on the record: September 2007 Archives
It keeps happening. A friend asked me where I was off to next, and I said "I'm going to visit the Missoula Symphony Orchestra in Montana." And I got that look - a look I've come to know as an attempt at a sympathetic, pitying gaze, followed by some comment like "my condolences." I have begun to be short with people, even though I know they mean well. I keep explaining that not only do I enjoy the travel and the actual visiting, but that I hear really good music in a wide range of performances and settings...
Much as we'd prefer to deny it, most of us have our fair share of prejudices. I imagine that many of us would state a belief that the best orchestras in the world are either European or North American; some might be willing to add Japan to the mix. But as I've come to know the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, through a large number of recordings and a couple of days spent with them in Brazil, there is no question in my mind that they must occupy a place on that elite list...
Normally, I write about things symphonic. But I recently had an experience in Eugene, Oregon, that left such a strong impression on me that I wanted to share it with you, even though it relates to a somewhat different art form: the uniquely American one of the musical comedy. The Oregon Festival of American Music's The Sweetest Sounds, an eleven-day festival focusing on Richard Rodgers, was produced by the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in Eugene, under the leadership of Jim and Ginevra Ralph. Much of what struck me about the four days I spent there was that OFAM (as everyone calls the Oregon Festival of American Music) can serve as an example for any producer, including a symphony orchestra, of what a festival can be...
At the start of the concert season, I decided to take time to actually count just how many American orchestras I have heard, in actual performance (or dress rehearsal) in my 43 years of functioning in one way or another in the classical music world. Mainly, I just did it for fun - people do ask me, and I feel a bit stupid saying, "Oh, I don't know...but it's been a lot." So I thought I should actually know. I printed out the list of member orchestras of the American Symphony Orchestra League, and started to check off those that I have experienced in person (recordings wouldn't count, in this little game I made for myself)...
The September 17 issue of Newsweek published an interesting and encouraging article called "Beethoven Goes Digital." It presents some very positive news for classical music and its distribution through technology. Rather than paraphrase it here, I'd like to simply provide the link and have you read the full article by clicking here.
There are those days when you experience something so heartwarming that you feel you must share it - and the evening of August 21st in New York City was that kind of event for me. There is an orchestra that most Americans don't even know exists called the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. Its music director is a 26-year-old Mexican named Alondra de la Parra, and she leads her musicians with a wonderful combination of technique and emotional involvement and expressivity. As satisfying as the musical experience was, it was the community experience that really struck me...
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog