman that he never really considered leading an American orchestra. "I know that with any American orchestra, I would've had to spend a lot of my time fighting for existence, reminding people why we had to be there and taking much more of an educational role than I wanted to take on at this time in my life." San Francisco Chronicle 06/07/02

MORE THAN JUST THE MUSIC: Today's pop musicians have to be so much more than good musicians. Media smarts are essential. "For quite a few years now, having a distinctive sound has not been enough to prevent people from being one-hit wonders. Today's pop musicians need to be all-round talents and their careers depend less on the music than on marketing." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 06/07/02

JANSONS TO LEAVE PITTSBURGH: Conductor Mariss Jansons is quitting as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony after the 2003/2004 season. "Jansons' long-standing disappointment over low attendance at Heinz Hall concerts was not given as a reason for leaving, said PSO officials, nor did he mention any of his recent frustrations with orchestra musicians over artistic direction. And while he's previously expressed the feeling that the arts get too little respect in Pittsburgh, orchestra officials said Jansons made no mention of that in announcing his departure." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06/07/02

  • THE SPECULATION BEGINS: Finding a replacement for Jansons "seems especially difficult, as major orchestras in Europe and the United States have filled most of the vacancies that were the talk of the classical music world in the past three years." Here's a speculative list. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06/07/02

Thursday June 6

RESISTANT TO PROTECTION: Recording producers want to protect their music from piracy and unauthorized copying. They might be able to accomplish it by embedding codes that prevent digital copying. But there's one big problem - music consumers, the kind that actually buy music, won't buy protected discs. What to do? Wired 06/06/02

SJ SYMPHONY WOES LONGSTANDING: Does this week's closure of the San Jose Symphony mean the city can't support its arts institutions? Not necessarily. "The symphony's problems have been entrenched and long-standing. The programming and leadership of music director Leonid Grin has been criticized as limited in scope and dynamism. When the orchestra stopped giving concerts in October, it was already $2.5 million in the hole." San Francisco Chronicle 06/05/02

REMEMBERING MEET THE COMPOSER: Over 15 years, beginning in 1982, Meet the Composer commissioned more than 700 works. "Thanks in part to the MTC's efforts, the 1980s witnessed a marked increase in the commissioning and performance of new scores. By 1992, however, the initiative's funding dried up and all but six of the residencies came to an end. Some orchestras simply dropped the position when they were forced to pay for it. Others, like the Philadelphia Orchestra, maintained it for several years but eventually eliminated it for budgetary reasons." Now a festival to commemorate the program's accomplishments. Andante 06/06/02

BLACK MUSICIANS M.I.A.: Coalitions of musicians have been working to change the kinds of contract deals they get from recording companies. Notably missing from the efforts? Black musicians. "There is the perception of those [black] artists who do know about these movements, who do get to hear about them—and many have not—that this is a white movement, that this is something that white people are doing. And there is a distrust of white people and their intentions." Village Voice 06/04/02

WHERE WERE THE YOUNG? "Queen Elizabeth II's reign has coincided with the explosive birth and ongoing evolution of a vibrant pop culture. Although it may have had little impact on Her Majesty's dress sense, she has presided over rock and roll, the beat boom, psychedelia, heavy rock, prog rock, reggae, punk, ska, indie, new romance, electro pop, acid house, hip hop, trip hop, Britpop, jungle and garage." Yet the big concert celebrating her reign was composed almost entirely of the geriatric set. Big names, sure, but where are the younger pop musicians? The Telegraph (UK) 06/06/02

NOT VERY COMMITTED: "Edo de Waart, the mercurial chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, will not be returning to Sydney this year to fulfil his obligations with the orchestra, opting, instead, to stay at home in the Netherlands for the birth of his child." de Waart has ditched other SSO concerts this year, and has complained about the hardship of commuting to Australia from Europe. He has 18 months left on his contract. Sydney Morning Herald 06/06/02

Wednesday June 5

SAN JOSE SYMPHONY GOES BANKRUPT: After trying to revive itself through fundraising, the San Jose Symphony calls it quits. The orchestra had already shut down operations last winter but had hoped to regroup. "The announcement concludes months of uncertainty about the future of the 123-year-old institution. With an estimated $3.4 million in debt and just $300,000 in assets, the symphony seemed increasingly likely to fold. Concert attendance had fallen off. To make ends meet, the organizers borrowed money on credit. The symphony's status has been in limbo since it was shut down last October because of mismanagement and spiraling debt." San Jose Mercury News 06/03/02

  • PLAYERS LET LOOSE: "Symphony leaders hope to resurrect the organization in a new form, but nobody knows when that might happen. San Jose Symphony players never made a full income there. Most earned around $24,000." San Francisco Chronicle 06/05/02

ROYAL OPERA STRIKE? The Covent Garden backstage costumers department is threatening to go on strike. "Angry staff claim the management is refusing to honour an agreement made 18 months ago to increase the salaries of the craftspeople who make the wigs and costumes." The Guardian (UK) 06/05/02

Tuesday June 4

TO PROTECT (NOT SERVE): "At least two Canadian record companies will begin testing copyright-protected CDs this summer, But record executives in Canada and the United States are worried about possible consumer backlash. If music-lovers conclude that the sound quality of copyright-protected discs is inferior, or the discs "gum up" the CD players in their cars or the hard drives in their computers, or they see the technology as a Big Brother-style intrusion and restriction by impersonal, profit-hungry labels, the conventions that have governed the commercial recording industry for decades could be further eroded." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/04/02

YANKS ABANDON BRITS: "Americans who embraced Beatlemania, progressive rock and the New Romantics have been left cold by Britpop and U.K. Garage. A music industry report released this week says the British share of Billboard's annual top 100 albums chart has plummeted from a high of 32 percent in 1986 - when bands like Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys and Simple Minds rode the British wave - to just 0.2 percent in 1999 and 1.7 percent in 2000. Last year, the share was 8.8 percent - but more than one-third of the British sales were of a single album: The Beatles 1 anthology." New York Post 06/03/02

DOHNANYI FINISHES IN CLEVELAND: Christoph von Dohnanyi finishes his term with the Cleveland Orchestra. His "20 years at the Cleveland Orchestra came to an end with a concert performance of Wagner's Siegfried, which stretched from early twilight to midnight. Opinions about conductors and orchestras tend to be filed under separate categories, but the Cleveland-Dohnanyi experience argues for chemistry rather than individual ingredients." The New York Times 06/04/02

Monday June 3

BRITAIN'S MUSIC MYTH: "Britain has a long and inglorious tradition of attempting to subjugate the planet by asserting its culture. This is the perceived superiority upon which an empire was built, and it should have withered away years ago when we realised foreign countries didn’t need British tastes to be fully functional. But old prejudices die hard, and it’s ironic that they persist in that supposedly rebellious establishment, the music business." The Scotsman 06/02/02

WHEN MOVIES NICK MUSIC: "Nothing wrong with learning about lovely pieces of music through movies, of course. One tends to hear them fragmented and without context that way, but still, better to hear the pieces there than never at all. But I still find it odd that we begin to refer to these enduring works with the names of the films or even the commercials that used them five minutes ago." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/01/02

MASUR MADE EMERITUS: They may have terminated his contract, but the New York Philharmonic still has feelings for outgoing music director Kurt Masur. The orchestra has named Masur "music director emeritus, making him the only person other than Leonard Bernstein to receive an honorary title from the symphony." Nando Times (AP) 06/02/02

  • I COME TO PRAISE HIM: "For once Mr. Masur was speechless. He embraced Mr. Mehta, warmly grabbed the hands of every orchestra player within reach, and acknowledged the outpouring from the shouting, standing audience. But there was no speech. He seemed genuinely overwhelmed. On the other hand he may have been reluctant to speak. What could he have said? The occasion was surely bittersweet, since the board that had just honored him had also pushed him into premature retirement. The tension in the hall was palpable during the short ceremony." The New York Times 06/03/02
  • LONG FOND FAREWELL (YEAH, YEAH): "Masur's departure from New York is increasingly taking on the form of a study in paradoxical familiarity. He must go, but the idea is that he has to look a little as though he wanted to go. Is that why he is being swamped with laurel wreaths? Are New Yorkers now praising him because they're feeling guilty?" Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 06/02/02

SAME OLD SAME OLD: American orchestras have announced next year's seasons. So why do so many of them look alike? Same pieces, same presentation. "What makes our orchestras' schedules look so repetitive is not only that they repeat one another but also that they keep repeating a few well-tried formulas, right through their programming." The New York Times 06/02/02

AFRAID OF OPERA? What's up with Opera Theater of St. Louis' new promotional ads? " 'I'm not afraid of opera,' say the ads on radio and in print, thus equating the world's greatest and most glorious art form with trips to the dentist." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 06/02/02

Sunday June 2

MUSICIAN, INC, PART I: "Concert ticket prices are skyrocketing – especially for bands born in the anti-materialist '60s. Concert ticket prices have shot up 54 percent in the last five years, compared with only 24 percent for movie, sports and theater tickets. The Rolling Stones are charging a jaw-dropping $350 for the best seats to their U.S. tour; the top tickets on Paul McCartney's just-ended tour sold for $250. And as prices rise, so does tension between disgruntled music fans who cry "sellout" and the musicians who say they're just going by supply and demand – that if they don't charge these prices, scalpers will." Dallas Morning News 06/02/02

  • MUSICIAN, INC, PART II: More and more big-name musicians are choosing not to sign (or re-sign) with large music labels, instead recording and producing on their own labels. "It just goes to show you that we basically traded in a larger machine for a more well-tooled machine. It's like all small businesses. You do more specific targeting and cut out waste." Chicago Tribune 06/02/02

AMATEUR FOR THE LOVE OF IT: The Third International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs beging this week in Dallas. "The amateur competition draws some powerfully driven contestants, people with distinguished careers in medicine, academia, technology and law. This year's slate includes a missionary, a couple of accountants, a veterinarian and an architect." Dallas Morning News 06/02/02

CROSSING OVER TO WHAT? Classical crossover music is a hot category these days, but why? "Is crossover - the name given a recording by a classical artist venturing into a non-classical area of music and aimed mainly at non-classical record buyers - a healthy means of bridging the gap between the classical and non-classical markets, or a crass ploy to kick new life into sagging sales? Is it creating new audiences for classical music, or merely fueling the demand for more crossover? In today's anxious, Internet-battered market, nobody has any definitive answers." Chicago Tribune 06/02/02

WHERE ARE THE MEN? "The once-glamorized male jazz singer practically has vanished from America's cultural radar. Worse, the men are AWOL at the very moment that their female counterparts, as well as jazz instrumentalists of both sexes, are enjoying resurgent popularity." Chicago Tribune 06/02/02

  • ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD: Forty years after his first professional gig, Frank Sinatra Jr. is still on the road singing. Singing in the shadow of his famous dad has certainly been an impediment to his career, but he's still out there trying to keep the 'era's music alive. "We're losing this music. We lost Miss Peggy Lee two months ago. Between Keely Smith, Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett, that's just about all that's left. A whole era is passing." Chicago Sun-Times 06/02/02


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